Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Favorite Underrated Horror - Jeffery X Martin ""

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Favorite Underrated Horror - Jeffery X Martin

Jeffery X Martin is a freelance writer living in Knoxville, TN. He writes about pop culture for and movie reviews for He is also the co-writer of the upcoming film, Murder Ballads and the creator of the horror fiction series, The Elders Keep Projekt.
1) Let’s Scare Jessica to Death (1971)
Zohra Lampert is delightfully vulnerable as Jessica, a woman recently released from a psychiatric hospital, who moves to the country with two male friends to open an apple orchard. That happened all the time in the Seventies. Things in the old farmhouse are spooky, and the townspeople are flat out weird. I’m a sucker for movie titles that are complete sentences, and the surreal dementia the film spirals into during the last fifteen minutes just proves they don’t make ‘em like this anymore.

2) The Strangeness (1985)
A survey team is hired to explore an abandoned mine, recently shaken back open by an earthquake. There’s gold in them thar hills, but there’s also a hungry tentacle monster that hasn’t had any miners to eat in a long time. Director Melanie Anne Phillips keeps the lighting down to lanterns, flares and headlamps during the mine scenes, making it an intensely claustrophobic movie. Besides, who doesn’t love a stop-motion animated monster?

3) Burial Ground: Nights of Terror (1981)
If Tennessee Williams had written an Italian zombie movie, it would be this one. Some people show up at an old villa and inadvertently wake the dead with all their huggin’ and lovin’ and messin’ about with ancient runes. There’s brain squishing a-plenty. There’s also a bizarre incest subplot between a mother and her son, who appears to be played by a 40-year-old circus midget, which must be seen to be disbelieved. With dialogue like, “Mother! This cloth smells of death!” Burial Ground is a dirty little gem.

4) The Reincarnation of Peter Proud (1975)
Talk about movies that couldn’t get made today! Michael Sarrazin plays a man who realizes that he is not who he thinks he is. He’s the reincarnation of… well, you can read the title. As he seeks to learn more about Proud’s life, terrible parallels arise. He becomes involved with the guy’s daughter. This arouses the consternation of her mother, played by a young Margot Kidder in unconvincing old age makeup. Grey areas abound, and as things come to a head, karmic incest, rape and terror are the name of the game. It’s far from politically correct, but it is fascinating, even though it leans more towards the thriller side of the horror genre.

5) Death of a Ghost Hunter (2007)
This was a late-night Netflix discovery for me. Masquerading as just another found-footage night-vision low moan spectacular, Death of a Ghost Hunter delivers some real chills. As it documents the final adventure of self-proclaimed “ghost hunter” Carter Simms, what seems predictable and formulaic gets weird fast. It’s about fifteen minutes too long, but the villain is quite bad indeed and the ending packs a nice wallop.

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