Is general writing about anything tacky and shameful at this point? Penning words for any purpose feels almost insensitive, and the idea of pitching editors strikes me as a gross and selfish misuse of time. Am I looking to spur healthy distraction or instinctively capitalizing on paranoia? Do these questions need to be asked or should I skip pretentious self-questioning and get on with my cute little list as though nothing bizarre is heavily impacting every single one of our lives right now?
Hey, we all have to keep living despite terror; thus I’m forced to ask, “Should we schedule in bingeing horror classics on top of staying afloat amidst disabling uncertainty?” Absolutely. A semi-frequent check in on the news seems necessary (and impossible to fight,) but our days and nights can’t purely be worry. What we need, in addition to food, water, conversation, meditation, moderate exercise, and the occasional nut, is film of the utmost escapist variety. My go-to genre and one of my few remaining interests is horror.
I’ve written quite a few horror movie lists, most of which are self-important compilations of obscure scary gems, appealing exclusively to genuine horror nerds or middle-aged creeps who “saw that on tv one time in 1986.” I’m very gradually becoming both those people, and in my defense: My aim has only ever been putting people onto the movies I love.
I write on horror simply because I love horror; more specifically treasures of the late 60s, 70s, and 80s, and I want horror fans to discover or revisit the many movies I believe in. Luckily for us, we’re shut away with access to more streaming services than ever, most of which have a half-decent selection of horror.
Whether you like ghouls, the undead, scary perverts, or creature features, there’s good flicks available to you right now on Prime, Netflix, Hulu, and (very surprisingly) Tubi. I weeded through an overwhelming amount of garbage and picked out the best horrors so you don’t have to.
Netflix is deep into the true crime documentary game as of late. It feels like everyday there’s a new miniseries that contains artful drone shots of a secluded, small town, leading into some unsolved mystery about a woman held captive in a shed. That’s prevalent, but not all they have to offer – Netflix does have decent films if you thoroughly scroll through. Their horror selection is underwhelming, I admit, but there are at at least a few great ones to be seen.
Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Synopsis: A young couple moves into an upscale apartment where they’re met by bizarre neighbors, a mysterious pregnancy, and some understandable paranoia.
Arguably the mother of all heavily atmospheric slow-burners, Rosemary’s Baby is a widely-respected flick that warrants almost no write-up. It’s the finest “wait for the finish” horror (by critics’ standards, probably,) yet suspenseful to the point of nauseating throughout. We’re all pretty aware of the climax, considering it’s been referenced, copied, and parodied since its release, but awareness doesn’t make it any less disturbing. Rosemary’s Baby is a timeless, hair-raising viewing that set the atmospheric tone for everything that came after.
The Wicker Man (1973)
Synopsis: A police sergeant is sent to a Scottish island in search of a missing girl. Those in the island village claim the girl never existed.
The Wicker Man is a cult-hit, eerie slow ride, and ominous treasure of a flick that only receives its rightful due among a very specific crowd of horror nerds. If you enjoyed the 2019 hit Midsommar, you can thank Robin Hardy’s The Wicker Man for the premise. As far as films dealing with the occult go, this is the matriarch. It’s a British horror master work in which the pacing plays a huge role in stirring anxiety, while the finish is incomparable in its feeling of foreboding. The Nicholas Cage remake is just about the finest example of unintentional comedy, which would be shameful if it didn’t provide so many laughs. Skip the remake unless you’re loopy off painkillers and in need of some comic relief.
The Invitation (2015)
Synopsis: A man attends a dinner party hosted by his ex-wife where behaviors are odd and tensions are high.
The Invitation is a memorable horror-thriller that’s strange enough to be unsettling, but not tense or inventive enough to be deemed a sort of “classic.” Like the other films already mentioned, it’s about the buildup in The Invitation – a crawling one at that, leading to a somewhat satisfying but ultimately too-predictable climax. All that being said, it’s a disturbing and engaging watch.
Synopsis: A naive young director responds to an online ad for a videographer gig in a remote town, which entails recording the last messages of a dying, strange fella.
