Previously I posted an updated list of Six Horror Movies You’ve (Probably) Never Seen, so here is an updated version of an earlier post I wrote back in October of last year with even more forgotten and obscure horror movies to add to your collection. Most of the movies on this list aren’t masterpieces by any means—and some are downright terrible– but if you need a break from Freddy, Jason, and Michael, or you’re a horror fanatic trying to watch every film in the genre, then these are the movies for you.
Mountaintop Motel Massacre
Mountaintop Motel Massacre is a quirky slasher movie about an insane woman who murders her daughter after catching her practicing witchcraft then proceeds to go on a killing spree at the motel she manages in–you guessed it–the mountains. The film boasts a creepy soundtrack and often bathes its characters in complete shadow; the editing is frantic and occasionally lit by quick flashes of color and light, making for a nightmarish-like atmosphere. The early scenes show promise as several characters gather at the motel for various reasons, only to find themselves fighting for survival against the motel’s caretaker as she traverses the tunnels beneath the mountains, occasionally crawling into the guests’ rooms and trolling them with snakes and beetles before killing them with her sickle.
It’s not the most thrilling or well-made horror slasher movie, but I’ll give it some points for featuring a female killer, which is always cool. We need more of them in horror.
If you’re looking for a backwoods horror movie with a cast of stupid characters who exist to fill kill counts, look no further than this 1986 slasher which features a catchy 80s soundtrack and character actor Charles Napier as a small-town sheriff. Napier and Mimsy Farmer, a famed actress, artist, and sculpture, can’t save this mess of a movie that follows a killer in a bad mask who stalks and murders teenagers at a campsite in the mountains. The characters spend most of the movie falling over and whimpering helplessly as the seldom-seen killer graphically picks them off one by one. It’s a derivative flick with an uninteresting subplot. Still, the kills are somewhat interesting, and one of the characters is so unlikeable and offensive that you can’t help but cheer when he gruesomely meets his death.
Body Count is the type of movie horror buffs seek out to say, “been there, watched that.”
Slumber Party Massacre II
Slumber Party Massacre II takes the concept of the first film, in which a drill-wielding maniac stalks and murders a group of horny co-eds during a slumber party and drops it on its head in favor of a musical riff on the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. Released in 1987 and directed by Deborah Brock, Slumber Party Massacre II follows one of the survivors of the massacre from the first movie, Courtney, as she and her bandmates travel to a condo for a weekend of rock music and partying only to find themselves at the mercy of a new Driller Killer with a truly unique weapon: a drill-powered guitar.
Atanas Ilitch plays the manic and demonic greaser killer, a cross between Freddy Krueger and Elvis Presley, who first haunts Courtney’s dreams before viscously murdering her friends in real life. His song and dance number before he drills one of his victims to death is one of the highlights of the low-budget slasher. While she appeared in a supporting role in the first Slumber Party Massacre film, Courtney (Jennifer Meyers plays the character this time) takes center stage in the film. She beats near-impossible odds to make it to the end credits, but Slumber Party Massacre II isn’t quite clear on her ultimate fate. I can’t help but wish the poor young woman would find some peace.
Speaking of musical comedy horror films, Stage Fright is a 2014 Canadian slasher flick about a group of hopeful young singers terrorized by a masked killer at a musical theater camp. The movie feels like a mashup of High School Musical, Scream, and Phantom of the Opera, which leaves the tone and atmosphere all over the place. At times, it plays as a straightforward horror movie, while at others, it feels like a spoof of the horror genre. The kills are decent, the characters are snobby and self-involved, and the songs are catchy while not entirely memorable. The opening scene in which Minnie Driver bites the dust is intense and suspenseful, but it was sad the movie got rid of her so quickly.
Home Sweet Home
Home Sweet Home follows a PCP-addicted killer who stalks and gleefully murders a family at a remote cabin during Thanksgiving. The 1981 film is low-budget and pretty terrible, but its hulking killer is equal parts intimidating and hammy, and the acting isn’t half bad. However, most of the characters–while likable– are pretty stupid when confronted with danger. Then again, that’s standard horror movie fare. The film feels unique because Thanksgiving doesn’t get the same treatment level as other holiday-themed horror movies. It’s also the second film on the list to be directed by a woman, Nettie Peña, and features Vinessa Shaw (of Hocus Pocus!) in her onscreen debut. Home Sweet Home’s not-so-sweet killer is played by fitness entrepreneur Jake Steinfeld, the man behind Body By Jake and the founder of the first Major League Lacrosse.
If you’re looking for an under-the-radar slasher flick that has some famous names attached to it, Home Sweet Home is definitely for you.
Bay of Blood
Also known as Twitch of the Death Nerve, this 1971 Italian Giallo slasher film, directed by Mario Bava, centers around a string of gruesome murders at the titular bay. The film is hailed as one of Brava’s goriest directorial projects and influenced movies like Friday the 13 part II that feature some of Bay of Blood‘s goriest kills, like a young man who suffers a machete hit to the face and a couple who are double impaled while in the act of lovemaking. In fact, the movie helped kickstart the slasher movie craze of the 1980s and remains to this day one of Bava’s most famous films. A Bay of Blood is not for the easily squeamish. However, it’s a fun dive into the absurd with gorgeous visuals and an insanely high kill count that will please any gore fans.
Bay of Blood also stars Claudine Auger, who played Domino Vitali in 1964’s Thunderball, opposite of Sean Connery’s James Bond.
Let me know in the comments if you’ve watched any of these flicks. Check out my website for all things horror and popular culture and as always, stay nerdy!