10 Great Cult Horror Movies You’ve Probably Never Seen

Blood and Black Lace (1964)

Exploitation may not do the business it once did, but in terms of sheer numbers, it’s just as vibrant as it ever was. What’s more, the new ones can often go toe-to-toe with the classics, and a few of them — Sharknado, for one — become genuine cultural phenomena. It’s an impressively giant industry populated by talented people that continues to pay the bills all over North America, which was always kind of the point.

With that in mind, I’ve mixed things up a bit: I’ve gone through some forgotten gems of the early days and mixed them in with the new ones, so that the wild and the crazy of yore can meet the out-there and “let’s just get this done so we can keep calling ourselves filmmakers” of today. Some of these are worth watching for their insanity; others for the sheer unwatchability. You’ll see. Here they are:


1. Zombie Tidal Wave

After the bizarre success of the Sharknado series, the world was left wondering: what next? It was the crowning achievement of the shark craze, which includes Shark Exorcist, House Shark and — my personal favourite — Sharktopus. So what was left?

Of course, the solution was to take another time-honoured monster and combine it with a different natural disaster. Made by the same folks who brought you Sharknado in the first place, Zombie Tidal Wave combines the balls-out insanity of those movies with the classic zombie tale in a way that’s equal parts familiar and novel. Sure, it knows where it comes from — even naming its on-screen punk band “The Fulci’s” [sic] — but it also has a taser sword. And where have you seen that before?

There is nothing else in this whole list that’s as adept at pressing the pleasure button as often and as forcefully as possible. It has the beautiful, nigh-on naked women; it has the hacking-through-bone fun of the zombie movie; it’s ridiculous. Zombie Tidal Wave is easily the most fun movie of 2019 (excluding the joke-a-minute Marriage Story), and can only be recommended to anyone and everyone who claims to have good taste.


2. Boar

In 1984 there was an Australian movie called Razorback about a group of people getting killed in the outback by a gigantic wild boar. In 2017, the movie Boar debuted, featuring a young family getting hunted by a giant wild boar in the Australian outback. In the b-movie field, if something worked one time, it’s worth trying as many times as possible — and then maybe try it a few more times, just to be sure.

A great example of what’s called “natural horror”, this is a style of movie that reached its peak with Alligator in 1980, the essential premise of which is that something is horribly wrong with nature. The fear of being exposed, of being ripped away from civilization to experience the raw violence of the natural world through its most deadly creatures is what all these films base themselves upon.

Some of these movies have featured piranhas, some giant rats, but let me tell you: of all these creatures, none of them is as terrifying as the wild boar. There’s something about the snorting, the protruding tusks and the fact of being consumed by one that’s almost paralyzing. Don’t you think?

Found on the incredible Shudder streaming service, Boar is certain to be spoken of in hushed, traumatized tones by shivering, shuddering masses. Trust me. It’s wild.


3. Bloody Blacksmith

David DeCoteau makes movies quickly. He notoriously depends on long sequences where a hidden killer stalks a shirtless man through the woods, a man who then meets his demise off-screen. Many of his movies follow exactly this formula. It sounds disappointing: it’s actually kind of fun.

Bloody Blacksmith is about a group of history students who are sent on an Easter egg hunt to collect the supposedly cursed tools of a long-deceased homicidal blacksmith. The problem is, the blacksmith has returned: and somebody’s using him for murder.

Sound exciting? Sure it is. And if not, you’ll at least get to see beautiful British Columbia.


4. Evil Exhumed

David DeCoteau makes movies quickly. He notoriously depends on long sequences where a hidden killer stalks a shirtless man through the woods, a man who then meets his demise off-screen. Many of his movies follow exactly this formula. It sounds disappointing: it’s actually kind of fun.

Oh wait, did I just repeat myself?

I admire prolific artists — even above skillful ones — and I’ve not only seen plenty of movies who copied earlier ones almost down to the minute, but loved them, as well. Evil Exhumed, however, copies Bloody Blacksmith not just down to the minute, but almost down to the frame.

Don’t believe me? Try it. It’s a strangely rewarding experience. There’s the opening monologue describing the backstory, the lone traveller talking to someone on the phone, the scopophile who turns out to be controlling the killer watching from the British Columbia woods and, finally, the killer, who watches his victim for a while before dispatching of him off-screen. And that’s just the first sequence. It goes on.

None of which is to be interpreted as criticism. I don’t know that I know, but I think I get it: you’ve gotta be prolific, and whatever you need to do to get you there is part of the fun, not just as the filmmaker, but as the viewer. Doesn’t everybody like to hear about how Plan 9 was made? Isn’t the story behind The Terror the best part of the movie? I mean, what did you expect, Casablanca? We’re into movies that are not only weird, but made weirdly. So what’s the problem?

Just watch this one. It has a mummy in it.


5. Triassic World

I was once like you. I used to look at The Asylum’s titles and think, “God, how do they get away with ripping so many people off?” To me, their business model seemed obvious: you release a cheaply-made knock-off with a title so similar to a hit movie that people accidentally buy it, and you make boatloads of money. But that’s when I was young. I’ve grown up. And I love The Asylum.

The first one I saw that convinced me of their merit was Flight 666. It’s about a haunted airplane — cool premise, right? But the result is every bit worth the price of entry, with some scary moments, great characters and a claustrophobic atmosphere. My shock was just the same as everyone else’s: the guys who make Transmorphers make good movies?

Which isn’t to say they all are. Blumhouse doesn’t release gold every time; Disney just put out a Star Wars movie that everyone seems to hate. Sure, The Asylum releases some duds. But Triassic Park is not one.

Recalling Roger Corman’s Carnosaur, Triassic World follows a group of scientists who are trapped in an experimental facility after a cloned dinosaur escapes and goes on a rampage. “But why,” you ask, “should I watch this instead of Jurassic World?” Because you want gore, don’t you? Violence — mayhem?

Whatever Jurassic World’s pretensions towards being a b-movie, Triassic World is the real deal. Forget Spielberg: get into The Asylum.