Horror is a constantly evolving genre, but its purpose is always the same: to scare the living hell out of worldwide audiences using various techniques. Some movies use jump scares, others use gore, others use a creepy atmosphere, all in the name of making our nights sleepless. As the audience we like being frightened and that’s the reason of this genre’s popularity.
In the list below, you can find movies that were unfairly overlooked or forgotten over the years. Here are the 10 great horror films that most people have missed:
10. Ravenous (1999)
In the 19th century, Lieutenant Boyd (Guy Pearce) and his group of soldiers left the army garrison to search for trapped survivors of a ill-fated expedition. During their journey, they discover that Wendigo – a flesh eating demon from native legends – is not just a fairy tale…
“Ravenous” is one of the best American horror made in the 90s, which was not the best era for that genre. Some elements of the movie’s plot resembles the real-life infamous Donner expedition in 1846 – a true nightmare fuel. Under the veneer of a cannibalistic horror, there could be found an interesting commentary on American consumerism and capitalism, which adds intelligence and wit to the sequences of merciless violence.
While watching the film, one might wonder why only a few horror films took place in the 19th century American outback. This specific setting generates an unforgettable atmosphere, which distinguishes “Ravenous” from many others.
A folk soundtrack created by Damon Albarn (known from bands such as Blur and the Gorillaz), is a treasure for ears, that works even when listened off the screen.
9. Calvaire (2004)
Marc Stevens (Laurent Lucas) is a talented singer for rent who’s mostly hired by retirement homes. During his way to a Christmas concert for elderlies, his van breaks down in the middle of a forest. This situation forces him to spend the night in the countryside house of an ex-humorist Paul Bartel (Jackie Berroyer).
The seemingly nice and gentle middle-aged hermit happens to be a dangerous psychopath who takes Marc to be his own prisoner. Unfortunately for Marc, Paul is not the only insane person in the village…
“Calvaire” is a psychological horror that will get under your skin and stay there for a very long time. Because of its utterly disturbing and devastating – yet not devoid of depth – content, it’s a worthy representative of the nightmarish New French Extremity phenomena.
Director Fabrice Du Welz didn’t choose the easiest path by shocking viewers with gore scenes and torture porn. Instead, he achieved the desired effect with an oneiric atmosphere and leaving things to our imagination, exactly as a good horror film should.
8. Medium (1985)
Soon after Hitler won the election in Germany, a string of bizarre incidents start happening in Sopot. Andrzej (Jerzy Zelnik), Luiza (Grazyna Szapolowska) and police inspector Selin (Wladyslaw Kowalski) lose control of their minds and bodies for a short time, like they were hypnotized by someone. Somehow, it all seems to be connected to a savage murder that happened in the past.
Poland isn’t famous with horror films without a reason. Two Polish movies from this genre, which are considered good, are “Medium” and “Demon” (2015), but the first one is clearly a superior film. This synthesis of an occult horror and crime film has just the right amount of thrills and suspense to satisfy viewers in the Western Hemisphere.
This is also a must-see for every history buff out there with its depiction of Sopot, governed by National Socialists in the grim reality of 1930s. Jerzy Stuhr, who played the role of hunchback George, proves that at the time he was one of the best Polish actors.
7. Messiah of Evil (1973)
Arletty (Marianna Hill) arrives to the mysterious town of Point Dune to meet her father. In his house she finds a journal, in which he describes his progressively increasing number of frightening nightmares and the appearance of a sinister force of unknown origin, which is taking power over the minds of townsfolk. Arletty decides to stay there in order to find her father, who’s disappeared. She doesn’t know that her decision will have morbid consequences.
“Messiah of Evil” is a surrealistic horror that operates with the logic of fever nightmares. Its hallucinogenic atmosphere allows the viewers to be fully immersed in the spectacle of terror and macabre, just like David Lynch’s movies do.
Point Dune is one of the scariest places created for this horror film. The only people who live there are flesh-eating ghouls and a murderous albino truck driver. By linking the undead and consumerism, it predates “Dawn of the Dead” (1978) and creates an interesting allegorical undertone.
The movie is a must-see for every fan of surrealistic horrors and H.P Lovecraft fanatics, because many times the plot resembles dark visions of the Loner from Providence.
6. Brain Damage (1988)
Brian (Rick Hearst) discovers in his apartment a peculiar parasitic creature named Aylmer (voiced by John Zacherle). The two make a equally peculiar alliance. Aylmer offers Brian the psychedelic high of a lifetime, and the only thing he wants in return is to become his symbiont. After tasting his hallucinogenic properties, Brian becomes fully addicted to Aymer. The young man doesn’t suspect that this creature is using him to murder people, because it has an untamed taste for human brains.
“Brain Damage” is directed by Frank Henenlotter, known for his cult “Basket Case” (1982). What those films have in common is wickedly dark humor and a malevolent creature (created by cheap practical effects) in the center of the plot, but “Brain Damage” is much more inventive, twisted, and more of a fun B-movie horror-comedy.
Aymer is a great villain with its cartoony design and sinister, brain-eating intentions. For Brian, he’s an addictive drug as well as a pusher. Their “friendship” is a main source for the film’s dark humor, while Brian’s psychedelic visions are colorful and imaginatively made. If you have warped sense of humor and a taste for film oddities, then “Brain Damage” should be right up your alley. Don’t miss the cameo of “Basket Case” protagonist Duane Bradley (Kevin Van Hentenryck), who sits on the subway holding, of course, the wicker basket.