The 15 Best Horror Movies You Haven’t Seen

Halloween can be a scary time of year. Monsters. Ghosts. Demons. Being responsible for choosing the movie for your picky friends at your seasonal get-together. We’ve all been there....

Halloween can be a scary time of year. Monsters. Ghosts. Demons. Being responsible for choosing the movie for your picky friends at your seasonal get-together. We’ve all been there.

I can’t help you with the monsters, but I’ve got the movies covered for you. Here’s my list of go-to recommendations: 15 scary movies that I think are undeservedly ignored, unknown, or underappreciated.

Happy Halloween!

 

The Dead (2010)

thedead

Director: The Ford Brothers

Starring: Rob Freeman, Prince David Oseia

Subgenre: slow-burning zombie terror

In the early days of a West African zombie epidemic, an American engineer teams up with an AWOL soldier as they struggle to survive. In a sea of mediocre zombie movies, The Dead stands out due to its willingness to embrace Romero-style slow, shuffling zombies – the ones you can outrun, but never really escape. Long eerie silences, deliberate pacing, and the empty rural landscapes of Ghana and Burkina Faso make for a strange, creeping, and totally unforgettable kind of scary.

You’ll *love* this if you like: The Walking Dead, Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead


Ginger Snaps (2000)

gingersnaps

Director: John Fawcett

Starring: Emily Perkins, Katharine Isabelle

Subgenre: teenage girl angst and lycanthropy

It’s a real shame that there aren’t more werewolf stories exploring monstrous femininity. But Ginger Snaps takes that idea and runs with it, splicing together menstruation, sexuality, violence, and transformation into weird wolfy magic. Two teenage sisters with a passion for the macabre get more than they bargained for when their boring suburban life is interrupted by an unscheduled werewolf bite. Amazing performances by Isabelle and Perkins elevate what might be a conventional monster movie into your new favorite chick flick.

You’ll *love* this if you like: The Craft, Drop Dead Gorgeous, Teen Wolf


The Last Winter (2006)

lastwinter1

Director: Larry Fessenden

Starring: Ron Perlman, James Le Gros, Connie Britton

Subgenre: suspenseful eco-horror

At a remote oil company outpost, an isolated team of scientists is terrified by strange events and hallucinations. Set in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, The Last Winter is an environmentalist fable disguised as a psychological chiller, exploring madness on a personal and global scale.

You’ll *love* this if you like: Alien, Jurassic Park, An Inconvenient Truth

 

You’re Next (2011)

youre_next_ver3

Director: Adam Wingard

Starring: Sharni Vinson, Joe Swanberg, AJ Bowen

Subgenre: Vicious slasher-comedy

Adam Wingard’s spin on the home-invasion genre is bloody, badass, and unapologetically hilarious. Set during a family reunion gone terribly wrong, You’re Next turns WASPy domestic melodrama into a figurative and literal dismantling of the family unit. I won’t say too much, because spoilers, but you’ll also have a new favorite song by the end of the movie. You’re welcome.

You’ll *love* this if you like:  Halloween, Scream, Cabin in the Woods


The Changeling (1980)

MovieChangeling

Director: Peter Medak

Starring: George C. Scott

Subgenre: classy, understated ghost story

A composer, still reeling from the death of his family, moves into an empty Victorian mansion, where he is haunted by the ghost of a murdered child. The Changeling is a great choice if you’re looking for something scary but not gory – it’s quiet, well-acted, and deeply terrifying.

You’ll *love* this if you like:  The Sixth Sense, The Haunting, The Others


Re-Animator (1985)

reanimator1

Director: Stuart Gordon

Starring: Jeffrey Combs, Bruce Abbott, Barbara Crampton

Subgenre: schlocky mad scientist B-movie perfection

Based on an H.P. Lovecraft story, Re-Animator is a beloved cult classic and a sick little vehicle for gratuitous violence, gross zombie gore, and a brilliant old-school performance by Jeffrey Combs.  It’s disgusting and hilarious and always a big hit at parties.

You’ll *love* this if you like: Evil Dead 2, Return of the Living Dead, Grindhouse


Splice (2009)

splice

Director: Vincenzo Natali

Starring: Adrien Brody, Sarah Polley, Delphine Chanéac

Subgenre: unsettling sci-fi body horror

And speaking of mad scientists, Splice is the place where all your deepest fears about cloning, body horror, parenthood, and genetic engineering come to party. Deeply disturbing and provocative, this film will rock you on an emotional level before it scares the crap out of you.

You’ll *love* this if you like:  The Fly, Alien: Resurrection, Gattaca


Bubba Ho-Tep (2002)

bubbahotep

Director: Don Coscarelli

Starring: Bruce Campbell, Ossie Davis

Subgenre: poignant and silly cult classic

Trapped in a crappy rest home and a crappier aging body, Sebastian Haff is suffering from the delusion that he’s Elvis Presley. Or maybe he really is Elvis. Teaming up with his new friend Jack, who’s convinced that he’s former President John F. Kennedy, it’s up to Sebastian to save the helpless residents of the rest home from a soul-sucking Egyptian mummy. And if you find yourself getting a little teary-eyed during a movie about a cowboy-hat-wearing mummy starring Bruce Campbell, we can keep that between us.

You’ll *love* this if you like: Army of Darkness, RED, Elvis Presley, chins


The Mist (2007)

themist

Director: Frank Darabont

Starring: Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden

Subgenre: giant monsters and existential dread

After a strange storm, a bunch of small-town folks take refuge in a grocery store, where they’re surrounded by a strange white mist and besieged by unspeakable horrors. Based on a story by Stephen King, The Mist features beautiful music and cinematography, a terrifying performance by Marcia Gay Harden, and one heck of an ending.

