Yes, True Believers, and here we go, with my list of the Ten Worst Horror Films of 2013! And I must say, it was easier to choose these than it was the Ten Best. And while I sit here stuffing my face with snacks and watching some of the DVDs I got for Christmas, I recall that great saying from Mark Twain: “I don’t know much about art, but I know a piece of shit when I see it.”
(That might not be verbatim, but you just know if he was alive today and blogging about race and Miley Cyrus and stuff, he’d say that).
What follows is my list, in no particular order, of what I considered the worst of this year that I’ve seen, along with links to the more detailed reviews Scott or I have done for them, if applicable. Though some proved so terrible, so mind-numbingly awful, that I must have blanked them out of my mind and thought I’d posted reviews of them! That’s how bad they were! In the meantime, read, and I invite you to comment, offer your own choices and/or opinions about my choices:
1. A HAUNTING IN CONNECTICUT 2: GHOSTS OF GEORGIA: Wait, um… what? Does that make any sense? Is there a place in Connecticut called Georgia where ghosts hang out? Is there a girl named Georgia in Connecticut who is being haunted? Was this a pathetic attempt to start a franchise based on a movie that had a dubious level of public recognition to begin with? If you guessed that last one, you win a No-Prize, and believe me, the blatant cash-in attempt is the most interesting thing about this movie. What we got with GHOSTS OF GEORGIA is a perfectly bland, perfectly predictable, utterly non-scary movie whose cookie-cutter plot and characters (old house, daughter talking to ghosts, picking out her ‘friend’ in some old photographs, secrets uncovered, ad nauseam). A competently-made but tedious movie is a greater sin than a badly-made but interesting one.
2. WARM BODIES (Reviewed by me here): When I first reviewed this, I found it wasn’t as offensive or bad as it could have been. But at the time, I had yet to take account of the cumulative effect this and other films of its ilk have had on Horror. This tale of a zombie Romeo and a living Juliet in a post-apocalyptic world has added to the watering down of horror that started with TWILIGHT and vampires. WARM BODIES turns zombies from being figures of horror, unliving personifications of death and of friends and loved ones no longer seeking to have us join their revenant hordes, and makes a tender romantic comedy. It’s one thing to have Bub the Zombie in DAY OF THE DEAD try to use a phone to call his Aunt Alicia, it’s another to see some teenage zombie avert his eyes while a girl undresses. As for the allegory, about how love can bring anyone to life? Get a haircut, hippies! Love isn’t all you need, you need a shotgun and machete!
3. WORLD WAR Z (reviewed by Scott here): Speaking of bad zombie movies… or is it a zombie movie? None of the ads for this Brad Pitt sausage fest made any attempt to classify it as one, never used the Z-word. While the original book was a deep, detailed account from many points of view, of a world overrun by the living dead courtesy of an ever-handy virus, the movie version was a disaster movie (minus the legion of stars to get killed), with Pitt’s character another Chosen One trope, literally the only man in an entire world of expert and qualified individuals capable of finding the solution to this overnight global pandemic. The zombies are totally CGI, move like ants washed along by a garden hose, and are less convincing than ones made with oatmeal and grey makeup for pennies. And would you believe that, because the high cost of making this movie they opted to get a PG-13 rating, so they toned down the zombie munching? It’s like watching a porn movie where the sex scenes have been cut out! About the only thing of interest to me with this movie that Peter Capaldi, who will be the next Doctor Who next year, plays a character in it listed as “W.H.O. Doctor”. So there you go.
4. THE LAST EXORCISM 2: Another sequel, but unlike the GHOSTS OF GEORGIA snooze fest, this has a direct connection to the first LAST EXORCISM (although it’s played as a straight film rather than a found footage one like the first), where the possessed girl from the first movie, judged to be a few Pringles short of a full stack, is housed in a transition house in New Orleans. Here, she begins to believe that she’s being haunted by members of the cult from the first film… It’s a slow burn to nowhere, though at least the performance by the lead, Ashley Bell, was serviceable, but I couldn’t care less about the rest of the cast, or the setting, or the movie. Like I keep telling these filmmakers, make me laugh, cringe, scream, but don’t make me yawn.
5. I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE 2: Full disclosure up front, because I didn’t watch all of this. In 2010, when Steven R Monroe remade the 1978 rape-and-revenge exploitation ‘classic’ of the same name (reviewed by Scott here), he improved on the original on all fronts, adding layers to the bad guys and offering no catharsis when the brutalised heroine gets her revenge. This sequel, again made by Monroe, has no connection with his earlier film except with a general similarity in the plot. But you’d be hard pressed to see any of the positive aspects Monroe had brought to the first film. I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE 2 is a story about a woman who’s come to the big city to be a model, and gets herself beaten, raped, kidnapped to Bulgaria (really? I’m still working out how these three assholes managed that), where she is raped and tortured some more, she escapes, is recaptured, has her genitals tasered and is raped again… and I switched it off at this point. I have seen all manner of nastiness on film, but this was just rape and torture. Many films have undeservedly been given the label ‘torture porn’, but this has aptly earned it.
