Massachusetts Daily Collegian

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A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

B-horror films: hits and misses of the nightmare genre

(Courtesy of  Image Comics)
(Courtesy of Image Comics)

With the advance of technology and the proliferation of cheaper tools, almost anyone is able to make a movie these days. Sometimes this is a good thing. Other times it leads to production of films with murderous turkeys and haunted genetalia.

In honor of Halloween, here are 11 horror movies that missed the mark.

1. “Thankskilling” – Just when you thought movie murderers couldn’t get any more stupid, Jordan Downey crafts a story of a cursed turkey (brilliantly named Turkie) who is awoken by the untimely urination of an innocent dog. With a tag line like “Gobble Gobble Motherf*****,” you couldn’t possibly go wrong.

2. “Leprechaun” – In Jennifer Anniston’s movie debut, a murderous leprechaun misplaces his gold. The most obvious solution? Why go on a murder spree, of course! Using an arsenal of tricycles and pogo sticks, Jennifer Aniston and her band of 90s stereotypes must battle for their lives with hilarious consequences.

3.“Dead End” – Somewhat of a misnomer, since the street never actually ends, this movie did do fairly well at the box office. Which begs the question: Why? Oh God, why? This mystery “thriller” takes itself so seriously that you can’t help but laugh. This movie is why men don’t ask for directions.

4. “Kill List” – I must be alone in this endeavor because this film received positive and, in some instances, glowing reviews. The acting is on point and the atmosphere is ominous and troubled, but the movie fails to deliver an actual plot. It really makes no sense. Even the Wikipedia page can’t help you figure it out.

5. “11/11/11,” “12/12/12” and “13/13/13” – Since all are equally ridiculous (either in plot, acting or both), I felt it was unfair to put only one on this list. All three flicks are obsessed with the devil and calendars, and all three make less sense as you progress through them. The final installment, “13/13/13,” is just a mass calamity of obscenities, blood and idiocy.

6. “Silent Night, Deadly Night” – Ever asked yourself, “Why has no one made a Christmas themed horror movie yet?” Yes? Well today’s your lucky day! Spoiler alert: it’s horrible. And the four sequels aren’t much better.

7. “Rites of Spring” – Remember when I said “Kill List” had no plot? Forget that. “Rites of Spring” takes unconventional storytelling to a whole new level. Specifically, a level where it doesn’t work and makes you rip your hair out. Anessa Ramsey’s acting is compelling, but that isn’t enough to redeem the scatterbrained excuse of a plot.

8. “The Happening” – Mark Wahlberg and Zooey Deschanel battle an airborne disease that drives people to suicide. This may not technically qualify as a B-movie, but it is just as bad, if not worse, than some of the other movies on this list. Not only is the acting probably the worst of the leads’ respective careers, but M. Night Shyamalan’s underlying environmentalist message makes everything all the more hilarious.

9. “Contracted” – This is quite possibly the greatest abstinence advocacy video ever made. The message: Practice safe sex! Otherwise, you may vomit blood on your lovers, lose all your hair and become a flesh-eating undead mess.

10. “The Stuff” – Our star monster in this creature feature: ice cream. But not just any ice cream. Sentient, mass-produced, chemically enhanced ice cream. It’s darkly funny, deranged and, unfortunately, a bit racist.

11. “Birdemic” – Possibly paying homage to Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds,” this slasher film, centered on promoting environmental friendlessness, features murderous birds and performances that could be better executed by a piece of cardboard.

Unfortunately, hidden gems are a little more difficult to find. Underrated films are a possibility, however, so here are five films that deserve more credit.

1. “Yellowbrickroad” – Ignore the generic synopsis of a group of strangers enter the woods and weird stuff starts to happen. This film does horror right. It’s impressively subtle, overtly creepy and unbelievably tense. This terror flick is truly deserving of the “hidden gem” status.

2. “Splinter” – While the acting can be pretty spotty, this “infected” film redeems itself with its tense, claustrophobic atmosphere. However, this movie truly excels in how unique it is, putting an interesting and horrifying twist on the zombie genre. Great for everyone out there looking for a real, genuine fright night.

3. “+1” – Centering on a group of friends who attend a party, only to have it disrupted by a strange event, this film delivers a particularly unique story with a large redeeming factor. This blood rush of a film is both charming and plot-driven, leaving you with plenty of questions and things to talk about.

4. “Session 9” – From the director of The Machinist, this psycho-thriller can be enjoyed by over-analysts and joe schmoes alike. With dark turns in the plot and the abandoned insane asylum it’s set in, it’s no wonder this little film has developed a cult following since its release.

5. “Triangle” – This movie is beyond mind-bending. A brilliant story that tests you mentally and emotionally. Director Christopher Smith excels in immersion and cinematic choices. You may lose sleep but it’ll be worth it.

Sutton Bradbury-Koster can be reached at [email protected].

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