The end of the year is inevitably, insufferably celebrated by lists of “The Best” things about that year. This would NOT be one of those lists. Instead, I’ve decided to share my Bottom 15 (First Time) Horror Watches of 2021, which involves movies watched for the first time in 2021 and not limited just to movies released this past year.
And as a post-Christmas bonus, not only have I shared that Bottom 15 list of movies below (in alphabetical order) but have also included my honest (read: bitchy) thoughts on why watching each film was a somewhat less-than-stellar experience for me, much like 2021 itself.
How many of these moronic movies have you watched?
Here’s to a better 2022!
SCARLETT’S BOTTOM 15 (FIRST TIME) HORROR WATCHES OF 2021
AMERICAN PSYCHO 2 (2002) – available on TUBI
A sleep-inducing sequel. The actors, including Mila Kunis (in probably one of her first roles ever) and William Shatner, do what they can with a script that is criminally bad, but it’s a losing battle for everyone involved, especially the audience. There are zero scares, and most of the ridiculous kills (death by condom?) happen just beyond camera range. The one good thing I can say about the film is that after watching it, I couldn’t wait to rewatch the original.
CHILD’S PLAY (2019) – NETFLIX
Call it a reboot or a remake, but the one word I’ll never assign to Child’s Play (2019) is “rewatch”. This movie strips itself of the supernatural element that made the original so much fun, and instead makes killer doll Chucky the by-product of a pissed-off factory worker. The script makes little attempt to provide any answers to some very obvious questions, and while the cast does its best, that isn’t enough to transform this factory reject into a treasured toy.
CRITTERS ATTACK! (2019) – NETFLIX
Aside from an opportunity to see horror icon Dee Wallace (who I’m assuming is in this film after losing a bet), there’s very little here to celebrate; unless you have a soft spot for amateur acting, bad writing, and/or tumbleweed with teeth.
JAWS: THE REVENGE (1987)
This finale is an absurd exercise in film franchise desperation. Aside from the ridiculous premise, asinine script, and god-awful performances from a cast whose sole motivation for being involved was likely a paycheck and opportunity to film in the Bahamas, what truly sucks about the movie is the less-than-Great White shark, who/which comes across as less of a killing machine and more of a slow-moving submarine with sharpened dentures begging to be put out of its misery; a feeling the audience can most definitely relate to as the film spirals downwards to its stupid conclusion.
POLTERGEIST (2015) – DISNEY+
Here’s a movie that effortlessly proves the argument most classic films should NEVER get the “remake” treatment. This cinematic nonsense is nothing more than a thoughtless, insulting cash grab that wastes its talented cast (including Sam Rockwell, Rosemary Dewitt, Jared Harris, and Jane Adams), not to mention 93 minutes of the audiences’ time. I knew the film was in trouble when almost immediately I couldn’t wait for the Carol Anne character (this time around named Madison) to be abducted by the poltergeist; yes, she’s THAT annoying.
POLTERGEIST II: THE OTHER SIDE (1986)
This is a truly terrible sequel, another empty-headed, beyond stupid studio cash grab (much like its 2015 remake) in response to the massive success of the original (which I happen to love). This is the kind of mess that will inevitably give you a headache from all the eye rolling moments it provides.
SATURN 3 (1980) – AMAZON PRIME
Watching this movie is like witnessing a horrible car crash on another planet; you know you should look away, but try as you might, YOU JUST CAN’T!! Farrah Fawcett would eventually prove herself as a dramatic actress, but all she proves here is that she can remember her lines (which isn’t to suggest they’re worth remembering). Harvey Keitel looks perpetually embarrassed throughout the film, and if you’ve ever wondered if Kirk Douglas’ bare bum is on par with his son Michael’s (in Basic Instinct), then this movie might help you with that. Clearly all the production budget was spent on some admittedly cool clothing (for Farrah to slip in and out of) and the interior sets. Unfortunately, the laughable outer space special effects are something you’d find in an Ed Wood film or on a Saturday morning children’s program.
SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT 3: BETTER WATCH OUT! (1989) – TUBI
This sleigh-wreck offers none of the “bonkers” appeal of the first two films. When the Final Girl is immediately more annoying than every other character, you know you’re in trouble, which is entirely the case here. And while the killer may have the strength to effortlessly walk his way through locked doors, once that’s happened the only people slower moving than him are his victims. (Seriously, a blindfolded tortoise using a walker would move faster than anyone in this film.) A more appropriate name for this sequel might be Better Watch Something Else.
SLENDER MAN (2018) – NETFLIX
There’s no such thing as a bad time to watch a horror movie, unless the film in question is Slender Man, which is such a fat mess I don’t even know where to begin. The young cast does what it can with a wafer-thin script that feels like a wannabe teen version of The Ring, using updated technology as the gateway to an inevitable “date” with the title character, a faceless, deadly entity (who at least wears a tie while tormenting teens). There’s so much about this film that doesn’t make sense, I’m shocked (but not surprised) that it ever got made in the first place. On a positive note, I was able to do two loads of laundry while watching the movie.
SORORITY ROW (2009) – AMAZON PRIME
Is D.O.A., as in DUMB on arrival. Aside from one cool kill involving a wine bottle, and the appearance of the late great Carrie Fisher, this sorrowful movie is filled with annoying characters who can’t die fast enough. I figured out the killer almost immediately (never a good sign) and laughed my ass off at the conclusion when one character, who had spent about 90% of her screen time crying, suddenly turned into a save-the-day, bad-ass kind of gal. Bitch, please.
SOUL SURVIVORS (2001) – AMAZON PRIME
A mind-numbing attempt at horror that crashes into a dead end almost immediately, since the eventual “plot twist” is incredibly obvious early in the film. This is also the sort of movie where none of the characters is interesting enough for the audience to give a toss what happens to them, so pretty much a lose-lose situation.
THE SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE (1982) – AMAZON PRIME
I guess it makes sense for a movie with “Slumber” in its title to end up being what can only be described as a lazy slasher. Not only does the story go nowhere fast, but the victims are sooooo hilariously slow moving AND equally slow-witted that the psycho could be in a wheelchair with its brakes on and STILL make the kill. I also found it a bit unusual that for a film directed and written by women, there are way too many gratuitous shots of bare breasts on display.
THE SWARM (1978)
There’s sooooo much to say about The Swarm but none (surprise surprise) of it is good. Irwin Allen produced some classic star-studded “disaster” films in the early 70s (ie. The Poseidon Adventure and The Towering Inferno) but The Swarm is more “disastrous” than “disaster”; the version I watched was over 2.5 hours of tedious, torturous viewing. However, the following fun drinking game idea came to mind afterwards: Take a shot of your favorite spirit when 1. A former Oscar winner makes his or her first AND/OR last appearance (I counted 7 such individuals); 2. Someone onscreen hallucinates seeing an oversized bee; 3. Actress Katherine Ross’ useless doctor/scientist character has a wardrobe change (this happens way more than you’d think).
THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2 (1986) – TUBI
Director Tobe Hooper’s embarrassing sequel to his 1974 horror classic is an unexpected and unfortunate wrong turn. The acting is over-the-top bad, including Dennis Hopper (who seems to be channeling his character from Blue Velvet), Leatherface and his crew are about as terrifying as the 3 Stooges, and everything about the script oozes with stupidity.
ZOMBIE HIGH (1987) – AMAZON PRIME
This braindead film defies genre-categorizing since it fails at being scary, funny, or dramatic. (Is “stupid” a genre?) The only bright lights here are Virginia Madsen’s performance (early in her career, not surprisingly, and pre-Candyman) and the talented writer/director/producer Paul Feig in a supporting role doing what he can to keep this cinematic corpse afloat. This is the kind of movie where each scene feels like a failed acting and writing workshop.