Halloween is all about guilty pleasures, especially here in Isla Vista, which is already the year-round guilty pleasures capital of the universe. Blood, graphic sex, drunken co-eds, flesh-eating zombies… Wait a minute — you’re not reading the start of a “Wednesday Hump” column (today is, after all, Thursday) — you’re reading the apologetic prologue to my personal list of horrible, terrible, no-good, (truly) very bad horror films that I have enjoyed immensely over the years. I only share this in the spirit of the holiday season, mind you…
Perhaps, as a film & media studies major, I should feel a bit guiltier and a bit more ashamed about some of my favorite horror films. Don’t get me wrong: I love the artier, critically acclaimed horror flicks like “Rosemary’s Baby,” or the B-movie, campy vibe of films like “The Evil Dead” or even Troma Films’ extremely ridiculous, often Lloyd Kaufman-directed confections (“Poultrygeist”).
You can’t count me among the fans of the torture-porn horror genre (never seen a single installation of “Saw” or a single snuff film), but I will admit to watching — and fully enjoying — films starring actors who had minor roles on the WB, which feature immensely terrible special effects and make you wonder whether or not the filmmakers had any idea how hilarious their film was going to be.
1. “Cursed” (Wes Craven, 2005)
I’m going to give director Wes Craven more credit on this one than most critics did (Rotten Tomatoes gives this film a measly 17 percent on its Tomatometer) — I believe he meant for this film to elicit knowing laughs from the audience with this werewolf flick, much as he did with 1996’s “Scream,” a send-up of the slasher genre (which unfortunately provided the inspiration for the truly atrocious “Scary Movie” and the rest of its ilk).
Former WB alumni: Joshua Jackson (“Dawson’s Creek”), who died in the film but whose career somehow has managed to limp on (“Fringe”), and Milo Ventimiglia (“Gilmore Girls”), who is still kicking and screaming on “Heroes.” Bonus points for featuring one-hit-wonder R&B star Mya (who gets brutally mauled in an elevator).
2. “Darkness Falls” (Jonathan Leibesman, 2003)
While the frightening mood the film creates in its first five minutes is brutally massacred when the film’s villain is revealed, any film that casts the tooth fairy as its villain is all right in my book. The cheesy, wooden performances turned in by the cast of deservedly unknown actors earns the film extra bonus points.
Former WB alumni: This film would have been lucky to feature a guest star from a single episode of “Seventh Heaven.”
3. “My Bloody Valentine 3D” (Patrick Lussier, 2009)
The original “My Bloody Valentine” (1981) has stood the test of time as a cult classic; the recent remake certainly won’t go down in horror-film history, but for the barrage of blood and carnage thrown into the audience via 3-D effects that should have died in the ’60s still manages to garner more than a couple laughs at its own expense.
Former WB alumni: Kerr Smith (“Dawson’s Creek”) and Jensen Ackles (“Smallville”).
4. “Lake Placid 2” (David Flores, 2007)
The original “Lake Placid” (1999) featured a (slightly more) solid script, a cast of actors that (at least at one point) had a shred of dignity (Oliver Platt, Bill Pullman, Bridget Fonda and Betty White), but why watch that when you can view the second installation of the never-should-have-happened franchise, which is basically just an excuse for chicks in bikinis to be eaten by a crocodile while Clark Kent’s dad from “Smallville” tries to save the day, while wearing a horrible toupee.
Former WB alumni: Poor John Schneider.