Friday, June 5, 2015

Top 10 Overrated Horror Films

It's happened to all of us at one point or another. You hear so many of your friends and people in general rave about a certain movie so much that it builds the hype about it in your head so damn much that you can't wait to see it for yourself. Then you finally get to see it and you think to yourself "oh my fucking God this is going to be so awesome"...and then halfway through it you realize it's a steaming turd. Well, maybe not quite a steaming turd, but nowhere near what you envisioned it as being.

This has happened to me quite a bit over the years with horror movies. I've heard nothing but great things about all the ones I'm going to list here, and then when I see them, I scratch my head in amazement that they are as well-received as they are. I managed to narrow this down to ten entries (this honestly could have gone on forever) of what I believe are the most overrated horror flicks around. Most of these films aren't all that old either, which either says a lot about the modern horror film genre as a whole or just my overall perception; you decide.

Now there were quite a few films that didn't make this final list, most notably being the "Paranormal Activity" franchise as a whole (mostly because I did actually enjoy the first installment), the American remake of "The Grudge", George Romero's "Day of the Dead", "Haute Tension", "House" (the one with William Katt), and "The Orphanage". The rest of these flicks I'm gonna list here? Well, fuck em.

10. FRIDAY THE 13TH (1980)
Director: Sean Cunningham
Starring: Betsy Palmer, Adrienne King, Kevin Bacon

Now don't get me wrong, I have a lot of respect and love for the original "Friday the 13th". Hell, the franchise as a whole is probably the most enjoyable (to me) out of all the 80s slasher franchises because they are the most consistent in terms of what they offer. That being said, most people often associate this original installment as a "classic" that stands tall next to the original "Halloween" and "A Nightmare on Elm Street". Well, those two films are slasher, and horror in general, classics. The first "Friday the 13th" definitely is not. It is fun and iconic in its own way, there's no doubt about that, but the fact that there would be future installments that surpassed this film in terms of overall quality and dare I say it value, doesn't help its case. Not to mention that it wasn't scary at all then or now, where as "Halloween" and "A Nightmare on Elm Street" can still manage to elicit chills no matter how old they are.

9. HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES (2003)
Director: Rob Zombie
Starring: Sid Haig, Karen Black, Bill Moseley

Oh shit, this fucking movie. Where do I start? I remember going miles out of my way to the only movie theater around me that was playing this just so I could see it opening night. Well, I did...and my reaction then is pretty much what my reaction to "House of 1000 Corpses" is now: meh. I mean it isn't terrible, not one bit...but it is nowhere worthy of being as revered as it is either. Just for so much of its running time I'm just so fucking bored and I don't give two shits about any single character in it. Now the fact this movie even exists is good for a few reasons: it brought a lot of beloved genre actors back into the spotlight like Sid Haig, Bill Moseley, and Karen Black for a new generation to discover, and it also led to us getting a far superior sequel in "The Devil's Rejects", which remains the pinnacle of Rob Zombie's filmography.

Director: Tom Six
Starring: Dieter Laser, Ashley Williams, Ashlyn Yennie

Fuck this movie...seriously. Well, maybe that's too harsh a sentiment, but still, fuck this movie. Fuck it in the ear. Body horror is a sub-genre that I often waver between loving and hating, and this fucking movie stirs up quite a bit of hate from me. Actually, the whole franchise does now that I think about it. One of the films that kickstarted the whole ultra-gross-out-horror kick we were on for a while, the original "Human Centipede" isn't nearly as graphic as its predecessor (which in all honesty I've never fully seen and probably never will) but the fact that there's a certain sect of people that consider this film a modern day horror classic makes me ill. Again, for the most part this flick just bores the shit out of me. Its premise tries to entice you with its shock value, and it fails. Miserably.

7. ANTICHRIST (2009)
Director: Lars Von Trier
Starring: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Willem Dafoe, Storm Acheche

When Lars Von Trier birthed "Antichrist" upon the world, critics and audiences were polarized to say the least. Some hailed it as brilliant art, others called it misogynistic garbage. In my opinion, it isn't really either. Von Trier as a director I often find myself polarized by. I really try to enjoy a lot of his work, but most times I just can't. I often feel that his mission is to make you feel uncomfortable, and he totally succeeds here with "Antichrist". The film drains the viewer in every emotion that it elicits. Most people may see that as a good quality, and maybe it is, but for me I just don't see what the fuss is over it. That, and the graphic genital mutilation I could've done without. Maybe I'm just out of touch...but if I am, in the case of "Antichrist" I am totally fine with that.

6. HOSTEL (2005)
Director: Eli Roth
Starring: Jay Hernandez, Derek Richardson, Eythor Gudjonsson

I really want to like Eli Roth. He seems like my kinda guy, he really does...I just wish a majority of his films reflected that manic personality and love for the horror genre that he has. Anyway, the original "Hostel" was birthed out of the torture porn craze that hit in the mid-2000s, and it definitely shows. So much of the film just feels derivative. For being classified a horror film, it isn't scary in the least (I'll get to how I feel about torture porn as a whole in a bit) and instead we get scenes of very nasty things happening to characters we know next to nothing about and feel little to nothing for either. Its overall premise is intriguing, which helps make its failed execution (no pun intended) even more of a disappointment.

