It’s Halloween-time, and it’s very important that you get your scares in, even if this year is scary enough on its own. However, some of us take Halloween to the extremes, rewatching the same movies over and over again.
And by “some of us,” I mean “me.” It’s that time of the year for me to watch some of the dumbest and cheesiest horror movies on repeat. From stupid curses that make no literal sense to rock n’ roll ghostly killers that have musical numbers to robotic mall security guards that explode people’s heads, these horror movies are some of my favorites. Sadly, because of the amount of times I like to watch them, I typically am chastised by friends, acquaintances, and coworkers about how often I watch them or repeat lines from them.
However, there are just some movies you need in your life on a daily basis. So here are 8 B-horror movies I will never stop watching, even if this action leaves me friendless and penniless along the way.
If you’re looking for a more serious dissection of the horror movie genre and movie recommendations, might I suggest these fine horror pieces to wet your whistle?, , , and our reviews of the latest Blumhouse movies and .
8. Thinner (1996)
The only diet fad that really works is getting cursed by an old man. Stephen King’s Thinner from 1996 was about an overweight attorney who was a big jerk and got cursed by an old man, which made him lose weight. Move over, Weight Watchers! Curses are in! However, the lawyer keeps losing more and more weight, and it may kill him. Obviously, he needs to find a way to lift the curse, right? Also, the man turned one guy into a lizard.
The real reason to watch this movie is to see the actual curse happen and to do your best imitation of a 109-year-old man saying, “Sir? Thinner.” Honestly, I’m going to say this a lot during the course of the movie, and it will annoy you.
7. The Forest (2016)
A not-so-great horror flick rooted in a very sad reality. Before a YouTuber made a bunch of jokes in the Sea of Trees, Japan’s Aokigahara was known as the “Suicide Forest,” a place outside of Mount Fuji where people went to commit suicide that is tied heavily to Japanese lore revolving around yūrei–ghosts.
The movie The Forest follows an American woman who travels to Japan’s suicide forest to search for her twin sister who may or may not be dead and may or may not be sending her ghostly messages to save her. Isn’t uncertainty so much fun? The story is exceptionally weak and only serves as a way to get an American character to Japan to immerse the character in watered-down Japanese folklore.
It’s dumb, predictable, and yet, there’s something about it that won’t stop me from playing it. It’s like the movie is cursed, and if I don’t watch it a couple of times a year, I shrivel up and die inside, or become thinner.
Streaming on Netflix
6. Stay Alive (2006)
Stay Alive is what happens when a studio producer sees his niece or nephew playing Silent Hill for 30 seconds and gets the bright idea of a movie about a video game that is really trying to kill you. For its time, every single person who heard of the movie thought, “Duh, why hasn’t anyone done something like this before?” A horror movie about a video game that can kill you in real life is a fantastic concept.
However, tying it all into lore that exists in the movie’s real world, along with the fact the special effects looked exceptionally dated when it came out, meant that this film fell flat when it came out. However, it sits in this perfect little pocket of being incredibly enjoyable to watch while never crossing the line of being so bad that it’s unwatchable.
Streaming on Amazon Prime Video
5. The Haunting (1999)
I remember going to the theater to see The Haunting. I remember this movie being a big deal between my friends, as movies about malevolent ghosts were just starting to make a comeback–between this and the remake of William Castle’s House on Haunted Hill. Slashers were so last season at this point. It’s all about murder ghosts now! However, The Haunting is, well, a bad drama that happens to have a few ghosts in it by accident. It’s like the film stumbled upon some ghouls while filming. Lili Taylor just chews every scene she’s in, and her character is entirely unbearable throughout the movie. Take everything you know and love about Mike Flanagan’s Haunting Of series over at Netflix and add some Lifetime movie of the week writing and acting to it. I think that sums it up well.
There is nothing redeeming about The Haunting, as it is as campy as a major horror film can be for that time period. Yet, I find myself drawn to it, much like Taylor’s character is drawn to a house that has no problem killing Owen Wilson.
