Revealed! The best horror movies you have never heard of

Let horror expert Matt Glasby take you on an unknown journey of terror.
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This week, we’ve got The Fear
Were you one of the lucky ones that managed to get an Xbox Series X (www.shortlist.com/news/xbox-series-x-specs-details-401893) or PlayStation 5 (www.shortlist.com/news/ps5-news-details-release-date-402019) this week? You were? Well, we salute you for your speed as the consoles were rarer than Glastonbury tickets when pre-orders went up – and it’s not hard to see why.
Both consoles look ace even if, for us at least, we will have to look at them from afar for the foreseeable future and wallow in our best Konami games (www.shortlist.com/news/the-12-greatest-konami-video-games) feature instead.
But we can’t complain too much. This week, we were among the first in the world to get details about Samsung’s smartest new phone (www.shortlist.com/news/samsung-galaxy-s20-fan-edition-402441) , geeked out over the adorable LEGO Baby Yoda (www.shortlist.com/news/lego-the-child-star-wars-details-402439-1-402439) and our collective jaws dropped when we watched the new WandaVision trailer (www.shortlist.com/news/wandavision-trailer-details-402437) .
We also did a Sean Connery style eyebrow raise at the news that Tom Hardy is the frontrunner for the new James Bond gig (www.shortlist.com/lists/new-james-bond-401861) , wiped our eyes in disbelief that Tom Cruise is definitely going to space (www.shortlist.com/news/tom-cruise-space-new-movie-details-402440) for his next movie and found time to up our best Netflix films (www.shortlist.com/lists/best-netflix-movies-401027) guide to 50 movies.
One of the highlights of the week was finding out that Host, the best horror movie in yonks, is going to be released in cinemas nationwide in December (www.shortlist.com/news/host-horror-movie-details-402442) . More people need to see this movie, because it’s an essential watch. If you can’t wait, you can still check it out on Shudder (https://amzn.to/32Vkba6) .
This got us thinking: what horror movies are out there that, for some reason, have not been given the credit they deserve?
Lucky, we had horror expert Matt Glasby on hand to dig into the nightmarish world of horror cinema to identify the following frightening flicks you’ve (probably) never heard of…
The five best horror movies you’ve never heard of By Matt Glasby, author of The Book of Horror: The Anatomy of Fear in Film
Don’t worry, we’ve been there, too. Endlessly scrolling through your streaming platform of choice, trying to find something that will truly scare us. To help, we thought that we would enlist an expert to guide you through your journey of cinematic horror.
Film journalist Matt Glasby is the person you need to speak to if you want to know about abject terror. He lives and breathes horror and his latest book is testament to this.
The Book of Horror: The Anatomy of Fear in Film is a look at the movies over the last 60 years that have horrified the world. He looks at the films that prickle the skin and asks the key question: just how scary are they?
Alongside striking images by Barney Bodoano, Glasby examines over 100 horror movies that have thrilled many through the years, charting their scariest moments with infographics and identifying the related works you need to see.
We are lucky to have this exclusive shortlist from the author, where he highlights five movies that you haven’t heard of that will terrify you.
You have been warned…
The Book of Horror: The Anatomy of Fear in Film by Matt Glasby with illustrations by Barney Bodoano is available to buy now (https://amzn.to/330j8pn) and comes highly recommended for horror fans.
1
Ghost Story Of Yotsuya In Tōkaidō (1959)
Even J-horror fans don’t seem to know this short, sharp shocker directed by Nakagawa Nobu. Based on a 19th-century kabuki play, it tells the story of ruthless samurai Lemon Tamiya (Shigeru Amachi) and his servant Naosuke (Shuntarô Emi) – and no it doesn’t explain why he’s called Lemon – who decide to murder his wife and her masseur. While the first half is taken up with the usual stabby samurai business, the second half is genuinely frightening, as the victims’ disfigured ghosts come back to torment their killers, again and again. The result was a clear inspiration on Ring director Hideo Nakata, a man who knows a thing or two about browning the collective trouser.
2
Who Can Kill A Child? (1976)
Written and directed by Narciso Ibáñez Serrador, this unsung classic of the killer-kid subgenre is oddly obscure – especially when you consider there are 11 Children of the Corns. Perhaps that’s because it starts with distressing news footage and takes ages to get going. But stick with it, because it’s one of those rare films that has the courage to take its central concept right to the wire. When annoying Brit abroad Tom (Lewis Fiander) and his pregnant wife Evelyn (Prunella Ransome) land on a sun-baked Spanish island, they wonder where all the adults have got to. While there’s no prizes for guessing what’s really going on, the way events gradually engulf the characters is both convincing and deeply chilling.
3
Angst (1983)
Banned across Europe for its brutal violence, Austrian director Gerald Kargl’s first and only film deserves critical re-evaluation. It follows a nameless murderer (Erwin Leder) as he’s released from prison, breaks into a house, then slaughters the residents one by one. What sets the film apart is way it forces us to experience things from the killer’s skewed perspective. Using a special rig developed by cinematographer/co-writer/editor Zbigniew Rybczyński, the camera is often mounted at Leder’s shoulder so we see the world as he does, while a flat voiceover, based on the confessions of real-life serial killers and spoken by a different actor, unspools in his head. After 83 traumatic minutes, you’ll feel like you’ve lost the plot too.
4
Housewife (2017)
Turkish director Can Evrenol’s debut Baskin (2015) made waves among strong-stomached horror fans. But Housewife, his lesser-known follow-up, might be even better: a lurid Freudian fever dream that loops endlessly back on itself. Having survived the murder of her sister and father – by her mother! – as a child, the grown-up Holly (Clémantine Poidatz) is just barely holding things together. But when she goes to see a charismatic cult leader (David Sakurai) speak, she finds herself plunged back into her childhood terrors. Although fans will recognise dashes of Dario Argento and Mario Bava, what makes the film so effective is that you never know where it’s going, veering from Lynchian nightmare to Lovecraftian apocalypse without warning.
5
The Devil’s Doorway (2018)
This spooky found-footage effort from Northern Irish writer/director Aislinn Clarke spikes its scares with righteous rage. Set in a Magdalene laundry – essential a Catholic workhouse for “fallen” women – in 1960, and openly furious at those who would allow such places to exist, it follows priests Father Thomas (Lalor Roddy) and Father John (Ciaran Flynn) as they attempt to verify a miracle, recording everything on film as they go. When ghostly figures start appearing in the darkness and they find a girl chained up in the basement, however, miracles are the last thing on their minds. As Roddy says, ruefully, “Doing this kind of work doesn’t bring you closer to god.” At least not in a good way.
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