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Top Ten Underrated Horror Movies

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For some strange reason the horror genre has more underrated and undervalued films than pretty much any other genre. The reason for this seems to be that despite films like The Exorcist, The Thing and An American Werewolf in London being considered classics, the genre still isn’t taken seriously. Roughly 75% of the straight to DVD market consists of horror films and with so much produced with critics ready and waiting to give it a kick, it’s no surprise that a great many titles go by without any attention or love.

So as it’s Halloween here are ten horror movies that didn’t get the attention they deserved and are well worth seeking out this Halloween if you aren’t really in the mood for another Paranormal Activity film.

10. Daybreakers (2009)

daybreakersDespite having one of the greatest trailers in recent memory, The Spierig Brothers vampire film Daybreakers was a box office disaster in early 2010. It may not ever have lived up to that trailer and it really needed to be half an hour longer but Daybreakers is in many respects an incredible film in terms of world building and telling a different take on the vampire myth.

Here a vampiric plague has meant that there are not many humans left and the ruling vampires are dying due to a lack of available human blood. Ethan Hawke plays a vampire scientist who must convince everyone with his pro-human stance when he finds a cure, which doesn’t help when the starving vampires are reverting back to primal bat creatures.

Daybreakers has a lot of uncomfortable parallels with the world we live in now and the approaching energy crisis. The Spierig Brothers do a great job on a limited budget portraying a frightening and desperate world where there is every chance of society destroying itself through greed and inaction. Around the time of release it was talked up as the first in a trilogy (like most things) but sadly that doesn’t seem likely anymore.

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  • http://www.spoilertv.com DarkUFO

    Great list.

    Frailty and The Mist are 2 very underacted classics. Very happy to see them on your list

  • Horror Whore

    The Mist was great BUT if the ending went the opposite way it would have been forgettable for this horror fan.

  • TheClone

    Ah yes, The Mist, good call adding that.

  • bob

    The Mist was good, but comparing it to the Thing? That is the real horror

  • Nik

    The Mist is top notch horror until the last five minutes. The last five are total ass

  • HorrorAddiction

    The one I really liked tho not in this list was Brain Dead (1992), it was so awesome and the amount of crazy zombie antics and ultra gore made it great, even the cheesy special effects made it better, with memorable frases like: “your mother has eaten my dog!” XD

  • Twinkie Bandit

    Anybody here seen Parents? Released in 1989 directed by Bob Balaban starring Randy Quaid and Mary Beth Hurt about a kid who discovers something rather grisley about his parents. Very surreal and humorously bizarre!

  • Bob Dole

    I need to add a few of these to my list of films to see, though I have to disagree strongly on Grace and The Mist, both of which were pretty bad.

  • Fake Shemp

    Thanks for the list … but The Mist? Most underrated or overrated? A film has to better than its subtext.

  • Horror Industry Alum

    YEAH! The Mist WAS badass and I TOTALLY agree that it hit a little too close to America’s religious and xenophobic nerve! I really enjoyed it since I had read the short story in “skeleton crew”. I liked the ending. This was all about fear of the unknown, a deeply primal fear.

  • studio 17b

    “Darabont is saying that gathering people in a smaller location with no hope of escape and faced with the end, we will eventually turn on each other in the name of religion and the need for someone to ‘save us’. “”

    Meh. Is Darabont saying that, or is the script saying that? Or is it really just in the source material in the first place? Auteur theory is way over-rated.

  • oldboy1970

    Saw ths movie when i was about 10,brought it few weeks back…still an unsettling film

  • roby

    sex

  • Aeryn

    Teeth (2007) creeped me out, and I’m a girl!

  • STFU

    The Mist was based on a novella by Stephen King. It wasn’t a commentary on George W. Bush at all; King wrote The Mist at least 20 years before Bush II ever took office. Also, I really hope the person writing these articles doesn’t get paid for his work. His writing is terrible, his syntax is messy and his grammar is just plain awful.

  • Sammy Lane

    Thomas Jane can’t believably cry.He’s man cry was rather embarrassing to even watch in dark movie theater to me.Cool monster feature though and you get to see CAROL and Andera with Dale from THE WALKING DEAD!YAYA!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000555310301 Gregory Pearl

    Eyes of Fire (1983) should be on here….they haven’t even released a proper DVD for that one and my VHS broke years ago…….spooky lil’witchy story! if you haven’t seen it, try to find it…

  • Name

    I KICK ASS FOR THE LORD!!!

