7 Best Horror Films From Under The Radar

Christopher Horton

A couple of months ago I wrote an article about some films that might have been missed (“7 Best Films From Under The Radar“). It’s easy to miss so many great indie films. Sometimes, they just don’t get any media attention/marketing at all. Some film makers just make the movie, and then they run out of money for promotion. Or they never had any money for the promotion in the first place.

Or on the flip-side: they may get really lame promotion.

  •  A guy standing around in the mall in a dirty Santa suit saying: “Hey! Go get this damn DVD and watch it!”.
  •  Paying your cousin to randomly put the DVD in people’s carts at the grocery store.
  •  Giving away copies of the movie at your mother’s Tupperware parties.
  •  Holding people’s pets hostage until they watch your film.

Sometimes they may have even made it to theaters, but it was such a limited release that only the employees, rats and cockroaches that live at the theater saw the film. It’s sad, but unfortunately true.

But doesn’t this make it even better, when you do find a great movie that you pull from obscurity and thoroughly enjoy? You rescued the film from oblivion! Ever notice that these obscure gems are the ones that you tell all of your friends about? That’s a good thing, because word of mouth is what saves a good deal of these films.

So here are 7 more films, in varying levels of quality, that didn’t quite make the mainstream. A couple of them were circulated around the online horror communities, but they never got any big media attention. Most of them are fairly recent.

1. Sound Of My Voice


Some may argue that this isn’t necessarily a horror film. I guess in the traditional sense of the word, it is not. There isnt anything gory going on here, and there isn’t anything paranormal either. What “Sound of My Voice” IS full of is creepiness. From the cult’s attire, to the secret handshake…the mysterious leader.  This one will not be for everyone, as it is awfully slow in pace and it ends rather abruptly. But the film stuck with me for days after I watched it. So if you like your horror without any real gore, and more of a sense of dread, then this one is worth checking out.

2. Lovely Molly

Lovely Molly Photo

This was one of those that seemed like it should’ve received more attention. “Lovely Molly” was directed by Eduardo Sanchez ( Blair Witch, Altered) and that fact alone seems like it should have got at least a little mainstream media attention. But with an art-house vibe, and ambiguous plot, I can see where it wasn’t very popular.  There is a LOT of disturbing stuff going on in this movie, so much so that it is disorienting. You almost feel like YOU’RE the one that’s going nuts! It takes a good deal to creep me out. But this film definitely did so, and more. The whole feel of the movie is unsettling, and becomes progressively unhinged.  There is also a bout of ghost rape at one point in the movie, and you’re not sure if you should be horrified or laughing. Or maybe Im just really sick, thinking that ghost rape is funny…

Hey, I never claim to be anything closely resembling a decent person.

Gretchen Lodge is a fantastic actress as the title character. I cannot wait to see what else she does.

3. Nailbiter


“Nailbiter” garnered a bit of attention in the online horror circles, but didn’t make a very big splash. I thoroughly enjoyed the film, and our lead actresses are all fantastic. Director Patrick Rea has yet to do anything else, but if he continues on this path I think his future movies will be pretty awesome. There is something really cool about a movie with such a small budget, like this one.  The characters are creative, and so are the creatures. If you can get past a badly done CGI tornado, this one is worth a watch.

4. Absentia


I literally picked up “Absentia” because the cover looked cool. Do you ever do that? Turns out, the cover actually doesnt have a whole lot to do with the movie. It’s definitely “no-budget”, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t creative.  Director Mike Flanagan funded a good bit of the film through a Kickstarter campaign, which is becoming more common in the indie music/film industry. This film is proof that the DIY approach is a good one!

The fear in this film is often created by the atmosphere, and the things that you don’t see. Sometimes what you envision in your head is way more disturbing that some CGI creature. The effects that are used are ok. The real star of the film though, is the story and concept. It’s far from perfect, but highly watchable.

5. Citadel


Yet another one that I picked up because the DVD cover looked cool (I have to quit doing that, because I pick up my fair share of turds this way, also. But I have the attention span of a gerbil…SO..) and I was pleasantly surprised. Just like everything on this list, it’s indie and not from an experienced mainstream director. This also means it is far from perfect, but the concept is there. Not to mention, it’s hard to not be afraid of monster children in dirty clothes carrying a various assortment of weapons. A truly creepy film worth checking out!

