Halloween is rapidly approaching, and it is never too late to compile a list of movies for spooky late-night viewing. Classics like Hocus Pocus, The Addams Family and Edward Scissorhands are always available and never fail to entertain. However, if you’re planning to experiment this year, you might be on the lookout for lesser-known screening material. The list below is a collection of under-the-radar horror gems that should spark popcorn-fuelled debates with their twists and hidden meanings.
1. Eyes Without A Face (1960)
2. The Innocents (1961)
If you like gothic horror tales with long stairways, candelabras and flamboyant costumes, The Innocents is your film. In this adaptation of Henry James’ popular The Turn of the Screw, a governess suspects that the two children she’s watching over are possessed by a ghost. Deborah Kerr shines in the lead role.
3. Don’t Look Now (1973)
In this film, a mourning couple encounters a psychic nun who seems to have established contact with their deceased daughter. What first appears to be questionable humbug soon becomes a horrific series of visions. Starring Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland.
4. Fright Night (1985/2011)
A teenager uncovers his neighbour’s dark secret: he’s a vampire. Yet another horror comedy to receive a decent modern remake, Fright Night should entertain you regardless of your preference of originals or modern updates.
5. Shadow of the Vampire (2000)
Nosferatu the vampire is one of the most recognisable horror icons ever. If you admire the 1922 classic or just can’t get enough of the Hash Slinging Slasher from Spongebob, this movie is a must-watch. Shadow of the Vampire takes you behind the scenes of the 1922 film and turns the legend of actor Max Schreck becoming too invested in method acting into a twisted horror tale. John Malkovich and Willem Dafoe shine in the lead roles; the latter received an Academy Award nomination for his dedicated performance. On a practical note: Nosferatu is yet another worthy addition to your “Potential Halloween Costumes” list.
6. Martyrs (2008)
The torture and violence in Martyrs will prove difficult to stomach for some, but its subtext carries a profound and thought-provoking message that divided critics and audiences alike. On a personal note: I coincidentally saw this movie on a Halloween night with my friends back in high school, and we still recall the experience as a life-changer.
7. V/H/S Trilogy (Various; 2012, 2014)
This series includes three anthology films in which people find hidden stacks of VHS tapes containing unsettling horror stories. Warning: you may find yourself entangled in a lengthy debate regarding your favourite segments.
8. What We Do in the Shadows (2014)
Before filling up his schedule with directing the upcoming third Thor movie, Taika Waititi charmed audiences with this mockumentary about a group of vampires sharing a flat in modern-day Wellington. If you’d prefer a laugh at Halloween instead of the regular fright-fest, What We Do in the Shadows is your movie.
9. The Girl With All the Gifts (2016)
Set in a near future where most of humanity has been wiped out by a fungal disease, The Girl With All the Gifts tells the story of a researcher who forms a strange relationship with a child used in experiments regarding anti-toxins. Praised for its fresh take on the inexhaustible zombie horror subgenre, this film is currently playing in UK theatres.