As a Horror fanatic, I’m always looking for new films to feed my growing blood-thirsty appetite. Diving into the deepest depths of cinema, in the hopes of uncovering productions with even the mildest of entertainment value. Throughout this lengthy process, I’ve become accustomed to the copious amounts of articles promising you, ‘The Best Horror Films You’ve Never Seen’ often finding myself very disappointed with the recommendations, which offer little in the way of unfamiliarity. A prime example of this is the 2014 TV documentary, ‘The 50 Best Horror Movies You’ve Never Seen’ which included household names such as Black Christmas, Wrong Turn, and Re-Animator. So, I decided to take this matter into my own hands and offer up a fresh platter of juicy hidden gems to really sink your teeth into.
Before we begin our list, however, it’s important to address the criteria I’m following. Each of these films at the time of writing has less than 1,000 ratings on IMDB, has little to no written literature or reviewing material on it and has managed, to the best of my knowledge, in bypassing the notice of even the most hardcore of horror fans. As this is a recommendation feature it’s also important to note that you can read this article knowing that it’s completely spoiler-free. Please do approach this compilation, however, with a level of sensitivity for your author, as I really have had to watch some of the most diabolical creations known to man in the compiling of this list. So, without further ado, sit back, relax, and grab a beverage of your choice as we delve into the realms of obscurity together.
Be My Cat: A Film For Anne (2015)
Starting off with our only modern entry, Be My Cat is a raw, Romanian found-footage film, dark in tone and comedic in part. The film centres around our antagonist Adrian who is creating a film for Hollywood star Anne Hathaway. His hope is that the film will gain Anne’s recognition and persuade her to join him on his next production. His unhealthy obsession leads him to immeasurable lengths in presenting to her his commitment to his role; making for some quite disturbing cinema, as we witness his mental deterioration unfold before our eyes. The anticipation of what Adrian will do next, keeps you gripped to the edge of your seat, as this unique character study unearths the horrors of mental illness in an intriguing and intelligent manner. My hat really goes off to the film’s lead actor, director, producer and writer Adrian Tofei, who does an excellent job of portraying just what you can do with a £10,000 budget.
Heart Of Midnight (1988)
Heart of Midnight boasts an illustrious cast including Jennifer Jason Leigh, Steve Buscemi and Frank Stallone, but for the most part, has fallen seemingly under the radar. A visually stunning masterpiece from the twisted mind of Matthew Chapman, Heart of Midnight isn’t afraid to push the boundaries of cinema in the right direction. The story follows Carol, who inherits a nightclub from her recently deceased Uncle in the hopes of fixing it up and starting a new life for herself. What she receives, however, is much darker, uncovering her Uncle’s sickening past and how it relates to her own psychological torment. Without giving too much away, I must warn you that this film does cover some heavy topics and certainly isn’t for everyone. Nevertheless, it is a great film and in terms of cinematography and acting, you won’t find much better amongst obscure titles.
Hunter’s Blood (1986)
This understated classic has quickly become one of my all-time favourites and is a great example of Hicksploitation done right. The film’s story revolves around a hunting trip gone wrong, where five friends made up of two brothers, a father, son, and outsider dig their noses too deep into the local redneck’s poaching business. What transpires as a result, is an action-packed cat and mouse chase for the ages. Hunter’s Blood does well in achieving what it sets out to do; a fun action-horror with likeable leads and enough going on throughout to keep you thoroughly entertained. Its lack of complexity shines through as a strong point with no brain-whirring plot to distract you from its awesome shoot-outs and practical gore. I guarantee by the end of this film you will be glad you’ve given it a chance. The perfect film to stick on after a hard day’s work with no thought required.
The Fan (1982)
If I had to recommend one film on this list for you to watch, it would undoubtedly be The Fan. This German gem far outperforms expectations, as it cements itself amongst the finest horrors of its time. A story of obsession, lust, and love, this compelling tale shows just how dangerous love can truly be. Simone, an obsessive super-fan, spends her days obsessing over pop icon R, bombarding him with letters and gifts to no avail. Distressed by rejection, she decides to travel out to see him to get to the bottom of his cold shoulder. What follows is an entranced state of psychosis as she uncovers the truth behind the real R. It’s hard to put into words just how good this film really is. From its beautiful techno soundtrack to its perfect building of suspense, I do honestly put this picture up there with the likes of A Nightmare on Elm Street in terms of cinematic value. A bold statement I know, but you just have to watch it for yourself. The flick is laced in a quite brilliant sub-text on National Socialism and has layers far deeper than meets the eye. I’ll save a full analysis of this picture for a later retrospective I plan to write, but nevertheless, I really do urge you to go ahead and watch the subtitled version of this film.
Night Of The Devils (1972)
Based off the 1839 French horror novel, La Famille du Vourdalak by Aleksey Tolstoy, Night Of The Devils is an enticing entry, caked in mystery and abundant dread. The film focalizes the story of Nikola and the retelling of his frightening experiences after being left stranded in an isolated woodland. Upon wandering across a family while in search of help, our unassuming lead is plunged into terrifying circumstances as he is met with the fear of a figure who stalks the grounds of their cottage at night. Somewhat of a slow-burner, this film requires your full attention to be entirely appreciated. But let that not dissuade you, as your reward is a masterfully crafted gothic horror with the eeriest of atmospheres and enough tension to keep you hooked. This film is an absolute joy to look at, with its beautiful location and set design allowing for the conveyance of utter seclusion in a mystical world of terror. A must see for those who like their horror’s mysterious, Night Of The Devils truly defines what is to be a hidden gem.