When it comes to horror movies, the line could not be finer as to what becomes a blockbuster and what becomes a one dollar bin special at Walmart. A huge budget does not guarantee success, nor does a fantastic screenplay ensure that the movie will be respected among the horror crowd. Horror fans are an interesting bunch, after all. Some of them go crazy over bucket loads of blood and guts, while others are more traditional in their tastes. Some prefer Frankenstein over Jason, and nothing you put on the screen will measure up unless it has their favorites in it. Because of this unusual diversity in movie tastes, movies that would be blanket flops in other genres might be huge hits a sub-genre of horror afficianados. Given this interesting consideration, here are five horror movies that are summarily considered “flops” in the horror genre, but are in fact of some interest to certain sub-genres of horror fans:
Rogue Pictures (2006)
The Hitcher is a perfect example of being interesting only to a certain part of the horror genre. In fact, it is actually an example of the reverse logic – The Hitcher was originally done years ago with Rutger Hauer as the villain, and the original is a very respected entry into the horror world. Given that the 2006 version is a remake of that film, many people in the horror community immediately doomed it to failure due to being inferior to the original. The truth is, the movie is actually a pulse pounding thriller that has more than enough chills and thrills to satisfy most horror fans. Among those unfamiliar with the original, the movie is generally considered to be excellent. If you are a die hard horror fan, then it almost seems blasphemous to tout this movie. Starring Sophia Bush, Zachary Knighton and a psychotic Sean Bean as the villain, The Hitcher more than provides an excellent horror flick that will keep you jumping in your seat from start to finish. On a side note, the original is superior in most every way, but that does not diminish the fact that this movie is worth seeing as well.
Rogue Pictures (2008)
The Strangers is a movie that is truly hard to figure out the poor reviews. The movie is quick paced, and does a great job of making the characters believable. The movie touts itself to be “based on true events” but that means little in the horror genre. Like the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and many movies before it, the actually truth is negligible at best. Still the movie is chilling in it’s escalating ferocity, and will scare the most jaded of horror fans at certain parts of the movie. The creepiness factor is what sets this movie apart from others, and it delivers that factor in spades. Liv Tyler in particular delivers a fantastic performance as the female victim of the movie, and one is left feeling as though they are witnessing a real situation throughout most of the flick.
Screen Gems (2007)
This is one movie that I was blown away by, and certainly did not expect it. The movie completely took me off guard, and grabbed me by the throat. The pace of this movie is so fast that it is over before you know it, and every single minute is packed with tension. Kate Beckinsale does a good job of playing the wife to Luke Wilson that suddenly finds themselves broken down in the middle of nowhere. Entering the only motel around, they quickly discover that the owners are making snuff films. The snuff films are being made with the motel visitors as the stars! When I first saw the movie on the trailers, I thought to myself that there was no way that Luke Wilson could pull off this role. Boy, was I ever wrong. Luke is absolutely awesome in his role as the husband that is about to go through a divorce, yet finds himself in the position of having to defend himself and his soon to be ex from some crazy killers.
“House of Wax”
Dark Castle (2005)
Yet another remake of an oldie but goody, House of Wax is a movie that does have a small yet loyal following of horror fans. I watched it out of boredom and a lack of choices one night at Red Box, and I am glad that I did. The movie is well paced, and has some innovative special effects throughout. What makes this movie really stand out is the final thirty minutes of the film. Rarely does a movie end with such a bang. Another highlight of the film involves Paris Hilton buying it in grand fashion, much to the delight of movie watchers everywhere. (Certainly nobody would want this in real life, but on the silver screen it is just good fun)
“The Town that Dreaded Sundown”
Charles B. Peirce (1976)
This is one entrant that is a blast from the past but it seems fitting to put here. The movie is a cult classic to most horror fans that have been around for a while, and it deserves such high praise for many reasons. The primary reason that this movie is worth adding to the list is because it is largely considered one of the very first “slasher” movies ever. Not only this, but the movie was actually pirated in some manner by later movies such as Friday the 13th part II. In that movie, the first appearance of the legendary Jason Voorhees, the killer is wearing a white hood very similar to the Phantom Killer in this movie. Some say that was no accident. Whatever the case may be, The Town that Dreaded Sundown stands alone just fine. The movie does suffer from some poor efforts at comic relief that were popular at that time, but the movie overall is scary as hell. The movie is also fairly close to a true story, though some of the killings were embellished for dramatic effect. The killings are still talked about in Texarkana, Arkansas today.