6 Obscure Cult Horror Flicks For Nerds (That Aren't Suspiria or Evil Dead)

By Basie Settle |


If you’re anything like the entire HorrorRated staff, you’re an obsessive, kinda creepy/kinda goofy edgy nerd who spends a lot of time at home, watching horror movies and then talking about those movies online. That’s awesome, we love you for it, you’re like family to us. The only problem is: once you’ve watched all the movies, once you’ve heard all the recommendations, once you’ve had all the arguments, once you’ve told that hipster dweeb once and for all that Martyrs (2008) is super overrated… where do you go from there? No worries. We got you. And no, before you ask, we’re not about to recommend Phantasm, Deep Red, or They Live, either.

6) Creep (2014): It’s been three years since this dropped and a sequel is already in the works, so it seems as good a time as any to give it a watch. It’s as unsettling as a clown in a sewer drain, and about half as comfortable. It was more or less an instant cult classic, and man, it earned that.

It clearly spent its entire budget hiring Mark Duplass and that’s a good thing, he’s great. The whole movie is basically a series of creepy-ass monologues and Duplass delivers em. What makes Creep so spooky is how convincing it is. You really feel for the poor cameraguy.

uh… hey dude

5) Audition (1999): Only, like, a little further out-there than Creep we have Audition. They say Takashi Miike’s extreme horror/romance drama is a masterpiece, one of the best extreme horrors ever. In a lot of ways, Audition really is a masterpiece but don’t go into it expecting something that it might not deliver on. Audition—much like the main characters—is not exactly what you think it is.

In spite of what you might’ve heard, this one’s actually kind of a slow burn. A great deal of Audition’s one-hundred-fifteen minute runtime is dedicated to the personal affairs of some movie-making executive. Working, grieving the death of his wife, raising their child alone… Normal stuff.

It’s got enough scary, weird shit to keep you tense for the end but it’s like watching two movies at once. For every screaming dude with no feet, there are two bashful glances and a sweet kiss. There is one moment–the moment–when the bottom finally drops out and a rain of needles and severed feet fucks everything up and it really was worth the wait.

aahhhhhHHHH NO

4) Q The Winged Serpent (1982): Larry Cohen’s status as a cult god (and also a cult_movie_god) is totally unquestionable. Speaking of cult gods, that’s what this movie is literally about: the Aztec deity Quetzalcoatl decides to… migrate north? Or something? Eh, it doesn’t really matter.

Anyway, it winds up living in the Chrysler building and laying an egg. Naturally—as scaly, murderous deities are wont to do—it attracts a cult of, uh… the apparently thriving population of Aztecs living in New York. Aztecs who are only too happy to capture and kill humans in Quetzlcoatl’s name.

Throughout Q: The Winged Serpent you may find yourself thinking: “what the fuck are these monster effects?” You’re not wrong to ask that question, but fun fact – having a moving monster on camera during a moving shot in stop-motion was a trick invented on the fly by a two-man effects team. And consider - one member of that team (Randy Cook) went on to work on the effects team for Peter Jackson’s King Kong (2005).

3) Ghostwatch (1993): Ghostwatch has an interesting spot in the dank and haunted basement of horror history. It’s mostly overlooked these days, but once upon a time, in thee olden dayes of 1993… It, uh, it caused quite a stir

Basically, Ghostwatch was a prank. It featured a cast of then-famous, active BBC newscasters and personalities. It was funny, too: it was a “live” séance and ghost hunt in a “real-life” haunted house. It’s pretty convincing all on its own, just as a movie – so the two kids with PTSD and the one guy who killed himself afterwards must have really bought it when the BBC said it was real.

Y’see, the problem was that the BBC really, really sold it as real. Ghostwatch in retrospect isone of the better found footage movies around. Every second is played totally straight by professional liars. There’s no self-aware jokes or dumb tropes or bad acting. It doesn’t really drop the ball and break your disbelief like so many other “run-away-in-the-dark” found footage movies. Basically, it was too convincing to spring on a bunch of British children.

2) Short Night of Glass Dolls (1971): What’s there to say about Aldo Lado’s 1971 directorial debut other than “just watch it”? It’s slow, and painful, and anxiety-provoking. It’s a politically charged, tense giallo thriller detailing the strange story of a journalist murdered by… someone.

It’s a mystery, watch it yourself, I’m not gonna fuckin spoil it for you. It’s smart and, even at only 92 minutes, feels pretty long. It’s great, and it’s obscure, but it’s not, like, a wild good time or anything. It’s been mostly forgotten, but Short Night of Glass Dolls has a tiny cult all its own.

Speaking of cults, it’s kinda like a 70’s version of Eyes Wide Shut (1999). Lavish sets, intrigue and conspiracy. And, of course, shady, lurid murder…

It’s a giallo and all but don’t go in for the ludicrous violence and hella titties. This one’s an art flick. There’s violence (and maybe a tit or two) but it’s not your standard bright lights, orange blood and straight razors. The plot is confusing but it isn’t the typical delirious bad acid trip you’d expect from a giallo.

When you’re watching Braindead, it’s that kinda party

1) Braindead (1992): Braindead is grotesque, entirely uncalled for and fucking amazing. Directed by Peter Jackson—yeah, the dude with the Hobbits and the giant gorillas—during his “splatter phase,” Braindead is basically the goriest movie of all time. It was released in North America as Dead Alive. And honestly, no matter what you call it, it secured the #1 slot on this list before we even thought to write it.

Watching Braindead is like being drowned by a sloppy drunk at a GWAR concert. In other words, it’s the best. This thing is a full-tilt sprint through Sigmund Freud’s demented, half-remembered cocaine nightmares and I love every glistening, wriggling, awful second of it.

It’s an absolute must-watch for any self-professed horror nerd, gore hound, cult fan or lunatic. Or like, Peter Jackson completionists, I guess. Just not your kids or your mom.

And as ever – if you’ve seen any of these, get over to our Horror Movies page and rate it. If you’ve seen them all, maybe leave a comment telling me I don’t know anything about horror movies.

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