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12 of the Worst CGI Moments in Horror Movies

worst-cgi-effects

As horror fans, we have a natural aversion to CGI (computer-generated imagery). After all, why would we want to watch the cartoonish effects in 2011’s The Thing when we could watch the outstanding practical effects of 1982’s The Thing? Unfortunately CGI is cheaper (and faster) than practical effects, so more often than not we are graced (punished?) with CGI effects in film. Some films have some truly terrible CGI. Sometimes it’s so bad that it’s shocking that some of these effects even make it past the editing room. The 12 horror films listed below contain some of the worst CGI effects in horror history.

Event Horizon

Event Horizon has its supporters and its detractors. I unfortunately fall into the latter category, but what do you expect when the film opens on some random CGI objects floating around in an anti-gravity chamber? It looks even worse on Blu-Ray! They look like little cartoons floating around the set.

bad-cgi-effects


Blade

Stephen Norrington’s adaptation of Marvel Comics’s Blade is arguably one of the better comic book adaptations to come out of the 90s. Unfortunately it was when CGI was still in its early stages, so it delivered CGI blood that looks like it belongs on a Windows 95 screensaver.


Anaconda

Anaconda gets a lot of criticism for being really, really dumb, and it certainly is dumb. That being said, it is a highly entertaining B-movie with some impressive practical effects. With great highs come low lows though, as the film’s CGI creations don’t impress. The final confrontation with the queen anaconda (See? Dumb.) is one of the worst CGI effects of the 90s.


Deep Blue Sea

If you though Anaconda looked bad, you should check out Renny Harlin’s Deep Blue Sea (a film I have professed my love for in the past). Though it was made two years later, the CGI in the film actually looks worse! The shark that jumps out of the water to ***SPOILER*** eat Samuel L. Jackson is so laughable it completely takes you out of the movie.

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COMMENTS

86 Comments
  • Alanmac

    Need to add the transformation scene in Bad Moon to this list.

  • Rohan Sorensen

    Wait…….. how do you not like like event horizon?

    • I know. I saw it for the first time my sophomore year of college back in 2010. I just didn’t like it. =/

      • Creepshow

        Yes you DID like it. Now…STOP this blasphemy!

      • diapers

        Hey now, Event Horizon is pushing 20 now, it is allowed to have bad CGI. Plus, you did too like it! See?

      • Rohan Sorensen

        I watched it after I played Dead Space, which is one of my favorite games, so that might have something to do with why I like it so much. Definitely Paul W. S. Anderson’s best film.

  • kevinhorror

    um, Tom Holland wrote Psycho II, he didn’t direct it. That was Richard Franklin who directed II

    • Whoops. You’re correct. I’ve fixed it. Thanks for the heads up!

    • Tiger Quinn

      “Um”?

  • CelticBull

    The most random list. Deep Blue Sea and Anaconda in one video with Langoliers. Spawn & Blade…

  • Christopher Perkins

    That jaw in Jaws 3D is not CGI, that’s just a bad matte job and bad light matching of a model. CGI was nowhere near good enough to make a jaw look like that in 1983. Likewise, I used to think the xenomorph in Alien 3 was crappy cgi, but learned the truth when I watched the special features on the alien quadrilogy blu-ray edition. The xenomorph in Alien 3 was a puppet, but again bad light matching and matting made it look like CGI to my eyes that were by then accustomed to CGI.

    Also, that’s not an anti-gravity chamber in event horizon, it’s just a corridor in the derelict ship that has not had it’s systems restored.

  • SpacemanSpliffz
  • Richter Belmont

    I remember watching Jaws 3D in the theatre in ’83 and absolutely loving it! I was 10, so I was easy to please, especially when it came to the … THIRD Dimension-shun-shun-shun! But yeah, there was no CGI in that film. You should’ve put in the Lawnmower Man, instead.

    • ultrazilla2000

      LOL…I agree. CGI? In a 1983 Jaws film? NO. That was several years too early.

  • Johnny Rico

    Ok, I agree with this list more or less, but that Spawn scene was nowhere NEAR as bad as the animality scene in Mortal Kombat Annihilation.
    I remember seeing that in theaters when I was 14 and think “holy SHIT this is bad”

  • LastCubScout

    1999 “The Haunting.” Yuck.

