Finding gems in the rough has always been one of my greatest pleasures in dealing with the horror genre. That said, every film and its impact is experienced differently (no matter how much you may like a title). This small group of gems is among my favorite titles that “I” feel were underrated or simply dismissed in the rush of upcoming and incoming releases. As a horror web site, we know full well that every month brings at least 50 new titles (whether studio, independent, underground, self financed, or overseas). That is more than any one person has time for (or should for that matter)
In fact it’s fair to say that many of these may have come and come so fast that they are bound to suffer the inevitable fate of being left behind.
Good experiences should be rewarded by those who enjoy them. On that note, I give you my top 10 favorite movies that you’ve never seen. Even movie time is worth something, so It may be a way to escape the mass influx and check out some recommended titles for once. Leave us a comment on what you thought. If one doesn’t do it for ya, maybe the next will!
A top 10 list suggests that there isn’t another top 10 list to follow. I assure you that isn’t in this case.
Look for a “Top 10 list of horror films you STILL haven’t seen” to come in the future! I like the ring of that….kind of like the “Last Summer” titles…..huh?
(not in ranking order)
1- Boo (2005)
I loved Boo. The title itself most likely was a reason for renters at the time to pass it up. Created in 2005 by Anthony C. Ferrante, Boo is what I consider one of the modern edited-style films of that time. By that I mean alot of visual and editing trickery. The movie was filmed at the all too familiar Linda Vista Community Hospital in L. A. (which I believe was the location for another film on this list).
The premise is pretty basic….5 fiends take on spending 1 Halloween night at the haunted hospital. Things go sour.
What particularly struck a chord with me are the methods of which the filmmakers were able to instill a sufficient feeling of haunted surroundings. The movie is alot of fun to watch and like I said, does a pretty good job with its editing style.
In checking reviews, it appears reviews were all over the board. The element of acting usually attacked here. My advice? Have fun with it rather than expecting award winning performances. Really (and per its silly title)…that’s what Boo is about……fun and terror.
2- Shallow Ground (2004)
Solid story, supernatural elements, great camera work…”Shallow Ground” has always been a film that I enjoy re-watching. You have to give some kind of credit to a film that starts out with “a blood-soaked boy walks silently thru the forest”. There are some bizarre twists to this film that you really don’t see coming combined with an underlying evil that is felt more than anything. Beyond that, I just felt it be shot well and edited well. The film has had a small comeback showing up in “horror 3-packs”. As 1 of 3, its worth the $5 for the DVD.
Director Sheldon Wilson has done some great work over the years, if you want to follow his productions.
3- Dead Birds (2004)
Stop me if you heard this one….a small group of runaway Confederate soldiers take refuge in an old house. They become under attack by evil spirits and demons set against a periodic piece. Haven’t stopped me? Yep it’s a true original that really has a level of charm to it. the film did so well as a rental that there have been numerous talks of it becoming a franchise. That franchise never occurred…though that doesn’t mean that the core product is not a blast to take on. I loved this one for its great visuals and strange way of including them in a colonial environment.
4- 13 Seconds (2003)
A very low budget film that seems to be a 1-off success for director Jeff Thomas. The low budget trademarks are very apparent from the first act until the last..however…knowing that, “13 Seconds” is also a very cool and surreal ride of an idea that despite low budget props and sets, just simply works. The story behind the film might surprise you even more with usage of repeated elements be re-used to give the appearance of something bigger. That combined with maxed out credits cards, and well you get the idea….tight budget.
None-the-less, take the time to ride this one out. It almost serves as the “model” of what minimal funds and ambition can accomplish. The film also sat upon Blockbuster shelves and at the time received repeated rentals. The attraction here is more cult-like feeling than pure horror appeal, but the horror is presented very confidently. There is nothing wrong with that.
Some of my favorite films are deemed more cult-ish than studio spun. I always believe that with proper funds, this film “may not” had been as attractive of a watch (take for instance Jeff’s next film “Fallen Angels). It’s the raw energy here that wins my interest…and because of that, it will always make this list and as a recommendation.
