So Halloween is here, and it’s that time of the year that all of us love to see scary movies, even people that don’t really like them will give it a try, so we wanted to pick a few that are less known and are also fun to watch in a group because they also make you laugh.
Welcome to the Halloween season…
Horror is a genre that is not for everyone and even the people that like horror movies have a specific type they enjoy, some love zombie movies, others prefer a good slasher, and many only see movies with paranormal entities in it.
But some of the most classic horror movies are hard to watch and just have fun, films like the “Exorcist”, “Alien”, “Conjuring”, “The Thing” and even “Jaws” (yes for Big J “Jaws” is a horror movie and it’s the main reason that still today he will not go into the sea at night!) are movies that always have you on the edge of your seat and never allows you to release the tension until the credits begin to roll.
So we picked 13 movies (yes 13, because it’s Halloween) that you could be scared but at the same time have fun, also we wanted movies that most people probably didn’t see and that is the reason why “Shawn of the dead”, “A Nightmare on Elm Street”, “Evil Dead 2”, “Child’s Play”, “Scream” or “It” are not on the list
So let’s start with our list.
So our first pick is a monster movie that came from a straightforward idea; what about if there was something under the ground trying to eat me?
That simple out of the box idea made with a low budget could be a disaster, but a great cast like Kevin Bacon, Fred Ward, Finn Carter, Michael Gross, and Reba McEntire made it into a cult movie.
The movie is funny but also knows how to create tension with very little, and maybe the low budget might even be why it is so successful, just like the movie “Jaws” the monster is not visible in most of the movie, you never know if it is there or not, and even when you know you don’t see it in its full, it creates more mystery and makes the moments you do see him hit you harder.
And talking about the monster, the “Graboids” as they are called are pretty much perfect; they are killing machines that very smartly have no origin, in the first movie there is no explanation of what they are or where they came from, and that is what makes them even more creepy, just like the Joker lol.
This movie was like a perfect storm, it was cheesy and felt like tributes to films like “them!”, “It came from Outer space” and “Tarantula”, on paper it probably doesn’t work for a more modern audience, but the charisma of Kevin Bacon and his back and forwards banter with Fred Ward made us invest in them from the first minute.
We love Tremors, but only the first, because since then this franchise has gone nuts, there are 6 more movies and even a tv show, that we’re sorry to say all pretty much suck.
But we not alone on loving this movie, when James Gunn, the director behind the “Guardians of the Galaxy” franchise came to make a big budget horror flick of his own, he wanted to emulate the tongue-in-cheek fun of one of his favourites, Tremors.
- “Tremors” is a catchy title, but for most of the pre-production, the film was known as “Land Sharks,” they only change the name when the screenwriter realized it was very similar to a certain famous SNL sketch.
This movie works much better if you don’t know anything about it.
A movie directed by Robert Rodriguez, written by Quentin Tarantino, with George Clooney, Harvey Keitel, Juliette Lewis and add to that Salma Hayek in her prime, doing a sexy dance with snakes before everything goes nuts with vampires!!!
Do we need to say more?
This movie is brilliant, and it’s probably one of the best genre twists in any movie if you go in completely unaware of what it is.
It starts like a Tarantino movie, the little taste we got off these 2 brothers, their dialogue and dynamics made us want to see a movie just around that.
The first part of the movie gives us no clues of what is coming, and then BAMM it just goes full-on vampire movie.
This movie is a perfect collaboration between Rodriguez and Tarantino, their style gel together so well and on top of that, we also have a young Clooney as an ideal anti-hero.
Tim Roth, John Travolta, Michael Madsen, Steve Buscemi, and Christopher Walken were offered the role of Seth Gecko and all passed because of scheduling conflicts.
Also Renny Harlin (Die Hard 2, Cliffhanger, The Long Kiss Goodnight) and the late Tony Scott (Top Gun, Beverly Hills Cop II, True Romance) showed interest in directing the movie and even Tarantino at one point was a possibility but decided not to so that he could focus on the screenplay and his role as Richie.
In our opinion, all this talent not being available worked out perfectly, because of the talent that did get together was the perfect combination.
Clooney and Tarantino on screen are perfect, their chemistry is still one of the best we have seen in a movie like this, you feel their love, you feel the burden that Seth carries by wanting to protect his brother even when he goes too far, and it all pays off later in the movie where we have a touching moment and Seth needs to kill his brother .
