Top 10 Underappreciated Horror Movies



Top 10 Underappreciated Horror Movies

VOICE OVER: Ryan Wild WRITTEN BY: Joe Shetina
Some of these titles may be familiar to diehard horror fans, but most have largely been forgotten. For this list, we'll be looking at scary films that haven't gotten the love they deserve. Our countdown includes “Trick 'r Treat”, “Cronos”, “The Serpent and the Rainbow”, and more!

Top 10 Underappreciated Horror Movies

Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Underappreciated Horror Movies.

For this list, we’ll be looking at scary films that haven’t gotten the love they deserve. While some of these titles may be familiar to diehard horror fans, most have largely been forgotten or drowned out by more popular flicks.

What are your favorite under-appreciated horror gems? Let us know in the comments below!

#10: “Trick ‘r Treat” (2007)

This anthology film features four intertwined tales that all take place on Halloween night. It has everything you could possibly want: werewolves; ghost children; poisoned candy; and human jack-o-lanterns. What makes this one different, though, is just how far it’s willing to go to scare us. No one is safe in these stories, not even the kids. It’s a bloody, fun, and surprisingly deep movie about All Hallows’ Eve traditions. “Trick ‘r Treat” didn’t receive a wide theatrical run, but since its release on home video, it’s become a beloved cult classic among horror fans.

#9: “Jennifer’s Body” (2009)

Like the Canadian cult film, “Ginger Snaps,” “Jennifer’s Body” has been labeled a forgotten feminist classic of the genre. The Megan Fox-led horror comedy was a box office disappointment when it was released, but its themes of revenge and trauma may strike a chord with viewers in the wake of the Me Too movement. Many have since blamed the marketing campaign for its failure to earn money. Some critics blamed the movie’s uneven tone. But the simple fact may be that some movies just need time to find their audience. That’s certainly true of “Jennifer’s Body.”

#8: “House” (1977)

This Japanese haunted house movie is better experienced than explained. “House” concerns a schoolgirl who leads friends into the country to visit her aunt. Once they get to the secluded house, though, things take a turn and they realize they’re in the clutches of a grieving ghost who preys on young, unmarried women. Filled with bizarre imagery and cartoonish violence, the director reportedly used his young daughter’s nightmares as inspiration for the movie’s kills. The nonlinear storytelling and fever dream logic didn’t do well with contemporary critics, but for horror fans who have a taste for something off the beaten path, “House” is one-of-a-kind.

#7: “Session 9” (2001)

The empty hallways and tormented histories of an actual abandoned psychiatric hospital is the perfect set piece for a psychological horror thriller, and “Session 9” takes full advantage. This movie chronicles the strange and increasingly malevolent experiences of a cleaning crew at a state mental institution. Its twisting and turning narrative follows the men as they wrestle with their demons. But are these demons psychological or supernatural? One of the movie’s strengths is that it denies the viewer a clear explanation for its horrors, opting instead to tease and thrill audiences with its fluid camerawork, oppressive atmosphere, and classic suspense.

#6: “Cronos” (1993)

Long before he was snatching trophies for “The Shape of Water,” Mexican writer-director Guillermo del Toro made his mark on the horror landscape with “Cronos.” It concerns an antique dealer who discovers a mechanical device that allows its user eternal life. Predictably, immortality isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Along with his restored youth, the antique dealer also finds himself lusting for blood. While the movie isn’t as graphic as it could be, the images are still haunting and unforgettable. The dark, twisted fantasy world that del Toro would later become famous for is on full display here.

#5: “Black Christmas” (1974)

Released as “Silent Night, Evil Night” in the United States, this Canadian thriller features a group of sorority girls being preyed upon by a psychotic killer during the Christmas holiday. Combining urban legend with what would later become tropes of the teen slasher subgenre, “Black Christmas” was not beloved by critics when it premiered. Its place in the horror canon was usurped by John Carpenter’s “Halloween” just four years later. While that holiday horror show may have jump-started the slasher craze of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, “Black Christmas” is considered by many horror fans to be an originator of the genre.

#4: “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night” (2014)

Touted for its subversion of the vampire subgenre, its strong visuals, and its feminist overtones, this Iranian horror western took Sundance by storm when it premiered there in 2014. In it, a skateboarding vampire known only as “the Girl” meets a down-on-his-luck working class man named Arash. As the two become closer, the Girl starts to defy her bloodlust and fall in love with him. Though many vampire movies have been made, few have taken as serious and compelling a look at what that experience would be like as this movie does. But make no mistake. “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night” is scary, beautiful, and affecting.

#3: “The Exorcist III” (1990)

It’s got to be hard standing in the shadow of one of the most successful movies ever made. “The Exorcist III” carries that burden well. It concerns a long-dead serial killer possessing the bodies of people to carry out his murders even after death. With its freakish dream sequences, oddball dialogue and performances, and tangential relationship to the original film, “The Exorcist III” is not a run-of-the-mill sequel. Essentially a whodunit in supernatural horror drag, it has its own ideas, its own style, and its own unique ways of scaring its audience. And it does so with aplomb.

#2: “The Serpent and the Rainbow” (1988)

Taking inspiration from a nonfiction book by ethnobotanist Wade Davis, Wes Craven’s “The Serpent and the Rainbow” concerns an anthropologist investigating reports of a drug used in rituals to turn people into zombies. Where other movies might use these traditions without actually engaging with their history, this one manages to be a thoughtful exploration of tradition and religious themes. It’s also a very political horror film, taking place in Haiti during a time of revolution and profound change. Although Craven’s more famous movies like “Scream” and “A Nightmare on Elm Street” have eclipsed it, “The Serpent and the Rainbow” is just another example of the horror master’s ability to make us think between jump scares.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

“Prince of Darkness” (1987)
This Movie Has Everything… an Abandoned Church, Quantum Physics, & Jar Full of Liquid Satan

“The Entity” (1982)
Science & Superstition Collide in This Story of a Woman Being Attacked by an Unseen Force

“Drag Me to Hell” (2009)
A Gory, Pseudo Horror-Comedy That Only Sam Raimi Could Think Up

“The Wailing” (2016)
This Slow-Burn Supernatural Horror From Korea Is Full of Disturbing Imagery

“The Burning” (1981)
One of the Original Summer Camp Slashers of the Eighties

#1: “The Innocents” (1961)

Screen legend Deborah Kerr stars as a governess at a creepy, old English country house called Bly. She soon becomes convinced the two young children in her care are possessed by a pair of dead lovers. If this story seems familiar, it’s because Netflix’s “The Haunting of Bly Manor” uses the same Henry James novella as inspiration. But what that show does in nine episodes, this undervalued gem of ‘60s British horror does in a gripping and taut hour and a half. With its dark, brooding atmosphere, crisp black-and-white photography, and chilling performances, “The Innocents” is a masterclass in claustrophobic tension.