Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Guest List: Sleestakk's Underrated Horror Films ""

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Guest List: Sleestakk's Underrated Horror Films

Jay Hawkinson(sleestakk on Twitter, follow him) is a movie-lover and obsessive film watcher of the highest order. Check out his blog and read his list below!

The entries in this series of underrated horror have been so excellent with a few of them on my all-time list. Rather than rehashing those titles, I went back to the well to find a few more films that don't get enough praise or attention. My ten (in chronological order) are as follows…

1) The Invisible Man (1933)
In the lineage of Universal Monsters, The Invisible Man has always taken a backseat to the more "famous monsters" of filmland. But there is no mistake that the original film, directed by James Whale featuring Claude Rains, is truly creepy and very under-appreciated for said creepiness. Rains' manic yet controlled portrayal is calculated bordering on lunacy. The dude is evil and enjoys it.

2) Isle of the Dead (1945)
Karloff. An Island. And superstition. Blend and bake for 70 minutes for spooky results. The atmosphere is what makes this one work on many levels with an enveloping sense of dread throughout. Simple, stirring and often overlooked, this little film has all the necessary elements. Deserves your attention.

3) Taste of Fear (1961)
Pitch-perfect suspense too taunt to be Hitchcockian but just as efficacious. The masterful set design of the estate clouded in shadows throughout brings the intensity to a boil as the psychological crime game plays out. Haunting visuals and a suffocating underwater sequence add to the folly. Adore this film.

4) I Drink Your Blood (1970)
Mostly comical but insanely horrific as a band of hippie satan worshippers get one pulled on them thanks to disease-spiked meatpies. They become savage and blood thirsty creatures with only the desire to kill and kill again. Yes, it's as crazy as it sounds and must be seen to be believed.

5) Tombs of the Blind Dead (1971)
Admittedly not the greatest example of seventies Euro-horror but this Spanish film wins in the imagery department. Death rides a horse is literal as these night riders return from the grave and terrorize their victims. Slow motion scenes of shrouded figures on horseback will leave an impression as they gallop through the darkness. Visually nightmarish and rightfully so.

6) Asylum (1972)
This Amicus horror anthology serves as a better example of anthology done right. Using a mental ward as the backdrop to introduce each story, one case grows from the next inducing fear at what the next inmate will produce. Well executed at every corner, it should be more highly regarded.

7) Frightmare (1974) a.k.a. Cover Up
Directed by Pete Walker, this flick reaches into your primal core with that familiar "family with a secret" theme yet manages to turn the dial and, ahem, twist the knife for this gruesome depiction of a quaint yet cannibalistic family in the countryside. Simply put, we have old people with an appetite for people.

8) Who Can Kill A Child? (1976)
Few things are more frightening than murderous children. Here there is a whole island of them feverishly possessed with only thoughts to kill. Intense, absurd and often uncomfortable. Disturbing but definitely worth seeing.

9) The Blob (1988)
Probably more overshadowed by its 1958 predecessor starring Steve McQueen but not undervalued in horror circles, this vision of the evil blob from space successfully marries eighties practical effects with a solid story for goopy, gory fun. Can I say it oozes enjoyment? OK, I won't.

10) Dance of the Dead (2008)
Speaking of fun, Gregg Bishop's send up to good old-fashioned zombie flicks interlaced with comedy belongs on any list of underrated horror until everyone has seen it. Evoking the spirit of Return of the Living Dead, Bishop's similar take on teens attacked by zombies delivers in spades with several memorable sequences. Strong characters, dialogue and storytelling drive what might otherwise be retreaded material in less capable hands. Bishop knows exactly what he has here and doesn't try to overthink it. Yeah, I love this film.


SteveQ said...

Just did my top 10 list:

Keep 'em coming!

Rupert Pupkin said...

love that list Steve! DRAGSTRIP DRACULA? Who'd have thunk it!

JoeyBanks said...

This is awesome man. I keep seeing cool movies i've never even heard off. Thanks for adding the posters.

Anonymous said...

I own and dearly love Karloff's Isle of the Dead! Truly a must see not only for Karloff fans but also horror fans in general!
Yet another great list!
Dreaded Dreams
Petunia Scareum

Shiftless said...

Love all the Blind Dead films (except for the one on the model boat). Good to see some love for Dance of the Dead, Blob 88 and Karloff. Nicely balanced list!

btsjunkie said...

Jay! A man after my own heart. THE BLOB!!!!! YES YES YES YES YES YES!

le0pard13 said...

I think in many ways, the 1988 version of THE BLOB is much more entertaining. Now, if Steve McQueen was on his motorcycle in the '58 version, then all bets are off. Great list. Thanks.

Rupert Pupkin said...

I am a HUGE fan of the '88 BLOB. The original is fun and all, but there's no contest for me really. Now let's talk about SON OF BLOB....