Top Ten Cheesy Halloween Horror Movies

Posted by | on November 3, 2008

That’s right, dare to rent the stupid, the weird, and the so completely un-necessary-that-they’re-amazingly-hilarious films that we’re puked out between the 70s and late 80s.

I know I just popped off a top ten movie list, but with “Trick or Treaters” practically on our doorstep, I figured it’s time to address a serious (and yet not-so-serious) problem I, and I imagine many other people deal with on Halloween night. So here we go…

Does this sound familiar ? It’s Halloween night, way past 11pm. All the costumed kids and their bored-yet-doting parents have retired for the night to pick through their pillow cases full of foil wrapped sugar bits and mini candy bars. You’ve been out at a Halloween Costume party (congratulations on first place btw), and now that the novelty of seeing all your co-workers dressed like other people has worn off and no amount of Pumpkin-Coladas is gonna make ‘em more interesting. So, your heading home early this year and just as you pass the Midnight Movie Barn you have an epiphany !

“It’s Halloween right !!??? Why don’t I rent some scary movies and settle down to some popcorn and beer?”
Great idea ! There’s only one problem… Everyone in town had that idea three days ago, and the entire “Horror” section has been picked clean. No Shining, no Rosemary’s BabyPoltergeist ? Nope. What about Friday the 13th or one of the Nightmare on Elm Street flicks ? Nada. All the big names in true horror are AWOL and all that’s left is the scraps, the sequels and the silliness.

Don’t panic! You don’t need to go home empty-handed, and you certainly don’t need to cruise the “New Arrivals” section for this year’s batch of slick-up MTV grossness, cheap “gotcha”-horror and torture films. This Halloween you’re gonna un-earth a bunch of gems amidst the rotting corpses of Hollywood’s horror past. That’s right, dare to rent the stupid, the weird, and the so completely un-necessary-that-they’re-amazingly-hilarious films that we’re puked out between the 70s and late 80s. They may not be the scariest bunch of monsters to prowl our subconscious, but they may just be the most entertaining, and nostalgic.

So lets see what’s left on the racks tonight…

Numba 10 – Halloween 3 : Season Of the Witch (1982)

Having absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the Michael Myers-Halloween movies will probably assure that this is the only disc left on the shelves, and for good reason. The plot centers around a conspiracy of evil Irish people trying to murder children on Halloween night with explosive mystical masks (St. Patrick trying to eliminate holiday competition perhaps?), so if it doesn’t scare you, it’ll at least get you in a festive frame of mind. Don’t expect a coherent ending though, I was 16 or something when I saw it originally and I’m still trying to figure out what happened.

Numba 9 – Once Bitten (1985)

Oh my God is that Jim Carrey!!!???
Yeah, this one is pretty 80s-’tacular and wears it’s teen-romance influences on it’s day-glo sleeve. Jim Carrey (sorry I don’t remember his character’s name, I was too blown away that it was him) runs around the 80s acting like Ferris Bueller, infiltrating ancient vampiric cults, indulging in bad slapstick, and tries desperately to get laid. He gets lucky with the wrong 80s-esque Beverley Hills blond Vampire and spends the rest of his high school graduation having nightmares that he’s Bela Lagosi. Imagine if National Lampoon did The Hunger and you’ve kinda got the gist of this nutball horror/comedy…. And oh yeah, be prepared for both a hilariously bad dance and chase scene.

Numba 8 – Munchies (1987)

If you can find this one then you are either very lucky or very desperate, because no-body I know ever heard of it, let alone watched it as I did at age ten. If you liked Gremlins, then… errr, well this is kinda like that, but with more burp and fart jokes. These little monsters with mohawks that reproduce when they’re cut in half go on a rampage around an 80s desert town, doing 80s things, and killing 80s people in unusual and funny ways. A whole lot of pop-culture referencing, beer and cheetos-consuming, and kitchen-equipment-mutilating ensues. Oh, and there’s a great pool table sketch that rivals the Steven Segal scene in Hard To Kill for pure bad-assness.

Numba 7 – Creepshow (1982)

For those of us with pathetically short attention spans, this movie is actually five separate little episodes connected by a theme of 50s pulp-inspired animated weidness, and get this, directed and masterminded by Horror Icons George A. Romero and Steven King. The budget for this flick may  have been small, but the acting and storytelling is spot on, and the result is actually really entertaining! I particularly liked the first, second and last stories. Bugs, blood and alien grass, what more do ya want ? The sequel is equally classic and entertaining.

Numba 6 – Sugar Hill (1974

No, not the 90s Gangsta flick starring Wesley “receivership blows” Snipes, I’m talking about the original 70s Blaxsploitation-Zombie flick starring some Pam Grier knockoff with the tag line : “She’s sweet as sugar… with a voodoo army of the undead!“. That bit alone is gold.
If you are fortunate (or un-fortunate) enough to actually find this one (or others of the Hilariously-titled 70s Black-Horror genre like: Blackula, Blackenstein, or Dr. Black and Brother Hyde) on the rental shelves, snatch the sucka up and get it home. Get your ass on that couch and press play… What will follow may very well be the single most ridiculously inspiring or painful night of your life. Sugar Hill is fittingly populated by all the classic Blaxploitation characters like pimps, ho’s, ‘workin men, beebops, etc. plus a crew of buggy-eyed zombie bothas ‘n sistahs to give it a more Halloween-like atmosphere. What really made it Numba 6 for me though, was Don Pedro Colley’s performance as the whacked-out, top-hatted Voodoo death God, Baron Samedi.

