5 Horror Movies That Are Blatant Scams

Horror is often the most brazen genre in cinema, so much so that it is the pride of many creators in the medium. There are theoretically endless ideas that a creator could think of when asked to scare an audience, but a few seem to attract loyal customers.

There’s a huge and absurd variety of media types under the horror movie umbrella, including some of the most powerful and least interesting releases in cinematic history. Entire industries live within the walls of better production points and steal whatever scrap they can repackage and resell quickly.


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by Paul Verhoeven Robotcop dropped in the summer of 1987 and immediately became one of the most rip-off movies in movie history. In the late 80s and early 90s, ordinary people wore cheap cop suits and walked around with awkwardly locked joints to conjure up cybernetics and call it a horror movie. ROTOR might be the funniest example of this concept as it’s also a complete james cameron rip off terminator.

The story follows police roboticist Dr. J. Barrett C. Coldyron, who is in the process of making a kind of police robot. The corrupt bureaucrats who sign Coldyron’s checks demand results years ahead of what is possible, so he is forced to resign. As a result, the robotic officer of the Research and Reserve Units on Tactical Operations went on a rampage with an apparent mandate to execute anyone he saw committing a crime. Coldyron must stop his creation to prevent him from mass killing. This movie is hilarious when it’s not terribly boring. The leather-clad version of the T-800 lacks intimidation but does its best. This one is worth a watch for the laughs.


This film walks in a unique way between the scam and the coincidence. Ghouls and Gremlins were in production at the same time, Warner Bros. even sued the cheapest movie for snagging the name. The critical response to this 1985 little monster flick couldn’t go more than a sentence or two without mentioning Joe Dante’s beloved comedy.

This film is full of terrible fake gore, bad jokes and crude practical effects. The eponymous beasts, small reptilian puppets that are always covered in some sort of goo, come from a satanic ritual. Ghouls actually made a substantial comeback at the box office, despite overwhelmingly negative reviews. At 81 minutes, there’s a certain 50s B-movie charm that may draw many viewers through this film, but it’s a pretty tough watch for those looking for something substantial.


Yes, there are about a million shark movies, and none of them would exist without a scam. Jawsbut orca is a direct effort to beat Spielberg’s classic. Evil Dead 2 producer Dino de Laurentiis saw Jaws and demanded a movie about a bigger aquatic menace. What he got was Michael Anderson’s 1977 epic Orca: the killer whalewhich probably didn’t recoup its budget and was definitely gutted by critics.

The film centers on Nolan, an Irish fisherman hunting a great white shark. While battling with the iconic fish, a killer whale takes it down in combat, a bold statement of intent that the film fails spectacularly. Nolan and his fellow fisherman kill the orca’s mate, leading him on a violent quest for vengeance against the people of Nova Scotia. This movie isn’t as bad as some make it out to be, but confidently seeking to dethrone the original summer blockbuster puts a bad taste in most viewers’ mouths.

Birdemic: shock and terror

James Nguyen’s 2010 horror epic is in the vocal hoax camp. The writer/director has been extremely clear that his killer bird film is a pastiche of the Hitchcock film. The birds. Nguyen worked with Birds featured Tippi Hedren in her film Julie and Jackwhich can be seen on a television screen in Birdemia. Birdemia sits comfortably among most lists of the best bad movies of all time, earning more than a decade of thrilling laughs for its troubles.

The film features abysmal special effects, terrible acting, long unnecessary B-roll sequences, a weirdly preachy environmental message, and some of the worst sound ever to come to DVD. The two main characters are young lovers trying to escape the onslaught of mutant birds. It’s not worth panning over a film that exists as a laughingstock, it’s much better to join in the laughter. Fun fact: both this film and ROTOR are available for free on YouTube with RiffTrax commentary, and both are great for viewing a bad movie night.

paranormal entity

One could fill a thousand scam lists just by looking at The Asylum outlet. Their “mockbusters” haunt various DVD stores and streaming services, hoping to fool a confused viewer with a similar title. paranormal activity is the highest-grossing horror film ever made, so of course The Asylum would attempt that.

The film is a found-frame ghost film that sells as actual video evidence in a murder trial. It’s decent compared to the average asylum project, partly because paranormal activity costs very little to manufacture. Asylum is as shameless as it gets, one example barely tops the others.

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