Legendary films like Psycho and Halloween can still terrify audiences to this day, thanks to sharp writing, committed acting, artful cinematography, and unsettling music. We're not here to talk about them. Instead we'd like to focus on movies that kinda wanted to scare the audience ... but only if the prep work didn't cut into cocaine time. Like how ...
There's a reason most movie monsters skulk around in the shadows. Darkness is naturally scarier to viewers, and it also has a handy way of covering up a bad makeup job. It's a large part of what made the weird leathery bird man in 2001's Jeepers Creepers look pretty good, despite the film's low budget.
Screen Media Films
And then Jeepers Creepers 3 inexplicably filmed in bright sunlight, showing the Creeper in all his obvious latex glory.
Screen Media Films
Screen Media Films
This isn't a series of publicity stills. That's what the actual movie looks like. If you saw that thing coming toward you in the middle of the afternoon, you'd probably be less likely to run than to ask if he needs directions to Comic-Con. The bright light did no favors to his (what we now know are) CG wings, either.
Screen Media Films
Zack Snyder's Dawn Of The Dead remake is reasonably good on the Zack Snyder scale of things, but there's one scene that simply can't be overlooked by even the most determined Snyder apologists. We're talking about zombie birth, folks.
The decision to zombify a pregnant person who then gives birth to a zombie baby is already one that raises a host of unnecessary questions, but we'd be willing to let Snyder show us where he's going if the end result wasn't so downright silly. Have you ever seen a newborn baby? The things are already disgusting. Add some rotting limbs, and boom, terrifying zombie baby. This just looks like a Cabbage Patch Kid whose owner went a little too hard with mommy's makeup.
Snyder seems to have realized quickly that the zombie baby logistics weren't gonna add up in the long run. How would this thing eat? Would it grow? What's the zombie diaper situation? So the characters quickly dispatch it to Zombie Baby Heaven, making the entire scene a pointless six minutes that no one can ever get back.
The Ring took everyone by surprise when it featured a demonic girl who killed people with images straight from the deep web before that was even a thing, which was a big part of why it was so successful. We don't really need to show you, as you've likely seen this scene enough in your nightmares, but we will:
We should never have power.
Although this was refreshingly unique to U.S. audiences, you probably know that it was a remake of a Japanese movie called Ringu. And yet, shockingly, it was still quite good. But of course, a sequel had to be made. And now the evil girl is less into creepy abstract art and more into ... tricking deer into attacking people?
To her credit, Naomi Watts' eyes show terror, but ...
Someone behind the scenes realized that a swarm of deer is more likely to induce cooing than fear, so they tried to up the tension by zooming in on the reflection in the killer deer's eyes. They failed.
The last Children Of The Corn movie to get a theatrical release, Children Of The Corn II: The Final Sacrifice features another group of kids intent on murdering all the adults in their Nebraska town. One of them, a boy named Micah, is possessed by an evil entity called He Who Walks Behind the Rows, who's all the more terrifying for the fact that we're probably paying him a hefty farm subsidy. Sounds like some solid scares, right? Well, at first the kids try to make their murders look like accidents. This involves less mind control and more remote controls. Seriously, they use one to hijack an old lady's electric wheelchair.
They roll her into traffic, but most of the drivers reasonably swerve to avoid hitting an old lady, so she's just sitting there for like two minutes until an oblivious truck driver comes along. He rolls right into her, all comically slow, never even tapping the brakes. Then she turns into a dummy and goes flying through a window.
If this whole thing seems familiar, it's because they do it on Impractical Jokers all the time. That's right, the same idea these filmmakers thought would be terrifying ended up as basic cable dad humor.
2003's Wrong Turn follows your basic slasher flick premise: A group of attractive people on vacation are stranded in the middle of nowhere, becoming a tasty potential meal for a trio of inbred cannibals. It was a largely forgotten game of horror movie Mad Libs that nevertheless somehow spawned five sequels and an upcoming reboot.
While the premise of this surprisingly profitable series is lazier than a sloth on opiates, there's one scene in particular that reaches new lows of apathy. Early in the first film, the characters stumble upon Cannibal Manor right before the fam gets back from a long day of corpse-eating. They're forced to hide and wait to escape until the gang drifts off to a satisfied post-dinner slumber, but they're foiled by a screen door that's held shut by the world's loudest spring. One guy grabs it to muffle the noise, and when they open the door, the coils pinch together and slice into his hand. He holds it together in more ways than one while his friends leave, but once everyone's out, he realizes he's stuck.
20th Century Fox
20th Century Fox
He manages to rip himself free after the residents suddenly wake up, because the threat of being eaten really puts a tetanus shot into perspective, but this never should have happened. For one thing, it seems like he could have just removed the spring, which are usually loosely attached to small hooks, but we'll give him a pass, due to the stress of potential cannibal murder. But more importantly, opening a screen door pulls the attached spring apart, making the coils separate. So we can add "doors" to the list of things the filmmakers have apparently never seen, which also includes "people who live in West Virginia" and "any good horror film." We're talking about a movie in which the rebellious cheerleader from Bring It On fights cannibals. Was it really necessary to rewrite the laws of physics?
The Rage: Carrie 2 was a wholly unnecessary follow-up to the Brian de Palma masterpiece Carrie. It picks up 20 years after the gruesome prom night, which taught no one any lessons at all about maybe not bullying psychokinetic girls. We're introduced to Carrie's goth half-sister, Rachel, a student at the local high school, where jocks compete for sex like their football careers depend on it. Rachel's best friend, Lisa, gets entangled in their little game, which drives her to jump off the school's roof and into better teen movies. Fearing the end of their football careers, a cover-up ensues, which includes silencing Rachel. In the process, Rachel and the one good jock end up falling in love and having sex, both unaware that the act is secretly filmed to be broadcast at the prom after-party.
In a fit of rage (ohhhh, we get it now), Rachel whips out her stigmata of Jesus thorns and starts doing some Carrie stuff. She shatters the glass doors, which somehow decapitate at least one guy, before comically driving a fireplace poker into the heads of two people on opposite sides of a door. At some point in her killing spree, she even sends a bunch of obviously CG CDs flying through the air to slice up some folks.
We hope they were copies of the soundtrack. At least then they would have been useful for something.
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