It’s Halloween, my favorite time of year.
I love the costumes, I adore the decorations, and I especially enjoy buying candy for trick-or-treaters, only to turn out all the lights and lock the doors on Halloween night and eat all the candy myself before passing out in a sugar-induced coma. It truly is the most wonderful time of the year.
But my absolute favorite part of Halloween is watching scary movies. Horror is my favorite film genre, and Halloween and scary movies go together like Thanksgiving and turkey, or Arbor Day and performing sacrifices to the Wicker God (or is that just a Hunley family tradition?).
And while scary films like “Us,” “It: Chapter 2” and “Midsommar” got most of the attention this year, there were a number of great horror movies released in 2019 that sadly got pushed aside, but are more than deserving of your love and devotion.
Here are three of this year’s best overlooked horror films to catch this Halloween.
“One Cut of the Dead”
This over-the-top import from Japan is a goofy delight, and the best horror comedy since the cult classic “Shaun of the Dead.” When a low-budget film crew starts work on a zombie thriller in an abandoned warehouse, tension and egos run high, especially once real zombies begin to attack. There are tons of crazy twists and surprises ahead, and to say anymore would ruin the fun. But its opening 30 minutes, shot in one take, is a real marvel. (Currently playing in theaters and available to stream through Shudder on Amazon Prime.)
“Ready or Not”
On her wedding night, a young woman is invited to a game night by her wealthy in-laws, a post-nuptial tradition that’s been in the family for decades. Things take a diabolical turn when, during a game of hide and seek, the bride realizes she’s not meant to make it out alive. This late summer sleeper never became the surprise hit that some fans were hoping for, but it found an audience that appreciated its dark humor, quirky characters and inventive plot. (Currently playing in theaters.)
“Tigers Are Not Afraid”
A twisted fairy tale from Mexico that blends pathos with its scares, “Tigers” has earned comparisons to the famed “Pan’s Labyrinth,” even earning praise from that film’s director, Guillermo del Toro. Set in a city ravaged by the Mexican Drug War, a young girl, haunted by ghostly apparitions of her murdered mother, joins a group of young orphans who are on the run from a violent cartel. It’s a strong debut feature from writer/director Issa Lopez, who handles the film with a deft blend of magical and social realism. (Currently playing in theaters and available to stream through Shudder on Amazon Prime.)
And a bonus recommendation for later this year:
Coming this December is this instant cult classic, a true oddity that’ll be savored by those who enjoy their films with a dash of camp and a bit of gore. Set in England in the 1970s, a lonely divorcee finds a seemingly perfect dress at a bizarre department store, only to endure misery and woe once she takes it home. Soon, the dress finds itself in another’s hands, and the cycle begins again. That’s right, it’s a film about an evil dress! It’s “Rosemary’s Baby” meets “Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants.” It’s directed by the endlessly imaginative Peter Strickland, who gave us such contemporary curios as “Berberian Sound Studio” and the kinky S&M drama “The Duke of Burgundy.” Plus, there’s a fantastic leading role for the talented Marianne Jean-Baptiste. (Scheduled to be released in theaters Dec. 6.)
Michael Hunley is a copy editor at E&E News in D.C. He previously worked as a copy editor for the Frederick News-Post. Email him at email@example.com.