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Top 10 Unseen Killer Movies

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Black Christmas

Many of cinema’s most memorable monsters are the ones that always remain just out of sight. After all, unless you’re Rob Bottin or Guillermo del Toro, no filmmaker’s creature design can match the intangible horrors lurking within our own imaginations.

Sure, there are plenty of flicks that benefit from shining a light on their gruesome antagonists – The Thing, The Howling, Pumpkinhead (I know there are better choices than the latter, but GOD did Gollum-on-roids freak me out as a kid). Then there are other movies. Ones that allow us only brief glimpses of the devil in the dark or the camera-shy serial killer. These are the movies that crawl under your skin in a way no conventional creature feature could.

So without further ado, here are ten of the scariest monsters and killers no one’s ever seen. Least no one living.

#10 THE MIST (2007)
This film and the Stephen King short story it’s adapted from find their power in our fear of the unknown. Here’s the concept: An otherworldly mist rolls into Bridgton, Maine, one morning. Within it lurks an ecosystem of inter-dimensional monsters let loose upon our world thanks to a misguided military experiment (go Army). Those stupid enough to walk into the mist are ripped to shreds within seconds. David Drayton, played by Thomas Jane, and his son hole up in the neighborhood grocery store with the local townsfolk, hoping to wait out the catastrophe.

Sure, you see some monsters in this movie. But more often than not, we’re shown just a tentacle of an unseen behemoth as it drags some poor soul to his death. All the while the townspeople stare out through the storefront windows wondering what will come for them next. It’s no wonder director Frank Darabont (The Green Mile, Shawshank Redemption) was drawn to this story… it’s a perfect horror movie concept.

The Mist

#9 CHILDREN OF THE CORN (1984)
Here’s another Stephen King short story turned midnight movie. The children of Gatlin, Nebraska, sacrifice anyone over the age of 18 to He Who Walks Behind the Rows, an ancient fertility god living in the town’s cornfields. As if living in Middle America wasn’t Hell enough. But while the movie is meh, its concept is intoxicatingly weird. You never see He Who Walks Behind the Rows, except for the times it’s burrowing through the soil like a mole on meth. But the deity’s presence looms large over Gatlin and its kill-crazy kids. Frankly, it’s eerie to watch Linda Hamilton wander past those endless miles of maize with the knowledge that something’s out there. Waiting.

#8 FINAL DESTINATION (2000)

Death. It’s going to come for you one day. It might get you in your sleep. It might drop a three-ton glass plate on you, making your innards resemble an inkblot test. But death is the ultimate intangible fear. Which is why Final Destination’s concept — that if you cheat death, its (literally) unseen hand will then actively orchestrate your demise — is such a universally terrifying idea. Even better, Tony Todd makes an appearance, hamming it up as Bludworth, the film’s not-so-subtle personification of death.

Oh I’m not out of factoids yet. Final Destination was co-written (with Jeffrey Reddick) by Glen Morgan and James Wong (who also directed), the writers behind many of the best “The X-Files” and “Millennium” episodes.

Final Destination

#7 PARANORMAL ACTIVITY (2007)
For the cost of a used Nissan Altima, director Oren Peli created a national sensation. He did it all with creaking stairs, swinging chandeliers, and powder footprints. Nothing else. That’s right — Paranormal’s overactive demon remains invisible for the entire film. Which sounds lame. As does the recycled set-piece where we watch the world’s most basic couple snooze while Satan tries to snuggle with them like some maladjusted child. But the scares are so subtle and the setting so relatable that Paranormal Activity transcends its limitations to become a master class in minimalist horror.

Paranormal Activity

#6 THE FOG (1980) 

Director John Carpenter was so dissatisfied with the first cut of The Fog, he reshot 30% of the film. That’s commitment. Maybe not the same commitment it takes to come back from the dead, conjure up a supernatural fog, and kill your murders’ ancestors 100 years after the fact. But hey, who’s keeping score? Scoff at The Fog’s seemingly “Scooby Doo” inspired plot all you want, Carpenter really cranked up the gore dial on this post-Halloween ghost story. Still, it’s The Fog’s silent spirits that will haunt you the most. They kill virtually every person who glimpses their seaweed-shrouded forms. Which makes them menacing enough. Yet it’s the way these ghosts never utter a sound when they’re cutting off heads with cutlasses that makes them so dreadful. But what do you expect? The undead sailors of the Elisabeth Dane are an icy lot. Which is why they understand revenge is a dish best served cold.

