If you missed the first part of my underrated horror films then you can find that HERE. As with the first list there are many great horror films to choose from to get you in the mood for Halloween and while there are the tried and true ones, there are many underrated ones that you may not have thought of to include. So here are some more films that might spice up you list.
Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983)
Director Jack Clayton
When it comes to horror films the name Disney never comes to anyones mind but with the studio trying to reinvent itself in the early 1980’s there were a number of films that attempted to be outside the box of the Disney brand. One of those was Something Wicked This Way Comes based on the classic Ray Bradbury novel. The film had a troubled production due to the studios interference and changes but the film. While it may not be the most faithful adaptation of the novel the film does do the thing that is most important and that is to scare you. Probably the only “family friendly” film ever that will scare the crap out of kids but that is actually a good thing. The key to the film working so well is the incredible cast led by Jason Robards and a fairly unknown Jonathan Pryce. Roger Ebert probably described the film the best as elegant horror film and that really nails it perfectly. It’s a film that really gets under your skin but without any blood or guts. It does a great job of capturing the spirit of Bradbury’s novel and is one of my favorite films. Not for young kids but work well for the pre teen crowd if they are not super sensitive.
Director John Badham
While there have been numerous adaptations of Bram Stoker’s Dracula the 1979 Badham film version often times gets overlooked. This version was based on the Broadway stage version that also starred Frank Langella and while it leans more towards the romance there are plenty of scary moments that make this a good Dracula. The one great debate about the film is the color timing of it. Badham had wanted to shoot the film in black and white but the studio nixed that and was shown in its full color version upon its release. When it came to the home video version Badham desaturated the color to give it a darker tone but when there are any use of the color red he left that in-tacked to make it stand out. The film is gorgeous with amazing production designs and stunning cast this version is to me the best sense the 1931 Bela Lugosi version. The tone and mood of this version are top-notch.
Director Russell Mulcahy
On the surface the plot of this movie is simply outrageous. A vicious wild boar terrorizes the Australian outback. The first victim is a small child who is killed. The child’s granddad is brought to trial for killing the child but acquitted. The next victim is an American TV-journalist. Her husband Carl gets there and starts to search for the truth. The local inhabitants won’t really help him, but he is joined by a hunter and a female farmer to find the beast. Yep sounds stupid and it kind of is but the key to it working is the brilliant direction of Mulcahy. Mulcahy had been a well sought after music video director and Razorback was his feature film debut. While most are familiar with his second film the cult classic Highlander, you can see from this film his skills at work. While it’s pretty much Jaws on land the key to the film working is the mood and tension that he uses to make the film so unnerving. Sure the mechanical bore is not super amazing but this is where Mulcahy’s skill really shines. He wisely uses lots of film tricks and editing to make the bore much more impressive and while the actual mechanical creatures look very impressive considering the budget he uses them sparingly so that when you do see the bore it has a bigger impact. The movie is a visual feast and it a nice little horror film that has a lot of charm to it.
The Dead Zone (1983)
Director David Cronenberg
Another Stephen King adaptation makes the list and surprisingly Cronenberg’s first director only film. Cronenberg had previously wrote his own films and this was a departure for the director. Loosely adapted from the novel, it actually is more focused but still retains the main story of the novel but jettisoned a lot of the exposition and it makes for a much more streamlined version. The big key for the film working so well beyond the brilliant direction is Christopher Walken who perfectly captures Johnny and while it may not be super scary it does however deliver an eerie and unnerving feeling while your watching it. This is why I love the film so much because it gives you a very uneasy feeling while your watching it. While Cronenberg’s The Fly is an obvious must Halloween viewing this makes a fine double feature with that and even any of his other horror films.
Cemetery Man (Dellamorte Dellamore) (1994)
Director Michele Soavi
This horror/comedy is an Italian film that is not as wild as the similar Evil Dead films, it does have a real charm to it. While the film at times is a little uneven its lead Rupert Everett in one of his first starring roles brings a great balance that the role requires to make the film work. One of the best things about the film is the quirky look and camera work that Soavi brings to the film. This film simply has everything you could want in a horror/comedy blood, sex, nudity, zombies, killing the dead again and a flying head. This film makes a great double feature with Evil Dead, House or even Creepshow. This is one wild film that if you have never seen then you really need to find this film and watch it. Really fun stuff.
Day of the Triffids (1962)
Director Steve Sekely
This is one of my all time favorite horror films and when I saw it as a kid it really freaked me out. This is one of those movies that was very far ahead of its time in 1962. While not the most faithful adaption of the novel of the same name and while the ending is a bit of a let down compared to the rest of the film the creatures while dated now still have a creepy look and feel. Howard Keel and Janette Scott really make this film with their acting and give very convincing performances. One of the best things about the film is the way that it starts is the meteor shower that brings the invaders and blind anyone who was watching is truly horrifying and sets a great tone for the film. While it’s dated and limited by its budget, it’s still a fine film with a lot of thrills and creepy moments that makes it a must see if you’ve never seen it.