With studio horror films being kind of hit and miss, horror fans are often left to wade through a series of VOD and direct-to-DVD titles in an attempt to find quality horror. There are plenty of diamonds in the rough to be found but the problem is knowing where to start. Sifting through the horror section on Netflix or at your video store (if you still have one) can be a bit like fishing: One could invest hours into the search for worthwhile horror titles and come up empty handed. So to simplify the process and point our readers in the right direction, we are spotlighting five more horror films you might not have seen but should.
This 1977 Asian horror film tells the story of a schoolgirl and six friends that travel to visit an elderly aunt. Once the group arrives at their destination, they come to the realization that the house is alive and the aunt is a witch. It was almost impossible to get ahold of this title until criterion released a cut of the film on DVD and Blu-ray a couple of years ago. House is one of the most bizarre and incoherent horror films I’ve seen. It makes Dario Argento’s work seem cohesive. Itis like an acid trip, complete with a killer piano, a possessed cat, and much more. If you have overlooked this truly outstanding film, do make a point to seek it out.
Severance follows a group of office workers on a team building exercise that takes them to the European Countryside. After the coworkers arrive at their destination, bloodthirsty locals with an axe to grind are there to greet them. Severance is directed and co-written by Christopher Smith (Creep). Smith’s wicked sense of humor is in full swing here as he demonstrates a knack for swiftly blending horror and comedy. In addition to being hilarious, Severance is violent as hell; the effects are phenomenal. They are done practically and are top notch. Upon its initial release, Severance flew under the radar for some fans. But it is worthy of seeking out.
The Skin I Live in
I won’t offer any synopsis for The Skin I Live in because the less you know going into it, the better. The multitalented Pedro Almodovar directs this 2011 Spanish language horror film. Almodovar’s shocking body horror film didn’t get a lot of publicity outside of a select few genre film publications upon its release. It’s a shame that it hasn’t received more recognition; it is beautifully photographed and touches on a lot of cultural taboos with a very unique viewpoint. Antonio Banderas is brilliant in the lead role and delivers an arresting performance. This film is not to be missed.
David Schmoeller’s (Puppet Master) 1979 film Tourist Trap catches up with a group of marooned travelers that take refuge at a dilapidated roadside attraction. It is a surreal and unnerving good time. Pino Donaggio (Carrie) composes the score and it is one of my all time favorite horror film scores. The film pairs unsettling imagery with perfectly fitting audio cues and it plays out like a bad dream. Schmoeller’s directorial aesthetic is dark and leaves a lasting impression on his audience. Tourist Trap seems to have gotten lost amongst films like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Halloween upon its theatrical release. If you haven’t had the pleasure of checking it out, you really should. Tourist Trap is one of the most memorable slasher-esque films to come out of the late 1970s.
Dante Tomaselli’s (Satan’s Playground) fourth film is yet another example of how talented the up and coming director is. There wasn’t a lot of fanfare for the film’s release and it wasn’t granted a theatrical exhibition, so it’s a blink and you’ll miss it type of situation. Torture Chamber tells the story of a young boy that is held captive by his family. When the child escapes, he forms a band of followers and begins to torment the entire town. He and his minions kidnap and torture anyone that has wronged them in this chilling tale. Torture Chamber shows Tomaselli’s maturation as a filmmaker over his previous films. It is a profound and disturbing film that must be seen.