Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The 50 Best Horror Movies You've Never Seen: Part 4

Well folks, here we are already at Part Four of The 50 Best Horror Movies You've Never Seen. In this penultimate installment, we get down to the nitty gritty so to speak, and wind up counting down not only what are the best horror flicks you've never seen, but what are also some of my absolute favorite horror films ever. Here we go...

20. WHO CAN KILL A CHILD? (1976)
Director: Narciso Ibanez Serrador
Starring: Lewis Fiander, Prunella Ransome, Antonio Iranzo

What is it about kids that can wind up being so goddamn creepy? “Who Can Kill a Child?”, also known as “Island of the Damned” among many other titles depending on the region, finds an English couple vacationing off the Spanish coast, who come to find that there are no adults to be found on the island which they are staying. Instead, there is nothing but children, all of whom are so damned eerie that you’ll get the heebie jeebies before the blood starts flowing. I previously listed “The Children” on this list, which draws so many inspirations from this film, and as good as that film is, “Who Can Kill a Child?” is all the more chilling to the bone.

19. BASKET CASE (1982)
Director: Frank Henenlotter
Starring: Kevin Van Hentenryck, Terri Susan Smith, Beverly Bonner

A long time cult favorite that spawned a couple horrible sequels, the original “Basket Case” is the definition of low-budget, indie horror. The film revolves around a young man who takes a room in a dingy New York City motel, his only luggage being a covered basket. Turns out the basket contains his hideously deformed Siamese twin that was surgically separated from him some time before, whom he still takes care of. Oh yeah, his twin is also a cannibal and totally insane…and enjoys making life ever so much harder for our hero. Dated as hell, but “Basket Case” still winds up being kind of fun regardless.

18. DEMONS (1985)
Director: Lamberto Bava
Starring: Urbano Barberini, Natasha Hovey, Karl Zinny

Co-written with horror great Dario Argento, “Demons” finds a large group of people invited to the screening of a horror film trapped within the theater as the monsters on the screen not only come to life, but begin to possess and kill the hapless victims. Let me start off by saying that “Demons” is utterly ridiculous by nature, but it is even more ridiculously fun if you’re a horror fan. It’s twisty, provides genuine shocks, and some truly gross-out moments to boot. There was a half-decent sequel that came out not too long after the first film was released, and to this day “Demons” has developed a bit of a cult following.

17. FEAST (2005)
Director: John Gulager
Starring: Balthazar Getty, Henry Rollins, Krista Allen

What’s interesting about “Feast” is what it is the product of. A few years back, there was this show on Bravo and HBO called “Project Greenlight”, in which producers Matt Damon and Ben Affleck held a bit of a creative contest for aspiring filmmakers. The winner would be given a decent enough budget to make his dream film, and the result of one of said seasons of the show (I forget exactly which one) is “Feast”. A group of drunks and ass holes at a local bar fall victim to a horde of ravenous beasts, which proceed to dismember, devour, and re-produce (yes, you read that right) all in ultra-gory glee. Another shock-filled gore-fest that actually will keep you interested and entertained (while making fun of itself), “Feast” would be followed by two much lesser-quality sequels, which are in all honestly better left ignored. Oh yeah, Jason Mewes gets his face ripped off in this, seriously.

16. THE BURROWERS (2008)
Director: J.T. Petty
Starring: Clancy Brown, William Mapother, Doug Hutchison

Set in the western/frontier era, “The Burrowers” finds a group of rescuers and bounty hunters banded together in an effort to find a family of settlers who have mysteriously disappeared. As their investigation furthers, they discover that the culprits aren’t the Native Americans they were prepared to battle, but instead are monstrous beasts rising straight from the ground. No, this isn’t “Tremors”, but instead “The Burrowers” is one of those rare horror films that offers a surprising amount of heart and intelligence amid all the blood-letting. And, like so many of Lions Gate’s best horror films, “The Burrowers” was due for a theatrical release, but instead sat on the shelf for a while before being shoveled to DVD.

15. ALTERED (2006)
Director: Eduardo Sanchez
Starring: Adam Kaufman, Brad William Henke, Michael C. Williams

The man behind “The Blair Witch Project” helms this underrated little gem, in which a group of hillbilly friends decide to gather together one night in order to catch and take some revenge on one of the alien beings responsible for the death of their child hood friend and their abduction years before. Things seem to be going great, until the deadly little bastard turns the tables on our heroes. It sounds stupid admittedly, but this is really only scratching the surface of “Altered”. The film is incredibly tense and when the big horror payoffs happen, you wind up floored by what you see on the screen. Also, if the final scene of the film doesn’t leave you with some degree of unease, you simply aren’t human.

14. THEM (2006)
Director: David Moreau/Xavier Palud
Starring: Olivia Bonamy, Michael Cohen, Adriana Mocca

A French thriller (and hit in its native land), “Them” (also known as “Ils”) is a briskly paced cat & mouse game, in which a couple awakens one night in their isolated home to strange sounds. It isn’t long before they realize that there are hooded assailants who mean to do them some extreme forms of harm. One of the few entries on this list that doesn’t involve any normal type of typical horror clich├ęs, “Them” is a surprising suspense flick that was well worth making the trip across the pond.

13. SPLINTER (2008)
Director: Toby Wilkins
Starring: Jill Wagner, Shea Whigham, Paulo Costanzo

A somewhat troubled couple run afoul of a pair of desperate criminals, but even worse for everyone involved is the parasite that they discover that splinters itself into its victims, turning its still living hosts into zombie-esque freaks. Trapped inside an isolated convenience store, everyone must work together to survive, and the end result doesn’t look too good. Featuring some surprisingly brilliant effects work, “Splinter” is an undiscovered gem of a horror flick that actually defies the typical conventions of the “trapped with zombies”-type of horror film. Plus, the scenes of body parts contorting in unnatural ways will make you squirm.

12. BABY BLUES (2008)
Director: Lars Jacobson/Amardeep Kaleka
Starring: Colleen Porch, Joel Bryant, Ridge Canipe

A mother suffering from extreme postpartum depression decides to eliminate her four children one night on an isolated farm while her trucker husband is on the road. The eldest son becomes the protector of his siblings as he struggles to save them from his mentally ill mother, culminating in a big time shocker showdown. When I say that “Baby Blues” is shocking, I’m not kidding in the least. This is a film that definitely isn’t for the faint of heart, and I say not because the film offers heaping buckets of blood & guts (which it really doesn’t), but because the tone of the film is so unforgiving and bleak that you may have a bit of a difficult time getting through it. Still though, the suspense and shocks are simply killer.

11. DEAD ALIVE (1992)
Director: Peter Jackson
Starring: Timothy Balme, Diana Penalver, Elizabeth Moody

Also known as “Brain Dead”, “Dead Alive” is the zombie bash that Peter Jackson did long before he got famous for making the “Lord of the Rings” flicks. A man with an evil, overbearing mother finds his life getting horribly chaotic when his mum gets bitten by a demonic monkey, slowly turning her into a powerful zombie bitch. From that point forward, well…I’ll put it like this…there’s a kung-fu priest, atrophied body parts, zombies humping, a zombie baby in a stroller, a head in a blender, a lawnmower strapped to a chest slicing & dicing zombies, and various other body parts that become severed, eaten, and obliterated. Revered as one of the absolute goriest zombie films to ever see the light of day, “Dead Alive” features so many visual gags and hysterical moments that you’ll wonder how Peter Jackson went from this to what he’s doing these days. Barf bag not included.

That's all for now folks, and the final installment is well on the way...

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