Sommerleigh Pollonais – Senior Writer
Whether you’re a fan of sci-fi, action, schlocky rom-coms, or horror, there is always that one movie you missed out on. Maybe you didn’t know it existed, or you just somehow always manage to skip it for something else. Either way, now might be the best time to catch up on some really good movies you never saw #socialdistancing. And if you’re a horror fan, I’m here to guide you in the right direction.
Here are my TOP 5 GREAT HORROR MOVIES YOU PROBABLY MISSED OUT ON:
#5 The Gravedancers
Once upon a time, there was an annual film festival called After Dark Horrorfest, and every year they would have this feature called 8 Films To Die For. It was one of the best things to happen to horror during the early to mid 2000’s as, in this horror lover’s opinion, there weren’t a lot of great genre films coming out and this festival was a great way to find awesome horror movies.
Among these was The Gravedancers, a movie about a bunch of friends who attend a funeral and for some insane reason (re: white people antics) decide to read an incantation and dance on some of the graves. This ends exactly as you would expect it to.
Some of the best horror movies are small independent films because a smaller budget requires creative thinking by the film crew, and that’s shown in full force here. Throw in some great practical effects, solid acting by the entire cast (Dominic Purcell comes across as bored, but if you’ve seen him in DC Legends of Tomorrow, you know that’s just his normal face), nail-biting eerie atmosphere and, even with the rough edges, The Gravedancers is a fun old-fashioned ghost story that will leave you fully entertained.
#4 The Hamiltons
Some of my best experiences with movies were the ones I saw without knowing anything about them in advance. The Hamiltons is one of those movies, and I suggest if you want to watch it you do the same.
This is another flick I found from the 8 Films To Die For lineup, and I’ll keep the plot vague so as not to spoil anything for you. Four siblings try to fend for themselves after the mysterious death of their parents.
That’s it. That’s all you’re gonna get. But I will throw in, it’s a slow burn (some people ain’t a fan of the slow burn), but I promise a little patience will go a long way and when you’re done, you just might have found yourself a gem of a horror b-movie.
If you enjoy gross-out horror like Slither and The Fly, Splinter will be right up your gore-loving alley.
After a couple on a nature trip are car jacked and kidnapped, they and their captors encounter a horde of parasites that make cockroaches seem cuddly by comparison.
It’s a predictable movie, but it’s also the kind of horror that makes you cringe, squirm and, if you’ve ever had to deal with a splinter under your fingernail or buried in your skin, give you flashbacks like a war vet.
The sound design alone might give you permanent “ewww-face”, so don’t say I didn’t warn ya!
If I’m not mistaken, Feast has two sequels, so that alone should tell you this one made a big impression on those lucky enough to have seen it when it came out.
The plot almost plays out like a bad joke, with a man walking into a bar. He’s there to warn others there are monsters on the loose and as soon as he does, this movie goes from 0 to 100 faster than you could say Dom Toretto.
The moment I knew this was gonna be fun was when the first character got crunched and munched by these creatures. It was a HOLY CRAP of a scene and it quickly established no one was safe, and this wasn’t gonna be one of those horror movies where you can predict who dies next.
Fast-paced, gory fun with some of the craziest creature effects brought to screen, this is a Feast that will definitely leave you asking for seconds.
Honourable Mention: The Guest
It’s always a little jarring when you see an actor who usually plays the good guy turn heel. But it’s always a delight when they not only pull it off, but leave you thoroughly entertained in the process.
That’s what Dan Stevens (Downtown Abbey/Legion) did for me with The Guest. And not only is he good in it, but this ode to stranger-danger films like The Hitcher, with its awesome synth-laced soundtrack that evokes John Carpenter’s Halloween, is a hidden gem of a movie that you may have missed.
#1 Behind The Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon
It blows my mind this movie never turned into a franchise, and didn’t even get a sequel. Not just a love letter to horror fans, it’s a tongue-in-cheek take on how horror icons like Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers and Freddy Krueger (just to name a few) came to life.
You see, in the world of Leslie Vernon, our protagonist/antagonist, these aren’t just movie characters – They’re real life killers and Leslie wants to join their ranks. The movie is done in a documentary style, with filmmaker/journalist Taylor and her two cameramen following Leslie Vernon around, as he begins his path to serial killer greatness.
Darkly funny, you the viewer may find yourself rooting for Leslie’s success, until the movie does a total 180 degree turn and you find yourself watching something that feels totally different in tone, and yet, brilliantly executed right to the very end.
I honestly can’t stop singing praises to this underrated gem of a horror movie, which should’ve had a much bigger impact than it did. Ironically, just like its ‘star’ Leslie Vernon, it came and went without most of the movie going audience ever knowing it existed. Such a shame.
I guess that’s one of the downsides of independent films, especially horror. Sometimes really good ones get lost in shuffle. But that’s the great thing about movies. It’s never too late to catch up on the ones you missed and then you can pretend you knew about them all along, impressing your friends with your jedi-like movie knowledge.
Not that I would ever do that.
Side note, isn’t Google amazing?! (Wikipedia ain’t half bad too!)
So what’s your favourite hidden gem horror movie? For my Top 10 Horror Films/TV Shows to Watch in 2020 you can click here.
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apoclaypse comes.
Double Tap Baby!