Horror movies suck. Not to say there haven’t been good horror films over the years — “The Exorcist,” “Poltergeist” and “Alien” come to mind — but, by and large, the vast majority of horror films are slasher/torture/porn/campy monstrosities that people only enjoy ironically or because those people are insane. So, swathing through this sea of particularly bad cinema, it takes a special breed of terrible to be the “worst” horror film. It’s kind of like ranking who’s the sluttiest Kardashian, or the ugliest cast member of “Jersey Shore.” Not impossible, but it would take a while.
So, as I journey into the Lovecraftian terror of awful horror films, I fear I won’t make it out with my sanity intact. Well, at least I’ll be comforted with the knowledge that I went out with timely and totally-not-hacky “Jersey Shore” and Kardashian references.
“Terror Toons”: This movie’s production values are so poor, I’m pretty sure it collects food stamps. I’ve seen better cinematography on YouTube cat videos — as well as better acting. The plot, if you can call it that, has Satan making cartoon characters come to life in the real world to kill a bunch of horny teens. The problem is there are no “cartoons” in a film ostensibly about cartoons. Instead we get monsters that I think are supposed to be cartoon characters, but are instead flesh-and-blood actors wearing masks that literally look like they were bought at a Halloween store (I am not exaggerating for comedic effect it seriously looks like those non-form fitting, cheap latex, perpetually open-mouthed monstrosities that make breathing a hot, sticky chore). Not to mention Satan is of the red leotard and five-dollar plastic horns variety. Even the kills are unimaginative, involving mostly stabbing and puncturing — which is disappointing since they are cartoon characters who can literally do anything at any time, a concept that just lends itself to dark, over-the-top kills. Hell, an episode of “Tom and Jerry” has more brutality in ten minutes than this movie does in its entire runtime. Although there are some slight touches of imagination (like a spoof of the “Scooby-Doo” hall sequence), they actually make the film worse. As it’s both a) squandered potential, and b) so poorly done, it makes the rest of the film look competently made. And that’s saying a lot.
“Death Bed: The Bed that Eats People”: While some people might have heard of this movie from a Patton Oswalt stand-up routine, I assure you it is worse than he describes it. And for people who haven’t heard of it at all? Holy shit, you’re in for a ride. Or rather you’re not, since this has got to be the worst idea for a horror film, period. The plot of “My Little Ponies” is scarier. The problem is, you can’t be chased by a bed, so a bed can’t actively kill you. Thus, the victims aren’t so much victims of murder as they are of suicide. I mean, how else can a bed kill you unless you sleep on it? Even then, once you found one of your friends dead on a bed, wouldn’t you have second thoughts sleeping there again? Well, I guess the victims could have had death wishes or mental issues. However, watching 90-minutes of derp-y people getting killed off by an evil bed is only fun for so long. And by that, I mean five minutes. Because, seriously, the main antagonist is a fucking bed. I guess in the end this bed did do its job, though; it put me to sleep.
“Manos: The Hands of Fate”: This is, without a doubt, the worst horror — wait, no, the worst film ever made. A classic of the cult series “Mystery Science Theater 3000,” this movie is so painful to watch it’s an entry in the FDA’s Medical Handbook under “Deadly.” Its Netflix category is “Why? Are You Serious?” If you get as far as that, Netflix suggests another title for you like: “Suck, Dick, and Die! Die! Die!” (note: a real movie on Netflix).
The plot of this movie is about a family headed by an aggressive, dickish patriarch (played by star, writer and director, Hal Warren) who gets everyone lost on vacation in the middle of nowhere because he’s an asshole who can’t ask for directions. They then find themselves at a creepy estate where Father Dickface forces the wobbling, psychologically fragile caretaker Torgo to let them stay the night, despite Torgo’s constant warnings that, “The Master doesn’t like visitors.” Later on they find out the Master is a Satanist cult leader and everyone ends up dying or becoming his sex slaves (including the 9-year-old daughter). Hal Warren, what is your problem?
Believe it or not, the plot is actually worse than what I’ve already described. There are no redeeming characters. The father is mean, abrasive and stupid. The mother is helpless, weak and stupid. The daughter is just stupid. Even Torgo turns out to be perverted and nasty. So there’s no one to root for or care about. Also, nothing happens for long stretches of time. The movie actually begins with a five minute driving sequence because they forgot to add the opening credits (true story).
And it gets worse. For instance, they shot on a camera that could only capture thirty seconds of film at a time, making the continuity errors so egregious, it could almost be construed for a surrealist art-house film (if everything else weren’t so terrible). The film was dubbed by only two people in post-production — both of whom wouldn’t have even been able to voice themselves in a movie, let alone a band of assholes and sex-slaves.
The music is repetitive to a comical degree: it’s literally just two piano keys repeated back-and-forth for two hours. A two-year-old could have written a better score by accident. And the cinematography looks like it was shot on toilet paper, which, unlike every other part of this movie, actually does make sense.
Hal Warren was a fertilizer salesman before making “Manos,” so it’s no surprise this movie is shit.