All horror fans know that nearly every ‘scary’ movie released these days is just a sub-par remake of a classic horror film from the 1970s or 80s.
With studios shoveling out these so-called re-imaginings every year, it’s hard to find a decent original movie amid the piles of garbage. If you dig deep enough, though, there are quite a few hidden surprises.
First up is last year’s Norwegian Nazi zombie movie Dead Snow. A few teens (who else?) go camping in the mountains, find some Nazi gold, and incur the wrath of the zombies. If Shaun of the Dead had a love child with Army of Darkness, Dead Snow would be the baby. This film’s pacing is good, and the movie goes absolutely haywire in the last 15 minutes. It’s a must-see for any zombie lover.
Most of the truly original horror movies made in the past decade have come from Japan. Close to the top is 2007’s Audition, a movie about a lonely widower who holds a fake casting call to try and find a good-hearted woman. To say things don’t go as planned is putting it lightly — this movie is truly demented, in the best of ways. Takashi Miike is the mastermind behind this film, and if you enjoy it, check out his other work; they’re all just as twisted.
Most horror fans have probably heard of Cannibal Holocaust, but many haven’t seen it. Be warned: This movie is so disturbing that lawsuits were filed against the filmmakers, and it is banned in quite a few countries. The story is a mockumentary about a small group of researchers who go into the jungle to try and find a band of cannibals.
While the movie is old, it sticks with you; anyone who has seen it grimaces when the name comes up. There is no way to describe the level of depravity that’s portrayed; it makes Saw look like the Wiggles.
Because it was released three days after 9/11, Session 9 didn’t get a fair chance to impress on the first go-round. However, it is probably one of the most original U.S. horror movies from the last decade.
The movie centers around a group of contractors hired to remove asbestos from an old mental hospital. The hospital itself seems to come alive; it gives the film a sense of dread, much like the hotel from The Shining. For people tired of the pop-up scares, Session 9 will definitely please. The movie is completely old school when it comes to building tension, and allows the audience plenty of time to contemplate what exactly is going on.
Bruce Campbell is best known for his performances in the Evil Dead trilogy, but he’s starred in more quality B-movies than any other actor. Bubba Ho-Tep and Alien Apocalypse are the best of the bunch, and both are absolutely ludicrous.
Campbell plays an elderly Elvis Presley in a nursing home in Texas hunting a mummy in Ho-Tep, and if that isn’t enough for you, his sidekick is John F. Kennedy. Alien Apocalypse is a Sci-Fi channel movie and is absolutely terrible — but that’s what makes it brilliant. Campbell is the only actor that comes across as remotely believable, the sets are terrible, and the aliens look like rejects from Plan 9 From Outer Space.
To truly call yourself a horror fan these days, you have to look past what Hollywood says is scary and find movies that are made for viewers, not profit. True horror films are still being produced; finding them is just a matter of research.