Who doesn’t love a horror movie? The genre is built on the idea of challenging and terrifying audiences, forcing them to confront the darkest parts of the human psyche. At the same time, horror movies are also an opportunity for audiences to indulge in some of their more sinister fantasies, things that they would never speak aloud, but which nevertheless lurk in the corners of the mind.
However, it has to be said that even horror movies that start out with good premises sometimes end up being quite silly once the final product sees theaters, thus robbing them of the impact they may have otherwise had.
10 Gremlins (1984)
In some ways, Gremlins has become a bit of a classic of the horror genre, and there is something quite compelling about the idea that a little cute creature could spawn monsters if fed after midnight. As anyone who has seen the movie knows, however, the movie ultimately becomes more than a little silly—there’s a reason it was originally marketed to children.
That being said, there are some pretty horrifying moments in the movie, ones that hint at what it might have been had it not leaned so much into the satire.
9 Slither (2006)
Slither is one of those movies that, once one has seen it, it should never be seen again. Its premise is a rather fascinating one, focusing on an alien creature determined to bring all life on earth under its single consciousness, which is very reminiscent of John Carpenter’s The Thing.
However, the movie really leans into the gross-out, B-movie horror aesthetic, and there are some moments of it that veer into both the ridiculous and the horrifying. It’s hard not to wonder what this movie might have been like had it been a bit more serious in its approach.
8 The Human Centipede: First Sequence (2009)
If one were to simply read the summary for the horror movie The Human Centipede: First Sequence, one would think that it’s actually pretty terrifying, focusing as it does on a mad scientist who sews people together so that they are forced to coexist as a single organism.
Unfortunately, the movie never quite lives up to its potential, and it becomes more and more ridiculous the longer it goes on. It’s one of those ideas that definitely seems better in theory than in execution, and there’s a good reason as to why it’s regarded as one of the worst horror movies of the 2000s.
7 The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996)
H.G. Wells’ book The Island of Dr. Moreau has provided fodder for a number of cinematic adaptations of varying quality. Definitely the worst of them, though, has to be the 1990s adaptation starring David Thewlis, Val Kilmer, and Marlon Brando.
It’s frustrating, too, because it’s clear that there was potential here, and the story is a good one. Unfortunately, everything goes sideways in the production pretty quickly, and, by the end, one can only wonder what it was that just happened.
6 The Mist (2007)
Stephen King is, of course, the acknowledged master of the horror genre, and many of his books and short stories have been adapted into hit movies. Yet, not all of them are up to the task of translating King’s work into a form that is nearly as compelling as his original work. That’s certainly true of The Mist.
Though it features some pretty great special effects, and though it hits most of the same beats as the original story, it generally comes across as being far too silly to ever be taken seriously, which is perhaps why it was also made into a TV series—becoming one of several of King’s works to be adapted more than once.
5 Wrong Turn (2003)
In some ways, Wrong Turn is like a hillbilly horror interpretation of the classic film Deliverance, except, in this case, the story is set in West Virginia, and the rednecks also happen to be cannibals. As offensive and stereotypical as it is, there’s some merit to the trope.
Yet, the film fumbles in its execution of the story, and it comes across as being more ridiculous than substantive. Plus, as if that weren’t bad enough, the sequels are even more risible, and there are far too many of them.
4 The Wicker Tree (2011)
Robin Hardy’s The Wicker Man is a truly great horror movie; it’s tightly woven, gorgeously shot and acted, and devastating in its conclusion. One would be forgiven, then, for thinking that the sequel (of sorts) would be the same since it focuses on a pair of Americans who go to Scotland hoping to convert the locals. It hits some of the same plot points as its predecessor, but the whole thing ends up being far too silly, so much so that it almost becomes a parody of the earlier film.
3 The Happening
The Happening, like so many of the other recent efforts of the director M. Night Shyamalan, exists somewhat in the shadow of his earlier work. That is to say that it has to have a little sting at the end that makes everything else that preceded it make some sort of sense.
In this case, the rash of suicides that have swept the planet is explained as—wait for it—the result of plants releasing toxins in order to protect themselves. It’s an intriguing premise, to be sure, but it ends up feeling absolutely silly by the end of the movie, making this one of the director’s worst.
2 Happy Death Day (2017)
One has to give credit where it’s due, and the idea of having a person relive the day of their murder repeatedly is an intriguing premise. It’s also the basic story of Happy Death Day, which seems like a bit of a cross between Groundhog Day and a typical slasher movie. Unfortunately, as is so often the case, the execution of this intriguing premise leaves much to be desired, and it ultimately becomes a very silly sort of slasher movie.
1 Tusk (2014)
Kevin Smith has established a reputation for being one of those directors with a wry sense of humor, and Tusk is a good example of his particular style of filmmaking, even if it’s not one of his best movies.
As the title ever-so-subtly suggests, the movie is about a man who gets kidnapped and, surprise, gets sewed into a walrus suit and forced to do battle with another man in a walrus suit. If that sounds ultra-silly, it truly is, and, while there is a bit of horror in the movie’s climax, it still can’t be anything other than bonkers.
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