The 10 Most Underrated John Carpenter Horror Films

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Reviews Scary Movies and Series

These ten movies directed by horror-master John Carpenter sadly live on as underrated additions to the horror film genre—in fact, many of these you won’t ever hear mentioned in daily horror culture, but that’s a shame because all of these are worthy of at least a little attention.

Someone's Watching Me (1978) Movie Poster

Someone’s Watching Me (1978)

While this horror movie isn’t truly a paranormal horror tale, it is a classic horror tale that many women can relate to in their real lives—being stalked. True to form of successful movies that continue to live on from the 70s, Someone’s Watching Me (1978) is a traditional, “less is more,” type of piece. It relies upon the situations that would if one were to experience them in own life, would cause incredible anxiety and lasting fear. This is possibly Carpenter’s most underrated movie, perhaps simply due to the years that have passed since it was released. In truth, it’s the kind of movie that might constantly be giving loud advice to the main character while she gets increasingly sticky situations.

Someone’s Watching Me IMDB listing

The Fog (1980) Movie Poster

The Fog (1980)

As the title suggests, this film brings its scare from the fog—it’s a horror movie that focuses on the creeping and inevitable, there is no stopping the fog from rolling in, especially when it moves against the wind. What can you do when there is something deadly in the fog—something that moves with it, that kills without provocation? All you really can do when it comes is bolt your doors, lock your windows, and stay inside your house. This story of Captain Drake and his ill-fated crew is definitely a classic worth watching or re-watching if it has been a while.

Enjoy seafaring horror? Check out our article on hauntings at sea as well

The Fog IMDB listing

Creepshow (1982) Movie Poster

Creepshow (1982)

Honestly, this is one of those classic movies that you just have to watch, anthologies this entertaining are few and far between and while it’s not nail-bitingly scary, each of the stories are interesting and unique. This movie scared the pants off of me as a child, because it never went over-the-top with any attempts to use technology that was out of its reach but just believable enough to allow you to be in the story with the characters.

Creepshow IMDB listing

Christine (1983) Movie Poster

Christine (1983)

The classic tale about a boy and his first car—his possessed car that is. Have you ever felt that someone you know is overwhelmingly obsessed with one of their belongings, to the point that their life and well-being becomes intertwined with the well-being of their belonging? This film is among the first of its kind to really put an emphasis on the possession of an inanimate object in a meaningful way.

Christine IMDB listing

Prince of Darkness (1987) Movie Poster

Prince of Darkness (1987)

Although there are many movies based on the emergence of Satan, this was possibly one of the most imaginative takes on how the Prince of Darkness might escape from hell into the world. After a priest finds a huge vial filled with some unidentifiable slime, he requests that a scientist and his students to help him figure out what it really is; finding out what it is, is only a small part of the problem, once they find out they’ll realize it’s already too late. The end is already beginning, will they be able to stop it in time?

Prince of Darkness IMDB listing

They Live (1988)

They Live (1988)

This is one alien horror flick that stands out among the rest, They Live (1988) is a movie that is classic from the time that it was made and is definitely worthy of a shout out or three. If you’ve ever wondered where the line, “I’ve come here to chew bubble gum and kick ass—and I’m all out of bubble gum,” comes from, you’re in luck. Aside from the wrestler to actor shenanigans with Rowdy Roddy Piper, the acting is what you might expect from a movie made in the late eighties. Forget action movie alien invasions, this kind of invasion is creepier than any other witnessed in cinema history.

They Live IMDB listing

In the Mouth of Madness (1994) Movie Poster

In the Mouth of Madness (1994)

This movie shows how society might devolve if violent books, movies, and video games were truly to blame for the erratic behavior of human beings—can an author really have the sway over the way people act, well if you were to read a Sutter Cane book, you might not be able to control yourself at all. It might sound far-fetched, but the easily persuaded might be just a short read away from storming the streets with axes in hand. This is not a predecessor of The Purge (2013), it’s another Carpenter movie that stands on its own within the horror genre, as a horror ride of the imagination—or at least the imagination of an author who wants to cause people to go mad.

