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A Bloody Good Time 01.12.12: The Worst Horror Films (With The Biggest Stars)

January 12, 2012 | Posted by Joseph Lee

Opening Logo courtesy of Benjamin J. Colón (Soul Exodus)

Welcome to the A Bloody Good Time.

Last week I ranted about Rooney Mara’s anti-Elm Street remake comments, and looked at some movies that movie stars started in that they should be ashamed of. This week, I look at a similar topic. But first, the feedback.

APrince66 said: Whenever I’m watching some old crap horror flick, I check out the IMDB app on my phone to see if anyone really famous is in it. Hey, people have to start somewhere.

It’s really annoying when you see someone in a movie you recognize, and it takes you forever to find out who they are. How was I supposed to know off the top of my head that the lead actress in Behind the Mask was the same girl from Home Alone who told Kevin he was “les incompetents”? And yes, it’s true. Google it.

AG Awesome replied: Leo in Critters 3 I think it is always makes me laugh. He looks like such a skinny dweeb with classic 90s bowl cut style hair and neon clothes. Not to bad in the film actually.

Baby Leonardo DiCaprio in general makes me laugh. I didn’t include Critters 3 simply because it wasn’t that bad. Probably should have included Critters 4 though. That had Angela Bassett in it!

mattd187 added: I think I remember Lori Laughlin in Amityville 3D – I could verify, but I am that lazy not to. Also, she is not even really a store. No offense, Lori, as I know you are an avid ABGT reader.

She is? Well Lori, my number is 555….wait…you were joking weren’t you?

Charles agrees with me: About the Rooney Mara thing, I agree that if you don’t want the role, don’t audition for it. Instead, we got Emo’s on Elm Street and I was hoping Freddy killed everyone. Now maybe it might not have made much difference if someone else got Rooney’s part but I’d still rather see someone that wants the part get it than someone that has no interest get it. I remember it was sort of a similar situation when Ed Norton wanted nothing to do with the Italian Job remake (albeit he was forced by Paramount to do it). But at least he was still able to suck it up and put in a good performance (in my opinion anyways).

You hit the nail right on the head. Someone else could have had that role and did something with it. Maybe nothing good, who knows, but at least some enthusiasm could have been shown. Remember the 80s when even the bad actors in Freddy/Jason movies still looked like they were enjoying themselves? Those were the days.

This week I’m going to countdown some more bad movies. Unlike last week when it had pre-fame actors, these have actors that are either at the height of their popularity or just after that point. You don’t get points for being past your prime, so no Gary Busey in Gingerdead Man here. (I’m sorry Mr. Busey, please don’t kill me.)

First, some honorable mentions.

I Know/I Still Know What You Did Last Summer: Two very bland, boring and completely forgettable slashers that were mostly made to cash-in on Scream. The cast include Jennifer Love Hewitt (during her Party of Five days) and pre-fame Ryan Phillippe, Freddie Prinze Jr and Sarah Michelle Gellar. Gellar was just starting Buffy at the time. The sequel had Brandy, who had just released “The Boy Is Mine” and was starring on Moesha. Also Jack Black, which I talked about last week.

The Films of Ed Wood: I want to give these an honorable mention simply because Bela Lugosi was in them, even if it’s a way past his prime Bela Lugosi. It’s more of an example for the whole period when many big name horror stars (including Karloff and Chaney) were taking part in some truly awful films.

#10: The Happening (2008)

Let me just state first of all that I love The Happening, and that’s why it’s not any higher on this list. It’s not a good movie, far from it, but man is it hilarious. I see this film going on to reach Troll 2 heights of popularity for it’s “so bad it’s good” factor. This film has Mark Wahlberg, who is a pretty big name these days, along with Zooey Deschanel. John Leguizamo’s in it too, and I like the guy but I wouldn’t call him a big star.

The film is bad, there’s no getting around that. The premise is dumb and that hurts it from the beginning. Plants that kill people is about the least scary idea I can think of. Plus the script, the acting, everything just misfires here and nothing seems to work for anything but a laugh. But when the laughs happen, they’re very funny. The scene where Wahlberg talks to the plastic plant, the fact they have to outrun the wind and more funny moments that make this one of the better comedies in 2008, even if it’s unintentional.

