10 Of The Best Obscure Horror Movies Worth the Watch

Thir13een Ghosts
Thir13een Ghosts

Horror Movies to Watch

Everyone has their list of the greatest horror movies. Movies like The Exorcist (Friedkin, 1973) , The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Hooper, 1974) and Friday the 13th (Cunningham, 1980) are just a few horror films that always seem to make the ‘best of’ lists in the horror movie genre. Because of that, most people have already seen them-multiple times.

There are, however, other great horror films that never seem to make the cut but are fun scary films worth a watch. In no particular order, here are some horror films to put on your list that you may have overlooked. These are some horror movies that everyone should watch at least once. They are worth the scare.

Dahmer (Jacobson, 2002)

Any movie about Jeffrey Dahmer already has the prerequisites for a great horror film. Serial killer? Check. Cannibalism? Check? True story? Check. It has all the good stuff American horror films are made of, only with a twisted perspective. This isn’t as gruesome as you might think and though it does go into some of the sadistic tendencies of the late Jeffrey Dahmer, it is more of a study into the mind of a psychopath. As an added bonus, this Dahmer is played brilliantly by Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol’s (Bird, 2011) Jeremy Renner. If you’re interested in Jeremy’s work in horror, don’t forget to catch him in 28 Weeks Later (Fresnadillo, 2007) or its even better predecessor 28 Days Later (Boyle, 2002)


Thir13een Ghosts (Beck, 2001)

Starring Monk’s Tony Shalhoub, Thir13teen Ghosts twists the haunted house genre on its side. Instead of an antiquated old home, it is set in a steam punk inspired glass cube house. But don’t worry, demonic runes and grossly wicked ghosts keep it nicely seeded in the horror genre that is scary and interesting. It helps to have a familiar face in Matthew Lillard of Scream (Craven, 1996) fame, since you never know what’s around the corner in this frightening glass house.


Cube (Natali, 1997)

Speaking of demented cubes, there’s nothing normal about waking up inside of a giant cube filled with cube rooms which may or may not have deadly traps. In this film, seven people do and that’s where the horrific fun begins. There are two sequels to this 1997 nail biter, but none are organically shocking as the original.


The Hitcher (Harmon, 1986)

This film takes the saying, ‘Never pick up hitchhikers’ and shows you why it’s such a bad idea. The hitchhiker is played by Rutger Hauer of Blade Runner (Scott, 1982) and Sin City (Rodriguez, 2005) fame, although I can’t help but mention Ladyhawke (Donner, 1985) since I’ll always have a soft spot for him because of that movie. The driver who picks him up is played by C. Thomas Howell, and the viewer spends the whole movie wishing he hadn’t but glad he did. It is an evil ride and it will make you think twice before giving anyone you don’t know a ride, let alone a hitchhiker.

Audition (or Ôdishon, Miike 1999)

The Japanese film by prolific director Takashi Miike, takes you into a widow’s quest to find a girlfriend and potential wife. If you’re looking for a spine chilling thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat, this is not the film for you.

In fact, if you watch this film you may wonder why it’s considered a horror film. My response? Just wait for it. By the time you get to where you’re going, not only will you wonder how you got there, but what just happened. If you like the twisted means to which Miike weaves his horrific tales beyond the visual and into a state of mind, catch Three…Extremes (Miike, Chan, Park, 2004), One Missed Call (2003) and Imprint (from the Masters of Horror series, 2005).

The Serpent and the Rainbow (Craven, 1988)

This is a zombie film that is both inside and outside the box, or coffin as the case may be. Set in Haiti, the movie delves into voodoo subculture in a frightening and fascinating way that others have tried (like the Skeleton Key, Softley, 2005) and failed.

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Weine, 1920)

Have you ever wondered what inspired Tim Burton’s creepy aesthetic? Look no further than this German Expressionistic film about a man searching for his best friend’s killer. Everything seems to lead to the local fair and the show of Dr. Caligari and Cesare, the somnambulist. This silent film weaves an intricate story in this highly stylized film that proves scary does stand the test of time.

This trailer gives you a great idea of how the film looks.

Rashomon (or Rashômon, Kurosawa, 1950)

No one denies a samurai was brutally murdered, but how he got that way seems to differ depending on who tells the story in his amazing film. Directed by legendary Akira Kurosawa, Rashomon details death and brutality in an equally beautiful and cringe worthy way. If you watch one movie on this list...this is the movie. After watching it, everything Tarantino, Rodriguez, Kitano, Eastwood and Miike (just to name a few) directs will pale to the original.

