Halloween has crept up on us like Michael Myers at a babysitter’s window, which means it’s the perfect time to indulge in a night of horror films. Why not skip over the creaky old dependable classics this year and check out this batch of underappreciated spooky little shockers.
1) Chopping Mall (Jim Wynorski, 1986)
A group of stereotypical obnoxious movie teens decide to have an illegal midnight party in a mall. What they don’t expect is a group of gatecrashing berserk security robots armed to the metal teeth with lethal neon pink lasers. A fantastically camp slice of 80’s cheese, Chopping Mall comes from the director of B-movie gem Hard to Die. The driving synth soundtrack is the perfect compliment to the image of the robots juddering around the screen like a demonically possessed army of Johnny Fives. It’s hard to resist a film with the line "It’s not you.... I guess I’m just not used to being chased around a mall in the middle of the night by killer robots."
2) Stage Fright (Michele Soavi, 1987)
The perfect blend of Italian giallo and American slasher. Petty rivalries are resurrected when a demanding producer locks a group of actors in an aging theatre. To make matters worse, an escaped serial killer has also found his way into the building. A surprisingly tense affair with a number of striking set pieces, and a sophistication that is rarely found in contemporary American efforts. The image of the killer dressed in an owl costume and wielding a chainsaw is simultaneously terrifying, beautiful and surreal.
3) Whistle and I’ll Come to You (Jonathan Miller, 1968)
A haunting BBC adaptation of M.R. James’s short story and part of a series of exceptional adaptations produced at the time. The film perfectly portrays the suggested terror and hidden horrors of James’s work in a film that is atmospheric yet chillingly believable. A skeptical university professor is stalked by something unknown after blowing a whistle found in an ancient coastal graveyard. The film’s glacial pace and jarring moments of horror stick in the mind long after the credits have rolled.
4) Tombs of the Blind Dead (Amando de Ossario, 1972)
Zombies have been a staple of horror cinema for over half a decade now, but this Spanish shocker reinvents them in a way that is creepy and highly original. A group of hapless individuals accidently wander into the resting place of a group of diabolical 13th Century Knights Templar who were executed for heresy. The knights predictably rise from their tombs thirsty for human blood, blind due to the fact that crows have pecked their eyes out. Slow motion scenes of the knights hunting human prey on horseback combined with a startling ending create some of the most atmospheric moments in Eurohorror.