The characters are all interesting, and even when they have not been on screen for long, we care about them, this is no surprise in something written by Tarantino, but it is for what we could expect from a low budget vampire movie, and that is another reason why Rodriguez is the perfect director, he does amazing things with small budgets.
Just like “Tremors” the story didn’t end with this movie, we got 2 more movies that are much worst then the original, it is no surprise that the original team wasn’t involved, but unlike “Tremors” their TV show is not completely bad and was entertaining at least.
- Quentin Tarantino was paid just $1,500 to write the first script. Special effects technician Robert Kurtzman asked him to write a screenplay based on his story in return for providing the ear-slicing scene in Reservoir Dogs also the infamous Ezekiel 25:17 speech from Pulp Fiction was originally in Tarantino’s script for From Dusk Till Dawn. It was meant to be spoken by Harvey Keitel’s character as he fends off the vampires before being killed.
The Faculty (1998)
R (adult situations/language, violence)
Rotten Tomatoes 53%
Directed by Robert Rodriguez (“Sin City”)
So let’s continue with Robert Rodriguez because just 2 years after “From dusk until Dawn” he gave us another movie that would become a cult classic and probably one of the best casting jobs ever, most of the cast turned out to become big stars in the years to come.
Elijah Wood, Josh Hartnett, Shawn Hatosy, Jordana Brewster, Clea DuVall, Laura Harris, Robert Patrick, Famke Janssen, Usher Raymond, Salma Hayek and Jon Stewart all in the same movie, and more, all in a low budget horror movie.
In this movie Rodriguez didn’t have Tarantino but instead Kevin Williamson to write it, Williamson wrote many things, but maybe the most relevant in this case was the movie “Scream” so it’s no surprise that this movie lifts so many inspirations from other horror movies.
The movie gets many inspirations from films like “Invasion Of The Body Snatchers” and “The Thing” but what made it fun and feel fresh was adding the tone of “The Breakfast Club” to the mix.
For this, to work, you need a director that is use to mixing styles and making the shortcomings of his budgets work in his favour and finally you need a great cast that can bounce from each other.
The movie is fast and takes no time to get us to know the characters and start picking up our favourites and as it goes along it becomes a game to figure who is still real and who changed, that mixed with the gore and tension building that Rodriguez does so well is what makes this movie flow, even when it gets messy you don’t care because you are in it for the ride!
- The high school football coach is played by none other than the T-1000 himself, Robert Patrick, and his treatment of these kids is borderline abusive and very familiar to his cyborg character.
This is a movie that we can’t say is great, it has many flaws but it also has some genuinely creepy and funny moments, the actors are great, once again we have Elijah Wood in the leading role, he plays again the out of is depth character that only he knows how to play that believable, also Rainn Wilson and Alison Pill that is hilarious.
One of the strong parts of this movie is the writing, one of those writers is Leigh Whannell, Leigh is behind franchises like “saw” and “insidious” but also directed a must watch movie called “Upgrade” and for who saw these movies knows he writes horror very well especially when he is setting up physical interactions and dark comedy, and that is one of the strong aspects that this movie is able to use.
We have seen many zombie movies, some are slow, some are fast, but we never got to see if they were kids, being kids affects how we would react and also how they move and attack somehow becomes much more shocking.
The movie sometimes loses its focus and becomes a bit like an SNL sketch but we are okay with that especially when we are talking about cannibalistic kids and having kids punched and killed in many different ways, we need that silly side to balance the gore, and that is where the writing is so critical because while we watching we never really think about that.
Whannell first heard the concept for the film from producer Josh Waller who initially described it as a serious horror film. Whannell wanted the writing job, but he was compelled to point out that with a title like Cooties the film had to be a comedy.
- Elijah Wood’s childhood photo showed in the movie, was taken just a month before shooting!
For many Peter Jackson is the mastermind of “Lord of the Rings” and a director that can create this fantastic vast worlds, but for many hardcore fans he will always be the man that with 3 million dollars in 1992 created one of the best and probably the goriest film of all time, and even today it holds up, maybe not the special effects but still is really fun to watch.
The movie is not only a horror movie but also a love story, Lionel the main character is always conflicted between his love for Paquita but also Vera his mother, this mix of horror with a love story and sprinkled with comedy is what Jackson does very well.
