Trick or treat, beat my meat...nevermind. Anyway, the countdown continues of the 50 best horror flicks you've never seen. Barf bags not included...
40. MARTYRS (2008)
Director: Pascal Laugier
Starring: Morjana Alaoui, Mylene Jampanoi, Catherine Begin
I hate the horror sub-genre of torture-porn, absolutely despise it. Between all the “Saw’s” and “Hostel’s” and the like, it’s no wonder that a film like “Martyrs” gets lost in the pack. Make no mistake though that this French import is one brutal film, yet even more shocking is how powerful and moving it winds up being. The story revolves around two girls, both of whom were victims of various brands of child abuse, on a revenge mission of sorts. The final frames of the film are incredibly difficult to get out of your head.
39. MULBERRY STREET (2006)
Director: Jim Mickle
Starring: Nick Damici, Kim Blair, Ron Brice
Part of the 2007 lineup of the After Dark Horrorfest, “Mulberry Street” may have a ridiculous premise, but the surprising amount of mounting tension and even more surprisingly good acting make it worthwhile. The tenants of a downtown apartment building in Manhattan try to survive the night when a virus infects the city turning people into cannibal rat-creatures (yes, you read that right). Give it a chance, yes I’m serious.
38. HATCHET (2006)
Director: Adam Green
Starring: Joel David Moore, Kane Hodder, Mercedes McNab
A gleefully violent and fun ode to the slasher genre, “Hatchet” revolves around a group of tourists in New Orleans taking a haunted swamp tour, only to fall prey to the monstrous killer Victor Crowley. Featuring some just plain brilliant makeup effects, “Hatchet” ended up garnering a surprising cult following, culminating in a recently released (and subsequently pulled from theaters) sequel that promises more of the same gory hijinks.
37. ROGUE (2007)
Director: Greg McLean
Starring: Radha Mitchell, Michael Vartan, Sam Worthington
From the same team that made “Wolf Creek”, “Rogue” finds an American journalist in Australia coming face to face with a gigantic killer crocodile. Before you start thinking “that’s nothing new”, “Rogue” winds up being more than just a generic monster B-movie, with some great effects and genuinely horrific moments. Plus, it has a pre-“Avatar” Sam Worthington get eaten alive, and that in itself is worth checking “Rogue” out for.
36. EDEN LOG (2007)
Director: Franck Vestiel
Starring: Clovis Cornillac, Vimala Pons, Zohar Wexler
A French hybrid of horror/mystery/suspense, “Eden Log” boasts a unique visual style, with a washed-out color pallet and overall visual design that resembles one of the old “Resident Evil” video games. An amnesiac man wakes up deep inside a cavern, with no knowledge of what happened to him or to the dead people he finds on his journey. All he does know is that there are strange, violent creatures out and about, as he searches for an escape, while finding out some shocking things about himself and the world as a whole along the way.
35. UNDEAD (2003)
Director: Michael Spierig & Peter Spierig
Starring: Felicity Mason, Mungo McKay, Rob Jenkins
Another Australian import, “Undead” is from the brother directing team that would eventually do the recent vampire flick “Daybreakers”. With “Undead”, the title pretty much tells you what you need to know, revolving around a small Australian fishing village that falls victim to strange meteorites that apparently transform the residents into zombies. The big twist and shocker ending is what makes “Undead” a keeper.
34. THE LAST WINTER (2006)
Director: Larry Fessenden
Starring: Ron Perlman, James LeGros, Connie Britton
An environmentalist working with an American oil conglomerate investigates the mysterious apparent suicide by one of the workers in the northern arctic. When more similar events occur and tensions mount, it soon becomes apparent that something very, very bad is happening in the great white north. What could be seen as another type of “nature fighting back” flick, “The Last Winter” is an intelligent, thoughtful, ambiguous, and creepy take on environmental health. A little drawn out, but well worth it.
33. XTRO (1983)
Director: Harry Bromley Davenport
Starring: Philip Sayer, Bernice Stegers, Danny Brainin
Spawning two horrible sequels that have nothing to do with this first film, “XTRO” is an entertaining “Alien” rip-off, in which a man returns home to his wife and son three years after he was abducted by aliens. Naturally he’s not quite the same man he was before he left, and he starts to make a profound effect on his young son, as his estranged wife and her new lover struggle to put him to a stop. Featuring buckets of blood, terrible acting, and nudity-a-plenty, “XTRO” is pure trashy fun the whole way through, and if schlock is your thing, you can’t do much better than this.
32. C.H.U.D. (1984)
Director: Douglas Cheek
Starring: John Heard, Daniel Stern, Christopher Curry
Another “so schlocky it’s good” type, “C.H.U.D.” (standing for Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers) revolves around a photographer, his girlfriend, a cop, and an unhinged vagrant teaming up to stop a race of sewer-dwelling mutated homeless mutants from devouring all of New York City. I couldn’t make that story up if I tried. What makes “C.H.U.D.” enjoyable is the surprisingly good gore effects and darkly comedic moments. Plus, it marks the big-screen debut of John Goodman…yes I’m serious.
31. THE TRIPPER (2006)
Director: David Arquette
Starring: Thomas Jane, Lukas Haas, Jamie King
A delightfully nasty slasher tribute that pokes fun at Republicans, “The Tripper” revolves around a new-age hippie festival in a small hick town, that falls under attack by a Ronald Regan-mask wearing axe murderer. Hilarious gore effects and plenty of tongue-in-cheek political humor.
More to come...