The remarkable acting of Mark Duplass makes Creep what it is – A surprisingly brilliant found-footage chiller, steered by an off-the-brink nutcase who brings a tensely awkward comedic delivery to an outright terrifying role. Creep is more clever than brutal, and far more performance than gore. In fact, it’s for the most part tame, but able to get under your skin regardless. Creep is so uniquely good you’ll want to watch the sequel, which is equally great in its own right (plus more experimental and a little loonier.) If a post-2000s horror is impressive enough to urge an ostentatious horror head (dork) like myself to watch the sequel, it must be solid.
The Witch (2015)
Synopsis: Witchcraft and black magic take their tolls on a family in 1630s New England.
The Witch is an unhurried, visually impressive horror with strong creep-factor; a kind of nod to the 70s pace, and with more beautiful cinematography (not to mention a haunting score.) If you like witches, woodsy horror, folklore, or just plain grim atmosphere you’ll enjoy The Witch. Does it deliver upon its leisurely build? That’s for the individual viewer to decide. Is it a tad up its own ass and perhaps overly praised by critics? That’s not worth answering nor expanding on. Is it worthy of a watch? Certainly. Would I have more respect for this film if it were exactly what it is but made in the 70s? Unfortunately yes. Have I lazily questioned and responded to myself in lieu of writing an actual in-depth review?
The Evil Dead (1981)
Synopsis: A group of friends take a trip to a remote cabin in the woods, where they accidentally release demons.
Sam Raimi’s low-budget, campy debut demands almost no write-up from me. Many horror films have developed cult status over the years, but The Evil Dead is arguably the ultimate cult classic, and for good reason. It’s the work of a tenacious young filmmaker on a mission to prove himself with a super limited budget. Fortunately, the low budget worked in Raimi’s favor. What he created is a gorey, outrageous masterpiece that’s tremendously goofy yet stomach-churning and spooky. The Evil Dead is quintessential camp – an intentional and masterfully done camp at that.
Synopsis: A grad student researching a mythical monster known as “Candyman” unknowingly summons him.
Virginia Madsen plays an endearing, sympathetic lead in this shocking tale of urban myth. 2 factors separate Candyman from other violent horrors of the 90s and earlier: It takes place in the “hood,” a general area seldom affected by fictional killers in scary movies, and we as an audience are forced to genuinely care about the lead character’s mental well-being. The deaths aren’t nonsensical write-offs for pure entertainment value – they have a sincere impact on Madsen’s state of mind, which makes for a horror as psychologically-driven as it is fun, slash ’em up.
The Platform (2019)
Synopsis: A vertical prison houses inmates who are forced to eat from a platform that feeds prisoners on the highest floors first.
The Platform is an excessively violent, rather blunt satirical commentary on class, shot in a very limited setting, with sharp dialogue and not a whole lot else. It’s a dark, brutal, and minimal effort that’s effective in its aim to repulse and upset you. You’re thrown a few curves, though this one certainly isn’t much of a thinker. The Platform’s undoubtedly a polarizing journey, as any one-of-a-kind flick is.
Of all the streaming services, Hulu probably has the strongest showing of tv shows. I give them that credit because their movie choices leave a lot to be desired (though they’re at least laid out nicely!)
Children of the Corn (1984)
Synopsis: A young couple relocate to a remote Nebraskan town, in which a religious cult of children believes everyone over age 18 must die.
With the exception of the hilariously 80s corny climax, Children of the Corn holds up phenomenally and remains capable of giving viewers the creeps. Few films do “arriving in an eerie, desolate town” better, and the early 80s feel actually gives Children of the Corn an advantage in that sense. Despite its flaws, the film’s consistently grim and effectively suspenseful. It features what may be one of the most horrifying opening sequences on film, and although none of the remainder quite matches the first few minutes of terror, Children of the Corn is a riveting watch.
Courtney Gains shines as Malachai, the redheaded tyrant who’s second-in-command to Isaac, who manages to be notably creepy himself. The false God-worshipping children aren’t 1960’s Village of the Damned terrifying, but they’re up there as some of the scariest movie kids. Who could argue with midwestern murderous children pledging faith to a false prophet in a cornfield?