#5 THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN (1976)

Unlike the other movies on this list, The Town That Dreaded Sundown is based on actual events. In 1946 a serial killer nicknamed “The Phantom” brutally murdered five people in TexArkana, Arkansas. Sure, TTTDS’s dry narration and goofy comic relief date the film, but the cornier bits lull you into a false sense of security. So when the Phantom shoots Helen Reed in the face or carves up Peggy Loomis’ back with a pocketknife, the violence is shocking. Both in real-life and the film, the Phantom was never caught. Hell, no one ever even saw his face. The filmmakers do show him, or his boots at least, standing in line to see TTTDS at the end of the movie. It’s a cool meta moment, albeit a tasteless one. Still, I’m sure the image made a few TexArkana moviegoers cringe in 1976.

The Town that Dreaded Sundown

#4 THE MOTHMAN PROPHECIES (2002)
Richard Gere in a horror movie may sound strange. But no more odd than this flick’s monster, the Mothman. If you know your cryptids, the Mothman is an otherworldly being that can foretell the future. Some people have described it as a man in black with a bussing voice. Others say it’s an insectile alien with glowing red eyes. In the movie, however, the Mothman doesn’t have a definite form. But it does appear to Gere at one point as the blurred silhouette of a man. It doesn’t sound like much on paper… but the image of a distorted shadow whispering the universe’s secrets is unsettling. As the mystery unravels we have to ask ourselves: Is the Mothman a product of Gere’s fraying sanity? Or a being beyond human comprehension?

Mothman Prophecies

#3 CAT PEOPLE (1942)
Producer Val Lewton was given just $150,000 to make this movie. The budget constraints forced the creative team to come up with inventive ways to suggest the monster rather than show it. Even if said monster is a Serbian woman who turns into a panther when she gets turned on (I’m not kidding). But there are two reasons to watch Cat People. First, the use of low lighting demonstrates just how little you need to show an audience to elicit fear. Second, it is allegedly the first movie to EVER use a false scare. The technique, dubbed “The Lewton Bus,” refers to a moment in the film where a woman is about to be attacked by the panther. We hear a hiss and the woman turns in surprise… only to realize the sound was made by a bus stopping nearby. My theory? Every time a feline is used as a false scare in a movie, it’s a nod to Cat People.

Cat People

#2 IT FOLLOWS (2014)
I dig retro horror movies. So when I saw It Follows, with its synth score and slow burn pacing, I embraced it. The film’s real achievement, though, is its monster: a sexually transmitted haunting that can look like anyone. It always knows where you are, and it’s always lumbering toward you with deadly intent. I mean, think about it… this movie’s monster is just a series of kinda ugly people walking toward teenagers. What makes that rather absurd image scary is the idea that these people aren’t actually human. That they’re masks worn by some silent, single-minded entity. One that never shares its motivations or reveals its true form (if it even has one). Sounds like fear of the unknown to me.

It Follows

#1 BLACK CHRISTMAS (1974)
This isn’t one of my favorite horror films. It’s one of my favorite movies period. Black Christmas earns its place on my cinematic pedestal because of its villain, Billy. We only see him a handful of times throughout the film. Even then he’s lit in silhouette, his bulging eyes vignetted. Eyes we often see through as he butchers sorority girl after sorority girl, all the while screaming like a maniac. What do I mean like a maniac? He is a maniac. But what makes Billy even more frightening is that he’s a demented enigma. We don’t know what he looks like or where his madness stems from. Nor do we ever learn why he targets the sorority sisters he hunts throughout the film. All I want for Christmas is another movie with a killer this terrifying. This slasher was also brought to life by the same director who made A Christmas Story. How’s that for irony?

Black Christmas

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Want a LEGO Godzilla Set? Here’s Your Chance!

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The longest-running franchises in cinema history, the Godzilla films have created a cultural icon in the form of the titular beast. Simply hearing its roar or seeing its silhouette is enough to let us know precisely what we’re looking at. Having ventured out of cinema and forayed into TV shows, comic books, video games, and countless merchandise options, Godzilla still hasn’t managed to break into one of the world’s most popular toy company: LEGO. However, that might change if BRICK_101 has their say via LEGO Ideas, where they submitted a design based on the 1954 original film!

