Good-Bad Movies for the Season

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Funeral Rites

Halloween is a time of silliness and skeletons. People hold harvest parties, spread cheer, get wasted and enjoy themselves. It’s also the time of year most people enjoy watching Good Bad Movies, and as luck would have it, no genre has more cult classics than that Halloween favorite: horror.

Two of the best films to watch as a part of such a Halloween marathon are Troll 2 and Hausu.

Troll 2 has a notorious reputation as one of the worst films ever made. It’s easy to see why, too; it’s amateurishly shot, the characters are either brain dead or hyperactive, the plot is tedious and yet defies easy synopsis and the effects work is a special concoction of good practical effects in service to a terrible concept. By traditional measures, it is a train wreck from start to finish, but it’s an enjoyable train wreck, full of intentional or unintentional comedy – the popcorn scene, Nilbog and “Oh my god!” – not to mention genuine heart.

Hausu, in comparison, is more highly regarded, especially among artists and writers. The tale of teenage girls going to a house, only to be picked off one by one by a supernatural force, seems like a classic horror tale. Where many horror movies would be content with just that, though, Hausu is brimming with personality. Awkwardly-placed matte backgrounds, psychedelic animation sequences, Dead Alive levels of gore and excessive use of cheery pop music make Hausu stand way, way out from the crowd. The horror was even ghostwritten by a child; the movie’s director based many of the events in the movie on fears his child expressed.

By most traditional measures, both of these horror movies fail horribly. Troll 2 looks bad on the surface, thanks to a troubled production and an incomprehensible movie. Hausu is so weird it almost defies description. There’s very little tension and all of the horror elements are funny rather than frightening.

Maybe that’s the point. Both could be called Good Bad thanks to all of the elements that pull you back from horror, but they aren’t bad just because they fail at sticking to our preconceived notion of what quality in film is. If anything, that makes them more interesting, more vibrant, more enjoyable to watch. They are special in ways that Paranormal Activity or other major horror movies are not; they are bewildering, beautiful outliers in a world of homogenity.

Hausu is a good movie. Troll 2 is a good movie. Let’s watch some good movies together this Halloween.

Horror, Movies