Overlooked Horror

The ambiguous, twisted realities in David Lynch’s films should be recognized as some of the scariest cinematic works ever.

But “Inland Empire” is wild even for him. For almost all three hours, the film’s narrative is indiscernible. As the characters wander through situations that might be real, the confusion grows exponentially.

Anything could happen, and that makes it painfully suspenseful and horribly terrifying. If you can stomach it, “Inland Empire” will be three of the freakiest hours you’ll spend in front of a TV screen.

“Trick ’R Treat” (2007)
Why listen to one horror story when you can have four? Get greedy, and watch director Michael Dougherty’s 2007 cult classic “Trick ’r Treat.” The film intertwines four Halloween stories, morphing one film into a horrifying anthology.

The unifying theme — or person — is Sam (Quinn Lord), a tiny trick-or-treater clad in anything-but-adorable orange footie pajamas with a burlap sack draped over his head. “Trick ’r Treat” is a gruesome ode to the darkest holiday of the year.

“The Mist” (2007)
Frank Darabont is no newcomer to horror. Writer of your beloved childhood’s “Tales of the Crypt,” Darabont writes today for AMC’s zombie thriller “The Walking Dead.”

Don’t overlook his 2007 horror film “The Mist,” based on the 1980 novella of the same name written by the king of horror, Stephen King. When a freak storm unleashes dangerous creatures on a small town, its bewildered residents hide out in a grocery store. The claustrophobic wait for what will come is enough to make you want to flee the theater.

“A Tale Of Two Sisters” (2003)
“A Tale of Two Sisters” was the first South Korean horror film to show in American theaters — and it’s not one audiences will forget anytime soon.

When two sisters return home from a mental institution, tensions rise with their hysterical stepmother and aloof father. This familial disaster sounds like a recipe for classic psychological horror, and it is.

This family of four is haunted by deaths in the family. Soon, their paranoia and past will become your own as you watch in heightened suspense.

“In The Mouth Of Madness” (1994)
Ever feel like you’re going insane? John Carpenter’s underrated gem “In The Mouth of Madness” gets weirder and weirder, then goes for broke with a madcap ending.

Sam Neill stars as John Trent, an investigator searching for the missing horror writer Sutter Crane (Jürgen Prochnow). The lines between fiction and reality begin to blur when Trent visits a small town that inspired Crane’s writing. Or is it the other way around? Awesome creature effects and spooky atmosphere make this a Halloween must.

“Re-Animator” (1985)
One of the main characters is a decapitated head. Sounds like fun, right? When it comes to macabre humor, it’s hard to beat the camp classic “Re-Animator.”

Top-notch character actor Jeffrey Combs plays a freaky med student who gets his roommate wrapped up in bringing the dead back to life in this adaptation of an H.P. Lovecraft story. Their would-be Frankenstein antics escalate into a bloody ending as goofy as it is scary. “Bride of Re-Animator” takes things even further.

“Hausu” (1977)
When you think of Japanese horror, you probably think of terrorizing classics like “Audition” and “Ju-On,” remade in English as “The Grudge.” I think of “Hausu” (“House”), the feverishly freaky 1977 camp classic.

Belonging to the prestigious Criterion Collection, “Hausu” switches up visual styles and tones so often it’ll make your head spin. A young girl and her classmates visit her aunt’s country home. It’s not long before they’re haunted by a demonic cat, a carnivorous piano and possessed pillows. “Hausu” needs to be seen to be believed.

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