I was just waxing nostalgic for when we were knee deep in the “It’s a Horror to Know You!” campaign. I loved those posts because they were so chock full of movie recommendations. One of my favorite questions was “What horror films do you think are underrated?” How can you go wrong throwing attention towards a movie that you believe is too often neglected? I don’t know about you, but as soon as my IAHTKY post was up, movies that I forgot to mention began pouring out of the woodwork of my noggin. How could I forget such and such and so forth? To remedy that sorry situation, I bring you “WITL?:FUF” which is simply an epically annoying acronym for a list of five underrated films I believe deserve a little more notoriety.
If you are interested, and I hope you are, you can do a “WITL:FUF” too. Just write out a list of five titles you believe deserve a day (or a longer day) in the sun and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. The beauty part is, you can do as many of these as you like. I plan to do another 5 soon enough and please feel free not to worry about ranking the flicks in any order. Who needs that hassle? If you want to say why you dig the flick that’s cool but if you just want to list them, that’s cool too! If you have a project or blog you’d like to share with us, make sure you specify that and we’ll throw up a link! You know how we do! Let’s get started. Here are five underrated flicks (with more to follow) from yours truly:
THE GRANNY (1995)
Where oh where is THE GRANNY love? I was recently reminded how much I enjoyed this movie while watching THE CURSE OF CHUCKY because well, they both have such similar settings. I thought THE GRANNY was a hoot and back in 1995, I wasn’t finding myself in a hootin’ mood all that much. Its wacky, go-for-broke, over-the-top gore-friendly spirit made me think of THE EVIL DEAD, RE-ANIMATOR and DEAD ALIVE, so I thought for sure it would find a place in horror fan’s hearts but…nope. So sorry GRANNY, wrong place, wrong time I suppose. Maybe if you just came out a little later in the age of DVD’s you’d have picked up some steam by now! Oh well, it’s never too late! I think you’re more fun than a barrel of rage fueled zombie cats!
BLOOD SALVAGE (1990)
Maybe I have a terrible sense of humor. That possibility has occurred to me often in life and it sure would explain a lot. BLOOD SALVAGE cracked me up and freaked me out and I thought it was a pretty clever homage to the more amusing side of THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE series & MOTEL HELL. Somehow though, this funky flick never made it to the horror hit list even though I bet its deranged sensibility would fit in with many a fan’s taste even more than my own. How does a movie that stars JOHN SAXON, RAY WALSTON and EVANDER HOLYFIELD remain so firmly tucked under the radar? It’s not that dreaded “not available on DVD” demon rearing its ugly head again is it?
All right, I can understand why LIES didn’t make a bigger splash because it presents itself as more of a sexy thriller and may have lured the wrong crowd. There’s a bit of a soap opera vibe that may have left horror fans cold as well. On the other hand, with its twisty plot about a struggling actress being unknowingly set up for a colossal mind-fuck, it’s not so different from CURTAINS or DEAD OF WINTER and how can horror fans resist a cast that includes CLU GULAGER, DICK MILLER and BRUCE DAVIDSON? When you witness ANN DUSENBERRY portraying an eighties final girl within the film within the film- you’ll wish she actually had (what?)! And GAIL STRICKLAND is beyond aces as a sinister ice queen. Maybe I’m nuts but the lab coats, the warehouse and the hard to swallow conspiracy all scream HALLOWEEN 3: SOTW to me. Is that a good thing? LIES was directed and written by brothers JIM and KEN WHEAT who both went on to pull the same duties on another favorite underrated film of mine 1989’s AFTER MIDNIGHT.
IF I DIE BEFORE I WAKE (1998)
Yikes, yikes and more yikes. Going through an old box of tapes I found this forgotten nightmare from the late nineties. I can’t say I enjoyed this home invasion flick but it sure made me want to invest in extra locks for my door. I think I’ve discovered why YOU’RE NEXT and THE STRANGERS had little effect on me, it must be because IF I DIE BEFORE I WAKE had already fully tapped that particular fear zone in my brain. Don’t get your hopes up, it can’t possibly be as scary and disturbing as I remember, but I’m not watching it again to find out and so you are on your own. I must be exaggerating things or perhaps I was just in a vulnerable state of mind at the time? Who knows? In any case, I’m a little surprised something this vexing, which was released during a rather languid year for horror, went so unnoticed. Now I feel the need to hide in the chimney.
THE SENDER (1982)
This one isn’t all that obscure and it often gets a certain amount of positive nostalgic attention simply for being released during the early eighties horror boom. But it’s not enough! Whereas my other picks could easily be excused away by my admitting to a strong affection for the strange and left of center, THE SENDER is head to toe an exemplary movie in my book. The whole shebang is top notch and I think it’s one of those silent influencers that other films casually pilfer from while never extending any gratitude or credit. So much of its dream/reality hallucinatory power has been cribbed, it’s easy to forget how innovative it was at the time. Ironically what really makes it special (its tone, its characters, its performances) nobody bothered to imitate at all, as the genre had much more lucrative, teen-oriented flashy neon fish to fry. Not that that I’m complaining, it’s just that I wouldn’t mind a few extra mellow, thoughtful tunes like this in my horror jukebox. Oh well, I guess that just makes it all the more unique (full slobbery review HERE).
That’s it. That’s five underrated films I’m more than happy to sing the praises of. I hope I didn’t bend your ear needlessly about stuff you were already well aware of. If you’re up for sharing your own five flicks, please join along. You’ll never find a more receptive or understanding audience than the readers of Kindertrauma. Take my word for it. Folks let me get away with liking all kinds of crazy stuff around here.