  • Dangbar200

    As for Ravenous, he was a veteran of the Mexican American war, not the Civil War

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mary-Janes-Howe/1591152967 Mary Janes Howe

    And to think the Stephen King novella ending had a much happier ending…Call me cynical, but I thought the ending they came up with made it a much better movie.

  • Brian McKeever

    Much happier? The King story ends with them still driving through the mist desperately hoping to find salvation despite no real evidence that there is any. That hardly constitues as “happy.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mary-Janes-Howe/1591152967 Mary Janes Howe

    I said happier, not happy. The King story ends with the possibility of some hope for the future for the main characters. I won’t mention the details of theending of the film version because I don’t want to spoil it for people, but it left them without any future at all.

  • Caroline Driver

    I liked the change of ending. In the original story, even King’s character says ‘this is what my dad would have called a cop out ending’. It would have been too vague for middle America. And the different ending was harsh, cruel and way better!

  • DrNope

    The Mist was easily my favorite horror movie of the decade.

  • Wildheart

    I absolutely agree about Frailty!

  • Christopher j Holt

    Cheers no I dont get paid, Havent read the short story but didnt it come out during another famous republican presidency in 85? Weird that…

  • Dirtsandwich

    Race with the Devil, hell yeah. I grew up with that movie. I still watch it when I can. With everything being remade 10 times nowadays I’m surprised they haven’t remade this.

    The Mist is excellent. Very underrated. I like the ending. I get a kick out of people who like intense horror, but want the ending to be happy.

  • https://twitter.com/#!/thelonelylights Adam Cross

    completely agree with Daybreakers, makes my list of top vampire movies ever along with Blade, Bakjwi and Wir Sind Die Nacht

  • thesithempire

    Great list! Frailty, Daybreakers and The Mist were all criminally overlooked for too long, but that is changing. I would add Ti West’s seriously creepy House of the Devil and The Innkeepers, the brilliant and moving Let Me In, and even though it’s got more of a sci-fi bent, the disturbing Pandorum.

  • http://www.facebook.com/gsakbani Georgia Sakbani

    I watched “The Mist” and couldn’t stop thinking about it. Great movie

  • http://www.facebook.com/gsakbani Georgia Sakbani

    The Mist is one of my favorites too. After I watched it, just could NOT stop thinking about it for days. Also one that I couldn’t get out of my mind was “The Divide” . . .

  • busybeelove

    The ending of the movie version of The Mist was nothing but a cheap, easy, sensational out for the director. But it appealed to folks who don’t like ambiguous endings… because they don’t like to think too hard. Pathetic.

  • wersi

    I love that movie. I remember a really funny scene with a golf club.

  • wersi

    Behind the Mask – The Rise of Leslie Vernon was really hilarious. I am surprised I had never heard about it before or after I first saw it. Glad it’s mentioned here.

  • Robert Neville

    Yeah, the Mist is solid…and I would call it a “classic” not just because it’s a pretty good movie, but because it isn’t so much about the sci-fi/horror thing going on, but it’s more about the way the people/characters react to the situation. In that sense, it reminds me of War of the Worlds and Day of the Triffids (by the way, Day of the Triffids is LONG overdue for a big screen make over).

    Also, like Alien (as one example), much the scare-factor in The Mist comes from not knowing exactly what’s going on (i.e., suspense). For example, when the group heads out into the parking lot with the one dude having the rope tied around his waste – you never really know exactly what got ‘em…but obviously, it was something bad. Not knowing exactly what happened/is happening is often creepier than any sort of explicit “horror” – and many, if not most, directors today seem to have forgotten this.

    As for the ending – I would say that IF (big IF) you were judge a movie solely by how much the ending “sticks with you” afterwards, this is one of the best movies of all time. It sort of reminded me of the ending of the original Night of the Living Dead – it just makes you feel gross.

    Oh, and to this day, I have nightmares about the pharmacy scene.

    It’s too bad Darabont left The Walking Dead (however that happened…). That said, the third season has been pretty damn good.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ann.robbins.1293 BK NIllinois

    “Frailty” was such a messed up movie, it made me nauseous. I won’t watch it again because it was so brutal to process.

