Hilarious knockoffs of famous monster movies

Classic fright flick moments stick with us forever, like when the chestburster sang "Hello My Baby" after popping out of John Hurt in Alien (or was that Spaceballs?), or the very first time Jason Voorhees donned his trademark hockey mask in Friday the 13th. We were witnessing the birth of an icon, and then the rebirth, and then the afterbirth … seeing as rinse and repeat is Hollywood's favorite flavor. In the long run, Sharknado never fooled anyone into believing they were about to witness the next Jaws but did churn up a chuckle or two. Sure, some a guy stalking around the woods with a black trash bag covered in petroleum jelly with a hand puppet for a head won't win critical raves, but the legendary awfulness does leave its own mark.

Monster Dog (1984)

Monster Dog details a gaggle of musicians, led by Alice Cooper—really, the raison d'etre for this movie—as a rock and roller named Vince Raven (ooh, spoooooky), who returns to his ancestral home in Fogsylvania to film a music video. While shoting at a remote manor (must be nice), the shock-rocker gets bit by a furry critter while roaming the perpetually gloomy grounds. It also seems as though he's uncovered an old family curse, lycanthropy. Unlike Lon Cheney, though, there's nary a hint of suspense to Alice's household malady, and the goofball flick devolves into a walk through horror movie trope-land. At its core, Monster Dog doesn't feel like much more than an extended music video where Alice gets to ham it up in a wolf suit (and it's probably not him in the wolf suit).

Technically, Monster Dog isn't really a direct rip-off of The Wolfman or even The Howling, although it borrows heavily from many of the classic and neo-classic werewolf flicks. The brainchild of Italian genre schlock-meister Claudio Fragasso—yes, the man behind the "best worst movie ever made," Troll 2—the f-grade movie takes more than a suspension of disbelief. It requires horror nerd intestinal fortitude. Aside from its WTH plot, this lame pooch lays a steaming pile of corny wolf makeup effects and a half-cheeked transformation sequence that looks like a rejected reel sent by an eight-year-old auditioning for VFX supervisor on John Carpenter's remake of The Thing.

Apparently, Monster Dog lifted its leg, and the viewer reaps the benefits. This one's only recommended for horror nerds and Alice Cooper completionists.

Bloody Murder (2000)

Sometimes, watching a movie can turn into a fun game of match the homage to its original movie—especially all the trove of buried cult film treasure in just about any Quentin Tarantino movie. On the other hand, some movies don't seem to have an original bone left in their pastiche-riddled carcass. Bloody Murder is just such a horror movie hyena disappointment.

The checklist of complete and utter Friday the 13th knockoffs goes a little something like this: a legendary killer named "Trevor Moorehouse" is blamed for a string of gruesome deaths. We're already getting suspicious. He wears a hockey mask. Something is rotten in the state of Cinemark. A bunch of counselors run around around a campground (Camp Placid Pines vs. Camp Crystal Lake) drinking, smoking, skinny dipping, and fornicating (Angela Baker's term, not ours). Um, now we're getting a distinct feeling of déjà vu. A creepy groundskeeper/townie/hobo warns the unsuspecting counselors about their impending DOOOOM. Wow, they weren't even trying, were they?

Oh, sure, there are a few elements of post-Scream, fourth-wall winking from time to time in Bloody Murder. There's even an attempt to develop a character or two. Just kidding! It's nothing but stock characters getting diced into Soylent Green tartar by a guy in a hockey mask. There are no redeeming qualities to this warmed-over, blatant Friday the 13th theft, aside from hilarity.

Queen Kong (1976)

Admittedly, Queen Kong is a spoof of Dino De Laurentis's overblown faceplant of a King Kong remake. Taken at face value, though, even its tongue-in-cheek appeal wasn't enough to grant this film any more charm than Scary Movie 19, but it did swing straight into post-camp territory pretty rapidly. The film also dropped minor United Kingdom celeb Rula Lenska—most famous in the states for her self-aggrandized V05 commercial and Johnny Carson's "Who the hell is Rula Lenska?" running joke—into the leading role within its ape ape.

Released in 1976, Queen Kong flips the script as Lenska's director, Luce Habit, heads to Africa aboard her boat The Liberated Lady to make a movie. Lost without a male lead, though, she and her crew gender-bend (put those keyboards on standby, chauvinist trolls) things by kidnapping Brit-sploitation and soap opera actor Robin Askwith's Ray Fay. Upon reaching the continent, they discover a batch of lily-white Africans who worship at the altar of Queen Kong. Eventually, the awkward creature suit, er, ape, falls head over heels for Fay, and they wind up swinging from Big Ben. The cheese-ball flick concludes with Fay delivering an overblown but amusingly feminist diatribe designed to get authorities to empathize with the giant lady gorilla.

To be honest, between the flipped script and the feminist overtones, this movie is pretty darn entertaining. The simian getup is beyond laughable, and the acting and dialogue, for the most part, outdo even its own attempt at parody.

