Here's a little something I originally whipped up while I was writing for Barnes & Noble's now-defunct Quamut line of how-to guides (the original title was "How to Scare Yourself Silly"). Those articles are no longer available online, so I'm sharing this here now. Basically, it's a list of ten horror films I find to be underrated. I figured since the last Tuesday Top 10 was the 10 most OVER-rated horror films, it would be a perfect time to dust off this oldie-but-goody.
Whereas the last list consisted of movies that I feel get far more credit than they deserve, this is a bunch of excellent horror flicks that, while often highly regarded by a certain hardcore fan base, do not get nearly as much attention as they warrant. Let me know what you think!
10. Black House (2007)
This overlooked South Korean import slipped under the radar and straight on to DVD in 2008. A white-knuckle cross between a psychological thriller and a slasher flick, it also boasts the most unlikely serial killer in horror movie history (well, aside from Chucky, perhaps).
9. Kiss of the Vampire (1963)
A product of the UK’s legendary Hammer Films, this Victorian tale of unsuspecting honeymooners targeted by a sinister coven of bloodsuckers is fairly dripping with foreboding atmosphere. One of Hammer’s most underrated gems for sure.
8. House by the Cemetery (1981)
Have your barf bag handy, as the Italian master of viscera Lucio Fulci is at his best in this ultra-violent take on the archetypal haunted house tale. For anyone who’s ever been scared to death of their own basement.
7. Dracula’s Daughter (1936)
Think Anne Rice started the whole “self-hating vampire” shtick? Think again. In this overshadowed sequel to the Bela Lugosi classic, Gloria Holden is both intriguing and chilling as Countess Marya Zaleska, the reluctant nosferatu with a penchant for lesbianism.
6. Dellamorte Dellamore (1994)
Romantic leading man Rupert Everett, of all people, plays a cemetery custodian who turns zombie-killer when the dearly departed start popping out of their graves. The last great horror film to come from Italy, a country whose fright flicks have long been known for their unflinching brutality.
5. Deranged (1974)
Necrophile murderer Ed Gein is said to have been the inspiration for both Norman Bates and Leatherface, but this bizarre adaptation of the real-life story is by far the most faithful. The killer is portrayed by Roberts Blossom, who played kindly old man Marley in Home Alone, so prepare to have your childhood memories irrevocably altered.
4. The Last Man on Earth (1964)
If you got a kick out of I Am Legend (or even moreso if you didn’t), you’ll definitely go in for this Vincent Price vehicle, the first cinematic adaptation of the original 1954 Richard Matheson novel. While the Will Smith version is more of an action flick, Last Man keeps the focus on the nail-biting terror of Matheson’s book.
3. Tombs of the Blind Dead (1971)
Featuring some of the creepiest music ever put to celluloid, this unrelentingly grim Spanish chiller from director Amando de Ossorio recounts what happens when undead crusaders return from their centuries-long slumber in search of human blood. The skeletal “blind dead” are the most haunting movie monsters you’ll ever witness.
2. The Grapes of Death (1978)
An enthralling cross between arthouse and grindhouse, this gory French offering about rural villagers transformed into homicidal maniacs by chemically treated wine feels like a nightmare come to life. It gets points for the most original horror premise, plus keep an eye out for the crucifixion/beheading scene.
1. Let Sleeping Corpses Lie (1974)
An often overlooked chestnut that came out a full four years before George Romero’s groundbreaking Dawn of the Dead, this macabre masterpiece tells the story of flesh-hungry ghouls roaming the English countryside as a result of crop-dusting radiation. Also known as The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue.
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