18 Days Until Halloween: the hidden gem countdown

13 Underrated films to enhance your Halloween

Looking for some treats to make this Halloween awesome? Take a look at this film countdown.
(Graphic created in Canva)

Mercy Sosa

Looking for some treats to make this Halloween awesome? Take a look at this film countdown. (Graphic created in Canva)

Bram. C Martinez

Halloween is coming, thus the time-old tradition of watching classic Halloween films is a must in this spooky month. Unfortunately, time and again, the popular classics that everyone has seen keep being featured. 

Check any list online; nine out of ten will have the same 80’s classics, the same over-popularized fan-favorite films and the same overrated possession film. To spice things up this year, here is a list of 13 underrated films I have chosen to suggest for your next October film.

Every Thursday until Halloween, this list will update with new films, so be sure to check in. As a horror aficionado, Here are the first three films that I believe are an important part of the conversation of the genre. 

A scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rope” in which Philip Morgan (Farley Granger) and Brandon Shaw (John Dall) take a drink, coldly observing how their party is turning out, this is the only film on the list where the protagonists are rooted against.
(Courtesy of Warner Bros.)

“Rope” (1948) (Peacock, Rentable)

Alfred Hitchcock, known for such classics as “Psycho,” “The Rear Window” and “Strangers On A Train” also made the suspenseful masterpiece “Rope.” In the film, two students murder their colleague on the concept of superiority, then throw a party while the corpse is hidden in the parlor trunk in the middle of the room. 

Will they get away with it, or will any of the attendees realize what is truly happening? Especially when the topic of superiority comes up. While not the most convoluted plot, “Rope” is a nail-biter. 

The film is the first of Hitchcock’s Technicolor films and is notable for the challenging task of filming in real-time, edited to appear as four long shots through the use of stitched-together long takes. Hitchcock demonstrates a mastery of suspense. As Hitchcock himself has said, “there is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it.” 

“Rope” builds anticipation set to burst, we know where the corpse is, and the topic of conversation between the characters usually ends up with “where is the missing colleague?” The tension builds, escalating, and the killers deal with what they have done, whether in guilt or doubling down on their perspective of superiority. 

This suspenseful flick ends with a powerful monologue spoken by James Stewart, whose presence in the film dramatically increases the tempo and strain of the suspense. This film is perfect for those who dislike jump scares, gore or other horror tropes. It also delivers a chilling story on the human psyche, philosophy and how perspectives change in college.

Warning: murder, blood, foul language, smoking

“What We Do In The Shadows” (2014) (Rentable)

Vampires are a true staple of Halloween: Dracula, Nosferatu, Blade, Vampirella and the list goes on. But no one is asking questions like, ‘What if vampires from different countries and time periods were housemates?’ 


(L-R):Vladislav the Poker (Jemaine Clement), Viago von Dorna Schmarten Scheden Heimburg (né von Blitzenberg)(Taika Waititi), Deacon Brucke (Jonathan Brugh), and Nick (Cori Gonzalez-Macuer). from Taika Wititi’s “What We Do in the Shadows.” The older vampires watch as a newly formed vampire ruins their records by scratching.
(Courtesy of Madman Entertainment)[2014]

“What We Do In The Shadows,” directed by and starring Taika Watiti, is a superb horror comedy that spawned a TV series of the same name. The plot follows the day-to-day — or in this case, night-to-night — lives of vampires living in a modern-day metropolis. 

While nowhere near as terrifying or eerie as other vampire movies, what it lacks in scares, it makes up for in laughs. Waititi’s bloodsucker comedy pokes fun at the genre, asking questions about vampires that nobody thought of.

“It’s a great, great film,” Theater major Alex Hook said. “I prefer it better than the show.” 

With awkward humor similar to “The Office” the film also has surprisingly well-made CGI, excellent world-building and a catchy theme song. If you want vampires without horror, you might want to sink your teeth into this one.

Warning: murder, blood, foul language, sexual content

“Nightbreed: Directors Cut” (1990) (Tubi, PutoTV, Peacock, VUDU, Amazon Prime, FLEX, Freevee)

Clive Barker (“Hellraiser,” “The Candyman”) is one of those writers that employs a distinct style of horror with metaphors in sexual expression and human nature. In “Nightbreed” Barker explores what it truly means to be a monster.

Decker (David Cronenberg) wearing his true face. Cronenberg playsthe main villain of “Nightbreed” — technically the only slasher on this list. (Courtesy of 20th Century Fox)[1990]

This story follows a man who thinks he is a deranged murderer, encouraged by his evil psychiatrist. He then does what any of us would do in that position: exile himself to stop his bloodlust, only to encounter the monstrous denizens of Midian and change his perspective.