The Cabin in the Woods (2011)
Synopsis: Five friends trek to a woodsy cabin, and the dark mystery behind it unravels.
An unsung standout horror-comedy from that standpoint that it’s not Scary Movie absurdist, though its self-aware, meta approach brings very real laughs in between scares. The Cabin in the Woods delivers an unexpected final 30 minutes of thrilling horror that makes up for any minor setbacks, namely some unlikeability among our leads, although director Drew Goddard clearly planned it that way in tribute to the endless supply of useless 80s horror movie teens who serve no purpose but to die. Cabin in the Woods is thoroughly inventive – it’s smart enough for non-horror lovers who just want a unique and exciting flick, but it’s also bloody and outrageous enough for the most avid horror fans who crave gore and darkness. Be forewarned though, the turns here get borderline outlandish. Yes, the climax is enthralling, but it’s almost too inspired for its own good.
The Descent (2006)
Synopsis: A caving expedition goes awry as the group exploring get trapped and stalked by ghoulish predators.
Through passionate performances from the all-female cast and a sustained sense of dread, The Descent proves itself a worthwhile claustrophobic flick that’s part psychological thriller, part creature-feature. What it lacks is a proper dark mood, as it relies too heavily on shock and jump scares, but The Descent is strong in what it does right.
28 Days Later (2003)
Synopsis: An incurable virus spreads throughout the United Kingdom, leaving the few survivors in search of safety.
Sure, it’s perhaps a little too close to home right now, but the eeriness of our current societal state makes 28 Days Later a particularly uncomfortable (and fitting) watch. It’s everything it needs to be – gristly, menacing, and gruesome. Some ideas aren’t explored to a satisfyingly full extent, and the final act slightly flounders, but 28 Days Later is a successfully hellish pandemic piece that had its influence on nearly every dystopian flick that came after.
Tubi came as a shock to me. It’s an entirely-free streaming service, and that’s very much what it looks like. At first scroll, it’s as if the DVD rack by the CVS register in 2007 were a streaming platform. They have every C-horror and early 2000s straight-to-video sophomoric comedy you never knew existed. If you really put some time into the search, though, you’ll strike gold. Tubi’s horror options are impressive and extensive. I’ll save you time combing through. Here’s a very long list of horror greats on Tubi.
Carnival of Souls (1962)
Synopsis: Following a tragic car crash, a woman takes a job as a church organist and begins feeling drawn towards an abandoned carnival.
Pardon the enthusiasm with which I write about Carnival of Souls, but it’s among my top 3 horror flicks of all time. It’s a rare case of a 60s movie not having aged a bit – in fact, lack of color adds to the eeriness. Carnival of Souls is pleasingly slow and exceptionally odd, and for good reason. As a viewer you’re left to wonder what exactly is going on: Is this young woman insane, or is everyone around her oblivious? And why is everyone she encounters so distant and peculiar? It’s unnerving even in its dull moments, and very few outright scares are required to make this gem a horrifying experience. With that being said, the scares themselves are ones for the record book. You’ll forever be unable to shake the unearthly images in Carnival of Souls; the climax in particular is a visually magnificent hell.
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Synopsis: A group of Pennsylvanians seek shelter in a farmhouse as flesh-eating undead ravage the east coast.
What’s even to be reviewed here? Night of the Living Dead changed the horror genre and played a paramount role in spurring the zombie subgenre. It introduced us to George Romero, one of the finest horror filmmakers of all-time. It led to sequels, remakes, parodies, and knockoffs. Night of the Living Dead may not be widely considered the best zombie film of all time (Romero’s Dawn of the Dead usually takes that title,) but it’s without question the most important.
Return of the Living Dead (1985)
Synopsis: 2 employees at a medical supply warehouse release a gas that causes the dead to rise.
