TThe Little Horror Movies That Could

Contrary to popular belief, good horror is not dead. There are still a few filmmakers out there who, despite restricted budgets and lack of major studio backing, have not forgotten how to scare the crap out of us. Here is a list of excellent horror films you probably haven’t heard of.

Shutter (2004): This is the original Thai version (shut up and deal with the subtitles). A young couple think they have hit and killed a woman with their car. Maybe. Discovering the answer will be the most fun you’ve had in a long time. You will jump out of your skin at least once, guaranteed, and you will be utterly creeped out by the ending. This is one of my all-time favorites.

Baghead (2008): Super low-budget quickie that surprised the hell out of me. A new twist on the friends-stuck-in-a-cabin-in-the-woods story, this one keeps you on the edge of your seat guessing until the final frame. You’ll think you know what’s going on. You won’t.

Automaton Transfusion (2006): Strangest name for a zombie flick I’ve ever heard. The story isn’t anything new, but it’s fast, frantic, and chock full of excellent gore. The people who made it are obviously true fans of the genre. It does leave you hanging a bit at the end, but the sequel is due out later this year.

Dog Soldiers (2002): British horror yarn about a group of soldiers on a training mission in a remote forest. Predictably, they find themselves hunted by something. What that something is and how it came to be there is the unpredictable part. The humor was a nice surprise. This film’s a lot of fun.

Mum & Dad (2008): Another Brit flick, this one’s pretty disturbing. A family lives next to Heathrow airport and occasionally lure some of its young employees to their house. What’s done to them is not easily described. Suffice it to say they aren’t given milk and cookies. Try to make it through to the end because the payoff is outstanding.

Feast (2005): Think Tremors on crystal-meth. Disparate group of folks holed up in a desert tavern fending off some very nasty critters. This movie does not follow the rules and revels in it. What other movie gleefully kills off the hero in the first five minutes? A word of warning: avoid the sequels like they were the bubonic plague.

Bubba Ho-tep (2002): The most bizarre premise for a horror movie, ever. Normally, just by saying a movie stars Bruce Campbell is enough for any horror fan. You’ll need more with ths one. Bruce plays an elderly Elvis (living in a nursing home with JFK, no less) who takes it upon himself to defend it from an, um, evil mummy. Not weird enough for you? Ossie Davis plays JFK.

Below (2002): How many haunted house movies have you seen that take place on a submarine? Exactly. It’s very well done and spooky as hell.

Dead Birds (2004): Another high concept film. Civil War-era bank robbers hide out in a secluded, and abandoned, mansion. Creepiness ensues. The ending will either leave you scratching your head or completely freaked out. Be aware: there are corn fields.

Deathwatch (2002): Jamie Bell of Billy Elliot fame stars in this shocker about a band of WWI soldiers who get trapped in a series of trenches behind German lines. They begin to die, one by one, and it’s not a spoiler to reveal the killing is not being done by any of the Kaiser’s men. The film’s grimy, smoky, and bloody well done.

There you have it. You can stop sitting on the dog now. There are many more good little horror movies out there and I will cull the dregs and bring more titles as I find them.