5 Horror Movies That Shouldn’t Have Bombed!!!

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Box Office success has very little to do with a film’s actual quality. There are so many factors at play – the release date, the marketing campaign, the general mood of the moment or the studio dumping it. And sometimes, audiences are just too dumb to get it the first time around.

A surprising amount of the films we love and revere as classics today (though not every film on this list is thought of as such – some of them I just plain like) either flat-out bombed on their initial release or “underperformed” with regard to the expectations of the studio and filmmakers.

Head below for 5 Horror Movies That Shouldn’t Have Bombed!!!

The Thing (1982)

U.S. Box Office (Initial Release) – $13,782,838

One of the first times John Carpenter swung for the fences commercially. This film had his biggest budget to date but didn’t connect with audiences when it was released in 1982, the general consensus at the time being that the film was too “gross” and “mean.” Now, it’s a bona fide classic with widely praised FX work by Rob Bottin and a great ensemble performance. It’s also one of Carpenter’s most assured directorial outings (which is saying something), and carries an impressively sustained palpable sense of dread. Although it could have been worse, the 2011 version only made $17 Million on a $40 Million production budget.

Slither


U.S. Box Office – $7,802,450

I’ve already written at length (also here) about James Gunn’s wonderful Slither and the tragedy that befell this nation when we refused to collectively show up at the theaters. I take heart in the fact that Mr. Gunn will be owning us all by this time next year with Guardians Of The Galaxy.

Drag Me To Hell


U.S. Box Office – $42,100,62

This is one of those instances where the word “underperformed” is more appropriate than “bomb.” I sort of feel like if you make a horror movie and it makes over $40 million (with a $90 Million worldwide take in this case), you’ve kind of won. However, Universal Studios didn’t see it this way (likely due to the film’s wide release, P&A budget and PG-13 rating), and Sam Raimi himself I believe was disappointed in the film’s performance himself. None of that impinges upon my enjoyment though. It’s f*cking great.

Hostel Part II


U.S. Box Office – $17,609,452

This is another one of those instances where the movie I’m sure eventually made a little money on home video. After all, it only cost $10 Million to make and at that point the DVD/Blu market hadn’t eroded to the state that it’s in today. Still, as a fan of all of Eli Roth’s directorial efforts (though I have yet to see The Green Inferno), this film deserved better. It’s his best shot film, it’s got the most interesting ideas and it’s a cinematic leap forward ahead of anything he had done up until that point.

Jennifer’s Body


U.S. Box Office – $16,204,793

I’m not sure what happened here, aside from the fact that Jennifer’s Body was positioned as a horror comedy and those rarely do well. Still, it was interesting, gory and funny. Diablo Cody was still finding her voice at that point (I feel like her true abilities lie more in the Young Adult range than in Juno), but the script still works really well. And director Karyn Kusama was no slouch in visually or in terms of dragging the co-dependent dynamic out of Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried. Also? Adam Brody is hilarious in it.

 
  • Jasonicus

    I can agree with this list. The Thing is my favorite horror film of all time and Slither is so much fun.

  • http://www.facebook.com/alansoyars MrClarke

    My least favorite on the list is Jennifer’s Body, but I was still entertained by it. I think Drag Me to Hell is one of the best horror movies that has come out in a long long time. I pretty much agree with all of these on the list. They were all good horror flicks.

  • djblack1313

    i agree w/ all except DRAG ME (which i did go see in theaters but despised. God, i hated that film) & HOSTEL 2 (yes it’s beautifully shot and has some great performances but enough with the torture films. i’m actually glad that one didn’t do that great because if it did we’d probably still be inundated with torture flicks).

    • http://www.facebook.com/tracedthurman Trace Thurman

      I have seen you bash Drag Me to Hell here a couple of times djblack and I just don’t understand. I guess I can understand not liking it (I myself thought it was fantastic), but outright despising it? WHY????

    • doomas10

      @djblack1313 I love you :D but you did not like it? Explain! I thought it was evil dead on frenzy mode!

      • djblack1313

        thanx doomas10! :)

        doomas & Trace, believe me when i say i WANTED to like DRAG ME!! i was there first show on opening day but i hated Alison’s character. i hated the cheesy bad “humor” mixed with “horror-lite” (EVIL DEAD did it so much better. perfectly i’d say). that whole seance scene was horrid. when Alison’s character killed the kitten i was rooting for her to die in a horrible/painful way. etc, etc.

        the movie just didn’t work for me. but at least i gave it a shot! :)

        • divisionbell

          I couldn’t agree more. The humor didn’t work, the CG fx weren’t very good, the seance was probably the clincher for me. The only thing that movie had going for it were the wonderfully dark opening and ending. Really wanted to like that movie but I just couldn’t get beyond a lot of. Especially the horrible lead actress.

          Hostel II was ok but I can’t say it was better than the original at all. I did enjoy the bathory scene and Deodato’s cameo, but the cheap opening with the original hero and the wasted “twist” with the final guy were very weak for me. It just didn’t feel as solid, although it was certainly well filmed.

          • djblack1313

            thank you divisionbell! :)

            at least i’m not alone in my feeling for DRAG ME!

        • Samhain2010

          Okay, so you didn’t like the seance scene. That’s it? You didn’t like that she killed a cat to keep her soul out of hell!!!??You hated a character because she killed a cat! She was going to go to hell!! You literally did not like a movie because one scene in the movie and because the character would rather kill a kitten than go to hell!?

      • Evan3

        Who knew. IMO, the séance is one of the most hilarious and horrifying scenes in modern horror cinema (and one of the best séances I have ever seen). To each their own?

