Halloween is upon us, and that means it’s a perfect time to explore some hidden gem horror flicks that take place on everyone’s favorite spooky holiday.
Some of these seven films are brutal indie slashers, while others are darkly comedic, but all of them are sure to get viewers into the Halloween spirit.
Satan’s Little Helper
A grisly little indie shocker from writer and director Jeff Lieberman, Satan’s Little Helper follows a young boy with a love for violent video games who falls under the guise of a masked murderer on Halloween. The film is gleefully violent, but also has an unexpected dose of charm, blending R-rated slasher elements with a family film feel.
The film’s central villain, who leaves no prisoners on Halloween, dons a cheeky yet eerie demon mask, and part of the film’s effectiveness is that the audience never truly knows who or what he is. The way the boy and the deranged killer guide each other throughout the film is simultaneously unsettling and endearing. Perhaps the most cartoonishly shocking scene in Satan’s Little Helper is when the killer is pushing the boy in a shopping cart and hits various innocent bystanders, including a pregnant woman and another woman pushing a stroller.
All Hallows’ Eve
While Art the Clown has become a horror icon thanks to the Terrifer films, the first feature to showcase the murderous being is Damien Leone’s All Hallows’ Eve. All Hallows’ Eve is an anthology horror film that contains several of Leone’s early short films. The film stars Katie Maguire, who plays Monica Brown in Terrifer.
All Hallows’ Eve concerns a babysitter finding a strange videotape in the children’s candy bag on Halloween night. Most of the stories shown in the film feature Art the Clown in some capacity, but this time, he’s played by Mike Giannelli rather than David Howard Thornton. All Hallows’ Eve is a creepy, low-budget gorefest that is a must-watch for any fan of Leone. The most disturbing scene in the film may be the ending, which depicts Art goofing around with the severed heads of children.
The feature film debut of Jeremy Saulnier (who went on to direct the claustrophobic thriller Green Room) Murder Party is a wacky horror comedy about a Halloween party that isn’t what it seems. Murder Party concerns a meter maid named Christopher, who finds an invitation to a “murder party” on Halloween, makes a knight costume out of cardboard, and attends. However, the partygoers intend to kill someone at this party, and Christopher is the target.
For most of Murder Party’s second act, the film plays out like a demented take on The Breakfast Club, replacing high-schoolers with twenty-something-year-old hipsters turned would-be murderers. Suddenly, the film switches up for an explosively gory climax, making Murder Party a top-notch Halloween flick. It also doesn’t hurt that the film features some absolutely killer costumes.
Plenty of people love haunted house attractions, but what if the actors actually wanted to hurt us? Haunt takes an idea that many horror fans may have pondered and runs with it as far as it can take it.
Written and directed by Scott Beck and Bryan Woods, 2019’s Haunt follows a group of friends who start to realize that the extreme haunted house they signed up for is more authentic than they ever prepared for. Haunt begins rather suspensefully, containing tons of mystery and intrigue, but as things go on and the horrors of the film become apparent, this movie becomes a harrowing experience that is genuinely frightening
Written and directed by Lucky McKee, May is a blend of Carrie and Frankenstein but with a whole lot of style and realism thrown in for good measure. May follows Angela Bettis as the title character, a lonely veterinary assistant who goes through several failed relationships and decides, “If you can’t find a friend, make one.”
While most of May plays out like a tragic yet sometimes humorous character study, the climax erupts, resulting in a highly memorable Halloween night massacre. May is worth the watch for Bettis’ astonishing leading performance alone, but the very last scene of this film may be one of the most nightmarish sequences ever recorded.
Out of all of Rob Zombie’s films, 31 may be the most overlooked. Starring Sheri Moon Zombie, Malcolm McDowell, Meg Foster, and several other horror staples, 31 tells the gruesome story of a group of carnival workers who are abducted the night before Halloween. The group wakes up in an abandoned warehouse of sorts on October 31, being forced to play a violent game where they need to fight for their lives against killer clowns.
31 plays out like the Hunger Games as imagined by Rob Zombie. Once the film picks up in its second act, it’s nonstop bloodshed, creating a modern-day Halloween classic.
Night of the Demons
Night of the Demons is one of the most underrated horror flicks from the entire decade of the 1980s. The film features several memorable deaths, ghastly demon designs, and one scene involving lipstick that is ingrained into the mind of anyone who has witnessed it.
Night of the Demons contains a simple enough story: a group of kids party at an abandoned house and accidentally summon bloodthirsty demons. However, the film is so outlandish that it really makes a name for itself. In addition to all the entertaining demonic chaos, the movie features a shocking ending involving an elderly couple that no one will see coming.
This story originally appeared on Comingsoon