Thursday, October 30, 2008

Shiloe's Top 13 Underappreciated Horror Films

Given the title of our new EP, ...And Now the Screaming Starts, coupled with the fact that our favorite music tends to skew pretty dark, it may not surprise you to learn that Halloween is our favorite holiday. And what goes better with Halloween than horror movies? Instead of giving you a rundown of the same old horror standards, we decided to compile a little list of 13 scary movies that you may not have seen, but you should definitely watch. Mwahahahaaa!

Shiloe's Top 13 Underseen Horror Flicks

13. The Haunting (1963): To date, this is the best haunted house movie that has been committed to film. Please don't bother with the 1999 remake; it is atrocious. If you appreciate a good ghost story or the type of movie that leaves you feeling shaken and unsettled, you will love this film! It's literally been a favorite since childhood. P.S. The only reason it's way down here at #13 is because it's actually been gaining in notoriety, so it's not quite as obscure as some of the others on the list.
12. The Monster Squad (1987): Ah, another childhood favorite! If you weren't a fan of this back in the 80s, you missed out. Rectify the situation now. This is campy and awesome, and it answers the eternal question of whether the Wolf Man can be deterred by a swift kick in the balls!
11. Creepshow 2 (1987): Apparently '87 was a banner year for horror. Anyhow, this lesser-known sequel may only have 3 vignettes instead of the original's 5, but it has something that the first movie doesn't: "The Raft." This is the middle story, and it's a keeper - trippy and weird. The last story is great too, hilarious and disgusting. "Thanks for the ride, lady!"
10. May (2002): A 21st-century take on Frankenstein. Angela Bettis is fantastic in the lead role; she breaks your heart, which is a rare thing in a horror film.
9. Homicidal (1961): I've always been a fan of William Castle and his over-the-top gimmickry (see: The Tingler, House on Haunted Hill), but this was a more recent discovery. IMDb describes it as "a knockoff of Psycho," which isn't entirely inaccurate, but Homicidal definitely has its own freaky, gender-bending charms.
8. Dementia 13 (1963): Francis Ford Coppola's feature directing debut, about mysterious axe murders at a rundown family estate. Has that creepy, black-and-white film from the '60s thing going for it. Plus, there aren't enough movies about axe murders!
7. Burn, Witch, Burn! a.k.a. Night of the Eagle (1962): I love a good witch movie, and this, based on a Fritz Leiber tale, certainly falls into that category. It's still not out on DVD and can be a bit of a challenge to find, but it's worth it. 
6. Let's Scare Jessica to Death (1971): 70s horror movies are the shit. (See The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Halloween for more high-profile examples.) They're all about gauzy cinematography and unpleasant sallow lighting and sparse-yet-bizarre stories. This movie epitomizes the aesthetic; check it out before they remake it!
5. Deep Red a.k.a. Profondo rosso a.k.a. The Hatchet Murders (1975): Okay, it's Dario Argento, so it's not that unheard of, but the thing is most novices only know about Suspiria. I love Suspiria, but I prefer Deep Red - it's scarier!
4. Burnt Offerings (1976): Another great 70s movie and probably my second favorite haunted house movie, the kicker for this one is the ending. Karen Black is awesome.
3. Spider Baby (1968): A truly weird and Halloween-appropriate B movie, with a post-Wolfman Lon Chaney, Jr. and a pre-House of 1000 Corpses Sid Haig. My favorite parts are the little poem/animation sequence at the very beginning and the entire character of Virginia. I would love to be her for Halloween one year, but I wonder if anyone would get it?
2. Trick 'r Treat (2009?): We were extremely fortunate to catch a recent screening of this movie, which still hasn't secured an official release date yet, despite the fact that it's totally fun and the best movies specifically about Halloween to come out since, well, Halloween. Follows the same anthology format as Creepshow, and, in a world of Saw sequels, dares to focus on spooky stories over cheap gory thrills. If you get the chance, don't hesitate to check it out.
1. KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park (1978): And at #1 we have...a late 70s TV movie created expressly to capitalize on the popularity of KISS! You scoff, but this movie is amazing. Paul Stanley shoots lasers from his eyes! A huge, robotic faux Gene Simmons goes on a destructive rampage, much to the chagrin of the real Gene Simmons! And in the end, KISS saves the day. Just as in life, my friends. Just as in life.


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