I'm back with ten more underrated horror gems in this third installment of The 50 Best Horror Movies You've Never Seen. Included here is one of my all time favorites (try to see if you can figure out which) along with some others that deserve your attention:
30. OUTPOST (2008)
Director: Steve Barker
Starring: Ray Stevenson, Richard Brake, Julian Wadham
Nothing says fun like Nazi zombies. With “Outpost”, a team of mercenaries in Eastern Europe discover an old World War II bunker, and the horrors that still reside in it thanks to decades old Nazi experiments. Video game nuts will notice the tons of references to the Wolfenstein PC games, and the claustrophobic atmosphere makes this flick all the better.
29. THE CHILDREN (2008)
Director: Tom Shankland
Starring: Hannah Tointon, Eva Birthistle, Rachel Shelley
A British import that somehow got lumped in with the otherwise cruddy lineup of Ghost House Underground DVDs, “The Children” finds two families in the English countryside enjoying themselves, until their young children are stricken with a mysterious illness that turns them into murderous psychos. These malevolent little bastards wreak bloody havoc on their dimwitted parents for the rest of the film’s running time, but the shocking amount of scares and a startling amount of bloody violence are what make it really worth noting. That along with the fact that the film’s final shot will chill you to the bone.
28. BLACK SHEEP (2006)
Director: Jonathan King
Starring: Nathan Meister, Peter Feeney, Danielle Mason
Featuring some spectacular creature and makeup/gore effects from Peter Jackson’s WETA shop, “Black Sheep” is gleefully fun and enjoyable. I mean come on now, zombie-esque sheep running around in New Zealand? Sounds like a recipe for success to me!
27. DUST DEVIL (1992)
Director: Richard Stanley
Starring: Robert John Burke, Chelsea Field, William Hootkins
This will not be the only time that Richard Stanley appears on this list, as his follow up to “Hardware” may very well be the most introspective and surreal horror film you’ll ever come across. “Dust Devil” revolves around a disenchanted woman driving across the desert, who encounters a handsome drifter that isn’t quite what he seems to be. Is he a serial killer? Or a demon, or even the devil himself? In between all this, a local cop seeks to stop this man dubbed “The Dust Devil”, even if it means using shamans and witchcraft as a means to an end. The film itself has an interesting history, as Stanley envisioned a two hour cut, which distributor Miramax cut into less than an hour and a half, which cuts so much out of the story that it makes the film nigh-incomprehensible. Only a couple years ago did Stanley finally make his “Final Cut” available to the public, but sadly, the DVD has since gone out of print. If you do see “Dust Devil”, make sure that it is Stanley’s preferred “Final Cut”.
26. THE SENDER (1982)
Director: Roger Christian
Starring: Kathryn Harrold, Zeljko Ivanek, Shirley Knight
When a young man gets admitted to a mental hospital after a suicide attempt, his doctor experiences all kinds of paranormal and telekinetic phenomena. He has the ability to make his nightmares into reality for those around him, and he may be impossible to stop. For an 80s horror flick, “The Sender” is quite suspenseful, and quite worth your time.
25. THE WOODS (2006)
Director: Lucky McKee
Starring: Agnes Bruckner, Patricia Clarkson, Bruce Campbell
In 1960s New England, a teenage girl sent to a boarding school in a deep wooden area discovers some strange occurrences that lead her to believe she’s in the middle of a coven of witches. The film sat on the shelf for nearly three years, for little to no reason, but let it never be said that no matter what the role is or even how shitty the flick itself may be (not that this is, which it isn’t), Bruce Campbell is the fucking man.
24. ALIEN RAIDERS (2008)
Director: Ben Rock
Starring: Carlos Bernard, Matthew St. Patrick, Rockmond Dunbar
Shitty movie title aside, “Alien Raiders” is a surprisingly creepy and horrific affair. In a small Arizona town, the denizens of a closing grocery store are ambushed by a group of masked gunmen who subsequently kill a handful of those there and take more as hostages. It isn’t long however before those captured realize that these gunmen aren’t terrorists or robbers, they’re rogue scientists who have tracked an alien infestation to the store, and that some of those among them may not be entirely human. Slickly produced given the miniscule budget, “Alien Raiders” is a surprising blast.
23. COLD PREY (2006)
Director: Roar Uthaug
Starring: Ingrid Bolso Berdal, Viktoria Winge, Rolf Kristian Larsen
A Norwegian import (that ended up spawning two sequels overseas, which sadly haven’t seen the light of day over here yet), “Cold Prey” is just about everything that makes the slasher genre enjoyable, and without any of the shitty aspects either. A group of friends on a snowboarding vacation run afoul of a deranged killer who stalks them and picks them off one by one. Suspenseful and chilling.
22. THE SIGNAL (2007)
Director: David Bruckner/Dan Bush/Jacob Gentry
Starring: Anessa Ramsey, Justin Welborn AJ Bowen
A horror film told in three parts by three different directors, “The Signal” revolves around a cheating wife, her douche bag husband, and her lover who is trying to save her from a horrible fate after a mysterious signal broadcast on every television, cell phone, and radio turns everyone into a homicidal maniac. Though the film’s flow is a bit jumpy and not always sensible, “The Signal” is inventive and unique enough to warrant checking out.
21. LAID TO REST (2009)
Director: Robert Hall
Starring: Bobbi Sue Luther, Kevin Gage, Lena Headey
Directed by FX guru Robert Hall, “Laid to Rest” finds an amnesiac girl on the run from a demented killer wearing a chrome-skull mask, who winds up killing just about everyone she comes across searching for help. A gory and relentless throwback to the golden age of the slasher genre, with some truly inventive death scenes and effects work as well.
More to come...