Frightful Fall | Top 5 Underrated Horror Movies


Posted in Reel Chat on 09 Oct by

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It’s Frightful Fall at Bookmans and we’re counting down our Top 5 favorite underrated horror films! These films were chosen for a variety of reasons, each one displays certain extraordinary qualities that set them apart from others in the horror genre. Some were executed with professional expertise utilizing cinematography, sound, special effects, lighting, direction, acting, plot development and the like in original and professional ways. Others were adapted from novels and utilized cultural and literary references to bring cannon concepts into the modern arena. While others had a stellar cast and stood out not only because the direction was spot on but the acting was as well. These films stick with us and give us what we crave from a horror film: a good scare and a lasting thrill.

The Blair Witch Project directed by Eduardo Sanchez and Daniel Myrick

What a wild ride this film was! Audiences hadn’t been treated to a full on, in your face, physical experience like this since The Exorcist in 1973. News reports claimed that audiences left theaters shaken, dizzy, sick, terrified while some even required (gasp) medical attention. This is what we came for, this is what horror fans dream of. What better reward for living through 100 remakes of Final Destination than to have an actually scary film to attend? Then there were the rumors, was the movie real? Did film makers use actual found footage to make this movie? The rumors swirled on and on. With a lead in like that, expectations are going to be high but Blair Witch delivered. The film also created a whole new genre: Found Footage Films which we are still enjoying today.

Scanners directed by David Cronenberg

In true ’80s film fashion, Scanners gives us what happens when psychics attack. This movie now plays more like a made for TV movie than a feature film but it still manages to maintain the viewers’ attention. We can’t help but wonder how many bottles of Tylenol were consumed on the set of Scanners what with all the straining faces, bulging veins, hair clutching and screams. This is one of the last 1970s type science fiction horror films and we were sad to see the genre go. While not destined for any awards, the film does manage to keep us entertained and rooting for the underdogs. It might also be argued that this film helped pave the way for future films like Brainstorm and the X-Men franchise.

Stigmata directed by Rupert Wainwright

This film has some amazing sets and even better clothes, hair and make up which isn’t often said about a horror film. Stigmata follows a young hair dresser in the big city by and a holy man bent on exposing evil in the Catholic Church. Two of our favorite actors grace the screen with their talents, Patricia Arquette and Gabriel Byrne. The music is done by the incomparable Billy Corrigan and it compliments the bohemian industrial setting perfectly. The soundtrack is another strong component to the film. Wainwright gives us a contemporary setting and utilizes rock music from the era to emphasize that. Filmmakers have since used music (not just screeching strings) to heighten mood.

Identity directed by James Mangold

This John Cusak film can only be loosely classified as horror because it straddles the line of the Thriller genre as well. We will consider Identity a horror film because it gives us what we want from the genre including plot twists, suspense, hints of the supernatural, characters being tested and reality being warped and stretched. The very best way to see this film is to be completely in the dark (figuratively and literally). Don’t read the blurb on the back of the case. Don’t ask your friends and family what it’s about and most importantly…DON’T watch the trailer. I saw this movie based on the title alone and will always be glad I did. Some clever folks might be able to figure out the ending, so don’t take them with you to see it. Notice there are no links here for this film so that you won’t be tempted to ruin the fun.  Allow every delicious moment of suspense and terror to unfold on its own time. The climactic shot near the end will be stuck on your mental wide screen for years to come. With a single camera pan, the entire story is explained. The camera turns and the audience gasps – it’s a brilliant way to execute the big reveal.

The Lost Boys directed by Joel Schumacher

This probably wasn’t the very first film to include modern rock music on a horror movie soundtrack but it’s the first one that matters. Teen vampires (who don’t sparkle) that crazily ride motorcycles, wear killer clothes, eat Chinese take out and listen to the Doors can’t go wrong. And they don’t. This movie has blended multiple stylistic elements; humor, romance, fantasy, action and horror all while being a slick 20 something film. Who didn’t fall in love with Jason Patrick and/or Jami Gertz? The entire film was clearly a product of the post MTV generation and played like an extended music video. We loved every minute and still do. Sutherland can run 24 hours straight but for Gen X-ers this will always be his finest moment.

There you have it! Keep your eyes peeled for all of these horror films at our stores or by calling one of our Bookmans locations. We also suggest to ask or check out our employee recommendations, our shelves as our selection is always changing.

*Bookmans is your store to explore. We can’t guarantee stock, so if you are interested in one of the DVDs or BluRays mentioned, please give us a call and we’ll check our orange shelves for you.| 

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