Halloween Horrors: Scary Movies to Avoid

It's that time of year again, and it's my fifth Halloween on the blog. So, for the next week and a half, I'll be re-running, re-writing or coming up with new lists of horror films to complete your Halloween weekend. The scariest, the goriest, the funniest, and of course the worst horror films. Let's start with the ones to avoid.

Images from source, Wikipedia

This is the third Halloween season for Greenlee Gazette, and one of my favorite times of the year. Why? Because it gives me an excuse (as if I needed any) to watch horror movies! I have several "Top 10" lists of various categories of horror movies that I've written over the last two years (which I'll be sharing again soon). I had my favorite scary horror movies, my favorite funny horror movies, and even "so bad, they're good" horror movies.

The one category I forgot? Well, I did a list of "bad" horror films, but there is something to enjoy about most of the movies in that list. No, this list is of horror movies so bad, they're just bad. Some of them may have one or two redeeming features, maybe one memorable scene. But by and large, anything on this list should be avoided. Do not get the DVD if it's at Big Lots for $3. Do not get it for 50 cents at a yard sale. Do not watch it on cable while you're laid up with the flu. Avoid. As in don't watch.

Greenlee Gazette's Top 10 Scary Movies to Avoid

In no particular order. . .

1. The Happening (2008) - This movie was marketed as sort of a psychological thriller/sci-fi/pseudo-horror film, you know. . .like every other M. Night Shyamalan movie. This overrated director/producer/writer hit his nadir with this one, one of the worst major studio films ever made. Technically, it doesn't look so bad. It's not the cinematography or the editing. I'll even give Shyamalan props for the production values in general. That does not make up for the utterly unbelievable, unconvincing and strange dialogue, plot and acting by all concerned. Mark Wahlberg couldn't even save this one. See my full review here:
DVD Movie Review: The Happening

2. Soul Survivors (2001) - This one slid under my radar for a long time. It has cover art evocative of practically every teen horror film of the last dozen or so years, with its lineup of sexy young actors, lead by Eliza Dushku. Or rather, she's featured most prominently on the box, but is a supporting actress in the movie. The film tries to do too much, tries to make itself deep, and in doing so, comes off as a convoluted mess. In fact, it feels like I've seen a similar concept in a different film. It has the type of ending that leves me thinking, "Okay, so why did I just watch that?" Casey Affleck and Wes Bentley are cuties, and I'm a huge Dushku fan, but this one is worse than just "meh." It's a waste of time.

3. The Fog (2005) - Don't ask me how I've avoided the original version of this film for 30 years, but I've never seen it. All the better then to watch the remake, right? I mean knowing nothing about the story, it could work all on its own merits. No. Dreadful. Boring. Pointless. I tried to make it through, and shut it off before it was over (possibly with 5 or 10 minutes to go, seriously). It's long, it meanders, and is not at all what it seemed to promise. John Carpenter has done much, much better than this. Sorry, even Superboy/Superman Tom Welling wasn't enough.

4. Cloverfield (2008) - Given the people behind this film (J.J. Abrams and Drew Goddard), and the premise (big monster attacks Manhattan, in real time), this should have been great. It's not. There are things of technical interest, the way the film is shot and constructed. But the story? No.

5. April Fool's Day (2008) - Unlike the original (see here), this movie isn't particularly funny, nor is it entertaining. It's only nominally a remake, and utterly skippable. Do so.

6. War of the Worlds (2005) - Tom Cruise, Steven Spielberg and a concept by H.G. Wells. What could go wrong? Everything. As a long-time Wells fan, I've liked many different versions of this story, from the book to the 80s TV series. But this big, Hollywood "event movie" was even a bigger letdown than Cloverfield or The Happening. Not as bad as The Happening mind you, I just had higher expectations.

7. Psycho (1998 Remake) - Gus Van Sant remade--shot for shot--Alfred Hitchcock's beyond classic original. Why? Nobody knows, not even Vince Vaughn or Anne Heche.

8. Any Hellraiser film after the first two or three, maybe after the first (still a classic).

9. Any Halloween film beyond the original, with the possible exception of parts II, 4 and 5. I'll except the Rob Zombie remake, but his sequel is definitely in the "avoid" list.

10. Any post-Scream horror film, with DVD cover-art consisting of 4-6 pretty young actors, lined up for a glamor shot (see Soul Survivors, above).