Movies & TV / Columns

10 Underrated Halloween Movies: The Fly, Monster Squad, More

October 19, 2020 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
Shudder The Fly

A couple of things before we jump into the list. Please read before jumping into the comments even though I know I’ll hear from several of you about some complaint that was already explained. 

First, I’m not a horror guy. If you want some in-depth and great reads, check out Mr. Bryan Kristopowitz, who is absolutely nailing it with some great October columns. Seriously, check out his stuff. 

Not being a horror guy, my list is rather tame when it comes to underrated horror content. I mean, I was going to list The Paul Lynde Halloween Special because that’s pure Halloween entertainment right there!

See for yourself.

Second, with ANY list like this, it’s all SUBJECTIVE! Half the fun is reading other comments about movies we might have overlooked or never heard about. 

I compiled this with help from friends on social media. I left out some notable ones like Trick ‘r’ Treat because everyone seemed to mention that and I feel some movies that get the underrated tag eventually become…properly rated…or recognized by the viewing public. 

With that, let’s begin with the Olsen twins classic…

Double, Double, Toil & Trouble 
I kid! I kid! Seriously, here we go…

Clowns. They’ve come to represent terror to a lot of people and I wouldn’t mind learning just how that came to be. I mean, circus clowns are meant to be fun and silly but have morphed into movies like Terrifier.

Terrifier is a pretty paint-by-the-numbers slasher movie but gets points for the legit creepy vibe Art the Clown gives off the whole time. Bravo to make up effects!

Fun Size
Swerve! I bet you were looking for all horror movies but just like a scary movie, I throw in a twist! The title says Underrated Halloween Movies so here you go.

While this movie is no classic, it has a certain charm to it thanks to director Josh Schwartz. The plot is a familiar one: a teenage girl has plans for Halloween but has to babysit her little brother, who then disappears and the teenage girl, along with friends, have to find him before mom finds out. An easy, fun watch. 

Hell House LLC
Found footage movies are really hit or miss but Hell House LLC hit all the right notes for me. Shot documentary style, we meet a group of Halloween haunted house designers as they’re getting ready to open up the aptly named Hell House. Shockingly, things go wrong on opening night.
Solid scares and has had two sequels, which I haven’t seen yet. I’m sure someone will fill me in on them below. 

The Houses October Built
Another found footage style movie with this one centering around five friends who set out on a road trip in search of haunted house attractions. If you guessed things don’t go as planned, you’re right. 

A solid concept that’s solidly done even though it seems to have even more potential that could be utilized. Especially the whole Blue Skeleton mythology. 

The Fly
I’m sure many will cry foul with The Fly being on the list but as classic as this movie is, I’m finding more and more people who haven’t seen it, only knowing it by reputation. 
If you’re in that group, rectify that immediately. It’s such a great flick and Jeff Goldblum earns every accolade he gets from this, along with a great cast backing him. 

Corpse Bride
Sure Tim Burton’s A Nightmare Before Christmas gets all the love but what about Corpse Bride? This stop motion macabre musical is a visual treat that seems to get overlooked, despite the positive reviews it initially garnered. 

Even if you’ve seen it before, it has a grand rewatch factor.

The Haunted Mansion
I know this Eddie Murphy led movie was savaged by critics and audiences but I gave it another watch the other week and…liked it. Blame it on having kids or on my recent memories of visiting the Haunted Mansion pre-Covid but my stance on this has softened greatly. 

The Monster Squad
This is another one of those movies that’s “known” but more from word-of-mouth and not from actually watching it. It’s pure 80s cheesy fun. I mean, how could you not when you have the Universal Monsters led by Count Dracula taking on a group of kids.

This concept has legs and although there were talks of a remake, things never gained traction. They ditched the whole “Dark Universe”, for good reason, but I believe they should revisit The Monster Squad because it’s a much simpler angle that’s franchise ready. 

Silver Bullet
This movie came up in conversation recently and while it’s been a long, long time since I’ve seen it, my recollection of it is pretty intense. Based on the 1983 Stephen King short story Cycle of the Werewolf, it’s a little more raw than the usual werewolf offerings and if I can muster the courage, will give it another viewing to see how it compares with my memory.

Dark Night Of The Scarecrow
A made-for-television horror movie?!? Yes. I had forgotten about this until recently reminded about it and started looking back on it with fond memories. Taking place in a small Southern town, a wrongfully-killed man gets his revenge from beyond the grave on those who murdered him. Don’t let the made-for-TV label scare you away. 

Now it’s your turn! What makes your list? Have fun with it.