I’m pressed to name a horror more fun than Return of the Living Dead. Its most notable aspect is the overriding concept it introduced – zombies eat brains. Prior to Return of the Living Dead, no film had directly insinuated that the undead feed on brains. That’s a hell of a mark to leave. Very seldom are we given a flick that has genuine horror, humor, empathetic characters, constant excitement, effective gore, brilliantly done effects, AND prolonged shots of nudity. Plus, it’s as punk as a film can get.
The Crazies (1973)
Synopsis: The military struggle to contain a virus that causes insanity, which is overtaking a small Pennsylvanian town.
The Crazies isn’t Romero’s best, but it’s intelligently written with a strong message, and overwhelmingly grim. There’s no hope in this film, and you’ve gotta respect a horror that offers absolutely no positive takeaways. Additionally, it’s overwrought and drenched in the perfect amount of 70s weirdness that gives it a borderline documentary-feel.
Hell of the Living Dead (1980)
Synopsis: A reporter and her cameraman boyfriend join a 4-man commando unit in the New Guinea jungle as they battle hordes of zombies.
It isn’t the work of Lucio Fulci, but Hell of the Living Dead is straight up late 70s Italian zombie insanity. As with most Italian horrors of the 70s and 80s, Hell of the Living Dead brings about 4 alternate titles with it, including Zombie Creeping Flesh, but Hell of the Living Dead packs the hardest punch. It’s precisely what you’d expect from a 1980 Italian horror – beautiful cinematography, little to no plot, pointless nudity, asinine dialogue, and a whole lot of gore. If you’re a diehard zombie lover or simply a fan of grotesque cheese, it’s worth a watch; at the very least an ironic viewing.
Creepshow 2 (1987) (Just “The Raft” Story)
Synopsis: A (for the most part) terrifying 3-tale horror anthology.
This is a unique inclusion, in that I’m not recommending the full film. Creepshow 2 is a mess in comparison to the first, but how could any anthology hold a candle to a flick penned by Stephen King, directed by George Romero, and with effects from Tom Savini? What Creepshow 2 does have going for it is a segment titled “The Raft,” which is by some standards as good as if not better than all the stories in the original Creepshow.
The Gate (1986)
Synopsis: A group of kids left home alone unleash a variety of demons from a hole in their backyard.
Ah, The Gate, an unabashedly high-spirited fantasy horror that has the required amount of camp and heart to make it a joyful, mildly scary watch. You won’t get any hair-raising moments, but you will be exposed to some magnificent-for-the-time effects, a uniquely lighthearted darkness, and some splendid acting by kids. What The Gate does well is tell an imaginative story about children in which the kids are complex, witty, and refreshingly unannoying.
The Exorcist III (1990)
Synopsis: A police lieutenant questions patients in a psychiatric ward to uncover details on a series of brutal murders.
It’s no The Exorcist, but nothing is, and it’s worlds better than the atrocious Exorcist II: The Heretic. William Blatty’s The Exorcist III doesn’t get nearly the amount of credit it deserves. It’s a powerhouse paranormal chiller with outstanding performances from George C. Scott, Ed Flanders, and Brad Dourif. Not to mention it features at least 1 of the most shocking and memorable moments in horror history. Don’t write this off as a crappy third installment.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
Synopsis: Siblings and their friends en route to their grandfather’s grave in Texas fall victim to a group of cannibalistic psychos.
Tobe Hooper changed the name of the horror game with The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Many remember it to be more brutally violent than it actually is, and that’s purely a testament to how impactful a film’s mood can be. The film comes off as gritty and grotesque – and it is – but it’s not excessively bloody. It’s the grainy look, rawness, and lack of subtlety Hooper brings that helped The Texas Chainsaw Massacre break ground back in 1974.
Sleepaway Camp (1983)
Synopsis: A shy young girl goes to summer camp with her cousin, where anyone less than good receives their bloody due.