This is a zombie movie in its core and probably one of the best ever made that for sure got many inspirations from many of George A. Romero classic movies like “Night of the living dead” but evolved by lifting inspirations from “evil dead” in how he used comedy to make the darkest and more gore moments easier to watch, we even see some inspiration from “Psycho” on how Lionel relates to his mother and how overwhelming she is.
It’s amazing how even in this earlier work we can tell the eye of Jackson in this movie, the angles he picks, the time he gives for the character’s motivations to grow until he gets to the big epic moments that it all pays off.
This is a movie that every horror fan should watch and will for sure enjoy and have fun.
- Believe it or not, Jackson followed this film with the elegant, tragic art-house hit Heavenly Creatures (1992).
So if we want to talk about comedy in horror movies, we can’t really do it without talking about Sam Raimi “Evil Dead” trilogy, but in that trilogy, the third one stands out as being one of the funniest horror movies ever made.
Army of Darkness is the third instalment of the Evil Dead series and the first to take place during the Middle Ages. Raimi’s original title for Army of Darkness was The Medieval Dead.
Since the start that “Evil dead” had a kind of funny side to it, but as the series went along that becomes more and more the tone of the movie and much because of the character of Ash played perfectly by Bruce Campbell.
The role of Ash is one of the very few in cinema that I do not believe could be played by anyone else, Campbell was Ash and his personality just completely took over.
The movie takes our hero into the past and that situation of being a fish out of water makes all the dynamics of the film feel completely different from the previous ones, also it allowed for a more comedian side and play with the monsters like they never did before, some of them we could even call them whimsical.
In the first ones we have a very closed environment where the majority of the action is a survival story in a cabin, in this our hero is in charge of an army to go after the evil and try and defeat it, it went big and paid off.
Since this movie came out the trilogy became a cult, and even today they hold up against the big movies, and as we saw a couple of years ago with the new version of “evil dead” remaking this magic is not easy, the new movie was ok, but that was it.
On the other hand the tv show “Ash vs evil” is excellent and again entirely relies on Bruce Campbell to carry it.
This is definitely a movie to watch and appreciate because we were close to never having it, Raimi wanted to make Army of Darkness immediately following 1987’s “Evil Dead II”, but he struggled to find funding to finish his trilogy. The financial success of Raimi’s 1990 film, “Darkman”, eventually convinced Universal Studios to split the $12 million budget with executive producer Dino De Laurentiis.
- The words Ash must utter to safely retrieve the Necronomicon (“Klaatu verata nikto”) are actually a variation on a phrase from the original version of “The Day the Earth Stood Still”. In that film, “Klaatu barada nitko” is the phrase one must say to stop the robot Gort from destroying Earth.
Slither was a box office bomb but today is a cult classic that many people have discovered many years later, one of the reasons for this was the massive success that his director James Gunn had helming Marvels “Guardians of the Galaxy”.
It’s no surprise that Gunn knows how to mix great characters with tension and comedy but in this movie, he was also able to combine horror and body horror and never lose one ounce of its dark comedy.
Michael Rooker is fantastic in this movie, and we can tell why that later on Gunn would go and cast him as the “bad guy” Yondu Udonta that we all love because of his charisma
Also, Nathan Fillion and Elizabeth Banks bring that extra appeal to the movie, they are all charming and great actors to go in and out of the comedy with never making the horror part of the film look silly and out of place.
The movie like many of Gunn’s work also honors many classic inspirations, some are more obvious than others but in this one is very easy to see how films like “The Fly”, “The Thing”, “Basket Case” and “Return of the Living Dead” inspired the director.
Slither helped make Gunn a household name in the horror world, but Gunn is not one to leave his horror roots behind, if you were paying extra close attention, you might have even spotted a direct callback to Slither in the 2014 Marvel movie. The space slugs of “Slither” are seen in the Collector’s collection.
- Unlike the reference of the Slither worms in the first Guardians of the galaxy that was very openly a homage to his first movie, many fan theories believe the alien of the open sequence of “Guardians of the Galaxy volume 2” is the same alien worm in a more mature stage.
I took a really long time until we saw these movies, the title for some reason made me think it was just one more of those movies with a bunch of teenagers in a cabin where someone or something goes and kills them off one by one, well we couldn’t be more wrong.
This movie from the get-go with the opening sequence showed we were in for something like we never saw before, the Meta aspect of the film turns the all movie into a social commentary and allows the director to play with cinema horror tropes and breaks them when necessary.