  • SkullBunnie

    I really think i am the only one who thinks that Slither is boring and no where near as good as everyone gushes. I have tried so hard to like it and just can not help but get bored. I always wonder if it is one of those films that the hipsters praise and everyone else is too afraid of being uncool to disagree.
    Other than SLITHER…i completely agree with the list

    • http://www.facebook.com/tracedthurman Trace Thurman

      I was one of the few that saw it in theaters and thought it was hilarious (my sister, on the other hand, thought it was disgusting at the time and hated me but has since grown to love it). I am not a hipster (the irony there being that that is exactly what a hipster would say lol). But really the hipster thing to do would be to dislike a movie that everyone likes, thereby rendering your point moot. Trust me. I’m from Austin (aka hipsterville). =)

  • Chelsea

    The best horror movies always seem to do poorly in the box office. I never trust the numbers or what so called ‘critics’ have to say.

  • mobstar67

    John Carpenters The Thind did open the same week as Steven Spielbergs E.T. and Ridley Scotts Bladerunner…that is very unfortunate timing…The Thing went on to do just under 20 million domestic with a 15 million budget and im not sure what the totals were internationally…
    all things considered im not sure this qualifies as a bomb..however the timing of the release of John Carpenters masterpiece probably could of been better…

    • Mr.Mirage

      E.T. and Poltergeist… We were debating whether we’d see Poltergeist or Blade Runner and a friend took us to see BR… The Thing I caught, because, you know, John Carpenter still made decent movies (then), and Kurt Russell…

  • mobstar67

    damn…cant edit a post over here * Thing

  • doomas10

    I disagree for Jennifer’s body. The film was a mess – unever tone and pace, it did not know what to choose. I was so excited about it but it ended so lame and any film that does not take the advantage of having Megan Fox as a mean eating demon, is disappointing on my book. Drag me to hell was a gem and I would not say it bombed. It did fairly well overseas!

  • Lion7718

    I thought Hostel 2 was better than the 1st one.

    • Mr.Mirage

      I thought Hostel was like Kill Bill, one movie, two pieces… running them back to back at home made me a Roth fan.

  • JedEstes

    I really wish this site would get over itself. SLITHER and DRAG ME TO HELL bombed for a reason, and that reason is because they sucked. DRAG ME TO HELL is just EVIL DEADlite. It’s Sam Ramie trying to capture his former glory without committing to a forth EVIL DEAD film. And SLITHER is just a crappy re-do of NIGHT OF THE CREEPS. Stop with the love for these terrible films. Also HOSTEL PART II sucks, it doesn’t bother me as much for being on this list because it doesn’t seem like your trying to press your agenda with it, it’s just every time I see any underrated movie list on this site I know two of them are going to be SLITHER and DRAG ME TO HELL.

  • Lonmonster

    I remember seeing Drag Me To Hell on opening day. I was shocked that there were only a handful of other people in the theatre. It was kind of an eye opener that the rest of the world might not love horror as much as I (we) do.

  • snotboy21

    Ok first off, I guess I just don’t really understand this list. Is it just movies that you liked that didn’t make as much money as you would have liked or….Ok yeah no I just don’t get it. I have to agree with Doomas about Jennifer’s Body. They had a good Idea but were confused as hell as how to execute it. Slither is good, not great, good. Same for Drag Me to Hell, although I do think the humor in that actually worked perfectly. If anything you should have done a feature on great horror movies that never made it to the theater. Triangle maybe?

    • djblack1313

      snotboy21, i love the movie TRIANGLE! i like your idea. Evan you should do a list of great horror movies that never made it to the theaters. there’s tons of them.

    • doomas10

      I saw Triangle at the theatres here in UK…alone!

  • Mayday

    I enjoyed every film on this list and saw all except for The Thing in theaters. The Thing and Slither are two of my all-time faves.

  • Evil_Flip

    It always breaks my heart when a good movie bombs and crap like Transformers keeps bringing in money (even when nobody really likes it). And Pacific Rim is still considered a bomb even though it made 400mil worldwide!?

  • EvilHead1981

    djblack1313, you are not alone. From the way everyone and their mothers were hyping up Drag Me to Hell, it was a let down. It saw similar hype to Cabin in the Woods, but Cabin was a better movie. Compared to Raimi’s Evil Dead movies, Drag Me to Hell just wasn’t good, IMO, nor entertaining. Though I think that’s Sam getting a bit tired. Oz: The Great and Powerful was crap too.

    I think, personally, only The Thing and Slither deserve to be up there.

    Drag Me to Hell was lackluster.

    Hostel II is inferior to the first one, and ditched the more gritty approach for a more slick, filtered look(too glossy, IMO). Even the deaths felt more “professionally set up” than the gritty, “Do it yourself, here’s a crappy dungeon room with rusty instruments of death!”.

    Jennifer’s Body, well, I really hate the whole hipster teen thing. REALLY hate it. The premise I loved, but when you get Diablo Cody to come up with those types of hipster characters with their quirky fast talkin slang…. interest quickly fades. It becomes an unbearable feat.

  • HOAX_ARTHUR_WILMOTH

    There is NO WAY Jenifer’s Body should be on this list. It just is not that good, a few one-liners and lot twists. It is a cable watch, should have been released straight to video.

    Slither was OK, I enjoy it, but is it really surprising it did not kill at the Box Office?

    Torture Porn is a tough genre to get people to see, period, let alone at the movies. That said, I dig Hostel II and do agree it may be better than the first.

    THE THING is leaps and bounds above everything on this list.

  • markajacoby

    The Thing is still one of the great movies so couldn’t agree more with that one. However the others… Woof! I have never understood the love for Drag Me To Hell. I felt like I was doing nothing but watching site gags that I’d seen done much better in other movies. Jennifer’s Body proved that eye candy alone does not a good movie make. And Hostel 2… Well, the whole damn Hostel franchise is overrated.