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Halloween is the absolute best. It’s not just great because of the costumes, or the weather, or the parties, or the candy; it’s the best because this is the time to watch scary movies, and I love me some horror movies.
In the past few years, we have seen a lot of great horror movies come out such as The Conjuring, The Witch, It Follows, The Babadook, IT, and many others. While I love those movies, they are not my favorites. No, my favorite scary movies to watch during October are bad horror movies. They might be just as scary as a classic like The Exorcist, but they’re so dumb, campy, or overly gory that they don’t keep you up all night. Because, while you might get so entranced by a movie like Nightmare on Elm Street that you’ll have nightmares for weeks, watching a movie like The Final Nightmare is so stupid that it will consistently remind you that it’s just a movie. So here are 31 movies rated “rotten” on Rotten Tomatoes for you to watch this month. I was also kind enough to categorize them so you can pick your poison of pleasure on movie night.
1. The Amityville Horror (original or remake): Now that we have the extended Conjuring universe out there, please give this movie the full remake it deserves.
2. Children of the Corn: Young Linda Hamilton and creepy children, along with the quiet unease of cornfields.
3. Pet Sematary: If you love Stephen King (as I do), you’ll like this adaptation of his novel that is also extra creepy.
4. The Grudge: After the success of The Ring, the Japanese horror movie remakes continued with Sarah Michelle Gellar, and later Amber Tamblyn, in The Grudge. While not as culturally impactful as The Ring, still very creepy.
5. The Exorcism of Emily Rose: Exorcism/haunting movies have become more popular because they’re often based off real encounters. This one is based on the exorcism of Anneliese Michel, which eventually resulted in a court case and conviction of her parents and two Catholic priests for neglectful homicide. Definitely worth a watch and a look into the underlying case.
6. Silent Hill: Video games that are made into movies often flop, but Silent Hill was a great series to make into a movie. The series is uneven, but the first installment was definitely creepy.
7. The Ruins: This is a very underrated movie, with all the trappings of a haunting movie along with the basic setup of a slasher movie when a group of friends becomes trapped on a haunted ruin in Mexico. It can be a bit goofy at times, but the acting is pretty decent and full of mid-’00s “stars” like Shawn Ashmore and Laura Ramsey.
8. V/H/S: Trick r’ Treat might be the best and most widely well-known horror anthology, but V/H/S does a great job of weaving a few creepy stories from VHS tapes found in a room together into one compelling tale. Great watch and an educational tool for our younger folks who don’t remember a time before DVDs.
9. Thir13en Ghosts: Hey, more mid-’00s stars in Matthew Lillard and Shannon Elizabeth! A modern take on the haunted house trope that actually took time to give the ghosts a bit of personality.
10. Final Destination (series): I’m honestly a bit offended that the original movie didn’t even get a “fresh” rating, given how it revolutionized the horror landscape. The idea of death being an omnipresent entity that has a “plan” for everyone and that innocuous occurrences can be leading to your death is so simple, well done, and horrifying, it might be in my top 10 all-time horror series.
11. Halloween H20: The original Halloween and its sequel can’t make the list because they were actually good, but this sequel 20 years later was bad enough to earn a spot. Notable because it does not feature Jamie Lee Curtis but does feature both Tyra Banks and Busta Rhymes, whose presence should be enough to entice you.
12. Child’s Play III: No horror series creeped me out as a child quite like Chucky’s, and Child’s Play III is the best of the sequels. It takes place at a military school, allowing for a hybrid of the original and Apocalypse Now (it’s much, much further from that movie than a Chucky movie).
13. Jason X: I love the Friday the 13th series, even though just about every installment other than the original was panned by critics, and Jason *cues echo-ey voice* in spaaaaaace is just perfect. From the best Jason kill ever (freezing a girl’s head in liquid nitrogen and smashing it) to taking on a bunch of high-tech grunts, Jason X is an update that keeps the basic formula intact. I love it, and I want desperately for someone to come along and give Jason the movie that he so desperately needs.
14. I Know What You Did Last Summer (series): Now we got some late-’90s stars, like Freddie Prinze Jr., Ryan Phillippe, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and the queen of the ’90s Jennifer Love Hewitt. Of the major slasher series, this was undoubtedly the worst one — with lackluster kills and a killer so unmemorable I don’t know his name — but it had the star power. And now we wait for Will or Duda to comment about Phillippe’s fits in that movie.
