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10 Of The Best Obscure Horror Movies Worth the Watch
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.
My in depth review of Audition
- Violence, Sex and Body Parts: An In Depth Review of Audition
This in depth review of the film Audition is filled with spoilers, but if you're interested in a different prespective of a film you love give it a try.
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.