In The Mouth of Madness IMDB listing

Village of the Damned (1995) Movie Poster

Village of the Damned (1995)

This is one of those movies where the terror develops over time, but if you’re one of those people who finds small children disturbing, this is definitely one that you might enjoy. What I like most about this movie is the creep factor—it’s not scary in the traditional sense, no real startling moments, nothing is going to pop out and scare you. The focus of the fear factor here is how it would feel to have a malevolent, creepy child in control of your actions. It reminds me of The Bad Seed (1956) if Rhoda were able to force you to kill yourself with her eyes.

Village of the Damned IMDB listing

Vampires (1998) Movie Poster

Vampires (1998)

Along with zombies, vampires have been creatures that have been overworked to death in books, films, and television shows, everyone has a new take on it to show why their vampires are somehow better, scarier, or more realistic than everyone else’s. Originally creatures that would incite fear, now they’re more and more often portrayed as objects of romance, love interests, so overdone that they went from truly evil, to rebellious bad boys. Fear not, Vampires (1998) is still in the genre of horror, where vampires truly are evil creatures suited only for hunting.

Vampires IMDB listing

The Ward Movie Poster

The Ward (2010)

Not conceived to be a true horror movie, this paranormal thriller offers more in the way of jump scares than much of anything else—while it doesn’t boast a well-known cast, the cast does a convincing job of selling their fear. The plot is enjoyable and decently executed, nevermind some of the plot holes, but the climax of fear is typically punctuated by a complete loss of the moment, followed directly by a cheap startle. The only thing that makes this movie less enjoyable is the ghost itself; we get a clear view of her from the beginning and there is no room left for that character and plot device to grow. It has its own share of twists and turns though, so the important thing about this movie is to watch until the very end—it doesn’t end exactly how you think it would.

The Ward IMDB listing

The Best Movies About the End of the World

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Best Of Best of Movies Featured Scary Movies and Series

Remember when everybody thought the world would end in 2012? Nearly a decade later and we’re still here, but the terrifying apocalyptic movies will never stop… and we like it that way. These films are the ideal combination of action, suspense, and horror – watching society unravel as the main characters quite literally run for their lives, often to no avail. What would you do if you were simply getting your hair done at the salon, when buildings started to collapse all around you? Is there any imaginable way to escape a natural disaster of this capacity? Answer these questions and get a fix of apocalyptic horror with these top-rated films about the end of the world.

These Final Hours (2015)

These final hours movie poster

If you found out the world was ending, what’s the first thing you would do? Some would say goodbye to their loved ones or chill out with Netflix and good food, but the protagonist in These Final Hours wants to party. And party hard. The film begins in Perth, Australia as an asteroid collides with Earth, with about twelve hours to go until a firestorm reaches the country. James wants to experience the “party to end all parties” before he exits the planet, but things take a unique turn as he meets new people and comes across terrifying things. This is definitely one of the most underrated end-of-the-world thrillers, ever. 

Take Shelter (2011)

Take Shelter movie poster

The end of the world is even more terrifying when it’s all happening inside your head, and that’s exactly what happens to Curtis LaForche in this apocalyptic thriller. He sees raindrops made of oil and swarms of black birds, while nobody else does… and his increasing anxiety and strange behavior begins to cause issues with his job, family, and life. Is he simply going through a rough time period, struggling with mental illness, or foreshadowing a future disaster? You’ll have to watch this Jessica Chastain thriller (her specialty) and find out. 

2012 (2009)

2012 end of the world movie poster

For many years, there were conspiracy theories about the world ending in 2012, as this was the conclusion of the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar. Obviously, it didn’t happen… but we did get a pretty sweet disaster movie out of it. Released in 2009, this film centers around Jackson Curtis and his attempts to save his family from impending doom. And by that, we mean a series of natural disasters that are slowly crumbling the Earth and killing off the population. This film has the ideal combination of action and scares, and you can sleep easy knowing that we all survived the year 2012. 

