Are you tired of watching the same old classic horror movies every Halloween? Well look no further, here’s 10 “hidden gem” horror movies that the majority of people likely haven’t seen before.
That’s right, don’t expect to see the usual titles like Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, and Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Everything listed here is hopefully going to be fresh and exciting for you. Also, you may need a pulse check afterwards, as quite a few of these films are terrifying and will scare the living daylights out of you.
Honourable mention - Double Date (2017)
I really wanted to put Double Date in the top 10, it’s a British horror film with lots of humour between the gory scenes, but alas, it hasn’t been released outside of Europe and is too hard to find, which is a real shame as it’s a great movie. The film is about a nerdy young man looking for a date who happens to run into two sisters who secretly want to sacrifice him in order to bring their dead father back from the grave. If you can find a copy of it online, give it a watch, it’s well worth tracking down.
10. Touristas (2006)
Touristas is an underappreciated travel horror movie about a group of people on vacation in Brazil who end up caught in an organ harvesting nightmare. The film was shot on location in beautiful Sao Paulo, and it has a really dark and raw vibe to it, primarily thanks to director John Stockwell’s excellent eye. If you’re a travel fanatic who’s had some scary experiences around the world, this one will either be right up your alley or you’ll want to avoid it at all costs.
9. Ginger Snaps 3: The Beginning (2004)
Ginger Snaps 1 and 2 are pretty well known Canadian werewolf films, but I feel the third one is quite often forgotten about, which is a real shame as it’s easily on par with the other two. Set in 19th century Canada during a brutally cold winter, two sisters end up taking refuge at a trader’s fort, which later comes under siege by werewolves. It’s a prequel, so you don’t need to see parts 1 and 2 to enjoy this one.
8. Below (2002)
Like ghost stories? If so, you’ll want to find a copy of this super creepy World War 2 movie that features a shell-shocked crew inside of a submarine that is travelling 500 feet deep. After rescuing a female passenger, weird events start to happen. Is the submarine haunted, or could it just be all in the crew’s minds? Watch and see for yourself.
7. Mischief Night (2014)
It’s the night before Halloween and a teenage babysitter is being stalked by a masked killer. Sounds generic right? But about 15-20 minutes into the story, the film suddenly takes a wild left turn and does something completely new and daring with the genre. Mischief Night deserves a spot on this list mainly for the big plot twist, but it’s also really well made with solid performances.
6. 100 Feet (2008)
An abused housewife kills her police officer husband in self defence. She’s then sentenced to house arrest inside of the very same house where the ghost of her husband still lingers. This one is a really dark story with some shocking scenes, but is also an incredibly moving tale filled with heart-wrenching emotional resonance.
5. Detention of the Dead (2012)
It’s basically The Breakfast Club with zombies. Hilariously entertaining, this one serves up some great laughs to go along with the bloody horror scenes. Enjoy a cold beverage or two with your friends when you put this one on, it will make it an even better watch.
4. Cabin by the Lake (2000)
Cabin by the Lake is a twisted made for TV horror movie starring Judd Nelson as a screenwriter who’s compelled to kill people in order to help write his scripts. The film has it’s tongue firmly in its cheek the entire time and does a good job of skewering Hollywood, but it also features some beautifully shot scenes of Nelson tending to his “underwater garden.”
3. Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (2006)
Set in 18th century France, Perfume tells the sordid tale of a brilliant man on a homicidal quest to create the perfect scent. Director Tom Tykwer is a visual genius who brilliantly captures all of the sights and smells involved with making perfume, and the realistic set design makes it feel like you’ve actually been transported all the way back to the 18th century. If you’re in the mood for a weird, European artsy horror flick, this one is a great choice with some of the best cinematography you’ll ever lay your eyes on.
2. Session 9 (2001)
A crew hired to remove asbestos from an abandoned insane asylum gets caught up investigating dark and dangerous secrets inside of the building. Session 9 is a dark psychological horror story with some great performances that really builds up to an epic climax. A fine and unnerving shocker that was released before Martin Scorsese’s thematically similar Shutter Island.
1. Tesis (1996)
Film student Angela finds a secret VHS tape at her university that features shockingly real violence. As she tries to find out the origin of the tape, she gets pulled deeper and deeper into an unsolved murder investigation. This Spanish language debut from Alejandro Amenabar tackles serious themes about media and violence, while also being a white knuckle thrill ride right up to the explosive final plot twist. I watched it awhile ago and was on the edge of my seat for the entire running time. Tesis seems to be largely unknown here in North America, but it’s easily one of the best films I’ve seen and is very worthy of watching on Halloween night with the lights off.
Tyson Whitney is a horror movie buff and editor of the Port Hardy-based North Island Gazette.