You may have seen British director Neil Marshall's latest epic, The Descent, about six mountain climbers being stalked by nasty creatures underground. Its predecessor is this adrenaline-charged thriller in which six British soldiers are hunted down by werewolves in Scotland while barricaded in a rural house. This low-budget lycanthropy fest features towering creatures and tense action sequences, and it easily outshines bigger Hollywood efforts.
The House of Clocks (Shriek Show, 1989)
Italian gore maestro Lucio Fulci toned down his bloodlust and intensified the suspense in this creepy tale of three delinquents who rob and kill a sinister elderly couple in a house filled with clocks. Then, when Dobermans keep the trio trapped inside and time starts turning backward, their plans of escape go horribly awry. While this made-for-TV movie has some dramatic flaws, it's an original concept amplified by dark and twisted imagery, making it a guilty pleasure for horror hounds.
(Tartan Asia Extreme, 2002)
Sometimes you just don’t want to pick up your cell phone, and this fright flick proves why: There could be an evil spirit on the other end that will possess your young daughter and drive other people insane. This Korean shocker keeps the tension level high as our heroine tries to figure out what the deadly specter wants. And it ain’t pretty. Director Byeong-ki Ahn invigorates familiar material in grand style.
(Anchor Bay, 1982)
When an American murder-mystery novelist journeys to Rome on a European promotional tour, he discovers a psychopath is replicating the brutal murders from his latest book. Even worse, the beleaguered author is getting pinned with the rap and receiving death threats. Italian director Dario Argento is known for supernatural chillers like Suspiria and Phenomena, but he’s also adept at Hitchcock-esque thrillers like this one, which keeps you guessing until its blood-soaked denouement.
Tombs of the Blind Dead (Blue Underground, 1971)
When a young woman abandons her boyfriend and a girlfriend after a fight by jumping off a train going through rustic Spain, she wanders aimlessly to an old castle, only to become hunted by the infamous Knights Templar, who have been resurrected as sightless, skeletal zombies who ride on horseback and hunt down their victims by sound. Amando de Ossorio’s haunting film is part of a deluxe box set and available separately online.