I Am Legend (2007)

I am legend movie poster

I hope you are enjoying the apocalypse. So what do you do when 90% of the Earth’s population is killed by a virus, while you’re the 1% who lives and the other 9% are terrifying mutants who want to kill you? Ask scientist Robert Neville, who is living a post-apocalyptic life in the ruins of Manhattan. Will Smith gives a breathtaking performance as he tries to survive and find a cure for the virus, while tracking down any fellow survivors and trying not to get attacked by the mutants. As you can imagine, it’s an eventful film!

Children of Men (2006)

Children of men movie poster

The premise of this film is quite simple. Humans have mysteriously become infertile and society is quickly (and not so quietly) dying out. There are less natural disasters and more quiet moments of fear, but Children of Men still has plenty of action. When a woman is believed to be pregnant, it becomes a symbol of hope for society… and the film follows a group of people as they do whatever it takes to stay alive. 

World War Z (2013)

World War Z Movie Poster

Brad Pitt spending a nearly 2 hour movie trying to stop a zombie pandemic, and looking amazing doing it? That’s why you need to watch World War Z. Pitt stars as Gerry Lane, a former United Nations agent who is assigned to gather clues about how to stop zombies from taking over the planet – guided by his duty to his job and need to protect his family. This movie is based on the 2006 novel World War Z, which you should also check out! If Brad Pitt can’t make the apocalypse fun who can?

28 Days Later (2002)

28 days later movie poster

This film hits a bit close to home in 2021, as it centers around four individuals trying to rebuild their life after a contagious virus hits and destroys society as they once knew it. Before there was Bird Bo or The Quiet Place, there was 28 Days Later… as this film shows the survivors trying to cope with their losses while avoiding the zombies that could possibly infect them. Among many, many other things. Some critics even say that it revived the zombie genre all the way back in 2002!

The Best Supernatural Horror Streaming Now

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Best Of Best of Movies Featured Scary Movies and Series
Updated March 19th 2021

Have you been endlessly clicking through each of your streaming services looking for the best supernatural horror movies and series? Look no further as we have taken the time to watch them all and select the best supernatural horror currently streaming on HULU, NETFLIX, and AMAZON PRIME. You won’t find slasher films in this list because we prefer the supernatural. Included but not limited to hauntings, possessions, monsters, and complete and total psychological mind f#$%ks. We’ll keep updating so you don’t have to mindlessly scroll through endless movie lists like the zombie you might be someday.

Best Supernatural Horror on HULU

  1. The Wretched

75% Tomatometer “The atmosphere is eerie and there’s a nice twist I did not see coming.” Staci Layne Wilson

A young boy begins the journey of navigating not only his parent’s divorce but also fighting the old witch that has possessed the next-door neighbors. Great story and very well executed with a classic twist in the end. Like witch horror movies? So do we and here is our best of witch horror list.

  1. Pyewacket

82% Tomatometer “The director is out for blood, and while this is a slow-burn affair that craftily bides its time until just the proper moment to unleash a flurry of dexterously ominous thrills, the craven wickedness of it all is portentously intoxicating.” Sara Michelle Fetters 

The angst of a teenage girl mixed with a bumpy relationship with her mother leads to grim things. Out for blood, the young girl performs an ancient death curse. Whose demise will it really end in?

  1. Lights out

76% Tomatometer “A lean, mean scare-machine, and a surprise contender for horror of the year. Seek it out. Then, for God’s sake, buy a bedside lamp.” Simon Crook

Rebecca could never tell fact from fiction in the dark as a child, and now her young brother faces the same problem. A supernatural entity has come to torment the two holding a strange attachment to their mother.

  1. Thelma

93% Tomatometer “Thelma is a wonderfully composed work, one that involves you at a pace of its own.” Rhys Tarling

A college student experiences a series of extreme seizures resulting in new supernatural abilities. Her new powers are dangerous and frightening, seemingly triggered by her love for another student. (In Norwegian, only has English subtitles)

  1. Welcome to Mercy

70% Tomatometer “A rare horror movie whose creators seriously represent both sides of a dilemma, and is therefore more mature than it seems at first glance.” Simon Abrams

Madaline visits a convent and learns she is on her way to becoming the Antichrist. She must work together with her friend August to confront and fight and demons inside of her.

