Fifty years from now, 2016 will be remembered as a outstanding year for horror films in general. There were some sizable horror hits at the box office this year, and while not all of the bigger hits were especially good films, it’s never a bad thing if the genre you’re particular to has a good year. But I’m not here to wax nostalgic over what a great year the genre had, I’m here to moan and groan about the ten films that made me want to pluck my eyes out and toss them at the screen. The films that made me want to claim bankruptcy so that I could say I can’t afford to see them. The worst of the worst, the crud of the crop, the runts of the litter – the crappiest films of the year.
Now mind you, I’m pretty sure not all of you are going to agree with me, but that’s the nature of the beast. The films I’m about to mention are on this list because I personally couldn’t stand them, those of you whose opines differ with mine are welcome to your opinions. Feel free to disagree with me should you care to. But overall, I have a funny feeling that you won’t complain too much about what’s on the list this year.
Before I get to the terrible ten, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention a few films that made up my dishonorable mention list. All of them bad films, just not as bad as my final choices. This particular list begins with The Forest, a nice idea for a fright flick turned terribly tame by a gutless & predictable script. The Asylum actually made me smile with a goofy, but fun flick called Zoombies. Sadly they threw away all of that good will with their godawful Suicide Squad ripoff, Sinister Squad, which replaced all of the super villains with fairy tale characters who couldn’t act their way out of a wet paper bag. I could’ve done with a lot less of Morgan, which featured an all star cast and a no star script. I anxiously awaited Jeruzalem, but all I got from it was a lot of screaming, some already outdated technology (Google Glass anyone?), and the feet of a giant sized demon (you read that right. You only see his feet). I had visions of misery as I watched a piece of crap also called Visions, and I wish that whatever was on The Other Side Of The Door had just stayed there, out of sight. Bite did exactly that, and why someone would even think to remake Martyrs, let alone actually attempt it is beyond me – but they failed miserably. Rob Zombie proved that he only knows how to make one kind of film with 31, hopefully he’ll quit while he’s ahead. And while it isn’t a horror film, no “Worst of 2016” list would be complete without the amazingly awful Gods Of Egypt. A spectacle so jaw droppingly bad that I ended up liking it in a WTF kind of way.
And now, we come to the big guys, the heavy hitters, the films that just made me wanna quit watching movies in general and become a sheep herder somewhere in the middle east, where life is cheap, and oil even cheaper.
10 – Terror Toons 3 – Written/Directed by Joe Castro.
Apparently there were two previous entries in this forgettable franchise, so there must be an audience for this nonsense somewhere (you know who you are). But this is a completely irredeemable mess of a movie that is chock a block full of nonsensical images, rude noises and ugly as f**k graphics. It makes no sense whatsoever, and hurt my eyes (seriously, it did). Making matters even worst, this atrocity features what seems to be the last film appearance of the Godfather Of Grue, Herschell Gordon Lewis. So sad.
09- Cell – Written by Stephen King & Adam Alleca. Directed by Tod Williams.
Originally slated to be directed by Eli Roth, this catastrophe ended up with Tod Williams in the director seat (He directed Paranormal Activity 2. A bad omen). But despite that, it featured a script written by the one and only Stephen King (based on his novel), and starred both John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson! A pretty nice set up to be sure, but nothing in this film worked. The script is, for lack of a better word, stupid. Both Cusack and Jackson seem to be acting in different movies, and the special effects here are so bad, they need to be seen to be believed. I should’ve known something was really wrong when the poster image featured a clean cut Jackson, only to find that he sports a beard throughout the film. No one cared about this one, and for good reason.
08 – Baskin – Written by Can Evrenol and a bunch of meth heads. Directed by Can Evrenol.
