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    Heads' Guide to Cult Horror!

    Heads' Guide to Cult Horror!

    Slasher, splatter or supernatural—pick your poison

     By Paul Armentano

     

     

    “You wanna see something really scary?” 

    -Dan Aykroyd, Twilight Zone: The Movie

     

    Searching for a horror film this Halloween that genuinely horrifies? Then fire up the bong, turn down the lights, and prepare to scare yourself silly. Here are ten overlooked horror gems that are guaranteed to leave you and your friends repeating: “It’s only a movie; it’s only a movie…”

     


    Heads Lifestyle: Warlock Moon

    Warlock Moon (1973)

    Before there was The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, there was Warlock Moon. Convinced that the makers of this similarly-themed 70s horror cheapo had ripped off their script, Chainsaw producers rushed to get their film in theatres before their alleged plot-purloining rivals. They lost the battle—Warlock Moon debuted in '73 while Chainsaw assaulted filmgoers in '74—but won the war. Warlock Moon rotted on the vine in distribution limbo while Texas went on to become one of the most prominent (and best) horror films in cinematic history. Thanks to streaming services, modern audiences now finally have an opportunity to assess ‘the competition.’

    Available on: Prime Video, Shout Factory TV

    Watch the full movie HERE 

    Watch the Trailer HERE

     

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    Heads Lifestyle: Devils Time Five

    Devil Times Five (1975)

    “Never has death become so savage or survival so hopeless,” promises the tagline from this 1975 obscurity. Traumatically, Devil Times Five delivers. A young nun and her ragtag group of prepubescent sociopaths—including a 12-year-old Leif Garret—torture and terrorize vacationing adults at a remote mountain lodge. Yes, really. Forget Stephen King’s The Shining, watching this malevolent exercise in misplaced morality as a kid gave me goosebumps for the next ten years. Devil Times Five remains hands down one of the most disturbing and mind-warping pieces of celluloid to emerge out of the sick and twisted 1970s.

    Available on: Prime Video

    Watch the full movie HERE 

    Watch the Trailer HERE

     

     

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    Heads Lifestyle: Massacre at Central High

    Massacre at Central High (1976)

    A new kid in town stands up for Central High’s adolescent dispossessed by exterminating the school’s loathsome bullies and insufferable ‘in-crowd’ in this long-forgotten 1970s horror-thriller. But when the once downtrodden prove to be just as nasty as their former oppressors, the new kid elects to off the entire student body during the senior dance. Think this plot sounds eerily similar to Christian Slater’s late-80s star-launching vehicle Heathers? Me too. Hard to find nowadays, but why not check out the DVD and judge for yourself?

    Watch the full movie HERE 

    Watch the Trailer HERE

     

     

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    Heads Lifestyle: Last House on Dead End Street

    Last House on Dead End Street (1977)

    Shot and shelved in the early 1970s and then re-titled and repackaged in '77 in an effort to cash in on the success of Wes Craven’s infamous Last House on the Left, LHODES is arguably the most notorious and—if viewed repeatedly—brain-damaging of the '70s slasher flicks. A wannabe porn director decides he can make more money selling “snuff” than smut, so he and his film crew start slaughtering their ‘cast members’ in immeasurably cruel and vile ways. Strangely psychedelic, visually shocking and without any artistic or socially redeeming value, LHODES eventually gained an unlikely underground following among audiences who believed the fictional film to be too inept and incoherent not to be the real thing. LHODES has become the Holy Grail for connoisseurs of obscure and sleazy '70s horror. 

    Available on: Tubi TV

    Watch the Trailer HERE

     

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    Heads Lifestyle: Dead and Buried

    Dead and Buried (1981)

    They say you can never go home again. Especially when your hometown is full of creepy fisherman with a bizarre affinity for black-and-white photography, voodoo and missing corpses. Hailed upon its release as “the most psychologically shocking and emotionally devastating film since Psycho,” Dead and Buried is a moody, first-rate thriller from former Alien creators Ronald Shusett and Dan O’Bannon. Why the picture still remains largely unknown among moviegoers is something of a mystery, but there’s no doubt that audiences fortunate enough to catch a midnight showing won’t be forgetting Dead and Buried anytime soon.  

    Available on: Shudder TV

    Watch the Trailer HERE

     

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    Heads Lifestyle: Evil Dead II

    Evil Dead II (1987)

    The ultimate stoner fright-fest! Forget Army of Darkness (or virtually anything director Sam Raimi and ED II star Bruce Campbell have done since), Evil Dead II provides horror buffs with the first and last word in psychotropic cinema. Planning a party this Halloween? Raimi’s cinematic assault on the senses will have even your sober friends tripping. The DVD comes with loads of extras, why not reacquaint yourself this October with the high water mark of '80s horror.

    Available on: Hulu

    Watch the Trailer HERE

     

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    Heads Lifestyle: Audition

    Audition (1999)

    Sure we’ve all had dates from Hell but leave it to Japanese film provocateur Takashi Miike to make the single life truly horrifying. A long-time widower discovers in gruesome detail that not all girls are ‘sugar and spice and everything nice’ in this disturbing psychodrama about the shy, beautiful psycho next door. Though for the most part more reserved than some of Miike’s better known work (Ichi the Killer, Visitor Q), Audition’s gut-wrenching finale will leave you watching with one eye open and have your friends running for higher ground. You’ve seen The Ring, now let Takashi Miike introduce you to the true dark side of Japanese horror.

    Available on: AMC+

    Watch the Trailer HERE 

     

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    Heads Lifestyle: Dawn of the Dead

    Dawn of the Dead (2004)

    This 2004 remake of George Romero 1978 classic goes for the jugular and never lets go. Sporting a superb cast (Ving Rhames and Sarah Polley star), clever direction, over-the-top special effects, and the most stomach-squirming opening sequence you’ll ever see, Dawn of the Dead is—for my money—the quintessential modern American horror extravaganza and sets the standard by which all future horror films should be judged.

    Available on: Prime Video

    Watch the Trailer HERE  

     

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    Heads Lifestyle: The Machinist

    The Machinist (2004)


    Not a horror film per se, but this overlooked psychological thriller is one of the smartest and eeriest motion pictures to come along in years. Batman Begins’ once buff Christian Bale dwindles to an eye-popping 100 pounds (yes, really!) to portray an emotionally tortured sheet-welder who hasn’t slept in a year in this modern adaptation of Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. Dark, unrelenting, and with a plot twist you won’t soon forget, The Machinist will hold you on the edge of your seat for 100+ minutes and leave your mind racing for long after.

    Available on: Prime Video

    Watch the Trailer HERE  

     

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    Heads Lifestyle: Hostel

    Hostel (2005)

    Director Eli Roth knows what sells: in this case, drugs, gore, and beautiful women. Formulaic? Sure. Twisted, sick, and frightening as Hell? That too! Three friends backpacking across Europe in search of sex and drugs stumble upon a remote Eastern European village where torturing and killing Americans is considered high art. That’s when the real ‘fun’ begins. Perhaps the goriest studio film since Dawn of the Dead, Hostel remains curiously and perversely entertaining for those jaded few—and I do mean few—who can stomach it.    

    Available on: Prime Video

    Watch the Trailer HERE  

     



    Paul Armentano is the author of Stranger Than Fiction: The 99 Cent Video Review Guide to the Most Bizarre and Intriguing Documentary Films Ever Made.

     

     

     

     

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