Earlier today I wrote a piece on the state of the horror genre and specifically the neglect of indie films by horror fans. Is it the doing of fans or the fault of filmmakers? This clearly got me thinking long and hard about the indie horror genre which frankly is the best genre.
Where Hollywood horror movies many times tend to lack any kind of imagination you can always count on indie filmmakers to up the ante. So as a follow-up I wanted to take a minute and share what I feel are the best indie horror movies.
Given the number of horror films I have seen it is very hard to do a top list without missing something but this list is the 20 movies that instantly pop into my mind when I think top-notch indie horror. I have no doubt I have overlooked some and am sure that the community here will chime in the comments with some other suggestions.
So in no particular order here are 20 of the Best Indie Horror Movies.
Pontypool has made many of our top movie lists over the years and really it should not come as much of a surprise to anyone who knows the genre well. Pontypool is the closest we will get to a classic George Romero movie. Directed by Bruce McDonald it is the story of a radio DJ who is on air as the world comes apart around him with an infection that turns people into murderous drones. Pontypool is currently ranked #28 on the best horror films of all time based off your votes.
Feast had a bit of an advantage over some of the other films on this list because it had some pretty big names backing it under Project Greenlight but that does not change that FEAST is one of the best horror movies of the last decade. FEAST is the story of a monster that attacks a road house bar and the battle for survival that ensues. With a great cast it is gory, funny and just plain awesome.
Andrew Curries zombie comedy FIDO is a very distinct and humorous look at a world full of zombies where they are both adversary and servant. I am not sure if this is a social commentary on race in society in the 60’s or not but the film which stars Carrie Anne Moss and Billy Connolly is one of the great zombie movies of our time.
This movie is a bit polarizing since I have heard many fans say they hated Fido but I am not one of them. I loved every aspect of the film and think that Andrew Currie is a genius and should do a prequel that reveals the origins of this story.
I am sure that everyone saw this coming. How could we possibly do a list of the best indie horror movies of all time and not include Blair Witch? The movie is not only one of the best indie horror films of all time it is also one of the most profitable.
The only bad thing I can say about Blair Witch is that it spawned some of the worst sequels imaginable that were insulting to the memory of the original.
I am a huge fan of Toby Wilkins and its for one main reason, Splinter. The Thing is one of the greatest Sci Fi horror films of all time and for me SPLINTER is the closest thing that the modern horror fan has to compare to it.
With fantastic practical effects and a great cast its the story of a group of people stuck in a gas station as an ecological nightmare outside comes in after them. Toby Wilkins needs to direct more original films like SPLINTER and producers who are looking to make a name for themselves should definitely talk to Wilkins.
Adam Green is a hero to modern horror fans and an icon in our genre because of his work on HATCHET which is an old school American horror movie with lots of camp, tons of carnage and your cliché killer in the night. HATCHET was the farthest thing from an intelligent horror movie so when I saw SPIRAL I was completely blown away.
Spiral is one of the most intelligent horror movies of our time and just as SPLINTER is the closest thing to The Thing that horror fans will get SPIRAL is the closest to Hitchcock that modern fans will see. This movie i the PSYCHO of our time and an absolute must see for horror fans who want thrills and not mindless carnage.
Behind the Mask
Behind the Mask is a faux documentary about a film crew who are following and documenting an up and coming serial killer. If that description alone does not get you excited I don’t know what will.
Directed by Scott Glosserman its a fantastic tribute to old school horror and one that we are still impatiently waiting to see a sequel to.
Right At Your Door
Like SPIRAL this film is more thriller than true blue horror. It’s the story of a nuclear attack on LA which leaves a man struggling to survive in his sealed up home while wondering what has happened to his wife.
This film is the definition of a psychological thriller and is one of the few films like SPIRAL that I had to fight the urge to give it a 10 out of 10 when I reviewed it. No film is perfect but this one is damn close.
I am gonna give Adam Green a big head if I am not careful since he is now on our list twice. That should be a telling point for you horror fans that Adam Green is a fan of the genre and it shows in his work. FROZEN is the story of three people trapped on a ski lift in the dead of winter and their struggle for survival.
Much like SPIRAL its a thriller but this one is much more brutal and the environmental elements are a refreshing addition to the horror genre.