Best Supernatural Horror on NETFLIX

  1. The Ritual

74% Tomatometer “It is a haunting film, with immaculate direction, impressive creature design, as well as well-acted and well-realised characters.” Adi Pramana

After a death in their group, four friends go for a hike through the Scandinavian wilderness. When they become lost in the forest, a series of evil and mysterious events plague the travelers.

  1. His House

100% Tomatometer “His House is a terrifying debut that breathes a fresh voice into the haunted-house subgenre.” Robert Daniels

A refugee couple from South Sudan have just escaped the horrors of their world, only to be thrown into another. Evil hides in the corners of their new English town life.

  1. Girl on the Third Floor

84% Tomatometer “Stevens shows that he is ready to earn his chops in the directors chair and it’s easy to get excited about what he plans to tackle next. Girl on the Third Floor has a lot of heart and some of it might be bleeding out right on the living room floor.” Ryan Larson

A couple moves into a house with plans to renovate it. The house has other plans though. 

  1. Apostle

78% Tomatometer “Evans departs from his usual action fare to weave a gripping story centered around unique Pagan-like mythology steeped in blood and sacrifice. It’s folk horror, but with a new level of brutality and viscera unlike most of its ilk.” Meagan Navarro

Thomas Richardson comes home to discover that his sister has been kidnapped by a cult. Thomas infiltrates the cult and learns of the true evil lurking within it.

  1. Polaroid

The critics hated it but we really enjoyed it so it’s on our list. Give it 15 minutes and you decide if it really is that rottne!

A highschool girl who has an innocent interest in photography finds a vintage polaroid camera and begins to experiment with it. But the people who have their picture taken with the camera are mysteriously met with a sudden and gruesome death.

  1. Little Evil

92% Tomatometer “Little Evil is fast-paced, funny, and more clever than you think it will be.” Eddie Strait 

This one has a comedy twist but who doesn’t love a horror comedy? A newlywed couple is enjoying their life with their five-year-old son who may or may not be the Antichrist.

Best Supernatural Horror on AMAZON PRIME

  1. Annabelle: Creation

71% Tomatometer “It’s perhaps one of the most exciting connective twists I’ve seen in a horror film.” Jordy Sirkin

Based on the famous haunted Annabelle doll. A nun and 6 orphaned girls are welcomed into a new California home. The owner’s 7-year-old daughter had passed away in that home a few years earlier, leaving a mysterious doll behind in her bedroom. One of the curious orphans discovers it and the evil inside of it.

  1. Devil

50% Tomatometer  This is another one where we watched and really enjoyed it. Critics be damned for messing with the devil in an elevator. “A taut, expert and engrossing thriller with sense of visual restraint that is refreshing in this age of abhorrent overexposure.” David Keyes

5 strangers are on a normal elevator ride until it gets stuck in the Philidelphia office tower. Their normal ride turns dark when they learn that the Devil is among them.

  1. It

86% Tomatometer “In the end, Muschietti’s film is a big, fat, gorgeously produced love letter to King’s epic novel.” Sara Michelle Fetters

Based on Stephen King’s novel, this movie follows the journey of seven young outcasts. They meet the evilest ancient being out there that emerges from the depths of the sewers every 27 years. They all must overcome their fears to banish the clown, Pennywise.

  1. Midsommar

83% Tomatometer “Ari Aster’s approach to horror filmmaking seeps into your subconsciousness with great effect, lingering like an uninvited guest.” Wenlei Ma

https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/midsommar

A young couple struggling with their relationship decide to go on a trip to a Swedish festival. It turns into a nightmare when the locals show their true colors.

  1. Possum

90% Tomatometer “[Possum’s] shiver-inducing, claustrophobic, hauntingly brilliant nightmare fuel, powered by an engagingly disturbing central performance from Sean Harris.” Joey Keogh

A puppeteer has to relive his childhood nightmares and past secrets.

