Continuing on with the Halloween theme for the month and today I’m counting down something that has nothing to do with anime and everything to do with a deep love of terrible horror movies. However, there’s formulaic horror that blends character archetypes, cheap jokes, and sometimes questionable special effects but still manages to entertain and then there’s just terrible movies and B Grade Horror walks a very fine line between the two with many movies tipping over into the trash heap. Here are some of the winners from the genre that are well worth the watch provided you like the formula they are going to dish out. And as always, feel free to throw your suggestions into the comments below (I always love finding a good terrible horror movie).
Please note, there will be spoilers below.
Honourable mentions: Bats, Eight Legged Freaks, and Underworld.
Number 5: Anaconda
With questionable CG not being the biggest flaw in this movie about a film crew travelling down a river and ending up first hunting giant anacondas and then somehow becoming their prey, Anaconda still manages to deliver some solid entertainment. It is strictly by the numbers and each jump scare and turn in this story could more or less be measured out in accordance with the generic mould for this type of story, but there was still some genuine effort put into character performances and direction even when the script and special effects weren’t quite up to the challenge. The end result is a fairly entertaining story with a few cringe inducing moments and ultimately a villain whose motives never make much sense because you just can’t imagine any possible outcome where his plan would have succeeded.
Number 4: Arachnophobia
From giant snakes to a swarm of spiders taking over a small country town. Arachnophobia does at least have a fairly stellar cast on board and every one of them delivers in their role. What works with this movie is it isn’t just playing with spider phobia, it plays on the fear of the unknown, of introduced species in eco-systems, of small town culture, and even of feeling that you have knowledge. That, and there’s a lot of fairly deadly spiders prancing around. This one mostly succeeds at genuine horror at times though the final act brings about a few fairly laughable moments and whoever did the sound effects for the spider was really taking some creative licence.
Number 3: Resident Evil
Yeah, there had to be a zombie movie on this list and Shaun of the Dead is too much of a spoof and 28 Days is actually too close to actually being horrific for me to put it in my collection of bad horror films. Resident Evil, at least the first movie, is a fantastic cocktail of anti-corporation messaging as well as a few of modern medicine and AI computers. Featuring a pretty fantastic line up in its cast, this movie delivers a slow build up in the exploration phase, some decent action and jump scares as well as tense sequences in the middle, before delivering a final smack down well and truly worthy of any Resident Evil game. Love this film.
Number 2: Tremors
Alright, not even close to horrific, this movie still manages to build up a decent amount of suspense in the first third when the monster is kept strictly off screen. We see shaking dirt, see things tremble and shake, and we see the after effects as people and objects have been either dragged under ground, or people have had to climb to get away from the unseen assailant. What really sells this movie is some fairly decent dialogue between the characters. It all fits into that quippy don’t take anything too seriously model, but each character offers something to the cast and there’s a genuine feeling of isolated community coming from them. Then the monsters are revealed and it is mostly pretty entertaining as we see whether the gun toting locals can actually take on giant underground worms. The sequels (I’ve only seen up to the fourth though I’ve recently found out there are more) come with progressively less impressive story lines as is usually the case, but this first film is very solid entertainment.
Number 1: The Descent
Probably the only thing actually close to real horror on this list and that’s mostly because the thought of being trapped in a cave is scary enough. Being trapped with flesh eating monsters who track you by sound is just terrifying. Join six women as they go on what they think will be an amazing adventure exploring a cave. However, a tunnel collapsing cutting off their exit and the realisation that one of them had taken them somewhere unexpected so help would not be coming quickly turn this into a fairly tense and claustrophobic affair. Then the monsters show up and things quickly get worse. If you are squeamish about blood this one is definitely not for you because between the monsters, accidents in a dark and unexplored cave, and the women’s personal dramas, there is definitely going to be blood.
Right, so a small departure from anime but given how much I love these kinds of movies I felt this was an appropriate time to share this list. If you happen to like creature features or bad slasher flicks I’d love to know what you would have put on your list.
Thanks for reading.
Consider supporting the blog by:
Or use one of my affiliate product links: