It’s a thing in horrorland: to absolutely love bad horror movies that you are supposed to absolutely hate. The worst horrror movies of all time feature bad acting, lousy story lines, the worst special effects, and they are usually not scary at all. Despite all of that, there are number of bad horror movies out there that people absolutely adore, and which they assign huge iconic cult-status to. We have gathered the 25 best worst horror movies of all time. The ones that fall in the category of horror movies that are so bad they’re good.
This forgettable film by Tony Zarrindast was a laughingstock. This low-budget movie had crew members leave during production and last-minute replacements were hired. The movie was lambasted for poor acting and poor effects. Full of cliches and a mashup of every horror plot combined, it is the perfect example of an extremely horrible movie.
Devil’s Due (2014)
Written by Lindsay Devlin under the direction of Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillet, the movie is a mashup of Rosemary’s Baby and Paranormal Activity. The directors wanted to focus on the deteriorating relationship between the 2 main characters but they also wanted to give it a fun energy and sense of humor, which led to the confused state of the film. The marketing team behind the movie did a great job promoting the film that their antics went viral. But the critics were not amused. As bad it is, the film has a strong cult following. A great example of a movie that is so bad, it’s good.
The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996)
John Frankenheimer’s remake of this novel features big stars like Marlon Brando and Val Kilmer. It was truly a horror production, only all the horror happened behind the camera. The original director Richard Stanley was fired by New Line Cinema and replaced him with Frankenheimer. Brando and Kilmer muddled through personal struggled during filming and had to contend with each other. The film only made USD 49 million at the box office, with a budget of USD 40 million, excluding marketing and other expenses. The only good thing that came out of the film is the successful documentary about it entitled Lost Soul: The Doomed Documentary of Richard Stanley’s Island of Dr. Moreau.
Pulse started out with good beginnings with the story written by Wes Craven. But Craven, who was supposed to direct the film as well, was replaced by Jim Sonzero and his story was re-written by Ray Wright. Craven later confirmed his non-involvement with the production. Everything nosedived from there. Sonzero was unable to capture the spirit of the original Japanese film (Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Kairo) and fell flat. The characters were not relatable and the telling of the story was ho-hum. The film grossed USD 28 million worldwide against a budget of USD 20.5 million. Its saving grace was its USD 28 million income from its DVD release. Despite the negative feedback about the film, it spawned 2 sequels.
Coming from the success of House on Haunted Hill, director William Malone came out with another horror flick with Stephen Rea, Stephen Dorff, and Natascha McElhone. Unfortunately for Malone, the film bombed at the tills, only grossing USD 18.9 million with a USD 40 million budget. Critics likened the movie to an error 404 message, with nothing going right for the film. The film was just horribly violent, the acting bad, and the storyline pathetic. The only positive thing it got was how graphic the scenes were. With its extreme blood and gore and nudity, it was originally an NC-17 but was later rated R after slashing quite a bit from the film.
Nick Hamm directs Godsend with Robert De Niro, Greg Kinnear, and Rebecca Romjin. Despite its heavyweight cast, the film only earned USD 45 million with a budget of USD 25 million. The plot did not make sense and the scenes were predictable. A Rotten Tomatoes critic calls the film “murky” and the dialogue ridiculous. As an advertising gimmick, Lions Gate put up a fake website advertising that it can resurrect the dead. However, since they received many real inquiries, they decided to pull the plug and inform the public that it was just an ad for the film.
House of the Dead (2003)
House of the Dead is Uwe Boll’s attempt to bring the Sega game of the same name to life. Epic fail is the critics’ unabashed response to Boll’s film. It was even considered funny by some critics. What made it worse was the pacing and the editing of the film. It is actually listed as one of the worst horror films of all time. With a USD 12 million budget, it only grossed a dismal USD 8.1 million during its entire run. Surprisingly enough, the film spawned a sequel.
