After the top 5 family-friendly horror movies, it’s time to move on to another topic: guilty pleasures.
I already mentioned 5 horror films of this kind in 2017, in my very first Halloween Special article, so it’s time to talk about five more horror movies that can be described as guilty pleasures. First of all, though, what does “guilty pleasure” mean when it comes to horror cinema? Well, I’m the kind of reviewer that focuses more on the objective qualities of a film rather than saying whether I liked it or not. As I previously discussed in another article, I try to remove my enjoyment when I rate a horror film, in order to be as objective and unbiased as possible. However, as a big fan of the genre, I don’t just enjoy great movies: I love many horror flicks that can’t really be classified as good films from a filmmaking standpoint. The five I will mention now are horror films (one per decade) that I personally adore – and that I like to revisit pretty much every year around the time of Halloween. As always, I will talk about them in chronological order.
Continue reading and check my horror guilty pleasures below…
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The Baby (1973) – Who says that only modern films have deeper meaning and hidden metaphorical values? The Baby, an odd horror/thriller from 1973, explores – in a very twisted way – the emasculation of the only male in a family otherwise composed by a mother and two daughters. Doesn’t sound too bad, right?
The story, in short, starts when a social worker, still reeling from the loss of her architect husband, investigates the eccentric, psychedelic Wadsworth Family. She soon finds out that the 21-year-old son is a little weird. By “a little weird”, I mean he behaves as though he was a baby! With an all-female cast (there are a couple of male extras in the background), The Baby is a sort of anti-feminist movie – something that would never get green-lit nowadays – that also shows how men can put up with being treated like infants as long as their life is easy and, to quote Red from The Shawshank Redemption, “without a care in the whole world”.
The Baby is, to me, a very fascinating film that truly goes into some dark places – it’s quite gory and violent – but at the same time has a lot of issues. The main problem is that David Mooney’s performance as “the baby” is simply hysterical: I couldn’t take any of his lines or behaviour seriously, he constantly made me laugh. Aside from that, the movie has awful production values and a sleazy-exploitation vibe that’s completely misplaced.
The Baby had been shelved for years by the studios, but now Severin Films has finally made a Blu-Ray edition of it: if you like 70s horror and oddly fascinating movies, give this one a watch!
Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988) – Killer Klowns from Outer Space is one of my all-time favourite horror movies. Period. Is it a good movie, though? Well…
Poorly received upon release, Killer Klowns has since become a cult classic and a fans favourite: the movie follows a group of aliens dressed up like clowns that come on Earth to cause death and destruction in a small town in the States. Combining ground-breaking costume design with silly-looking special effects, Killer Klowns from Outer Space is just a lot of fun! The acting is terrible and the story itself is silly as hell, but the clowns themselves still the show by being simultaneously uncanny-looking and terrifying.
The Chiodo Brothers (the directors) did a fantastic job at crafting loads of practical sequences and their efforts truly elevate this film from what would otherwise be just another 80s piece of schlock.
The Arrow limited edition of this movie features quite a few making-of documentaries that really make you understand how much passion and care was put into this silly flick: if you love campy horror-comedies from the 80s, Killer Klowns from Outer Space is one of the best picks for a fun Halloween!
The Dentist (1996) – Bryan Yuzna is one of my all-time favourite horror directors. The Dentist, however, it’s probably his worst movie. That said, this film about a dentist gone mad who enacts cruel torture on his patients is still a lot of fun for gore-hounds and fans of quirky, mean-spirited horror movies.
Despite being lazily written, badly acted and having paper-thin characters, I love The Dentist for its amazing practical FX, thought-out camera-work and just the madness of the main character, who I find to be particularly scary and eerie. Funnily enough, this silly movie caused the ADA (American Dentist Association) to ask for the film to be banned, because they were afraid of losing clients! I don’t know, this little story just makes me laugh every time I think about it.
If you’re looking for a horror film to kill time on Halloween and you don’t mind some well-executed gory torture, The Dentist needs to be added to your watchlist! And if you, just like me, have an irrational fear of everything teeth-related, you might even find this flick to quite disturbing and spooky.
Wrong Turn 3: Left for Dead (2009) – I love slasher flicks – good and bad ones alike, to be honest – and the Wrong Turn franchise is up there as one of my favourites. Whether you agree or not with me, I consider Wrong Turn (2003) to be very good and Wrong Turn 2: Dead End (2007) to be one of the best slasher films of the 2000s. Wrong Turn 3: Left for Dead is, however, the one with the kills I love the most!
When their transfer bus crashes in a West Virginia forest, a group of convicts and a corrections officer meet a rafter who is on the run from cannibalistic hillbillies who have murdered her friends. This premise is as dumb as it is full of potential for a lot of gory action, squeamish violence and creative kills. And that’s exactly what you get from this movie!
Loads of people hate it for some reason, but I do think the lower production values and acting skills – compared to the first two movies – give this one a somewhat retro/exploitation feel that makes the whole experience just a lot of fun. If you like slasher movies and you don’t care about filmmaking in the slightest, Wrong Turn 3 will make your Halloween violently satisfying!
Yakuka Apocalypse (2015) – Takashi Miike has directed 102 feature-length films at this point. No, it’s not a typo: he actually directed one hundred and two movies in less than 30 years! I love the guy, but obviously not all of his movies can be as great as Audition, Ichi the Killer, Gozu, Lesson of Evil, 13 Assassins and First Love. Even the ones that aren’t good movies, though, are still super entertaining.
Yakuza Apocalypse is no exception. The movie is set in the underbelly of Yakuza, where boss Kamiura is believed to be invincible: the truth is that he’s invincible because he’s a vampire! And every person he bites immediately becomes a Yakuza member… this movie is an insane amalgamation of horror, comedy, action, crime and drama. In other words, it’s a Takashi Miike film.
Although Yakuza Apocalypse suffers from a ton of sizable issues, I consider it one of the most entertaining movies to have been released in the last few years. It’s gory and comedic, stylised and violent, bloody and silly: what else could you ask for on Halloween night?
So, this is it: these are five of my favourite guilty pleasures to watch around Halloween. Hopefully, you haven’t seen them all, so this article was actually useful to find out some hidden gems that fit perfectly in this time of the year. Which of these movies have you already seen? Did you like them? Which ones tickle your morbid curiosity the most? Let me know in the comments!
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