Have you tried sitting through an ’80s horror movie recently?
Think low-budget shockers that flooded the marketplace during the Reagan era.
Actors you’ve never heard of before (or since). Film that looked like it was dragged through the mud before entering the projector.
Things are different today. Even lo-fi horror movies can offer gritty acting, slick camera work and impressive effects. And some of the better horror movies come from the indie film scene.
Case in point: the following six horror movies. None of these films rocked the box office. Some barely made it to any theaters nationwide. Yet each has enough shocks to make them worth your while.
So, rather than watch a horror classic like “The Shining” for the 20th time, why not give these six horror movies a try? But keep the lights on … just in case.
That elusive horror-comedy hybrid is so hard to nail that we still cling to the 1981 classic “An American Werewolf in London” to remind us how it’s done right. Add “Housebound” to that short list. This horror-comedy is a hoot, a New Zealand gem that delivers a dizzying rush of laughs and shocks.
The film hit the film festival circuit but barely made a noise in theaters nationwide. That’s a shame. Now, though, you can stream it via Netflix.
Four characters. One truly original creature. That’s more or less the whole story here. It’s more than enough, though.
A second-rate Bonnie and Clyde kidnap an innocent couple. The quartet is forced to work together, though, after barricading themselves in a convenience store to avoid a nasty creature.
This spare shocker features a killer turn by Shea Whigham (“Boardwalk Empire”) as the brains behind the kidnapping. “Splinter” is now available on Amazon Prime.
They just don’t make killer croc movies like they used to. This Aussie import is an exception.
Director Greg McLean of “Wolf Creek” fame dials down the torture porn this time around. Instead, he delivers an old-school horror movie complete with compelling characters, some gorgeous Australian scenery and a high body count.
Stars Michael Vartan and Radha Mitchell bring gravitas to what could have been a silly croc adventure in the wrong hands.
4. Eden Lake
Many movie stars got their start in little-scene horror fare. Think Renee Zellweger (“Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation”) and Jennifer Aniston (“Leprechaun”).
Magneto himself, Michael Fassbender, stars in this shocker that will make you think twice about camping. He plays a young man who takes his sweetheart (Kelly Reilly) into the woods for a vacation. Little do they know a gang of pre-teens is lurking in the forest, and they have nothing better to do than scare strangers to death.
This isn’t a tale for the squeamish, but those with sturdy stomachs won’t be able to look away.
5. The Sacrament
This horror yarn is from the master of the slow-burn scare, Ti West (“House of the Devil,” “The Innkeepers”). The director’s ode to cults is a creepy affair, but it doesn’t start that way. It’s just the story of intrepid journalists investigating a commune that appears to have found a Utopian vibe.
The scares come at us quickly in the film’s final act, led by Gene Jones’ bravura turn as the cult leader. And if the story feels a tad ripped from the headlines, you’re probably right.
Jones got a meatier role in this 2015 thriller, playing an older man who needs a full-time nurse to keep him healthy at home.
Too bad the nurse in question doesn’t have his best interests at heart. Or is it all in his mentally addled mind?
This battle of wills is nicely choreographed, with Jones delivering another strong turn given far more screen time.