While not as popular as Barker’s other well-known films, this one stands on its own without any sequels or remakes. This film has everything a horror fan would enjoy: a masked serial killer, phenomenal makeup, beautiful special effects and the monstrous, barbaric nature of humankind. 

There are many versions of the film and different streaming sites have different versions. The director’s cut is the most fulfilling version. “The Cabal Cut” is also really good, but a little rough and the original cut is also superb. 

Warning: murder, blood, gore, foul language, sexual content, frightening imagery

Come back next week for a j-horror film, a gothic film with a musical icon and the only animated film on the list — or you might miss out on some tasty treats. Stay spooky!


With ten days remaining, here are this week’s picks.

(Left to right) David Bowie, Catherine Deneuve and Susan Sarandon star in the 1983 erotic horror movie “The Hunger.” This theatrical poster was released as part of the original 1983 marketing for the film.
(Courtesy of MGM/UA Entertainment Co., Found at IMDb)

“The Hunger” (1983) (HBOMax, Rentable)

On the other end of the vampire spectrum is the more classically gothic vampire film “The Hunger,” which is entirely different from “What We Do In the Shadows.” The artsy vampire film may initially seem experimental, but this dark morbid tale questions if you truly trust your partner.  

David Bowie stars as half of a century-old vampire couple and things are going smoothly, until he starts feeling unwell.  He starts seeing a gerontologist (Susan Sarandon) who is interested in his composition, but why is he aging, and why isn’t his mate (Catherine Deneuve) concerned?

Opening with a chilling song, “Bela Legosi’s Dead” performed by the gothic rock band Bauhaus to set the mood as a missing gothic masterpiece. The shift in perspective throughout “The Hunger” allows an exploration of vampirism in a unique yet familiar style.


While it is not as well known as most contemporary vampire films, “The Hunger” crosses the gap between “Lost Boys” and “Interview With a Vampire,” as it almost feels like a combination of the two through a more experimental lens. So if you are a fan of more gothic, romantic, or tragic vampire films, you may want to sink your teeth into “The Hunger.”

Warning: murder, blood, smoking, flashing lights, foul language, sexual content, frightening imagery, flashing lights, Peter Murphey

Do not go into the forbidden room, something is there. Yabe (Masatoshi Matsuo) learns why in the Aisian horror film“Kairo/Pulse.”
(Courtesy of Kadokawa Daiei Studio)

Kairo/Pulse” (2001) (Amazon Prime)

Asian horror is one of those genres that break the rules and ordinances of western horror. Most threats cannot be stopped through normal means (holy water, shotgun, priest, etc.), and more likely than not, it doesn’t end well with the protagonists. 

“Kairo/Pulse,” directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa, is set in early 2000s Japan, where the shift from legend has changed to rumor, but this, of course has unintended consequences. What if the way we use electronics and the internet is also a medium for something malevolent with sinister intentions? 

In my honest opinion, the first 30 minutes of “Kairo/Pulse” is so utterly unnerving it sometimes makes me wary when I am alone.  While other films will use horrifying practical effects or computer-generated images, “Kairo/Pulse” uses suggestion, enabling our minds to imagine what the threat is. This dingy, bleak and eerie film sets the early groundwork for analog web-based horror, and this techno thriller will make you think twice before working on your computer alone.

Warning: suicide, blood, disturbing imagery, horrific imagery, loud sounds

Rinne, voiced by Amanda Lee in the english dub and Fukuen Misato in the sub, attempts to escape Hell after being hit by a car but encounters a living stone with someone well known in it. From the 2008 animated film “Hells.”
(Courtesy of Madhouse Inc.)

“Hells” (2008) (Tubi, Pluto TV, Youtube)

Not every film needs to be scary to be a Halloween classic and stylistically “Hells” is horror. This quirky film is quite sweet, introspective, funny and off kilter. It’s sure to please if you are a fan of anime such as “Kill La Kill,” “Gurren Lagan” and “One Punch Man.”

The film centers a  girl on her way to school when she gets hit by a truck and is sent to  hell.  She must survive monsters, demons and ghouls while trying to find a way home – luckily for her – her upbeat nature enabled her to make a friend.

Envisioned by Madhouse Inc. (“Paprika,” “Wicked City,” “Perfect Blue”) “Hells” is a visual masterpiece with unique character design that is spooky and rad. It has an over-the-top story that will make even the most serious person crack a smile with its quirkiness and the English dub is done by Team Four Star. 

Next week, a gruesome Lovecraftian film, thalassophobia and Sam Raimi’s transitional film will be featured — or will they? A little trick this time. Stay spooky!

