If you’re a fan of horror movies like me, then you’ve probably become slightly jaded by the formulaic slasher flicks and jump scare-laden suspense stories that currently dominate the genre. But these films get the most butts on seats, which is good for business, so they get the full backing of the movie industry marketing machine. Unfortunately, that means the occasional gem ends up slipping by completely undetected; a classic waiting to be found and unappreciated by whoever is willing to dig it out. Indeed, these are truly some of the best horror movies out there. They are well worth seeing, but haven’t gotten the attention or PR they deserve.
An outcast teenager (played by AnnaLynne McCord) who has an unhealthy obsession with surgery and body parts goes to brutal lengths to save her sister from the effects of cystic fibrosis in this particularly nasty take on the “teenage misfit” genre. Excision is kind of like a cross between Carrie and Donnie Darko, and quite different from the type of horror movies you’re used to. Not for the faint of heart, but well worth a watch.
This Canadian zombie movie follows a radio station crew as they deal with the effects of a strange virus outbreak in their town. It sounds clichéd, I know, but there are definitely some fresh ideas here (you’ll know what I mean when you watch it). The sound design and pacing of Pontypool really help to rack up the tension and claustrophobia, and the balance between cerebral chills and blatant gore is just right. A must-see.
More of a science fiction thriller than a horror, Coherence is nonetheless creepy enough to warrant its inclusion on this list. As a group of friends gather at a dinner party, a comet passing close to Earth causes an anomaly which throws everyone into a state of disarray and paranoia. While you won’t find much in the way of blockbuster special effects, this low-budget mind-bender still manages to explore some pretty far-out topics.
No one does horror quite like the Japanese. You’re probably already familiar with brooding ghost-stories like Ring and The Grudge, but I guarantee you’ve never seen anything like Audition before. While searching for a new wife, a widowed TV producer believes he has found the perfect match in a beautiful young woman—until he begins looking into her background. The movie is as impressive as it is disturbing, and will likely stay with you long after the end credits roll.
An excellent mockumentary (or docufiction movie, if you prefer) that follows a group of astronauts as they journey to Jupiter’s moon Europa in search of alien life forms. Like Coherence, this tense and creepy adventure is more sci-fi chiller than straight-up horror. Still, Europa Report is an edge-of-your-seat experience made all the more compelling by its entirely plausible plot, and bolstered by some intelligent, high-quality acting.
Q: What are some of the best horror movies that deserve to be on this list? Tell us about them in the comments below.
David Carroll is a freelance writer, self-published author, and chief health-nut at thepaleotoolkit.com. Outside of work, he loves hurling (an amazing Irish sport), playing video games and hanging out with his dogs. Follow him on Twitter (@DavidAshCarroll) and Google+.