#9: Bloodrayne (2005)

Really, any Uwe Boll film could go here, as they’re all pretty terrible and feature some big names. I still can’t understand how Boll is able to get the people he does for his films. It’s not as prevalent these days, but Christian Slater, Jason Statham, and J.K Simmons are at least somewhat respected. Hell, Burt Reynolds and Matthew Lillard are too big for Boll. This movie is no exception. While it does feature a past-his-prime Michael Madsen (depending on your view, I think he’s awesome), it also has Kristanna Loken just after she was in Terminator 3 and Sir Ben Kingsley. Meat Loaf’s in there too. Meat Loaf.

Bloodrayne‘s not the worst Boll film, and before the highly underrated Rampage came out I probably would have called it his best. That was back when saying so wouldn’t really mean a compliment. But it’s still an awful movie based on a B-level game at best. It’s not as if a Bloodrayne movie could have been good, but it could have been a decent B-movie. Boll has pretty much ruined any chance of the character gaining popularity in film with this and the two sequels.

#8 Phantoms (1998)

I’m going to go ahead and make the joke so you can’t do it (although I’m sure you will still try): “Ben Affleck was the bomb in Phantoms, yo!” I’m here to tell you that no, no he wasn’t. The only bomb in Phantoms was the movie itself, which only made $5 million at the box office and this was after Affleck hit it big with Good Will Hunting. He wasn’t quite the megastar he would be after Armageddon, but he was pretty popular. Here he was, left ot carry a bad horror film by himself.

Well, not completely by himself. He had a post-Scream Rose McGowan and the always solid Liev Schreiber to back him up. Plus Peter O’Toole was there for a paycheck. This movie’s biggest flaw is that even though it has an interesting premise and a book by Dean Koontz to draw from, it’s boring. There are no scares, the acting is dull as dishwater and the entire thing plays like a cure for insomnia. Affleck was in worse (oh boy was he) but this was the first in many career missteps for him.

#7: Gothika (2003)

Gothika arrived on the scene during the absolute height of Halle Berry’s popularity. She hadn’t made Catwoman yet, she was coming off of two X-Men movies and in 2002 she won the Oscar for Monster’s Ball. So of course she makes the decision to star in a Dark Castle Entertainment production. While Dark Castle is better at their output these days (Splice and Orphan were really good), back in the day they had such “classics” like House on Haunted Hill, House of Wax and Ghost Ship.

Gothika also had Penelope Cruz and Robert Downey Jr. Downey wasn’t as big as he is now, and he was coming off a period when he was heavily into drugs, but he’s still a name. This movie had awful scripting and a plot that was too dumb to be any good. Berry tried hard, but it ultimately falls apart pretty quickly and never is able to come back together. Here’s an honest question: before I mentioned it here, did you even remember Gothika? Exactly.

#6: The Astronaut’s Wife (1999)

Johnny Depp was in a few horror movies in his day. None quite reach the levels of bad as The Astronaut’s Wife. Depp was fairly popular at the time, mostly due to his work with Tim Burton. He was just coming off Sleepy Hallow. Sure, this was before Pirates came along and made him one of the biggest names in Hollywood, but he was a star. Charlize Theron is here a little pre-fame, as it was a number of years away from when she’d win the Oscar for Monster or star in The Italian Job.

The movie has decent special effects. That’s about it. This movie features a bad performance from Depp, before he was playing Jack Sparrow in every single role and you could expect one or two of them. Depp used to be a really solid, dependable actor, so it’s surprising that he turns in a bad role here. He plays a man who is ultimately possessed by some sort of alien, and that makes him evil. The movie was also a bomb financially, but I have the feeling you didn’t need me to tell you that.

#5: Godsend (2004)

I debated whether or not to include Hide and Seek here as well, but decided that even though that one has Dakota Fanning when she was a big deal, this one was the worse movie. Both feature Robert De Niro slumming it, which is sadly a pretty common thing these days. Greg Kinnear and Rebecca Romijin (pretty popular from X-Men at the time play parents to a kid who dies, is cloned, and comes back evil.

The movie has a pretty awful ending, which I commented on before. In addition to that, it’s dull like so many others on this list. It’s cliched, it’s not scary and it’s overall a film that’s best left forgotten. The focus on the kid is especially irritating, because he’s a bad child actor. I’d like to think we’re moving away from “kids are bad actors” being the exception rather than the rule, but this was part of a time when focusing on a kid made you cringe.

