Here’s the thing about horror movies; there’s a whole heck of a lot of them. Ever since Hollywood discovered that horror movies are cheap to produce and often reap their budget back in spades, the horror genre has an underappreciated backbone of the filmmaking industry, both studio and independent films alike. That’s great news for horror fans! We get new movies all the time. But it also means that a lot of hidden gems fly under the radar.
With that in mind, Brian Formo and I have put together a list of some our favorite forgotten horror movies in the spirit of our running “Best Movies that Time Forgot” series. In the past, we’ve tackled the subject by decades, but with Halloween on the horizon, we wanted to hone in on the genre to celebrate some of the best horror movies that just don’t get enough credit. Are they all they all great films? No. Here’s the other thing about horror; it’s built on a base of diehard fans who’ve done a pretty spectacular job of making sure the best of the best films have a long shelf life. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some delights that have gone unnoticed over the years.
A bit about our methodology: I started this series of articles with the simple aim of highlighting some of my favorite 90s movies that don’t get talked about enough, but since then Brian’s evolved it into a better set of criteria. Namely, the films in question had to receive less than 10,000 votes on IMDB — an imperfect measurement, but a keen determination of whether or not a film has been left behind in the zeitgeist. And while we didn’t explicitly rule out films past a certain date, you won’t find any movies from the last decade or two. It just seems a bit early to decide whether time has forgotten them or not. (If you’re curious, I left out Resolution and Jug Face because they haven’t had enough time to become cult classics yet.)
It’s always fascinating to see the themes that pop up on these lists — what stays popular and what gets left behind, and while the picks below demonstrate a noticeable trend that the trashier movies seem to be forgotten (or maybe those are just our favorite forgotten movies), the most interesting throughline was the prevalence of 70s films. It’s not surprising; the 1970s was a revolutionary decade in cinema, replete with horror’s most iconic films, but it is interesting how many of our selections, picked without knowledge of the other’s choices, came from that decade.
Without further ado, let’s get down to our picks. When it comes to underrated horror movies, it’s is long and varied menu and this is by no means an all-inclusive list, but you’ll find a fun selection of our favorites. And in the interest of turning fellow horror fans onto a movie they might have missed, be sure to sound off in the comments with your favorite forgotten horror films.