5- Lord of Tears (2013)
Rooted in an almost “slender man” type-of-creepiness, “Lord of Tears” is part ghost story and part cult film occurring at a rather somber looking house centered in Scotland . Using the image of an “owl man”, “Lord of Tears” gets an early start on the same type of material that made the game “Slender man” attractive to gamers.
“Lord of Tears” is firmly rooted in paganism and lore spun over a great backing score and some intelligent actor performances. Like the film on this list “House of Black Wings”, the movie demonstrates a careful attention to injecting dread and paranoia in a remote location. The film making here is impressive and worthy of much bigger things. Another good reason to seek out foreign films.
6- Monster Man (2003)
“Monster Man” is a great film as it brings horror, comedy, intensity and of course one mean monster man. A good film to me is one that escapes prediction by adding a few twists along the way. “Monster Man” has those twists as it starts off as a comedy and then gets mighty sinister and horrific. Don’t let the idea of a monster truck throw you off. The way it starts is not the way it ends. Some decent practical FX work adds a flair of professionalism wrapping the whole thing under a umbrella of crazy and weird. The director went on to direct the non-horror film “Shoot ‘em up”, another favorite of mine. You really can’t go wrong with creator Michael Davis. I’ve seen this film at least 5X.
7- Dark Remains (2005)
Dark Remains was an independent release by Brian Avenet-Bradley who has made some really good and effective films for horror. This movie over all else is his prize product. The film caught me by surprise one night when just trying to get thru a stack of film that came in. 2 things about this film instantly stood out…it’s scary and it’s cleverly edited using the techniques of surprise and timing.
“Dark Remains” forever made my “most scariest” list after. While it has all the trademarks of an independent production using minimal resources……..it simply didn’t matter. Careful placement of ghosts, ghouls and eerie specters litter this movie like no other. Most of all, it’s the art of placing them in situations you aren’t expecting that seals the deal here. Borrowed from Asian-horror film influence “Dark Remains” is one of the better examples of “that” style crossing over into US products. There were only a handful of films that I thought achieved this technique well. “Dark Remains” was one of them.
I hope this film does get resurrected and thrown onto bluray someday. It’s worth the purchase.
8- House of Black Wings (2010)
An odd film by David Schmidt. “House of Black Wings” still to this day is one that I often suggest to others who are looking for good films to check out. It’s got a healthy balance of surreal, horror, and gothic all rolled into one. I did review “House of Black Wings” quite a while ago, but on recollection it was also one I jotted down for inclusion if I ever got to finishing this list.
House of Black Wings (2010) introduces a slow intensity centered around a somber courtyard apartment building setting. The house is a center to the experiences that Kate’s must endure. Kate our main protagonist works well as a haunted young girl suddenly made to endure her new residence with its distractions.
9- Mister Frost (1990)
Mr. Frost which over the years has been listed under 2 spelling variations: “Mr. Frost” and “Mister Frost”. The film is easily one of the highest recommended films that “hasn’t” been properly given a digital treatment. I find it harder to recommend a film that is only available on VHS or some form of underground digitized version 9at current of this article). Though Jeff Goldblum is a master of his art in this movie capturing the character of Satan like no other. The movie is smart, philosophical and yet evil without being “that” evil…go figure. Take my advice, it simply works….AND if I could purchase it…it would go straight to my “favorite films” shelf.
FYI- I did see this movie was available to watch in full on Youtube, though that could change. You’ll have to search it out yourself, but….it’s viewing time worth spent.
Jeff Goldblum as Satan? Yep you betcha!
10- Room 6 (2006)
This film is blast to watch. Starring Christine Taylor and Jerry O’Connell “Room 6” has got alot of freaky elements to it. We got transformations, demons, a haunted hospital (sounds like Boo, eh?)and a number of odd scenes that give a Jacob’s Ladder-style of situations.
Those films are always a win as we literally don’t know what coming at us next. “Room 6” is a great pick offering chills and story. While that title “Room 6” really doesn’t do much to translate “what” the movie is about…well, just take my word for it…it’s a pretty cool ride. If you like horror and surreal situations, this is a great choice to meet that need. I would lump this into films that lean more towards a “silent Hill” style of presentation. Christine Taylor and Jerry O’Connell are also a great team to watch adding their acting talents to the production.
Who’s that? A young Chloe-Moretz?….nice!