However, a few titles still remain in the dreaded VHS purgatory. These have not been released due to either two reasons: a) It was a flop at the box office or b) the studio believes the DVD won't make money. I haven't seen all of these lost films, and there are still some that I wish to see, such as Prison, The Boogens, Cellar Dweller, and Project: Metalbeast. So, submitted for your approval, my:
10. The Horror Show (1989)
The Horror Show is an entertaining lost film, albeit a complete rip-off of Shocker (which was released the same year). It's about serial killer Max Jenke (Brion James) who, after a large body count, is caught by Detective Lucas McCarthy (Lance Henriksen) and is sent to the electric chair. Jenke, just before death, vows to haunt the detective and his family. He fulfills that promise and begins haunting McCarthy with a series of grisly hallucinations before going after his family. Even though it doesn't sound like much, The Horror Show is surprisingly well acted with great special effects and buckets of gore. I could list countless similarities to Shocker, but put that aside and enjoy The Horror Show for what it is.
9. The Town that Dreaded Sundown (1976)
Yeah, yeah, I know. The Town that Dreaded Sundown is #9. This seems to be the most popular of the films not on DVD yet, so it may come as a surprise that this is ranked #9. It's a killer wearing about a potato sack mask and killing men and women while they're in some lover's lane location. The town calls in a Texas Ranger (Ben Johnson) to hunt him down. While the stalking and slashing moments are terrific, the rest fails to live up to these scenes. Ben Johnson gives a great performance as well as Bud Davis as the terrifying Phantom Killer. There's some cop drama, car chases, and a documentary feel mixed in which takes up the scenes where there aren't any killings. Some of it works, some of it doesn't, which makes The Town that Dreaded Sundown ranked #9. Bonus points for the trombone kill.
8. Blood Beach (1981)
The year of 1981 had some great horror movies being released, and Blood Beach is no exception. It's essentially about a monster sucking people under the San Diego beach, never to be seen again. Meanwhile, there's a budding relationship between two lost lovers and the police try to solve the mystery. It features a strong cast of David Huffman, Burt Young, and the always great John Saxon. You don't see the monster until the end, and I don't know about anyone else, but I thought it was really cool. Some of the scenes on the VHS are pretty dark, so it's hard to tell what's going on. For a movie called Blood Beach, it doesn't rank that high on the gore-o-meter, but it does rank high on the entertainment meter.
7. The Mutilator (1985)
The Mutilator really isn't good at all. It's about six college students who head up to one of the student's condo on the beach for fall break. Little do they know that the student's insane father has other plans for them...The Mutilator features horrible acting, a competent at best script, and stereotypical characters, so what is there to like? Well, how about several very gory murders with effects done by Mark Shostrom, who would go on to do the effects for A Nighmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge? The Mutilator features death by boat propeller, battle axe, and, in the most disturbing scene in the movie, fishing gaffe. it also features one of the greatest opening credits songs ever.
6. Without Warning (1980)
Few films have such great acting, great special effects, and great writing that captivate me through the entire film, with the pace never too fast or too slow. The first film that comes to mind when I think of this is Fright Night. The second is Without Warning. Four teens head up to the lake for some R&R but instead come across an alien who has come to earth to hunt humans for sport (sound familiar?) by throwing extraterrestrial leeches at them. The only two people who believe them are Joe (Jack Palance) and Sarge (Martin Landau), so now they must destroy the creature before more lives are lost. As already stated, the acting is great, thanks in no small part to Oscar-winners Jack Palance and Martin Landau. The pace is perfect and the special effects and make-up effects are great. The alien remains unseen for the majority of the picture, and its reveal is fantastic. It never breaks the fourth wall and becomes self-aware, so it's completely engrossing from start to finish.
5. TerrorVision (1986)
In the 1980s, Charles Band's Empire Pictures produced some great movies, such as Re-Animator and From Beyond. However, one overlooked title is the 1986 cheese-fest TerrorVision. Get this: It's about a monster from outer space that is beamed into the Putterman's satellite dish, so now the monster can pop in and out of the TV at will and gobble people up. Now it's up to Sherman Putterman, Suzy Putterman, and her boyfriend O.D. to stop the monster before it takes over the world! This movie is really weird in too many ways to count. Everything from the swinging parents to the leather-clad heavy metal rocker O.D. are all so ridiculous, it works! The creature FX on the monster are great, but what else would you expect from John Carl Buechler? It's funny, witty, charming, and just a blast to watch all around.
