(Welcome to The Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, a series that takes a look at slightly more obscure, under-the-radar, or simply under-appreciated movies. This week we head into the night for films that start near dusk and end before dawn.)
Movies that take both characters and viewers on a short journey through a single night aren’t exactly rare. Numerous horror films employ the time crunch as an easy way of focusing and ramping up the intensity – imagine John Carpenter‘s Halloween (1978) spread over a full week and you’ll see why a single night of terror is far more terrifying. Carpenter also used it to increase suspense in films like Assault on Precinct 13 (1976) and Escape from New York (1981), while other action/thrillers followed suit including The Warriors (1979), Judgment Night (1993), Collateral (2004), Attack the Block (2011), and more.
Comedies have played the overnight game too, with films as diverse as Superbad (2007), Go (1999), Clue (1985), Dazed and Confused (1993), and Adventures in Babysitting (1987). Hell, the entirety of The Purge franchise is built on the concept. There are so many examples that it’s difficult to pick the best of the bunch.
Ha! Just kidding, the best film set across a single night is Martin Scorsese‘s After Hours (1985), with a short list of runners up that includes 25th Hour (2002), American Graffiti (1973), Die Hard (1988), and Carpenter’s aforementioned 1976 classic. But you’ve seen all of those, so what do you say we find some new journeys into the darkness?
Keep reading for a look at great but lesser known movies set over a single night that you’ve probably never seen.
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Posted on Monday, February 11th, 2019 by Rob Hunter
(Welcome to The Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, a series that takes a look at slightly more obscure, under-the-radar, or simply under-appreciated movies. This week we give a nod towards Black History Month with a look at some of the best, little-seen films from black filmmakers.)
Great films and filmmakers are worth celebrating all year round, but we live in a world that likes to categorize and quantify, meaning February has been designated as Black History Month (and Women in Horror month too for those of you keeping track). The films in this column are recommended viewing any time, but I’m willing to play along with the convention if it gets more eyeballs on the smart, engaging, and entertaining cinema these directors have to offer.
Black filmmakers are continuing to increase in number and prominence alongside Asian, Latino, and female directors, and cinema is richer for it. More voices mean more stories, and that can only be a good thing. Films like Do the Right Thing (1989) and Eve’s Bayou (1997) broke barriers and demand to be sought out, while the new documentary Horror Noire (2019) explores the world of black horror films in ways that fascinate, enlighten, and entertain. The six films below haven’t reached the same level of awareness, but they most definitely deserve more than they’ve received.
Keep reading for a look at some of the best films you’ve probably never seen from black directors.
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Posted on Friday, January 25th, 2019 by Rob Hunter
(Welcome to The Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, a series that takes a look at slightly more obscure, under-the-radar, or simply under-appreciated movies. This week we tour some exclusive boys schools that won’t leave you cringing at the prospect of cruel cretins crawling out into the world.)
Private schools for boys, usually exclusive and typically religious in some way, have been getting a bad rap in recent months for the miserable behaviors exhibited by their students and graduates. The truth is these schools are usually no better or worse than their public counterparts, but it’s always the terrible examples we hear about the loudest. In an effort to counter that I’d like to highlight some of the less criminal elements walking the halls of the nation’s boys schools. Of course, this being a movie site means I’ll be looking exclusively at exclusive schools in movies.
Some of the best-known include Class (1983), Dead Poet’s Society (1989) and School Ties (1992), and while one of those is clearly the better film all three are memorable and worth watching (again). There are others, though, that while worth your time are far less known for one reason or another despite showing boys and young men we can be proud of. So what do you say I share a few with you?
Keep reading for a look at six good to great boys school-set movies that you probably haven’t seen.
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Posted on Wednesday, January 9th, 2019 by Rob Hunter
(Welcome to The Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, a series that takes a look at slightly more obscure, under-the-radar, or simply under-appreciated movies. This week we go toe to toe and foot to face with some of the best fight-filled action movies you’ve never seen.)
