For me, the entire month of October is Halloween, and that means non-stop horror movies. And since we’re all addicted to lists now (thanks, Buzzfeed), what could be more satisfying than ten obscure horror movies to watch as the big day approaches?
So here are ten horror movies to chill your bones, churn your stomach, and even occasionally tickle your funny bone. There are some new names, and a few classics mixed in. But all will serve as welcome alternatives for those of you burnt out on torture porn (we’re looking at you, Human Centipede).
1. Resolution (2013)
It’s similar to The Cabin in the Woods, but any more comparisons will spoil the many twists and turns. Here’s the gist: Michael receives a video of his long-estranged friend Chris, a junkie squatting in a house in the boonies. When Michael attempts to detox Chris, things don’t go as planned, as Michael is bombarded by multiple bizarre scenarios that could each be the start of their own horror movie.
2. ParaNorman (2012)
Sure it’s a kids’ film, but the stop-motion is beautiful (and sadly rare these days), the filmmakers obviously love horror movies (a cellphone ringtone featured in the film is the theme music from Halloween), and it manages to put a new spin on zombies. ParaNorman also has a lot of heart and compassion, which is unexpected but appreciated.
3. Monsters (2010)
Before directing this past summer’s Godzilla, Gareth Edwards made this little movie for a paltry $500,000. It follows a photojournalist escorting a woman out of a near-future Mexico that has been infested by giant, tentacled aliens. Like most sci-fi/horror, it functions as a blunt allegory (in this case, for illegal immigration). But Monsters manages to also sustain a gripping sense of dread and tension.
4. Thirst (2009)
Tired of sappy vampire love stories? Try this South Korean bloodfest from director Park Chan-wook (Oldboy): When a Catholic priest volunteers for an experiment to cure a fatal disease, he ends up infected and then strangely cured after receiving a blood transfusion. Here comes the vampire part: His only problem is that he now needs a constant supply of new blood to stay healthy.
5. Repo!: The Genetic Opera (2008)
If you like The Rocky Horror Picture Show, then you’ll love this. This rock opera features a future where a pharma company sells organs like car loans and actor Anthony Head (Giles from Buffy the Vampire Slayer!) is the repo man that comes when bills go unpaid. “Zydrate Anatomy” is the stand-out musical number, with Paris Hilton, of all people, on vocals.
6. Feast (2005)
This gory spectacle takes place in a desert bar overrun by slimy creatures with big teeth. It’s not the premise but the execution that makes it stand out, as it has a wicked sense of humor and a nice sense of self-awareness. Whenever characters pop up on screen, they’re identified by their role (“Hero”, “Tuffy”, “Beer Guy”), with expectations repeatedly subverted.
7. Below (2002)
Set in WWII, this creepy little film follows an American submarine in the Atlantic that picks up survivors adrift from a sunken British hospital boat. Pursued by a German warship, the crew suspects that one of the survivors, a German POW, is attempting to give away their position, only to find out that the mole may be the recently deceased former captain that torments them.
8. Man Bites Dog (1992)
Long Before The Blair Witch Project kicked off America’s obsession with found footage, this Belgian “mockumentary” pushed the limits of brutality. As a film crew follows a serial killer, they start out staying neutral (like a nature video), but the charismatic Ben increasingly involves them in his chaotic behavior. This one is shocking in its realism and not for the faint of heart.
9. Monster Squad (1987)
Like The Goonies but with a fouler mouth, this horror comedy is for anyone that loved the classic Universal Monsters films growing up. A club of pre-teens devoted to horror movies discovers that Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster, the Wolfman, the Mummy, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon are in their town causing trouble, and only they can stop the apocalypse.
10. The Thing (1982)
From horror master John Carpenter, this film has yet to be topped in the realm of practical special effects. The scientists of an Antarctic research station discover a frozen alien that then escapes, assimilates, and mimics their appearances one by one. Kurt Russell makes for a great reluctant hero, and no other movie captures paranoia and claustrophobia so well.