Halloween is our favorite time of the year, mostly because it’s the perfect occasion to break out some of our favorite scary movies celebrate some of the finest examples of horror narratives. This year, we will be reviewing 31 of our favorite indie horror films– one for every day of October.
The two of us have very different tastes in movies, so we aimed to cover a lot of genre territory, ranging from action-packed monster movies to more subtle, atmospheric horror movies. Haunted houses, zombies, crawlers, sea creatures, trolls, ghosts, poltergeists, demons, serial killers, vampires, witches, cults and cannibals are all present.
We wanted to feature these films not only for the scares but for the exemplary screenwriting, character development and innovations to the genre. In recognition of great cinema, horror films are frequently overlooked or disregarded, but often horror films showcase some of the most compelling and psychologically-revealing examples of visual story-telling.
A new wave of horror film-making is here, and independent screenwriters and directors are leading the way. Film makers are finding new ways to present horror stories in more relevant and engaging ways. And the ones who are detached from the confinements of big-budget production companies are frequently the ones who are free to delve into the stories and ideas that haven’t been explored yet.
So the idea to zero in on indie horror movies this October was obvious. Figuring out what qualifies as “indie,” was less obvious.
So what qualifies as an indie horror movie to us?
Indie is an ambiguous term. It’s thrown around a lot and means something different to everyone. But in order to narrow down this list, we had to figure out which movies we felt met the right specifications. We devised a list of characteristics that we associated with the phrase “indie movie,” but didn’t strictly confine ourselves to these qualifications:
- Produced by an independent production company
- Released by an independent distributor
- Embodied the indie spirit
- Debuted at an independent film festival
- Detached from conventional movie-making methods or structures
- Developed with funds much less than the typical wide-released movie (less than $5 million)
Not every movie on this list abides by every qualification. But we used our own judgement to hand-pick which movies we thought merited the indie label.
Why isn’t your favorite indie movie on this list?
These sorts of lists, like the movies on them, are often controversial. Everyone has their favorite movies and many people have strong opinions about those movies. So in an attempt to address these criticisms, we’ll answer the question of why your favorite indie horror movie isn’t on this list now– either we didn’t see it or we didn’t like it.
Most will fall into the first category. We’re only two people, so we’ve only seen a fraction of the movies that probably should have made the list. Fortunately, we intend to remedy that problem by doing more October-long horror movie marathons in the coming years– to review the ones we might have left off this list and explore other non-indie topics.
So stay tuned, leave your thoughts about our reviews for each movie in the comment section. And at the end of the month, let us know which movies that you think should have been included!