Without a shadow of a doubt, horror is one of the most taste-dividing movie genres amongst cinemagoers. We all get passionate about films we absolutely love and outright hate. This is my list of films that I personally think are misunderstood. They didn’t do as well as they should have at the box office, they divided the fans, or they are just considered bad movies in general.
1. A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985)
It’s a well-known fact that “Freddy’s Revenge” is one of the most disliked entries in the Nightmare series. It’s a fantastic entry in the series and it tries new things whilst breaking the rules, which of course divides the fans. Where most sequels play it safe, “Freddy’s Revenge” didn’t.
This film is set five years after the first film, with the Thompson’s house now occupied by the Walsh family. Jesse Walsh has vivid nightmares of Freddy Krueger. He plans to take control of his body so he can continue murdering victims in the real world.
The film has homoerotic undertones with the film’s protagonist, Jesse Walsh (played brilliantly by Mark Patton), struggling with his sexuality as well as fighting Freddy for control of his body, which is handled very well. It’s tonally just as dark as the original film. The dream sequences are fantastic; sometimes you can’t tell if Jesse is in reality or in the dream world. The special effects are absolutely fantastic, especially the transformation sequence which still looks great 30 years later.
Some members of the production team were not happy with the final result of “Freddy’s Revenge”. Thus, “Dream Warriors” was made, which is a more direct sequel to the original and it’s absolutely brilliant. Director Jack Sholder unfortunately hasn’t had an eventful career, which is a shame.
Over the years, “Freddy’s Revenge” has garnered more fans and has gained a cult following, which it rightly deserves. It’s a fantastic sequel and is a really misunderstood entry in the Nightmare series.
2. Jason X (2001)
After Jason goes to Manhattan and Hell, there was only one logical place that he could go next: space! Jason gets cryogenically frozen and is awakened in the 25th century, and continues his murderous rampage upon a colonial spacecraft. This film is absolutely hilarious. It’s campy, self aware, dumb and incredibly fun. James Isaac (who’s sadly no longer with us) must have known exactly what he was doing with “Jason X”.
It’s not one of those “so-bad-it’s-so-good” types of films, as this film is intended to be a comedy horror. “Jason X” nails its tone perfectly. There are some truly hilarious scenes in this film.
As of this time, this is Kane Hodder’s final appearance in the “Friday the 13th” series and he’s awesome in the role as the silent giant killer. There are some great kills, and a kill that’s been hailed one of the most original kills in the series. Also, the upgrade scene is incredibly fun.
Undoubtedly we won’t get another horror film like “Jason X”, as horror has seemed to (for the most part) lose its sense of fun and playfulness. This is a great entry in the series that knows it’s on its last legs.
The “Friday the 13th” film series was never meant to be taken seriously, and “Jason X” really knows it.
3. Night of The Creeps (1986)
Fred Dekker doesn’t get enough work. He directed two fantastic films in the 80s before the debacle that was “Robocop 3”. “Night of The Creeps” was one of them.
The plot focuses on an invasion of brain parasites that turn their hosts into zombies. Two teenagers unleash this in a college initiation prank. It’s basically a 50s B-movie re-skinned in the 80s formula and it’s absolutely incredible. It blends comedy, horror and sci-fi perfectly. It’s highly quotable and deliriously entertaining as well as being very original.
The real scene-stealer in this film is Tom Atkins as Detective Ray Cameron. He’s great in everything and at the top of his game in this movie. The special effects are fantastic for the time and if you’ve never seen this film before, you’re in for a treat. This film did extremely poorly at the box office, which is a real shame as it’s very original and incredibly fun and it’s just as good, if not better than “Monster Squad”.
One can only imagine what would have happened to his career if this film did brilliantly. If you haven’t seen this film, it’s well worth watching. It’s one of the most original films of the 80s from one of the most underrated directors in recent history.
4. Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
Marcus Nispel undoubtedly has a very mixed track record with the films he’s directed. One of his films that really divide fans is his remake of the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre”. Some love it and others hate it. Nispel made the film darker, grittier and gorier than the original. This film is a revision of the original with a few additions, most notably the brilliant R. Lee Emery as the sadistic Sheriff Hoyt.
Andrew Bryniarski does a fantastic job as Leatherface, though he does not outshine Gunnar Hansen from the original. This film is really loved and hated with some saying it’s even better than the original, though that’s a matter of personal preference.
5. Freddy vs. Jason (2003)
There is no recent horror crossover that divides fans more than this film. Some fans embrace what this film was doing, while others hated it as it ruined the two horror icons they loved. This film is an absolute ton of fun. Director Ronny Yu strikes the right mix between comedy and horror, perfectly staying faithful to the latter films in both series.
In the plot, Freddy deceives Jason to do his bidding by killing the teenagers on Elm Street to make himself stronger, so he can return to Elm Street. The problem is Jason won’t stop nor step aside, so Freddy decides to take down Jason once and for all.
Some of you may know that Yu also directed “Bride of Chucky” in the “Child’s Play” franchise, which also divided fans.
It’s great to see the horror icons clash after many years of development hell. The film doesn’t disappoint. Robert Englund is in top form as Freddy Krueger in his last onscreen outing as the Springwood Slasher. The only way this film could have been improved is with Kane Hodder playing Jason.
The film has a great sense of fun throughout, and there are some truly imaginative kills and fantastic scenes, one of which makes Jason very sympathetic. It’s a real shame we didn’t get the sequel with Ash Willams from the “Evil Dead” franchise, as that would have been incredibly fun.
6. House on Haunted Hill (1999)
It’s no lie that the remake of “House on Haunted Hill” isn’t much liked and was heavily criticized. In an age where we don’t get that many haunted house films, the late 90s and early 2000s got plenty. This is one of the best.
This remake is different from the original in that this one is set in a haunted mental hospital. This film is tense and creepy and the only thing that lets it down is the ending. Geoffrey Rush and Famke Janssen steal this film. Rush plays Steven Price (an homage to Vincent Price), a theme park manager who hosts a party for his wife Evelyn (Jannsen), who he has a love-hate relationship with.
You can clearly see that Rush is having a ton of fun in the role as Steven Price and channels Vincent Price perfectly. He’s great in every scene, and his scenes with Evelyn early on are fantastic. Jannsen plays villains really well and Evelyn is perfect for her. The setting is a great character in itself with its maze-like tunnels. There are some truly creepy scenes in this film, none more so than the saturation chamber scene. Also, look out for horror legend Jeffery Combs in a small role in the film.
It’s a very fun and creepy horror film that’s brilliantly executed and rather misunderstood.
7. Christine (1983)
In John Carpenter’s entire rich catalog of films from the 70s and 80s, “Christine” seems to be not so well remembered. The story focuses on bullied teenager Arnie Cunningham (Keith Gordon), who buys a beautiful Plymouth 58 Fury. Unbeknownst to him, the car has an evil mind of it’s own and it starts to change Arnie.
This is absolutely an incredible horror film and one of Carpenter’s finest. It’s adapted from the Stephen King book of the same name. There’s a fantastic cast in this movie, including Harry Dean Stanton and Robert Prosky, who steals every scene he’s in. It’s a well-written, beautifully shot and acted film.
The score by Carpenter himself is really impressive, and the inclusion of pop songs from the 50s is fantastic, especially Little Richard’s “Keep on Knockin” and “Pledging My Love” by Johnny Ace. Also, George Thorogood & The Destroyers “Bad To The Bone” is used perfectly. This film is more of a forgotten film than a misunderstood one, as it’s not given the merit it deserves. Undoubtedly, it’s one of Carpenter’s finest.