Here is a list of ten horror films that have not gotten the praise that I personally believe that they deserve. I truly believe that all of these films are great in their own way and that they should have a bigger following than what they have today. If there are films on this list that you haven’t seen yet, then make sure to check them out. If you have seen some of these a long time ago and either don’t remember them or didn’t care much for it, then perhaps you could give them another try. None of these are flawless, but they all have redeeming qualities and I have seen all of them multiple times over the years.
Director: Damiano Damiani
Perhaps mostly remembered for being a mixture of a haunted house and an Exorcist ripoff, Amityville 2 might not be an easy film to label and rate for some. Although it does fit as a sequel to the original film, it is such a departure in style and atmosphere that fans of the first one might not find much to enjoy in this one and those who would love a sleazy film like this might not have checked it out since they would expect it to be a straight haunted house story. Even if it is very different from The Amityville Horror, it is still an awesome and entertaining film. Forget what you know about the Amityville story and the first film, go in and watch this with an open mind and enjoy the sleaze. It is perfect for fans of 80’s Italian horror.
Director: Chuck Russell
These days horror remakes will have hatred towards them from the moment they are announced. Back in the 80’s we had some great remakes, but they were also spread out more than they are today. The Blob was a remake of a 50’s sci-fi film that had a great evil entity in it, but also many flaws. It was the perfect film to remake and update with an 80’s setting and even though the execution wasn’t perfect this time either, it was an improvement of the original film and the end result ended was a very fun film. It has some great characters, awesome goey scenes with the blob and enough action to keep anyone entertained for ninety-five minutes.
Director: John Flynn
Although horror was suffering in the 90’s before Scream gave it a resurrection, there were still some good stuff coming out. Take Candyman and Braindead for example, both great horror films that is bound to be featured in any top 100 horror films of all time list and they were both made in the early 90’s. Brainscan never got the same acclaim and it isn’t as good as the those two films either, but Brainscan has been overlooked for way too long and it is a film that people should give another chance. Even if it deals with computer technology it still doesn’t feel dated like most films that dealt with technology in the early 90’s does today. I find the film to be very clever and it also celebrate “the horror fan” by making him the hero of the story. It is one of the best horror films of the early 90’s and deserve more cred then what it has gotten so far.
Director: Tony Maylam
The success of Halloween opened the floodgates of slasher films to emerge in the early 80’s. Some became famous like the Friday the 13th, while others was quickly forgotten about like The Burning. The Burning shares a lot of similarities with Friday the 13th, but it is more brutal and gory. While Friday the 13th might have found a bigger audience with the teenage crowd, The Burning was made more for the adults who also enjoyed sleazy exploitation films shown on the infamous 42nd street of New York. Even today it seems to me that The Burning hasn’t quite found its audience and that’s a shame because this is one of the best slasher films that the glorious 80’s delivered to its bloodthirsty crowd. I’m sure that there are lots of horror fans out there who would love this film if they gave it a chance and hopefully someday they will.
Director: Victor Salva
Sadly, this film has a dark history behind it that hurt the film and will definitely make people choose not to give it a chance. The director of the film, Victor Salva molested the twelve year old child actor of the film and was sentenced to three years in prison, released after serving fifteen of them. Knowing this will definitely make you uneasy when some of the shots of the film features the young boy without much clothes on, but if you are able to look past this (if you even want to, I don’t blame anyone who doesn’t feel the need to support this film) you will find a fun killer clown film to enjoy. It is a well shot film, has some scary sequences and would probably have had a better future if it wasn’t for the events that took place behind the camera.
Director: Brian Yuzna
I don’t think I have ever read anyone praise this film and I can’t see why. It’s a film that takes advantage of dentophobia, which is of course the fear of dentists. This is not an uncommon fear, yet it has not been featured very much in horror films for some reason. While The Dentist is far from a perfect film, it does deliver a good psychological study of the main character Dr. Alan Feinstone (played by Corbin Bernsen) who is slowly loosing his mind and ending up taking it out on his patients. It’s definitely in the top 3 films of Brian Yuzna and for that alone, it should be seen by horror fans.
Director: Joseph Ellison
Don’t Go in the House is a disturbing view into the mind of the demented Donny Kohler. It does not have the same notoriety as Maniac or Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer even though it surely deserves it. It is a very dirty and nasty movie that holds nothing back from the viewer. The film is not just sleaze and gore, but also well constructed and acted film that does bring up the subject of child abuse and the long-lasting effect it can have on someone. In my opinion, this is a must see for all horror fans, especially those who have a particular taste for portraits of serial killers.
Director: Tibor Takacs
A childhood favorite of mine and one of the best horror films for the younger crowd that I can think of. It has a nicely balanced mixture of fantasy and horror, an original story and a group of likeable characters. The Gate has something that horror lacks today, it has a certain fantastique feel to it that can make it enjoyable for both the young and the adult. It almost has a Spielberg feel good mood to it, although it does dare to be dark when it needs to. Although not totally overlooked, it does deserve more praise than it has received and if I ever was going to mold a 10 year old into liking horror films, I would start with showing the kid this film.
Director: Michael Winner
This is an unknown and creepy horror film from the late 70’s that very few seems to have seen. The British director Michael Winner was able to create a unique and freaky atmosphere around this apartment complex that the story takes place in and it has a very creepy ending. Perhaps a little slow for the modern audience, but fans of older horror films should find a lot to love with The Sentinel and the film deserves more appreciation than what it has gotten so far.
Director: John Carpenter
John Carpenter’s movies are usually not appreciated right away. There are exceptions such as Halloween, but for the most part it takes time before his movies are recognized for the quality that they contain. That doesn’t seem to have happened to his 1998 action horror film Vampires though and I feel that it is even underrated amongst Carpenter fans. The influence of western films are very evident in this film and especially easy to spot for Carpenter fans. I also believe that the success of Blade, another vampire film who mixed action and horror and was released in the same year, hurt Vampires on its initial run. Fans need to give this film another ago, because even though it has its flaws it is still one hell of an entertaining ride.