Retro Horror Films that you might have missed

by Sigal Rossenthal | created - 02 Dec 2011 | updated - 03 Dec 2011 | Public

A list (far from complete) of old VHS horror flicks I used to rent from my local store that nobody else would touch. Forgotten classics? Probably not. But fun b-z movies nonetheless? Damn straight.

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1. Of Unknown Origin (1983)

R | 88 min | Horror

6.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A man who recently completed rebuilding a townhouse becomes obsessed with a rat infestation until it becomes an interspecies duel.

Director: George P. Cosmatos | Stars: Peter Weller, Jennifer Dale, Lawrence Dane, Kenneth Welsh

Votes: 2,113 | Gross: $1.08M

Corporate go-getter Peter Weller really hates rats, and after encountering one in his home, his life escalates into a violent battle to the death that gives the term "flip this house" a whole new meaning.

2. Q (1982)

R | 93 min | Crime, Horror, Mystery

6.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

NYPD detectives Shepard and Powell are working on a bizarre case of a ritualistic Aztec murder. Meanwhile, something big is attacking people of New York and only greedy small time crook Jimmy Quinn knows where its lair is.

Director: Larry Cohen | Stars: David Carradine, Michael Moriarty, Candy Clark, Richard Roundtree

Votes: 4,825

Q stands for Quetzalcoatl the ancient Mayan God! It also stands for Quirky, which describes this film to a "T".

3. The Supernaturals (1986)

R | 91 min | Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi

4.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.3/10 X  

Nichelle Nichols is an army sergeant who leads her platoon into the woods of the deep south on a training exercise. Unfortunately, it is the site where a bunch of yankee soldiers murdered a... See full summary »

Director: Armand Mastroianni | Stars: Maxwell Caulfield, Nichelle Nichols, Talia Balsam, Bradford Bancroft

Votes: 517

In a plot similar to Dog Soldiers, a military unit runs afoul of evil supernatural forces! In this case undead soldiers from the past who are pissed off!

4. Sole Survivor (1984)

R | 85 min | Horror, Thriller

6.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A lone survivor of a plane crash is haunted by a feeling unworthy of survival. Dead people start coming after her to collect her.

Director: Thom Eberhardt | Stars: Anita Skinner, Kurt Johnson, Robin Davidson, Caren L. Larkey

Votes: 837

Based loosely on James Herbert's Survivor (which itself was an homage to An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge by Ambrose Bierce) this 80s horror flick about a lone survivor of a plane crash who miraculously survives and is hunted by death, is a predecessor to the Final Destination films of late.

5. The Stuff (1985)

R | 87 min | Comedy, Horror, Sci-Fi

5.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A delicious, mysterious goo that oozes from the earth is marketed as the newest dessert sensation, but the tasty treat rots more than teeth when zombie-like snackers who only want to consume more of the strange substance at any cost begin infesting the world.

Director: Larry Cohen | Stars: Michael Moriarty, Andrea Marcovicci, Garrett Morris, Paul Sorvino

Votes: 10,056

Another Larry Cohen film for the list (Q being the first): The Stuff is a completely bonkers 80s horror flick about killer Ice Cream, featuring some of the most hysterically weird plotting in the history of cinema. They even use the exact same room Wes Craven used for Johnny Depp's death scene in Nightmare on Elmstreet. Only instead of a gush of blood, this time killer ice-cream engulfs a man, swallowing him whole.

6. Creepozoids (1987)

R | 72 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

3.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.6/10 X  

A group of survivors try to avoid the battles of World War III; when they try to escape to the quiet lands, they encounter something much more deadly.

Director: David DeCoteau | Stars: Linnea Quigley, Ken Abraham, Michael Aranda, Richard L. Hawkins

Votes: 1,517 | Gross: $0.01M

Super ambitious, slimy and gooey monster mayhem from the director of Dr. Alien, Puppet Master III and Test Tube Teens from the Year 2000! Great box art promised more than what was delivered, but hey, it was the 80s.

7. Demonoid (1980)

R | 78 min | Horror

4.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.4/10 X  

A British woman visits her husband at a Mexican mine that he is attempting to reopen and discovers that the workers refuse to enter the mine because of an ancient curse. The couple enters ... See full summary »

Director: Alfredo Zacarías | Stars: Samantha Eggar, Stuart Whitman, Roy Jenson, Narciso Busquets

Votes: 601

Before it was a Bit-Torrent tracker it was a B-Movie from the very depths of hell! Notable for Samantha Eggar, killer detached hands and being a crazy Mexican horror film with some of the best box art in VHS history.

