You’re watching a horror movie in the cinema. The movie’s main antagonist, say a big hairy razor-toothed monster, pops up on the screen. Would you hide behind your popcorn? Would you scream. If you are watching any of the movies in this list, the chances are you’d drop your oh-so-expensive popcorn as you double up in laughter. Movies have helped generations to visualize classic literary monsters such as Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster and The Phantom of the Opera with stunning celluloid renditions. Horror movies have also created new bogeymen like Freddy Kruger, The Creature from the Black Lagoon and the Godzilla; monsters that scores of people see in their nightmares on returning home from the cinema. But, sadly, the movie industry has also provided us with creations like these:
What could be scarier than a giant octopus? A giant shark, of course! What could be scarier than a giant shark? A Sharktopus! The plot of this dumbfounding T.V. movie is nearly as silly as the eponymous beastie; the US Navy, in a moment of dubious inspiration, decide that their multi-billion dollar arsenal is lacking a certain je ne sais quoi. They commission a group of vaguely science-type guys called ‘Blue Water’ to bio-engineer them a new super weapon. And so the Sharktopus was born. Everything looked to be working well; they employ this giant crime-against-nature to decimate a group of drug smugglers off the coast of California. But the test goes horribly awry when Sharktopus escapes and makes his way to the beach-bum haven of Puerto Vallarta. Many sexy, bikini-clad women and douche-bag Californian guys are killed by the marauding hybrid monster, until it is eventually blown up by the daughter of Sharktopus’s creator. Seriously. That’s the plot.
Crap, yes. But entertaining crap. This wonderfully silly movie from 2010 was made for the SyFy channel by the king of low-budget movies Roger Corman. Initially Corman was reluctant to make this movie but the SyFy team have a certain way to convince filmmakers to get on board—wheelbarrows full of cash. They wanted to cast ‘The Dark Knight’ actor Eric Roberts, (brother of ‘Pretty Woman’ Julia), who agreed to be in the film because he thought that the plot sounded so utterly ridiculous that it’d be a lot of fun to work on. People of the ‘Jaws’ generation always check the water before entering for a swim…can we expect kids of the ‘Sharktopus’ era to do the same? Probably not…
9 The Lepus—Night of the Lepus
“Jolly Humour”, “Bitter Fun”, “A very different sort of humour…Intercontinental, sadistic”. This is how the British press described the 1964 horror/comedy novel ‘ The Year of the Angry Rabbit’ by Australian author Russell Braddon. When Hollywood decided to make a movie based on this innovative gem of a book, they made one huge mistake. They dropped the humour. Whoever decided that a storyline based on a bunch of giant mutant bunnies running amok could be done as a straight, po-faced horror really needs to take a good long look at themselves, (maybe they had a bad experience with a giant, man-eating rabbit as a child?)
The official poster for the film didn’t actually show any rabbits on it because studio executives thought that audiences wouldn’t take the film seriously after seeing fluffy bunnies on a poster for a horror movie. In reality, nobody can take this picture seriously after watching faded film star Janet Leigh and, (randomly), Star Trek’s DeForest Kelley battling against these monstrous mammals who’ve acquired a taste for human flesh. To make the giant monsters seem extra ‘real’, actual bunnies were used along with miniature sets designed to look like a dusty South-western town! Venerable producer AC Lyles was best known for making B-movie Western flicks such as ‘Young Fury’ and ‘Johnny Reno’ and, most recently, as a consulting producer on the seminal TV drama ‘Deadwood’. So how could a man with years of experience in the industry think that a film about humungous rabbits chasing folk in an Arizona backwater town be a hit? We’ll probably never know. Incidentally, this movie was made was made in 1972 and according to the Chinese Zodiac, it was the year of the, you guessed it…Rat.
8 Hitler’s Head—They Saved Hitler’s Brain
Although the title states that ‘they saved Hitler’s brain’, in this celluloid atrocity, they actually saved the Fuhrer’s whole head! They couldn’t even get the title right! Originally a TV film called ‘The Madmen of Mandoras’, producer Carl Edwards was unsatisfied by the limited audience his little opus got, so he made a feature length movie. It needed twenty minutes of extra footage to bulk out the original TV film, so he enlisted a UCLA student to make the added material…without any original costumes, the original cameras or any use of original production methods. As a result, large swathes of the movie seem totally different to the original, further cementing this film’s status as one of the worst movies ever made.
