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A Bloody Good Time: Ten Horror Films I Like That Everyone Else Hates

December 14, 2017 | Posted by Joseph Lee
Halloween II A Bloody Good Time

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

Last week, I looked at horror films that everyone else loves but I either dislike or at best, think are just okay. In spite of the fact I included a peak John Carpenter movie on there, it went over pretty well. We even had a guy admit he didn’t like Halloween. I disagree but hey, kudos to you for putting that out there.

This week should be even more interesting. An idea was proposed to me to do a list of films everyone else hates but that I enjoy. I thought it was a great idea, that is until I remembered I did a list of guilty pleasure movies five years ago. That list, however, is full of movies I consider to be either so bad they’re good or movies that are fun in spite of their numerous flaws. There’s a pretty good reason for each of them being included, even if people straight up don’t like them.

No, these are the movies that are the real guilty pleasures.They’re movies I can’t even call “bad movie night” fodder, but either I think they’re not as bad as eveyone says or I actually enjoy them. Which means from now on, any time I review a movie I’m sure someone will be like, “You liked X but not John Carpenter’s The Fog? BURN IN HELL, LEE.”

Others may not be able to defend a single one of these movies, but I’m going to try. They’re in no order, same as last week.

Rob Zombie’s Halloween 2 (2009)

Ah, Rob Zombie. No matter what he does in his career he’s going to divide audiences, as even his best film (The Devil’s Rejects) has a very vocal group of haters. It’s probably the opposite with Halloween 2, a movie that even people who enjoyed his remake would rather forget. The movie is pretty bad in a variety of ways. The kills are over-the-top in their brutality, and not in the same way as a splatter film. Yes, murderers can stab their victims over fifty times but that doesn’t mean we need to see it. It’s just repetitive. There’s also not a single likable character in the script save one, and the dialogue is atrocious.

But I still like it. I like the Hobo-Myers look, I enjoy some of the cinematography (Zombie’s always been good at directing, just not writing) and I even don’t mind the change to Dr. Loomis. Malcolm McDowell isn’t going to match Donald Pleasance, so take the character in a new direction and let him work with that. The main reason I like the film, however, is that Brad Dourif is really good in it, giving a terrific performance as Brackett. That’s usually enough for me to give it a pass in spite of its numerous flaws.

Identity (2003)

While not as reviled as other movies on this list, I’ve still seen some scathing reviews for Identity, particularly the twists. It’s not as well regarded as other films from James Mangold, I guess because people really hated the fact the whole thing takes place inside a psycho’s mind. I remember really enjoying this one in high school after it came out on home video (shortly before the death of VHS as a viable format) and years later I still enjoy it.

The biggest complaints seem to be that the script “thinks it’s more clever than it is” or whatever, but to them I say, so? I still see the movie as a lot of fun with a top notch cast and a series of enjoyable twists. I like the idea of a guy so nuts that his personaltiies start killing each other off for dominance. I know that this one isn’t liked by a lot of people, but at least this one is somewhat defendable.

Hellraiser: Hellworld (2005)

A series hasn’t been more dumped on in its later stages than Hellraiser, I think. Most of that is deserved, because Bloodline, Deader and Revelations are all absolutely awful. One movie that gets lumped in with those is Hellworld, a movie that’s merely okay but if you ask horror fans you’re likely to get people who hate it quite a bit. It suffers from a lot of the same problems that the others do: very little Pinhead, a weak script and dumb characters. This is true.

But it’s just a standard slasher movie. If you took Pinhead out, it would be forgettable and not nearly as hated as it is. Sure, it’s not a good Hellraiser movie but it’s a perfectly acceptable horror film. Lance Henriksen in particular is having fun in his role and I enjoyed the twists, as stupid and convoluted as they were.

Diary of the Dead (2008)

I brought this up a few weeks ago so I might as well keep talking about it. I still really enjoy George Romero’s Diary of the Dead, even if it doesn’t have a reason to exist. There’s no plausible reason to keep filming the events of a zombie outbreak and the characters have to make some dumb decisions to keep the story going. And the fact that the girlfriend says at the beginning she added scary music to the found footage “for effect” makes it look even dumber. Who is she showing this to?

But there is some nice editing tricks here, the gore is still great and there’s that badass Amish guy that shows up halfway through the movie. It’s not nearly as bad as Survival of the Dead, or any of the countless zombie knockoffs that get dumped onto home video every year. I think this is more of a case of a weaker film not being as good as the others in Romero’s series and suffering hate because of it.

The Thing (2011)

I remember a lot of people being upset at just the announcement of this movie, myself included. How dare they remake The Thing? Of course, The Thing is, itself, a remake, but let’s ignore that. Then they said it was a prequel and I relaxed a little. Once I got home from seeing it, I checked reviews and saw that people absolutely hated this one. An over-reliance on CGI was cited as one of the main reasons as well as being a pale imitation of the ‘original.’ I agree with both of these complaints but I still think it’s a solid movie.

I enjoy Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s performance and I do enjoy how this one plays right into the 1982 Carpenter film. Yes, there is CGI, but there are still some practical effects here and there and the cast is solid enough to carry a weaker script. If Carpenter’s film didn’t exist, it would be a solid update to the classic fifties version. It’s not a great film, but I enjoy it and think it deserves a little more love.

John Carpenter’s Vampires (1998)

Of course, John Carpenter himself is no stranger to movies that are critically hated. After his peak in the 80s and In The Mouth of Madness in 1995, he had a series of films that many see as his downfall, including the Village of the Damned remake and Escape from LA. Vampires is lumped in with those and I never understood why, as it’s pretty fun and features a fun performance from James Woods.

Plus the plot is a great idea. The Vatican Church hires a group of mercenary vampire killers to take out the monsters? I’m surprised this hasn’t been remade or turned into a franchise. I also like the mythology in that the only things that work are sunlight and stakes, with the rest of the mythology being more or less BS. It’s a twist that other vampire movies use and it makes them more dangerous. This is the last good John Carpenter movie, in my opinion.

The Amityville Horror (2005)

Well, I mentioned last week how I do not enjoy the original Amityville Horror, might as well go ahead and say I think the remake is better. The remake is lumped in with well, every Amityville movie as being terrible, but I think it’s the best in the series. Maybe it’s because it’s a remake or maybe it’s because it’s from Platinum Dunes. Maybe it’s because it takes liberties with the “real story”, although the original film did that too.

I think Ryan Reynolds gives a pretty good and intense performance as George Lutz, a lot less melodramatic than James Brolin in the original. I also enjoyed the change of the Jodie ghost to a Lutz kid instead of an evil pig, even though Jodie didn’t exist in real life. The only change I would have made would have been the red room, but they included the entire backstory of Ketcham so I guess that is the equivalent. And the babysitter scene this time around is a lot spookier than before. Just watching a ghost stick her finger into her bullet wound is sick. I’ll keep defending this movie and still see it as the best in the franchise. Admittedly, that’s a low bar, but give this one another shot.

The Lords of Salem (2012)

Oh look, it’s Rob Zombie again. Look, you guys are just going to have to forgive me, because I’m a Rob Zombie apologist. Even when his films are bad (except El Superbeasto), I find things I like in them. I’d even go as far as to argue that The Lords of Salem is one of his best movies, if you can get past the relatively nonsensical story. Zombie took a lot of chances with this one, departing from his usual redneck gorefests to deliver something of an homage to classic witchcraft movies and I think it works.

First of all, there’s a lot of great imagery in this, as Zombie seemed to have a lot of fun planning out his shots. It seems visually inspired by movies like Suspiria and Inferno and the gainax ending definitely feels like similar Italian horror films. I mean, the endings of The Beyond and City of the Living Dead don’t make a lot of sense either, and they’re still beloved. The Lords of Salem is a solid movie that probably would be better received with another pass at the script and if Rob Zombie directed under a pseudonym, in my opinion.

Urban Legend (1998)

There were a lot of films that came out in the wake of Scream and a lot of them were pretty bad. I Know What You Did Last Summer, Valentine and Teaching Mrs. Tingle are some of the worse ones, but Urban Legend is not one of them. I love how the film plays with urban legends by having a killer who uses them exclusively to kill people. It’s a unique take on the slasher formula and I think this would have fit in great during the slasher heyday.

The movie also has a pretty good cast, especially when you consider how big some of them went on to be. Jared Leto was early in his career with this one, and Michael Rosenbaum was a couple of years away from joining Smallville. Plus Robert Englund and Brad Dourif have bit parts and Danielle Harris shows up as a goth girl and gets one of the creepiest scenes in the movie (“Aren’t you glad you didn’t turn on the light?”). The less said about the sequels, however, the better.

P2 (2007)

I knew absolutely nothing about P2 when I rented it and ended up loving it. Later on, I checked reviews online and wondered if I saw the same film that they did. The film is a 98 minute cat-and-mouse game between a normal woman and a deranged killer as she’s trapped inside of a parking garage. Wes Bentley is the killer, absolutely hamming it up, but I enjoy it. It’s also directed by the guy who would later give us the Maniac remake, showing his potential.

The reviews claim there wasn’t suspense, but I thought it was dripping with it. I also thought the gore that did show up added to things, as it let you know the killer wasn’t playing around, increasing the danger for the lead. It’s not the best movie in the world, but it’s a solid horror B-movie that could have been a generic slasher but tried to be suspenseful instead. I guess it just worked better with me than it did everyone else.

Ending Notes:

That’s it for me. Leave some comments here, on my Twitter or my Facebook.

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

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See you next week!

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A Bloody Good Time, Joseph Lee