The most wonderful time of the year is here, kids: OCTOBER! I’m a sucker for all things fall, but this month has held a special space in my heart ever since my very first AMC Fearfest back in, uh, whatever year it was. What I do know is that horror movies are my favorite things. No matter how shitty the reviews are for any horror flick, I will make it a point to sit through it and give it my own stamp of approval or, in some cases, rejection. Since I’m a nice fella with nearly flawless taste, I have compiled a list for you guys, a list of some of my favorite horror flicks. (A lot of these movies are on Netflix now, but when I watched some of them they were lesser known gems. Does my animosity towards their “popularity” make me a hipster? Meh, probably, but that’s OK.) To save time and space I won’t go into major detail for any of these, but will instead give you a brief idea of what they are about and my own little opinion to help convince you to grab a friend and some popcorn and watch them with the lights off. Without further ado, here is my list!
SLOW BURNS: Films That Gain Momentum Over Time
1. House of the Devil – 2009, Ti West – A young college girl offers to house sit for a strange couple, only to find out they have darker, more sinister plans for her. Definitely one of the better horror movies to come out in the past five years. Be prepared to jump.
2. Frailty – 2001, Bill Paxton – Two young boys witness their father slip into religious paranoia and start killing “demons” for God. Not many people have seen this movie, which is a shame because it packs a serious punch and will have you at the edge of your seat more than once during its runtime.
3. The Descent – 2005, Neil Marshall – Six women go cave-diving to strengthen their friendship, but soon find that they are far from alone in the darkness. I didn’t originally want to call this a slow burner, but I think the pace is a little slower in the beginning. Personally I would say that this is in my top five of all time. It’s even scarier if you are claustrophobic.
UNSETTLING: Films That Will Turn Your Stomach While You Cower in Fear
1. Martyrs – 2008, Pascal Laugier – A French film about a woman who seeks revenge many years after being kidnapped and tortured at the hands of a group of people seeking to understand life and death. OK, THIS is my favorite horror flick of all time, hands down. A bloody, terrifying, gut-wrenching spectacle. Watch it NOW!
2. ABC’s of Death – 2012, Various Directors – Twenty-six ways to die by twenty-six directors. Not much else to say beyond that. (The second one came out today!)
3. Big Bad Wolves – 2013, Navot Papushado & Ahron Keshales – An Israeli film. After the murders of young girls, a distraught father and a renegade cop decide to kidnap and torture the man responsible. A hard-to-watch yet comedic thrill ride, this will definitely get your blood boiling.
4. The Woman – 2008, Lucky McKee – A family man encounters a feral woman in the woods and decides to give her his own lesson in humanity, all while his family watches. Lucky McKee (All Cheerleaders Die) can do no wrong. This is arguably his best work.
5. The Loved Ones – 2009, Sean Byrne – An Australian film about an obsessive high school girl who kidnaps her love interest before prom and ensures that he’ll never leave her. A truly twisted movie about young love and the lengths one girl will go to make a boy appreciate her.
6. The Girl Next Door – 2007, Gregory Wilson – After her parents pass away, a young girl must live with her psychotic aunt and cousins, who torture, rape, and antagonize her to no end. This one is very, very hard to watch and will stick with you until the day you die.
FOUND FOOTAGE: Films Made In a Realistic Fashion to Immerse You Even Further
1. VHS & VHS 2 – 2012/2013, Various Directors – Horror shorts that offer up supernatural, realistic, or even extraterrestrial scares, all from the perspective of those involved. The greatest horror series of the past twenty years.
2. Willow Creek – 2013, Bobcat Goldthwait – A couple goes camping deep in the woods, only to be stalked and harassed by Bigfoot. Though you never truly see the monster, the sounds and practical effects alone are enough to scare the shit out of you.
3. The Den – 2013, Zachary Donohue – While conducting a social experiment on a site similar to Chat Roulette, a woman witnesses a murder, then starts being hunted by those involved. Innovative in the sense that everything you see is from a laptop, this movie slipped under the radar for most. It’s definitely worth checking out, especially if you enjoyed VHS.
4. The Upper Footage (UPPER) – 2013, Justin Cole – A group of privileged teens party in a lush loft for a night and accidentally kill a girl they brought over from the bar. It seems so real! Almost a social commentary about how the rich can practically get away with murder, this movie is definitely one that will make you feel a bit uneasy.
ZOMBIES: Films About, Well, Zombies
1. The Battery – 2012, Jeremy Gardner – Two friends travel together during a massive zombie outbreak, moving from place to place and doing what they can to survive. This one’s a bit different than the rest in that it’s not necessarily violent or scary, but it still stands out as one of the greatest zombie films I have ever seen. I was reluctant to even talk about zombies (since it’s one of the most popular “genres” of today) but then I remembered this flick and felt the need to share the love.
WTF?: Films That Aren’t Really Horror Films at All But Will Still Have You Kind of Creep’d Out
1. I Think We’re Alone Now – 2008, Sean Donnelly – A documentary about two individuals who are absolutely obsessed with 80’s pop sensation Tiffany. I don’t consider this at all scary; HOWEVER, after I watched it I felt that people can be really, really weird, which is unsettling in its own unique way.
2. Dear Zachary – 2008, Kurt Kuenne – A man directs a film for a child to remind him of his father, who was murdered by the crazy mother. I won’t say a word about this movie, but be prepared to feel a deep sense of dread, then cry your eyes out.
OTHERS: 10 More Films That Didn’t Really Fit Into Other Categories That You Still Need to Watch
1. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer
3. Cheap Thrills
4. Would You Rather?
6. Kill List
7. The Snowtown Murders
8. The Devil’s Rejects
10. Session 9