I’ll shamelessly say it: Sleepaway Camp is one of the best slashers in existence, with way more atmosphere than is usually attributed to it. It’s most commonly known for the comically absurd twist ending, but Sleepaway Camp sets itself apart from the seemingly endless slew of 80s slashers in several ways: The kills are original. The tone is an incessant, pervasive grey, and though its 80s there’s no sight of cheese. Lastly, the bizarre psychological torment our lead undergoes is more clever than what we’re typically handed in a slasher. Sleepaway Camp offers a special juxtaposition – a scenic, secluded, appearingly quaint summer camp where absolutely nothing joyous is taking place. A gorgeous setting casted grim goes a long way in evoking a mood.
Dark Night of the Scarecrow (1981)
Synopsis: In a rural Southern town, a man takes revenge on those who murdered him from beyond the grave.
This excellently crafted rural-set revenge horror was an early 80s made-for-tv movie, which makes it all the more remarkable. Dark Night of the Scarecrow leaves much of the terror to your imagination, and it’s spookier for it. A bunch of solid performances, aptly slow pacing, simplicity, and an uninviting feel make this not just a great made-for-tv-horror, but a fantastic made-for-tv movie in general.
Day of the Dead (1985)
Synopsis: A group of scientists and military personnel reside in an underground bunker while the world is overtaken by zombies.
Evidently, Tubi’s loaded with George A. Romero material, and thank goodness! Day of the Dead isn’t Dawn of the Dead, in that there’s an absence of silliness. It’s undoubtedly bleaker than its predecessor, and for that reason many might consider this their favorite dead film. Day of the Dead suffers due to some very poor acting, but the disgusting imagery, unwavering feel of hopelessness, and textbook Romero social commentary make up for some teetering-on-unwatchable performances.
Synopsis: An American girl heads to a prestigious ballet academy in Germany, where strange behaviors and violent happenings lead her to believe something sinister is going on behind the scenes.
We’ve finally reached some Dario Argento; Argento’s finest at that! Suspiria garnered its rightful following over the years, so analysis may not be called upon, but I’ll note the impeccable qualities: Argento’s cinematography is almost unmatched here. The sets and colors are stunning and distinctly Argento. The atmosphere is palpable. The film’s final 20 minutes or so are nothing short of nightmare material. Suspiria is in the running for 2 titles: The best Italian horror of all time, and the most atmospheric horror of all time.
House on Haunted Hill (1959)
Synopsis: A millionaire offers $10,000 to 5 people who agree to spend the night in a spooky mansion.
Save your “this is dated as hell” groans – you have to throw House on Haunted Hill on any applicable horror list. We can admit it’s aged into corniness, but we’d also have to confess it’s a delightful romp with funny dialogue, (kind of) eerie moments, and the greatest Vincent Price performance (couldn’t be more arguable.)
Black Christmas (1974)
Synopsis: Canadian sorority girls are stalked by a stranger over Christmas break.
I apologize for and warn you of the use of “I” in this mini review, as this is probably my favorite horror film of all time. I can’t say enough good things about director/pioneer Bob Clark and Black Christmas, particularly because this man never gets his due respect for setting off the slasher genre. John Carpenter’s Halloween typically gets noted as the one that started slasher films, but Bob Clark did it with Black Christmas 4 years earlier.
Black Christmas is fairly tame, hardly graphic, and low on kills for a film that paved the way for an onslaught of excessively violent movies. It does have gruesome bits and bloody kills, but Black Christmas shocks more through the darkness alluded to, and some unsettling sounds that will stay with you forever. I won’t pussy foot around with any fancy description: Black Christmas is a terrifying movie. I know that can’t genuinely be said for many films. We label things “scary” that aren’t, and always trace back to those that truly are. Black Christmas is among those things that are sincerely haunting. The writing is so sharp and Clark squeezes in very funny lines, but that doesn’t stop the whole operation from being unwaveringly hellish and a sleazy sort of dark in the best possible way. You just feel kind of tainted after watching this one.
The characters are all deep, with the exception of those who aren’t supposed to be (although Doug McGrath’s stupid sergeant even has complexities to him.) There’s tangible relationship conflicts that draw out your genuine concern. The more comically gifted characters deliver well-written quips with dry shtick. It’s as compelling a dark dramedy as it is frightening a horror. I hope I’m still making sense.
