Lesser known horror films to watch this Halloween

Pictured: Udo Kier.
Photo courtesy Wiki Commons.

David Prendeville

Amidst all the change, one aspect of Halloween that remains the same is that it gives us all an excuse (if you need it) to watch horror films. Here is a selection of some lesser known titles worth tracking down this Halloween season:

Alice, Sweet Alice

This genuinely unpredictable slasher film stands out from other films like it by mixing the slayings with an almost social realist style. The film revolves around the murder of a young child at her first Holy Communion, with the main suspect being her older sister.


This delightful Amicus portmanteau horror follows a psychiatrist who in order to get a job at a medical institution must interview four different patients, who each have their own macabre tale. Featuring a host of star names such as Peter Cushing, Charlotte Rampling, Britt Ekland and Patrick Magee.

The Brood

Less known than some of the films David Cronenberg would go on to make, this hugely inventive body-horror was described by Cronenberg as his version of Kramer vs Kramer. Oliver Reed stars as an unorthodox psychologist, who oversees an experimental anger management treatment on a patient (Samantha Eggar), which appears to somehow be related to a series of bizarre murders taking place.

The Devils

Ken Russell’s hugely controversial adaptation of Aldous Huxley’s The Devils of Loudon. The film stars Oliver Reed (again) as a priest in 17th century London who is accused of witchcraft by a deranged nun (Vanessa Redgrave). Featuring extraordinary production design by Derek Jarman, the film to this day, has still never been released in it’s full uncut version.

Dead of Night

The original portmanteau horror film that has influenced everything from the aforementioned Amicus films to the Twilight Zone and beyond. This is an endlessly creative, utterly brilliant film that follows a man stuck in a recurring nightmare, while seeking work at a country farmhouse. In order to delay the end of the nightmare, he listens to an assortment of stories from others at the farmhouse.

Flesh for Frankenstein/Blood for Dracula

Also known as Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein and Andy Warhol’s Dracula, respectively. Warhol produced the films, which were shot back-to-back under the direction of Paul Morrissey. Campy, hilarious and transgressive, both these films feature a supreme central performance from Udo Kier and are essential viewing for adventurous film-goers.

Hour of the Wolf

Ingmar Bergman made his only full-blown foray into horror with this haunting film that follows the mental break-down of an artist (played by the great Max Von Sydow). It’s a film filled with indelible imagery and a thoroughly disquieting atmosphere.

In Fabric

This hilarious, utterly imaginative, formally dazzling delight confirmed Peter Strickland’s status as one of the foremost auteurs working today. It taps its hat to Amicus as it follows a haunted dress as it passes from person to person. Features a superb central performance from Marianne Jean-Baptiste. You won’t look at mannequins or washing ma-chines the same way again.

Kill Baby Kill

Terrific giallo from the great Mario Bava. Beautifully shot and featuring some truly wonderful sequences, with a rich gothic ambience you can al-most touch. The film follows a doctor who, to perform an autopsy, visits a village that is seemingly haunted by the ghost of a young girl.

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Miss Osborne

Polish iconoclast adapts Robert Louis Stevenson’s timeless novel into a haunting, poetic and transgressive film. The film is luminously shot and features a magnificent score by Bernard Parmegiani. Some of its themes could be seen as a precursor to Lars von Trier’s Antichrist, but this remains very much a film like no other. Udo Kier pops up once again as the eponymous Dr. Jekyll.