Bad horror movies are special. More than any other genre, horror is able to produce top notch titles alongside movies so awkward and bizarre that their flaws become endearing. We fall in love with bad horror movies, sometimes because they’re so genuine and other times because they’re so self aware. There’s such a huge gap between perfect horror and absolute trash that there’ll always be plenty of movies populating that middle ground to entertain us with their heart, creativity, and unrivaled incompetence. These are thirteen movies so bad you can’t help but love them, in no particular order. I think I’ve gotten a good split of intentionally bad and genuinely stupid here, so let’s dive in.
13. Guyver (1991)
Little low on the list because it’s not exactly horror, but I love this movie too much to not have it make it any given list of good-bad movies. Fuck the rules, I’ll twist as many words as possible to slap this bizarre manga adaptation from special effects wizards Steve Wang and Screaming Mad George wherever I want it to go. It started life as a hard R adaptation of the popular comic with the intent to keep its grim tone and body horror elements. Producer Brian Yuzna saw the success of the then new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film and said to his crew “I want some of that sweet TMNT green,” presumably followed by a hearty chuckle at his conflation of turtles, money, and the color green. The point is, it was cut to sell it to kids and had an awkward Power Rangers-esque sense of humor applied to it. The body horror and extreme violence, however, was kept in. What we’re left with is a bizarre tonally inconsistent mess where Mark Hamil transforms into a Cronenbergian roach. It. Is. Beautiful.12. The Taint (2011)
This one’s low on the list because it’s hard to call BAD. I mean, it knows it’s bad. It’s bad on purpose. It’s a send up to exploitation and Troma-esque splatter that manages to be smartly poke fun at stereotypical portrayals of men and women in these genres. The tagline is “Kill women.” That says it all. It’s the story of a penis enhancement drug being dumped into a small town’s water supply. The result is a series of rapes, murders, and murder-rapes perpetrated by raging erections with men attached to them. The kills are brutal, the humor is dry and mean, and the movie is one you have to see to believe.11. Father’s Day (2011)
Hey look, another self aware splatter-exploitation film drawing inspiration from old school movies in the same genre. Only it’s somehow even more self aware, bleak, and bizarre than The Taint. I’ve seen many bad movie fans decry intentionally bad movies, but I can’t imagine they’ve seen the work of Canadian indie gods Astron-6. These fuckers are hilarious. Each of their features so far have been absolutely perfect parodies of particular styles of films, and Father’s Day is a send up of exploitative grindhouse revenge movies, taken to the absolute extreme. It’s about a trio of weirdos trying to get revenge on the Father’s Day Killer, a man known for raping and murdering – usually in that order – dads and leaving behind scarred orphans. A one eyed vigilante, a gay priest, and a teenage prostitute have to join forces and fight through Hell itself to ensure that no more dads suffer at the hands of the Fuchman. That’s the villain. Fuchman. Fuck, man.10. Faust: Love of the Damned (2000)
Brian Yuzna, back with another comic adaptation. And, again, it didn’t turn out like people wanted it to. I’ve unfortunately only read the first issue of the indie comic that some say spawned Spawn, Faust: Love of the Damned, and that’s because the last few issues seem to go for insane prices. It sucks because issue one was well drawn, gross, and very interesting. The movie is… Well it’s gross, I guess. It had to be with Screaming Mad George doing the effects. I dunno where Yuzna went wrong on this one, but the story of a forlorn artist making a deal with the devil for immense demonic power to avenge his murdered wife must have been too grim for him, because this version of Faust is mostly comedic and it’s… Intentional? Maybe? Either way, it’s still bloody, goofy, and charming enough to warrant a watch.9. Helldriver (2010)
The Japanese have a very particular style when it comes to good-bad flicks. Garish visuals and over the top action are staples of their genre films and Helldriver delivers these in spades. It’s a zombie splatter movie starring a girl given a motorized heart and used as a weapon to combat zombies, lead by her evil step mom turned zombie queen via meteorite. The zombie designs are amazing. They have little fungal antenna that look like melon stems and these are harvested as a drug, but if plucked incorrectly they explode. Because fuck you. These zombies morph and warp in bizarre ways, come together to create everything from ladders to actual working planes. It’s a sight to behold.8. Wild Zero (1999)
