Friday, October 24, 2014

Scare Yourself Silly With These Unsung Horror Films

by Sara N.

Rupert Everett in Dellamorte Dellamore
October's the season for scary movies, and if you're not thrilled with the offerings at your local megaplex (coughAnnabellewasprettybadcough), I've pulled together a list of some smaller horror films that you may have missed. These are all good: either scary, gory, funny, scary/gory, scary/funny, gory/funny or scary/gory/funny. And their level of obscurity to you all depends on how deep down the horror rabbit hole you tend to fall. Anyway, read on for a list of spooky viewing options.

Dellamorte Dellamore (or Cemetery Man in the U.S.)

Real talk: This whole post is an excuse to get more people to watch Dellamorte Dellamore, a quirky Italian horror film starring a young and beautiful Rupert Everett. This movie is equal parts unnerving, funny, sexy, squirmy and "what the hell did I just see?" Everett plays a cemetery employee who has to kill the dead when they rise again. The Italian title translates to "of death, of love," which is apt. Just ... just watch it, OK? The entire movie is on YouTube for your viewing pleasure. Musings on its fraught masculinity and monstrous femininity could fill whole scholarly journals.

Dead Snow

Nazi. Zombies. If that's not enough for you, I don't think we can be friends anymore. But seriously, this is one funny, scary movie. It's the Norwegian equivalent of Evil Dead, which I haven't put on this list because seriously, if you can't already quote Evil Dead chapter and verse, we really, really shouldn't be friends anymore. It's available on Netflix.

Braindead (or Dead Alive in the U.S.)

Peter Jackson wasn't always Hobbiton's favorite filmmaker. You can see his gory, campy, hilarious roots in this New Zealand zombie romp. (There's also a lot to say about monstrous motherhood in this horror film, not to get all feminist film critiquey on you again.)

Tucker and Dale Versus Evil

I feel like I don't need to tell you people about this film because it stars Alan "Wash" Tudyk. But in case you've somehow missed it, rectify that immediately. It's gory and hilarious and streaming right now on Netflix.

Dog Soldiers

This British movie isn't campy or particularly funny, unlike the preceding entries, but it is a muscular, tense take on werewolves as they stalk a patrol of soldiers. The full movie's up on YouTube.


Not to be that guy, but the original Spanish-language film that spawned Quarantine, the American remake, is so, so much better and so, so, so, so much scarier as it follow a news crew trapped in an apartment complex with something horrible.


As with Tucker and Dale, I don't have to tell you people about this alien body horror fest, right? Because it stars Nathan "Captain Tightpants" Fillion and was written and directed by James Gunn, who also wrote and directed a little film called Guardians of the Galaxy.


Gah, what a messed up little movie. Watch shy May try to navigate a world that's a little too rough for her and develop a coping mechanism that's extremely ... effective. I shrieked and cringed in horror at the very end; you will, too. Good stuff.


This zombie film almost works like a radio play. Fitting, because it's told from the perspective of a radio DJ who's trapped in a booth, listening to the world fall apart. Available on Netflix.

Attack the Block

This film's got a little more action and a little less terror, but it's still a treat as you watch a pack of kids try to fend off an alien invasion at a British council estate.

Ginger Snaps

Lycanthropy stands in as a metaphor for puberty and womanhood in Ginger Snaps, which touches on sisterhood, friendships, confused sexuality, jealousy — you know, all the things that made high school such a delight. Full movie on YouTube.

Devil's Backbone


This Spanish-language horror flick is the only real ghost story on this list, and you shouldn't miss it. The full movie (OK, fine, in Spanish with no subtitles) is on YouTube.

Session 9

Session 9, about an asbestos abatement crew cleaning up an abandoned asylum, was actually filmed in Danvers State Mental Hospital before it was demolished. So let's be honest: You could've just set the camera up at Danvers and let the tape roll for a few hours to scare the bejesus out of me. That there's an actual, slow-burning, atmospheric plot here is all the better.

What movies would you add to this list? Tell me what I've missed!
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