Numba 5 – Dawn of The Dead (1978)

More zombies…? You betcha ! Nothing says Halloween to me more than hordes of dead-eyed shuffling corpses with bad makeup and a ravenous hunger for intestines.

My personal favorite of the original George A. Romero zombie series of movies, Dawn… takes place after the first flick when zombies have become an epidemic that even the military cannot control. A handful of survivors hide out in an abandoned shopping mall and learn to live amongst the walking dead, bikers, each other, and that tinny soft jazz that’s always playing at the food court…. God I hate that.
Awesomest Zombie Ever!

Dawn… is definitely the cheesiest of the first series, utilizing a washed-out cartoony 70s colour palate, some bad dialogue, and way too much plot-time running around a mall pushing over mobility-imparied undead people. As a laugh bonus, this flim includes the silliest zombie character in all of cinema: The Hare Krishna Zombie! I could watch this guy try to shuffle up a fire escape all day, but I’m afraid I’d rupture a kidney from laughing so hard.

Numba 4 – The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986)

This movie has absolutely none of the focused psychological intensity of the first Texas Chainsaw Massacre, I think Leatherface lost it all in a poker game with Freddy Kruger. What he did retain was the brutal gore that goes along with using a chainsaw as a murder implement, and strangely, a new found sense of humor and even… fun? Yep, this time around the Cannibal clan kills in the name of a good ‘ol fashioned sense of adventure and black comedy, dispacting their victims in ironically gruesome fashions (catch phrase in tow) to provoke a groan of mirth as much as horror. Everything Rob Zombie knows about directing horror movies, he got from this flick.
Anyway, enough about plot, all you need to know about this movie is this… Denis Hopper fights Leatherface in a two-fisted chainsaw dual. Yeeeeehah ! Now go rent it !

Numba 3 – Slumber Party Massacre 2 (1987)

First two Zombie movies, then two sequels with “Massacre” in the title… Weird.
The first Slumber Party Massacre was never really more than a chance to splatter blood all over some T&A, and this flick proudly carries on that tradition as well as adding a sense of surreal “I can’t believe they just did that” fun (much like movie Numba 4, what is it with sequels ?). The stupid, kitschy fun is personified by the movie’s antagonist, the hilariously named “Driller Killer”. Not a guy content to just kill his victims, he intends to entertain them (and us) by singing like Buddy Holly, dancing like a heavily medicated John Travolta, and weilding a giant Gene Simmons-esque guitar with a huge drill attached to the neck. Sex, Drugs and Rock ‘n Roll !!!

Numba 2 -They Live (1988)

If you thought the bit about Dennis Hopper back in Numba 4 was keen, get this: They Live stars ancient kilt-wearing and beer drinking WWF wrestler Roddy Piper as a vigilante bent on saving the world from zombie aliens with the help of his magic sunglasses. There’s an almost- ten minute fight scene for no reason at all!!! And just when you think this flick can’t get any stranger, Piper busts into a bank full of bad guys and bystanders, with a shotgun, in broad daylight to utter the most magnificent line in action movie history:

“I have come here to chew bubblegum, and kick ass !!! And I’m all out of bubblegum.”

What can beat that you ask…? How about some sweet transvestite Transylvanian lovin…?

Numba 1 – The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

The Rocky Horror picture Show is by far the most recognized midnight matinee movie of all time, and a tradition for everyone I know on Halloween (My buddy Matt did the Time Warp, true story). Sure it’s a musical (and I HATE musicals), sure it’s got a storyline only perverts and emo kids understand, and sure you have to watch Tim Curry’s junk bounce about in a garter belt, but damnitt there is just something infectiously fun lurking in the guts of this bizarre cult masterpiece!

I won’t even bother explaining the plot, there aren’t many people in the English speaking world that haven’t seen it on late night TV, or been dragged to one of the worldwide Satanic midnight gatherings to see, and dance and sing with it on the big screen. This movie differs from all the others on the list because it not only parodies horror films, but understands them, and presents them in such a way that we accept every atrocity… murder, re-animation, tranvestitism, Meat Loaf as an actor, as simply a part of a hedonistic theatrical experience. This movie is like David bowie on crack, the ultimate costume cocktail party, the quintessential monster movie, but campy, stupid and fun… In short, the perfect cheesy Halloween horror movie.
Happy Halloween, and Much Love.

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3 Responses to “Top Ten Cheesy Halloween Horror Movies”

  1. AvatarJason

    Seriously, why isnt killer clowns from outer space on any of these lists. Its cheesier than cheesecake.

    Reply to this comment.
  2. AvatarMr. Mizatt

    Dude, two words . . . Fright . . . Night! Prince Humperdink as the vampire and Roddy McDowel. Need I say more?

    Reply to this comment.
  3. AvatarAriel

    Seriously! Zombie Strippers! Frankenhooker! Killer Klowns From Outer Space! And why the HELL is The Rocky Horror Picture Show Number 1 as Cheesiest horror film! It is CLASSIC and NOT cheesy!

    Reply to this comment.