In honor of today being Friday the 13th as well as the release date for Cabin in the Woods (read our spoiler-free review here), I thought this would be a good opportunity to recognize the best of the bad horror movie genre. Enjoy.
1. Friday the 13th: Kevin Bacon, camp counselor sex, and one scary-ass hockey mask. Like Coca-Cola and KFC, the original is the best.
Tagline: “You may only see it once, but that will be enough.”
2. Blood Feast: I’m pretty sure my parents didn’t know that my babysitter rented this 1963 horror “classic” for me when I was, like, 10, which explains a lot. It’s considered to be the grandfather of splatter films and the lead character is an Egyptian caterer.
Tagline: “A weird, grisly ancient rite horrendously brought to life in blood color.”
3. Les Yeux Sans Visage: If you’re not up on your francais, the English translation of this black-and-white French horror movie is Eyes Without a Face. Daughter loses her face. Dad tries to solve the problem. It’s one of Anthony Bourdain’s favorites and is actually a beautifully shot film.
Tagline: Apparently the French didn’t do taglines back in 1960, but it’s worth noting that the dubbed, horribly re-edited U.S. release was titled The Horror Chamber of Dr. Faustus.
4. Sisters: A mentally ill Margot Kidder puts on her worst French accent and plays a girl and her mentally ill twin sister (sort of) five years before Superman. One of Brian De Palma’s first films, Sisters makes innovative use of split-screen scenes.
Tagline: “What the devil hath joined together let no man cut asunder.”
5. Happy Birthday to Me: Melissa Sue Anderson takes a break from playing Mary Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie to star in this deliciously bad 1981 slasher flick.
Tagline: “Josh will never eat shish kabob again.”
6. Carnival of Souls: Said to be an important influence on both David Lynch and George Romero—two men who are no strangers to good bad movies—the haunting organ soundtrack is one of the simplest and most foreboding musical treatments in movie history.
Tagline: “She escaped death. Now it wants her back!”
7. The Brood: Good bad movie master David Cronenberg, mutant children, and a psychotic wife. What more do you need?
Tagline: “The ultimate experience of inner terror!”
8. Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte: Bette Davis was one scary broad.
Tagline: “Don’t tell anyone what happened in the summer house!”
9. Phantasm: I wish I could have been at the pitch for this movie, where some guy said, “So there’s this ball that floats around and stabs people in the face.”
Tagline: “If you’re looking for horror that’s got balls, IT’S FOUND YOU!”
10. Suspiria: Some people say this Italian horror classic from Dario Argento is a good good horror film. But they couldn’t be more wrong. Ballet dancers and witches.
Tagline: “The only thing more terrifying than the last 12 minutes of this film are the first 92.”