Horror cinema has been around for over 100 years. In that time we’ve had classics from George A Romero, Guillermo Del Toro, Wes Craven, and John Carpenter who have redefined what horror films mean to us. But, in the long history of fright, we’ve also had some head-scratchers.
While there’s something deliciously evil about a neighbourhood serial killer, a family of cannibals, or vampires and werewolves, there have been other features of films that haven’t quite brought the scares as expected. Here are three we enjoyed – but maybe not for the right reasons.
Troll 2 (1990)
Troll 2 is a classic, and most people will recognize the film. Not for the plot or the troll-like creatures that feature as the villains of the film – but for the inclusion of one scene in almost every single list of the worst scenes in film history.
Trolls themselves don’t lend themselves well to being fear-inducing specimens. In fact, it could be argued exactly what the creatures in the film were actually supposed to be. They could be goblins, or they could be some other woodland dweller. Woodlands creatures offer themselves to mystery, which could explain their inclusion in the film. Indeed, if you play Pixies of the Forest at Lucky Pants Bingo you can see how the mystery and illusion of woodland dwellers are incorporated into the slot gameplay (we wish we could say the same for Troll 2).
Rubber claims that it is a satirical directed by French director Quentin Dupieux, but there are some aspects of the film that indicate that it took itself a lot more seriously. The film focuses on a psychic tire that goes around traumatizing the standard group of horror film cannon fodder. While the film didn’t necessarily join Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, or Freddy Krueger in the horror hall of fame, it found itself a cult following of those who attempt to analyze the actual meaning behind the film.film
Surely it couldn’t be as simple as a psychic anthropomorphic tire hellbent on revenge? Or maybe it could.
If a tire and a troll asked you to suspend belief, Reeker presents its villain in the form of a bad smell. And just like a bad smell, the film is difficult to shake even nearly 15 years since its release.
The protagonists are actually being stalked by a decaying creature, and the film is a lot cleverer than it sounds. The premise is clever, but the film can’t be taken seriously with its connotations to the bad smell. Not least because viewers are unable to smell it and would instead replace it with smells that they associate as negative. The film is worth watching until the end to see how it all turns out.
Sometimes horror needs to be shaken to check that it’s awake, and unconventional horror film subjects do just that. While Troll 2, Reeker, and Rubber might not make the Oscars list or be locked in the vault of the top films made, they do provide interesting talking points in the rich history of horror cinema.