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Five underappreciated horror movies every horror fan should see

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For every exceptional horror movie that has made it to the big screen, there has been an equally terrible one that should have never made it past the conceptual stage. Personally, I prefer a psychological thriller to a blood and guts fest, but I am not above enjoying a good hack and slash flick. I recommend the following five horror movies for those looking for a departure from the mainstream scary movie.

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Deadgirl (2008)

  • Directed: Marcel Sarmiento and Gadi Harel
  • Cast: Shiloh Fernandez, Noah Segan, Jenny Spain, Michael Bowen, Candice Accola.
  • Tagline: You never forget your first time.
  • MPAA Rating: R

While exploring an abandoned mental asylum, teenage friends Rickie and JT come across the naked body of what appears to be a dead girl chained to a table. After seeing her move, they realize the girl is not dead. Rickie wants to report their find to the police, while JT wants them to keep the girl as their personal sex slave. JT's depravity spirals out of control as Rickie battles with himself over doing the right thing. Tension builds between the friends through the entire movie and to a climax that is truly cringe worthy and will leave you squirming in your seat as you wonder "what if". While not laden with blood and guts, I do not recommend this movie for the squeamish. It is quite twisted and very dark. Some will call it misogynistic while others will refer to it as filth. I found it to be disturbing yet thought provoking.

Darkness Falls (2003)

  • Directed: Jonathan Liebesman
  • Cast: Emma Caulfield, Chaney Kley, Lee Cormie,
  • Tagline: Every legend has its dark side.
  • MPAA Rating: PG 13

As a child, Kyle awoke one night to find the Tooth Fairy about to kill him. Only his childhood girlfriend, Caitlin, believed him. Fast forward several years-Caitlin and Kyle are adults and Caitlin's little brother, Michael, finds himself being tormented by the same evil force as Kyle. As the evil escalates, Kyle returns home to help the family battle the Tooth Fairy. The scariest thing about this movie is that something as benign as the Tooth Fairy is turned into a creature of pure evil. Pair this with our own inclination to fear the dark, and you have a movie that will keep you on the edge of your seat and have you dodging nighttime shadows for weeks to come.

The Car (1977)

  • Directed: Elliot Silverstein
  • Cast: James Brolin, Kathleen Lloyd, John Marley, RG Armstrong, John Rubinstein
  • Tagline: There's nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, no way to stop...THE CAR.
  • MPAA Rating: PG

Before Christine there was The Car: an ominous black sedan with deadly tendencies. A small southwestern town is terrorized when a driver less car rolls into town and begins a murderous rampage. Sheriff Wade Parent must find who-or what-is behind the carnage. I am not sure which I appreciate more-this movie's simple plot line or the fact that blood and gore are virtually non-existent. This movie relies on foreshadowing and suspense to create it thrills and it delivers superbly. You may never look at your car the same way ever again.

Black Christmas (1975)

  • Directed: Bob Clark
  • Cast: Olivia Hussey, Keir Dullea, Margot Kidder, John Saxon, Doug McGrath
  • Tagline: If this movie doesn't make your skin crawl... It's on too tight!
  • MPAA Rating: R

This movie set the standard for the "scare from within" sub-genre of horror movies. A sorority house is plagued by disturbing phone calls that the girls find more entertaining than ominous, until one of them disappears. This movie contains a key characteristic that is often overlooked in current horror movies-the characters come across as real people, not caricatures. You get sucked in by them and genuinely like them. Some will complain that the plot moves too slow, but that is one of my favorite aspects of this movie. The plot allows the characters and story to develop and play out before our eyes. It does a great job of keeping you riveted to the screen. It also uses sound effects and soundtrack to add to the edginess of the story. To fully appreciate the creepiness of this movie, I recommend watching it late in the evening, with the lights turned off. If it is snowy, or close to Christmas, all the better.

Nightbreed (1990)

  • Directed: Clive Barker
  • Cast: Craig Sheffer, Anne Bobby, David Cronenberg, Oliver Parker, Hugh Quarshie
  • Tagline: Lori thought she knew everything about her boyfriend... Lori was wrong!
  • MPAA Rating: R

Aaron Boone is an innocent man haunted by what he believes are his bloody, violent crimes. What he doesn't realize, the crimes are actually those of his psychotic serial killing therapist. Boone dreams of a place called Midian-a place where the monsters go. Boone finds that Midian is a real place and travels there, only to be turned away. It is only after he is killed that he is allowed entrance into the Nightbreed's underworld. Nightbreed is the ultimate monster movie in every sense-the costuming, make up and special effects are phenomenal-but it will turn everything you know about monsters upside down. This movie does an outstanding job of bringing to light the darker side of mankind and how we choose to confront it. Some respond by embracing it, others run from it while others attempt to bury it deep within themselves. This movie will make you take a look at your own mortality and think twice about who the monsters really are.

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