Trawling back through my DVD rental list over the past year or so has thrown up a whole host of preposterous modern horror flicks that I thoroughly enjoyed – and you may very well not have heard of.
Knowingly camp, silly and unafraid to push the boundaries of taste and sanity, here are nine recent horror movies that are so ridiculous you can’t help but love them.
The creators of genuinely excellent found footage shocker Grave Encounters decided to follow up their spooky, intentionally hammy haunted asylum antics with this fun spin on cabin-in-the-woods slasher cliches; replacing masked killers and monsters with alien abductors instead.
Michael Ironside has a ball as a pot-growing conspiracy theorist determined to make ET eat lead, and the daft teen partying turned screaming antics culminate in an ending that just gets more and more tonally bizarre and surreal. There will be anal probes.
This fiendish attempt to freak out coulrophobics everywhere sees a sweet, likable dad possessed by the spirit of an evil demon clown when he unwittingly puts on an old abandoned costume for his kid’s birthday party.
Peter Stormare adds great tongue-in-cheek value as the token exposition-blatherer, while lead actor Andy Powers is superb at portraying nice mild-mannered family man and twisted child-seeker alike. It goes to places you really won’t expect with unabashed, schlocky glee.
The Purge: Anarchy (2014)
The original Purge was a thoroughly disappointing damp squib of a ‘thriller’ that wasted an intriguing premise on a tiresome home invasion plot. Thank goodness then, that the inevitable sequel actually followed through on the bat-shit possibilities of the cool little concept.
On a night when all crime is legal, we enter a city plunged into total mayhem. Cue a guy in a truck mowing down marauding bikers with a gatling gun, tramps being flame-throwered by a home made tank in a subway tunnel, and a bunch of hilariously evil rich folks bidding to slaughter poor unfortunates in the paintball arena from hell. Brilliantly bonkers.
All Hallow’s Eve (2013)
If Clown hadn’t already given us enough painted monsters to cower from, then the leering face of this loveletter to video nasties and old-school slasher B-movies will certainly do the trick.
Artie plays horrifying pranks, stalks scream queens, and gleefully dismembers across several blood-soaked tales of terror set against a babysitter-alone-with-whiny-kids framing device. It’s totally, utterly nuts – and the final fourth-wall breaking credits bit will either have you laughing hysterically or fleeing from the room.
Yep. This does what it says on the tin. A bunch of bikini clad babes and their knuckle-head boyfriends get more than they bargained for when a horde of mutant flesh-eating beavers descend upon them at a lakeside retreat.
It may not be sophisticated, but it sure is a hell of a lot of fun. Hitting all the beats and armed with all the off-the-wall humour you’d want from a flick like this, there are some deliriously inspired deaths and darkly comic moments of mutilation as the ludicrous mayhem unfolds.
Bad Milo (2013)
What’s the worst thing that happens when you get stressed? In Bad Milo, our neurotic protagonist’s most anxious moments result in a ravenous, bloodthirsty creature that lives in his digestive tract forcing its way out of his anus and heading off to devour the object of his unease. Yeah.
It’s a fantastically vulgar and original idea for a comedy horror flick, resulting in some great gags, anarchic slapstick and another eccentric supporting turn from Peter Stormare. We think Milo’s kind of cute actually. Not that we’d want him living inside of us, you understand…
The Last Showing (2014)
Robert ‘Freddy Krueger’ Englund is a master at sending up his own image and adding a level of unhinged class to gory fare, and he’s sensational here as a warped, disgruntled cinema worker in this bloodbath-with-a-twist.
Sick of the downfall of classic movies and the vintage picturehouses that housed them, he decides to make his own lowest common denominator slasher flick with the unwitting aid of two young lovers – including Game Of Thrones’ Finn Jones – who he locks inside his hated multiplex one night. Watching Englund camping it up Vincent Price style as he plucks his puppets’ strings is a genuine joy.
Camp Dread (2014)
Starring Eric Roberts – a man who has made mixing up acclaimed character dramas with straight-to-video schlock a hallmark of his CV – here’s a reality TV send-up that has to be seen to be believed.
A bunch of young ne’er do wells are promised a shot at fame and a big money prize if they can stick it out at a remote summer camp where an iconic horror movie was once filmed. But then the killing starts for real, including one amazing scene where a guy gets beaten to death with his own fake leg.
Behind The Mask: The Rise Of Leslie Vernon (2006)
This inspired slasher satire deserves a bigger following. Set in a world where classic movie killers are actually real, Leslie Vernon is an aspiring teen-slaying celeb-in-waiting who invites a documentary crew to follow his night-time escapades.
The way in which it explains slasher film logic through real-world tactics, and merrily sends-up the rules and conventions of the genre with genuine affection, is ingenious. Lead actor Nathan Beasel makes for an engaging host, and genre aficionados will love its copious in-jokes and zany, OTT dollops of off-the-wall humour.