Welcome to week three of my countdown. As we near the finish, check out parts one and two. A common trope of this section is that these films are overshadowed by their director’s other works but are rather remarkable in their own right.

An enlarged sensory gland erupts from Dr. Crawford Tillinghasts’ (Jeffrey Combs) head, allowing him an extension beyond his normal senses. In the film, this sudden appearance is caused by a being that we cannot see. “From Beyond” (1986)
(Courtesy of MGM)

“From Beyond” (1986) (Tubi, Pluto TV)

I love practical effects, especially when they are paired with cosmic horror. Directed by Stuart Gorden, “Re-Animator” is an H.P. Lovecraft-based film and is sure to open your mind to pleasures unknown.

A scientist tries to clear his name from murder after the disappearance of his colleague following an experiment. The alleged goal of both scientists was to unleash the power of a sensory gland in the brain to view a parallel dimension. There is a problem, however, as something from beyond wants to get in. 

Starring the enigmatic Jeffrey Combs, famous for his role as Herbert West from “Re-Animator,” this shocking film is sure to make you wonder about what lies outside your vision. Even though the film is nowhere near as popular as the “Re-Animator” trilogy, this film has a spiritual sequel in 2013’s “The Banshee Chapter.”

Warning: Gore, sexual themes, violence, brief nudity

Norah Price (Kristen Stewart), with no better alternative, is trapped in her suit deep underwater. It’s either that or be trapped in a rapidly crumbling base in the black water surrounded by hostile beings. “Underwater” (2020)
(Courtesy of 20th Century Fox)

“Underwater” (2020) (Rentable)

Industrialization and environmental awareness are hot topics nowadays in society, as progress always has unintended effects. Industrialization causes problems for the environment, especially in the ocean. The ocean is horrifying.

Deep in the Mariana Trench, Kristen Stewart plays a mechanical engineer for the Kepler 822 drilling facility looking for oil. They drilled too greedily and awoke something unheard of and malicious. It’s a race against time, survival by escaping to the surface, or death in the abyss. 

William Eubank directs this creature feature, generally known for deep space films, and nails the isolation vibe. He surrounded the narrative with the harsh, unforgiving ocean filled with predatory death in all directions. 

Lovecraft-inspired “Underwater” shines best regarding set design and claustrophobia. It will make you squirm. Other contemporary films with the same feel include “Alien,” “Deepstar Six,” and “Life.” 

Warning: Gore, blood, violence, horrific imagery

Darkmans’ (Liam Neeson) hideously scarred, true face caused by the gangsters that tried to kill him. He will make them pay dearly. “Darkman.” (1990)
(Courtesy of Universal Pictures)

“Darkman” (1990) (Rentable)

Superhero films are a divisive topic nowadays. Some are too light-hearted yet cheap, while others are overburdened with dark, moody themes. The tragedy is a constant trope in superhero films, but this film demonstrates what would happen if the hero can not overcome the obstacle that blurs the line between hero and monster. 

This “Phantom of the Opera” style story follows Liam Neeson as he plays a philanthropic scientist who is disfigured by a brutal mob attack aimed at his girlfriend. After gaining superpowers, along with an increasing amount of mental instability, he seeks revenge no matter the consequences.

Liam Neeson busts his action-hero chops for the first time in this film, and it suits him wonderfully. “Darkman” has ridiculous action sequences that are over the top, but the emotional, tragic monster vibe that early Universal Pictures films have. 

Danny Elfman composed the soundtrack like an absolute madman, going over the top with superhero sounds at the highest degree. 

Neeson’s costume design is sublime and sets “Darkman” apart from future superhero films.

Directed by Sam Raimi (2000’s “Spider-Man” trilogy, “Evil Dead” franchise, “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness”), this film hints at his future stint in superhero movies while retaining that dark Raimi vibe. Keep an eye out for Bruce Campbell in this dark tale.

Warning: Violence, depression

The final update will be filled and is creeping in next week with three well-known movies and a film that I consider to be one of the best I have ever seen. Trick-or-treat? We shall see. Stay spooky!

The theatrical poster for “Killer Klowns From Outer Space” featuring Mike Tobacco (Grant Cramer) and Debbie Stone (Suzanne Snyder) with the enlarged head of Magori the Killer Klown looming overhead. It was released as part of the 1988 marketing for the film. (1988)
(Courtesy of MGM. Found at IMDb)

“Killer Klowns From Outer Space” (1988) (PlutoTV, Flex, Paramount+, Rentable)

The B-movie of all B-movies, with a videogame along the way, “Killer Klowns From Outer Space,” is a classic 80’s horror movie with a perfect amount of cheesiness and special effects.