Unfathomably, this one got some praise from some pretty heavy hitters in the genre, so I was quite anxious to see it. Once it was done, I really began to wonder if those heavy hitters weren’t smoking the really good stuff as they watched it. For me, Baskin was a complete disaster that spends its first half in a little restaurant forcing us to listen to a bunch of Turkish policemen wax nostalgic about their sex lives. Oh yeah, there’s mention of sex with poultry as well, that’s pretty scary, ain’t it? It then puts them in a building that looks like it was decorated by a set decorator just done working on the latest Hellraiser sequel (what number is that franchise up to by now, 12? 13? Who cares). It’s not scary, and tries way too hard to be edgy. I’ve had scarier times at the Haunted Mansion in Disney. Enter a world of suffering and madness indeed…
08 – Viral – Written by Christopher Landon & Barbara Mitchell. Directed by Ariel Schulman & Henry Joost.
The first of three films on this list from the hacks at Blumhouse Pictures features a virus being spread and the teens that take a break during all of the chaos to have a party. Yeeah, you read that right, while the virus is decimating the populace, a group of teens figure “What better time to throw a party?”, so they do. A couple of decent performances don’t help this picture get any better, the CGI is atrocious, and the finale is absolutely ridiculous. What were these guys thinking as they made this swill?
06- Phantasm: Ravager – Written by Don Coscarelli & David Hartman. Directed by David Hartman.
A fifth and final Phantasm film sounded like a good idea. Sadly, Don Coscarelli passed the directors baton to someone named David Bradley, and this was the end result. A glorified fan film that featured nearly every major character from all of the previous Phantasm films in a mess of a movie that has no idea what it’s trying to achieve. It looks cheap because it is cheap. The story makes no sense because, if you think about it, no Phantasm film really makes sense – so why start now? But this one throws out any semblance of rationale and just piles terrible CGI work on top of ugly cinematography in the hopes that no one will notice. I noticed. Purportedly meant to be a series of webisodes, but strung together to make a feature film, Phantasm: Ravager is the biggest disappointment of the year for me. And a lousy way to send off the late Angus Scrimm, who deserved a lot better than this. All involved should be ashamed of themselves.
05- The Greasy Strangler – Written by Toby Harvard & Jim Hosking. Directed by Jim Hosking.
The word on this one was that it was the going to be the grossest film of the year, and while that might not be a nail I’d want to hang my hat on it still grabbed my interest regardless. So imagine my surprise afterwards I realized that I hadn’t just sat through the grossest film of the year, but the stupidest one as well. While I understand that director Jim Hosking wasn’t looking to make the next Citizen Kane here, did he have to make as annoying a film as this one? A one joke premise that would grow tiresome after 5 minutes is stretched to feature length here, and it is so dumb and redundant that I began to wonder if maybe Hosking knows something that I didn’t. Maybe The Greasy Strangler is brilliant, and I’m just too dumb to understand it? Nahhhh, it’s just a stupid movie that tries so hard to be quirky & gross it ends up being neither. Probably the most annoying time I’ve spent watching a movie this year was spent watching this crapfest.
04- Blair Witch – Written by Simon Barrett. Directed by Adam Wingard.
Originally announced as The Woods, this turned out to be a direct sequel to The Blair Witch Project (which already had a sequel called Blair Witch 2: Book Of Shadows). Both Barrett and Wingard had proven themselves to be heroes of the genre with films like You’re Next and The Guest on their resumes, so I wasn’t alone in thinking that this might be something special. This is essentially a remake of the original Blair Witch film, with some prettier faces and niftier equipment. It’s also extremely stupid, so stupid that I felt gypped when it was all over. The film pretty much follows the same steps of the original film, with very little difference between the two. It does absolutely nothing to expand on the original story like a good sequel ought to do, but instead adds the occasional glance at something that supposed to be the Blair Witch, but we really don’t get too good a glance at it. And the shaky cam aesthetic is taken to the extreme during the last 30 minutes of this sensational bore. A true waste of time that somehow got raves from some numbskulls who must’ve never seen a horror film before.
03- Incarnate – Written by Ronnie Christensen. Directed by Brad Peyton. Hated by everyone who sat through it.
