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It's that time of the year where horror films are on TV everywhere, and we get to relive all the scares and frights we enjoyed as children. There are some films out that scare the crap out of people that aren't the most popular movies or necessarily "horror" movies. Nevertheless these films tend to be underrated or disregarded in some way. These movies, for me, fall under that category. Some of these have a huge cult following and might be on other lists. They may not be the most obscure or unknown but they are not the most known either. So let's go!
#11: 'Eden Lake'
Eden Lake is a movie that pisses you off the longer it goes. But you can't help but keep your eyes on it. Michael Fassbender and Kelly Reily play a couple on a weekend getaway. They run across a group of the nastiest and naughtiest rascals ever, who give them hell the whole time. But you never stop rooting for them, even if you feel like it's no use. Released right on the cusp of Michael being cast in the X-Men movies, this was his last film before he blew up, and we get a great and eerie performance from Jack O' Connell as well.
Oculus, released in 2013, is about a brother and sister who are still reeling from the tragedy that their family has suffered and how an antique mirror is to blame somehow. Directed by Mike Flanagan based on a short film he made, the film stars Karen Gillan and Brenton Thwaites. This movie was way better than I expected it to be. After confusing me initially it finally picked up halfway through. It is one of the best horror movies I've seen this decade.
#9: 'Trick 'r Treat'
This movie was delayed for a while, and I was ecstatic when it finally was released. It takes place over the course of Halloween and tells the point of view from multiple characters in a nonlinear way. It can be silly and fun at times but there are absolutely moments that are scary or crucial. And the pumpkin-head kid is enough to give you nightmares, who by the way is the center of the movie. He is also seen in every story throughout the film.
#8: 'My Soul to Take'
What an ambitious story My Soul to Take was. The late great Wes Craven wrote, directed, and produced this movie. I wonder if someone else made this movie, would it have been as critically panned as this was? The tone of this movie can throw you at times. I felt there were moments that were meant to be fun more than scary and vice versa. It plays with your senses a bit. That's why I loved it though. Max Theriot plays a guy name Adam "Bug" Hellerman, who is one of seven children called the Riverton Seven. They are the children who were born the night the Riverton killer was killed. Bug just so happens to be the son of the said serial killer. So, of course, the craziness ensues from there. This was shot really well and it keeps you on the edge the whole time even if it confuses you while doing it.
#7: The Hills Have Eyes (2006)
I had no idea that this was a remake when I went to the theater to see it back in '06. Never knew this was a Wes Craven movie either. In retrospect, I'm glad about that. It made every surprise or shock twists that much more entertaining, making the ending that more rewarding. A family being stranded in the dessert is scary enough but being targeted by cannibal people as well is beyond frightening. The Hills Have Eyes didn't feel like a film, it felt all too real. And that is what makes a horror film scary for me at the end of the day.
Imagine having a genie at your disposal to grant you wishes as you pleased. Now imagine that genie or djinn being evil and bringing death and mayhem on earth while trying to steal your soul because you happened to be the one to wake him. He kills your friend and tries to kill you too. Not much fun huh? Well presented by Wes Craven (All this Wes is a coincidence I swear), Wishmaster, released in 1997, is scary for two reasons, one the make effects still hold up and are scary still. The whole premise, being chased basically by a djinn that can be anybody and needs human souls so that he can grant wishes and open a gateway to his world! How can you not look at genies differently after?
#5: Europa Report
Europa Report isn't exactly horror, but then again I never said all these films are. But it is definitely scary and stayed with me for days afterward. It starts like any space film by introducing the characters and the relationships they have with each other. We learn that there is said to be a hidden ocean on one of Jupiter's moons Europa and that it can possibly be habitable. Of course, things sort of go wrong after a certain amount of time and only get worse from there. This movie works for me because it isn't dark or menacing in any way. Things happen that scare you or keep you guessing but in a way that's a matter of fact, as opposed to anticipation or expectation. In that way, you are really caught off guard when the inevitable happens.
#4: House on Haunted Hill (1959)
Something about the way films like this were shot adds to the chill factor. House on Haunted Hill by William Castle is the oldest movie on this list, but it is the latest one I've seen. This reminds me that you don't need all the effects we are used to today, to make something scary. It is filmed very much like a noir film, using shadows and the imagination to scares. Vincent Price is amazing of course, as an eccentric millionaire Frederick Loren. The ending is great, and the lead up to is even better. I think everybody should see it. My interest in movies like this has grown since.
#3: Session 9
I almost left this movie off this list, due to the fact that it has such a cult following. I don't know if you can even consider it underrated anymore. That and the fact that it's listed on multiple lists like this by other publications and fans alike. My reason though is more personal. It stuck with me for days after, that rarely happens to me with many movies. Let alone a movie like this. I understand why it is so loved and why people have it on their must-see lists.
#2: Megan is Missing
This movie takes on a real fear that all parents have, especially these days about the internet and what teens do while on it. It's also done and shot in a real way. A popular girl named Megan Stewart decides to meet a boy that she's been talking to for a while and is not heard from again. Her best friend Amy decides to then look for her and find out what happened. This movie was heavily criticized, because of the depiction of the characters among other things. I find it very frightening because of how real it seemed, I hoped it would be used as a warning for teens actually. However you feel about it, is one of the scariest movies you will ever see.
#1: Creepshow II
The first movie to ever give me the creeps, Creepshow 2 was released in '87, awhile after the first. But it made up for the hiatus with this one. George Romero directed the first one, and he returned to only to write this one. Thank god he did, thank god Stephen King wrote the stories to begin with. This film tells three stories instead of five and they are solid stories. "The Raft" and "The Hitch-Hiker" (especially) entries particularly scared me as a child and still do. Can't remember how I first watched this, but it started my love affair with horror movies. It wasn't the last anthology horror film that was made but it certainly is one of the best.