When Norman Bates brutally stabbed Marion Crane to death all the way back in 1960's Psycho, it is unlikely that many foresaw this as the birth of the slasher sub-genre, which remains alive and well to this day.
The age of the slasher arrived with the introduction of cult favorites like Black Christmas, Halloween and A Nightmare on Elm Street, though it appeared to be fading as the 1990s progressed. However, much like all good slasher villains, Wes Craven brought the seemingly flagging enterprise roaring unexpectedly back into life with 1996's blood-soaked Scream. The success of Ghostface and Co. led to a wave of sequels and fresh inspiration for other franchises as the sub-genre entered the 21st century.
While flagship entries such as the aforementioned outings are the driving force behind the lasting success of this distinctive brand of horror, it has been kept quietly ticking over by countless other releases. While many of these are the straight-to-DVD variety (due to some questionable special effects and case studies in acting so bad that they would make Hayden Christensen wince), many have gone down in the annals of frightful history.
Some of these flicks are genuinely good watching, whether they be subverting tired horror clichés through a new take or an example of genuinely great cinematic production. On the other hand, other examples lacking the refinement usually required to make a movie watchable, are at times quite literally so awful that they're actually great.
10. Santa's Slay
Where to even begin with 2005's Santa's Slay?
In this bizarre take on Father Christmas, Santa is depicted as an unhinged spawn of Satan, who only undertakes to deliver presents as a result of losing a curling match to an angel. Before this, he enjoyed an annual "Day of Slaying" every Christmas, which consisted of him trying to do his best impression of what it would look like if Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees had a baby. The catch? The bet only lasts for 1,000 years and time is up.
Santa's Slay is a twisted, hilarious take on the art of the slasher. Wrestling star Bill Goldberg is obviously not Daniel Day-Lewis but he doesn't blink in a comically dark performance as he terrorizes the aptly named Hell's Township. As opposed to coming down the chimney, he blasts through like the Kool Aid man and proceeds to murder a family in an absolutely sadistic frenzy; highlights include him drowning one family member in eggnog after lighting her hair on fire and glaring at one so hard that she faints, falling neck first onto a spike behind her.
It would be cruel to spoil the rest but the madness doesn't let up there. Drawn by his nightmarish "hell-deer", Santa unleashes a tidal wave of holiday bloodshed while Douglas Smith's Nicholas Yuleson has to survive the night with his crackpot scientist grandfather. Frankly, Santa's Slay is just so ridiculous that it's actually a cracking watch; a top notch example of a movie so bad that it's great.