The worst horror film of all time, according to Stephen King

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There are few horror writers in literature or cinema with the same gravitas as Stephen King, a man responsible for countless classics of the genre, and the inspiration for dozens more. For this reason, his word on all things horror is held in far greater esteem than most, and, for this reason, if he picks out a great or terrible horror movie, you should really listen to what he has to say. It’s an easy rule to follow and one which, you would expect, makes him one of Hollywood’s trendsetters. Yet, sometimes, producers and directors don’t take his advice.

The writer responsible for such horror films as The Shining, directed by Stanley Kubrick, Carrie, It, Pet Sematary, Salem’s Lot, The Mist and more, has written over 60 novels with an arsenal of short stories under his belt. If anyone is qualified to criticise the horror genre, it’s Stephen King. He’s never been too afraid to do so, either. Once taking a serious swipe at the production of a horror genre classic. Few would dare to take on King, but this take had a lot of people scratching their heads.

In an interview with Deadline, King was even quick to criticise Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, a film often recognised as a classic, stating: “I think The Shining is a beautiful film and it looks terrific, and as I’ve said before, it’s like a big, beautiful Cadillac with no engine inside it. In that sense, when it opened, a lot of the reviews weren’t very favourable, and I was one of those reviewers. I kept my mouth shut at the time, but I didn’t care for it much”.

As King continues, he adds with a searing disdain: “I feel the same because the character of Jack Torrance has no arc in that movie. Absolutely no arc at all…In the book, he’s a guy who’s struggling with his sanity and finally loses it. To me, that’s a tragedy. In the movie, there’s no tragedy because there’s no real change.” But, while he found issues with The Shining it’s not so bad that he declared it the “worst”, that infamous title went another way.

On June 29th, however, Stephen King asked his Twitter followers, “What is the worst horror movie you ever saw?” to which the writer also gave his influential opinion. It’s the kind of opinion that could kill a movie in its tracks these days; however, thankfully, King opted not to slay a modern movie. Without an elaborate explanation, King stated following this question, “For me, Blood Feast“, making reference to the 1963 splatter film directed by Herschell Gordon Lewis. 

Starring William Kerwin and Mal Arnold, Blood Feast follows a deranged caterer who kills women for use in his recipes. Emphasising gore, violence and gross-out set-pieces, even director Herschell Gordon Lewis went on to state: “I’ve often referred to Blood Feast as a Walt Whitman poem. It’s no good, but it was the first of its type”.

Whilst Stephen King was quick to announce Blood Feast as his least favourite horror film, the writer is also a purveyor of high-quality genre films, often listing his top picks for history’s very best horror films. In conversation with the BFI in 2017, King selected eight of his top horror films, with some of which easing more on the side of thriller, with the writer noting he’s “especially partial … to suspense films”. Included on the compelling list of films was The Sorcerer, Les Diaboliques, The Changeling, Night of the Demon, Village of the Damned, The Hitcher, The Stepfather and Duel, from director Steven Spielberg.

You can check out the trailer for Stephen King’s least favourite horror film, Blood Feast, below.

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