If you’ve got a hankerin’ for horror but are low on funds this holiday season, we’ve got you covered. Did you know you can watch full-length films on YouTube for free? That’s right, YouTube’s not just for watching kooky cat videos and guys getting wracked in the junk anymore – it’s also a one-stop shop for movie lovers.
Granted, the site’s selection of free titles isn’t exactly brimming with the hottest new releases – but hey, beggars can’t be choosers and far be it from us to look a gift horse in the mouth. Those who are adventurous will find some wheat hidden amongst the chaff on the site – and we’re here to help you navigate your way through the minefield of low-budget horror offerings. Keep this guide handy and you’ll be finding far more treats than tricks the next time you’re in the mood for some free frights.
With Silent Hill: Revelation 3D due out at the end of the month, there’s no time like the present to get reacquainted with the film that brought Konami’s popular survival horror video game from the living room to the big screen.
Christoph Gans’ film wasn’t a huge hit with critics, but gamers – who longed to see their favorite creepy town and the ominous Pyramid Head brought to life – flocked to it. While this isn’t the best game-to-movie adaptation out there, it is filled with enough atmosphere and bizarre visuals to keep us interested until the credits roll. Watch it here.
The Devil’s Backbone
This gothic thriller from horror maestro Guillermo del Toro is Creepy with a capital C.
Set in 1939, during the last year of the Spanish Civil War, the film finds a young boy named Carlos residing in a spooky orphanage after his father is killed. Turns out the place doesn’t just look scary – it’s haunted by ghosts and filled with dark secrets.
Del Toro is a masterful filmmaker – one of the brightest currently working in the genre – and this is one of his strongest efforts. The Devil’s Backbone is stylish and touching – and most important of all, supremely unsettling. Check it out here.
Night of the Living Dead 1990
We’re generally anti-remake around these parts, but the 1990 retelling of George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead is one of those rare instances where we actually approve of someone else taking a crack at a classic.
FX wizard Tom Savini helms this loving remake of the classic zombie film – and he’s more than up to the task of paying homage to Romero’s original vision. Savini doesn’t skimp on the gore, but the film is also helped along by performances from a pre-Candyman Tony Todd, Patricia Tallman and Tom Towles. NotLD 1990 updates Romero’s film for a new generation while retaining almost everything that made the original such an enduring classic. Click here to try and survive the zombie apocalypse.
Four words: Time. Traveling. Nazi. Zombies.
Ray Stevenson leads a team of mercenaries to an abandoned World War II bunker in this low-budget fright flick – and his team gets far more than they bargained for when they run afoul of an undead army of Nazi super soldiers who crash their party.
The FX aren’t mainstream Hollywood blockbuster quality, but the film makes up for that with a cool story, solid cast, and all those Nazi zombies… Witness the dawn of the Nazi zombie uprising here.
If you’re looking to experience some classic horror-film history, you’ll certainly want to get familiar with Carl Theodor Dreyer’s Vampyr. This 1932 feature (based on the work of Sheridan Le Fanu) finds a traveler (Julian West) visiting an old inn. While there, he finds evidence of vampires…
Vampyr isn’t for everyone – it’s a slow-paced film, even by period standards. However, those willing to accept the languid approach will be rewarded with a highly stylized and beautifully atmospheric feature that straddles the line between the classic silent film era and the more modern “talkies.” View one of the classic vampire flicks here.
The Last Man on Earth
Horror icon Vincent Price headlines this 1964 adaptation of Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend.
The story of a man who survives a plague that wipes out humanity and creates a race of vampiric creatures has been retold several times (1971’s The Omega Man and the Will Smith vehicle I Am Legend), but the original version remains our favorite.
Price is great in the lead role (as always) and the film’s moody cinematography and atmosphere make it a great choice for holiday viewing. Watch Vincent Price take on the undead here.
Hellbound: Hellraiser II
Pinhead and the Cenobites are back in what is the best sequel to Clive Barker’s Hellraiser.
Picking up where the first film left off, Kirsty (Ashley Laurence ) must once again open the Lemarchand’s Box to save her father. The catch is that this time she’ll have to travel to hell to do it.
Tony Randel’s film features plenty of groovy Cenobite action (Doug Bradley once again kills it as Pinhead) – including a battle royale between Pinhead’s crew and a new Cenobite bound and determined to take over. The film’s gleeful apocalyptic grandeur (highlighted by another unforgettable Christopher Young score) makes Hellbound a no-brainer this month. Get reacquainted with Pinhead and the Cenobites.
The Best of the Rest
If that isn’t enough to keep you busy for awhile, there were a few other good choices that didn’t quite make the cut – including horror comedy Idle Hands, animated Resident Evil spin-off Resident Evil: Degeneration, and the early slasher film Happy Birthday to Me, which features some really impressive death sequences.