Oh Halloween, how we all love thee. Everyone’s favorite holiday is upon us once more, where men dress as gross as possible and women dress as slutty as possible. And as the night comes upon us, horror movies are fired up all over the world in hopes that the piss will be scared out of each and every viewer. Us humans are a bit of a masochistic bunch, aren’t we?
I’m a big horror movie fan but I’ll be honest, it’s hard for me to find great horror that I truly love. Although I look for suspense and thrills in my horror fare, I still expect to see a great story, which a lot of horror films tend to lack. Blood, gore, kills, and boobs mean very little if there isn’t a solid foundation that has me by the throat.
So in honor of Halloween, I am going to shine a spotlight on 8 horror films that you probably have not seen, some old, some newer. These are gems that are a little less seen than your typical mainstream fare and will probably be a great surprise to your average group of costume goers.
1.) Rabid Dogs
First up is this masterpiece by famed Italian director Mario Bava. I am a big fan of Bava’s work and this film would end up being the last one he made but my God, is it amazing. A man and his boy are kidnapped and trapped in a car with killers as they ride out and try to talk their way out of it. Bava really sticks you in the car with them and you start to loose hope very quickly.
Kidnapped is one of the more recent films on this list but it still backs one hell of a punch. The premise is simple: a family moves into a new home but is interrupted when some thugs break in and want something…although they do not know what it is at first. This is one of those “real time” films where everything unfolds with hardly any interruptions, which really puts you in the moment with the victims. Also, the fact that it seems like this could happen to anyone at anytime ratchets up the suspense.
This Japanese production comes to us from the 1970’s and, according to folklore, was created by the director’s daughter who then turned it into a film. And it shows, but in an awesomely good way. Kung-fu, insane effects, severed limbs, ghosts, killer cats, it’s all there. Above all us, it is a ton of fun and also has a ton of great laughs.
Quite possibly my favorite horror movie of all time, Repulsion throws you down the tunnel of an insane woman who is repulsed by men and sex, as she succumbs to paranoia in the lonely walls of an apartment. To say more would ruin the experience but this is Roman Polanski’s finest psychological work, which he would also explore later in Rosemary’s Baby.
5.) Funny Games (U.S. Version)
Michael Haneke is a bit of a polarizing filmmaker but you can never say that he does not accomplish what he sets out to achieve. What is he trying to achieve with Funny Games? He is trying to poke you, yes YOU, the audience member, prod you, anger you, and make you feel guilty. It is a brilliantly written piece that subverts anything you would ever expect from a home-invasion horror film.
6.) Salo or the 120 Days of Sodom
Now this is a film that you may want to proceed with caution if you plan on throwing this on for a group of regular folks. If you do, I can guarantee you some will leave your house and others may even stop being your friend. This is horror in the truest sense of the word, meaning it will repulse you, frighten you, disgust you, and quite possibly put you in a foul mood. All in all though, it is a masterpiece and there really is nothing else like it that is this accomplished.
7.) The Devils
In what is possibly my favorite Ken Russell film, The Devils is rich with religious culture that is folded inside out into something quite sinister. Much of the horror lies within the actual humans themselves but I can say that you will never look at nuns the same way again when you see what they do to a Jesus statue.
8.) The Burning
For those aching for 80’s slasher cheese, you really can’t do much better than this. Featuring a young Jason Alexander and co-written by the Weinstein brothers, this film features great dialogue and a slow-building (but entertaining) story that spends ample time with its characters before dispatching them in awesomely gruesome ways. This is for lovers of Friday the 13th and Sleepaway Camp.
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