#4: Dreamcatcher (2003)

This isn’t the worst Stephen King film out there (that would be The Lawnmower Man) but it does have the biggest cast of all of the bad films. A few of them (Tom Jane, Tim Olyphant) weren’t really famous yet, but Jason Lee had some credibility as a comedic actor by appearing in Kevin Smith films and Morgan Freeman was Morgan Freeman. Morgan Freeman also gave his worst performance in his entire career. You can line up any Freeman performance and I guarantee you it will not be as bad as he is in this movie.

Freeman’s performance is the kind of bad role that makes a mediocre movie incredibly bad. This was Nicolas Cage in The Wicker Man levels of awful. Add to that the fact that Dreamcatcher is one of King’s weaker books (I said weaker, not bad) and your story is basically screwed. The film also including some awful special effects, including an alien battle that will probably make you laugh out loud as you watch it. I’ve seen Playstation 1 games with better graphics. And I don’t mean the Final Fantasy series either. I’m talking early PSX and stuff like Battle Arena Toshiden.

#3: Case 39 (2010)

I hate this movie. I really, really hate it. But we’ll get to that in a second. This film was originally shot in 2006 and was intended to come out in 2009, but was pushed back time after time until it finally was dumped into theaters with little promotion in 2010. It stars Renee Zellweger (there she is again) and Bradley Cooper. While this film was technically before Cooper was enjoying the level of popularity he is now, it came out after both The Hangover and The A-Team. And it bombed. Oh sure, it made back it’s budget, but likely had zero profit as it just reached the mark.

I’ve reviewed this film a few times, both on the site and in my column (which I guess, technically, is still the site). I labeled it the worst horror film of 2010, in which it beat Legion and Cabin Fever 2. I don’t think there’s anything else I can say that needs to be said. Case 39 was put on the shelf for a good reason, and it should have stayed there.

#2: The Haunting (1999)

I’m not going to begrudge Hollywood for attempting a remake of The Haunting. At least the film was thirty-six years old when this came out and not only a decade (whoever wants the American Psycho remake needs to be beaten). They even had a good approach, cast a lot of big names, give it a huge budget and try to make it scary. Unfortunately the best film that the director made was Speed and he hasn’t made a movie in nine years. The cast, if you’re wondering, includes Liam Neeson, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Owen Wilson. Wilson wasn’t really a big star yet, but he was in Armageddon before this. Zeta-Jones just came off of Entrapment and The Mask of Zorro, so she was a big deal.

Anyway, let’s get to the movie. It’s a big-budgeted mess. Terrible special effects, Wilson was completely miscast and the screenplay was awful. If you can think of a horror cliche then congratulations, it’s probably in here. Sure, the cinematography was nice, but that’s not nearly enough to save it. It doesn’t take very long for this movie to suck, and it doesn’t stop doing so until the end credits are rolling.

#1: Psycho (1998)

Ah, Psycho remake, we meet again. It’s not the first time this movie has made #1 on a “worst” list of mine and something tells me that it will not be the last. Where do I even begin? Vince Vaughn is Norman Bates. Vince Vaughn is Norman. Bates. Gus Van Sant once said that he made the remake of Psycho so that no one else would have to. Here’s my response: You didn’t have to make it either! Sure the man had balls to even attempt it, but there are some things you just don’t do. Remaking Hitchcock is one of those things. It never works.

The movie is pretty bad, which you wouldn’t think it would be considering it’s shot-for-shot of the original. Ah yes, but there are subtle changes to the film that make it dumb. Norman Bates now masturbates when he spies on Marion. There are weird images interspersed in the kill sequences. Someone thought Anne Heche would be as sexy as Janet Leigh was. There’s just so many things wrong with this movie I could use an entire column to write about it. By the way, the cast? Vince Vaughn, just after Swingers, Anne Heche, Julianne Moore, Viggo Mortensen and William H. Macy. Yeah. And it still sucked.

That’s it for me. What’s your favorite horror film from this year? Let me know here on or my Twitter. See you next week!

Closing Logo courtesy of Kyle Morton (get your own custom artwork and commissions at his Etsy account)

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Joseph Lee

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