15 Horror Films You’ve Probably Never Seen But Should

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So many horror films are released yearly that it is hard to keep up. It is even more challenging to catch up on all the movies released over the years, especially to sift out any good ones from the pile of truly bad ones. While everyone knows the films that get lots of positive attention, many are worth watching that get lost in the graveyard. Here are 15 such movies.

1. Scanners (1981)

Photo Credit: Canadian Film Development Corporation.

David Cronenberg is a grandmaster of horror, but not all of his films are well-known. Scanners, made in 1981, is one of those. It follows a group of people capable of reading and influencing the minds of others and one recent member who refuses to go along with an evil plan. It stars Michael Ironside in one of his creepiest roles, which is saying something!

2. Prophecy (1979)

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.

1979’s Prophecy is the disturbing story of what happens when logging and chemical use go unchecked. You guessed it, giant mutated bears determined to exact vengeance for the damage being done to the planet! As hokey as it sounds, horror fans consider the film a classic.

3. Better Watch Out (2016)

Photo Credit: Storm Vision Entertainment.

Better Watch Out, released in 2016, is a gripping psychological horror about disturbed 12-year-old Luke (Levi Miller), who has an unnatural obsession with his 17-year-old babysitter, Ashley (Olivia DeJonge). He stages an intruder so he can rescue and seduce her. When this doesn’t work the way he wants, Luke turns to terrorization and murder.

4. Lo (2009)

Photo Credit: Drexel Box Productions.

The horror/comedy Lo (2009) tells the story of Justin (Ward Roberts), who will go to hell to retrieve his lost love April (Sarah Lassez). He summons the demon Lo (Jeremiah Birkett) to facilitate saving her, and the two argue about love, philosophy, and the parameters of a summoning. The sharp-tongued demon Jeez adds to the fun with his repeated appearances.

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5. Hard Candy (2005)

Photo Credit: Lionsgate Entertainment.

The 2005 psychological horror film Hard Candy turns the classic stalker theme on its ear. Hayley Stark (Elliot Page) uses an online chat to lure photographer Jeff Kohlver (Patrick Wilson), who seems to be a child predator. She drugs and binds him, accusing him of predation and murder. What ensues is a psychological battle.

6. The Legend of Hell House (1973)

Photo Credit: Academy Pictures Corporation.

Perhaps Roddy McDowall’s best performance, The Legend of Hell House (1973), is one of the best “old dark house” horror films ever. Physicist Dr. Lionel Barrett is hired to investigate supernatural happenings at a murder house. He is accompanied by two mediums, one of whom, Ben Fischer (McDowall), is the only survivor of a prior investigation.

7. American Mary (2012)

Photo Credit: IndustryWorks Pictures.

One of the best and most extreme body horror films is 2012’s American Mary. When surgical student Mary Mason needs money for school, she applies for work at a strip club. While there, she’s asked to do illegal body mods, eventually getting a residency due to her skill. But when her mentors rape her, she uses her talents to exact revenge. 

8. Fade to Black (1980)

Photo Credit: Leisure Investment Company.

In 1980, the horror/comedy film Fade to Black came and went, only finding popularity in France. But its premise, about a cinephile who uses film characters and situations to exact revenge on those who have ridiculed him, is unique enough to be worth a second look. As the film progresses, he becomes more deranged as he pursues Marilyn after she stands him up.

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9. The Shed (2020)

Photo Credit: A Bigger Boat.

Stan and Dommer have been bullied all their lives. So when they find a newly infected vampire living in a shack behind their house, it is natural that one of them would want to use him to exact vengeance. Thus goes 2020’s The Shed, a new twist on the themes of vampires and revenge for the persecuted. 

10. The Manitou (1978)

Photo Credit: Mid-America Pictures.

In The Manitou (1978), Karen Tandy has a fetus-like growth on her neck. When doctors go to remove it, they are prevented from completing the operation. Further investigation reveals the tumor to be the spirit of an ancient Native American shaman who is determined to be reborn to exact revenge on the white man for the extermination of his people.

11. House of Wax (1953)

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

Perhaps Vincent Price’s finest performance is in 1953’s House of Wax. He portrays a wax sculptor scarred when his business partner burns down their wax museum for insurance money. To exact revenge, he murders people and coats them with wax as his newest sculptures. In addition to the performance, this film is the first 3D film from a major studio and the first to be presented in stereo.

12. In the Mouth of Madness (1994)

Photo Credit: New Line Cinema.

Horror master John Carpenter pays profound tribute to H.P. Lovecraft in his 1994 film In the Mouth of Madness. The movie follows the story of insurance investigator John Trent, hired to track down missing horror author Sutter Cane and his final manuscript. Cane’s work has been known to cause psychosis, which throws Trent into a state where fantasy, reality, and insanity are indistinguishable.

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13. Unwelcome (2023)

Photo Credit: Tempo Productions.

Irish filmmaker Jon Wright delves into the world of Unseelie faeries with the 2023 folk horror film Unwelcome. When Jamie and Maya move to the Irish countryside to escape the violence of city life, they have no idea what’s in store for them. When they reject making an offering to the local Red Caps as superstitious nonsense, they quickly discover how wrong they are.

14. Magic (1978)

Photo Credit: Joseph E. Levine Productions.

The Manitou wasn’t the only underrated horror film in 1978, as Magic proves. Anthony Hopkins plays Corky Withers, a so-so magician with a ventriloquist dummy gimmick named Fats that launches him to popularity. Unfortunately for him, his psychosis makes the line between Fats and himself blur, with the Fats persona becoming jealous of Corky’s other relationships, which leads to murder.

15. Annihilation (2018)

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Annihilation (2018) is a science-fiction horror film with an involved plot that overlooks the movie. When a meteorite strikes in Florida, it creates an alternate world zone that comes to be known as the Shimmer. Those who investigate it rarely return; when they do, they are somehow changed. This is the case with Kane, whose wife Lena leads the next expedition to solve the mystery of the dangerous zone.

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