Spice up your Halloween viewing with 40 Great But Forgotten Horror Movies (the first in a 4 part series)….
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So you’re getting your Halloween horror movie list in order, but you’re stuck in a rut? Sure you can go with the classics, but how about giving some unjustly forgotten horror films a try as well?
Sometimes a film through no fault of its own, is doomed by either, bad marketing, clueless critics or dim audiences.
This is the first in a 4 part series listing the Top 40 most underrated and obscure horror flicks deserving of reappraisal. For movies that share similar themes, I have a few ties in the entries.
40.‘Raw Meat’ aka ‘Death Line’-1972
[amazon_image id=”B00009PY41″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Raw Meat[/amazon_image]
Available On Netflix Streaming
Legendary horror actors Donald Pleasance and Christopher Lee star in this chiller about cannibals that attack unsuspecting Londoners through unused subway lines . Pleasance plays a police inspector investigating the disappearance of a public official and Lee is a meddling MI-5 agent thwarting his investigation. The mix of creepy subterranean cannibal scenes and deadpan British wit from Pleasance and Lee make for an oddly winning combo.
39. ‘Splice’ (2002)/”The Fly 2′ (1989)
[amazon_image id=”B003EYVXT6″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Splice [Blu-ray][/amazon_image][amazon_image id=”B0009X76XC” link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]The Fly II (Collector’s Edition)[/amazon_image]
‘Splice’ stars Adrian Brody and Sarah Polley as geneticists Clive and Elsa. They combine animal and human DNA, creating a hybrid creature. Things get unethical and uncomfortable; the creature feels maternally drawn to Elsa and sexually drawn to Clive , which all builds up to a frightening and unexpected climax ala David Cronenberg.
Speaking of; the sequel to his remake of ”The Fly’ (directed by Chris Walas) is a unusally moving sci-fi horror film. It stars Eric Stoltz as the Fly’s son who is raised like a lab rat, and unaware of his true origin. He has increased intelligence and strength, but is also slowly metamorphosing into his insect form. Once he discovers the truth about his legacy, it’s a race against time to see if he can he avoid the same fate as his father.
38. ‘Maniac Cop 2’ (1990)
[amazon_image id=”B0016MJ6P6″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Maniac Cop 2[/amazon_image]
This enjoyable trashy sequel continues the tale of undead cop Matthew Cordell and his killing spree. Cordell joins forces with another serial killer which amplifies the carnage, leading up to a final confrontation with a persistent investigative officer. Featuring an awesome car chase and impressive pyro effects, ‘Maniac Cop‘ is ably directed by William Lustig (‘Maniac’) with grimy aplomb.
37. ‘Planet Of The Vampires’ (1965)/’Queen Of Blood'(1966)
[amazon_image id=”B00005K3OF” link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Planet of the Vampires[/amazon_image][amazon_image id=”B004RPQSVE” link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Queen Of Blood (MGM Limited Edition Collection)[/amazon_image]
Both Available On Netflix Streaming
Italian director Mario Bava, (‘Black Sunday’) helmed this sci-fi horror film about a group of astronauts drawn to the mysterious planet Aura by a distress signal. Once on the planet the crew become possessed by some unseen force, and being attacking each other.
Later a wrecked space ship with fossilized skeletons is discovered, and once the survivors realize the true nature of the distress signal and their infighting, the film kicks into high gear leading to a dramatic conclusion.
‘Queen Of Blood‘ tales a similar story, as astronauts investigate a planet and discover a female alien. Once on board, they realize she also has deadly hypnotic powers and an insatiable thirst for human blood.
Many critics have claimed both these films influenced ‘Alien‘, and I highly recommend them to fans of the film. Despite the cheap effects and dated look, they both have their charm.
36. ‘Burn Witch Burn’ aka ‘Night Of The Eagle’ (1962)
[amazon_image id=”B004X63SCY” link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Burn, Witch, Burn (MGM Limited Edition Collection)[/amazon_image]
Available On Netflix Streaming
Written by ‘Twilight Zone‘ screenwriters Richard Matheson and Charles Beaumont, this British film is about a psychology professor who discovers his wife practices witchcraft. She claims her spells are responsible for his success. In anger, he destroys all her magical totems. But after doing so things start going awry; he’s falsely accused of assaulting a student and later an intruder breaks into their home. He eventually comes to terms with the truth about his wife, which leads to a climatic finale.
35. ‘The Dead’-(2010)
[amazon_image id=”B006BZ8O3I” link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]The Dead [Blu-ray][/amazon_image]
This African film takes the generic zombie apocalypse plot and gives it new life amidst the exotic vistas of the continent. The direction is tense and the cinematography is wonderfully atmospheric. Highly recommended for zombie fans.
34. ’30 Days Of Night’ (2007)
[amazon_image id=”B00111YM60″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]30 Days Of Night [Blu-ray][/amazon_image]
A group of Vampires discover an Alaskan town that spends 30 days in the winter without sunlight and go for a feeding frenzy. For whatever reason it bombed with critics and audiences but it’s splendidly dark and gruesome.
33. ‘Stake Land’ (2010)
This film combines the vampire and zombie genres, with creatures that are a hybrid of both. A boy whose family is killed by the beasts gets taken in a by a gruff, resilient man, skilled in killing the creatures.
They venture towards supposed safe terrain, but must not only survive the undead but a fundamentalist militia as well. At parts grizzled horror, and at other’s a tense coming of age story ala Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Road’, ‘Stake Land’ is an interesting twist on familiar horror themes.
32. ‘Pin’ (1988)
This odd movie is about a family whose father uses a medical dummy to explain puberty to his son and daughter. Unknown to him, his son Leon is a schizophrenic who believes the doll is alive. It’s up to the audience to decide if it’s more than a delusion as the maturing Leon’s love for Pin (the dummy’s nickname) drives a dangerous wedge between him and his sister. Chalk up one messed up scene between a nurse who also has feelings for Pin, and you have one wacky cult classic.
31. ‘Dead And Buried’ (1981)
A Sheriff is investigating the murders of visitors to his small town. He eventually discovers it’s the town’s citizens doing the murders, many of which he’s intimately acquainted with. The story gets more macabre by the minute and its creepy, morbid conclusion is a twist worthy of the Twilight Zone.
30. ‘Bloody Birthday’ (1981)
Available On Netflix Streaming
‘Bloody Birthday‘ is about 3 children from 3 different mothers who were born during a total eclipse. Since the eclipse blocked out Saturn, (which governs emotions in astrology) they have no sense of empathy, and are all murderous brats. They band together and go on a killing spree, but keep evading detection due to their deceptive squeaky clean demeanor (imagine Eddie Haskell as a murderer).
The little monsters use guns, knives (and bows and arrows!) in their path of carnage, which puts to shame all the lame ‘scary’ movies today involving kids.
The movie is so crazily inappropriate (the little girl sells tickets to check out her sister undressing through a peep-hole!), that it’s amazing it was ever made. It’s a movie that has some good scares but is also pretty ridiculous too. But it’s fun to watch, and you’ve never seen anything like it. Check out the trailer for a taste of what’s in store:
So that concludes 40 Great But Forgotten Horror Movies Part 1! Now check out Part 2, in addition to my lists of scariest film scenes, grossest movie scenes and my list of the 30 Most Underrated Movies Of All Time, which covers a variety of genres.