Spooky season has finally arrived, and what better way to celebrate than with another list of “hidden gem” horror films.
Without further adieu, here’s my top 10 picks this year.
10. Piranha 2: The Spawning (1982)
James Cameron made his directorial debut with this ridiculous “flying fish” creature feature. It’s actually a lot of fun watching piranhas spread their wings and attack random people at a beach resort, though it’s not quite as good as the original. You get a real glimpse of Cameron’s promise as a filmmaker here, which would ultimately come to fruition just a couple years later with the sci-fi/horror classic The Terminator.
9. Arachnid (2001)
When a viral epidemic breaks out on an island in the South Pacific, a scientific expedition team is sent in to investigate what’s causing it. As it turns out, there’s a giant alien spider in the jungle, and it’s hungry. A fun throwback to classic 1950’s monster movies, Arachnid is packed full of thrills and chills with some good action scenes and funny moments thrown in for good measure.
8. The Hole (2009)
What’s this? A PG-13 horror flick that’s actually good? Yes, that’s correct. To sum up the plot, a pair of brothers stumble upon a mysterious hole located in the basement of their new house. Where does it lead, you might be wondering? Only into the deepest and darkest corridors of their fears and nightmares. The Hole is an engrossing watch that’s not too scary for young teens, but also captivating enough for adults at the same time.
7. Fender Bender (2016)
This one has a seriously creepy vibe to it. It’s about a serial killer who goes around causing minor fender benders so that he can gain his soon to be victim’s personal information. Absolutely nerve wracking and relentlessly paced, I was on the edge of my seat the entire film. Director Mark Pavia also made the equally creepy Stephen King adaption “The Night Flier” that’s worth checking out.
6. Night of the Living Dead (1990)
I normally hate remakes, but this 1990 version of Night of the Living Dead is a fantastic zombie film from first time director Tom Savini, who’s also a legendary practical effects technician. If you love the original black and white film, I promise you won’t go wrong with this updated version. Bonus points, it has Tony Todd (the Candyman) starring in it.
5. The Hallow (2015)
When a British conservationist, his wife and newborn child, move to a remote village in Ireland, they soon realize the nearby forest is filled with demonic creatures. Stylishly filmed with a ton of atmosphere, the movie creates genuine tension and has a deep seeded feeling of unease running through it as the family soon finds themselves under attack.
4. Cub (2014)
I love artsy European horror movies. This year’s pick is a disturbing Belgian film called Cub, which features a group of scouts going on a summer camping trip in the woods near the French border where they’re terrorized by a “monster”. The movie’s in Flemish with English subtitles, so be prepared for that.
3. Subspecies (1991)
It’s not a Halloween horror movie list without vampires. Subspecies is about three students who get caught up in a power struggle between an evil vampire and his brother in the Transylvanian mountains. Produced by Charles Band through his Full Moon production company, this one’s an entertaining “B Movie” with a good amount of blood and a refreshing take on vampire mythology. Check out the sequels afterwards if you want the full experience.
2. The Outing/The Lamp (1987)
When a group of high school students decide to stay overnight in a museum, they don’t realize that an evil “Djinn” has been released from a lamp, turning their night of fun into a night of horror. This is an enjoyable piece of 80’s schlock that kept me entertained during its entire running time. While the premise of the film is definitely silly, it actually has a high body count and some hilariously fun practical effects.
1. Revenge of the Radioactive Reporter (1990)
My number one pick this year is a movie that’s near and dear to my heart. Revenge of the Radioactive Reporter is a very low budget, very hard to find, horror comedy about a reporter who’s investigating a company for spilling toxic waste. Spoiler alert! The company is evil and they throw the reporter into a batch of toxic waste, mutating him into a monster. With nothing left to lose, the radioactive reporter crawls out of the sludge, hellbent on getting his revenge against the company. Featuring a hilariously cheesy script full of one liners, along with some solid gore effects, this film’s a great choice to put on with a few friends while enjoying some “apple ciders” on Halloween night.
Tyson Whitney is a devout fan of cinema and also the editor of the North Island Gazette in Port Hardy.