6.  Kiss Of The Damned

Kiss of the Damned

Had it not been for our tight-knit online communities, I would have never even heard of this film. Luckily I checked screening info for the South By Southwest Festival, and this was mentioned. Director Alexandra Cassavetes manages to breathe a good bit of life into the tired, worn out vampire genre. It actually makes me realize why I ever liked vampires to begin with, but it also addresses some real life issues that vampires would encounter. While not low-budget in feel, this one still slipped under the radar. This is a real shame, because it is sexy, beautiful, and sinister. The style of film-making is very refined, for someone so new to being in the director’s chair. Worth checking out, if you can find it.

7. Stake Land


This movie should have been huge. I mean, like…in every theater in North America. Everything about it is awesome. With a $4 million budget, director Jim Mickle ( “Mulberry Street”, “We are What We Are” remake) managed to make a completely new world-mixing zombie apocalypse genre with vampires. The special effect are fantastic, and all of our actors (even a cameo by Kelly McGillis) are on-point. These characters could easily be part of a franchise, which is why it is very disappointing that the film made under $50k during it’s theatrical run. Even though this film is a little older than the others that are listed, I figure it’s worth mentioning because it would be a tragedy to see it slip into DVD obscurity.


What about you? What are some films that you feel deserved more attention? Post your comments below!


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      1. Dread World (@dread_world) September 15, 2013 at 9:18 pm

        Some good stuff on the list…Citadel was tremendous as was Stake Land. Lovely Molly was a bit uneven but Gretchen Lodge was great…Folks should also check out A Horrible Way to Die, Cockneys Vs. Zombies, and Excision…all very good films from under the radar over the last couple of years…Keep up the good work!

        • Christopher Horton September 16, 2013 at 10:20 pm

          I had “Excision” on the original “Under the Radar” list. I agree…it was WICKED.

      2. Jeremy September 15, 2013 at 10:03 pm

        I second A Horrible Way to Die. I have been wanting to check out Cockneys Vs. Zombies as well.

      3. Michael Allen September 15, 2013 at 10:07 pm

        I have seen Citadel, Lovely Molly, Nailbiter and Stakeland. All four are brilliant, but Stakeland stands out, in my opinion.

      4. bob101910 September 15, 2013 at 11:55 pm

        Almost all are on Netflix, so I added them to my list. Stakeland is the only one I remember watching and it was amazing.

      5. Jeff Carson September 16, 2013 at 2:09 pm

        The one I really enjoyed and gave me some good laughs was Cockneys Vs. Zombies. Need to check out Nailbiter.

      6. Jeff Carson September 16, 2013 at 2:09 pm

        Oh can you post the link to the previous list? Thanks!

      7. kXnPunk September 16, 2013 at 4:54 pm

        What an awesome list. All of them are insanely great. And Kiss Of The Damend man, but following all they said about it since it was in pre-prod and I wasn’t disapointed at all by it. :)

      8. Rafizan September 17, 2013 at 3:51 am

        I do know all of the movies mentioned. I mean, I’ve read about them at some point on websites such as Horror-Movies, Arrow In The Head & Shock Till You Drop, seen the trailers, photo galleries etc. Alas I have not watched not one of them. So thank you for bringing these films up again. If possible Mr. Horton sir, please write more articles like these, highlighting small low-budget horrors that come and gone. God bless…..

        • Christopher Horton September 17, 2013 at 12:23 pm

          I plan to!! It seems my expertise around here is these lists, featuring lesser known Indie Gems, so I will continue to write them for you guys! Hopefully you find new stuff that you would have never seen, otherwise.

      9. Stephen Malone Grosse September 18, 2013 at 11:19 am

        I remember watching citadel on netflix and it blowing me away. I second Cockney vs. Zombies. that film was pretty funny.

      10. idleprimate October 5, 2013 at 5:28 am

        Stakeland was surprisngly good

      11. jeff October 25, 2013 at 3:41 am

        no love for Pontypool?

      12. Kevin Gillihan November 23, 2013 at 9:31 am

        I completely agree about Lovely Molly. Your review of the movie sounded almost like something I would have written!!! Especially about not being easily unsettled by movies. This movie figured it out somehow though and I’m glad it did!!