7 Goblins—Troll 2
The scary monsters in the movie Troll 2 are, as the title would suggest…Goblins. Wait, what? There are no trolls in this picture and no reference to the original ‘Troll’ movie. What in the hell is going on here? It’s so utterly appalling that the director, Claudio Fragasso, used the pseudonym Drake Floyd on the film’s credits. But loads of people have done that in movies, right? Well, this is the man who directed such clangers as ‘Women’s Prison Massacre’ and ‘Shocking Dark’, (an unofficial sequel to ‘Terminator’ released a few years before ‘T2: Judgement Day’). So if he doesn’t want to put his name to a movie, you know it’s going to be bad.
Yes, it’s pretty shoddy…however, in the world of bad movies, this one falls into the category of ‘so bad it’s amusing’. In recent years the movie has garnered a cult status, with clips from the film becoming internet memes due to the spectacularly bad acting and the cruddiest monsters seen in 90’s cinema. The plot is pretty damn fantastic too—a family are chased by a group of vegetarian goblins who seek to transform them into plants and devour them. Why they had to be veggies and not just carnivorous goblins I do not know. The sub-Halloween mask faces of the goblins give the film such a comical air that ‘Troll 2’ is immensely watchable; you can’t take your eyes off it… a bit like a watching a hilarious car crash.
6 Charles “Butcher” Benton—Indestructible Man
Lon Chaney was a giant of the movie world. The ‘Man of a Thousand Faces’ was one of Hollywood’s biggest stars, bringing life to genre-defining monsters such as ‘Erik’ the phantom in ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ and ‘Quasimodo’ in ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’. His son, Lon Chaney jnr. also had success in his career—mainly as the title character in Universal Studios’ classic 1941 monster flick ‘The Wolf Man’ and its sequels. However, Chaney jnr. felt that he was living in his father’s shadow for much of his career. Most actors who tasted the success that Chaney jnr. had would be more than happy with their careers. But when your daddy is considered as one of the greatest horror actors of all time, bringing a gravitas to an often maligned genre, then one can understand why he thought he’d lacked sufficient accomplishments.
In his role as re-animated crook ‘Charles “Butcher” Benton’ in the movie Indestructible Man, Chaney jnr. showed that his worries about failing to live up to his father’s reputation was pretty damn accurate. Don’t get me wrong, the younger Chaney was a good actor, but he couldn’t make this embarrassing excuse for a movie monster work. After scientists experiment on the body of an executed criminal, the accidentally re-animate him and making him super-strong and making his skin impervious to damage! This Frankencrook goes on a murderous rampage, seeking revenge on his former partners. Is this even a monster? Certainly not in the traditional sense. He isn’t a composite of body parts like Frankenstein’s Monster, or a magically animated clay giant like The Golem…he’s just Lon Chaney jnr. Also, the title is very misleading—he dies in the end! It should have been called: ‘The Not-Exactly-Indestructible Man’. Poor.
5 Mothra—Godzilla vs. Mothra
Fans of the ‘Godzilla’ series of movies won’t be happy with this entry. Mothra is a much loved character amongst the long list of giant monsters that seem to destroy Japanese cities on an alarmingly regular basis. Quite why Mothra is held in such high regard is beyond me! It’s a big moth. A giant spider that spits acid would be horrifying. A huge, laser-eyed mantis would cause widespread panic. A flame breathing scorpion would cause fear-induced pants soiling with ease. But a big moth? Other than coating large urban areas in wing dust, thus ruining thousands of white shirts, what’s so scary about Mothra?
Nothing—but then again, she isn’t meant to be scary to humanity. Mothra is a protector of Earth; a re-incarnated race of aliens spliced with a moth by the cosmos(?!) Seriously? A moth? Earth’s most powerful protector is a moth? At least a giant butterfly would be pretty to look at! Granted, she can shoot arcs of lightening from her antennae and cause powerful winds with her giant wings, but come on! The idea that this town-sized bug is here to help humanity just adds to its crappiness. Along with the big bouncing bunnies in The Lepus, Mothra can count herself as one of the lamest giant creatures in film history!
