In a time filled with anxiety and fear due to political, economic, and health pressures, many people might say they have all the terror they need in their lives. I posit, however, that we can refocus our fears and anxieties onto a subject matter that was literally made for this: horror movies. Forget your everyday fears and hop into something supernatural with these hidden movie gems on Hoopla!
Coming out of the gate strong, I would like to introduce you to Leslie Vernon. Taking place in a world where our horror icons such as Freddy, Michael, and Jason are real people, Leslie is a fanboy. So much so that he decides to make his own legacy by hiring a documentary film crew to follow him as he plans a killing spree to rival his favorite slashers. This movie plays with traditional slasher tropes in a fun new way with a knockout cast and cameos. Seriously, I probably should have led with them: Robert Englund, Kane Hodder, and Zelda Rubenstein. Behind the Mask is a dark comedy that has a cult following that would make Leslie proud.
We’re gonna veer away from comedy at a sharp turn with this one, but there will be more to cheer you up after this movie. Based on a true story that took place right here in Indiana in 1965, The Girl Next Door is about the torture and murder of Sylvia Likens, though the character based off of her goes by the name Meg. Meg and her sister are sent to live with their aunt while their mother travels for work, but their aunt has a mean streak a mile wide and takes an instant dislike to Meg. The resulting story truly is the definition of horror. It is available as an eBook, eAudiobook, and movie. There is a trigger warning for sexual abuse that comes with this title, so please take care and watch something lighthearted after.
A personal favorite, Nurse (originally titled Nurse 3-D) reaches truly beautiful levels of camp. You’re not going to have any life-altering revelations with this one, but it’s fun through and through. Abby Russell really has a thing for unfaithful men, in that she really likes to kill them. When a new young nurse straight out of med school joins Abby’s workplace, she thinks she’s found a new best friend. When things don’t work out the way Abby wants them to, she starts to get a liiiittle unstable, resulting in bodies strewn everywhere. This is a trashy B-movie, so grab a snack and settle in.
What do you watch if you want to watch a horror movie, but your family member or partner wants to watch a romantic movie? Philophobia. Damien is so afraid of commitment, he’s afraid to admit it to himself because that would be committing to the truth. When his girlfriend of 7 months invites him to meet her mom, Damien doesn’t know what to do. Luckily, a friend shows up for a bachelor party right before things start to go off the rails for him. While this movie might not have had much a budget, the filmography and color-palette aesthetic are certainly impressive. You won’t be terrified by this choice, nor will there be an obnoxious amount of saccharine, making this a good compromise.
Summer of 84 has made it to countless horror bloggers “Best Movies of 2018” lists but is relatively unknown by those outside of the genre fandom. Thirteen boys have gone missing over the last few years, and 15-year-old Davey thinks he knows who’s behind them. He teams up with friends to investigate his next door neighbor, a cop named Mackey. When Davey reveals his hand too early, things start to get personal as Mackey works quickly to eliminate the threat. If you’re looking for a way to ride the wave of 80s nostalgia going on right now, this should hit the spot.
While this choice may be more a crime drama than a traditional scary movie, there’s plenty to horrify in Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead. This tense, suffocating film follows a family through their bad decisions, bad luck, and a terrible accident. You won’t find any demons among the characters in this film, but you will see a dark side of humanity. The non-linear timeline and repeated scenes from different angles adds an element of slow-building dread as you discover how everything fits together.
Follow the exploits of Sam, a minimum wage pizza delivery driver, who accidentally stumbles into a Satanic sacrifice that the whole neighborhood is in on while looking for her tip. Satanic Panic is a campy B-movie gorefest, filled with over the top deaths, in-fighting amongst the coven members, and smart observations about the class differences of the characters. As a directorial debut, this is a pretty solid film and I’m looking forward to Stardust’s next films.
Crystal Lake Memories holds the honor of being the only true documentary on this list. If you’re a big fan of the Friday the 13th movies, this should be right up your alley. Spanning all 12 of the films, jump into some never before seen footage, interviews, and conceptual art among other cool behind the scenes stuff.
This movie is an unsung classic from the 80s, and I honestly don’t understand why it doesn’t have more notoriety coming from the same decade as the classic slashers. Perhaps it’s because it takes the subject matter a bit more seriously, as it was originally rated “X” and viewed controversially. Michael Rooker plays the main character, Henry, an unrepentant serial killer that meets up with an old prison buddy and his sister. As the two men go on a murderous rampage, we learn just how heartless and cold a serial killer really is. There is a trigger warning for this movie as these characters are based on real serial killers.
We’re all familiar with the story of Frankenstein, where a doctor uses body parts from different sources to create a monster. What happens when each of those parts contains a consciousness? How do three people inside the same body handle it? After three women go out for a night of partying, they wake up to find themselves patchworked together, where they must learn to set aside their differences to reach a common goal: finding out who did this to them. Both funny and unique, Patchwork does a great job of letting these three women all have their own voices.
If you’re looking for a love letter to the traditional ghost story, We Are Still Here will satisfy that itch while throwing in some twists you didn’t see coming. Following the death of their son, a family moves to the New England area to start over. There’s definitely something off about this new house though. Also, the townspeople seem to be in on it. How will the family make it out alive? Well, I didn’t expect that ending.
What if the conspiracies about global secret societies were true? After watching an Internet video that mocks a conspiracy theorist, two documentary filmmakers set out to interview him. During the interview, one of the filmmakers starts to see where the theorist is coming from, while the other remains skeptical. Then, their subject disappears. Considering some of the current political climates and beliefs attached to them, The Conspiracy might explore some of those fears you didn’t know you had.
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