4. The Keep (1983)
Based on the great novel by F. Paul Wilson, The Keep is an incredible spectacle of sights and sounds from director Michael Mann. The Nazis are sent to a keep in Romania to guard the Dinu Pass. However, one of the Nazis accidentally unleashes an ancient evil that begins systematically slaughtering them one by one. Jurgen Prochnow and Scott Glenn were both fantastic in their roles, but it was Ian McKellan who stole the show with his portrayal of Professor Theodore Cuza, a professor who the Nazis call in along with his daughter to aid them. The score by Tangerine Dream sets exactly the right tone and the cinematography was just phenomenal as well. The plot is very choppy, but you can't blame Mann for this. He originally made a 180-min. long version of The Keep which Paramount butchered into the theatrical 90-min. cut. Even with that setback, The Keep still never fails to amaze and delight me with every viewing.
3. 976-EVIL II (1991)
Jim Wynorski is, without a doubt, the king of B-movie sequels. From Big Bad Mama II to Sorority House Massacre II, he's directed some of the best cheesy follow-ups that are often better than the originals, and 976-EVIL II is no exception. It's everything you'd want in a movie. It's scary, funny, action-packed, and even touching. It's about an evil college dean who is using the 976-EVIL horrorscope and astral projection to kill beautiful young women. Now it's up to Robin and Spike (from the original) to put an end to his reign of terror. It's very creative and in a scene that will warm the heart of any horror fan, a girl gets sucked into the TV and into a cross-breed of It's a Wonderful Life and Night of the Living Dead. It's witty moments like this that elevate 976-EVIL II to well-beyond your standard direct-to-video trash.
2. Ghost Town (1988)
Call it a western, call it a horror movie, either way, Ghost Town is wicked good fun. Basically imagine what would happen if Army of Darkness were taken seriously and replace the Medieval theme with the wild west. Deputy Langley (Franc Luz) is trying to find a missing woman and comes across a ghost town. However, it turns out that this is quite literally a ghost town. The spirits of the residents are trapped in limbo by a demonic outlaw who is holding the missing woman captive. The only way the spirits can rest in piece is if someone kills the evil foe. Now Langley must rise to the challenge, save the town, and rescue the girl. With great special effects, great acting, and a brisk pacing, Charles Band has struck another home run that not only goes out of the park, but out of this world. It's so entertaining I can't believe no one's even given it the thought to put it on DVD.
1. Blood Diner (1987)
There were some great movies on this list, but Blood Diner trumps them all! It's a wicked horror comedy, and it's certainly not for everyone. It was meant to be a sequel to H.G. Lewis' 1964 gore classic Blood Feast, but it opted to go for a spoof instead. There's even a variation of the scene where the guy and the girl are making out on the beach before Fuad Ramses attacks them, and this variation is so crazy you'll bust a gut. It's really gory, but you're never disgusted. It's about two brothers who run the Tutman Cafe, a vegetarian diner. They plan to resurrect the goddess Sheetar with the help of their Uncle Anwar's brain. I can't even begin to describe how insane this movie is. For an idea, go on YouTube and search for Blood Diner. Then choose one of the several clips to see just how crazy this movie truly is. It's currently available On Demand on FearNet, so is that a sign of a future DVD release?
Well, that's the list. Comment if you agree, disagree, or have any questions or concerns. Honorable mentions? Well...
Body Count - A so-bad-it's-fun Italian slasher movie from Ruggero Deodato (Cannibal Holocaust).
Hospital Massacre (X-Ray) - Generic but entertaining slasher.
Death Ship - Nicely done and atmospheric flick starring George Kennedy and Richard Crenna
Killer Workout - An unbelievably cheesy slasher with aerobics.
The Supernaturals - Slow but good movie about confederate zombies vs. the U.S. military