A grieving widow (Game of Thrones‘ Essie Davis) is having trouble contending with her disruptive son Samuel (Noah Wiseman), who becomes terrified when he’s convinced that a children’s pop-up book entitled Mr. Babadook has released a supernatural beast (of the same name) into their home. After initially thinking he’s overreacting, she soon begins questioning both their sanity when the evil Mr. Babadook wreaks havoc in their life. Shot on a shoestring budget, The Babadook employs effective old-school effects and nuanced performances to create a palpable sense of dread, making for one unforgettable film experience.
14. MAD RON’S PREVUES FROM HELL (1987)
Narrated by Ron (real name Nick Hartlow), an overzealous host with a combover and serial killer glasses who provides nerdy banter in between a barrage of clips. Oh, and he’s helped by his creepy zombie puppet, Happy Goldsplatt (think of a low-rent MST3K and you’re getting the basic gist).
While Mad Ron and his sawdust sidekick’s corny jokes can be a bit much, the true stars of the show are the trailers, featuring everything from the original teaser for Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, along with a smattering of other flicks that are way better in trailer form than full-length movies (Three On A Meathook, Wildcat Women, The Mutations).
13. DEATHGASM (2015)
Disaffected teenage headbangers Brodie (Milo Cawthorne) and Zakk (James Blake) are bored kids looking to start a band with an appropriately evil reputation to gain fame and fortune. After messing around with black magic, they unwittingly unleash a demon called The Blind One. Now they have to stop evil while also fighting over their mutual crush Medina (Kimberly Crossman). Deathgasm is a total blast, full of high energy, gory effects, and face-melting death metal. It’s an instant cult classic. Just make sure to crank up the volume on your surround sound before you press play.
12. THE NIGHTMARE (2015)
One of the most chilling documentaries ever made, The Nightmare looks into victims who suffer from the malady known as sleep paralysis: a condition which leaves them unable to move or talk, holding them hostages to their cruel and unrelenting dream-states. While the film certainly suffers from a total lack of authoritative research (no physicians or scientific experts are interviewed, merely relying on witness testimonies as fact), it excels in the sequences that recreate the nightmares as described by the participating subjects.
Director Rodney Ascher (Room 237) stages each disquieting dream as an exercise in atmospheric dread, giving cinematic manifestations to nightmares involving common dream archetypes including “shadow men”, “night hags” and more.