by Anthony Carioscia
2017 is a sad year in the horror world as we lost George Romero and Tobe Hooper, arguably two of the genre’s best directors .
When your average person thinks of Romero, his legendary Living Dead Trilogy is what normally comes to mind and for Hooper, The first two Texas Chainsaw Massacres and Poltergeist. While these are all amazing films, let’s not forget that both directors had plenty of other movies that helped them earn their titles of masters of horror. Here in no particular order are those films, with five underrated films from each director.
Invaders from Mars
The 1980’s had several great remakes of classic 50’s sci-fi horror genre such as The Thing and The Fly. One that gets forgotten is Hooper’s version of Invaders From Mars, which is a shame since this film is a fun 80’s cheese fest joy ride with awesome special effects.
This made for TV anthology film was a giant lot between Hooper, John Carpenter and Larry Sulkis. Hooper directed the third and final segment “Eye.”
This film is about a baseball player who gets a replacement right eye after he looses it. He then starts getting disturbing visions and soon learns of the eye’s secret origin as he plummets into madness. This segment is the best in the film, but the other two are also well worth your time.
This slasher classic is set in an amusement park where a small group of teens get stuck in the fun house ride and are attacked by a killer with severe physical deformities. The film stars Elizabeth Berridge, who would later become known for being in the huge hit film Amadeus about the legendary composer Mozart.
Written by horror and sci-fi master Dan O’Bannon (Dead and Buried, Alien) and based on the novel Space Vampires, Lifeforce is a must see for horror and sci-fi fans. In this film, vampires from space arrive in London and start infecting everyone. This picture’s style fuses primitive shlock with traditional Hammer style horror to make an experience that’s out of this world. It also has Patrick Stewart, which is always a plus!
A spiritual follow up to Texas Chainsaw, Eaten Alive is a 70’s grindhouse classic. Like TCM, this film is about a sadistic killer redneck who feeds his victims to his pet crocodile.
The Dark Half
Based on the novel by Stephen King, this film tells the story of an author who creates a fake pen name sort of like what King did with Richard Bachman. This fake person now wants to take over the author’s life by any means neccessary.
Two Evil Eyes
This overlooked gem is an anthology film involving both Romero and Italian, legend Dario Argento. It features two stories, both based on the works of Edgar Allen Poe with Argento directing The Black Cat and Romero directing The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar. While Romero’s skit isn’t as good as Argento’s, it’s still excellent, well crafted gothic horror.
Romero is most known for making films about the living dead. In The Crazies, he gives us a similar concept but with a virus causing people to become rabid and zombie like. The social commentary and military themes commonly found in Romero’s works are all here as it feels like a side film in the Living Dead franchise.
George A. Romero is mostly know for his zombie films, but has several others well worth checking out – including the vampire classic Martin.
The film is about a young man who thinks he’s a vampire who goes to live with his insane elderly cousin who believes he’s a product of a family curse.
The film plays on the old-world hysteria that created vampires, but sets them in modern day. It also showcases Romero’s love for social commentary.
When master director George Romero teams up with Stephen King for a film, you know you have a masterpiece on your hands.
Creepshow is a horror anthology film that acts as a love letter to vintage horror comics such as Tales from the Crypt and Vault of Horror. The film consists of five shorts with two of the shorts, Weeds and The Crate being based on King stories. The rest were written by King specifically for the movie. From start to finish, Creepshow is a fun, gory, creepy and hilarious joy ride.