Slumber Party Massacre (1982)
Synopsis: An escaped mental patient with a drill crashes a high school sleepover.
Here’s another slasher that could very easily be lumped in with the never-ending parade of horned up Friday the 13th knockoffs, but it stands out as well-done, a little inspired, and next-level horny. Slumber Party Massacre is a great movie, and I don’t just say that as a guy with bacne. Despite the ridiculousness of its title and juvenile premise, director Amy Holden plays this one fairly straight – almost as if what started as a parody became just going for an above average, straightforward slasher with humor. Some visual gags are sprinkled in here and there, but the project isn’t tongue-in-cheek or deliberately dumb. Slumber Party Massacre is a fun, well-executed slasher among the mix of so many forgettable ones.
Despite having the most visually atrocious and inconvenient layout of any major streaming service, Amazon Prime is top-tier for movie selection. Their list of horror, specifically, is lengthy and loaded with gems (though the Shudder add-on gives you access to many more.)
City of the Living Dead (1983)
Synopsis: A priest’s suicide opens the gates of hell, and it falls upon a reporter and psychic to close it.
Finally, some Lucio Fulci! This list would be absolutely laughable without some work from the Italian gore-master/maniac himself. City of the Living Dead is part of Fulci’s infamous “Gates of Hell” Trilogy, and often outshined by The Beyond. It may not be his best (it also may,) but it’s textbook Fulci – almost plotless, all over the place, poorly dubbed, and packed with nonsensical dialogue, yet thrillingly batshit insane, gorey beyond belief, and authentically gross. City of the Living Dead features legendary horrific images, and concepts so disgusting they hadn’t been seen prior. It doesn’t have the most structured, complex story, but Fulci accomplishes what he wants – instilling nausea and scaring the pants off us.
The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue (1975)
Synopsis: A cop chases 2 hippies whom he suspects are responsible for Manson-family like murders, ignorant to the real killer – zombies brought to life by farming chemicals.
Let’s set the record straight – The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue AKA Let Sleeping Corpses Lie is possibly the most under-appreciated zombie masterpiece in history, and one of the finest Spanish horrors ever. It’s a minimal, atmosphere-heavy zombie story with simple and effective undead. The British countryside setting makes for some onscreen beauty, and the hell that ensues is cause for real discomfort.
Synopsis: Strangers in search of a woman’s missing father end up on a tropical island, where a doctor is in desperate search of the cause of and cure for a zombie outbreak.
Fulci established himself a madman with this Italian take on George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead. As far as I know, it’s the only place one can see a zombie fight a shark, and that’s about the extent of what needs to be said.
Synopsis: A comet’s passing leads to strange occurrences during a dinner party gathering among old friends.
Coherence is an effective low-budget sci-fi thriller in which the dialogue’s heavy; it’s mostly uneventful, and perfect in its reliance on what you’re not seeing. The film focuses on the drama taking place between old friends at a dinner party, and their varying levels of paranoia about the unexplainable, bizarre happenings taking place outside. It’s an unforgettable extraterrestrial flick without any schlock, or even much action for that matter. Coherence thrives in its weird build, and the importance it places on instability of the characters. Essentially, it’s a very successful experiment in just how disturbing an almost-no budget alien movie can be. The movie only suffers in its conclusion, which is expected and underwhelming, but Coherence will unsettle you far more than you think it would.
Deep Red (1976)
Synopsis: A jazz pianist and journalist are roped into the mysterious murder of a psychic.
An exemplary giallo and defining work of Dario Argento, Deep Red is an adroitly shot, deeply layered thriller that gave other mystery/slasher directors something to shoot for. Argento breaks out his signature shock tactics and expert camera work, in addition to some eye-catching bright red blood that’s stylistically adept. This isn’t Suspiria-tier for me, though for others it’s an even more fundamental effort. Comparisons aside, Deep Red is an exceptionally stylish early gore-fest that brought more widespread awareness to Argento’s genius.
Synopsis: The Graham family, grieving the loss of matriarch Ellen, are terrorized by haunting secrets of the family’s ancestry.
