(Slightly) Hidden Horror Gems


Boscoe Slann


Even though Halloween is over, there’s never not a good time to watch a horror movie. With the newest Halloween movie that came out last month, it seems like it might be a good time to look at some lesser-known ones. That’s why we’re going examine some more obscure horror films. Spoilers ahead.

We’ll start with Basket Case. Basket Case is a movie released in 1982, filmed by Frank Henenlotter. It follows a man named Duane Bradley, arriving in New York City with a mysterious wicker basket. He ends up staying in a cheap hotel. Later on, when he brings food into his room, he opens the basket. The basket ends up having a weird monster inside. His name is Belial. Belial is Duane’s conjoined “twin” that was detached from him when he was a kid. It’s also revealed that he and his brother are telepathically connected, which ends up affecting the story later on. After Belial murders his brother’s girlfriend, Duane grabs him, and takes him back to the apartment. This ends up with Belial attacking Duane, having them falling out of the window. They’re presumed dead, but in the sequel, it’s found out that they were just unconscious. Why do I bring up Basket Case? Well, it was actually was extremely groundbreaking. Since it was a cheaper flick, they had to film the all of the scenes outside in public.  This led to scenes filmed in the outside looking pretty dirty, but it really shows how New York was in the 80s. The whole film just had a D.I.Y feel to it. It also inspired many films for people to come. While doing great on all of the midnight screenings, it only fully blew up when it was released to home video. So, if you’re into body horror and weirder horror movies, you should watch this movie.

This next one is more considered a classic, but isn’t super well known today. It’s more of the Crimson Ghost himself being known, than the movie. The Crimson Ghost is an almost 3-hour film released in 1946, directed by William Witney and Fred C. Bannon. It follows two professors at a college, dealing with the Crimson Ghost trying to steal a device named the Cyclotrode, as well as the mystery of who is the Crimson Ghost. The device’s intended purpose is to detect and repel atomic bombs from the area. The ghost is just like most criminal geniuses, trying to get the device for mass destruction. With the power of the device, he could take down the entire world’s power. The story ends is at a warehouse where they think the device is held, but it ends up that he’s hiding in a completely different place. Using a dog to track down one of their colleagues, they end up at a mansion hideout where the ghost and his henchmen are holding a much larger Cyclotrode. After the device is shot and defused, the real ghost is revealed to be one of their other coworkers, Professor Parker. This movie was critically acclaimed by critics, lots of 5 stars. The film really wasn’t groundbreaking for the genre of horror. The design of the Crimson Ghost in this movie helped jump start a genre. That genre is horror-punk, which was mainly led by The Misfits. They used the Crimson Ghost in an album cover of theirs, which immediately became a mascot for them. It made the Crimson Ghost itself pop-culture. But if you’re into older and longer movies, check this flick out.

The next one gets really weird. Then again, what do you expect, it’s a Nicolas Cage film. Mandy is a 2018 film and probably is the least obscure out of the different movies here. This movie was directed by Panos Cosmatos, at a run time of 2 hours and 1 minute. This film follows two lovers, Red and well… Mandy. The two live somewhere near the Shadow Mountains. One day while Mandy is on her way to work, she walks past a van carrying the Children of the New Dawn. The Children of the New Dawn are essentially a hippie cult lead by the egomaniac, Jeremiah Sand. Sand falls in love with Mandy, taken aback by her beauty. After Sand asks one of his men to kidnap Mandy, they end up getting help from a demonic biker gang, the Black Skulls. They end up taking both Red and Mandy back to their base. At the base, Mandy is burned to death in front of a tied-up Red. After escaping, Red goes out to find his weapons and hunt down the bikers and cultists. He slaughters his way through their base and finds a way to get to the Children of the New Dawn. In the end he sets Sand on fire, giving him an ironic end. This movie is probably one of the greater ones in the past few years. It ends up that even in the modern day, Nicolas Cage is a great horror actor. This wasn’t groundbreaking or something that changed the genre, but it’s a fun movie nevertheless. If you’re the type of person into weird movies, especially with crazy acting from Nicolas Cage, this movie is the one for you.

This could go on for forever, there are so many hidden gems out there that a lot of people haven’t even heard of. Basket Case, Mandy and the Crimson Ghost are just the tip of the iceberg. If you want to go deeper into horror movies, look some up through the internet. You’ll be surprised by a lot of funny, as well as some surprisingly great ones.