quality posts: 16 Private Messages WootBot


When the grocery store parking lot starts to get scummy with the guts of smashed pumpkins, you know that it's the season for scares. So our Woot Writers will be spending the week running down their top Scary Movies so you can check out, judge, and berate them as horribly inadequate. Today, Sean presents a list of his favorite horror movies... to complain about.

(and as a word of warning, we did our best to find non-offensive YouTube videos, but these are horror movies so watch out for scary images and/or NSFW language.)

I don’t like horror movies because I scare easily. So, when compiling a list of 5 horror movies, I had two options: 1) I could do the mature thing and make a list of movies that actually ascare me, thus embracing my inner-wimpdom and admitting my own flaws; or 2) I could pretend to be “above” the horror genre by selecting five bad movies and commenting on their flaws.
So, here are my top 5 flawed horror movies (note: spoilers-a-plenty):

Open Water
This is a “shark movie," a genre of its own really, but the film’s intention is to strike fear into viewers, so I’ve included it here. The story focuses around a husband and wife who go on a scuba diving trip in the Caribbean and end up stranded in shark-infested waters after their boat leaves without them. The premise is great because it’s every recreational diver’s worst nightmare. In fact, I’ve only talked to a handful of people who’ve actually seen the film; the rest were too scared by the OMG-that-could-happen-to-me premise.

They’re lucky, but not because they are spared any terror. No, they're lucky because they were spared 79 minutes of boredom. The problem with Open Water is that it incorrect assumes that, if you put people in the water with sharks, the viewer is going to care about their well-being, even if they're awful and boring. That's just not the case here, and in the end, when they’re eaten by the sharks, you really feel nothing but relief.

The Village
M. Night’s catalogue has quite a few stinkers to choose from, but I think The Village is the most intriguing because it was the last of his movies that anyone had any hope for. Lady in the Water was dead on arrival, as was The Happening. But The Village followed Signs, which, despite flawed itself, managed to win over some viewers and critics. Then there's the fact that the film featured Adrien Brody only a year or two after his Oscar for the Pianist, so it seemed like Mr. Shyamalan might just have a hit. But no.

Having built a reputation for his twists, M. Night throws not one but two at you here. First, the creatures in the woods aren’t real but have been made up by the elders of the village to scare people from venturing too far into the woods. And why? Because (twist two) THEY’RE LIVING IN THE PRESENT TIME IN A FAKE WILDLIFE SANCTUARY!! Unfortunately, by the time this is revealed, you’ve sat through hours of dumb, stilted dialogue spoken by uninspired characters.

Terror Train
It’s Halloween… ON A TRAIN! Seriously. That’s what it is. In fact, according to an IMDB trivia nugget, it doesn't aspire to be anything more. The writer woke up in the middle of the night and said, “Hey! I should put Halloween on a train.” His wife said, “That sounds terrible.” So he wrote down “Terrible Train." Then he changed the title to Terror Train the next morning. The plot hinges on a “prank gone wrong.”

The problem is the prank itself immediately torches any chances of feeling pity for the protaganists. Here's their idea of some wacky hoodwinkery: Jaime Lee Curtis’s friends (Yes JLC is in this too) convince her to lure an awkward frat pledge into a dark room with promises that they’re going to… you know. Except in the dark, they do this HILARIOUS thing: they put a woman’s corpse in the bed with him! Not surprisingly, he goes crazy, and then comes back later to kill all the fratty pranksters while they’re partying on a train. How these people a) have not arrested or kicked out of school, b) haven't killed or eaten each other for fun (because they're clearly sociopaths), and c) are able to get a freaking train to have a party on is beyond me.

2. Identity
A storm traps John Cusak, that snarky doctor from Scrubs, and some other people at a motel in the middle of nowhere, and then someone starts offing them one at a time. Perfect! A classic slasher! Nice and simple! Right? Wrong.

