It feels as though we see more horror films hit the market with each year that sprints by. The genre isn’t just growing, it’s thriving: Get Out just made nearly $200 million at the box office; Kong: Skull Island raked in nearly $560 million worldwide; Split did about $275 million worldwide. All three of those pictures, for the record, are top 10 earners (thus far) in 2017.
It isn’t likely that we’ll forget any one of those films (all of which, for the record, are exceptional), but there are an awful lot of lower budget indie films and foreign pieces that go unnoticed entirely or slip from our memories with alarming frequently, lost in a structure loaded with too many movie memories to count.
Well, we’re looking to dig up bones for our wonderful readers. If you spot even one single film on this list that you enjoyed but had forgotten about, then we’ve succeeded in doing our job. So sit back and dive in – you’re more than encouraged to take notes. We don’t want these beauties dropping from your radar again!
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter wasn’t a stellar picture, technically speaking, but it was one hell of an entertaining adventure loaded with cool action sequences, surprisingly impressive character exploration, and a general concept that is absolutely mind-boggling. Throw in the fact that it’s a period piece. and you’ve only got more greatness to anticipate. All that said, the film simply shouldn’t work, given how far out it is, but it does work. It’s swift, slick, and savage in the right moments; and it deserves a place on your frequent watch list.
One of the more uncommon anthologies out there, Jim and Ken Wheat’s 1989 offering After Midnight has a couple of downright awesome segments. But the movie’s greatest success lies within the picture’s wraparound, which is – quite simply put – amazing. There’s no need to spoil this one, but know that you’ll get a good mix of content, and though a lot of it feels familiar, a lot of it also feels like a perfect example of the 1980s, captured seamlessly and immortalized for all to revisit.
The year 2011 gave us some stellar pictures. Among those top-notch efforts was Asylum Blackout, a criminally underrated piece about a cooking crew trapped in an insane asylum when the residents break free of their confines and take to slaughtering the staff. It’s dark, it’s eerie, it relies on brewing dread as opposed to cheap jump scares, and it also boasts riveting performances from Rupert Evans and the perfectly sinister Richard Brake. If you’re after an indie flick with an enormous heart, you should look into Asylum Blackout.
Attack the Block
Another one of the treasures that landed in our laps in 2011 was Joe Cornish’s frenetic invasion flick Attack the Block. It’s a blast of a film, stuffed full of witty humor, killer special effects, and characters we can really care about (seriously, if Moses didn’t you over, you probably flatlined long ago). The aliens themselves look terrific, and the mountain of conflicts introduced in the movie is resolved in satisfying fashion. Those who are after a somewhat atypical invasion film will find that Attack the Block is a surprise hit of the sub-genre.
No one should need to sell you on the idea of a movie about killer sheep. That’s an idea that does a pretty good job of marketing itself. But the beauty behind Jonathan King’s outlandish comedy is the fact that it truly is hilarious. There’s some potentially offensive material in the film, which won’t work for the thin-skinned, but if you’re not overly sensitive and you get a kick out of bold horror comedies, Black Sheep is a real must-see.
The City of Lost Children
Back in 1995 Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet joined forces to treat us to one of the most aesthetically pleasing genre films in existence, The City of Lost Children. The story itself is wildly dark, focusing on a madman who kidnaps children in order to steal their dreams, but the picture as a whole never feels overtly taboo or too risqué. Rather, this one is strangely innocent in vibe (a perfectly played counter to the bleakness of the plot), very engaging with some superb performances from Ron Perlman and Dominique Pinon, and heavy on atmosphere that’s certain to unsettle.
How in the world can anyone forget a supernatural action piece with Treat Williams and Joe Piscopo in the lead roles? Okay, don’t answer that. This totally forgotten ‘80s beast is fun from the get-go and features some slick practical effects work, and that’s what matters. It isn’t the easiest film to track down anymore, but the small cult following the flick has is more than deserved. If you get the chance, refresh your memory with a return visit to Dead Heat.
Any movie that offers us the idea that intoxication is the key to survival is a movie that’s a-okay in my book. Jon Wright’s gorgeous monster movie has flown under the radar for years, but it’s a terrific little picture with some hilarious laughs and kick-ass characters waiting to win you over. The visual effects are heavy, but they’re surprisingly well assembled for a film that doesn’t look as though it enjoyed the benefits of an enormous budget. Grabbers is a piece you need to see; it’s also most definitely one of the finest Irish horror pics out there, no debate.
Christopher Smith has put together some downright badass movies (see Creep, Triangle, Detour, and Black Death), but the very best of his ledger is right here for the taking. Severance is a mind-bender of a film that drops a group of traveling employees in the middle of nowhere, where strange happenings abound and something lurks just beyond eyesight. This is a slick picture that toys with every trope you know, right before yanking the rug from under our feet and spinning a web we never see coming. It’s intelligent, the cast is Grade A in regards to pure talent, and the final act is one of the best we’ve seen in the last few decades.
Believe it or not, The Windmill is probably the best slasher to see release since the first two Cold Prey movies shocked audiences 11 and 9 years ago, respectively. The film is typically well written, and the cinematography is just gorgeous. The idea behind the film, the special effects – both practical and digital, and the menacing antagonist introduced to audiences are all top-notch. It won’t be easy for any of the younger screen villains to develop enormous followings and longevity, a la the big three (Myers, Voorhees, and Krueger), but if there’s one out there that stands a chance, it’s the crazy miller who likes to mow down the unsuspecting with an enormous scythe. And yes, the movie is every bit as cool as it sounds.