I didn’t get a chance to watch any new Horror movies this week, and rather than reviewing an old one, I thought I’d post a listing of 5 Horror movies that I have come across over the years that are not terribly well-known. The following are films I see as examples of those straight-to-video wonders that are bound to pop up every once in a while and surprise you. Some of these may be more well-known than others, but there isn’t one here that I don’t personally enjoy. These are not ordered by preference.
1) SUBSPECIES (1991-1998)
This is a great vampire series that came out in the early 90’s from Full Moon Studios. Full Moon put out some popular titles, most notably Puppet Master. I came across this around 2003 or 2004, and I treasure all four installments of the series to this day. It’s fairly cheesy, as is typical of a Full Moon production, but a combination of great directing from Ted Nikolaou, great acting from Anders Hove (Radu), and the often beautiful cinematography (it was shot on location in Romania), the films are well worth a watch.
2) VAMPIRE JOURNALS (No, not diaries!) (1997)
I’m going to go ahead and let this one follow Subspecies, as it is the 1997 spin-off and takes place in the same universe. Where Subspecies is a straightforward Horror film that follows the exploits of sadistic vampire, Radu, Vampire Journals is a moody, Neo-Noir film, which follows Zachary, a vampire with a conscience who seeks to wipe out the bloodline of the vampires that turned him. The most notable qualities of the film are, like Subspecies, it’s beautiful cinematography, and the director’s commitment to the overall dark nature of the story. There is a romantic angle, but it’s doomed from the beginning. There is a spark of hope in Zachary’s goodness, but it isn’t enough. It’s a dark, beautiful film, and I think it’s highly underrated.
3) DEAD BIRDS (2004)
This is one I got out of a bargain bin back in the early 2000’s. It does a really great job of blending Crime and Horror. You have a fast start to the film, as a group of Confederate soldiers hole up in an abandoned plantation after robbing a bank. Then, gradually, they begin to realize that something supernatural has claimed the property. I don’t remember exactly what the hell was going on, but I remember being pretty freaked out. I still have this DVD–maybe it’s time to watch it again.
4) BAD MOON (1996)
For me, this list wouldn’t be complete without a werewolf movie, though I don’t know if I would call Bad Moon offbeat, per se. It’s actually a fairly straightforward 80’s/early 90’s style Horror movie. A single mother/professional woman and her son come under assault by an evil creature shortly after she invites her brother to come stay with them for a while. I guess you could call this one a refreshing return to the familiar. Nothing too edgy, just a couple of decent people living in the suburbs getting attacked by a monster. Good stuff. I think it does fit this list, however, in that it did not receive wide distribution, and is not very well known to the casual viewer.
5) CUBE (1997)
I actually forgot about this one until right before I wrote the title. I don’t even know if I would still like this now, but God I loved it back when I first saw it, probably around 2004. A group of strangers wake up in a cube-shaped room with no idea how they got there. Each wall of the cube has a door in it. Each door leads to another cube shaped room. They can go through any door they choose, but they have to be careful–many of the rooms are booby-trapped. Watch this one for the all-around weirdness and some gruesome death scenes. I believe they made three of these, and from what I remember, they are all pretty good.
Let me know what you think of this list in the comments below. It’s certainly not exhaustive. I just picked the first five movies I thought of that I knew none of my co-workers or friends would recognize. What would you add?