Think you’re a true horror fan? We’re pretty sure you’ve missed at least one of these titles along the way. Whether they’ve been banned for content or just didn’t get a wide release, this list is full of choices that will turn anyone into the master of macabre.
This horror title from Japan actually originated in manga. Maybe that’s why its style is closer to genre comics than traditional cinematography. The film’s premise is actually pretty simple to understand; spirals take over with devastating consequences. Expect a lot of strange and unusual deaths that are standard fare for Japanese cinema, the most infamous of the bunch involving a washing machine.
This gory title is often missed by horror fans, but it’s got a place among the genre’s highest echelon. Many of today’s iconic killers owe a debt of gratitude to Hershel Gordon Lewis’ creation Fuad Ramses. The killer was one of the first characters to bring gore to the screen as he prepared for an authentic Egyptian feast. Parts used throughout the film came from slaughtered animals. It gave the film an added sense of realism that shocked audiences in the 1960s. Keep in mind, this is an extremely low-budget title.
Cannibal Holocaust has become the horror movie fan’s cliche. Much of its mystique came from video nasty status as well as a few human sacrifices that seemed just a bit too real for anyone’s taste. In actuality, this tale of people lost among a cannibal tribe didn’t feature murder, but did include real animal killings. It’s definitely a sick movie that can make you queasy in no time.
Circuses and carnivals were the target of Tod Browning’s surprisingly effective film. Released in 1932, this classic reveals the lives of several freak show participants as a sinister plot unravels around them. What made Browning’s film so different was his use of real people with deformities and defects that led them to real attractions throughout the country. Look for an induction scene that will keep you thinking about the phrase “gooble gobble, gooble gobble” for days to come.
When you think about Dario Argento’s work, the first choice might be Suspiria. While that film is a classic, Tenebrae offers some exciting scenes and a twist that actually beats Suspiria’s fairtytale storyline. Look for everything from gender bending characters to amputations in this story of an author that is faced with a stalker. Due to intense scenes, the film was edited and released in the US under the name Unsane, but that version pales in comparison to the director’s cut.
You might skip that next blind date after seeing Takashi Miike’s disturbing film about finding love. The premise is simple, a man looks for a younger woman to become his companion. Using the guise of auditioning for another project, the man and his friend choose what they think if the perfect girl. Unfortunately, she’s got some serious issues. Let’s just say you’ll never look at canvas bags the same way again. Gorehounds should be pleased to know this one has a rep for leaving audiences weak in the knees thanks to some jaw dropping imagery.
Italian horror doesn’t get any better than this collection of stories from legendary director Mario Bava. Three morbid vignettes highlight issues like greed and family in ways that inspired many of today’s top filmmakers. In the US, audiences only got a glimpse into the mind of the auteur thanks to a new cut that omitted important elements. The end sequence, which is completely missing from US copies, includes a surreal twist featuring famous horror icon Boris Karloff.