  • WonderWomyn

    I liked The Mist. Loved the ending, as well. Made me and my friends leave the movie theater talking about if we would have done the same if we were in that situation. Wish more horror movies would end that way. Hate when they have happy endings. The blue-ray set came with a black and white version of the movie.

  • http://www.facebook.com/palm.tres.7 Palm Tres

    Scariest. Soundtrack. Ever.

  • http://www.facebook.com/palm.tres.7 Palm Tres

    Mist is very scary and very socially dark. A very rare combination.

  • http://twitter.com/T0NSTER333 ÇℜΔÇK_ℵΙℵℑΔΔ

    I’d hardly call Daybreakers a Horror….. very good movie though

  • http://www.facebook.com/thematadorbar Rob Davis

    1987′s “Angel Heart” is the #1 underrated horror movie of all time, in my opinion. If you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favor. It’s one of the few genuinely scary movies I’ve ever seen(right up there with The Exorcist, imho), and has a nice twist ending.

  • Stahlgeist

    “What’s for dinner?”

    “Leftovers.”

    “But what was it before it was leftovers?”

    “Um…leftovers-to-be!”

  • menstruatingheart

    Re-Animator? The Stuff? Motel Hell? Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2? Basket Case? Shall I go on?

  • phillip_k_slick

    Frailty has become my favorite horror movie.

  • Rickinator

    dont say whilst. say while. whilst is just gay.

  • kiljoy616

    The movie flopped because they stereotyped people without reason. Steven King s book does a better job and leave us wondering at the end, where the movie ends with a very dumb ending of him shooting the his own kid and giving up. BS.

  • Michael Gerschwitz

    I LOVED The Mist, UNTIL the ending! I actually left the cinema in the mood to start a fight, it left me that angry. And THAT is why the movie failed, it had some of the best monsters and a brilliant story, but one of the worst, most depressing and agrivating endings in cinematic history.

  • Nina

    i loved Daybreakers Ethan Hawke is a great actor.

  • CritteekDuJour

    I walked out of The Mist after 30 minutes, just because the acting was
    so hammy and the monster effects were so detached from the actions and
    reactions of the characters. I’d never seen a movie where the actors
    were so obviously acting to a green screen with creatures added in
    afterwards that would obviously have sent the characters screaming to
    get away and hide in any way possible. To think that the reason this
    movie is held in such high regard is because of the bleak, gratuitous
    “twist” ending, a la “Seven,” is just sad.

  • Amarantha

    Those are recognized as horror cult classics, especially Re-Animator.

    Session 9 should be listed, which was one of the best horror flicks to come out that year. As for cynical horror movies of the 70′s, The Sentinel is one that sticks in your head, particularly due to the director’s use of actual disfigured people in some of the shocker scenes. Also has a crazy all-star cast.

  • Rice Black

    No offense, but your theory on America is completely incorrect.

    The Mist flopped because it didn’t stay true to the end of the short story/novella – if it had, we’d be talking about one of the best horror suspense thrillers of it’s time!!!

    It had nothing to do with America – it had to do with Frank Darabont’s stupidity to think he could out-write King! King is a god amongst mere mortals.

    They all live at the end and are heading to Hartford, that was the last thing he heard on through the scratchy radio noise.

    Read the short story then watch the movie – the movie crashes into a shit-pile of non-sense at the end. There was no military that arrived! The main character is at a table signing his name to a piece of paper telling their story just in case they are never heard from again. They are headed to Hartford.

    If Frank was at my house and we watched that film together, I would have told him to leave my house and never come back – you have ruined one of Kings best stories. But to redeem himself he’d through on “Shawshank Redemption” and then I’d forgive him.

  • Soldier

    Grace has a pretty bad IMDB rating, but I remember seeing the movie once on HBO and thought it was quite interesting. I don’t remember if I enjoyed it, I just was intrigued by it.

  • Maximus

    I’m not sure what the writer of this article watched, but the character played by Thomas Jane didn’t “lead the charge for a sacrifice when egged on by religious zealot Mrs Carmody” Especially since she wanted to sacrifice his son.

  • Jackie Jormpjomp

    I’ll add to you’re already strong post that the religious zealot stuff was way over the top too.

