Are you planning some horror movie marathons this fall? While there have been tons of great horror movies released in the past two decades, horror has a rich film history and there are plenty of older movies well worth your time. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of new releases, but there is something special (and super chilling) about these forgotten-about horror flicks. You might have forgotten about these gems, but it’s not too late to revisit them (or experience them for the first time). From an empowered troop of misfit witches, possessed hands, and lots more weird sci-fi body horror, these movies have nostalgia and a little bit of everything else. So whether you’re a classic horror fan, or you’re just looking to mix up your horror movie viewing with some forgotten treasures, you’re going to want to add these to your fall horror watchlist immediately.
In the mood for some classic Canadian sci-fi horror? In Scanners, “scanners” are people with unusual telepathic abilities; they can read minds and have telekinesis. The story revolves around ConSec, a manufacturer of weapons and security systems, who recruits scanners to use for its own sinister purposes. Things get interesting when a renegade ConSec scanner decides to fight back–and soon a war breaks out between scanners and ConSec. Though special effects have progressed a lot since this film came out, it’s still a treat to watch the exploding head sequence—which, though a simple stunt, definitely achieves the desired effect.
Often considered a cult classic, Videodrome is a 1983 film by Canadian director David Cronenberg, one of the great directors of the body horror genre. Like much of Cronenberg’s work, it uses science fiction to explore themes of technology, reality, and free will. The story follows Max Renn, the president of a Toronto TV station, who discovers a broadcast that depicts the torture and murder of various victims. As Max tries to trace the source of this mysterious broadcast, he gets sucked into a strange world of mind-control and shadowy corporations. He soon begins to lose his tether to reality; the more he learns about the broadcast, the more danger he’s finds himself in—and the more dangerous he becomes.
ONCE BITTEN (1985)
Indulge in some true nostalgia with this 1985 vampire movie, starring Jim Carey in his first major film role. Once Bitten tells the story of an innocent high school student, Mark Kendall (played by Carey), who is seduced by a beautiful and mysterious Countess in a Hollywood bar. She turns out to be a vampire who needs to drink the blood of young male virgins to keep her youth and beauty. Soon Mark and his girlfriend Robin are engaged in a deadly dance with the Countess, who’s determined to get what she needs from Mark at any cost. Full of classic vampire tropes, this 1980s teen movie will bring you back in time, whether you lived through the 1980s or not.
THE FLY (1986)
Another classic Cronenberg film, The Fly was a massive commercial and critical success in 1986. It won an Oscar for Best Makeup design, and inspired a 1989 sequel, The Fly II, directed by Chris Walas, who did the makeup for The Fly. Rooted squarely in the body horror genre, The Fly is about Seth Brundle, a brilliant scientist who slowly transforms into a fly-hybrid after one of his experiments goes terribly wrong. As his transformation worsens, Seth desperately tries to save himself and his relationship with his science journalist girlfriend. Jeff Goldblum gives a moving performance as Seth, and the film uses horror and sci-fi tropes to explore themes of illness, death, aging, morality, and mortality.
THE CRAFT (1996)
If you love witchcraft in your horror movies, you’re going to want to revisit this 1996 film, which has since developed a loyal cult following. The Craft follows a group of teenage girls at a Los Angeles high school. The four girls, outcasts in their school, attempt to use their supernatural powers to gain beauty, power, and popularity. But their spells, at first seemingly successful, soon begin to cause more problems than they solve. The girls are caught up in a mess of their own making, with devastating consequences for all of them.
IDLE HANDS (1999)
If you’re looking for something that falls on the comedy side of horror, look no further than Idle Hands, a 1999 dark comedy that takes a look at what happens when a stoner loses control of his hand. Anton Tobias is your average stoner teenager—until his hand becomes possessed and starts killing people against his will. Even cutting it off doesn’t stop the hand from committing murder. Predictably, it gets Anton into a whole lot of trouble. This zany movie makes a perfect Halloween flick.