Though there's never a bad time to turn off all the lights and enjoy a horror movie, there is a best time to go ahead and do so, and that time is right now. Halloween is this Friday, and we're once again beseeching you to consider some cult-favorite horror options to get you into the spirit of the holiday.
If you've seen Friday the 13th two dozen times and the thought of spending another fall night cuddled up with Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers, or Leatherface just doesn't do anything for you, then we're here to help. Below, you'll find ten lesser-known horror movies that are guaranteed to make your Halloween season as spooky, gory, and fun as it can possibly be!
Trick 'r Treat
Best for: Anyone who's under the false impression that Michael Myers is the King of Halloween horror.
A new horror icon was born in Trick 'r Treat, in the form of the pint-sized pumpkin-head known only as Sam. In this episodic film, set on Halloween night, Sam punishes all who don't respect the traditions of the holiday, with a little help from zombies, werewolves, and other creatures of the night. Michael Dougherty's directorial debut is truly the cinematic embodiment of Halloween, and the ultimate celebration of its history and traditions.
Choice cut: A father helps his young son carve a jack-o'-lantern — using a human head, rather than a pumpkin.
Trick 'r Treat on Blu-ray for $9.29 with $5 s&h, a low by $1
Best for: Those who are looking to see tough chicks kick some serious monster butt.
Six friends venture deep into an uncharted cave, hidden in the woods — what's the worst that could possibly happen?! Well, the worst is pretty bad in the case of The Descent, which is the rare horror film that features an all-female cast (for the humans, anyway). As if the location weren't treacherous enough on its own, the women soon discover that bat-like monsters call the cave home, and they're not exactly the hospitable type. Claustrophobic, bloody, and downright terrifying, this is one of the best modern day creature features of them all.
Choice cut: Main character Sara falls into a pool of blood while running away from one of the creatures, emerging from it covered head to toe in the red stuff.
The Descent on Blu-ray for $9.29 with $2.79 s&h, a low by $1
Best for: People who loved Guardians of the Galaxy, and want more of James Gunn's wacky sense of humor.
Before directing the biggest smash-hit success of 2014, James Gunn was primarily known as a horror guy, making the horror-comedy Slither in 2006. In the film, a small town is invaded by slug-like parasites, turning everyone they infect into mindless monsters. There's some gruesome stuff in here, but it's also laugh-out-loud funny, every bit as entertaining as Guardians of the Galaxy — albeit in a different way.
Choice cut: A woman becomes pregnant with thousands of slug babies, her swollen body finally tearing apart in cinema's most over-the-top birthing scene.
Slither on DVD for $4.99 with free shipping via Prime, a low by $3
Best for: Those who totally believe those tabloid stories that claim Elvis is still alive.
Originality is something that's sorely lacking in most modern day horror movies, but Bubba Ho-Tep has got enough of it to remind you that there are still original ideas left. In so many words, the film is centered on two residents of an old folks home who believe they are Elvis and JFK (they just might be…), forced to team up and do battle with a soul-sucking mummy. It's as wild and wacky as it sounds, but it's also got a lot of heart, which makes this one a real treat.
Choice cut: "Elvis" squares off against a giant scarab beetle, taking care of business by trapping it in his bed pan and then staking it with a dinner fork.
Bubba Ho-Tep on DVD for $4.50 with $3.99 s&h, a low by $3
Best for: Anyone who loves "Supermarket Sweep"... and slasher movies.
Taking the annoying young folks out of the typical "cabin in the woods" and placing them in a supermarket, Intruder is one of the more creative slasher flicks to come out of the 1980s, and there's certainly no shortage of the decade's patented gore. Who is the killer? You'll just have to watch to find out!
Choice cut: Spider-Man director Sam Raimi meets a grisly end, hung up — by his face — on a meat hook.
Intruder on Blu-ray / DVD for $17.29 with $2.79 s&h, a low by $1
Best for: Parents who want to introduce their children to the horror genre, in family-friendly fashion.
Released in 1987, The Gate is the classic story of two young friends who unleash hellish demons from a hole in the backyard, the fate of the entire world lying in their tiny hands. This movie is cut from a similar cloth as The Goonies, full of fantastical effects and just plain fun for the whole family.
Choice cut: A zombie approaches our heroes and then falls to the floor, his entire body transforming into dozens of little demons upon impact.
The Gate on DVD for $8.69 with free shipping via Prime, a low by $4
Best for: Those who are tired of watching men have all the murderous fun.
A sort of modern day re-telling of the classic Frankenstein tale, Lucky McKee's May is about a strange young girl who can't seem to find the perfect friend. In true horror movie fashion, she sets out to make one, constructing her ultimate friend out of the parts of people she meets. An incredible performance by Angela Bettis helps make this one a true indie gem, both original and full of charm.
Choice cut: May meets a man named Adam, who shows her a short cannibal film he made. Naturally, it turns her on.
May on DVD for $9.29 with free shipping via Prime, a low by $3
Best for: Anyone who loves Michael Fassbender, particularly when he's being really, really bad.
Before Fassbender became a bonafide Hollywood hunk, he played an undead Nazi demon (battling future Superman Henry Cavill, no less) in Joel Schumacher's Blood Creek, bringing to the table one of the most underrated horror villains in recent years. Gory, over-the-top, and wildly different, this relatively undiscovered horror film is one that'll leave your jaw on the floor on several different occasions.
Choice cut: A zombie horse wreaks havoc in a scene that is alone worth the price of admission.
Blood Creek on DVD for $9.41 with free shipping via Prime, a low by $3
Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon
Best for: Horror fans who have seen it all, and are looking for a far different take on the genre.
Like Scream before it, Behind the Mask dissects the horror genre with clinical precision. The film is set in a world where all the big villains actually exist. Followed around by a documentary crew, Leslie Vernon is one of those villains, and his story peels back the curtain of the entire genre, having a whole lot of fun with it in the process. Not for everyone, but those who "get it" are guaranteed to love it.
Choice cut: Leslie Vernon readies for a night of killing, describing it as being like his own personal Christmas. "I'm so happy," he says, with tears in his eyes.
Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon on Blu-ray for $11.39 with $2.79 s&h, a low by $1
Best for: Those who don't mind reading subtitles. Or watching extremely violent movies.
Nobody does horror quite like the French, who have for the last several years been churning out all sorts of gruesome gold. One of the best of the bunch is 2007's Inside, a home invasion film about a pregnant woman being stalked by a madwoman. It's certainly not for the squeamish, but if you like your horror bloody, this one will definitely satiate that lust.
Choice cut: Pregnant Sarah is awoken by a pair of giant scissors being plunged into her belly button.
Inside on Blu-ray for $17.99 with free shipping via Prime, a low by $1
What do you think, readers? What are your favorite bloody-awful, terrifying movies? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to check our movies page for all the latest movie deals.
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