10 Lesser-Known Horror Movies To Enjoy Before Halloween

I used to be terrified of the dark. I had a night-light until I was 18. I held my pee until I was in agony because I didn’t want to leave the safety of my bed. I made my brother — my younger brother — sleep on the basement couches with me on the weekends.

Now I can’t get enough horror.

I don’t even mind the shitty stuff — but today I’m going to talk about some really great movies. I’ve divided ten lesser-known horror flicks into three groups: funny, ill-thunk, and classic. There’s something for everyone!

Everyone except my childhood self, that is.

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1. Final Girls. Contemporary teens get trapped in an 80s slasher flick they know by heart. Can they prevent the deaths of the characters — and themselves?

2. Housebound. In lieu of jail, police ground a fully-grown woman to her parents’ home. (Does this really happen in New Zealand?) The protagonist uses this time to investigate the mysteries of her probably-haunted house.

3. Creep. A man films a shady subject — and his creepy wolf mask.

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4. The Shrine. A cult kills anyone who sees the statue they’re guarding. Filmmakers wisely decide to check the statue out for themselves.

5. Absentia. This public service announcement warns about the dangers of running — and of attempting to negotiate with an unknown tunnel-monster.

6. Splice. Rogue scientists decide it’d be swell to mix human DNA into the creatures they’re creating.

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7. Six Souls. A man’s multiple personalities turn out to be murder victims. Research into the murders reveals a daisy chain of disaster and creepiness that may be impossible to stop.

8. Red Lights. A professional debunker goes head-to-head with a psychic who might be the real thing.

9. Frailty. A father raises his sons in a religious tradition that involves murdering people in their shed. Then it gets even more messed up.

10. Session 9. An asbestos cleaning crew starts playing recordings they find in a dilapidated asylum. (Maybe, in retrospect, this should go under the “really bad ideas” category, but I’ve already drawn up the graphics.)

If you have any recommendations for horror movies, please let me know. I would love to talk terror with you.

Three Unattractive/Scary Drawings

Each of these drawings has elicited a raised eyebrow and/or recoil from at least one person.

Sketch-Gainz

SELFIE ALERT. I’m not very muscular, okay? My wimpy T-Rex arms and I have to take life one day at a time.

Sketch-Clowns

Clowns are not a popular subject ’round these parts. Or any parts.

Sketch-Bender

My husband the Futurama fan is alarmed by this Bender with a diseased human trapped inside.

“That’s so wrong,” he said. “Don’t ever show it to me again.” 

Ever wondered why I’m so in demand? Here you have it.

If you’re interested in more attractive pages, I posted some a few days ago.

Ads That Are Memorable for the Wrong Reason

The annual Lemont Strawberry Festival was halfheartedly promoted with a few hand-drawn signs scattered around town.

The signs were so ugly and forgettable that my husband said he could do better.

I said I could one-up “better” — I could make something very, very memorable.

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Icky, right?

Creepy and ugly ad campaigns are my favorite. Consider, for example, the tattoo-worthy Burger King:

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This is not a guy you leave alone with your sister.

How Did I Miss Calories Don’t Count Day At IHOP?: Oculus Movie Review

The movie Oculus (released yesterday, 72% on Rotten Tomatoes) is the tale of how sometimes, you get a bad idea, and then you build your life around it.

You stack your bad ideas on top of each other like it’s Calories Don’t Count day at IHOP and go to town.

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In this film, an evil mirror caused a bro-sis duo’s parents to go on a murder-rampage. They survive the evil mirror/their parents and vow to grow up and get back at the mirror.

The movie opens up with the little brother being released from a psych ward for the first time in a decade. The psychiatrist says to him, “Seeing your sister will be nice, but she’s been in the real world not receiving treatment, so you need to focus on your recovery instead of whatever crazy she may harbor.”

The sister takes the brother out to lunch and starts talking about settling the parents’ estate, getting him a job, and finding a place for him to live.

Then she’s like, “Hey, remember that house where our parents died? I totally didn’t sell it. In fact, I brought the cursed mirror back — and put it back into the very same room! Who cares about your decade in the psych ward? We should pull an overnighter in this house.”

And they do!

And nothing happens!

It’s actually a quiet film about how they talk about their feelings in a fully-lit house. Then, at the end, they leave holding hands. There’s a moment after the credits where you see that they’re living in the suburbs in houses next to each other. Their partners and children are happily playing and there is no supernatural hanky-panky at all.

The end!

… PSYCH!

Did I get you? I feel like maybe I got you.

I didn’t? No? It’s because you saw the previews, right? Damn you.

Yeah, shit totally gets bad. Duh.

Do you ever get the feeling that horror movies were designed so you could feel smug about your own decision-making? Sure. I gained 10 pounds over the winter, but at least I didn’t purposely bring a cursed object into my home with an emotionally fragile sibling. You know?

Anyway, Amy Pond Karen Gillan does a really great job in this movie. Her accent’s weirdly flat (as English people’s American accents often are), but it goes with her character. Her character is very tight-laced in an effort to keep her crazy within bounds. A sort of affect-less voice works here. She’s not so much a person as part of a nightmare of her own creation.

The brother, however, carries the movie. A relative newb, he hasn’t been in much except some TV shows I’ve never heard of. But his career appears to be on the upswing: he’s in Maleficent and The Giver. His character’s “How is it possible I’ve been in a psych ward for a decade and I’m the same one?” schtick is great. He has a lot of emotions — protection for himself, fear of his past, love of his sister, frustration with her antics — that are played well.

I don’t want to ruin the ending or any of the plot, but this doesn’t end how you think it’ll end. It’s refreshingly dark.

People behind us brought a 10-year-old to this film. She left the theater crying. I don’t know if that’s an indication of terrible parenting or an effective horror movie, but there you have it.

If you like horror movies, you should check it out.