15. Scream 4: The first two installments were good, the last two not so much. I could have slotted 3 in here instead, but I actually prefer 4. It goes back to the roots and is a soft reboot removing Neve Campbell a bit from the action. It’s nice to get to watch a simple high schooler slasher movie, plus Hayden Panettiere and Alison Brie are both in it so…
16. Freddy vs. Jason: This movie is dumb, it’s edited as only a movie released in 2005 would be (shittily), and the acting is garbage-tier (we though Monica Keena was going to be a star! Oh boy were we wrong). However, the base concept of this movie is fucking phenomenal. Just edit out everything that isn’t Freddy fighting Jason and extend it for 90 minutes, please.
17. Jeepers Creepers (series): The original somehow didn’t get love, but I appreciate all of these movies even though they blatantly rip off the “rises every X years to feed” thing from IT. The Creeper is scary and powerful enough that he’s intimidating, but he won’t ruin your night.
18. The Strangers: The horrifying and realistic premise of random strangers breaking into a house to have fun by torturing some poor, helpless saps. No rhyme or reason, just “because you were home.” Also stars Dennis Reynolds as his final attempt at the D.E.N.N.I.S. system that goes horribly wrong.
19. Urban Legend: Incredibly memorable and inventive by taking the legends that we’ve all heard before (the hook hand scratching on the car, the guy sneaking in the back seat) and making them murder tropes. Lots of fun, and hey, it’s Tara Reid! Look at all these terrible actors who we thought were sure to be stars.
20. Cujo: “Based on a Stephen King novel” has never steered me wrong yet. If you ever want to convince your significant other or family not to get a dog, pop this puppy in (hehe) and 90 minutes later that idea will be gone for good.
21. Leprechaun: You’re telling me we can combine the scariness of Halloween with the drunken Irishness of St. Patrick’s Day, and it’s starring a young Jennifer Aniston? Where do I sign up???
22. Lake Placid: Only on this list because it has the greatest line in movie history, and they got Betty White to say it.
23. Anaconda: JLo and Ice Cube and Jon Voight and Cadbury from Richie Rich AND Owen Wilson? Oh yeah, and there’s also a giant snake that’s trying to kill them all in the Amazon. Good time.
24. 30 Days of Night: In the midst of the vampire craze of about 5 years ago, a few movies actually took the tired premise to an inventive setting. Not a dystopian future where vampires rule like Daybreakers, but Alaska, where it’s dark for a month straight. This move was a great injection of light into the series. Hey, remember Josh Hartnett? He’s in this!
25. The Faculty: A murderer’s row of actors in this including Hartnett, Elijah Wood, Jordana Brewster, Robert Patrick, Famke Janssen, Salma Hayek, Jon Stewart, and Usher. Sure, it ripped off the “people are being mind-controlled by alien slugs” from Animorphs, but it was plenty fun to watch.
26. Blade (series): I’m not sure which infuriates me more, that they weren’t able to make ten more after Wesley Snipes got in money trouble or that no movie in this series got good reviews. Okay, I understand with Blade: Trinity even though Ryan Reynolds was a goddamn gem.
27. Wrong Turn: The originator of the “redneck hillbilly zombie cannibal” trope, it gave a starring role to Eliza Dushku (for some reason), Sloane from Entourage (hottie), the kid from Air Bud, and that one girl from the The Famous Jett Jackson.
28. House of 1000 Corpses: I love Rob Zombie’s music, and I love how he started making movies that were basically grindhouse horror flicks. You can swap this for Devil’s Rejects; this is just my personal preference.
29. Saw (series): The original was groundbreaking, iconic, and intense, but still didn’t get the reviews it should have. The sequels were… movies. A few good traps sprinkled in here and there, but for the most part, it devolved from the original mystery/thriller to just kill houses.
30. The Hills Have Eyes (remake): The epitome of the “redneck hillbilly zombie cannibal” trope, but this time it’s a radioactive “redneck hillbilly zombie cannibal” family. And starring Claire from LOST doing a bad American accent.
31. Human Centipede: I mean… if you must. It’s culturally relevant, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t make me sick to my stomach..
Image via Youtube