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Celebrating 17 Years of Film.Biz.Fans.
by James Hiler
October 29, 2013 10:20 AM
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Happy Halloween! Here Are 10 Indies That Changed the Face of Horror

"The Evil Dead" (1981)
Giving rise to director Sam Raimi, "The Evil Dead" has achieved cult status for combining laughs with buckets of blood. Spawning a trilogy and a successful re-make in 2013, "The Evil Dead" is one of the few horror films that will have you terrified and smiling.

"The Blair Witch Project" (1999)

"The Blair Witch Project," when it was released in 1999, was such a phenomena that many movie-goers literally thought they were seeing the actual found footage of three film students who disappeared while hiking in the Black Hills. The pieced together film which was shot for $40,000 and ultimately grossed $240.5 million, brilliantly lets the audience imagine the horror just beyond the campsite. With a few screams in the woods there and a few well placed cracklings in the darkness, "The Blair Witch Project" presents a sense of fear few films have.

"Saw" (2004)

"Saw" brought psychological horror and grisly gore to a new level. Shot in just 18 days and kicking off James Wan's horror career, "Saw" centers on two men as they are tested by serial killer Jigsaw to see if they truly appreciate life through a trial of brutal self sacrifice. Wan quickly introduces his Chekhov's gun of two hand held saws and we slowly see that these saws are not designed for the chains around their legs but something much more painful.

"Shaun of the Dead" (2004)
Many will argue that "Shaun of the Dead" should not be on this list but let's consider a few things before we rush to judgement. The film despite being a comedy is no less of a horror film and hilariously executes many of the zombie picture staples that had become cliche over time. I would also argue that despite the alpha-male hero complex many have when fantasizing over the zombie apocalypse, "Shaun of the Dead" is how most people would handle it. "Have a nice cold pint, and wait for all of this to blow over." 

"Paranormal Activity" (2007)

One of producer Jason Blum's centerpiece micro-budget films, "Paranormal Activity" spawned a massively successful franchise. Using the 'found footage' directorial style, a couple attempts to record the strange phenomena in their house and discover a demonic presence. What terrifies the audience though is not the actual paranormal activity but the waiting. There are long sequences where nothing seems to be happening but the fear that something is just within the shadows will leave you clinging to your chair. 


  • Steve Warren | October 30, 2013 12:19 PMReply

    Tropes, not troupes (and phenomenon, not phenonema)

  • Peter | October 29, 2013 11:16 PMReply

    I think it is an excellent list! I agree with all of them, though I cannot cast judgment on SAW, never watched it. I wonder if the original House on Haunted Hill might not also be considered?

  • Chucky&Bucky | October 29, 2013 5:27 PMReply

    How is Universal Studio's Shaun Of The Dead an indie?

  • Focus Features | October 29, 2013 8:00 PM

    It was released in the US by FOCUS FEATURES.

  • Jeff | October 29, 2013 2:52 PMReply

    @Tim- Seven is not an indie film.
    And Twitch of the Dead Nerve (aka Bay of Blood) is certainly one of the best and most influential horror films of all time, but without Halloween's spurring the slasher deluge of the late '70s/early '80s most americans would have never seen it.
    Flavorwire just posted a piece on slashers, actually:

  • Tim | October 29, 2013 2:12 PMReply

    I would replace Saw with Seven. "Sophisticated Horror", maybe?

  • Brian | October 29, 2013 5:33 PM

    I don't know about Seven... Seven is more of a Mystery, Crime and Suspense. Saw is has a lot of seven in its self.. but almost all the victims pain and suffering are on screen, but no real gore is on screen if you look closely in the movie. in Seven, all the murders are almost completely off screen.. if you look closely, Seven seems to have gore on the dead bodies.. Seven is more of a thriller.. Saw is like a thriller gone wrong, to the point were its not about logic, but about emotion. horror is more about Emotion then logic.. Thrillers are more about logic then Emotion... I think this is right.. You can make an argument or a comparison... but it gets kind of tricky...

  • viki | October 29, 2013 12:57 PMReply

    "Carnival Of Souls" should take the place of "Blair Witch".

  • Christopher | October 29, 2013 11:59 AMReply

    Many people cite "Shaun of the Dead" but I'm still partial to "Braindead" AKA "Dead/Alive" by Peter Jackson.

  • Margin | October 29, 2013 11:13 AMReply

    Bay Of Blood - the movie that changed giallo into slashers and inspired Friday the 13th and every slasher movie

    Black Christmas - the first slasher pic and inspiration for Halloween

  • earl roy | October 29, 2013 10:56 AMReply

    Carnival Of Souls ...the original.

  • Missy | October 29, 2013 10:46 AMReply

    Good list!

  • Assburgers | October 29, 2013 10:26 AMReply

    Great Article