  • Jackie Jormpjomp

    Frailty and Behind the Mask were brilliant movies. The former is proof that Bill Paxton needs to direct more movies and the latter is very, very clever.

  • Prydonian

    “Darkly Noon” seems to be available on Netflix.

    As for “The Mist”… as much as I love the film and hate the ending, I have to agree with other posters: I’m not really buying the analysis of the film’s message. Certainly it contains the idea about people turning on each other in times of crisis, but that’s an age-old consideration and it was in the original story. Attempting to tie it to the Bush era and dislike of the military seems like the author’s personal lens rather than Darabont’s.

  • GaSouthpaw

    Stephen King himself has said that he preferred Darabont’s ending to his own.

  • GaSouthpaw

    Uh, no. Though “Skeleton Crew” did come out in ’85, “The Mist” was first printed in the “Dark Forces” anthology in 1980. And, if I remember King’s preface correctly, he wrote the story in the early-to-mid 70′s.

  • GaSouthpaw

    His character also wasn’t the out-of-town guy. That was the neighbor, played by Andre Braugher.

  • derrickconstantino@gmail.com

    The Mist=AWFUL, that Jesus freak chick’s character was SO annoying, it made the movie unwatchable

  • Michelle Kirkwood

    Hell,yeah—BRAIN DEAD was funny,gross and crazy as hell—I actually sat down and watched the whole thing over againI thought it was that good–something I didn’t do that often at the time—one of Peter Jackson’s best horror films, before he became known for Lord of the Rings.

  • Corey Hutton

    What idiot wrote this? more than half of this list is of movies that aren’t Underrated and fans of the genre love. Is this a list for movie retards?

  • Dr. Evil

    A few that I agree with, but The Mist was an overblown mess full of overblown caricatures, and the ending was ridiculous – a down ending for the sake of a down ending, trying to be Shakespearean, and failing miserably. But that’s just my opinion. I known that King liked the ending, but he’s getting a paycheck.

  • ericlynch990

    the mist ending i have mixed feelings about. from a strictly visceral point of view, the ending is great. stark, depressing, unexpected, ballsy and painfully ironic. but from a logical perspective, one has to wonder why the people in the car wouldn’t at least hold out until they were at the end of their proverbial rope. it seemed that if they would have waiting a few minutes, they would have been free and clear.

  • Morten Holmstrup Gerdsen

    lol, The Passion of Darkly Noon is actually on my top ten of the worst movies I’ve ever seen – and pretty high up. That movie desperately wants to be a so-called cult movie but only succeeds in being cringe-inducing in all the wrong ways.

  • Chris O’Shea

    I would have to say ‘The Descent’ has to be up there, it was an excellent survival horror film. As long as you saw the original edit and not the American edit, imo they butchered the end of the film to appear happier for American audiences who can’t handle non-happy and resolute endings. Shame really as the original cut it up there as one of my favourite horrors.

  • Chris O’Shea

    imo, those are the best type of endings. Why does everything have to work out? If it’s a horror film then you should feel bad afterwards.

    Great examples of this in recent years were ‘The Descent’ (original edit) and ‘The Road’.

  • Charles Ayala

    The Mist is the only movie mentioned that I’ve seen, and I really liked it. It was a good ending…as in if he just waited that extra time he would have been saved… not the bullet eating contest.

  • Modsquad

    Needs more The Changeling.

  • SuperwholockFan

    I’ve seen The mist, Daybreakers and The Revenant, good movies

  • Marco Dane Paschal

    I loved the Mist. What about Jeepers Creepers? Not the suck ass sequel

  • Marco Dane Paschal

    Leave Thomas Jane alone

  • Sammy Lane

    NEVER!”Man cries” get my ire and deserve my mockery!

  • James Brown

    Wow, so pleased to see the Mist at number one. Almost did a fist pump. Such a great film that I rate alongside the original Dawn of the Dead for social atmosphere. Great list.

  • James Brown

    You can’t really comment on the ending if you walked out after 30 minutes. You’ll have to take my word for it that you’re wrong I’m afraid, seeing as I’ve watched the whole film several times. If you don’t like the green screen thing, you must really hate Star Wars.

  • Chris

    The Revenant is the best horror movie ever in my opinion.