Who doesn’t love a good horror movie every so often? Even those who are more inclined to chick flicks or biopics can cave once in awhile and indulge in a genre that can sometimes give you nightmares. It’s the thrill of the fear and moreover, the satisfaction of freaking out your movie companions by tease-scaring them and seeing them jump out of their skin.
The scary movie genre has become such a huge faction of the entertainment industry. From vampires to zombies to werewolves to deranged serial killers, the fact of the matter is, horror films have changed the face of cinema in recent years. Yes, many resort to screamfests as a scare factor (hello, Wes Craven), but other films are even more spine-tingling in their lack of special effects. Movies like The Blair Witch Project or Sixth Sense or The Others are ample proof that you don’t need elaborate CG or sound effects to get to the audience. The mere plot twists and brilliant acting are more than enough to trigger our imagination and scare the living daylights out of us. Yes, these are horror movies in their perfection, flawlessly filmed and edited before reaching the public eye.
One indication of how successful a horror flick is can be determined by whether it’s been spoofed in any one of the multitude of Scary Movie comedy sequels that have been shown to the public. If you’ve been made fun of, you’ve got it made. But even the most popular scary movies have not been immune to faux pas. And it’s in finding errors in these horror movies that sort of eases our fear because we realize that—thank goodness!–they’re just movies!
The Shining (1980)
If a novel of Stephen King is turned into a movie, it’s almost always a certifiable hit amongst the author’s fans and horror movie freaks. One such film is The Shining, starring a brilliant Jack Nicholson and directed by the great Stanley Kubrick. With such powerhouse names, the movie is about a writer and recovering alcoholic who becomes caretaker of a hotel wrought with supernatural occurrences. But it seemed the editors weren’t as attentive to detail, because the first scene shows Nicholson’s character driving to the hotel–with a shadow of a helicopter, likely doing an aerial shot, at the bottom right portion of the screen.
The movie that launched a new horror sub-genre called the slasher film was Halloween back in 1978, starring a very young Jamie Lee Curtis as the baby-sitter who’s terrorized by the “boogeyman,” an escapee from a mental institution. It was a surprise hit at the box office, but it was not without its oversights. In the scene where the killer Michael smashes the passenger side window of a nurse’s car, you’ll see a wrench plastered to his hand to make the glass break more easily. Then in the scene when Michael is carrying Annie’s body into the house, her head is on the left side of his body. The next shot shows Annie’s head suddenly on the right side of his body.
The movie Christine was based on yet another novel by master horror storyteller Stephen King. But no, Christine is not the name of some female serial killer or master seducer and murderer of men. Christine is actually the name of an evil automobile that harms and destroys anyone who hurts her owner and the only way to stop her is by destroying her. In the scene where the teenage owner’s friend uses a tractor to immobilize the car, the shot shows the supposedly totaled car fully restored, then the very next shot shows the car in its demolished state again!
Final Destination 2 (2003)
Like many successful horror film franchises, Final Destination spawned several sequels—five to be exact. Yes, apparently there is more than one way to tell a story about premonitions on different kinds of violent and unique deaths. In the second installment, there’s a scene where a boy is crushed by a piece of glass falling from the ceiling. But the shot clearly shows that it’s just a dummy stand-in under the glass. This is pretty obvious if you look closely at the dummy’s arms, which are too long in proportion to the rest of the body.
Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday (1993)
The Friday the 13th film franchise is one of the most popular in the slasher film genre. With a whopping nine installments, there’s no doubt that Jason is one of the most well-known monsters in pop culture. In the ninth and final installment, Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday, Jason finally meets his demise as he is dragged down into hell, leaving his mask behind. In the final scene, the character of Kari Keegan stabs Jason in the heart with a dagger. In retaliation, Jason lunges at her and as she’s sent flying backwards, the large blue crash mat, which cushions her fall, is visible on the edge of the shot.
The Scream film franchise not only revived Drew Barrymore’s then-dimming career, but it resurrected the popularity of slasher films after a long hiatus of flops. The first film had a few errors, however. In the scene where Sidney (Neve Campbell) sees Dewey (David Arquette) with a knife lodged on his back, we hear her shout, “Dewey!” but Campbell’s mouth is clearly forming the word, “No!” Then towards the end of the movie, Sydney’s dad falls out of a closet and you can clearly see a crew member’s hand pushing things out of the closet behind him.
