5 great Underrated Horror Films

PoppaScotch

OK, so Halloween is officially over and most of the "normies" are getting back to their everyday lives.  The novelty of Halloween has worn off and thanksgiving is quickly becoming a reality.  However, we don't just shrug off horror movies when the snow and turkey arrive.  Oh hell no, we roll out this horror movie shit 24/7/365 (YEAAAAHHH BOOOOOYYYYY!!!!). 

And I, like Snoop-a-loop keep coming up with "funky ass shit like every single day" that is in some way related to horror movies.  So by now that you've been all over the internet, checking out some other websites and their "horror lists" or "top ten kills" or whatever they decide to run between October 25th and October 31st, come home to horrormovies.ca, grab some left over candy (mostly candy corn)and snuggle in while you check out my list of underrated horror movies.

Session 9 (Dir: Brad Anderson – 2001): An asbestos cleaning crew starts encountering strange occurrences when they take a job cleaning out a decommissioned mental hospital.

Popular First Impression:  "Never heard of it, so it must suck"

Why it's underrated:  This film showcases an extremely talented director in Brad Anderson whose psychological horror experience is populated by full and grounded characters with a believable story arch.   The mental hospital is gigantic but yet we feel almost choked up by the asbestos in the air and the building's sketchy past.  Claustrophobia and fear can do amazing things on the human psyche in a place with a lot of shady and plastic covered corners.  Plus I'm not the only one who feels this way, go to google.com and run a search for underrated horror films and see how many lists Session 9 comes up under (hint: damn near all of them). 

If for nothing else:   You will get some good scares, and David Caruso is in it and we all know he is the man.

The Woods (Dir: Lucky McKee – 2006):  In 1965 New England, a troubled girl attends a lush private school at her parent's request (demands) when weird David Lynch type creepiness takes over.  Witches are involved.

Popular First Impression: "Girls in uniforms?  Witches?  This is just a bad version of the Craft.

Why it's underrated:  Lucky McKee's May was one of the finest horror films to come out in a long time when it hit the scene in 2002, and The Woods isn't far behind.  The most interesting aspect of the film comes from the self realization of the filmmaker.  We know it's a horror movie called the woods.  We see right off the bat that our main character is being left at a private school against her will.  We know that something weird is going to happen.  So what does ole Lucky do?  He makes the entire setting just a little bit off.  The building and bunk areas have a strange symmetry to them while the staff has a sense of weirdness that is easily mistaken for propriety.  It would have been easy for Lucky to let these actors off their leashes and go straight to scenery chewing with these personas, but he reels them in at the right times leaving just a slight air of creepiness.  This is a delicate balance and Lucky McKee pulls it off brilliantly. 

If for nothing else:  Bruce Campbell kicks a little ass in the movie (you already knew he kicked ass in real life).

Candyman (Dir: Bernard Rose – 1992): A Grad student decides to do her thesis on local legends which leads her to accidentally bringing back a local mythological being called "Candyman".  A string of murders take place causing Helen Lyle (Virginia Madison) to wonder if the myth is true or not (hint: It's pretty real to her).

Popular First Impression:  "Candyman sounds stupid, plus it looks dated

Why it's underrated:  This is the first film (and probably the only successful film) to truly combine horror and an urban environment into a believable and scary experience.  Bernard Rose decided not to go to an "unfamiliar" setting like the woods, suburbia, or outer space and decided to set a disturbing horror film in the inner city.  It also deals with a mythos that we could all believe, not necessarily in the myth itself, but the "idea" of the myth (i.e. the whole Bloody Mary thing, saying Candyman in the mirror sounds just as ridiculous, why couldn't it happen?).  Plus the gore effects are mighty prevalent in this one including the terrible twosome, a dead baby and a dead dog!  You will feel something during this film whether you want to or not.

If for nothing else:  Watch it lights out with the volume up and I guarantee you will be freaked out.

The Mouth of Madness (Dir: John Carpenter – 1994): An insurance investigator John Trent (Sam Neil) goes searching for a hack writer Sutter Cane who has gone missing in New England.  After reading cane's wildly popular horror novels, John Trent goes to the small town of Hobb's End where Sutter Cane's novels are coming to life. 

Popular First Impression:  "What the hell is the guy from Jurassic Park doing here?  Plus it won't be as good as Halloween."

Why it's underrated:  People think that because John Carpenter created the template for the slasher film (or did he? *cough* Black Christmas *cough*) that in the later years of his life nothing will be as good as Halloween and is therefore crap.  While Mouth of Madness is by no way a perfect film, it is a lesson in fan obsessed culture, the mythos of the "creator", and a generally creepy film.  It's also a great little look into the interesting realm of fan culture.  We all love horror films, but what if in a moment we were thrust into one?  Wouldn't be as fun would it?

If for nothing else:  It's John Carpenter, he did The Thing, The Fog, Assault on Precinct 13, Halloween, Escape >From New York, and Big Trouble in Little China.  Show some god damn respect.

Frailty (Dir: Bill Paxton – 2001): (from IMDB) "A man confesses to an FBI agent his family's story of how his religious fanatic father's visions lead to a series of murders to destroy supposed "demons."

Popular First Impression:   "Matthew McConaughey?  Frailty?  Sounds like a crappy romcom.  Is Kate Hudson in it?"

Why it's underrated:  Did you read that synopsis?  It sounds Bad Ass!  Fenton Meiks (MM) is sitting in the room telling an FBI agent the story of his youth about how his father and his brother used to kidnap people and kill them because Jesus told them to.  You know, because the kidnapped were demons.  That looked like people.  And of course, they never showed their demon side.  Extremely complex characters (that on the surface don't really appear that way) have motivations that we can't relate to at all, but somehow director Bill Paxton (yes, of Twister fame) makes it all work while not letting it near "camp".  The whole movie you sit there thinking that Fenton is bat shit insane, but then you start to wonder….

If for nothing else:  Dude, Jesus… telling people to kill demons… I shouldn't have to say anything else.

So in researching for this article I found a whole slew of films that I feel are underrated so you call all expect a part 2 somewhere down the line.   I have a few picked out already, but tell me what I missed.  Do you think the remake of Black Christmas was awesome?  Am I missing a seminal classic?  Am I stupid for mentioning The Mouth of Madness?  Well then, let me hear about it.

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