5. THE BABADOOK (2014)
Director: Jennifer Kent
Starring: Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman, Daniel Henshall

The most recent film on this list, the hype surrounding "The Babadook" was so sky high that I should've known better going into it. With an absurd rating on Metacritic and featuring scores of critical acclaim across both the horror press and mainstream press, there was no way that "The Babadook" would fulfill those lofty heights. Well it doesn't just not fulfill its promise, it lands hard with such a disappointing thud that it doesn't take long to realize how much of a turd this flick really is. What kills it for me the most? That fucking kid. I prayed and hoped that that kid would get devoured by the film's monster so fucking bad it isn't even funny. If that makes me a horrible person in any way, shape, or form...I welcome being thought of in that way. Maybe it's because I don't have kids that I'm so fucking annoyed by that kid, but it doesn't change the fact that the promise this film has is just thrown to the wayside. Is the mother crazy and imagining all this shit due to the trauma of losing her husband and being a single mother? Or is there really a terrible monster lurking inside her making her keep losing her mind? There were so many interesting directions to go in, and they went for the most predictable one. Fuck this movie.

Director: Daniel Myrick & Eduardo Sanchez
Starring: Heather Donahue, Michael Williams, Joshua Leonard

Another film that received tons of praise and is credited for starting the whole "found footage" thing (spoiler alert: it didn't, thanks "Cannibal Holocaust"), "The Blair Witch Project" is an overblown bore. Its creepy premise is ruined by the found footage aspect. I know that many consider its framing making it more realistic and scary, but for me all it does is detract from any frightening atmosphere the film can conjure up. Doesn't help that the principal actors are terrible and don't come off as being realistic people at all. I'll never understand how this film became one of the most successful independent films ever made, I really fucking won't. Oh, and on a side note, I get motion sickness just thinking about how shaky the camera in this fucking is.

3. THE RING (2002)
Director: Gore Verbinski
Starring: Naomi Watts, Martin Henderson, Brian Cox

Oh fuck me, this fucking movie. Another flick I'll never understand the wide acclaim it receives, only this is a piss-poor Americanized remake of a genuinely creepy and scary Japanese horror movie ("Ringu"), which thanks to the success of this we became flooded with PG-13-rated Americanized remakes of good Japanese horror movies for the next few years. I remember seeing this in a theater and laughing to myself while everyone was gasping at the cheap jump scares that are so damn predictable. "Ringu" is far superior in every way, shape, or form. If you've never seen it, I highly recommend tracking it down and giving it a watch.

2. SCREAM (1996)
Director: Wes Craven
Starring: Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, David Arquette

The slasher franchise that defined the 90s, I have little love for "Scream". Granted it helped put Wes Craven back on the horror radar as a well-regarded director, and it isn't terrible one bit in all honesty, but it is absolutely nowhere near being a "classic" like many think it is. I actually think "Scream 2" is better, but the franchise as a whole is just so damn overrated. It certainly has its place in history for breathing some life (and money) back into the slasher genre and spawning so many parodies and rip-offs, while also spawning many, many shitty teen slasher flicks that raked in cash and offered nothing in terms of thrills or excitement. Oh, and true story, I called who the killer(s) were 15 minutes into the movie the first time I saw it. That's nothing to be proud of, anyone with a brain could.

Director: various
Starring: Tobin Bell and many other poor bastards

Okay, deep breath...fuck "Saw" and all its sequels. Let me illustrate something for you: the year is 2004. We're still recovering from the horde of PG-13 Japanese remakes (see above) and cheap scare ghost movies that were plaguing mainstream horror. Enter the original "Saw": a super low-budget and violent film that made so much money out of nowhere that it made the execs at Lions Gate keep pumping out sequels every single Halloween for years to come. Now, the original film isn't terrible at all, and can actually be genuinely shocking...and it was refreshing. We were sick of the watered-down teeniebopper horror that had been all over the place for the past couple years, and we craved something somewhat original and super violent: and that was "Saw". The sequels that followed took whatever promise the original had and threw it out the window for gratuitous scenes of torture and traps that began as interesting and inventive and just became totally fucking lazy. The longer the overall story became as the films went on, the more ridiculous and just plain stupid it became. By the time "Saw 3D" came around, people had had enough. Now I'm sure the franchise will be back one day (it's made way too much money not to), but the other thing that "Saw" is responsible for is kick-starting the torture porn sub-genre in horror. You know, the genre that features nothing more but torture scenes, isn't scary at all, and classifies itself as "psychological horror"? Fuck all that. I only wish the "Saw" franchise stayed dead and buried, but I know as well as every horror fan does, no franchise stays dead forever.

So, that was my top overrated horror films. I know I cheated a little with the last entry by making it a whole franchise, but I feel it's warranted. Agree? Disagree? I don't give two fucks...but thanks for reading it regardless. Now go watch some good shit.

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