The horror genre in film is a changing, yet bloated sort due to the amount of titles that appear to have taken over the public eye. Many filmmakers try to reinvent horror sub genres, making them more relevant on a yearly basis. Recent films like The Conjuring, Insidious, and A Quiet Place prove that horror films can still turn a profit and provoke scares from the audience. 

There are still classics and recently released horror movies, however, that people overlook. That’s the beauty of the horror genre; with every underrated horror movie shared via word of mouth, the more the genre’s following and fan base grows. 

Within the spirit of Halloween just around the corner, here are five overlooked horror movies to watch this October.

1. The Exorcist III (1990) dir: William Peter Blatty

What more can be said about William Friedkin’s monumental horror classic, The Exorcist, which has not been said since its release in 1973? It is a film that is both shockingly horrifying and bone-chilling on a psychological and physical level. 

Watching a demon possess a young girl through her descent is stomach-churning to describe it lightly. While the film’s sequel, Exorcist II: The Heretic, is a worthy mention and watch, William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist III is—not only the definitive Exorcist film—but a foundational piece of horror cinema. Taking place merely a couple years after the first film, The Exorcist III follows police official Lt. Kindermann (George C. Scott) as he unravels the mystery of a serial killer, known as the “gemini killer.” 

The beauty of The Exorcist III is not knowing anything that is truly going on. Blatty’s decision to turn a psychological thriller into a deranged horror flick is legendary. Every horrifying moment is a textbook example, from its editing to mere formal presentation. Blatty tackles the nature of moving on from something traumatic and how death can follow you like a plague so wonderfully, causing audiences to guess how the story will unfold. 

George C. Scott gives a wonderful performance, but it’s Brad Dourif’s acting as the “gemini killer” that will leave your jaw to the floor. If you loved him as the beloved “Chucky” in the Child’s Play films, just wait until you see the unhinged and unrelenting horrors Dourif endures in The Exorcist III

Where to stream: Shudder, Peacock

2. Ginger Snaps (2000) dir: John Fawcett 

As time goes on, the argument of campiness within mainstream media fades into obscurity. Campy horror often refers to an exaggerated story line. The question remains, what is the perfect amount of campiness to impress a crowd? 

For those who love the cheesiness and over-the-top dialogue of Karyn Kusama’s masterpiece, Jennifer’s Body, I could not recommend John Fawcett’s Ginger Snaps more highly! 

The film tells the story of two sisters who are fascinated with the idea of death, placing a cynical world-view on themselves until one is attacked by a werewolf. As the film continues, we see her morph and develop into something sinister. The werewolf sub genre is in such a baron place right now, but Ginger Snaps always feels timeless and ahead of the curve. Fawcett’s humor is both genius and deliriously campy. 

The practical effects are something to behold and a total crowd-pleaser. Fawcett’s emphasis on family bonding and gender dysphoria is wonderful, nearly poking fun at the idea of transformation within the body. 

Even on its own, the film still rules so hard. It is one that is bound to excite and shock those who watch!

Where to watch: Peacock

3. Slugs (1988) dir: Juan Piquer Simón

If you are squeamish then this movie is not for you! 

The body horror sub genre is one of the most technically profound sub genres to exist within horror; it has the ability to tell a greater story beyond the confinement of the body with equipment used to make a scare freakier than life’s comprehension. 

While many turn to the likes of John Carpenter, Tobe Hooper and David Cronenberg for this type of filmmaking, not many talk about Slugs. Slugs feels like a grand display of practical effects. The story is simple: when people begin dying mysteriously without a clue, health worker Mike Brady is recruited to find a solution. 

Slugs is also darkly comedic, presenting itself as a sinister comedy at points. The film appears a byproduct of 1980’s body horror, but one that should not be glossed over; especially considering how high the bar has been set within that decade and the subsequent ones after. 

Where to stream: Tubi

4. House of Wax (2005) dir: Jaume Collet-Serra

2000’s horror remakes are such an oddity; they formally present what that era of filmmaking ushered in, while also providing new voices that pave the way for how audiences respond to horror today. While many know the name Jaume Collet-Serra from his recent run of films including Jungle Cruise, Non-Stop and Black Adam, I will always remember him for House of Wax.

The film is the pinnacle of what 2000’s horror strived to be; it combines filmmaking aspects of digital and 35mm filmmaking coupled with stars Paris Hilton, Jared Padalecki and Chad Michael Murray. 

While a remake of the 1953 classic, this adaptation sees a group of friends wandering a ghost town in middle America, only to stumble into a house of wax. The more they wander, the more secrets they uncover. Collet-Serra knows how to build suspense within his films, making the crescendo in his third act all the more intense and fearful. 

House of Wax is grotesque, campy, and deliriously fun. It’s one of the better horror remakes!

Where to stream: VOD

5. The Fog (1980) dir: John Carpenter

If there is any filmmaker with a perfect filmography, it’s John Carpenter. Dark Star, Assault on Precinct 13, Halloween, The Fog, Escape from New York, The Thing, Christine, Starman, Big Trouble in Little China serve as just some examples. There is truly nobody like him, making genre-defining title after genre-defining title. 

While I was going to choose his 1987 masterpiece, Prince of Darkness, The Fog seems more overlooked, which is strange given its release two years after Halloween

The Fog is both formally calming, yet chilling. The tale of a small island town, overrun by a mysterious fog that kills residents every night, is unnerving. Carpenter places such an emphasis on aestheticism and it truly shines as a coastal Goosebumps-esque episode. 

Carpenter’s scares and camerawork are nothing short of astonishing and his build up until the final shot is something horror masters wish they could achieve. Carpenter’s score is electrifying and the acting is very fun! What’s even more astonishing is that, as great as The Fog is, it’s not even his best work. 

Where to stream: VOD

What are your plans for Halloween? Any scary movies you’ve watched to ring in the season? What’s your favorite scary movie? Leave all of those in the comments below!

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