  • Bobbydevil
  • Screamz

    I agree with the list, but gotta say that the scene in the original “A Nightmare on Elm Street” is not masterful in comparison, it’s simply masterful and creative all on its own…

  • The Horror Hunter
  • Grimphantom

    lets not forget Sharknado!!! One of the stupidest movies that i’m still surprise it was a big hit…..Also Fright Night remake i mean seriously those effects where so lame….

  • DWS

    I’d rather see a man dressed in a monster suit than bad cgi. With horror it’s 90 percent atmosphere anyway but today’s filmmakers don’t know that. Next can we talk about how romance and pretty people ruin horror? The best ones don’t have either. So 1) no cgi, 2)no unnecessary romance And 3) actors who can act but don’t look like Pamela Anderson but Ellen Burnsten.

  • OmarComin’

    The Spawn one isn’t that bad.

    • Jimmy Cthulhuhan

      I’d say it’s fairly decent even by today’s standards…

      The Malebolgia stuff was pretty garbage though.

  • Creepshow

    Allow me to Conjure up a current one for ya.

    The Crooked Man

    • DBZEROGRAVITY

      wasn’t most of that an actor?

      • Creepshow

        Wearing a green suit with bulbs on it? Quite possibly.

    • Rick-Taylor

      Fucking Jack Skellington in a pimp suit.

      • Creepshow

        With a dash and a sprinkle of Mr. Peanut.

    • That was an actor but they sped up the frame rate and looked CGI. Go figure

    • Played by Javier Botet, who also happened to feature in [REC], Mama, and as the ghosts in Crimson Peak. He suffers with Marfan syndrome, which gives him a great look in horror. But the treatment of his Crooked Man felt very odd. It had a strange CGI or stop motion feel to it, and part of me does wonder if that was deliberate? Kind of like he was supposed to look like something from a kids imagination come to life. Either way, he’s fantastic, but it was odd that his screen time felt some strange effects.

    • MadCows

      When I first saw that I thought it was CGI too. Apparently it’s not. Go watch the BTS stuff on The Conjuring 2 bluray.

  • Simon

    Ah Event Horizon is still amazing though and still one of my favs.

  • Travis_Bickle

    These movies are all 20 years old. Big shocker the CG sucks by modern standards.
    At the time these flicks came out they were cutting edge.
    This article would have made more sense if it was movies in the last 2 years with garbage CG.

  • DBZEROGRAVITY

    some valid ones on here. but are they really any worse than the final clay beast from jc’s the thing or the melting corpse in the original evil dead? bad effects in small doses can be overlooked if the film is good enough

    • Tiger Quinn

      Yes, they are worse.

  • lgb

    The Freddy Kruger one actively made me angry for hours. I mean the original was terrifying and it was done with Spandex and creative lighting. It’s not that hard to pull off a scary effect. Hell, they could’ve done the exact same thing with a spandex wall, I bet it’d still look creepy even by todays standards.

    • Max

      Eh,idk. When i watched the original it wasn’t “terrifying”. It wasn’t even scary to me,but maybe it’s because i was born in the wrong generation. Remake get’s too much shit when it comes to the effects,while i thought it’s biggest problems were boring,dull and annoying characters and some of the kills that weren’t really original(killing Freddy with a machete-looking object all while screaming “welcome to my world,bitch”,might look like a nod to FvJ but it didn’t make fucking sense.)

  • Trace I usually agree with you…but Event Horizon? When I saw I was blown away from the effects. Also it is a 20 year old movie and it seems like a nitpick to me. We are talking about horrible CGI even when the film was released – see the Mummy Returns – not if it has been dated. Also the transformation of the Violator is impressive till today! Whereas the hell depiction and the devil well…it leaves a lot to be desired!