Below is the trailer for the remastered version.

Suspiria (Argento, 1977)

A precursor to all the American screams abroad horror films such as Hostel (Roth, 2005) or Turistas (Stockwell, 2006). This Italian film shows an American dancer enrolling in European ballet school, which is actually a front for something more demonic. From the moment our heroine walks into the front doors of the ballet school, this movies proves to be, stylistically, head and shoulders above other horror movies in the same era. Your eyes will drift from the beautiful to grotesque and back again before you're able to digest what you've seen.

Peeping Tom (Powell, 1960)

If Psycho (Hitchcock, 1960) is one of the greatest horror films of all time, then Peeping Tom is its red-headed half brother. Filmed in Technicolor, the movie doesn’t show as dark and moody, but still conveys the psychotic nature of Mark Lewis, the cameraman who is compelled to kill. A British film released in the US in 1962, two years after Psychos, it didn’t fare as well to audiences and often gets overlooked. It deserves another look as do all the other films on this list.

Some of these movies are freaky, some are internal and some are downright frightening, but these ten films deserve a second look this Halloween season.

Horror Movie Match Up

Which of these movies did you like the best?

  • Dahmer
  • Thir13een Ghosts
  • Cube
  • The Hitcher
  • Audition
  • The Serpent ad the Rainbow
  • The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
  • Suspiria
  • Peeping Tom
See results without voting

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Comments 34 comments

stephaniedas profile image

stephaniedas 5 years ago from Miami, US

Wow. You are really knowledgeable on this! I need to keep this bookmarked, because I want to watch some more horror films before Halloween ends. Voted up, this is a great and well-written hub.


vmartinezwilson profile image

vmartinezwilson 5 years ago from Vancouver, WA Author

Thanks a bunch! I love horror movies so much and am thinking about doing a hub for just asian horror. Until then, I couldn't help but do this since I've been watching them again for Halloween.


vmartinezwilson profile image

vmartinezwilson 5 years ago from Vancouver, WA Author

I've added two trailers. One for The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and the other for Rashomon. I figured a sneak beat couldn't hurt.


Steve Lensman profile image

Steve Lensman 5 years ago from London, England

I voted for Suspiria, my favourite Dario Argento horror. The Serpent and the Rainbow was pretty good too. 13 Ghosts was interesting, the ghosts locked up in glass cages.

If I was to pick a classic Japanese horror it would have to be Kwaidan, 3 hours long and 4 creepy ghost stories, excellent use of the widescreen image.

An interesting list. Voted Up.


vmartinezwilson profile image

vmartinezwilson 5 years ago from Vancouver, WA Author

I love the look of Suspiria. In many ways it reminds me of The Shining with vibrant colors. I love Kwaidan, especially The Black Hair. I was also thinking The Three Extremes, but since Rashomon was the original they all riff on, I couln't help but add it.

Thank you for the feedback!


Steve Orion profile image

Steve Orion 5 years ago from Tampa, Florida

A fellow horror enthusiast! Great Hub, I've seen Thirteen Ghosts, Cube, Audition (my favorite of the list) as well as the Hitcher (ages ago). Very informative and I'll check out the ones I haven't seen yet. Rated up =) I'll check out the ones to avoid now.


vmartinezwilson profile image

vmartinezwilson 5 years ago from Vancouver, WA Author

Steve, I adore horror film too! It is my favorite genre, so much so, I took every class on it I could while at school. Are you a Takashi Miike enthusiast as well? I love Audition, but I also like The Three Extremes, Imprint and One Missed Call. He and Beat Kitano are my favorite Japanese directors.

Thank you so much for the comments!


optimus grimlock profile image

optimus grimlock 4 years ago

i saw all the cube movies 1 and 2 were good 3 was ok the rest were overkill. 13 ghosts was really good, I have comcast so I watch fearnet a lot its awesome! Worth checking out if you have comcast.


vmartinezwilson profile image

vmartinezwilson 4 years ago from Vancouver, WA Author

I loved the first Cube, probably because I had no idea what I was in store for. When I saw the second one, I was disapointed, because the first was so raw, the second seemed too sterile. I actually enjoyed the third, though I felt it explained a little too much. It harkened back to the original in it's rawness.

I was surprised how much I enjoyed 13 ghosts. I didn't expect much but thought it was both beautiful and scary at the same time. I do have comcast and watch fearnet often. It is a great way to catch horror flicks that may have passed by my radar.