I Was a Teenage Frankenstein (1957)

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is an undisputed classic, and James Whale's 1931 film adaptation is just as iconic as the book—if not more so. But not all Frankensteins are created equal.

In 1957, low-budgeteers Samuel Z. Arkoff and James H. Nicholson's production house American International Pictures drafted an inferior homage of sorts. Seeking to cash-in on the public domain monster, they crafted I Was A Teenage Frankenstein as a cheapo drive-in feature. Sans Universal's sizable budget, the production had to settle for some cut-rate special effects, leading the titular creature with a head like a misshapen pottery class project and sporting jeans and a T-shirt.

The main mad scientist, Professor Frankenstein—played with an earnest charm by TV actor Whit Bissell—stumbles across an automobile accident victim. He reassembles his shambling would-be nightmare from body parts that he apparently keeps lying around in drawers (because body parts remain freshest at room temperature). Naturally, the creaky assemblage revolts, killing at the drop of a hat whenever anyone startles him. Old clay face gets a new mug just in time for the creature's electrocution, giving actor Gary Conway a chance to properly ham it up.

In the long run, though, IWATF has just enough heart to make it an absurdist classic. The B-flick and its follow ups proved rather successful too, allowing AIP to shoot half of the backlog for Mystery Science Theater 3000—in addition to Roger Corman's Edgar Allen Poe adaptions, Frances Ford Coppola's first credit, Dementia 13, and countless Blacksploitation classics like Foxy Brown. Three cheers for the house that schlock built.

Dolly Dearest (1991)

American Girl is the doll every little girl caught in the grips of gender stereotyping yearns for. Not only are they remarkably expensive, but they also have a serious issue with murdering their owners—oh, wait. That's not American Girl but Dolly Dearest, a 1991 movie, which is totally not made to look like those aforementioned pricey plaything. In spite of their look-alike status, Dolly is moreso a complete and utter knockoff of the already played-out Child's Play series.

It's also probably not the starring vehicle Denise Crosby was looking for after she left Star Trek: The Next Generation in 1988. Nevertheless, she stars as the mother of a little girl that finds a porcelain doll inhabited by the spirit of Sanzia (only little old Satan incarnate) just hanging around her dad's newly purchased doll factory in Mexico. Suffice to say, things go rather south with regards to the eerie little toy—seriously, why does anyone ever buy these horrid things? It always ends in murder. As per usual, the young girl gets blamed for some adult-style wholesale slaughter, and mayhem and killer doll hijinks ensue.

Dolly Dearest is above all an ineffectual killer toy flick, but it does illustrate two important points: First of all, the murder moppet genre always makes it difficult to take the protagonists seriously—how does a two-foot-tall toy keep killing all these fully grown adults? More so, Rip Torn should've stay away from British accents.

Col (1983)

After Jaws hit the waters in 1975, swimmers everywhere began to check for stray fins at the beach, in the bathtub, the sink, heck, even the toilet. The killer shark craze also proved too lucrative for Hollywood, Italian knockoff filmmakers, and even Turkey to avoid. As a result, we're stuck with the cultural curio Col (aka Turkish Jaws).

Speaking of bathtubs, the next time you find your rubber sharky missing, you might want to check with Cuneyt Arkin and Cetin Inanc—the guys also responsible for starring in and directing, respectively, Turkish Star Wars (or Dunyayi Kurtaran Adam). Okay, so maybe the titular shark wasn't toy-sized, but it looked like it was made from corrugated cardboard painted with acrylics. The film is also chocked full of borrowed footage, including shots cribbed straight from other movies like its "homage" film, as well as the Jaws and Rocky themes, and some undoubtedly unauthorized Led Zeppelin.

As far as the plot goes, well, there really isn't one to speak of, at least one that makes a lick of sense. We start out with a choppily edited flashback of some mustachioed guy that we're never formally introduced to riding a motorcycle, kicking people's butts, and then getting his butt kicked. At some point, he battles zombies (at least we think they're zombies), before winding up on a ship, fighting the titular shark. There are also inexplicable spy movie moments, an unpleasant near-sexual assault, and copious amounts of bikini-clad women. Fin.

Col may unabashedly swipe from Jaws, but it winds up being its own breed of cinematic insanity.

The Horror of Party Beach (1964)

After its release in 1954, The Creature from the Black Lagoon turned the Gill-Man into one of America's newest horror sweethearts—both literally and figuratively, as old GM had a real thing for Julie Adams's Kay in the film. As a result, everyone tended to avoid lagoons that were remotely murky, and a new fish-man fetish developed in the minds of horror filmmakers everywhere.

Spinning off Universal's success, B-flick auteur Del Tenney's cornball fare can't seem to make up its mind whether it's a biker fight-movie, beach party knockoff, or science gone wrong monster movie. 1964's The Horror from Party Beach is a woeful take on Frankie Avalon and Black Lagoon. However, Party Beach emerges from the pastiche-a-thon as just ludicrous enough to be entertaining.