Action movies come in all shapes and sizes, but while big stunts can be truly thrilling when done right few sequences are more impressive than a beautifully choreographed, filmed, and edited fight scene. We’ve been gifted with truly stellar fight films in recent years from The Raid 2 to The Villainess to last year’s The Night Comes for Us, but for every one that breaks through to find an audience and some pop culture recognition, another disappears into the ether.
I’m here to correct some of those slights – six of them to be precise – and while most of them come from the expected countries of origin including South Korea, Thailand, and Japan, one of them is actually German. Yes, a German martial arts film, and like the rest of the movies here it kicks some serious butt.
Keep reading for a look at some of the best fight-oriented action movies you’ve probably never seen.
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Posted on Thursday, December 27th, 2018 by Rob Hunter
(Welcome to The Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, a series that takes a look at slightly more obscure, under-the-radar, or simply under-appreciated movies. This week we go looking for gold and maybe a little iron pyrite in the search for some underseen gems about people looking for lost, hidden, or legendary treasures.)
There’s something endlessly appealing about a search for hidden treasure, and movies have captured the feeling time and time again. From the Indiana Jones trilogy to the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, from The Rundown to Three Kings, there’s a thrill to the pursuit of something lost or legendary. Some films focus exclusively on the journey and the puzzles along the way while others frame it as a race against time and the enemy, but the goal remains the same: find “it.”
Despite the subgenre’s popularity, though, there are more than a few out there that never quite caught on or maybe just deserve all the eyeballs, and that’s where I come in. Rather than hand you a map filled with clues and challenges designed to ultimately point you towards some fun movies you probably haven’t seen yet, I’ve decided to eliminate the middle man and just name them. So keep reading for a look at six highly entertaining movies about people in pursuit of lost treasure you’ve probably never seen.
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Posted on Monday, December 17th, 2018 by Rob Hunter
(Welcome to The Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, a series that takes a look at slightly more obscure, under-the-radar, or simply under-appreciated movies. This week sees us dig into the gumshoe game with a look at some private eye flicks worth seeking out.)
A new Sherlock Holmes film opens later this month, and while it’s one played almost exclusively for laughs its core element — a private detective solves a mystery! — remains intact. Arthur Conan Doyle’s 1887 creation is probably the most famous such character, but his (probable) inspiration and “American” private eye type as we know and love it actually arrived three decades earlier from the mind of Edgar Allan Poe. It’s true! His amateur crime-solver has inspired numerous others in the many decades since, and while C. Auguste Dupin has a very limited presence on the big screen others have made the leap and gifted viewers with some truly incredible films ranging from suspense to comedies to dramatic thrillers.
Harper (1966), Klute (1971), Chinatown (1974), Night Moves (1975), and Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) are some of the best there are, and if you’ve yet to see any of them I suggest you make it a priority to fix that sooner rather than later. For now, though, I want to recommend a few that aren’t considered classics and deserve to be a bit more popular.
Keep reading for a look at six very good to great movies about private eyes that you’ve probably never seen.
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Posted on Thursday, November 22nd, 2018 by Rob Hunter
(Welcome to The Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, a series that takes a look at slightly more obscure, under-the-radar, or simply under-appreciated movies. This week things get hairy as we go digging for some underseen werewolf gems!)
There are seemingly thousands of movies about vampires and zombies, but for some reason the werewolf doesn’t quite warrant the same degree of ubiquity. It’s arguably the cooler creature, but therein rests the reason why there are so few werewolf movies – and even fewer good to great ones. You can’t just toss some plastic teeth in an actor’s mouth or paint their skin gray. Werewolves require prosthetic effects/transformations, and they don’t come cheap. (Well, usually.) The advent and availability of inexpensive CG has seen a minor burst in the sub-genre in recent years, but quality-wise they’re more hairballs than hairy nightmares.