8. The Dark (1979)

R | 92 min | Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller

4.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.2/10 X  

Someone, or something, is on an indiscriminate killing and mutilation spree during night-time. Frustrated by the clueless police, the father of the first victim is looking for answers, no matter how far fetched they are.

Directors: John 'Bud' Cardos, Tobe Hooper | Stars: William Devane, Cathy Lee Crosby, Richard Jaeckel, Keenan Wynn

Votes: 910

Exactly as the box art promises, we got aliens from space shooting lasers from their eyes and blowing people to smithereens. No seriously. The stunts for some of the scenes are pretty crazy and how many slasher movies feature serial killers shooting eye lasers? Come on.

9. Slugs (1988)

R | 89 min | Horror

5.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5/10 X  

Killer slugs on the rampage in a rural community.

Director: Juan Piquer Simón | Stars: Michael Garfield, Kim Terry, Philip MacHale, Alicia Moro

Votes: 3,129

From the director of Pieces, here comes the adaptation of the best-selling novel SLUGS. More hilarious and mind-warping plotting in the same vein as The Stuff, with some fun, gooey special effects and lots of 80s cheese.

10. Biohazard (1985)

R | 84 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

2.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 2.8/10 X  

Alien monster uses a psychic to try to take over the earth.

Director: Fred Olen Ray | Stars: Aldo Ray, Angelique Pettyjohn, William Fair, David O'Hara

Votes: 496

Angelique Pettyjohn displays her considerable talents in this hilarious b-movie Humanoids from the Deep wannabe, that brings a whole new level of cheese to the field of 80s horror. Makes Troll 2 look like The Shawshank Redemption

11. The Vindicator (1986)

R | 93 min | Action, Horror, Sci-Fi

5.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.1/10 X  

An employee of a secret company operation becomes the victim of the company's special weapons project. He is transformed into a robotic killing machine that, because of his programming must... See full summary »

Director: Jean-Claude Lord | Stars: David McIlwraith, Teri Austin, Richard Cox, Pam Grier

Votes: 610

Before there was Robocop there was this Canadian classic featuring a man turned into a robot monster of scrap metal crap who rips and rends his way through a whole ton of bad guys on his way to ultimate vengeance.

12. Murder by Phone (1982)

R | 95 min | Horror, Thriller, Mystery

5.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

A disgruntled phone company employee develops a device whereby those answering a phone can be murdered, and it's up to Nat Bridger to stop the killer.

Director: Michael Anderson | Stars: Richard Chamberlain, John Houseman, Sara Botsford, Robin Gammell

Votes: 479

Has to be one of the funniest, most jaw-dropping horror movies in cinema history. Fast forward through the crappy scenes to get right to the meat and potatoes of people exploding via telephone call. It's like someone saw Scanners and wanted to make it into a detective thriller. When Telemarketers Attack!

13. Shriek of the Mutilated (1974)

R | 86 min | Horror

3.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.2/10 X  

A group of college students are led by their professor into the mountains in search of the Yeti. The students start to be killed off one by one.

Director: Michael Findlay | Stars: Alan Brock, Jennifer Stock, Tawm Ellis, Michael Harris

Votes: 634

Man with a cover like that, who could possibly resist renting this classic? Well most of the people at my local video store. But not me! No, I had to rent all of them and I expected this to be pretty awful and it exceeded even my lowest expectations. This flick is just roll on the floor laughing fantastic. It's Z-movie supremacy on the same level as Rock and Roll Nightmare. Watch out for those sneaker-wearing Yetis hanging out in Hudson's Bay and don't eat any meat you cannot identify.

14. Screamers (1979)

R | 81 min | Action, Adventure, Horror

5.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5/10 X  

Aquatic creatures threaten the existence of a mysterious island.

Director: Sergio Martino | Stars: Barbara Bach, Claudio Cassinelli, Richard Johnson, Beryl Cunningham

Votes: 1,130

There was actually several variations of this one I've seen over the years, including one called "Screamers" promising people turned inside out, but in reality this is actually an adaptation of Lovecraft's Shadow over Innsmouth mixed with an adaptation of the Island of Dr. Moreau.

