Hello Kindertrauma compadres! I’m a longtime reader of your hilarious and insightful site and wanted to share my picks for five underrated scary movies. Like Jessie Spano said, I’m so excited!… I’m so excited!… I’m so scared!
Severance (2006). Here’s proof that dark humor and suspense can actually work sometimes, especially if it’s combined with three-dimensional characters, terrific acting, and a spooky setting. The villains in this film are horrifying and relentless, and Laura Harris as Maggie deserves praise as a strong, level-headed, resourceful final girl who gets put through the ringer by the dastardly bad guys. This is definitely a movie that horror fans should see; it’s smart, witty, fast-paced, and written and directed by the talented Christopher Smith, whose love for scary movies shows through the whole film. Have you seen the ABC Afterschool Special where Helen Hunt takes PCP then jumps out of a second story window? This movie is even more entertaining than that.
When a Stranger Calls Back (1993). Young people of today, imagine a time when there were no cell phones, Twitter, Facebook, or whatever hip device made for communication that I still can’t figure out how to use, and then picture yourself stranded in a house with the biggest example of “stranger danger” you could ask for. It’s a film filled with suspense and mystery rather than gore, as well as a terrifying opening 15 minutes in which the lovely Jill Schoelen is menaced by a faceless stalker. The last time I was this scared was when I watched one of those face exercise videos starring Greer Childers (look it up on YouTube).
Spookies (1986). My love for this one goes all the way back to USA Network’s “Saturday Nightmares”, which showed it about every other weekend. Thanks to the magic of the interwebs (check out the filmmakers’ Facebook page HERE.), you can read all about what a troubled production this was, but in the meantime, bask in the glory of this insane monster/slasher hybrid. People who happen upon a creepy abandoned house and make themselves at home? Here! Farting muck monsters (yes, you read that right)? Present! Hotheaded Duke’s hairy patch of lower back hair above his leather pants? In all it’s splendor. It also boasts terrific special effects, decent acting, and a Linda Blair look-a-like (who gets possessed!). The movie makes about as much sense as Donald Trump’s hair, but it is a lot of fun.
Fragile (2005). On tonight’s very special episode of “Ally McBeal”, Ally fights the ghosts in a decrepit hospital! That’s one I’d set the VCR for. My beloved Calista Flockhart is outstanding as a nurse with a past who tries to protect her charges against a completely batshit crazy phantom. A spooky, creepy, quiet movie with some great scares and no dancing babies in sight, and almost as scary as the Michael Bolton Christmas album. Almost.
The Gathering (2003). The first time I saw this one, I felt disappointed. When I gave it a second chance, I saw an interesting and original mystery unfold. I don’t know why, but religion-themed horror films usually frighten me even if they aren’t that scary (I hope that when I die, if there is a Heaven, that Oprah will be at the pearly gates to greet me). Christina Ricci is her usual awesome self, and there’s a palpable sense of dread throughout the whole film, kind of like the weeks leading up to a visit from an annoying relative. It’s a bit like a Lifetime t.v.-movie in some aspects (which, to me, is never a bad thing) but well worth watching. Plus, how handsome is Ioan Gruffudd? Can I please look like him in my next life?
Thank you so much for reading! May your lives be as sparkly and crazy as the “Cribs” episode with Mariah Carey! xoxo Matty from Boston.