Bad horror movies

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Every year around this time I write about my favorite horror movies and each year the list is basically the same. I always recommend “Halloween,” the original, not Rob Zombie’s dreadful and unnecessary remake, and I think Peter Jackson’s “Dead Alive” is a lot of fun - if you don’t mind being completely assaulted by massive amounts of goo and gore - but I want to talk about what horror movies you should avoid.

There’s too many to mention (I think there’s a bad horror movie made in this country every minute) so I’ll just stick to the ones that you might see in your video store or while browsing Netflix that might sucker you in.

• Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation - I know, you’re thinking, there’s no way I’d ever be suckered into watching this movie. Well, it does star Renee Zellweger and Matthew McConaughey, which was how it caught me. I had to know why two of today’s Hollywood stars made a movie like this. I knew it would be bad, but I wasn’t prepared for how bad. And for a movie with Next Generation in the title, I was hoping for a bald captain or a cyborg navigator. No such luck.

See “Frailty” instead - This film is also set in Texas and also stars Matthew McConaughey, but it has an interesting story with some neat twists, some great performances (particularly from Bill Paxton and Powers Booth) and some real thrills and chills.

• Stephen King’s It - Yes, it was a mini-series made for television, which is never a good sign when talking about adaptations of King novels (“The Stand” is sort of an exception), but this is arguably his greatest novel and the movie is really bad. It was very forgettable, aside from Tim Curry’s Pennywise the clown (who does look very scary on the cover). You could put a lot of King novel adaptations on here but I’ll only add one more.

See “The Mist” instead. This came out last year, after Halloween, but it is a terrific adaptation of a King story. The monsters were cool looking, the acting was outstanding (how did Marcia Gay Harden not get an Oscar nomination?) and there are lots of good scares and the best plot twist in cinema last year.

• Salem’s Lot - Either the original or the remake - both are terrible. This is such a scary book and it’s not terribly long like other King novels. There is no need to hack the book to pieces to make a movie out of it, and yet, both adaptations do. The first version has no blood in it and it is about vampires - how is that even possible?

See “From Dusk til Dawn” or “The Lost Boys” instead. Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez combined their talents for “From Dusk til Dawn,” which is part gangster movie and part monster movie. This is lots of fun. “The Lost Boys” is the best movie featuring Corey Haim and Corey Feldman. it is funny, scary and a classic look at life in the 1980s, if you’re living in a California town filled with vampires.

• Van Helsing - Hugh Jackman plays the titular hero in this horrible movie that admittedly isn’t straightforward horror but may lure you with its promise of famous monsters being hunted by a hottie. Lame, lame, lame. The acting is atrocious, the story is just silly and it was just a waste of such promise (Universal’s movie monsters meet the hero from a classic novel). No! Bad movie. Bad!

See “The Prestige” instead. It isn’t horror, per se, but the story of warring magicians is full of dark little surprises. It features Hugh Jackman as one of the magicians and Christian Bale also stars in this twisty little film.

• Cursed - You’re thinking to yourself, maybe a nice werewolf movie to watch this Halloween and you see this one - hey this one is from the guys who brought you “Scream” and it stars Christina Ricci (“Sleepy Hollow”), Milo Ventimiglia (“Heroes”), Joshua Jackson (“Fringe”) and Portia de Rossi (Arrested Development”). Unfortunately, there are large plot holes and the script doesn’t crackle like “Scream” did. This sat on a shelf for a long time before it’s release and if you do watch this, you’ll realize why.

See “Ginger Snaps” instead. It is a great take on the classic werewolf tale and, unlike a lot of horror movies, the hero and the villain are both girls. It has a good sense of humor, decent special effects and some genuine thrills.

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