If you have never ever seen any horror movie before, this is probably the perfect one to start with.


Set in a small coastal town in California, these alien Klowns arrive, and they want to turn you into cotton candy. . “Killer Klowns From Outer Space” has everything a good horror movie needs: entertaining special effects, hilarious campiness, a variety of comedic deaths with varying gore and a fun twist on the slasher/monster trope. 

As a fantastic introduction to horror, this is a totally fun film with the best theme song in any horror movie. Warning: Violence, mild gore


“NOPE” (2022) (Rentable)

Jordan Peele, comedian and current big name in horror, strikes again with this recently released film. Once again, there is a moral to the story that makes its presence known almost immediately.

Emerald “Em” Haywood (Keke Palmer) and Otis “OJ” Haywood Jr. (Daniel Kaluuya) discuss what to do with the “problem” at their ranch. Not only ensure the survival of them and their horses but also their family-owned ranch. (2022)
(Courtesy of Universal Pictures)

A brother and sister inherit their family’s Hollywood horse farm after a freak accident takes out their father, and they begin to realize they aren’t alone. An unearthly presence decided to make claim to their home as its own territory, and the siblings need to find a way to prove it. 

I really wish I could talk about the plot, but any details would essentially ruin it. I can certainly say the threat is chilling in nature and some of the perspective shots used are extremely eerie.

This film has a good amount of relief humor, extremely tense scenes and a great spin to an old genre to keep in fresh. In about 15 years we will talk about Jordan Peele the same way we talk about John Carpenter, Sam Raimi or Wes Craven when it comes to iconic horror directors.

Warning: Blood, gore 

“The Thing” (1982) (Peacock, Rentable)

“The Thing” is one of those horror movies that comes out only so many times. John Carpenter, famous for “Halloween,” “Prince of Darkness” and “In the Mouth of Madness,” directs this tense sci-fi horror starring the definition of 80’s classic action hero, Kurt Russel.

While this film may feel like a precursor to “Among Us,” the special effects and paranoia leave a lasting effect on viewers, even if they aren’t trapped in an isolated base in Antarctica. This theatrical poster was released as part of the 1982 marketing for the film. (1982)
(Courtesy of Universal Pictures. Found at IMDb)

A group of researchers stationed in Antarctica discover someone among them is something else. They need to figure out who it is before they are all assimilated, or before it escapes. I absolutely love this movie and have rewatched it multiple times to figure out the exact timeline of when events occur. 

Its special effects are top tier, the story is nihilistically awesome and the short story that this is based on is even more terrifying than the actual film.

Warning: Blood, gore, horrifying imagery, paranoia, disturbing imagery

“Possum” (2018) (Tubi, Vudu, Amazon Prime, Flex, Freevee, Rentable)

What is fear? Sometimes it’s a brutal, unstoppable force or a jumpscare that causes an instinctual reaction. “Possum” is a film of uncanny dread. 

Philip (Sean Harris) is a mentally unstable and disgraced puppeteer who is constantly suffering through episodes of hallucinations and must somehow stop his monstrous puppet.This psychological horror follows his struggles. (2018)
(Courtesy of Dark Sky Films)

After being fired, a disgraced puppeteer returns to his hometown to find that schoolboys have been vanishing. He knows who did it, and he is afraid. His puppet is alive, and he must destroy it before it gets to him. 

Directed by Matthew Holness, notable for “Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace,” “Possum” is based on one of his short stories. He is normally a comedy writer, but his foray to horror is another example of horror and comedy being part of the same coin.

This disturbing film may lack the drama of other titles, but it nails fear on the head. This one is a little niche, so watch it in the dark and keep your eyes peeled because it will stick with you for a long while after watching.

Warning: disturbing imagery


Thank you for looking at the list, and I hope I have helped open your mind with some hidden horror films. Here are some honorable mentions.

Honorable mention films: “The Crow,” “Clue,” “Deathgasm,” “Komodo,” “Hellraiser,” (2022) “Gyo,” “Zombeavers,” “Goodnight Mommy” (2014), “Brain Damage”

Honorable mention tv shows: “Ghost Stories (dubbed),” “Another,” “Dragula,” “Tales From the Darkside,” “Shiki”

Honorable Mention books/mangas/graphic novels: “House of Leaves,” “Frozen Hell,” “Uzumaki,” “Blackwater,” “Wytches,” “From Hell,” “The Resurrectionist,” “All Tomorrows”

Honorable Mention Video games: “Alien Isolation,” “Inscryption,” “Frost Punk,” “Bloodborne,” “Dead Space,” “Clocktower”