Thanks so much!


KarenCreftor profile image

KarenCreftor 4 years ago from Kent, UK

Really interesting and useful thanks!! I haven't heard of most of these and they sound way more interesting and fun than the popular, more well-known ones.

Looking forward to watching them all :D

~Kaz x


vmartinezwilson profile image

vmartinezwilson 4 years ago from Vancouver, WA Author

I love film and enjoy sharing those odd films that many people don't seem to know about. Thanks for stopping by and when you watch them tell me what you think!


FrugalandFab profile image

FrugalandFab 4 years ago from New Hampshire

This is a great hub. I do love a good horror movie and have often found the road less traveled seems to be the best to take. The Hitcher is one of my all-time favorite movies and it was great to see it get a shout out.


vmartinezwilson profile image

vmartinezwilson 4 years ago from Vancouver, WA Author

I have a soft spot for Rudger Hauer and C. Thomas Howell, so the Hitcher plays into that well.

Thanks!


Kael Myril profile image

Kael Myril 4 years ago from Tacoma, WA

Nice! Glad to see 13 Ghosts, one of my favorite movies. I haven't seen some of the others yet. To Do list!


vmartinezwilson profile image

vmartinezwilson 4 years ago from Vancouver, WA Author

Hey Kael!

I love 13 Ghosts and was pleasantly surprised how cool it ended up being. If you haven't seen Cube, that should be the one you watch. It has a similar approach to horror and is one many haven't heard of before.

Thanks a bunch!


northerner 4 years ago

If you go through the IMDB and scroll through their index of horror movies by year (including everything) you will notice Japan has made hundreds of "Ghost-Cat" movies and I am very annoyed that not a single one of them is available anywhere. I do not know if they are lost, out of print, destroyed, or labelled forbidden. I cannot find anyone who will talk about them because most of them don't have complete credits. There is one movie I long for that Japan is resisting to release called, "The Bloody Sword of the 99th Virgin." Supposedly it's sicker than Salo and Cannibal Holocaust.

Check out Horrors of Malformed Men, an early film from Japan.


Der Meister profile image

Der Meister 4 years ago from Virgo Supercluster

Great informative hub. There are a lot of under-praised classic horror here, especially The Serpent and the Rainbow.


vmartinezwilson profile image

vmartinezwilson 4 years ago from Vancouver, WA Author

northerner, I do love Japanese horror films, but if I included all of those that I love there wouldn't be room for others. For that reason, I chose one each from my two favorite Japanese directors and let the chips fall where they may. Hopefully I'll have some time soon to finish my top 10 Takashi Miike films, because I adore him.

Der Meister

I'm glad you enjoyed the list. I think there are a lot of horror movies that seem to get passed by for whatever reason. I agree Serpent and the Rainbow is one of them. I almost put Jacob's Ladder, but it barely missed, because I felt I had to add another classic onto the list.

Thanks for your comments!


some guy 4 years ago

There are two films that I believe began the horror genre that everyone should see at least once and they are;

Dante's Inferno (1911, Italian film)

and The Student of Prague/A Bargain with Satan (1913, German film)

These two films are almost never talked about, even among silent film enthusiasts, which makes them ultimate obscure!


vmartinezwilson profile image

vmartinezwilson 4 years ago from Vancouver, WA Author

They are obscure, especially Dante's Inferno. I actually mention The Student of Prauge in my hub about early German silent films. You can check it out here since you seem to be a silent film enthusiast.

http://hubpages.com/entertainment/German-Cinema-Wh...

Thanks so much!


duppycon2 profile image

duppycon2 4 years ago from Yuma AZ

Loved "Audition". I know some have complained that it takes a while to get where it's going, but I've never minded the "slow burn" approach - I'm a patient guy!

Northerner, if you ever get the chance, check out asiatorrents.me. They have a lot of obscure stuff. Not that I'm advocating anything, of course.


vmartinezwilson profile image

vmartinezwilson 4 years ago from Vancouver, WA Author

I a hub on Audition, so check it out if you get a chance.

http://hubpages.com/entertainment/Violence-Sex-and...

The beauty of Audition is that it sets up a normal world and a melodrama when in fact the world in which the audience is watching is anything but normal. If a viewer goes into Audition expecting a normal horror film, then they will be disappointed, because any film Miike makes is anything but normal.

Thanks for the input duppycon2!


duppycon2 profile image

duppycon2 4 years ago from Yuma AZ

Takashi Miike truly is a madman.

