A couple of years ago, Metro Pulse movie reviewer April Snellings came up with a list of what we called in the headline "the best 21st-century horror movies you probably haven't seen." April, who still reviews movies for us, is now an editor at Rue Morgue, the Toronto-based horror magazine, which has just released its own much larger, book-length version of that list: Rue Morgue Magazine's 200 Alternative Horror Films You Need to See. (April was an editor on the book and contributed a handful of short reviews; most of the movies she listed in her MP piece made it into the book.)
It's a pretty essential guide not just to indie, arthouse, and foreign horror movies from the last 100 years but also to contemporary horror outside of the big, dumb cineplex franchises--the book highlights some of the most interesting horror directors of recent years (Ti West, Joe Cornish, Guillermo del Toro, Adam Wingard) as well as some of the movies and directors that influenced them, from big names like Alfred Hitchcock, Peter Weir, and William Friedkin to cult favorites like Mario Bava, Don Coscarelli, Tobe Hooper, Jacques Tourneur, and Takashi Miike. (If you think those last five names belong right next to Hitchcock and Friedkin, consider yourself a hardcore horror fan.) The list includes long-accepted cult classics (Michael Reeves' Witchfinder General, Herk Harvey's Carnival of Souls), legit world-cinema masterpieces (Henri-Georges Clouzot's Diabolique), some critical reappraisals (Amityville II: The Possession, Halloween III: Season of the Witch), some recently rediscovered gems (The Legend of Boggy Creek, Let's Scare Jessica to Death), and a bunch of critically acclaimed festival-circuit hits from the last decade (Amer, Martyrs). I've seen about a quarter of the movies listed--some of them so long ago that I need to revisit them--and I've heard about a lot more, but there are more than enough surprises and moves I've never even heard of to make this book more than worth it's $9.95 cover price. Best of all, between Netflix, Amazon, and the Knox County Public Library, most of these titles are available right now.