Best Horror Films You’ve Probably Never Seen: Volume 2
It can be hard for horror fans to find something new. A hardcore horror fan has seen most of the classics. Now, I’m sure people have seen nearly all the films in the list, but I know that a lot of people haven’t seen any of these films. So, for the lead up to Halloween, I recommend adding these films to your watch list if you haven’t already seen them.
The Ritual is a genuinely creepy cult film let down by the final act. Friends go hiking in the woods, and something seems to be stalking them. Incredibly eerie atmosphere, subtle scares and decent acting make this the best British cult film since The Wicker Man.
Another cult film, that lacks in coherence, but is made up for in performances and gross-out scares. An aspiring actress auditions for a Hollywood film, and gets offered the part, but it all seems too good to be true. A slow-burn, with an incredibly disgusting, but freaky finale.
Roger Eggers masterful throwback to good-old fashioned horror is exquisitely made, and brilliantly acted. The Witch dishes out strong characters, atmosphere and heart-pounding scares. A Puritan family move into the woods and are horrified when the infant of the family goes missing. An in-depth character study that has themes of superstition and trust.
The Devil Rides Out
Okay, I might as well name this list best cult horror films you’ve never seen. One of the more memorable Satanic horrors, this is a good movie with good atmosphere. It’s worth the watch.
Best moment: The introduction of the devil, though dated, is pretty good.
I thought a lot of people had watched this slasher, but not as many as I thought. The best of the FT13th copies, The Burning has an excellent villain (with similarities to Freddy Krueger but he hit the screens 3 years later), unforgettable kills and wonderful gore effects. A gardener who was disfigured in a horrible prank at a summer camp returns to the camp where the pranksters are now councillors. He picks people off 1 by 1 with his garden shears.
Carnival of Souls
Carnival of Souls has inspired the most amount of films, with a twist that has been done several times. It’s one of the scariest black and white films I’ve seen, brilliantly shot and very eerie. A woman finds herself haunted by spirits after surviving a car crash.
I went into this film expecting a sleazy exploitive slasher film. It’s not. Brutal, unrelenting, and very suspenseful, Girlhouse is one of the best modern slasher films. With some masterfully executed moments and twisted kill scenes, this film will surprise you. Girlhouse doesn’t have a very good premise – girls in a house videoed by cameras 24/7 and put onto a website are picked off one by one by a psycho. It’s all about the execution though.
Found footage movies don’t normally do it for me. Bumbling, idiotic characters. Thin scares. Nauseating camerawork. However, The Conspiracy may be my favourite found footage film. A slow-burn, but it REALLY pays off. No jump scares are here, though The Conspiracy has its share of terrifying moments. So realistic you’ll be doing research on whether it actually happened.
I Am Not a Serial Killer
An indie flick, terrible name aside, is a really good thriller. Though the film has juicy death scenes, it’s more of an in-depth character study of a sociopathic teen struggling to be normal and is hunting for a local serial killer. Quite thin on scares, but brilliant characterisation and is quite entertaining.
More upsetting than scary, Emelie delivers some exceptional but disturbing scenes. Though there isn’t much gore, this psychological horror still manages to put discomfort into the viewer. Emelie follows 3 children preyed upon by a psychotic babysitter.
Before I Wake
Mike Flanagan directs this supernatural flick which follows an adopted boy whose dreams come true. Before I Wake is by no means a masterpiece, it is an incoherent, often strange piece of cinema. However, it is fairly interesting, and quite ambitious. Likeable characters and solid performances help too.
An otherwise solid cat-and-mouse film ruined by random moments. Murderous boys prey upon a girl… little do they know she’s a trained assassin who is waiting to kill them. Not scary, and the stakes are quite low, however, it’s quite refreshing to have a ‘helpless’ victim who outwits the killers easily. Not bad.