The Happening (2008)
Night Shyamalan waved his magic wand on The Happening. With Mark Wahlberg, Zooey Deschanel, John Leguizamo, and Betty Buckley, it is no wonder it became a blockbuster with USD 163 million versus a USD 48 million budget. The film is rated R, a first for Shyamalan. Shyamalan said it was supposed to be a B-movie to which critics agreed and enjoyed it for what it was. However, most critics expected tension from the film but was entertained instead. Unfortunately for Shyamalan, it made the list of 2 worst horror movies ever and got nominated for Razzies
Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013)
Texas Chainsaw 3D is the 7th part in the Texas Chainsaw franchise helmed by John Luessenhop. The story is from Stephen Susco, Adam Marcus, and Debra Sullivan. Though it is the 7th installment, it disregards the storyline from the other films and continues the story of the original. Originals from the 1974 film, Gunnar Hansen and Marilyn Burns join the cast. The film earned USD 47.2 million against a USD 20 million budget. Twisted Pictures and Nu Image wanted in on this project but it was Millennium Films and Mainline Pictures who produced it as distributed by Lionsgate. The film got a NC-17 rating and had to be re-edited to get an R rating instead. Critics and moviegoers were disappointed with the film, not being able to live up to the standards of the original.
Gnaw 2: Food of the Gods (1989)
Produced and directed by Damian Lee, Gnaw 2 is not a real sequel to Food of the Gods 1. There are several face slap-worthy scenes in this movie like a bystander trying to kill the giant rats but ending up killing people, how the main character is able to control his pet rat by playing a flute, or even how a rat hid on the backseat of a car. Bumbling would be an apt way to describe the plot and the production. It is one of those “so-bad-it’s-funny-good” movies.
One Missed Call (2008)
One Missed Call is written by Andrew Klavan and directed by Eric Valette. It is the American version of the successful Japanese horror flick of the same name. The film was slammed by film critics and got a rare 0% rating from Rotten Tomatoes. It was such a bad horror movie that it even earned itself a Mouldy Tomato award. It was criticized for its unimaginative scenes and cliched shock tactics. It was also rebuked for copying elements from other successful horror flicks. Despite the snub, it earned USD 45.8 million worldwide.
House of Wax (2005)
House of Wax stars Paris Hilton, Elisha Cuthbert, and Chad Michael Murray. Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, it is a remake of a remake, the original being the 1933 shocker Mystery of the Wax Museum. It grossed USD 112 million worldwide, including video rentals. Though it joined film festivals, critics can’t help but notice that it is a cliched teen slasher film. They gave it brownie points for its entertainment value and schewing the expected order of the death of the characters. But, otherwise, the movie was predictable from beginning to end.
Ernest Dickerson helms Bones which features American rapper Snoop Dogg in the title role. Written by Adam Simon and Tim Metcalfe, the film bombed at the tills. It didn’t even break even, with a USD 8.4 million profit against a USD 16 million budget. Critics found Snoop’s character more idiotic than scary and the pace too slow. If not for Snoop’s zombie character, the movie would have been called a regular gangsta flick with its violence, nudity, hiphop, profanity, and reference to drugs.
Troll 2 (1990)
Under the direction of Claudio Fragasso aka Drake Floyd, who also wrote the screenplay, the film was originally named Goblins. It was renamed to Trolls 2 for recall but it was not in any way connected to the 1986 movie Troll. The production was quite horrendous given the language barrier between the Italian production crew and the American cast. The movie’s WTF plot involves vegetarian goblins (and not trolls) that have to turn human beings into plants so they could eat them. The film is so bad that it was named one of the worst films in Hollywood history. Interestingly Michael Stephenson, one of the main characters of the film, made a successful documentary about it and it is aptly titled Best Worst Movie.
Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (2000)
Coming after the successful original, Joe Berlinger directs Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2. Berlinger wrote it with Dick Beebe with the intention of focusing on mass hysteria. With pressure from the producers to make the film more commercial, changes were made to the film and the final product is a far cry from Berlinger’s idea and from its predecessor. It was a commercial success, grossing USD 47 million worldwide against a USD 15 million budget. Unfortunately, compared to the original, critics lambasted the production for its shock value has been diluted that it falls flat.
