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5 Underground Horror Movies You Must See

August 10, 2010


Zachary Ankeny

It took an entire summer, as well as $100 worth of Blockbuster-fees; but I did it… I searched through the lower rung of cheap horror movies at my local rental-store. 85% of the films lived up to their cheap cover-art, lackluster casts, and un-appealing synopses. They were dead-fish. Rotten movies that only inspired a sense of resentment for picking one box instead of the next. A few, however, stood out.

When you rent every horror film available: you sift through the shit and find those little diamonds that were almost thrown out. These are the diamonds you cannot throw out.

5.  Blood Car

Set in the near future, this film has an odd approach to explaining our apocalyptic fate: gas prices! In fact, cars are obsolete in this story. Archie Andrews (played by Mike Brune) is a vegan who aspires to inventing an engine that runs on vegan smoothies. And it’s not working-out. The engine only roars to life after Archie accidentally cuts his hand and bleeds on it. Soon enough, the hippie naturalist who once hated the killing of any living being, is lured-in by the prospect of being the only one in town to have a running car. Now, anyone and anything filled with blood, becomes a possible fuel-source.

Listing this films nominations, wins, and nods would be impossible in this short article. The entire budget for the film was $125,000. And yes, it is evident in the fact that the film is grainy, the sound isn’t perfect and Anna Chlumsky (“My Girl”; “My Girl 2”) is the only actor you’ll recognize. Still, the story is wonderful enough to earn a spot on this list. By far, an underrated movie.


4.  Black Cadillac

Based on a true story, ‘Black Cadillac’ tells the story of four teenage boys who go out to a bar in the country to drink while underage and score some lonely girls stuck in a small town. A fight in the bar forces them to head back home prematurely. A hundred mile drive back to the city doesn’t seem that bad at first, but they’re being followed by a mysterious black Cadillac. Whoever—or whatever—is driving the Cadillac seems hell-bent on terrorizing the already frightened boys. After hours of taunting by the unknown car, the boys face facts and admit that they might never make it back home.

Honestly? The synopsis didn’t intrigue me either. The only reason I agreed to rent it, was the fact that the movie’s logo was a great design: ‘Black Cadillac’ in broad letters, formed into the chrome logo that was on the classic Caddies.  After watching the film once, I immediately went back and watched again. Then I watched it with the director’s commentary. Listening to the director re-live everything that happened on the night that inspired the story, added a new dimension to the film. The actors in the film were low-key as well—nobody too famous, but good actors. This helped develop the characters well—you have an instant relationship with every character introduced. Randy Quaid (‘Vacation;’ ‘Independence Day’) is, however, a recognizable face, and plays a character he was born to play: creepy local sheriff. Don’t go the rest of your life without seeing this movie… Like other films on this list, you can find it for a bargain-price.


3.  Terror Tract

A newlywed couple goes house-hunting with their trusty realtor, played by John Ritter (“Three’s Company”; “IT”). Problem? Every house shown by their nervous agent has a tawdry and murderous past, needing to be explained in-detail before the buyers can make their decision.

My girlfriend and I rented this movie for one reason only: John Ritter. He had just passed away, so seeing this movie on the shelf made us want to find out what the hell it was all about. Unknowingly, we stumbled onto one of the greatest horror-comedies ever made. It was the perfect balance of horror and comedy. Both mine and my girlfriend’s families were big in the real estate business at the time; so, of course, we loved the idea of a realtor that only had ‘haunted houses’ to show his clients.

When it comes to famous faces, this movie will take you by surprise… A low-budget, fun movie with appearances by actors and actresses that make you ask, “Hey, what other movies were they in?”A decade after first seeing it, I am still looking for any extra copies of the original release. Trust me… If you see it in your movies store, or in the bargain-bin—don’t pass it up.


2.  The Tripper

Hippies Beware! It’s the biggest outdoor concert of the year—a festival of peace and love. What could go wrong? Well… A homicidal maniac who thinks he’s Ronald Reagan could show up, bent on slaughtering all those filthy hippies.

From writer/director/actor/famous family/husband of Courtney Cox (David Arquette), comes this gem. Starring David Arquette, Courtney Cox, Jason Mewes, Balthazar Getty, and more: this film was David Arquettes subtly-political commentary on the state of our country. Drugs, hippies, the government, concert-promoters, and animal-rights activists; all are fair-game in Arquette’s satirical story. And really? Why wouldn’t you want to watch a b-movie that has an axe-wielding Ronald Reagan as the villain?


1: Carriers

Upon seeing the cover of this film, I was worried… “What is this? SyFy Channel’s version of 28 weeks later?” I commented to myself.  Thankfully, this presumption didn’t deter me from renting this movie.

First lines of the movie were, again, overused and bland: rules for surviving the post-apocalyptic world where disease has devastated mankind, teenage survivors learning how to cope with the new world… Even the cast-members kept me uneasy: Chris Pine (Star Trek [2009]) in the lead? Either this guy agreed to make a terrible movie at the height of his success, or this movie will hit a note. Honestly? I think he made the perfect decision. Though the movies starts slow, the plot, climax and ending made the movie.

I still can’t tell if this is a true-horror film, or a drama with horror-overtones, but the bottom line is: I actually cried at the end of the film. As a writer, my job is to create characters and put them into horrible situations; hoping that readers will grow an emotional connection to those characters. Then, I am supposed to torment them. This movie sucked me in and enamored me—I felt the characters and felt their pain.

Though this movie is fairly-hard to find; it shouldn’t be in the bargain-bin… This is an artistic piece that should be remembered and enjoyed by everyone.


I sifted through all the marked-down movies, the throw-aways, the bombs, the rotten tomatoes… Of all the bad scripts, worse actors and lacking budgets, these are the best. Rent them, purchase them, over-borrow them from your roommate—I don’t care. But watch them.


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  1. Kevin permalink

    Zachary, you dont know your underground horror. All these films are mainstream.

    Here is a list of underground horror.

    1. Fred Vogel’s August Underground.

    2. Murder Set Pieces

    3.A Serbian Film

    4. The Human Centipede

    5. Cannibal Holocaust

    • Kevin, I respect your opinion. You also provided some underground movies — In my opinion, these are movies that are “Must Watch” that most have not even heard of.

  2. Joel permalink

    A great movie that really isn’t so much horror as it is thriller would have to be the korean film (english subtitles) memories of a murder. You would have to go onto google and type in korean name for memories of a murder because i don’t remember it at this time.
    What it’s about:
    A serial killer is killing women to a song that airs on the radio only on rainy nights. Two detectives are searching deligintly (with one beyond obsessively) for the killer. The creepy parts come from when the women are out at night alone.

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