Here’s the description from the site:
This model contains approximately 850 LEGO pieces, stands 9 inches (23 cm) tall, and measures 17 inches (44 cm) from head to tail. Godzilla has had many different designs over the years, but we based ours on the original 1954 movie. The arms, legs, jaw, and tail are hinged to allow the model to be posed in a variety of positions. In addition to Godzilla, the set also includes a small microscale train for Godzilla to stomp on or chomp on and a flame piece to represent Godzilla’s atomic breath.

The website allows people to submit their own ideas (such as this Call of Cthulhu set) and then allow the public to vote on whether or not they want to see it get made. Should the idea get 10,000 votes, it then gets moved up the ladder within LEGO’s headquarters and a decision is made to see if they want to make an official set.

So, if you want to see LEGO make an official Godzilla set, click on the link above and cast your vote!

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#Brainwaves Episode 78 Guest Announcement: Legendary Film Composer Harry Manfredini

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The Friday the 13th franchise without the music of Harry Manfredini would be like peanut butter without jelly. McDonalds without the Big Mac. Knetter without Creepy. His music defined a generation of horror fans, and few could have done it better, if at all. Now Manfredini brings his equally as unique voice to Brainwaves Horror and Paranormal Talk Radio.

Join us this coming Wednesday, February 21st, at 8:00PM PT/11:00PM ET for all the shenanigans fit to be had!

It’s radio without a safety net, kids. It’s Brainwaves: Horror and Paranormal Talk Radio.

SUPPORT BRAINWAVES ON PATREON!

Listen to Stitcher

Brainwaves: Horror and Paranormal Talk Radio is available to subscribe to on iTunes and Stitcher.

Spooky, funny, touching, honest, offensive, and at times completely random, Brainwaves airs live every Wednesday evening beginning at 8:00 PM Pacific Time (11:00 midnight Eastern Time) and runs about 3 hours per episode.

Knetter and Creepy will be taking your calls LIVE and unscreened via Skype, so let your freak flags fly! Feel free to add BrainWavesTalk to your Skype account so you can reach us, or call in from a landline or cellphone – 858 480 7789. The duo also take questions via Twitter; you can reach us at @BrainwavesRadio or @UncleCreepy, @JoeKnetter, or @MrDarkDC using the hashtag #BrainWaves. You can also check us out on our Brainwaves Discord channel!

Have a ghost story or a paranormal story but can’t call in? Feel free to email it to me directly at UncleCreepy@dreadcentral.com with “Brainwaves Story” in your subject line. You can now become a fan of the show via the official… BRAINWAVES FACEBOOK PAGE!

Brainwaves: Horror and Paranormal Talk Radio is hosted live (with shows to be archived as they progress) right here on Dread Central. You can tune in and listen via the FREE TuneIn Radio app or listen to TuneIn right through the website!

For more information and to listen live independent of TuneIn, visit the Deep Talk Radio Network website, “like” Deep Talk Radio on Facebook, and follow Deep Talk Radio on Twitter. And don’t forget to subscribe to Brainwaves on iTunes.

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Supernatural Irish Horror Beyond the Woods Hits Home Video and VOD This February

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Supernatural Irish horror Beyond the Woods makes its way to DVD and VOD from Left Films!

Shot on location in Ireland, Beyond the Woods echoes the creepy supernatural horror of recent Irish genre hits The Hallow and The Canal, with its eerie and grisly tale of an unknown evil.

Synopsis:
Seven friends meet up in the Irish countryside for a secluded weekend getaway but unfortunately for them a fiery sinkhole has opened up in the mountains nearby. It’s burning hot, spewing out sulphur and casting a hellish stench over the local area. Determined to make the most of the weekend, the group decide not to let the noxious atmosphere get to them…but it’s getting worse. Soon the troubling hallucinations begin as an ancient evil starts to take hold. What malevolent force has crawled from the sinkhole and will any of them survive the weekend?

Following a successful run on the festival circuit where it picked up the Best Feature Film Award at the World International Film Festival Montreal in 2017, Seán Breathnach’s spine-chilling low budget nightmare finally makes its way to UK and North American DVD and VOD courtesy of Left Films.

On digital/VOD February 5th, DVD February 19th.

UK DVD AMAZON
UK VOD ITUNES
US VOD ITUNES

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