    • Shawn Simpson

      Not to mention if he is going to pick Event Horizon then why not choose the final cgi blunder with Sam Neill at the end? I love that damn movie but if there is one blunder in it that is it

    • KSE1977

      This, trying to compare older movies with earlier CGI with ones made today or even just watching some of these older films for the first time today, without factoring all of this in….it would be like faulting the original Haunting because of the cheesy effects, which for that time were solid. Now the crapfest that was the Liam Neeson the Haunting……

  • Matt Miller

    I’ve always tought Anaconda has some of the best creature effects in a monster movie. I’ve seen it many times since I was a kid so maybe I just got used to them, but to me they still look pretty decent.
    And yeah, the cats in LTROI look pretty bad but for some reason I’ve never thought about it, it’s so funny. Also the cgi in the scene of the pool is kind of cheesy , but anyway I still think that movie is too close to perfection. .

  • 1EyeJack

    The horrid CGI in Mama just ruined the move for me.

    • Brandon MacDougall

      wtf mama was soo good.

    • diapers

      Goddammit yes, I knew we were forgetting a big one. I totally dug Mama up until the first CGI, after which I wanted to hurl excrement at the screen.

  • turk

    Tobe Hooper’s “Crocodile”. That was more embarrassing than if they had used a rubber bathtub toy (maybe they did in some scenes).

  • KSE1977

    Not sure some of these belong. If you are going to choose Blade, choose Blade 2. Let’s give a pass to films that were older and couldn’t benefit from quality CGI, like Event Horizon. When it first came out, I thought it looked pretty cool. I admit it looks hokey now, but for the time, it wasn’t terrible. We have to make some allowances for the era in which the film was made and the tech restrictions.

    • oh_riginal

      Agreed on Blade 2. The CGI on the super vampires isn’t bad, but when it cuts to CGI fight scenes, it’s super obvious, like a cut scene from a video game.

      Thankfully, both of those movies are still pretty damn watchable despite the poor CGI.

  • Some of those CGI effects are better than all films from Asylum studios.

    Btw, I don’t think the cats scene in Let the Right One In is bad, it’s not the best CGI that I’ve seen but isn’t the worse.

  • Jarred Harper

    Mama
    Drag Me to Hell (though a great movie)
    NOES ’10
    Final Destination 4 and 5
    Cabin in the Woods (pitiful)

    All extremely hurt by lazy cgi. I would have enjoyed all of these films much more had the effects been practical, or at least less…bad.

    • Meisha’s Taint

      Cabin in the Woods is a perfect film in every way how dare you

    • DAWnofthedead 91

      I would contend that a movie like “Drag Me to Hell” was, because of its comedic nature, intentionally CGI’d horribly.

  • Mr. Dry

    The Langoliers and Blade are the winners (or losers maybe?) here IMO, Jaws is laughable but it was the eighties and it was a terrible sequel anyways.

    What about Horns? One of the final scenes where (SPOILER) Lee gets killed by a bunch of snakes (END OF SPOILER) it’s even worse than Anaconda’s CGI and it’s a 2013’s movie! And till that final moments, it was a kinda decent movie/adaptation. Take a look:

  • Modok

    The Thing, 2011. CGI so awful it’s legendary.

    • oh_riginal

      It is awful, I won’t argue that. But I’d say the CGI in the movies listed above are far worse.

      The worst part about the CGI in The Thing prequel is that the movie was filmed with practical effects in the first place, only to have the CGI covering it all. A waste and a shame.

    • Meisha’s Taint

      What’s even more awful is all the hard work they did with AMAZING practical affects for The Thing that were close to done only to switch to that awful CGI last minute. Brilliant move guys!

      EDIT: I should have read Oh Original’s comment first. WHOOPS!

  • guest

    for early cgi flaws, lord of illusions bothered me. back then i guess basic shapes were all that was possible. it kinda stuck out like a sore thumb.
    but a movie made today with bad cgi is not tolerable. at all.

  • oh_riginal

    Haven’t seen it since the year it was released, but I seem to remember An American Werewolf in Paris having pretty bad CGI.

    • the usual suspect

      Absolutely terrible. Totally agree

  • Shaun Fielding

    I was always bothered by the cgi blood in midnight meat train as it was so lazy … a couple of litres of blood on the train floor surely would cost less.

    • Charles Cumella

      Or when that guy gets his face smashed and his eye flies out… Good movie, bad CGI.

      • Michael Josef Kappel

        That guy? You don’t know who Ted Raimi is? Lol

  • DrewHamster

    So you didn’t like the flying meatballs with PS1 polygon teeth from The Langoliers? :'(

  • PsychoMantis18

    I resent this list.

