Monday, March 23, 2009

Top 11 Underrated Horror Movies (Videotape Era)

[Remember the video tape era? Before DVDs and the Internet you had to actually go the video store and rent videos to watch obscure movies. Well Insano Steve remembers and he's got an awesome list to prove it. Check out his list of 11 underrated horror movies of the video tape era!]

As you know, recently, Hollywood's been re-making every horror movie that I grew up on. This is pretty annoying because on the one hand, they have almost no chance of being as good as the original, but on the other hand, I feel compelled to see them to confirm that they are as bastardized as I think they are.

The thing is, they remake all of the obvious popular ones. Friday the 13th? Texas Chainsaw Massacre? Who hasn't seen this? What was wrong with the original? Why remake them?

There were so many underrated horror flicks from my youth that not a lot of people saw, that might actually benefit from a remake. Here's a list of some of my favorites, though not really in any order.....

11 Underrated Horror Movies (Videotape Era)

Day Of The Animals

Day Of The Animals (1977)

Ozone depletion has caused all animals above 5000 feet altitude to go fucking nuts and start killing people. Oh yeah, totally possible! Sorry Denver, Colorado, you guys are fucked!

A bunch of hikers are trapped in a forest when the animals go crazy. Of course, the government quarantines the area, so they are left on their own.

This was one of the first movies I ever rented. I really had a thing for animal attacks on humans back then. The animal attacks are kinda silly, as you might expect from a 1977 horror movie. It's mostly just dogs and birds and squirrels and shit, and they're pretty fake looking.

Imagine the shit they could do these days with CGI animal attacks. Or just fuck it, just use real animals. Would PETA be upset about animals fucking up some actors? I figure they'd be all for it.

Slaughter High

Slaughter High (1986)

Back in the 80s, there were these vending machines that sold metallic glossy stickers that people would put on their school binders. I collected the 'Horror' series of stickers.

They featured all of the usual suspects, Freddy, Jason, Leatherface, Mike. But then there was the 'Slaughter High' sticker. It just didn't seem to fit in with all those heavyweights, but as I'd like to tell all my other anti-social horror buddies back then, "Dude, Slaughter High kicks some ass".

The story involves Marty, a high school nerd, who kills a buncha 'cool kids' at a high school reunion, years after they accidentally disfigured him with acid.

The quality of these kills are pretty amazing for such a generic looking flick. Youtube this shit some time. Extra credit for the douchebag guy whose stomach explodes after drinking Drain-O


Pieces (1982)

I would always watch these horror movies with my brother. Pieces was the first movie where my brother said "hey, I don't know if you should be watching this", which made some sense since I was only 9 years old at the time. Of course, the irony was, he was 13. But I convinced him that if the guy at the video store rented it to us, that must mean it's okay. Righteous logic.

Back in the 1980s, people didn't care that much about the welfare of kids watching fucked up shit. I'm not sure how we even got a video account in the first place.

Anyhow, Pieces is about some psycho who kills girls on a college campus so that he can make a big jigsaw puzzle from the girls' body parts. This is not really a Feminist movie. Lots of naked girls getting cut up here.

This movie has become a pretty big cult hit recently and does seems pretty tame now. But at the time, this was underground and a pretty big deal. If you had seen 'Pieces', then you were alright by me. I actually once rented a movie called ‘Parts’ because I thought it was a sequel. I was sadly mistaken.

The Stuff

The Stuff (1985)

Here’s a horror comedy, from the great Larry Cohen.

A buncha miners discover a white slimy ooze. Turns out that ooze actually tastes really good and they end up selling it in supermarkets as “The Stuff”.

Of course back in the 1980s, nobody gave a shit about health as long as the it tasted good. “The Stuff” is real addictive and becomes such a hit, that the ice cream conglomerate decides it has to find out what it is and stop it. Well, “The Stuff” ends up being an alien life form and when people eat it, they turn into wacked-out zombies.

The movie is one big commentary on the consumerism of those times. That all went over my head back in the day. I just thought it was an awesome movie about killer yogurt.

