The Fateful Five



Quinn Welsch


Halloween is my favorite time of the year for movies. After a blazing hot summer, it always feels good to hunker down and binge watch movies when the days are shorter and a little colder.

While we all love a “good” movie, we don’t give nearly enough attention or praise to the “bad” movies out there. And bad movies are making a comeback.

There are a lot of spoofs out there, but I’m talking about the unintentionally bad, which is really the best kind of bad. You know the kind: talentless actors, confusing dialogue, plot inconsistencies and stop-motion effects.

To celebrate this, I would like to share a few of my favorites.

Wicker Man

“Wicker Man” is an adaptation of a 1973 British mystery of the same title. I saw the original once when I was 14 and it left me deeply disturbed. The 2006 remake also left me deeply disturbed, but for the wrong reasons. I only heard rumors about how terrible this movie actually was. So, for recent educational purposes, I decided to watch it.

The pagan ritual of the wicker man is creepy enough, but this movie fails to inspire any sense of horror. No. Instead, the plot mainly focuses on a Californian who rudely enters a farming commune in my home state of Washington. (In hindsight, this relationship is pretty common for anyone familiar with the migration of Silicon Valley techies to the Northwest.)

Unlike the other movies on this list, “Wicker Man” has all the polish of a modern Hollywood movie. Unfortunately, they cast Nicolas Cage as the lead role.

The movie is bearable, albeit ridiculous. The best part about it is that


Cage dies in the end.

Rock and Roll Nightmare

I always hated hair metal, but this movie changed me. Now I despise hair metal. The plot of “Rock and Roll Nightmare” is really hard to follow, the characters are all extremely cliche, but damn it, the directors and film crew tried. And that says something. Right? RIGHT??

“Rock and Roll Nightmare” is about a band recording their next album in a haunted house – err, it’s not really haunted, unless you consider rubber foam creatures as spooky. Other movie monsters include a harmless beast boy, a wad of snot and a giant (seemingly immobile) demon puppet.

When not performing a corny ‘80s metal song or getting eaten by low-budget monsters, the audience gets an inside look at the lifestyle of a heavy metal rock band in the ‘80s as they cook dinner, wash dishes, drive, read peacefully in bed and bathe. It’s a brutal rock and roll lifestyle if I ever saw one. Despite this, I love “Rock and Roll Nightmare.” It’s classic ‘80s garbage worthy of laughing at.

Plan 9 From Outer Space

Where to start…

I’ve watched this movie so many times and I still can’t recall what it’s about. It’s like trying to retell a really bizarre dream. No matter how gripping, the replay sounds disorienting and, well, stupid.

Filmed in 1959, “Plan 9 From Outer Space” actually has a pretty original concept. It is a horror movie, but it is also a science fiction movie. Aliens reanimate the dead on Earth to stop us from building a doomsday weapon. There was a similar conflict in “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” filmed several years earlier. While that movie was a bit more thoughtful, it lacked one thing that Plan 9 did not. Zombies.

But these zombies are nothing like the rabid monsters in modern horror flicks. They are slow moving idiots. How, you might ask, do the aliens intend to use such feckless creatures in their scheme? I don’t know. But if that’s their best idea, I would hate to see what plans 1-8 looked like.

This movie is rife with goofs, bad acting and plot holes, which is what makes it one of my faves.

Troll 2

This is unquestionably the first bad movie that I really appreciated.

This movie has no redeeming qualities. I would make this my top “bad” movie, but it’s become so popular among other cinephiles that it would feel like cheating. “Troll 2” is astoundingly awful.

How awful is “Troll 2”? For starters, there are no trolls, which is a pretty good indicator of the film’s overarching creative direction.

“Troll 2” takes place in a town called Nilbog, which is “goblin” spelled backwards (groan).

Goblins – not trolls – are trying to turn unsuspecting visitors into a teal vegetable substance so they can eat them. The film is very specific that the goblins CAN NOT eat meat. This was apparently a reference to the vegetarian diet that was gaining traction during the film’s production in the late ‘80s, according to one of the writers in a documentary about the film, entitled “Best Worst Movie.”

If you ever feel like kicking yourself for something you didn’t do well enough, just remember, in 1990, someone released “Troll 2.”

Manos the Hands of Fate

I save the best for last.

Have you ever found yourself with your family in a dusty, boring motel room somewhere near El Paso, Texas, and thought, “I’m gonna make a movie, RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW”? Enter the genius of Harold P. Warren, director, writer and “star” of “Manos: The Hands of Fate” (1966).

I have watched this gem several times and it never ceases to amaze me. A husband, wife and their daughter get lost while driving to a lodge in the Southwest. The family stumbles upon a beat up shack maintained by Torgo, a greasy groundskeeper with deformed legs. Naturally, they invite themselves to stay the night.

After more luggage stowing scenes than you can bear, Torgo’s “Master” awakens to claim the souls of the family. Nothing about this movie is scary, nor does it makes sense. I don’t know what “Manos” is or what the “hands of fate” have to do with anything. The movie ends with some boring cat fights, a smoldering rubber hand and lots of maniacal laughter.

I could have shot a better picture with my eyes closed. The picture is ugly, the audio is worse, the story has little continuity and every other scene could be mistaken for a snuff film. Yet, Manos reigns supreme. This is the créme de la créme of bad horror movies. I’m not alone in this opinion. Manos has inspired somewhat of a cult-like following in the world of crappy movies.

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