Piranha 3DD (2012)
John Gulager directs the 3rd installment of the Piranha series. With Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan as writers (both from Saw fame), they were off to a great start. Unfortunately, producer Joe Soisson re-wrote the script and things went downhill from there. Piranha 3DD went overboard with the gore and comedy and got panned for it. Some critics found it more of a spoof of the prequels and too silly to be taken seriously. It was so awful that it got nominated for a Razzie for Worst Sequel. David Hasselhoff did not go unscathed and was also nominated for Worst Supporting Actor.
Dr. Giggles (1992)
Manny Coto is the director behind Dr. Giggles, featuring Larry Drake as Dr. Giggles. Coto co-wrote the production with Graeme Whifler. The film received mixed reviews, but more on the negative side. Critics found it too slasher cliche to be that scary. Coto and Whifler’s attempts at using one-liners fell flat and was perceived as more of a spoof than anything. The only saving grace for the film are its opening credits and Drake’s maniacal laugh.
Halloween H2O (1998)
Steve Miner is the man behind this slasher flick in 1998. It is the 7th part of the Halloween series and directly follows the storyline of parts 1 and 2. Jamie Lee Curtis comes back as Laurie. John Carpenter was supposed to direct the film but the producers balked at his USD 10 million asking fee for the film. Robert Zappia and Matt Greenberg wrote the story with inputs from Kevin Williamson, who originally wrote the plot for Halloween H20. Dimension Films head honcho Bob Weinstein was not happy with John Ottman’s musical scoring so changes were effected during post-production, using Marco Beltrami’s scores from previous horror flicks. It is the most successful film of the Halloween franchise earning USD 76 million at the box office and video rentals. Not bad for a USD 17 million film.
I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998)
The sequel to the popular I Know What You Did Last Summer, it is directed by Danny Cannon and based on the script of Trey Callaway. The production retained leads Jennifer Love Hewitt and Freddie Prinze Jr. It did not do as well as I Know What You Did Last Summer, which grossed USD 125 million, but it did not do so bad with USD 84 million. The slasher sequel directly follows the events of the first movie. It still retained its high thrill and suspense factor, however, unlike the first one, the sequel became predictable.
The Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977)
Richard Burton and Linda Blair reprise their roles in The Exorcist II: The Heretic. Since William Peter Blatty and William Friedkin did not want to take on the project, John Boorman and William Goodhart stepped in. Boorman was actually asked to direct the original but he turned it down. Reading Goodhart’s script, he liked the metaphysical approach it took. Though Boorman said he liked Goodhart’s script, it was re-written by Boorman and Rospo Pallenberg five times during the course of shooting. The final result was nothing like what Goodhart wrote. The sequel was slammed by critics, calling it one of the worst horror movies ever made. It still brought in USD 30 million in profit, quite dismal compared to the original.
Jaws 3-D (1983)
Joe Alves takes on Jaws 3-D, the 3rd sequel to the popular Jaws franchise. He was the production designer for the first 2 movies and was the second unit director for part 2. The production was originally supposed to be a spoof but the studios would not have it. Richard Matheson wrote the outline and storyline for this sequel but many production requests and rewrites changed the course of the film. Despite being panned by critics, it still grossed USD 87.9 million.
Birdemic: Shock and Terror (2010)
James Nguyen takes on Birdemic: Shock and Terror, inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds novel. With only a budget of USD 10,000 and produced by Nguyen’s production company, it was denounced for its poor quality and labeled it as one of the worst horror movies ever made. But it was so bad that it is good that it developed a cult following.
Piranha Part Two: The Spawning (1981)
Piranha II: The Spawning is James Cameron’s official foray into the directorial seat. He was supposed to be the special effects director of the film but was promoted to director when Miller Drake quit. Cameron also edited the story. Rumor has it that Cameron had no creative control over how the film was edited. Executive producer Ovidio G. Assonitis called the shots and supervised the film’s editing. It was nominated as one of the worst movies ever made.
Directed by Michael Axelgaard and written by Matthew Holt, this found footage flick came after The Blair Witch Project rose to fame. Most critics only had bad words to say about the film. Though Axelgaard was able to come up with a few good scares in the film, the plot was dull and the film did not offer anything new.