4 The Monster—Blood Beach
“Just when you thought it was safe to get back in the water…you can’t get to it!” Wow. What a tag-line! This film is in no way linked to the movie ‘Jaws’ but the producers had no problem in trying to cash in on the success of Spielberg’s shark attack flick. But this is no two-bit rip off! In fact, there is no sniff of a giant shark terrorizing beach-goers in Blood Beach; the monster is below the sand! I think…
You don’t really get more than a fleeting glimpse of the monster in this movie. You also can’t really tell what the hell it is. Is it a bloodthirsty clam? Is it an carnivorous alien cactus? What the hell is it? We know it has a taste for anything that moves above its subterranean abode…but what is the thing? Even after the local police manage to blow the thing to pieces with dynamite, viewers are left scratching their heads wondering what the hell was chomping on dogs and sexy ladies. Whatever the beast was, it probably cost under a hundred bucks to make.
3 The Stuff—The Stuff
Over consumption of ice cream is very bad for you. Tooth-rotting sugar, the calorie-count and nerve-splitting brain freezes are all awful side effects to this favourite desert. None of these problems compare to killer ice cream in this film. That’s right, the ‘monster’ in the 1985 movie ‘The Stuff’ is killer ice cream.
When a bubbling white liquid is found oozing from the earth by a couple of miners, they soon discover that it’s tasty, filling and contains no calories! It starts getting sold to the public and ‘the stuff’ fast becomes the new food fad—everyone is eating the stuff by the bucket load. But there are side effects… you turn into a zombie-esque creature and the stuff starts eating you from inside. The oozing sludge also has a mind of its own—in a memorable scene in a motel room, The Stuff attacks a man while slithering up and down the walls and ceiling, (this scene was shot in the same room as Johnny Depp’s bedroom in ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’). Although the film isn’t terrible, the idea of killer ice cream isn’t going to strike fear into the hearts of many people, except the marketing executives at Häagen-Dazs. In fact, the crew used tub upon tub of this particular ice cream as ‘the stuff’, along with yoghurt and fire-extinguisher foam.
2 Terror Toons—Terror Toons
This is going to be tough to write…here goes: in some place called ‘the cartoon universe’, a character who looks like a green, Nazi-era cartoon of a Jewish man wearing a doctors costume called ‘Doctor Carnage’ rips some blokes skull out through his stomach. So far, so stupid. Meanwhile, sisters Cindy and Candy and some brain-dead friends decide to watch a DVD called Terror Toons (created by the Devil). They watch the film which is about the psychotic antics of Doctor Carnage and his mutated lab monkey side-kick, Max Assassin…jeez. After a quick game of strip Ouija, the terror toons materialize in the house and go about killing the main cast in painfully cheesy ways— a cop is killed by a stick of dynamite in a box of donuts, a girl is sawn in half in a botched magic act and a pizza delivery boy is dismembered with a giant pizza cutter.
The terror toons take Cindy to Hell where she meets the Devil, who tells her of his evil plan to use the terror toons to rid the world corrupt children. Realizing that “she is now in a cartoon”, Cindy turns herself into a superhero and the Devil sends her back to Earth. Cindy seeks the machine that makes the terror toons DVDs and, after killing Doctor Carnage with a giant axe and stomping out Max Assassin’s brain with her new found super power of, uh, stamping really hard, she destroys the machine. Cindy’s parents return home to see that everything went a little bit mad whilst they were away. Right, I’m not writing anymore about this film. My fingers feels dirty!
1 Leyak —Mystics in Bali
Balinese culture is rich and interesting. From gamelan music to the amazing dancing and stunning food, the people of Bali have an ancient culture that draws tourists from all over the globe to their stunning island home. However, the movie ‘Mystics in Bali’ is possibly the worst advert for Balinese culture one could imagine. ‘Mystics’ is Indonesia’s first attempt at a horror film directed at the international market. Check out the trailer, it’s so bad it’s hilarious!
An Australian women named Cathy travels to Bali to do research on the local mythology. A witch promises to teach Cathy about the dark arts of Balinese magic but instead turns Cathy into a Leyak; a floating vampire head with her internal organs hanging out from her neck. Local holy men seek out Cathy and destroy her. If you could encounter a ‘real-life’ Leyak, I’m sure this foetus-eating monster would be really quite scary. Not in this film. The sight of lead actress Ilone Bastian’s head removing itself from her neck and clumsily floating around is nothing short of comical. The movie was banned in Indonesia—I assume to save face rather than because of its X-rated content. A real stinker.
About The Author: CJ Phillips is an actor and writer living in rural West Wales. He is a little obsessed with lists.