Streaming on Amazon Prime Video
4. Brain Scan (1994)
Out of all the horror movies about video games–there are only two that matter–Brain Scan is the best one. The 1994 horror movie was a bit ahead of its time, as it followed a teenager (Edward Furlong) who plays an interactive CD-ROM game where you are a serial killer. However, it turns out that the murders committed in the game are happening in the real world. The horror! The being behind it is none other than Trickster, which may or may not be a virtual entity. Trickster loves the heavy metal music, though.
“Product of its time” can describe a lot of horror movies, usually referring to a specific decade. However, Brain Scan is this brilliant snapshot of a very narrow time period. It’s something that could have only come out in the dawn of the era of CD-ROMs–a product you might not think twice about, but something older folks like myself are very nostalgic about. Like, remember when you first got your hands on a copy of Myst? Remember playing Myst for the first time and lying to yourself that it wasn’t boring? It’s like that, but with heavy metal.
So much of the movie revolves around the wonderment of CD-ROM technology and the possible future of video games. Also, Frank Langella plays a detective who seemingly has solved the case right after the first murder, and what’s not to love about that?
Streaming on Crackle
3. Chopping Mall
Chopping Mall is about a mall–a thing that was very popular in the ’80s–where robots–another popular ’80s thing–become security guards that end up malfunctioning and killing everyone inside the mall after hours. Chopping Mall is a product of its time–I think that’s the first time I’ve used that phrase in this piece. It’s something we’d probably never see today because malls are mostly dead anyway. RIP all the places I worked as a teenager.
As far as horror movies go, Chopping Mall features so many unbelievable moments–a staple of the genre. First, robotic security being a thing in 1986 is too much for my suspension of disbelief. Next, lightning is the conduit to turn robotic security robots into killing machines, and that is a bit far-fetched. Finally, the “teens” in this movie all want to party in a furniture store at the mall after dark. So if Chopping Mall is already such an unbelievable film, why do I keep going back? Well, it’s the dumbest fun imaginable. It’s classic schlock you can’t get enough of.
Streaming on Shudder
2. Devil (2010)
In 2010, Devil came out, a movie that was heavily advertised as being produced by M. Night Shyamalan, during a time when people were done with his movies. He was that director that had movies with really great twists at the end–like “the aliens are allergic to water.” This is a time before Split, The Visit, and Apple TV+’s The Servant but right after The Last Airbender and The Happening. It was a rough time for Shyamalan. But alas, I’m already very much off tangent.
Devil is about a bunch of people stuck on an elevator, and one of them is the Devil. Spoiler alert, it’s the old lady. Everyone has to figure out who the Devil is because–um–it’s a murder mystery or something? Were they all expecting to beat the Devil up once they figured it out?
My favorite line in the movie comes from the sleazy mattress salesman, a character archetype I demand to be in every movie from now on. He looks at another person and says, “Why don’t you suck a butt?” Yeah! Suck a butt, ya butt sucker! There is quality writing like this throughout the entire movie.
However, the best part of the movie is when one of the security guards watching the elevator events unfold pieces the entire plot of the movie together by realizing that his toast always falls “jelly side down” and that’s because the devil is near and the devil is in the elevator. The Devil hates carpets not soiled in jelly.
Streaming on HBO Max
1. Slumber Party Massacre II (1987)
Every year, around Halloween time, I try my best to find an excuse to write about one of my favorite horror movies of all time: 1987’s Slumber Party Massacre 2 by writer/director Deborah Brock. Shoehorning this movie into something is my tradition because this movie is amazing.
A majority of the time, I spend much of my efforts talking about the Driller Killer–a rockabilly ghost with a drill on the end of his electric guitar. But not this time.
Slumber Party Massacre II follows a group of girls who are all in a band together that go on a vacation to a summer house. Of course, they bring their instruments and some boys show up. And yes, there’s a rockabilly ghost murderer–previously mentioned–chasing them as well.
I have lots of little facts about the dumbest elements of this movie. Did you know the songs performed in the movie–“If Only” and “Why”–are actually from the band Wednesday Week? That might be important information for someone to know. How about that moment when Courtney and Amy get into the car and sing “Tokyo Convertible?” That’s the only time in human history that the song is almost palatable.That’s a good fact, right? SPM2 is pure ’80s horror in the best way possible, and I would gladly lose all my friendships to watch it one more time.
Streaming on Shudder
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