You’ll *love* this if you like: The Walking Dead, 28 Days Later, The Green Mile


Pontypool (2008)

pontypool

Director: Bruce McDonald

Starring: Stephen McHattie, Lisa Houle, Georgina Reilly

Subgenre: zombie outbreak meets Linguistics 101

A local DJ is trapped in a small local radio station during the spread of a mysterious virus that seems to be contracted through language. Pontypool is a thinking person’s twist on the zombie genre, featuring an amazing performance from your new favorite actor Stephen McHattie.

You’ll *love* this if you like: Welcome To Nightvale, Dawn of the Dead, poststructuralism


Stake Land (2010)

Stake Land

Director: Jim Mickle

Starring: Connor Paolo, Nick Damici, Kelly McGillis

Subgenre: post-apocalyptic vampire tear-jerker

Actually, scratch that – Nick Damici is your new favorite actor. Stake Land combines all the best elements of vampires, zombies, road movies, and the end of the world. If there’s a movie on this list that I personally guarantee as a Halloween crowd-pleaser, this is it. Everyone loves this movie.

You’ll *love* this if you like: The Road, I Am Legend, Zombieland


Ravenous (1999)

ravenous2

Director: Antonia Bird

Starring: Guy Pearce, Robert Carlyle, David Arquette, Neal McDonough

Subgenre: 19th-century horror meets cannibalism and colonialism

Set just after the Mexican-American war, Ravenous follows Second Lieutenant Boyd after he is stationed at a remote, icy fort in the Sierra Nevadas. Cut off from civilization, Boyd and his comrades are terrorized by a mysterious stranger, an insatiable hunger, and, ultimately, each other. Thanks in large part to its perfectly creepy soundtrack and cinematography, this is one of my favorite movies ever, a clever little fable about war and manifest destiny.

You’ll *love* this if you like: Deliverance, Hannibal, The Grey


Let The Right One In (Låt den rätte komma in,2008)

lettherightonein

Director: Tomas Alfredson

Starring: Kåre Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson

Subgenre: creepy Swedish vampire kids

Someone made an adequate but entirely unnecessary American remake (Let Me In) of this film a couple of years later, but the original, Let The Right One In, is simply *perfect*. Impeccably written, shot, and acted, it’s unsettling, sweet, and meaningful. This is might be the best vampire movie ever made, and it’s more about loneliness, adolescence, and loyalty than it’s about bloodsucking and murder. (Not that there’s not plenty of that stuff, too.)

You’ll *love* this if you like: Interview with the Vampire, The Silence of the Lambs, Hemlock Grove


The Thing (1982)

thething

Director: John Carpenter

Starring: Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, Keith David

Subgenre: edge-of-your-seat closed-room creature feature

I was a little hesitant about putting The Thing on this list – it’s indisputably and famously a horror classic. On the other hand, I meet people who’ve never seen it. All the time! People who love horror movies! This is just unacceptable, so here it is. If you haven’t seen The Thing, watch The Thing. This movie has everything going for it. Thick, excruciating suspense. Baby Snake Plissken. Awesome practical creature effects that still stand up after thirty years – and put the silly CGI crowd to shame, thank you very much. And above all, this is *the* definitive John Carpenter score, probably my favorite horror movie music of all time. See this movie. See this movie. See this movie.

You’ll *love* this if you like: Aliens, “Ice” (X-Files 1.07), Rear Window


An American Werewolf in London (1981)

americanwerewolf

Director: John Landis

Starring: David Naughton, Jenny Agutter, Joe Belcher

Subgenre: very funny and very scary horror-comedy

Same goes here – this movie is a must-see. Not just for horror fans, but for movie fans. An American Werewolf in London is the perfect horror-comedy. Or maybe the perfect horror movie. Or maybe just the perfect movie. The witty script, the cool moon-inspired soundtrack, the werewolf horror balanced with relatable human drama – I could go on and on, but I’ll simply say that this is the best movie about friendship, sex, love, madness, werewolves, and the Holocaust you’re ever going to see. That’s all I’ll say.

You’ll *love* this if you like: Being Human, Shaun of the Dead, Hemlock Grove

  madmoll – Contributing Writer

madmoll is a writer based in Los Angeles. She’s a big ol’ geek who loves comic books, horror movies, and Renaissance literature.
Find me at: Tumblr
Categories
Film
Mad Moll Green

Mad Moll Green writes in Los Angeles and Vancouver. She loves horror movies, comic books, and ironic spandex.

  • OhISee

    I’ve seen a few of these- notably splice – and also thought it was really good. I’ll be sure to check out the rest of the list. THanks!

RELATED BY

  • Advocates Call For Boycott of Zoolander 2

    The release of the trailer for the upcoming move, Zoolander 2, has prompted a call for its boycott by some LGBTQ advocates. Zoolander 2, set to premier on February...
  • Spotlight Review

    One of the great triumphs of Spotlight is how it manages to sidestep histrionics and grandstanding. Instead, Tom McCarthy gives us a muted, methodical, deeply human, perspective on how...
  • Bone Tomahawk and the Essential Evil of the Horror Western

    I really wanted to love Bone Tomahawk, but this (very good) article on The Burrowers and revisionist westerns totally nails the glaring problem with it: namely, Bone Tomahawk is...
  • Spectre Review

    Whether or not Spectre proves to be the final chapter of Daniel Craig’s run, his fourth film in the franchise serves as a pointed reminder that they were made...