The second film on this list to come from the goofballs at Blumhouse Pictures, and proof that no role is too dumb for Aaron Eckhart to play. Taking elements from films like The Exorcist and Dreamscape sounds like the beginning of a unique horror film, but Christensen’s script does nothing but pander to the lowest common denominator. This script takes the easy way out every chance it can, and never challenges the audience at all. The idea of calling demons “Paranormal Entities” might sound like a cop out, but if the script had some balls it might’ve been interesting. Poor Aaron Eckhart is a fine actor, and has appeared in some very good films over the course of his career – this one isn’t one of them. Director Peyton does the bare minimum here, just getting the lifeless scenes in the can as quickly as possible. There’s no flair to this nonsense at all, and that’s a crime because I think this one had some potential. A total waste.
02- Yoga Hosers – Excreted and Directed by Kevin Smith.
What the hell is wrong with Kevin Smith? Why does he think that literally anything he writes can be made into a movie? This lump of shit features his daughter, Harley Quinn, and her best friend, Lily-Rose Depp (daughter of Johnny Depp). They play the same roles that they played in Smith’s last film, the supremely odd Tusk. They basically do nothing but kvetch and say “Aboot” an awful lot until Smith throws in his villains, which just happen to be Nazi bratwursts called “Bratzi’s”. They go about killing people by ramming themselves into peoples anuses. Are you laughing yet? It’s almost impossible for me to describe how awful this film is. It’s ugly, poorly scripted, and poorly acted – everything about this film stinks to high heaven. And I don’t care if Smith financed this himself (or through crowd funding), by making/releasing this festering pile of diarrhetic bilge he shows nothing but contempt to his fans (a group that’s hopefully shrinking in size as I type). The appearance of Johnny Depp as the supremely annoying detective Guy LaPointe only underscores how desperate Smith & company have become. This is supposedly the second part of Smith’s True North trilogy, with the third film to be called “Moose Jaws”. If it isn’t a marked improvement over this, then I hope Smith will dig himself a deep dark hole somewhere in a remote area of Canada, and stay there. Emerging only to recorded new episodes of his crappy show, Comic Book Men, which for some godforsaken reason has become something of a hit on AMC.
01- The Darkness – Written by Greg McLean, Shane Krause, and Shayne Armstrong. Directed by Greg McLean.
But as bad as Yoga Hosers is (and it is BAD), it at least had some supremely silly Bratzi’s to break the tedium once in awhile. This piece of flotsam has absolutely NOTHING to see in it. I daresay that The Darkness might be the first horror film to have no horror in it at all (save for the final five minutes where it finally decides to try to give the audience a crumb to chew on). It’s a familial drama dressed up as a horror film, and nothing more. Poor Kevin Bacon, a fine actor who deserved so much better. Poor Radha Mitchell, a fine actress who deserved so much better. Poor everyone involved in this mess, who surely deserved so much better than this.
There’s absolutely nothing even remotely scary in this. Nothing even remotely interesting to look at in this. Spectral black hand prints aren’t frightening, and if they were then they’d be in a better film. I suffered silently through this with about 3 other people on its opening day at my local theater, and we remained silent throughout the entire film. Afterwards, we all kinda looked at each other with both pity, and a sense of pride. Pity because the four of us actually paid to sit through this horrid film. And pride because we all survived sitting through it without falling fast asleep. This is the third and final film from the pissants at Blumhouse Pictures to make this list, and I’m not overstating things when I say that, despite the very successful year the genre has had in 2016, films like this will eventually kill the genre. Blumhouse has made a few very good films, but they specialize in releasing shit like this to unsuspecting audiences all over. At least schlockmeisters like The Asylum freely acknowledge that the stuff they make is garbage. I have to see junk like this (that’s why I make the big bucks), but you don’t. So if you see the words “Blumhouse Pictures” or “Bluhouse Tilt” on a movie poster or trailer – think twice before laying down your hard earned cash to see it. Hit ’em where it hurts!
It’s the only way to force them (and all the other schmucks on this list) into making good films.