If The Walking Dead was a vampire movie it would be Stakeland. What I mean by that is that fans of Walking Dead will absolutely love the style and tone of StakeLand which is one of my favorite vampire movies.
Stake Land has a fantastic concept, an outstanding cast including Danielle Harris and is a glowing example of what a great vampire movie should look like. It is the true redeemer of the last few years since TWILIGHT has pretty much destroyed the vampire genre for younger generations.
There are not many Western horror movies but Dead Birds would probably count as one given it is based in the 18th century. It revolves around a group of criminals who hide out in a house to discover that they are not the most deadly thing lurking in the house.
Director Alex Turner turned in a fantastic movie with true scares, a unique concept and a great cast including Michael Shannon and Isaiah Washington.
First off as one of two Canadian writers in our team I want to say ‘Go Canada’. Ginger Snaps is the story of a girl who hits puberty and as part of becoming a woman also gets a bit to hairy and turns into a monstrous nightmare in the form of a werewolf.
Ginger Snaps is a cult classic and is one of the few truly great Werewolf movies. It spawned multiple sequels that are also worth watching.
My Name is Bruce
Bruce Campbell is THE MAN. Do I need to say more? My Name is Bruce is a tongue in cheek movie about a washed up actor, Bruce Campbell, who is sought out by a small village to help them vanquish an evil demon.
They confuse the big screen Bruce Campbell with his alter ego ASH and it is nothing short of genius. If you love The Chin you must watch this movie.
Perkins 14 is one of the few great horror movies to come from the short-lived After Dark Horror Fest. Directed by Craig Singer it is the story of a rash of kidnappings which is far more than it seems as a town goes through a horrible psychological pain only to be followed by true terror.
Perkins 14 is a stark film with a unique style and a truly fantastic script that really tears at you. I really hope we get to see more from Craig Singer soon!
Wasting Away Aka AHHH Zombies
Wasting Away is one of many great horror gems that I have discovered thanks to Netflix. Wasting away is a great twist on a unique concept where a military outbreak cause a zombie outbreak that is anything but the normal fare.
Clearly I have a soft spot for zombie movies since this is not the first to land on my list. This zombie comedy much like the other films on this list stands out mainly because of its innovative story but a polished cast and great production values help as well.
Jack Frost is a low-budget horror movie that stars Shannon Elizabeth. It is a truly fantastic b-movie about a killer snowman. Jack Frost is a low-budget blood bath that is perfect in every way despite its limited budget.
If you love b-movie horror comedies you will love Jack Frost it is so ridiculous you can not help but love it. Seriously a killer snow man, does it get stupider… err I mean better?
Red white & Blue
Red White & Blue is a brutal brutal movie that will definitely leave its mark on you. It is the story of a drifter with few friends with a brutal and dark secret that comes out in full form when his one close friend meets a brutal end.
When his inner demons come out the results are brutal and bloody. Red White & Blue is a master piece of brutality and character development
Adam Green again! I swear it is not intentional but yes he makes the list for the third time with the American horror movie HATCHET. I for one think this movie is a fun one but is my least favorite of his three films on this list.
HATCHET is a great indie horror film for fans of classics like Friday the 13th and Texas Chainsaw Massacre
I discovered this film on NETFLIX. Had never even heard of it before I stumbled blindly on it. It’s the classic story of a world gone amiss at the hands of the undead with an interesting twist which I clearly will not spoil.
Why nobody made an effort to promote such a polished indie film is mind-boggling to me. The film is not about a young flashy cast or big production values it’s about the script and the production and being original. For that reason Dead Season is truly outstanding.
End of the Line
Who else is terrified by televangelism? Those people who sometimes prey on people’s kindness and rob them blind every weekend to me are truly terrifying. End of the Line takes this concept to a terrifying new level and is one of the best apocalyptic movies of all time.
It’s the story of a religious cult that doesn’t just preach end of days but brings it about. A powerful indie film with a great message.
Last on my list but certainly not least is the truly disturbing and memorable movie Dead Girl which is a powerful and absolutely stomach turning movie about the choices we make when nobody is watching.
A group of teenagers find a woman tied to a table in an abandoned hospital and rather than trying to help her they let their inner demons run wild in what builds up to a climax of absolute destruction and carnage.
So there you have it 20 truly fantastic indie horror films. Which ones would you add? Which ones do you agree or disagree with? Sound off in the comments and be part of the conversation.