The History of Sci-Fi Horror from Books to Film

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Featured Horror Books Scary Movies and Series

Defining Sci-Fi Horror

Mankind has always looked to the stars as a source of inspiration. The desire to explore and make meaning of the unknown is woven into our DNA. The more we learn through science and technology, the more we look to advance our understanding of both the world around us and the worlds above us. But there is a dark side to all of this. What boundaries are we pushing, and can they be pushed too far? What consequences are brushed aside with each new technological advancement and innovation? What terrors lurk in the vastness of space? There’s a reason the sci-fi horror genre has been popular for decades.

Science fiction horror stories often have a lot of bright-eyed wonder and fascination, but there’s also an inherent or underlying fear. Outer space is wondrous and also terrifying. Though not technically a horror film, you can’t watch Gravity and not be petrified by the cold, cruel infinite nothingness. Science fiction and horror are inextricably linked in many ways, and coming up with an exact definition is challenging because they share many of the same genre roots. Not to mention there’s plenty of overlap in sub-genres of body horror, cosmic horror, eco-horror, as well as in stories of the apocalypse or dystopia. To gain a better understanding of what exactly sci-fi horror is, let’s take a look at its origins, development, and notable creators. 

Origins of Sci-Fi Horror

Though the blended genre has been proliferated with noteworthy entries in the past few decades, the origins of sci-fi horror actually date back to over two hundred years ago. Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus shocked the literary world and continues to ignite imaginations to this day, its tale of reanimated bodies and mad scientists spawning countless spin-offs and reinterpretations. Shelley created not only an incredibly influential horror story, but also one of the first real science fiction books. Her “mad scientist” trope fascinated cosmic horror great H.P. Lovecraft, and she pioneered the way for Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886) and H.G. Wells’s War of the Worlds (1897), the latter of which sent America into a frenzy during a 1938 radio broadcast because everyone thought aliens were actually invading earth. This just goes to show how genuinely frightening sci-fi horror can be.

Tracing the development of sci-fi horror also means exploring the history of social commentary and political statements, as stories within the genre are often born from societal upheaval and seek to question trends, policies, and belief systems. The film Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) is ostensibly about aliens taking over the bodies of human hosts, but it’s also a reflection of the cold war paranoia and fear of communism prevalent in that time period. Larry Cohen’s film The Stuff (1985) is campy, gross B-movie fun, but it’s also a critique of capitalism and consumerism. Of course some sci-fi horror stories are created purely for entertainment value. But more often than not they contain social commentary, ranging from subtle to overt, that adds a layer of critical intrigue to the enjoyment. 

Notable Creators of Sci-Fi Horror

dead space sci-fi horror book cover

Sci-fi horror got its start centuries ago in literature, and many writers (such as Ray Bradbury and Philip K Dick) have helped it stay a mainstream attraction along the way. Even in recent years there are numerous authors continuing to push the genre in new directions. Some of the more famous ones that come to mind are Michael Chricton, Jeff Vandermeer, Octavia Butler, and Scott Sigler. The genre also has exciting entries in comics (such as Grant Morrison’s Nameless and Rob Guillory’s Farmhand) and video games (Bioshock, Dead Space, Alien: Isolation, SOMA, etc). But the most popular medium for sci-fi horror over the last few decades is unquestionably film.

When one hears the term “sci-fi horror” it will come as no surprise when images of viscous xenomorphs spring to mind. Ridley Scott’s Alien franchise is a staple of the genre. And no article about influential sci-fi horror would be complete without mentioning John Carpenter’s The Thing and David Cronenberg’s The Fly, movies that are terrifying in concept but also in their use of practical effects. To list out all the important movie makers in the genre would be pointless as popular creators are constantly emerging, but some other ones you should be paying attention to are Brandon Cronenberg (with provocative films like Anti-viral and Possessor) and Alex Garland, who has either written or directed such masterpieces as Ex Machina, Sunshine, and Annihilation

In Conclusion

Sci-fi horror is an engaging and exhilarating genre, melding mankind’s greatest hopes and fears into tales that shock and awe. It’s also a genre that is riff for new stories, as we continue to advance modern technology and seek the outer limits of space. The question of “what if” is extremely compelling, and it’s very exciting to speculate what dark and insidious conclusions lie on the other side. From where we’ve come and where we are now, the future of the genre certainly seems to be in good hands.

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