15. Burial Ground: The Nights of Terror (1981)

Unrated | 85 min | Horror

5.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

A professor opens a crypt and reanimates rotten zombies. The zombies attack a jet-set-group which is celebrating a party in a villa nearby...

Director: Andrea Bianchi | Stars: Karin Well, Gianluigi Chirizzi, Simone Mattioli, Antonella Antinori

Votes: 4,073

This one had a different cover in my store, it featured a drawing of a zombie's face with the sinew all hanging out and it was staring at you with this constipated look, how could I resist the rental? And boy was I glad I checked it out. This flick is a laugh out loud freak show, with non-stop gags and goofy zombie gore from those Italian maestros. Hilarious stuff.

16. The Being (1983)

R | 82 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

3.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.7/10 X  

A mutated creature is wreaking havoc in a small town in Idaho. A police chief and a government scientist team up to save their rural town from its menace.

Director: Jackie Kong | Stars: Martin Landau, Marianne Gordon, Bill Osco, José Ferrer

Votes: 856

From the classic Toxic Waste is Bad Mmmkay horror flicks of the 80s comes THE BEING, where slimy, goo-covered hands and eyes stare out from badly lit corners and rednecks get roped by tentacles of terror. Some truly outstanding moments of bad dialog make this mucky monster in the dark flick entertaining beyond its years.

17. Spasms (1983)

R | 90 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

5.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

A gigantic serpent is captured on a remote island and shipped to an American college for experimentation. A British millionaire and an American scientist find themselves in hot pursuit of ... See full summary »

Director: William Fruet | Stars: Peter Fonda, Oliver Reed, Kerrie Keane, Al Waxman

Votes: 736

Nobody did bad horror like Canadians did bad horror and after the success of Scanners, Canucks were just racing to the screen with as many funny elaborate death sequences as could be imagined. Enter: Spasms. Exit your food from your mouth. Because this one is a spit-take fiesta of B-movie gold. From the jaw-dropping ending monster to the trademark death scenes, to the incredible feats of WTF plotting, this one has got it all.

18. Monster (1980)

R | 98 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

2.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 2.8/10 X  

A rural Colombian village is attacked by a horrible sea serpent, aroused by industrial pollution of a nearby lake. Based on a real event that took place in June of 1971.

Directors: Kenneth Hartford, Herbert L. Strock | Stars: James Mitchum, John Carradine, Philip Carey, Anthony Eisley

Votes: 507

Based on a true story where a Godzilla attacked a small town in Colombia, Monster is one of those movies that featured an interesting monster the cover (in my case it was a giger-looking mechanoid man-sized monster) that doesn't appear at all in the movie. Instead we get Puff the magic Paper Mache monster! And man, is it fun to watch this Macy's Day float attack folks and eat them up. And it's based on a true story! So you know it really happened! Right?

19. The Jar (1984)

85 min | Horror

2.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 2.8/10 X  

A motorist who comes upon an auto accident finds a bottle at the scene. The bottle contains a demon who proceeds to possess him.

Director: Bruce Toscano | Stars: Gary Wallace, Karin Sjöberg, Robert Gerald Witt, Dean Schoepter

Votes: 186

Z-grade horror classic. The Jar is often called one of the worst movies ever made, and you really have to see it to believe it. It has a great, iconic looking cover that promises a sort of blob-monster and what you get...well...what you get is something "else". A lot of it is laugh out loud funny, and it really deserves it's place amongst the best/worst crowd. Good fun, if you're a movie masochist like myself.

20. The Dead Pit (1989)

R | 95 min | Horror

5.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

A renegade doctor is shot dead and entombed with his fiendish experiments in the basement of an abandoned wing of a mental hospital. Twenty years later, a mysterious woman is admitted with ... See full summary »

Director: Brett Leonard | Stars: Jeremy Slate, Cheryl Lawson, Stephen Gregory Foster, Danny Gochnauer

Votes: 1,389

Hard to believe IMDb account doesn't use the iconic pop up cover to Dead Pit with the great zombie artwork and hilarious flashing green eyes. One of the most memorable VHS covers in history, this flick has it all. Gore galore, zombies, boobs, babes, mental patients, the only thing it's missing is a solid plot. Not a classic of the genre by any stretch of the imagination, but fun B-movie horror from a director who actually seemed to give a damn.