But how could such a young director with no movie under his belt create something this groundbreaking, well we have to say that having the help of Joss Whedon to write it and produce it didn’t hurt it, having worked together previously on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel” also had something to do with it.
They both wrote the screenplay in three days, Whedon’s inspiration is clearly there and was able to insert much of his aesthetics and storytelling into this movie.
On the other side of the camera, the director also was a big help because this cast helped him to raise the bar and not become just another generic horror flick where we have hot boys and girls that are just there as some eye candy until they die.
Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams, Richard Jenkins, and Bradley Whitford are pretty much all outstanding.
But especially Kristen Connolly, Fran Kranz, and Chris Hemsworth steal the show, the comedic timing and the way they can go in and out of the different tones of the movie without showing any resistance make their performances a sign that they would be major stars.
The film was initially slated on release on February 5, 2010, but was indefinitely shelved due to financial difficulties.
In 2011, Lionsgate picked up the distribution rights and the film premiered on March 9, 2012, at the South by Southwest film festival in Austin, Texas and was released in the United States on April 13, 2012, grossing over $66 million worldwide.
During the time that “Cabin” sat on a shelf, both its creators started to doubt the quality of their work. But, Lionsgate was so behind the film that it re-convinced Goddard and Whedon that it was a good movie.
- After MGM saw the dailies of that scene, they signed Hemsworth to their “Red Dawn” remake. And then two days after that, the actor landed the role of Thor.
Jeepers Creepers is one of those strange movies that goes from amazing to just plain bad from one moment to another, and somehow you get to the end of it, and all you remember is how cool it his.
The monster design of this movie, his truck and the opening sequence would be enough to leave excellent memories about this movie, but we also had two young actors with great performances and genuine chemistry as brother and sister made this a great fun movie with characters we cared for.
Gina Philips and Justin Long are incredibly relatable and mainly Long shows here that he had the making of a star.
Jeepers Creepers was in no way a hit with critics but many people saw the potential in the movies straight from the start including Francis Ford Coppola that was the executive producer and was always a big fan of Victor Salva’s talents, and even after the director was condemned for some horrible crimes and put in jail, Coppola still made sure this movie franchise lived on.
Victor Salva personal life made things hard for this production, on top of that a slash in the budget right before filming that forced the shooting schedule to be cut down from 42 to 35 days didn’t help, still, we had 2 more movies for him to finish his trilogy, but none of them ever got close to the first one.
One of the things that made this movie so good was the mystery surrounding the monster, we never know what he his, where he came from, and even the one line where he was supposed to talk was cut from the movie to keep the wonder of- can he even talk?
The movie title was just another piece to add to the mysterious tone of the movie, we never understand why until a particular part in the film, the original title was “Here comes the Boogeyman” no one knows why the director changed the name or even the connection to this song, but we believe it works much better.
- When siblings Darry (Justin Long) and Trish (Gina Philips) first encounter the Creeper’s truck on the highway, they interpret his license plate, BEATINGU, as “Beating You”. It’s just as likely (or perhaps more likely) that it’s meant to read “Be Eating You”.
Interesting side fact: The license plate of the car the siblings are driving is SVM, which some fans interpret as “Save Me”.
The way this movie came to become a reality is a funny story, the idea and the film itself came out of a reality tv show called Project Greenlight, the winning team of the third season was composed of writers Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton and director Gulager and the prize was to bring this project to life.
This is interesting because of the people behind this tv show were Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and the horror legend Wes Craven.
The movie plot is not very original, it picks up on the classical plot of a group of people inside a location that is surrounded by monsters, what it does well is bringing characters to life that we actually care for and that have really good dynamics between them, also the monsters are really well designed especially if we look at their budget of only 3 million dollars.
This movie feels very independent, we don’t feel the hand of a big studio on it, the director and writers made the movie they wanted, and that energy allows many of the flaws to be overlooked because we are having fun watching them go for it!
This is a fun movie to watch also because it never takes itself too seriously, the “video game” introductions of the characters are very cool, and the deaths and gore that is very over the top are perfect for what the movie attempts.
After the positive buzz, this movie had in the horror community, 2 more movies were done, but yet again their quality left a lot to be desired, and they were straight to video movies.
- The role of Hero was offered to Mark Wahlberg, but he turned it down. Josh Duhamel was also interested but forced to drop out for scheduling conflicts also.