  • Charles Cumella

    Yeah, I’m gonna have to disagree on Event Horizon, which was one of my favorite Sci-fi / Horror movies as a kid, It looked great to me, and maybe i just don’t notice it because I like the movie, but the effects don’t hurt the film at all. Unlike so many other movies where the bad CGI just ruins a movie for you, like Ouija, Mama or so many other ghost movies that just look lazy. So, just defending Event Horizon, and it’s from the 90’s so, that’s an excuse.

  • Jack Derwent

    I don’t think the cat scene is that bad. The scene is absurd because it has cats going crazy but watching it on Blu-ray it looks fine.

    • turk

      Have you never seen a cat in real life? I love that movie, but one of the reasons that CGI scene looks particularly bad is that the cats don’t even move like real cats. Very cartoonish looking.

      • Jack Derwent

        I’m owned by two cats, yes.

  • Matt-fBR

    ‘Paranormal Activity The Ghost Dimension’ deserves a special mention. That ghost/creature at the end is just..ugh…

    Deep Blue Sea’s CGI is bad, but the animatronics are actually pretty impressive.

    Speaking of Renny Harlin movies, I think ‘Exorcist:The Beginning’ deserves to be on this list just for the hyenas attack scene.

    ‘Cursed’ also has some pretty embarrassing CG moments.

  • Meisha’s Taint

    Whoa hold on here………….Anaconda had CGI in it???

    • turk

      You can rebook that vacation to the Amazon now. It’s perfectly safe.

  • SilentHillSiren

    I didn’t mind the bad CGI at the very beginning of Event Horizon since the rest of the movie makes up for it. I was so disappointed in The Gravedancers because it failed in not just the effects department but the story had so much potential that they just wasted.

    Nightmare on Elm Street was terrible. Why recreate the exact same shots to crappier effect?

    The SLJ scene in Deep Blue Sea was iffy but the rest of the movie was fun. I wasn’t expecting great cinema from a monster movie.

    There is absolutely no defense for how The Rock looked. At all.

    And the Langoliers looked like badly drawn Chain Chomps from Mario. Actually, that’s doing a disservice to the mighty Chain Chomps.

  • Wesley Skelly

    WHy isn’t Jaws 3D on this list? The effects are stop motion/animatronic and possibly travelling matte’s. Not CGI?!

    Also the effect in Nightmare on elm street 84 holds up so why say the 2010 one makes the effect look good when it’s ALWAYS looked good?!

    • the usual suspect

      Jaws 3d is on the list… der

      • Wesley Skelly

        iPhone typo. Once again there are no Computer Generated Images in Jaws 3D

  • HANDSofDOOM

    Its not the CGI FX in these movies thats bad. Its the whole movie itself!

  • Cheshire TrollCat

    House on Haunted, at least thats what I think its called.

    • the usual suspect

      Hill… house on haunted hill (remake). the spirit at the end was terrible

  • w0undedmagic

    Thirteen Ghosts with Mathew Lillard and The Haunting with Catherine Zeta Jones.
    Also, American Werewolf in Paris.

  • Werewolf

    Blade – “It delivered CGI blood that looks like it belongs on a Windows 95 screensaver.”

    Damn, Trace. The film is only 3 YEARS older THAN Windows 95.
    So that’s a Windows 98 screen saver, dammit!

  • DarkBree

    The first Resident Evil movie had terrible CGI as well.

    • Aberrant Dabbler

      Right?? Was crap even for the time.

  • bastardjackyll

    No Dracula 3-D?

  • Ress EZ

    Since when there have ever been good CGI in movies anyway?

  • Kaijudude

    Deep blue sea has always been a favorite of mine as well as Blade, and yes CGI was pretty much in it’s beginning stages, right after Cameron’s The Abyss and T2. One could actually say those two movies started the summer effects blockbuster trend ( cameron’s movies , not the other two. lol )

  • GunsOfNavarone

    Rather than the CGI blood in Blade, I would say CGI Blade himself was worse in Blade 2. There wasn’t a single scene in Blade 1 which replaced the entire actor for CGI but it happened several times in Blade 2 and looked really bad.

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