Friday, October 31, 2014


Halloween is here, which means there will be costume parties to attend, and candy to distribute, and costumes to wear. But perhaps most importantly, it means it's time to snuggle up under some blankets, grab some popcorn, and watch a good, scary movie. Of course, horror movies often aren't runaway box office successes, so finding out about a good one can be a challenge. Luckily, I've been watching said films via streaming services since September 1, and can make some recommendations for you, so here are 10 great horror movies, in alphabetical order, that the average person has probably not seen, and which in many cases even horror aficionados may not have gotten around to yet, along with links to where you can watch them online.

See the list after the jump.


Sure, the vampire and found-footage subgenres of horror have been done to death, but there are still some interesting takes on both ideas waiting to be found, and this recent entry has plenty of them. 2 friends set off on a trip around the world which they will be documenting for a blog, though 1 has a rare brain condition that adds a level of danger to the trip. During a night out in Paris, 1 of them (guess which) meets a girl who happens to be more than she seems. When he takes her back to the hotel he's in for a nasty surprise, and the trip takes a bit of a turn for the worse from there. Full of interesting ideas and pretty cool set pieces, it's a fun movie with a few decent scares too. Plus, it's nice to see that at least someone remembers that vampires are supposed to be scary.



I don't think anyone would ever have guessed that Barry Levinson, who directed such well-respected films as "Diner", "Wag the Dog", "Rain Man", and "Good Morning, Vietnam", would ever wind up making a schlocky, found-footage horror movie about mutant isopods terrorizing the citizens of a small Chesapeake Bay town, but here it is. And surprisingly it's pretty good. It's not exactly the sort of horror movie that has you jumping out of your seat every few minutes, but it does leave you feeling creeped out in a way that few do. Definitely worth a look, and it will have you looking at your next glass of tap water with suspicion.



This tale may not be horror per sé, but it would be difficult to put this Israeli film in any other genre either. It opens with a child abduction, which as it turns out is only another in a series of them. The father of the victim suspects it is a local teacher, and as it turns out so does a detective on the case. His methods get him suspended, but when his child is the next to vanish, he takes matters into his own hands, ultimately joining forces with the father to "convince" the teacher to confess. As you can imagine there are some pretty grisly sequences here, and the idea of someone preying on children is always creepy. There are also some surprisingly funny moments, and some less surprisingly thought provoking ones. Did the teacher do it? Or in their zeal for justice have these 2 men been torturing an innocent? You'll have to see for yourselves in this stunner of a movie.



The Japanese are known for their haunting, often bizarre horror films, and this gem from director Kiyoshi Kurosawa won't do anything to dispel anyone of that notion. The tale follows a police detective on the trail of what appears to be a serial killer, who leaves his victims' corpses marked by an "X" slashed into their bodies. But surprisingly, in each case he also leaves behind a murderer. Just how is he doing this? The movie doesn't really hide his methods, but I'll still not spoil it here. Suffice it to say this is a creepy one.



This one may be a bit light on the "horror" for anyone who considers themselves a hardcore fan of the genre, but it is still a highly entertaining little film. A couple with some relationship issues is taking a trip to a quaint B&B in the woods called The Happy House. As one would expect, things don't go so well. It's better if I don't say much about what happens, as trying to figure out what exactly will go wrong is half the fun in this movie. While it may take a while to get going, when it does there are some truly scary sequences. The comically abrupt ending is likely to polarize some audiences, but don't let that turn you off from this unique movie.



A troubled young woman winds up under house arrest in this fantastic film from New Zealand. Of course things are not quite that simple. It is her childhood home, which her mother believes to be haunted, and it turns out the creepy neighbor may or may not be a murderer. Lucky for everyone, the officer assigned to keep an eye on her happens to be a paranormal researcher. Things get progressively nuttier from there, in a good way, and the film strikes a perfect balance between comedy and suspense that winds up making it one of the best of the year. You really need to see this one.



I honestly don't know how it is that I had never heard of this 2009 Indonesian movie before this year. It is so completely insane, and so outrageously violent, that I would think it would have become an instant cult hit. Yet somehow it has managed to exist off of my radar all this time. A newlywed couple is moving out of the country, and 3 or their friends are accompanying them to the airport to say goodbye. They wind up picking up a girl who is stranded in a rainstorm and dropping her off at her house. They accept an invitation to come inside and meet her mother so she can thank them for helping her daughter and as you probably guessed, things take a turn for the worse from there. There really is no describing what happens next, but suffice it to say there are very few other movies like this one. Not for the faint of heart, or weak of stomach.



If there is any one film on this list that most true horror fans have probably already seen, it's this one. It has become notorious for a couple of reasons. First, for how unflinchingly, shockingly violent it can be. And second, for the twisty, insane plot. We start by following a young girl, Lucie, who escapes from an unseen captor (or captors). Flash forward several years and she is now living in a shelter with another young woman, Anna, who feels a compulsion to look after her. Lucie is being tormented by an evil spirit while also plotting revenge against the people who she believes held her prisoner all those years ago. I can't really say anything else without giving things away, but suffice it to say that there is a 0% chance that you will be able to guess where this French movie ends up based on how it begins.



Ti West has been building up quite a following in the horror community thanks to his previous films, "The House of the Devil" and "The Innkeepers", as such the only reason that you likely haven't seen it yet is because it only came out this year. With his 3rd feature he moves away from the retro stylings of his first 2 and gives us his take on the ever-present found footage movie. Basically, this is a modern retelling of the Jonestown Massacre, and as such, some find it to be in poor taste. Others, myself included, find that truth is often far scarier than fiction, and feel that knowing that there have been and will be people out there crazy enough to go along with something like this makes the film only that much more effective. If you can get past the very true basis for this story, which is definitely fictionalized, you'll find a genuinely distressing little scare picture.



You wouldn't be able to guess how much I am bored of the found-footage style of horror film-making based on the fact that this is the 4th entry on this list to feature it, but believe me, I am quite over it. That being said, it can still be used pretty effectively. And who would have guessed that Bobcat Goldthwait would be one of the directors who could pull it off. Yes, that Bobcat Goldthwait. A young couple heads out on a camping trip so that the boyfriend can attempt to capture Bigfoot on film. He believes, she does not. As you can imagine, her opinion changes as the film progresses. Not since "The Blair Witch Project" has a movie managed to have me so scared by so little, and while it lacks the punch-to-the-gut climax of that movie, it is still easily the best direct knock-off ever made.