I had so much fun doing the Top Ten Underrated Horror movies list last year and it provoked such a good debate that I thought it would be good to put another ten out there for discussion. Horror is a genre which is flooded with more unseen product that any other due to the amount that goes straight to DVD and now of course streaming over the internet. I could literally do a new list every year of ten films that are unknown by the public at large and should be seen.
Now this is not a definitive list, at a push if I had to, I would say last year was my definitive list but I would probably add some stuff you likely can’t even get anymore. Also I understand that these films are known or beloved by the horror fan but the intention here is to put these across to the casual horror film watcher, someone who knows what The Conjuring and Paranormal Activity are but might not know there are similar and better films out there.
10.The Signal (2007)
When making your low-budget debut feature, unless you are really lucky it’s likely that you won’t have any money so it’s probably a good idea to be as creative as possible in order to overcome your limitations. So David Bruckner, Dan Bush and Jacob Gentry decided that rather than go it alone, they would team up for their debut feature and each direct a segment of one story divided into three. The Signal takes place on New Year’s Eve and concerns a mysterious signal suddenly broadcast by televisions that sends every other person into a murderous rage. In this chaos Mya (Anessa Ramsey) is having an affair with Ben (Justin Welborn) unknown to her husband Lewis (AJ Bowen) and when the chaos erupts, Ben decides to go get Mya and leave town. Splitting the film into three separate segments by different directors really gives the film a unique atmosphere that shouldn’t work but does so beautifully.
The first segment is very much influenced by 28 Days Later and the opening scenes of Dawn of the Dead.The second is played for black comedy and feels like early Raimi or Peter Jackson and then the last goes into David Cronenberg hallucinogenic mind trip territory. At film festivals and midnight screenings, The Signal went down a storm. However this was in a transitional period where the big players were not willing to again distribute smaller independent horror films until later with Splice and You’re Next marking a comeback for this practice, but one which sadly didn’t really work out. The Signal went straight to DVD everywhere and was available on the shelves of poundland a few months back. A shame because the film deserves to be better known as its horrifying, funny and trippy and also gave the world AJ Bowen, who is turning into the new Bruce Campbell with horror fans rooting for him with every new project.