Lots of splatter, lots of laughs, the best of which is when the black dude’s face blows up and yogurt spews out. Or the huge tidal wave of Stuff at the end. I could actually see Hollywood trying to remake this one.

Sleepaway Camp

Sleepaway Camp (1983)

I remember picking up this box at the video store and thinking "This looks like shit, how comes there's 2 sequels?". But I was pretty jaded, and I could tell from the box for Part 2, that the killer was a hot looking girl, so I had to give it a chance.

So the movie is 88 minutes, and for 87 minutes it is just generic crap. But wow, that last minute! There are just some things that you see and you never forget.

A twist ending that comes so far out of left field, that it punches you in the face and kicks you in the nuts at the same time.


I remember rewinding the tape just to make sure that really just happened, and wondering how the hell does that make any sense at all? Somebody please remake this. I think the youth of America needs to feel what I felt on that uncomfortable day.

To this day, this remains the 2nd best ending in all horror history (behind the perfect ending to the legendary 'Nekromantik')


Link (1986)

Yup, another animal movie. A scientist and his assistant (played by the lovely Elizabeth Shue) have taught his orangutan, Link, how to be helpful monkey butler like the ones you see on TV.

However, scientist gonna have the monkey put to sleep, as he no longer need his services. Somehow, Link finds out about it, and the ape shit hits the fan. Link fucks up some people stupid enough to visit the scientist’s house and chases Miss Shue around the house.

Best scene is when Link is checking out Shue while she’s in the shower. Not sure what they were going for there, but it sure as hell works! And Link is a real monkey, no fake shit. No dude in a suit.

Although that does make some of the kills kinda awkward. This movie was British, so you can’t really ever tell if we’re laughing at the movie, or with the movie. Those wacky Brits!

Anyhow, this is what ‘Monkey Shines’ should have been.

Patrick Still Lives

Patrick Still Lives (1980)

Now this was a great find in the tape trading market. This Italian movie is about Patrick who is in perpetual coma after getting hit in the head by a liquor bottle.

Anyhow, even though he’s technically a vegetable, Patrick has telekinetic power and he uses it to psychicly kill a buncha people at the health center he’s staying at. Why? I don’t fucking remember.

But I do remember there were 3 real hot girls in it. One gets naked and is then eaten alive by a pack of dogs summoned by Patrick. Patrick forces another girl to masturbate, which is just as awesome as it sounds! And the last girl, is severely impaled with a fireplace poker through her vagina, in what has become quite an infamous scenes amongst the gorehounds.

Yeah, this movie is some premium sleaze. The Italians really mastered that kinda shit. Besides all the sleaze, I liked the many extreme close-ups of Patrick’s unmoving eyes followed by super cheezy music (because cinematically, how else to show telekinesis from a paralyzed guy!?!).

Uh yeah, no way Hollywood gonna touch this shit.

Click here to see the trailer.

Lucker The Necrophagous

Lucker The Necrophagous (1986)

Sadly there are no online trailers for this classic. You’ll just have to take my word for it.

Lucker breaks out from a mental institution in Belgium and starts his murder spree. But he takes his time.

This movie is 70 minutes long, but he spends 15 minutes just walking around. Literally, not stalking anybody, just mindlessly walking around, filling time.

Anyhow, Lucker like most psychos, prefers killing women. He kills a nurse at the institution and then proceeds to have sex on her (yup, he’s a necrophiliac).

Later, Lucker, who is mute, somehow, goes to a bar, orders a drink (w/o speaking), solicits a prostitute (w/o speaking), and negotiates a price (w/o speaking). He later kills the prostitute, and A WEEK LATER, overcome with his necrophilia, makes love to the slimy rotting corpse. And I mean that, Lucker really takes his time with that corpse (whose skin is pretty much decomposed off).

In Nekromantik, the necrophilia was pretty tastefully done. Uh, not here, this shit is really disturbing. Lucker got some real issues. The ending is abrupt and anti-climatic, but at the same time, kinda fits this movie.

What I like most about Lucker is, he’s not killing machine like other slashers. He’s some fat balding guy in his 50s. He wears a Member’s Only jacket!

