So, there’s a longstanding problem of misleading titles in horror. It dates all the way back to the Roger Corman B-Movies of the ‘50s and ‘60s. He was famous for conceiving a poster or title long before the movie was even written. That resulted in a lot of movies that weren’t necessarily what their titles promised them to be. Teenage Zombies does not feature any teenage zombies. It Conquered the World doesn’t actually depict the monster conquering the world.
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Horror movies these days are somewhat less egregious, but every now and then you’ll see a film that just isn’t what the title promises. With that in mind, let’s take a look at a handful of outstanding examples of horror films that aren’t what the title promises.
Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday
This is a really interesting case of a very neatly divided title saying two different things and neither of them are true. I mean, technically, Jason does go to Hell at the end, but the title makes it sound like this is going to be a Hellraiser II-esque hell-bound adventure. Which it isn’t. It’s also, of course, not the final Friday. At least it wasn’t as premature a declaration as Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter.
The Brides of Dracula
The best sequel in Hammer’s Dracula series doesn’t actually feature Dracula, nor is it really a sequel. These aren’t the brides of Dracula, these vampire women serve an entirely new lead vampire, sort of a Dracula-lite character. It’s still a very good movie and basically needs to be taken as a Van Helsing spinoff more than anything else.
Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth
This is another case of the title overestimating the budget the movie would actually have to work with. We definitely see a lot of Pinhead on earth, but the rampage through the streets and the damage caused by the new Cenobites are all fairly minimal. There’s mayhem, to be sure, but it’s by no means apocalyptic. In fact, the scene that most embodies that title is a fairly intimate one: the moment when Pinhead desecrates the church.
My Best Friend is a Vampire
Technically it’s not wrong, necessarily. But the title suggests that the vampire’s best friend is the main character, not the vampire. My Best Friend is a Vampire makes it sound like that’s the character you’re following. Instead, budding young vampire Jeremy Cappello is definitely the narrator and protagonist of the feature.
This is not even close to what the title suggests. There’s no origin for the Leprechaun in here. Not at all. More than that, though, the title makes it sound like a sequel or prequel at the very least. The title is designed to trick people into thinking it’s a part of the franchise. And legally it is, but of course, it isn’t at all. It has nothing to do with any of the previous entries in any way, shape or form.
Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan
One of the most infamously misleading horror films, Jason Takes Manhattan is actually one of the most honest on this list. At least Jason gets to Manhattan. It just takes most of the movie to get him there. Manhattan’s role is definitely played up to be much bigger than it is. And there’s also the fact that all of the New York stuff is shot in Vancouver, save for the Times Square shot. But that’s actually pretty standard filmmaking procedure.
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They’re the title of the movie, they’re prominently depicted on the poster. And they’re barely a presence in the feature as a whole. They have nothing to do with the plot and it feels like all of the ghoulies were added in during reshoots. The movie is about a man moving into his family home and uncovering a bizarre Satanist legacy. Ghoulies II is definitely the better watch for fans who want to see the little monsters in action.