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Welcome, World Travelers! Check Out These 5 Underrated Scary Movies for Halloween

Welcome, World Travelers! Check Out These 5 Underrated Scary Movies for Halloween

by James Coulter

Welcome World Travelers

Halloween is around the corner. It’s the ideal time to watch scary movies, whether you prefer classic horror flicks like Frankenstein or Dracula, slasher flicks like Nightmare on Elm Street or Friday the 13th, or captured footage films like Paranormal Activity or The Blair Witch Project.

However, as much as we love the same-old Halloween favorites, sometimes you want to watch something with new frights. And what better way to do so than uncovering some underrated scary movies from the past? Here are a few underrated cult classics I highly recommend watching this Halloween:

#1House (1977)

Toho Studios | Not Rated (contains Blood, Gore, and Frightening & Intense Scenes)

Image source IMDBMovie screenshot

Where to Watch: HBO Max (Streaming), Amazon Prime (Streaming), Hulu (Streaming), Sling TV (Streaming), Vudu (Rent), Apple TV (Rent)

A young teenage girl and her friends visit her estranged aunt for summer vacation. However, upon their arrival, strange things start occurring with each of them disappearing one by one. The young girl is now forced to uncover the mystery of the old house and discover why her estranged aunt was estranged to begin with. Can she and her friends survive their stay at the haunted house, all while avoiding ghost cats, man-eating pianos, and other bloody horrors?

Produced by Toho Studios of Godzilla fame, and directed by a director who previously worked on television commercials, this Japanese cult classic shifts tones between being a whimsical teen comedy and a chilling horror movie. The jarring tonal shifts create an overall haunting, blood-chilling experience with vivid visuals and splendid special effects. Each of the girls meets a bloody, gory, and creatively fitting demise that is sure to remain lingering in the deep recesses of your subconscious.

#2The Company of Wolves (1984)

The Cannon Group | R (for Sex & Nudity, Blood & Gore, and Frightening & Intense Scenes)

Where to Watch: YouTube (Streaming), Amazon Prime (Streaming), AMC Plus (Streaming), fuboTV (Streaming), Roku Channel (Streaming)

A young girl on the cusp of adolescence falls into a fever-induced dream where she imagines herself as Red Riding Hood. Despite her deep woodland village being ransacked by wolf attacks, one of which took the life of her older sister, she nevertheless ventures into the woods to visit her grandmother. Played by the late Angela Lansbury, her granny delights her with old folk stories about wolves, through which the young girl not only learns about the strange goings-on, but also her own budding womanhood.

This movie is best described as Labyrinth meets Twilight. Framed as a story taking place within a young girl’s dream, the movie exudes an overall surreal dream-like feel, where things don’t always appear as they seem, and where events play fast and loose with the timeline of the classic setting. With equal parts blood and gore, and equal parts romance and sexual tension, this story serves as a vivid exploration of a young girl’s subconscious as she develops her own sexual awakening as a young woman. Fans of werewolves and supernatural romance are encouraged to give this film a watch.

#3Viy (1967)

Artistic Association | Not Rated (contains Frightening & Intense Scenes)

Where to Watch: Tubi (Streaming), Amazon Prime (Streaming), Roku Channel (Streaming), Google Play (Rent)

Based on a classic Russian folktale, this Russian movie tells the story of a seminary student who ends up killing a witch who tried to kidnap and torment him. He is promptly summoned by a wealthy gentleman who wants him to conduct the last rites over his late daughter. Plot twist: she turns out to be the witch! Now the young man must survive three nights in an old church praying over her body, which comes to life every night to enact her revenge on him.

At little over an hour long, this short film is quite short compared to other horror movies. However, what little run time it has is packed with plenty of scary and spooky moments withspecial effects that are quite impressive for the 1960s Soviet Union. Each night the dead witch torments the young priest in new and blood-chilling ways, with him narrowly avoiding his demise thanks to his protective circle. The third and final night serves as the epic finale with horrors so horrific, that it’s best described as a living nightmare come to life.

#4Return to Oz (1985)

Walt Disney Pictures | PG (for Frightening & Intense Scenes)

Where to Watch: Disney Plus (Streaming), Amazon Prime, (Rent) Apple TV (Rent), Vudu (Rent)

Do you fondly remember the classic 1939 Wizard of Oz? Well, this movie is absolutely nothing like it!

Set shortly after the events of the original movie, Dorothy is sent to a sanitarium for her “delusions” about Oz. She narrowly escapes receiving shock treatment and is swept away by a thunderstorm back to Oz. However, the land is nothing as she remembers from her first visit. The Yellow Brick Road has turned to rubble, the Emerald City is in ruins, and her old friends have gone missing. She must make new friends and avoid new enemies to uncover the mystery behind what happened to the once-enchanted land of Oz.

Again, this movie is nothing like the colorful, whimsical 1939 musical. While technically not a horror movie, Return to Oz is a dark, twisted take on the Oz stories (as adapted by the Walt Disney Company, of all places) with plenty of scares to frighten viewers both old and young. Many of its biggest scares come from its villains, including the demented Wheelers, the head-stealing witch Mombi, and the eerily Claymation-animated Gnome King and his followers.

#5The Halloween Tree (1993)

Hanna-Barbera | Not Rated

Where to Watch: YouTube (Rent), Google Play (Rent), Apple TV (Rent), Amazon Prime (Rent)

Four young children prepare to go trick-or-treating, only to discover that their other friend has been sent to the hospital for appendicitis. Now they must go on a time-traveling adventure to track down his lingering spirit and save it from the villainous Moundshroud, who seeks to claim it for his own. All the while, the children learn about the meaning behind their costumes by visiting the mummies of Ancient Egypt, the druid witches of pre-Christian England, and the stone gargoyles of Notre Dame.

Based on a story by Ray Bradbury, this animated special by Hanna Barbara has the late author himself deliver narration with iconic lines lifted straight from the pages of his book. The villain of dubious motivation, Mr. Mountshroud, is played by the late Lenord Nimoy, who delivers a classic and haunting performance. This special is equal parts entertaining and educational, as it touches upon the origins of Halloween and its many iconic monsters. A delightful watch to introduce to young viewers who are not ready for the bigger scares in other horror movies.

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