Anyone else see "Visitor Q"?

Don't know if I'd classify it as truly "horror", but then again... I'm not sure it CAN be classified. Other than a Takashi Miike movie.


vmartinezwilson profile image

vmartinezwilson 4 years ago from Vancouver, WA Author

I agree with you 100% about Miike and Visitor Q. I think he goes off the beaten path when it comes to his films and their classifications. One could argue that Visitor Q is a comedy, but like Audition, I think the horror doesn't really feel like it until you're so deep in and you can't change the channel anymore. I was so utterly shocked after watching it, I didn't even know how to respond. I've never experienced that with a movie before. So surreal.

I love Miike and I can't wait for his new film, Lesson of the Evil which will star Takayuki Yamada who played Tamao Serizawa in Crows Zero as well as Shinrouku in 13 Assasins.

thank you duppycon2!


duppycon2 profile image

duppycon2 4 years ago from Yuma AZ

Thanks for the heads up on "Lesson of the Evil" - I'll keep my eyes out for that one.

Spent much of "Visitor Q" with my mouth hanging wide open. It was equal parts hilarious, disturbing, disgusting, and... well, Takashi Miike-ing!


nanderson500 profile image

nanderson500 4 years ago from Seattle, WA

I like Suspiria, Audition, and The Hitcher. Wonderfully twisted movies. Great job. Voted up and shared.


vmartinezwilson profile image

vmartinezwilson 4 years ago from Vancouver, WA Author

Duppycon2, I remember trying to explain the movie right after I just finished watching it. It was baffling and the person I told had their mouth wide open. I actually paused the movie the first run through and screeched to an empty house "WTF???!"

Thanks nanderson5000, it's funny how Suspiria has a hold on those who watch it. Still intriguing and visually appealing. I'm a huge fan of the original The Hitcher and, in my opinion, the remake never needed to happen. Very much like Psycho. Why they remake the movie over and over again is beyond me. They are all missing the key ingredient...Hitchcock. The Master indeed.

Thanks!


Thefilmguy24 profile image

Thefilmguy24 4 years ago

I am a fellow movie buff. I have seen some of the films on the list. I've seen only bits and pieces of Audtion but I actually want to sit down and watch it since I have seen some of Miike's films such as Imprint from the Masters of Horror series from Showtime. That episode was so twisted and macarbe that Showtime never aired it but they did release it on DVD. I've heard of Susperia and I do tend to watch it. Dario Argento is a very good director of horror. I voted The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari as my favorite on the list since I had to watch it in one of my film classes. It was a very creepy film at its time and it is considered to be the first zombie film made. I haven't seen it in a while but from what I remember was that the style and the lighting was awesome and it really brought the creepiness factor to the audience. Great hub bro. Since it is the month of Halloween and I love horror films, I need to check out some of the films on your list. Voted up.


vmartinezwilson profile image

vmartinezwilson 4 years ago from Vancouver, WA Author

Thefilmguy24,

Audition is, like all Miike films, a different take on the genre. You really have to watch it from beginning to end to really experience how the movie evolves. It is, however, nothing like Imprint or The Box, which are two awesome movies in and of themselves.

Caligari is one of my all time favorite movies and it still chills after all these years. I don't know if I could classify it as a zombie film, though I see the comparison. It really doesn't matter, since the film is really that good. I had a friend who was doing a paper on Nosferatu and I suggested she watch Caligari as a comparison against the German Impressionistic style and she was taken aback how good it was. She could barely stay awake through Nosferatu.

Thanks!


lorddraven2000 profile image

lorddraven2000 3 years ago from Wheelwright KY

I think 13 Ghosts was one of the pivitol horror remakes of it's time. This is a very good list and I have not seen a few of these which is rare for me so I will be checking them out very soon. Thank you for the list.


vmartinezwilson profile image

vmartinezwilson 3 years ago from Vancouver, WA Author

You are very welcome. I remember not expecting much from 13 Ghosts. Boy was I wrong. It is what I call a thoughtful horror film, one who has heart, but also brings the scares.

Thank you!


Sara Psychedelic profile image

Sara Psychedelic 2 years ago from Cincinnati, OH

Love love love The Serpent and the Rainbow ^-^


ControlledChaos1 profile image

ControlledChaos1 2 years ago

I agree with you on "The Cube". This film was ahead of the curb when it comes to the Saw type of escape and puzzle movies. Definitely worth watching.


Kaycie 23 months ago

I'm greutfal you made the post. It's cleared the air for me.

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