If the top tier of great werewolf films features An American Werewolf in London (1981), The Howling (1981), and Universal’s The Wolf Man (1941) then the next includes killer but less popular movies like Silver Bullet (1985), Bad Moon (1996), Ginger Snaps (2000), Dog Soldiers (2002), and Late Phases (2014). And then what? Seventy or so mostly forgettable tales of lycanthropes on the prowl? Yes, but there are also a handful of good ones you’ve probably missed! And I shouldn’t have to say this, but after seeing far, far too many lists including them I’m going to remind you that, while great, neither Wolfen (1981) nor Brotherhood of the Wolf (2001) are werewolf movies.
Keep reading for a look at six good to great – and even lesser known – werewolf movies that deserve a bite out of your time.
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Posted on Tuesday, November 6th, 2018 by Rob Hunter
(Welcome to The Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, a series that takes a look at slightly more obscure, under-the-radar, or simply under-appreciated movies. This week we’re thankful we don’t have wealthy relatives as we take a look at movies about the untimely deaths that come before and after inheritances!)
Inheritances are something I’ll never have to actually deal with, sadly, but I still love seeing them used on plot set-ups in movies. They’re a great way to bring disparate characters together with a common goal, and while the films can cross genres from comedy to horror, their shared theme of absolute greed ruling the day is a fascinating motivator. One of my favorites is 1994’s Greedy, but everyone’s seen that comedic gem – yes, I said comedic gem – and if you haven’t you should remedy that immediately. The cast offers up a wealth of funny with Michael J.Fox, Kirk Douglas, Colleen Camp, Ed Begley Jr., Bob Balaban, and more bringing the laughs, but all of them bow before the godlike skills of the late Phil Hartman.
But to the point of this column, there are plenty more that may not get the same kind of play on cable or feature the same caliber of big name stars but still deliver the goods. I’ve listed six below, but fair warning, only the first few feature any degree of comedy. The rest are darker, grimmer, and bloodier.
Keep reading for a look at the best movies you probably haven’t seen about inheritances that leave some people richer and other people dead.
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Posted on Friday, October 19th, 2018 by Rob Hunter
(Welcome to The Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, a series that takes a look at slightly more obscure, under-the-radar, or simply under-appreciated movies. This week we look at savage felines big and small but mostly big!)
Culture and horror cinema is filled with references to cats being the demon spawn of the pet world, and until recently I saw no reason to disagree. We brought home two black kittens that had been found in a dumpster, and they’ve thanked us by being adorable, playful, and loving… while still being the demon spawn of the pet world.
Still, though, there aren’t a lot of great movies about killer housecats. Sure they pop up in anthology films like The Uncanny (1977), Cat’s Eye (1985), and Tales from the Darkside: The Movie (1990), but they don’t make for a great core threat. A few minutes with Uninvited (1988) or Strays (1991) are more than enough to prove as much. Thankfully there are bigger cats like lions, tigers, and pumas, oh my. Popular, well-known horror movies focused on big cats include The Ghost and the Darkness (1996) and… that’s it really? They show up hungry in movies as diverse as Day of the Animals (1977) and The Jungle Book (2016), but movies focused on killer cats? They’re out there.
Keep reading for a look at six good to great horror movies about ferocious felines thirsty for blood!
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Posted on Wednesday, October 3rd, 2018 by Rob Hunter
(Welcome to The Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, a series that takes a look at slightly more obscure, under-the-radar, or simply under-appreciated movies. This week we get our feet wet with some underappreciated horrors on the open water!)
Horror can unfold anywhere, but there’s something especially unnerving about nightmares at sea. Traveling by boat can be a lonely affair under even the best conditions as you’re cut off physically from the outside world, and that can be the case whether or not you’re alone. Add natural threats like sharks, sunstroke, and the disorienting effect of thirst and things get even worse. But toss in horror elements and it becomes something altogether more frightening. There’s nowhere to run when you’re surrounded by water.
Jaws (1975) is the best the genre has to offer, but there are plenty of other examples delivering thrills and chills. Virus (1999), Ghost Ship (2002), and even Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989) are all varying degrees of fun, but they’re just the tip of the offshore horror iceberg.
Keep reading for a look at six good to great movies you’ve probably never seen about boat-set horrors.
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