Scenes featuring a cameo by O.J. Simpson were edited out of final production.
Seen by many as the best werewolf movie ever made “An American Werewolf in London” is a perfect example on how you can mix horror and comedy, the movie was also a landmark in regards to makeup and special effects, it was actually so good that the team got Michael Jackson’s attention and were asked to create maybe the best video clip ever made, “thriller”.
The story of the movie is not the most original, it’s the same setup, a couple of friends go into the wild and get attack by what they think at first to be a wolf and then later one turns in to a monster, from there on there is one little detail that made a big difference, the person that turned into the werewolf can see a “ghost” version of who he kills and interacts with them, this allows them to introduce comedy and exposition in a more natural and organic way.
This movie was done from a script that Landis wrote when he was 18 years old, and it took him more than 10 years to bring it to life, when he finally did there were more 2 werewolf movies coming out, “The Howling” and “Wolfen” but “An American Werewolf in London” beat them both in the box office and also in regards to the critics reactions, he ended up winning the 1981 Saturn Award for Best Horror Film and the Academy Award for Best Makeup and rightly so, became a cult classic.
In 1997 a loosely connected sequel, “An American Werewolf in Paris”, was released but was never able to get the magic of the original into the movie.
- David Naughton was not only fearful of the wolves, but he admitted later that he would have preferred it if the trainers weren’t women. “Do we have to have women trainers here, fellas? I’m naked you know!” he protested to Landis and his crew, to no avail. One of the wolves approached him during the take, which was not expected. “Dogs will at least give you warnings that they’re not comfortable with you but wolves just look at you with these very distant yellow eyes.”
If there is one thing that Nicolas Cage can do is play ‘completely insane’, sometimes he goes too far but lately he is on a comeback, with this movie and “Mandy” he showed that crazy could work just correctly if the film so requires.
This movie had an original idea and a director that would be perfect for the job, like “Cooties” the main theme of the movie could shock and put some people off it, killing children is not really something that usually works, but they were able to keep it violent but not take it too far, also with his experience of the “Crank” movies he once again showed he could film with frenetic camera movements making us feel we are right there in the middle of all the action.
The rest of the cast is pretty much perfect, and they can bring the comedy into the mix but always show the tension that is coming from the situation. Selma Blair rose to the challenge and just like Cage she brought her crazy side. To play against Cage in a ‘crazed role’ is not an easy thing to do!
This is a movie that will keep you going right until de end and will not give you a second to rest with fast-moving pace, it was a movie I don’t think many expected to be so good.
- The director Brian Taylor had worked with Nicolas Cage once before in “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance” and it’s fair to say that after that performance he couldn’t think of anyone else to play ‘absolutely insane’ in this movie.
Tucker & Dale vs Evil is a hilariously gory movie that in the same style of “Shaun of the dead” is able to get away with a lot of crazy violent things because it uses comedy masterfully to tone things down.
Like “Shaun of the dead” this movie works mainly because of its 2 stars Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine, these two actors are brilliant, and their charisma and chemistry are what makes this over the top story work.
What this movie also does (that very few are able to do) is to have a profound message that most horror movies don’t really care to do, don’t judge a book by its cover is something all of us should learn, in this movie we see the consequences taken to the extreme when we don’t do it.
After debuting at Sundance, and winning the Midnight Audience Award at SXSW, the Jury Prize for First Feature at Fantasia, the Best Director award at Fantaspoa, and the Best Motion Picture Award at Sitges everyone expected it to do much better at the box office and even get a sequel, still it became a cult classic.
The kills are something else that we need to mention, most of them are incredibly gory but at the same time hilarious and we are always waiting for the next one to see how it is going to happen.
This is something that movies like “saw” and “Final destination” based all their premises on, because they know people’s curiosity is something they can rely on to keep their attention on the movie.
This is a movie that we really recommend and that we are sure you will be laughing at.
- Towards the end of the movie, when Tucker & Dale are reminiscing about catching frogs at the creek. Dale mentions that he used to lick them. Tyler Labine actually did lick a Toad in a small role he had an episode of X-Files The X-Files: Quagmire (1996) 14 years prior.
So, these are the 13 movies that – are not so mainstream, and- you will not find in every list, but we still believe they are worth a watch, and even better, you will not only be scared but have will fun whilst watching them!
- Have you seen any of them?
- Is there any other you recommend?
- What do you think about the ones we picked?
Thank you for reading