So bad, they're good: Horror films you love to hate

Our writers look at the best-worst films for camp Halloween fun

multiple writers
26th October 2020

Troll 2 (1990)

After negative reviews and making a measly $5.5 million at the box office, how could you not make a sequel to Troll (1986)? Well, um… they didn’t. Instead, Troll 2 (1990) received its name from American producers, who had hoped to bank on the “success” of the original.

Imagined as a completely separate film with the original title of Goblins, Troll 2 does not in fact feature trolls, but instead – yup, you guessed it – goblins. But not just any goblins! No, these goblins are vegetarians and require humans to be slowly turned into plants before they can devour them. If you don’t already want to watch this film then maybe you’re not doing cinema right.

I don’t know if it’s the C-list acting or the fact that the production crew were exclusively Italian-speaking (while the American actors only spoke English), but Troll 2 has an allure too compelling to avoid for any aficionado of so-bad-they’re-good movies to avoid.

That being said, Troll 2 is no stranger to the limelight. At one point or another, Troll 2 had populated the internet through memes – and like most memes, they’ve quite disappeared. It’s high time this corpse of a movie be resurrected, and what better way to do it with a camp Halloween night in!

A candid shot of the film's antagonists

Peter Lennon

Chopping Mall (1986)

Chopping Mall (1986) is quintessential wacky 80's horror, taking wild ideas and creating them with the smallest budgets.

Produced by Roger Corman and starring scream queen Barbra Crampton (From Beyond), Chopping Mall is a Black Mirror style cautionary tale of advanced technology. Mall security has been replaced by robots that go rogue in classic horror fashion and begin chasing a group of teens who stayed after hours for a secret party.

As well as having one of the greatest 80's synth scores of all time and a Rolodex of strange character moments and quotable bizarre dialogue choices, Chopping Mall carries one of the most memorable kills in slasher history, which I wouldn't want to spoil (hint: it occurs about 30 minutes in!).

I imagine it used up a sizeable chunk in the special effects budget as the rest of the film's effects leave a lot to be desired. For example, very obvious male stunt doubles for female characters; hand drawn electrocution effects that are completely overused and poor CGI neon laser beams fired by the Kill-Bots with little to no consistency in effect - to note some of the more unintentionally comedic offenders.

Chopping Mall also delivers on the sleaze that every 80's horror movie vies for, including a shoehorned in shower room scene for mall diner waitresses for no other reason than gratuitous nudity. This movie is perfect for a boozy Halloween night, filled to the brim with cheese, sleaze, explosions, and killer robots. What more could you ask for?

I had the same reaction watching Chopping Mall

Michael Duckworth

The Wicker Man (2006)

This remake of the 1973 classic of the same name possesses none of the intricacies or tragic beauty that shot Robin Hardy’s original picture to fame and cement its position in the horror pantheon for the foreseeable future. Instead, we’re greeted by Nicholas Cage masquerading in a bear outfit, which by 2006 seemed about right for his career trajectory. The story follows the investigation of a girl’s disappearance amongst a pagan island community, and the following events proceed to get increasingly contrived and ludicrous throughout the duration of the picture. 

Directed by the accomplished Neil LaBute (In the Company of Men), who is by no means an unequipped filmmaker, the movie takes itself far too seriously, which is what makes it all the more amusing when the final 30 minutes of the picture descend into some of the greatest comedic moments in horror history. Not only does the hilarity of the picture’s climax ensure its spot in the “so bad, its good” club, but the shocking CGI effects which lack credibility from the inception means there is little doubt it belongs on this list. If you’re in need of a good laugh and a desire to watch a shocking film (in all the wrong ways), then this remake is for you.

Northing beats 2006 Nicolas Cage

Geordie Rivett-Carnac

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