The real highlight in Hereditary is Toni Collete’s performance as Annie, but the lasting effect this film leaves is also worth mentioning. It’s a sad, visually disturbing ride in which the horror stems from familiarity; more specifically a depressing realness. Director Ari Aster is clearly inspired by artsy works of the 70s, as this is an atmospherically-driven, artfully-executed slow burn. Hereditary would be more remarkable to a viewer, or at least seem more authentic if you aren’t well-versed in 70s witchy weirdness. I’m by no means calling it derivative – it’s a modern take, but it would be more gratifying if you’re unfamiliar with the flicks it takes ideas from.
Night of the Demons (1988)
Synopsis: Rowdy teens party at an abandoned funeral parlor on Halloween night, where the forces of evil awaken and pick them off one-by-one.
Night of the Demons is about as late 80s as a film can get, and a wild watch because of it. This horror-comedy is loaded with the right amount of theatrical silliness and surprisingly decent elements of horror, as well as superb makeup effects. Night of the Demons is slasher-esque with the paranormal peppered in. It’s spooky, goofy, over-the-top graphic, and YES – very horned up and sleazy.
Dead Ringers (1988)
Synopsis: Twin gynecologists take advantage of the fact that nobody can differentiate them.
Some David Cronenberg was long overdue on this list. Dead Ringers might not be Cronenberg’s most notable flick, but it’s a bizarre psychological thriller with a neat concept and excellent effects.
Synopsis: A teen discovers his family is part of a socially elite cult.
While Society is a tad conceptually obvious and derivative in its attack on the wealthy elite, it’s a twisted gem of a film that lingers in the back of your mind long after viewing.
Friday the 13th (1980)
Synopsis: Teen counselors attempt reopening a summer camp where murders took place, only to be talked by a masked assailant.
It’s not the first slasher, nor is it the best woodsy summer camp slasher (see The Burning,) but it’s the one that inspired a comical list of sequels and decade of ripoffs. Friday the 13th doesn’t need much more praise or analysis than it has already received over the years, but I’ll say this – It’s effective in its aim, it has one of the most unforgettable horror endings, and it helped the great Tom Savini work his magic on a lot more films.
Pet Sematary (1989)
Synopsis: A father grieving the loss of his young son turns to an ancient burial ground for solutions.
Pet Sematary is one-of-a-kind intriguing for one fact alone: It’s a poorly-acted, overall bad film, but when it’s scary it’s in the legendary section of terrifying. The scenes with Zelda are, for my money, the most haunting moments ever on film. Pet Sematary is in the running for the scariest movie of all time, yet it’s laughably terrible in its entirety. In defense of the acting, Fred Gwynne is terrific as the elderly, sage neighbor Judd Crandall. Dale Midkiff as Louis Creed, on the other hand, is a difficult-to-digest sort of awful. If you can overlook the tv mini-series acting in parts, Pet Sematary is a horror classic and fine Stephen King adaptation in comparison to others.
Shudder Add-On for Prime
I can’t discern whether the extra $5 a month for Shudder is worth it, considering you don’t get quite as many extra movies as you’d expect to, but it does offer some of the very best horrors out there. For example, Shudder has most of John Carpenter’s best works, although Prince of Darkness would be a lovely addition. I’ll simply cite the best horrors on Shudder without synopsis and explanation because the following are only available to those horror lovers who want to spring a little extra money for the add-on (and I’m exhausted.)
- • The Hills Have Eyes (1977)
- • The Fog (1980)
- • Dead and Buried (1981)
- • In The Mouth of Madness (1995)
- • The Changeling (1980)
- • House By The Cemetery (1981)
- • Phantasm (1979)
- • Halloween (1978)
- • The Beyond (1983)
- • Zombie (1979)
- • Re-Animator (1985)
- • Night of the Living Dead (1968)
- • Audition (1999)
- • Black Christmas (1974)
- • The Void (2017)
- • The Babadook (2014)
Related: Marvel Studios Shutdown Expected to Last Until 2021 Says Blumhouse Boss