Identity is the classic case of a screenwriter failing to understand that less is more. At some point, we start to see images of a mental patient being rolled through an asylum. Soon we learn that all of the characters are people living in his head, and the doctors need to find which one is killing everyone because that’s the voice that’s making him crazy and dangerous. Well, low and behold, it ends up being the little boy and he manages to kill them all! Because in every one of the not-shown killing scenes, no one had the smart idea to just kick that little brat in the face!

1. Birdemic
Mostly, flawed movies are frustrating. But every so often, you find one so flawed that it’s beautiful. In a typical bad movie, the bad parts stand out, distracting the viewer, but in a movie like Birdemic you get the feeling that any moment, no matter how fleeting, of good cinema would harshly contrast its otherwise uniform terrible-ness. No need to sum up the plot or describe what's wrong. For this one, I'll let the trailer do all the talking.


quality posts: 36 Private Messages Jeus

You couldn't be more wrong about Birdemic. It's one of the best movies I have EVER seen, I suggest everyone buy,rent,steal or stream this movie.

So good!

Just want to say thanks to llandar for suggesting this little gem.

Woot...where random used to happen.


quality posts: 3 Private Messages dugaboggy

I am now curious about what would have made the list of the 5 movies that actually scare you.


quality posts: 3 Private Messages dugaboggy

Sorry, I guess I meant "ascare" you. :P


quality posts: 6 Private Messages TheFaz

Awful list! Sorry mate!


quality posts: 24 Private Messages blaculadave


Are we talking about movies that failed in every respect with no redeeming qualities, or movies so bad they're good? If its the latter, then this Top 5 is severely lacking Sleepaway Camp. Unforgettable lines like "I've gotta take a wicked dump" make me angry that I'm not watching it right now.


quality posts: 10 Private Messages eholling

Check out Thankskilling. It's pretty horrific. Extremely low budget horror film with some of the best-worst lines ever.


Bouts of Consternation:
8/17/11; 9/14/11; 10/12/11; 11/09/11, 12/06/11; 4/26/12

And right now.


quality posts: 4 Private Messages AbEnd

Kingdom of the Spiders rules over Birdemic.

And the Kingdom has William Monster A-Go Go (1965). 'nuff said.


quality posts: 123 Private Messages tgentry

You missed the best part about The Village... that the story was possibly stolen from the kids book "Running Out of Time".


quality posts: 1 Private Messages cooldaddybeck

Now I must fight the urge to watch Birdemic....


quality posts: 4 Private Messages stingray69

Not terribly interested in watching Birdemic but I'd love to get the soundtrack!


quality posts: 1 Private Messages ScottR1

I don't think I've actually been scared by any films since I was a kid, quite a while ago.

I've only seen two of the movies on this list, Open Water and Identity.

I wasn't bored by Open Water; I think the review is flawed in that Open Water wasn't intended to be a *scary* movie. It's a quiet movie where the fear and loneliness *of the characters* ought to strike an empathic note in the viewer. And it worked for me. I think today's audiences have gotten too used to shock and confuse it with terror. I'm reminded by what Hitchcock said about the difference between surprise and suspense:

“There is a clear difference between surprise and suspense […]. We are sitting here and having an innocent conversation. Let us assume that there is a bomb under this table between us. […] suddenly there is a loud boom and the bomb goes off. The audience is surprised, but before this surprise they have only seen a very ordinary scene without any significance. Let us instead look at a suspense scene. The bomb is under the table and the audience is aware of this because they have seen the anarchist plant it there. They also know that the bomb will go off at one o’clock, and up on the wall is a clock showing that the time is now quarter to one […]. In the first scene we have given the audience 15 seconds of surprise […] but in the last scene we have given them fifteen minutes of suspense.”

Identity... I think the criticism simply doesn't make sense. *Who* didn't have the sense to kick the kid? The "individuals" who supposedly should have done this weren't people, they were aspects of a personality and without independent judgment.