Child’s Play 2 (1990)
Who wouldn’t get nightmares at the sight of a seemingly harmless doll that’s actually a possessed murderer? Child’s Play scared the living daylights out of the public and it spawned a series of films after the first one. Child’s Play 2 was a success in the box office, though there was a comical angle injected to infuse the horror of it all. One production mistake definitely added to the funny aspect, when Grace (Grace Zabriskie) is stabbed by Chucky twice. As she stumbles backwards, the top of a production crew member’s head is visibly seen at the lower right portion of the screen.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
At a time when there was a shortage of horror films, producers and directors resorted to doing remakes of popular horror flicks from decades past. One such movie was Texas Chainsaw Massacre in 2003 and it was a certified hit among a generation who probably wasn’t even born yet when the original showed. The plot revolves around a group of teenagers who encounter a deranged killer named Leatherface as they drive through Texas on a road trip. In the scene after the hitchhiker the group picks up kills herself, two of the boys are arguing and you can see that in some shots, the car passenger door is opened—and in other shots, it’s closed.
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Freddy Krueger has become a household name, as are his signature red and black striped shirt, clawed hand, black hat, and disfigured face, thanks to the A Nightmare on Elm Street film franchise. However, Wes Craven overlooked a few booboos in the post-production stage. In the scene where Nancy (Heather Langenkamp) awakes from her nightmare, you see a bandage on her chin disappearing and re-appearing from one scene to the next. Then in the scene near the end where Freddy falls over the banister and onto the stairs, the crash mat the actor lands on is caught on camera.
What Lies Beneath (2000)
The psychological thriller What Lies Beneath may have received mixed reviews from critics, but it fared quite well at the box office, due in part to its big stars. Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer played a wealthy couple dealing with strange hauntings in their beautiful home, hauntings that uncover terrifying secrets from the past. It was a seemingly flawless film, but to the moviegoer with a keen eye, there’s one scene that’s not consistent in terms of editing. When Pfeiffer’s character sees the ghost in her tub, she’s dipping her hand in the water. But in the next cut, she hugs Ford’s character with a dry hand. It should have been wet, considering her hand was supposedly in the tub just seconds prior to the hug!
Alone in the Dark (2005)
The success of a video game spawned a science fiction horror film with the same name as the game, Alone in the Dark. As if being panned by critics and bombing at the box office was bad enough, it was apparent why the film was received poorly. Aside from the bad casting and unenticing storyline, it had some production errors too. In the film, when one team member is wounded and pronounced dead, she’s left behind by the rest of the group. But as the last person is leaving, you see the supposedly dead character lifting her head up from the ground and looking left—and no, she wasn’t supposed to have resurrected!
Jeepers Creepers (2001)
A horror movie named after a classic song sounds like a flop waiting to happen. But surprisingly, Jeepers Creepers didn’t do too badly in the box office, even though critics didn’t take too kindly to it. The film tells of two teenage siblings driving home for spring break when they inadvertently witness an ongoing murder by a man in a truck. In the scene where the truck is ramming the car of the two teenagers, the bumper and the trunk of the car appear smashed. The shot changes and shows the car’s rear end in mint condition. And comically, this repeats at least 3 times.
Gremlins is aptly labeled a horror comedy film simply because it’s about a cute but peculiar little pet called a mogwai that multiplies and when banded together, they become evil little monsters. The movie was campy at best, but it did incredibly well at the box office. In the scene where a gremlin jumps from the Christmas tree and attacks a woman, the tree falls on top of her. When you look closely, you’ll see a crew member wearing a red shirt and standing behind the tree. Apparently, he needed to shove the tree on top of the woman but he didn’t hide well enough from the camera.
The Haunting (1999)
Based on the original film of the same name, The Haunting was a remake and had a powerhouse cast, starring Liam Neeson, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Owen Wilson. The story tells of a doctor who wants to do a study on human fears and invites a few people as test subjects. In the scene where Nell (Lili Taylor) sends the antagonist’s ghost to hell, Neeson and Zeta-Jones’ characters come out from hiding behind a pillar. As Neeson braces his hand on the pillar, it squishes forward, clearly indicating that it was a cheap prop, made of either foam or rubber.