Well, we might as well get a few more Japanese movies out of the way. Wild Zero is, coincidentally, also a zombie movie involving meteorites and extreme action. It’s the story of Ace, an up and coming rocker who inadvertently finds himself befriending the seemingly magically gifted band Guitar Wolf during a zombie apocalypse caused by invading aliens and falling meteorites. Ace falls in love with another survivor, Tobio, who ends up harboring a secret that scares Ace more than the zombies. You’ll be amazed by how tastefully done this twist is.7. Tokyo Gore Police (2008)
Tokyo Gore Police is pretty well known at this point, with plenty of its more absurd moments popping up on plenty of those “goriest movies ever” lists. But no matter what you’ve seen you can’t be prepared for the insanity of the full film. It’s unfortunate that the cheesy nature and insane style kind of take away from the body horror elements present in this story of augmented humans being given the ability to morph their bodies into weapons, but it’s still absolutely amazing. It’s actually directed by the man behind Helldriver, and if you’d like to see a more serious take on the concept, check out TGP’s inspiration Anatomia Extinction.6. Zombie ’90: Extreme Pestilence (1991)
Andreas Schnaas is a strange man who makes strange movies. His most popular of which is the Violent Shit series – yes, that’s what they’re called – and Zombie ’90 is well known to fans of VS. Why? Because the US DVD of Violent Shit 3 forces the entirety of Zombie ’90 onto the disc as a bonus feature. It’s just slapped on the back of the box like it’s trying to hide from curious buyers. The story is the generic zombie story we all know and love. Outbreak, government secrets, etc. The hook here is the dub of the US release. Prepare for ninety minutes of aural ecstasy as you take in the dulcet tones of an obviously black guy who’d give Barry White a run for his money voicing a skinny, white as snow German scientist.5. Violent Shit 3 – AKA Zombie Doom (1999)
Violent Shit is the brainchild of the aforementioned German madman Andreas Schnaas. Its his longest running series and, from what I’ve seen, his best. The first movie is a bizarre pseudo-religious slasher, the sequel went for a more traditional feel. The third movie, unfortunately the only only one to see an official US release – has Karl the Butcher JR, the buttbaby of the villain from the first movie – has created a cult of slashers on an island and has a scientist creating zombies. When three weirdos dubbed by the same guy wash up on their shores they team up with two racist Chinese stereotypes to kung-fu fight the evil slashers and zombies to escape the island. The kills are amazing. The dubbing is hilarious. The video quality is absolutely horrendous. Worth every penny.4. The Puppet Monster Massacre (2010)
Dustin Mills is a film maker I wanna see more from. The first – and as of now only, unfortunately – movie I’ve seen from him is a monster movie starring puppets. Like straight up Sesame Street ass Muppets running away from a Nazi created bio-beast. It plays with cliches like crazy and features gore that’s genuinely impressive and unexpected given the fluffy entrails of its cast. I can’t say I had really thought about puppet horror before Mills came along, but I’m glad someone came up with it, because his later film Snuffet – a faux snuff film about racial discrimination against puppets – sounds amazing.3. Robo Vampire (1988)
Robo Vampire is a Godfrey Ho hackjob. For those unfamiliar with Ho’s artistry, he’s responsible for about every ninja movie from the eighties. His schtick was buying a half finished or unmarketable Hong Kong film, splicing in footage of his own actors, and releasing it to the home video market in the US. Robo Vampire was a drug bust action movie spliced into a supernatural thriller about Jiang-Shi, Chinese hopping vampires. The twist is that the hero is Robocop. Or, like, the dime store knock off. Like… Robert Cop, I guess. Robocop fights vampires.2. Zeiram (1991)
Okay, stretching it again, but I’ve got a good excuse. Keita Amemiya’s special effects bonanza features what is essentially a cross between the Predator and the Terminator with a creepy face that’s saturated shitty spooky image boards for years. While it’s an action movie at heart, the emphasis on practical monster effects and its creepy villain make a must watch for horror fans.1. Creatures From the Abyss – AKA Plankton (1994)
Rape fish. There are rape fish. A group of thirty somethings pretending to be kids run out of gas in their raft in the middle of the ocean. They’re lucky enough to find a super weird abandoned boat that once hosted scientists studying monstrous ancient fish. The kids take advantage of the boat’s bizarrely automated facilities (the shower talks and moans when you use it) and snort dried up plankton that made fish sexually aggressive because they assume it’s coke. They mutate into rape fish and start impregnating each other with baby rape fish. RAPE FISH. Watch it.