October 20, 2016
I’ve been a horror movie fanatic ever since I stayed home sick from school one day in third grade and watched The Evil Dead on the family VCR. My older brother had rented Sam Raimi’s 1981 classic the night before and he forgot to take the tape out when he was done. Big mistake. My mind was blown, as I had never seen such blood, guts, and gore before. I was immediately hooked. I devoured every horror movie I could get my hands on at the local video store. This experience led me down a dark path that continues to this day.
Of course I love the classics (Halloween, The Exorcist, Psycho, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, etc.), but I also like to pay my respects to horror movies that flew under the radar and deserve our attention. On that note, let’s take a look at 15 horror films that you should try to see before October 31.
The Believers (1987)
Martin Sheen is a police psychologist, and a single father with a young son, who suspects a Satanic cult is at work in New York City. Creepy stuff.
Cemetery Man (1994)
Saw this in the theater in Kansas City when I was 16. Italian horror film about a cemetery caretaker who has a serious zombie problem on his hands.
The Gate (1987)
Heavy metal, Satanism, and a teenage sleepover. The perfect formula for a campy ‘80s horror flick.
High Tension (2003)
If you haven’t seen this one yet, check it out immediately. Two girls venture to the French countryside for a quiet weekend. They don’t end up having a quiet weekend.
The Hills Have Eyes (2006)
Don’t get me wrong, I love Wes Craven’s original 1977 version, but Alexandre Aja’s remake is GREAT (Aja also directed High Tension). A friend of mine took his girlfriend to see it in the theater and she cried because she was so disgusted. Always a good sign!
The Host (2006)
Fun Korean horror-monster movie. A slacker who runs a snack bar has to save the day when a creature from the river wreaks havoc on his town.
House of the Devil (2009)
Full-on 1980s horror nostalgia film by director Ti West. A young girl takes a babysitting job at a creepy house for a creepy family out in the country. What is the family hiding? And where is the pizza she ordered hours ago?
Lady in White (1988)
This is a great one. Old-fashioned ghost story set in 1962. A young boy is locked in his elementary school’s cloak room for the night by a couple of bullies. What he witnesses that night sets off a chain of events that changes him, and his small town, forever.
The Mist (2007)
This movie is BLEAK. Based on a novella by horror master Stephen King, a mist envelops a small New England village, causing panic among the townspeople, who hole up in a grocery store and must fight off creatures from the otherworldly fog.
Near Dark (1987)
Forget about Twilight, THIS is a vampire movie. Farm boy meets cute girl. Girl bites his neck. Farm boy falls in with murderous vampire clan that roams the country looking for victims. The bar scene with Bill Paxton is classic. An early film from Kathryn Bigelow, before she went on to direct Point Break (the good one from 1991), The Hurt Locker, and Zero Dark Thirty.
Session 9 (2001)
A group of men cleaning asbestos in an abandoned insane asylum begin to realize they are not working an ordinary job. Genuinely creepy and unsettling.
Silver Bullet (1985)
Another one based on a novella by Stephen King. A boy confined to a wheelchair, his sister, and their drunk uncle (Gary Busey!) must contend with a werewolf that is terrorizing their small town. Good stuff.
A teenager feels alienated from his upper-class sister and parents, and he suspects they belong to a secret society. Super cheesy, campy…and awesome. This movie also contains one of the greatest lines of dialogue in cinematic history.
The Stepfather (1987)
When people talk about “The Trilogy,” they’re usually referring to Star Wars. When I utter those words, I’m talking about the Stepfather films. The first film is by far the best of the bunch. Terry O’Quinn plays a serial killer who is obsessed with finding the “perfect family.” Good luck with that.
Trick or Treat (1986)
￼Teenage outcast Eddie is a loser in love with heavy metal. When his favorite rock star, devil-worshipping Sammi Curr, dies in a fire, Eddie is despondent. Good thing Sammi wants to come back from the dead and help Eddie torment his bullies! Cameos by Ozzy Osbourne and Gene Simmons of KISS.