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“Forgotten” But Fearsome

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Entertainment Weekly picks six “forgotten” scary movies available for general creepage:

    THE EXORCIST III (1990) ”The Exorcist” author William Peter Blatty wrote and directed this spookfest starring George C. Scott as a detective tracking a serial killer. Highlights include ominous old people scuttling across ceilings and the scariest beheading you’ll ever see.

    THE INNOCENTS (1961) Eerily precocious children whispering in Gothic mansions? That’s creepy! Loosely based on Henry James’ ”The Turn of the Screw,” the film stars Deborah Kerr as a governess who believes little Flora and Miles are possessed by a pair of malevolent ghosts.

    PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK (1975) You won’t jump, but you’ll shiver as three prim Victorian schoolgirls and their teacher vanish on a class outing in the Australian wilds. Peter Weir’s psychological drama has yet to be discovered by a new generation.

    SESSION 9 (2001) When an asbestos-cleanup crew guts an old asylum, horrific visions and crazed mutterings ensue. Is the place haunted, or are they going mental? The jerky camera moves and grainy digital video transfer make the images even more unsettling.

    TELL ME SOMETHING (1999) Garbage bags filled with body parts are found all over Seoul, and it turns out the dead men were all once involved with the same woman. This slick Korean thriller unspools with the coyness of ”Basic Instinct” and the dark hush of ”Seven.”

    THE VANISHING (1988) Skip the 1993 remake and pick up George Sluizer’s French/Dutch original. Three years after Rex’s girlfriend disappears, he’s still searching — and her abductor takes an interest. The final nightmarish minutes are not for the claustrophobic.

I haven’t seen any of these, have you? What are your favorite forgotten creepers?

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About Eric Olsen

Career media professional and serial entrepreneur Eric Olsen flung himself into the paranormal world in 2012, creating the America's Most Haunted brand and co-authoring the award-winning America's Most Haunted book, published by Berkley/Penguin in Sept, 2014. Olsen is co-host of the nationally syndicated broadcast and Internet radio talk show After Hours AM; his entertaining and informative America's Most Haunted website and social media outlets are must-reads: Twitter@amhaunted, Facebook.com/amhaunted, Pinterest America's Most Haunted. Olsen is also guitarist/singer for popular and wildly eclectic Cleveland cover band The Props.
  • I saw “Picnic at Hanging Rock” when it ran on IFC last year. It was creepy and chilling, but I thought it veered towards tedium at some points.

    “Session 9” has been running on cable this weekend and my husband made me watch it. Yea, this one is a keeper. Has all the hallmarks of a good scary movie, the kind that leaves you thinking and/or shivering for a few hours after.

    A lot of people recommend “Wicker Man” as a great creepy movie. I don’t.

    When I was very young, my mother, the freak that she is, took my sister and I to see a movie called “Asylum.” (There are quite a few movies with that name, this one came out in the earlyl 70’s). It was a trilogy, with stories about psychotic robots, a severed arm seeking revenge and other assorted pyschological creepy stuff that warped my pre-teen mind.

  • The Vanishing is an essential film. Simply the best sociopath potraiture out there. Another oft-forgotten one is Don’t Look Now, recently released by Paramount on DVD.

    As for Session 9, I’m always really glad to hear that people like it. We worked really bloody hard on that and got shafted by USA’s distribution arm. It’s very nice to see it popping up on people’s lists. Warms me heart, it does.

  • Eric Olsen

    What did you do on “Session 9,” Russ?

  • I was one of the two prop people. Duties were split between putting together all of the obvious stuff — the coin cache materials, making fake asbestos (a lot of which was my own, real growing hair) and the red slime, stuff like that. The other half of it was constant on-set smoke machine usage to diffuse the lighting.

    Remains one of the things I’m proudest to be associated with.

    There’s a small set of photos of the hospital available in the photo section of my website.

  • Eric,

    My wife and I saw Picnic at Hanging Rock in San Jose at the artsy Towne 3 theater a couple of years ago, when it was making the rounds before being released on DVD. It’s got a great reputation, and neither of us had seen it, but to paraphrase what Michele said above, it not only veered towards tedium, it was dead on target. And we were nearly dead asleep by the time it was over.

    If I want to see something terrifying, I put on Psycho, The Shining, or anything with Carrot Top in it.


  • Eric Olsen

    Michele and Ed, I will put “Picnic” at the bottom of my list of must-sees.

  • I have to disagree. I think Picnic at Hanging Rock is a slow, beautiful, haunting film. It’s not a standard horror film by any means, and in fact I’d question the judgement of including it on a list like this one.

  • Jon Viglione

    I was 13 when I saw Exorcist III in the theater with a friend of mine and my dad. This is STILL one of my favorite scary movies (probably behind the original Exorcist and The Shining.) This movie was scary, intelligent, and intense, in my opinion. The decapitation scene is absolutely unforgettable (although you actually don’t see a decapitation). Also, Brad Douriff (voice of Chucky) as the Gemini killer is awesome…his conversations with George C. Scott and his demonic rants are very memorable. I am skeptical of sequels, but don’t hesitate to rent this one, especially if you like the supernatural themes.

  • Probably one of the scariest movies I’ve ever seen is “The Rapture” because if it is real to the characters, well, the world ends, and if it isn’t real to the characters, they’ve committed some attrocities. Either way, you got some bad mojo going on.