In between kills, he tastes a break to rest or just loiter around town. It’s almost like slashing is just a hobby for him, and he wouldn’t even be doing it …. if y’know, he wasn’t a crazy necrophiliac.

Thank you Belgium, first Jean Claude Van Damme, now Lucker. America is in your debt.


Popcorn (1991)

Sigh, the early 90's were one of the worst periods for horror movies. Times were changing. Nirvana had made it cool for people to be depressed. Ethan Hawke was considered a good actor. NWA was no longer just an airline. A lot of people were down with OPP. Black people hated white people. White people hated themselves. America no longer had a place in it's heart, for horribly disfigured psychopaths killing teenagers.

My interest in horror pretty much went away too, cause nothing good was coming out. One of the rare exceptions was Popcorn. My expectations were so low for horror at the time, it might've skewed my opinion, but I liked this shit.

A buncha film students have a horror festival with gimmicky 3D and seat buzzers and shit. A maniac ends up killing the movie-goers who think it's all part of the show. Great idea, decent execution. A lot of the 1990s kinda sucked.

Excellent trailer shamelessly name-drops all the other horror icons it's supposedly better than. And, it has the wonderful tagline "Buy a box, go home in a bag!"

Street Trash

Street Trash (1987)

Oh, the wonderful Street Trash. 2 parts horror, 1 part comedy, totally awesome.

A liquor store owner finds a box of really fucked up shit liquor called Viper and sells it to hobos for next to nothing. Problem is, Viper is toxic and ends up melting the flesh of all the bums that drink it.

There's some tremendous dark comedy here that was groundbreaking at the time. The best scene is when the hobos are playing catch with a severed penis of one of their fellow bums. Another is when a bum's entire body literally melts down into a toilet. Also, a necrophilia scene, which was the first I had ever seen and really blew my mind.

This was pretty messed up. Just about every female character in this movie gets raped at some point. Totally fun, off the wall type shit.

I remember asking the video clerk 'hey you got anything else like Street Trash?' I've been looking ever since, and still haven't found anything quite like this.

Night Of The Demon

Night Of The Demon (1980)

This movie combines 2 of my great passions (horror and cryptozoology).

A college anthropology class goes into the woods to find the legendary Bigfoot. And surprisingly enough, it's pretty easy to find him .... just follow the trail of dead bodies.

This is not the shy recluse Bigfoot posing for blurry pictures. Fuck that, this Bigfoot don't like humans and if you come anywhere near his shit, he will fuck you up.

Bigfoot literally rips the dick off of some biker that he catches pissing on his land. He cuts up a couple of Girl Scouts. He rapes a local woman. He choke slams a couple of rednecks. Throws some poor bastard out a window. Eviscerates some dude and then plays with the intestines. All this with his bare hands.

Bigfoot don’t need no weapons!

Super low budget stuff. The Bigfoot suit looks like the rug in my bathroom. Oh, and you get treated to BFPOV (Big Foot Point Of View), which is just like human POV except it's red which is bad news for whatever Bigfoot's looking at.

And the very best part, in the end, everybody in the movie dies!

Zero chance this ever gets remade!

[Do you have any movies to add to the list? Agree with the picks or want to poop on the list? Leave a comment and let us know what you think.]

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  1. A Superb list Steve! :-)

    Pieces has got to be my favoritie, on this list. . .

  2. I agree with the list totally. Good to see some childhood favorites on here like, LINK and THE STUFF--STREET TRASH too. A movie I would add to the list is a movie I just got finished watching, Umberto Lenzi's WELCOME TO SPRING BREAK. I enjoyed it a lot and I always remember seeing it in video stores as a kid, but never got around to seeing it until now.

  3. That's cool. Thanks guys. I wouldn't say these were all great movies, but they were all personal favorites and a lot of fun to watch, ....

  4. I have to say the pole up the hole in Patrick is almost as good as the one in Cannibal Holocaust.

    Also, here be the link of Link being a perv and seeing Elisabeth Shue naked.

    Link the Pervert