The titular horrors—sloppy, patchwork water monsters that appears to be perpetually partaking in a hot dog eating contest—are created when a batch of toxic waste combines with sunken sailor skeletons, using bad time-lapse photography. For some odd reason, people can't seem to outrun these tediously slow fish-men that manage to devour a carload of tourists and an entire slumber party before the film's only decent actress, the typecast black maid Eulabele, spills sodium on one of the creature's arms, discovering their weakness.

Apparently, it wasn't beauty that killed the beast. It was salt. So how in the world did these sea creatures survive in the ocean?

Biohazard (1985)

Between 1979 and 1986, there was a distinct lack of official "bug hunts," as 20th Century Fox took a breather from the Alien franchise between Ridley Scott's opus and James Cameron's pulsing follow-up. At the same time, there certainly wasn't a dearth of xenomorph flicks trying to fill the void, as a veritable cornucopia of clones ran around the fringes of Hollywood, spanning the inventive to the downright lamentable.

Biohazard was one of the latter. A latecomer to the Alien sweepstakes, it clipped Cameron's sequel by a matter of months. In the film, Angelique Pettyjohn—best known as female warrior Shahna from the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Gamesters of Triskelion"—telepathically transports an intergalactic beastie to the planet by accident. Now that it's loose among the earthlings, she must use her immense cleavage, er, powers, to track down the space scum before it picnics on everyone from hobos to politicians to unsuspecting, and unsurprisingly lithe, bathers.

To be completely honest, Z-grade helmer Fred Olen Ray didn't really do much with the plot, aside from stringing together several convenient set-pieces for the film's central creepazoid—played by the director's five-year-old son, making him the Mini-Me of xenomorphs. The floppy critter, whose interplanetary tailors forgot to remove his zipper in one sequence, manages to ooze zero menace before limping to its conclusion after a remarkably long 75 minutes. That's not to say Biohazard is without its charms, although its facehuggers that look like floppy ginger isn't one of them. Since the blooper reel at the end of the film is almost ten minutes long, it goes without saying: serious cineastes need not apply.

Mahakaal (1993)

"One, two, Shakaal's coming for you." Wait a second, that's not how we remembered the line. You might recognize it, though, if you've ever seen Bollywood's version of Nightmare on Elm Street, known as Mahakaal (or The Monster). Apparently, international copyright law isn't as binding in some parts of the world, such as India. This allows filmmakers such as Indian sleaze purveyors The Ramsay Brothers (a filmmaker team of seven brothers) to take more than a few liberties while recreating popular Hollywood fare, such as their retread of Nightmare.

Set among the upper castes of India, college student Anita ("see, it's different"—The Filmmakers) finds herself beset by terrible nightmares that seem a little too real. During a sleepover, her friend Seema dies in a horrid fashion, which gets her boyfriend Param locked up in jail and later sliced up as well. It seems that former kid-killer Shakaal has reincarnated into the very dreams of these Indian rich kids. Eventually, like Nancy before her, Anita pulls the fiend into the real world, making him into the child-murderer filling on a bed of nails sandwich.

Admittedly, this Nightmare swipe has its own very Bollywood flavor. The gory set pieces and freaky surrealism are wedged between beach-side picnics and entire musical numbers, where the cast shimmies their groove things. Meanwhile a comic relief character dressed like Michael Jackson circa "Bad" intersperses clownish antics throughout the "abject" moments of terror.

Nothing says impending doom like a dance number.

Hobgoblins (1988)

What, pray tell is a gremlin? It's defined as an impish little scamp that makes electronics hiccup and cars stall out when we're late for work. So what exactly is a hobgoblin? Well, it's either a generic term for a "mischievous imp" or a blatant ripoff of Joe Dante's quirky classic Gremlins.

The popularity of the "Roger Corman Film School" associate's 1984 modern monster favorite is undeniable, and the creepy Christmas classic inspired a sequel of its own as well as a host of imitators. The ultra-low-budget Hobgoblins tried to cash-in on that gremlin love a full four years after the original and two years before the follow-up arrived in theaters. The other major problems: aside from the obviously counterfeit creatures and the stop-us-after-midnight plot crib, the film is so unintentionally funny that Mystery Science Theater 3000 punsters barely had to break a sweat—not that their commentary isn't absolutely hilarious.

An old guy keeps watch over a vault full of "aliens" that look suspiciously like crappy knockoffs. The alien critters create fantasies that kill you (hmm … that one also sounds oddly familiar). Naturally, the cast is stuffed full of one-dimensional archetypes like the virginal if kinky girlfriend, the sex-pot, the tough guy—who engages in a protracted lawn-rake duel with the main character—and a "charming" dork that's obsessed with phone sex. The most inexplicable sequence in the film is the ending (spoiler alert!), where the old guardian guy decides to blow up the hobgoblins. This act prompts the question: why didn't he just kill them all off at the start, saving everyone the trouble?