5 80s Horror Films So Bad They're Brilliant

Some of the more questionable offerings from horror's most colourful decade.

The Howling 3

The vast majority of horror fans consider the 80s to be the genre's strongest decade; while the 70s may slightly have the edge in creativity, it's certainly a difficult claim to argue. It's the decade that gave us such favourites as The Shining, A Nightmare on Elm Street and The Thing, and was the peak of the horror-comedy with cult classics like Re-Animator, Evil Dead II, Return of the Living Dead and Killer Klowns From Outer Space.

The 80s also churned out its fair share of crap. The latter half of the decade, in particular, belonged to the typically terrible cash-grab sequel. As well as sequels, the horror scene was flooded with shameless rip-offs of commercial successes, particularly from oversees (the infamously terrible The Last Shark, for example). There were numerous attempts to cash-in on creative and skillfully made films without any understanding of what made them work. Sometimes, if we're lucky, the result is unintentional comedy gold.

The selections ahead are the five most entertaining displays of incompetence that 80s horror cinema has to offer.

5. Maximum Overdrive (1986)

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De Laurentiis Entertainment Group

By his own admission, Stephen King was "coked out of [his] mind" when he directed this piece of crap - and it certainly shows. His eagerness to direct Maximum Overdrive in the first place was an attempt to regain creative control of his stories' adaptations. He was vocal in his frustration towards how other filmmakers had tackled his work - even those who had done so with relative success. The film's original trailer features King himself addressing the audience, proudly claiming: "If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself." How did that one work out for you, Stephen?

In all fairness, he's deeply embarrassed about the film now, citing it as the reason why he hasn't directed another of his works since. A sober Stephen King-directed film would make for an interesting comparison.

Selecting his short story 'Trucks' as the material for his first directing attempt was a bold move; the premise of mundane, every-day machines rising up and attacking humans is not scary in the slightest, and requires a far more skilled eye to make it so (John Carpenter and Christine, for instance). As an all-out comedy, perhaps this could've worked, though it's highly doubtful. The 'leader' of this mechanical uprising - a truck with a green goblin face on the front - is laughably unintimidating.

Without context, Maximum Overdrive doesn't really belong in the 'so-bad-it's-good' category, and is instead very dull and tiresome viewing. However, if you watch the film with Stephen King's hilariously misguided promotional trailer in mind, it's comedy gold. So, a guy getting pelted in the crotch with a can of fizzy pop is Steven King "done right", and Kubrick's The Shining is an insult to the novel? Okay, gotcha.

Don't do drugs, kids.


Olivia Bradbury hasn't written a bio just yet, but if they had... it would appear here.