Tucker and Dale vs Evil
An excellent riff on slasher films, Tucker and Dale vs Evil may be one of the more original horror films to hit screens recently. Two friends buy a holiday cabin in the woods and teenagers mistake them for murderous hillbillies and try to kill them. One falls into a woodchipper. One accidently impales themselves on a spike. All of these deaths are misinterpreted by the teens. With some great gags and gory moments, Tucker and Dale vs Evil is a solid, light-hearted, and fun spoof that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
One of the most terrifying horror films in recent memory, It Follows is an agonising watch. A silly B-movie idea is turned into one of the greatest modern horror movies thanks to a good script, fantastic lighting, and an incredibly spooky atmosphere. Not many jump-scares or gore are found here, but It Follows is one hell of a scary ride. You’ll be breathless by the end credits.
A lot of horror fans don’t like to watch the old black and white films. Admittedly, I haven’t seen loads (the only Universal monster movie I’ve seen is Frankenstein and I haven’t other essentials) but Nosferatu may be one of my favourites. Another film that excels at lighting and makes excellent use of shadows, Nosferatu is jam-packed in atmosphere. The make-up effects for Count Orlok also hold up surprisingly well for a movie made almost 100 years ago.
Possibly the best horror film of 2015, The Invitation is probably one of the best slow-burn movies. The antagonistic force doesn’t come into play until the last 30 minutes, but the presence is always felt. The movie is also a fantastic examination of grief and is dripping in dread. The finale is also brutal and satisfying.
Probably the most unknown gem on this list, I was given Ghosts as a gift. I could barely find anything about this film on the internet, other than the fact you could order the DVD on Amazon. Quite strange, with a twist similar to another unknown gem I’ve seen, though it is still effective to some extent. Subtle scares, an atmospheric setting and an enjoyment factor put the film on this list, though it is dragged down by lack of originality and cliched moments.
A Spanish horror gem that doesn’t come up when regarding modern horror classics as much as it should. Poignant and eerie, The Orphanage is a gut-wrenching masterpiece that may be my favourite film on this list (it’s between this and It Follows I reckon). A masterpiece in modern horror.
The Devil’s Backbone
An interesting thematic piece to The Orphanage, The Devil’s Backbone is a spooky and well-executed ghost story. Guillermo Del Toro does yet another top-notch job at putting together a gorgeous and stylish horror film. Though not as good as The Orphanage, The Devil’s Backbone is nonetheless a quintessential Spanish horror film.
A strong 60’s horror, which, like The Devil Rides Out, is overshadowed by other Satanic movies. Witchfinder General doesn’t focus on supernatural elements, rather the horrific atrocities carried out on those accused. Dated, but great for its time, this Vincent Price movie is a forgotten gem.
As Above So Below
I watched this film and thought of it as a mediocre, cliched found footage film that lacked in scares. I thought that was that, and I’d forget about it. Except, I didn’t. I’m not saying this is a good film – but there are so many people who find this film terrifying. Some aspects worked for me – how as the characters delved deeper in the catacombs, they delved deeper into there fears. There were also some effective moments of claustrophobia. On some level, it didn’t work for me. Maybe you’ll think differently.
An eerie little movie, Oculus is another movie that has some decent moments, but falters in others. Unlike, however, As Above So Below, Oculus holds up better overall, due to solid performances and good direction from Mike Flanagan.
A flawed, but solid, indie movie. Nicholas Murphy struggles with pacing, and can’t decide if he’s making a mystery or haunted house flick. Despite this, Murphy manages to deploy some exceptional moments that rely on cinematography, lighting and fear of the unknown. What lurks down that hallway? What’s around the corner? What’s lurking in that closet? While the answers aren’t particularly satisfying, still a good movie.
The Fog (1980)
While it never reaches the horror of Halloween, or the sheer enjoyment of They Live, John Carpenter’s The Fog is an eerie ghost story that is a true 80’s gem. All the good makings of a classic campfire story, The Fog tells the tale of vengeful ghosts who invade a small town through a fog.
Horror movies you’ve probably never seen that are okay but not worth your time:
Volumes of Blood: Horror Stories
Trick ‘r Treat
The Stepfather (2009)
Would You Rather
Some Kind of Hate
Midnight Meat Train
Tales That Witness Madness
Horror films you’ve never seen and are lucky if you haven’t:
The Fog (2008)
Johnny Frank Garret’s Last Word
Don’t Go into the Woods (Alone)
Halloween 3: Season of the Witch
Urban Legend: Bloody Mary
Prom Night (1980)
Prom Night (2008)