Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Favorite Underrated Horror - Guy Hutchinson ""

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Favorite Underrated Horror - Guy Hutchinson

Guy Hutchinson has worked as a radio talk show host and personality on WHWH and WMGQ radio in NJ and is currently the co-host of the 'Adventure Club,' 'Flux Capaci-cast' and 'Camel Clutch Cinema' podcasts. Over the years he has interviewed Bernie Kopell, Andy Richter, Bebe Neuwirth, Joe Camp, Robbie Rist and many other entertainment figures.

A blogger since 2004, Guy blogs on and is the sole correspondent for the Ken PD Snydecast Experience. You can find links to all of his work on

Putting together a list of underrated horror films is an interesting challenge. Horror films by their nature tend to be both obscure and well known... at the same time. Horror franchises often stretch on into double digits without ever breaking into the mainstream of pop culture. But ask any horror fan who starred in 'Puppet Master X: Axis Rising,' they will probably tell you.
I put together my list by thinking of horror films I liked that I haven't heard too much about. Hopefully you will discover a gem or two in this list.

Brainscan (1994)
I was really into this film in '94. I was intrigued by the possibility of virtual reality gaming and very into "interactive movie" games. Eddie Furlong is passable in the lead, but the real star of this film is T. Ryder Smith. Smith is an award winning stage actor who is delightful as the villainous Trickster.

New Years Evil (1980)
A tightly wound slasher film about a killer who is racking up victims at the stroke of midnight in each US time zone and phoning a New Years Eve TV host after each kill.
I saw this for the first time last year. Planning to watch it again this New Years Eve! It's a very well made film.

Santa's Slay (2005)
This is a magnificently silly slasher film where Santa is on a rampage. The story is that Santa had lost a bet that made him act benevolent. Now he comes to the town of Hell and exacts his revenge. It plays at the perfect balance of camp and horror. It's a good film with a great cast.

Lord of Illusions (1995)
This Clive Barker film has a mood that's entirely it's own. It's a dark film about a cult leader and features a superb performance by Scott Bakula and some amazing blood and gore effects. It's the type of movie that makes your skin crawl, but in a good way.

Microwave Massacre (1983)
There is something delightful about seeing Jackie Vernon as a cannibal. Vernon was a stand up comedian, but was best known for lending his voice to Frosty the Snowman. This film is about a hungry construction worker who turns to cannibalism. He uses a microwave because... well... it's 1983. It's a fun film but does have more groans than laughs. Still, it's certainly worth a look.

Wicked, Wicked (1973)
This thriller uses a unique gimmick: the entire film is shown in split-screen. The film tells the story of a killer and we see things from two perspectives on the screen. The split screen technique (called Duo-Vision) allowed the filmmaker a unique canvas which he uses well. The film is shot almost entirely at the beautiful and historic Hotel Del Coronado. This alone makes it worth checking out.

The Ape Man (1943)
If you only know Bela Lugosi as Dracula it's a good idea to check out The Ape Man. Bela was a classically trained actor and was a marvel to see on the screen. The Ape Man is a pretty standard 1940's horror/sci fi film but sometimes standard is exactly what you need. Bela plays a mad scientist that turns into a giant ape man.

Psycho IV: The Beginning (1990)
Here is a film in sore need of redemption. Look at all the strikes against it! It's a made for cable, part 4 of a franchise based on a film that is so revered it's insulting to consider making a sequel to it.Still, they make it work.
Functioning as both a sequel and a prequel to the 1960 film, the story involves Norman Bates calling into a radio show to confess to his dark past. We see a young Norman in flashbacks played with deadly accuracy by Henry Thomas and a great performance by C. C. H. Pounder as the talk show host.

The Return of Count Yorga (1971)
This is a sequel but plays more like a reboot. The filmmakers assume you haven't seen the 1970 film Count Yorga, Vampire and it's just as well. The sequel is better. The film is a devilishly fun film with a good mix of camp and serious chills.

The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996)
Possibly the most underrated film I can think of. In fact, I know so many people that despise this film. It's something I will never understand. The film is notorious for it's troubled production, but in the end it's a really well made popcorn flick. The story is over a hundred years old but seemed to fit perfectly into the late 1990s. Brando is masterfully bizarre in the title role, as is Kilmer as his assistant. However, David Thewlis is the real star, exudes talent from every pore.
 Frankenheimer directs the film perfectly. It's one of the few films I have ever seen that allows main characters to die and without lingering closeups and swelling music. It makes the fantasy of the film seem so real and visceral. If you haven't seen it... or haven't seen it recently... or even saw it in 1996 and hated it, I ask you to give this film another look.


Anonymous said...

did they steal that Santa idea from Ernest Saves Christmas? I'm pretty sure they did.

Tommy Ross said...

Re: Wicked, Wicked (1973) Looks like a lotta 70's fun, unfortunately as I'm sure you know, it's never been given a official release of any kind. Only TCM has a copy, doubt they'll be showing it soon. Found one scene on You Tube -
Would love to see this whole thing one day....Thanks again Rupert, it's amazing to me where you come up with these picks!!

Bob Lindstrom said...

Delighted to see the Frankenheimer Moreau here. I rediscovered this film earlier this year and totally agree that the movie and its remarkable performances ought to be revisited and reevaluated.