6. KILLER HOLIDAY (see my review here): What a piece of shit. The title is not connected with any actual holiday, but refers to the movie’s killer, Melvin ‘Spider’ Holiday, because the writer of this movie is such a prepubescent his balls have yet to drop. There’s a clown on the cover, but the killer isn’t a clown, it’s a fashion model who looks like such a pussy he eats yoghurt just to clear up his thrush. Seriously, in terms of menace he makes Tobey Maguire look like Danny Trejo. The director, a veteran of MTV music videos, peppers the film with jump cuts, black and white segments, and other gimmicks like a kid with a brand new camcorder testing out all its features. This is the most derivative film I have seen in a long time, without a single original bone in its sterile body. They don’t even offer any suspense as to the identity of the killer, as we see Pretty Boy from the very start. Pathetic.
7. LIZZIE BORDEN’S REVENGE (See my review here): Of all the words of tongue or pen, the saddest of these: a crappy waste of a good premise. Distributed by Tom Cat Films, who shat ALIENS VS AVATARS on the world and have produced absolutely nothing of value since, LIZZIE BORDEN’S REVENGE takes the gruesome potential of real-life Victorian killer Lizzie Borden and handles it with all the adeptness of Michael J Fox juggling chainsaws. Some overage college girls locked into their dorm summon the spirit of Borden, who starts decimating their ranks, and the words alone are better than anything produced onscreen. There’s CGI blood, a girl-girl sex scene that has all the eroticism of an episode of THE NANNY, nudity that is less gratuitous and more pointless… It’s everything you could hate.
8. THE FRANKENSTEIN THEORY (See my review here): Did you just read what I wrote above about waste of premise? If LIZZIE BORDEN’S REVENGE took a drop between premise potential and final cut, then the makers of THE FRANKENSTEIN THEORY jumped out of a high-altitude plane with one of them Acme anvils strapped to their backs. The notion that the Frankenstein Monster could have been based on a real creature, and might still be alive and living in the Arctic Circle, is a brilliant idea for a movie. But director Andrew Weiner takes this premise and throws it in the river before he even takes it out of its wrapper, making a found footage film with the Obligatory Documentary Crew seeking the Monster in the snows… and nothing. They meet the Obligatory Witness, the Obligatory Guide, hear the Obligatory Noises, have the Obligatory Arguments…the people responsible for this movie can go to so much hell.
9. HELL GLADES (See my review here): We here at Anythinghorror try to be charitable when an ultra low-budget film comes along. But it’s so, so difficult to be charitable when makers of films like HELL GLADES make no attempt to compensate for their lack of funds. A seeming tribute to Herschell Gordon Lewis, this tale of a murderous Native American spirit dishing out bloody wrath on some overaged college girls (two of whom stop an hour into the film after witnessing their friends being slaughtered, to confess their attraction to each other and begin making out) in the Everglades (and well done to the filmmakers for making the villain a Native American, they haven’t received nearly enough shit in their collective histories), the direction is of the “aim and shoot” variety, offering no attempt at generating suspense, and the acting is pathetic. But at least the effects are real, and the scenery is nice (the outdoor scenery, I mean, you pigs). It could have been a lot better. But at least it wasn’t as bad as my last choice…
10. ZOMBIE MASSACRE aka APOCALYPSE Z (See my review here): I have saved the worst for last. Yes, I know I wrote these weren’t in any particular order, but in this instance, I will gladly crown this Shittiest Horror Film of 2013. What a pile of putrescence. Retitled APOCALYPSE Z to catch some of that WORLD WAR Z backwash like a remora, this has the stink of that notorious Auteur or Asshattery, Uwe Boll. He produced this as well as had a cameo as the President(!), who sends a team of utterly unconvincing mercenaries into a village turned Zombieville following an accident at the nearby nuclear power plant. This movie fails on just about every level. The dialogue reeks. The actors are that in name only. They have to sidestep the camera as they exit the scenes. What FX isn’t of the dime store mask type is bad CGI. Not even So Bad It’s Good. Watch it, and you’ll understand why the tagline for this dog is “There Is No Hope”.
Special mention also goes out to R.I.P.D. (my review here), which ripped off MEN IN BLACK to such a degree that when it was released, five hundred corporate lawyers got unexpected boners, and CHUPACABRA VS THE ALAMO (my review here) where Erik Estrada must defend the historical site against an onslaught of shitty CGI devil dogs, but really that’s not fair, as it’s a SyFy movie, and they operate by their own strange rules, like Kabuki and Olsen Twin films.
And there you have it, my ten worst horror films of the year! Tell me if you agree, disagree, and tell me why!