We’re not in the business of being Statler and Waldorf, those Muppet Show balcony malcontents, finding fault with everything. Our site’s mandate is “a celebration of low budget cinema.” However, a few whack productions did pass before our eyes and slipped through the cracks.
We confess there were some horror films we’d seen or been sent over the past year, which were so unwatchable and unreviewable, we chose to take a pass rather than shooting fish in a barrel. Furthermore, you won’t find any Gallows or Unfriended here, because, while those are bad, we’ve got ’em bested. The following is our Worst Horror Movies of 2015.
Zombie Killers: Elephant’s Graveyard
Here’s a film rule of thumb: Name-checking movies practically guarantees a bad movie. Survivors holed up in a small town, use paintball guns and padding to train for killing zombies, all the while, referencing lines from superior fare such as Die Hard, Jaws and They Live (all of which we’d rather have watched instead, in other languages, cut to ribbons on television, on our phones, what have you).
A little self-awareness goes a long way, but in the opening voice-over zombies are actually disparaged for being slow-witted and slow-moving (!). As an opening conceit, this would work well for a movie in which the opposite is true, not for a film that confirms prejudices. Jeez.
Zombie Killers: Elephant’s Graveyard, is a lumbering, dreary zombie contagion movie. A pachyderm may never forget but this is extremely forgettable. It’s not a big conspiracy to blame for its 1-star on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s a one-film justification for killing off the zombie genre entirely.
Sharknado 3 is an abomination.
Ian Ziering is back as Fin, the indefatigable weather systems Paul Revere, warning the masses about the pitiless portmanteau that is sharks and tornadoes. He furrows his brow mostly, exhibiting none of the natural charm he oozed on Beverly Hills 90201.
If you’ve ever wanted to see libertarian pundit Ann Coulter catch a wave atop a makeshift surfboard portrait of George Washington, you’re Ann Coulter. Or Thunder Levin. That’s the actual name attached to this script. The late boxer Arturo “Thunder” Gotti earned that moniker, providing the sport with some of the most thrilling fights in a generation. There are zero thrills to be found in Sharknado, as dull and devoid of interest as any film that’s ever been made.
It’s an amazing accomplishment that for a movie which went to great lengths to insert cameos of anyone who’s ever skirted along the margins of show business success — that none of these people should produce even the tiniest, most fleeting speck of inspiration. Unbearable.
Old 37 proves that just because you have the means to make a film (much like the worthless piece of dreck Muck, below, this one too was crowd-funded), doesn’t mean you necessarily should.
Old 37’s director was wise to use the “Alan Smithee” appellation, the name directors use when they want to be disassociated from their films. In actuality, Old 37 was directed by Christian Winters from a script based on a nightmare that screenwriter Pat Travers had of being in a car accident and then being treated by two lunatics posing as paramedics.
One can’t blame Winters for not wanting his name anywhere near the finished product, as the resultant film is a poorly paced bore that features unoriginal plotting, idiotic and unlikable characters who make boneheaded decisions, implausible contrivances, and a waste of an admittedly decent premise.
To put it bluntly, Muck sucks. Apparently a fully-funded Kickstarter prequel is in production. Say it ain’t so. Perhaps it’s not too late for the backers to get a refund.
Muck is an apropos title for this one as it’s perpetually wallowed in the mire. The most entertaining part of first-time writer/director Steve Wolsh’s film is the closing credits, and by the time those run, most sane viewers will have given up anyhow.
A reviewer on IMDb said, “The writer [just] wanted to hire girls to get their boobs out for him.” They later implored, “DO NOT WASTE 1 SECOND OF YOUR PRECIOUS LIFE ON THIS FILM!!” Lest you think those are outliers, Muck is sitting around 2.5 out of 10 on their scale. Just dreadful.
Extremely cheap, charmless and hackneyed. They had the audacity to claim this was “Dawn of the Dead meets The Raid”, two of our absolute favorites in an elevator pitch that would have us scrambling to take the stairs.
Ebola Zombies is about three Hong Kong gangsters who plot a jewelry heist and storm a store inside an industrial building. They get more than they bargained for: catching the store boss in flagrante delicto with a secretary under his deck as well as nun-chuck-swinging security guards. So far so good.
But in the same Hong Kong complex, there are strange experiments taking place on human corpses. We find out a mad scientist is working on a vaccine for Ebola as his daughter is a carrier. Soon, she bites one of the heist goons and he begins to transform…into a zombie! Not much to see here but a reminder of just how damn good Ebola Syndrome is (as well as Dawn of the Dead and The Raid).
For a horror-comedy to succeed it has to be clever and funny; something Cooties is neither. Besides lifting its central conceit wholesale from Troma’s far-superior Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead, Cooties is one tedious slog with nary a laugh nor a fright to be found, light years removed from horror-comedies that grace our Mount Rushmore of Horror, your Re-Animators, Howlings, Return of the Living Deads…
The tale of tainted chicken tenders causing grade-school kids to become rabid and terrorize the faculty of a high school reduces an otherwise talented and genial cast — Elijah Wood, Rainn Wilson, Jack McBrayer, Jorge Garcia, Alison Pill et al — into obnoxious caricatures, and despite some impressive gore gags, the film is a tedious mess.
The only saving grace is watching Rainn Wilson’s character Wade bash a fourth-grader’s head in with a fire extinguisher in a grade-school version of Irreversible.
The Human Centipede III (Final Sequence)
The first and second Human Centipede films, despite their many detractors, are favorites of ours. The first was a once-in-a-lifetime case of a nasty and extreme film somehow becoming part of the pop-culture firmament (even referenced on The Simpsons). The second was a sort of vile, underground meta-masterpiece. So hopes were high when director Tom Six announced a third installment which would feature the return of the respective stars of the first two: Dieter Laser and Laurence R. Harvey.
Unfortunately, Human Centipede III is so bad, it appears that Six is just trolling us now. The film goes off the rails in every way imaginable. Laser unintelligibly overacts so egregiously he makes Tommy Wiseau look like Laurence Olivier, and Harvey’s talent is pretty much wasted in a forgettable role. But the biggest offence of Human Centipede III is that, at this point, the shock value has long since worn off and the resultant film is dull, dull, dull. A 500-person centipede sounded delicious in theory, but looks insipid in practice. And we barely get to see much of it anyhow. The human caterpillar was a novel idea, but instead of exploring a new depth of depravity, Six treats it as a throwaway in an all-together too brief scene with nary a closeup of said caterpillar to be found.
When the best part of your film is a character portrayed by the usually useless Eric Roberts, you know you’re in serious trouble.