While we’ve grown accustomed to the horror genre receiving bigger budgets in order to capitalize on what is clearly a very macabre trend, there are still indie and low budget films being churned out on a weekly basis.
We wanted to highlight a series of elite independent features that were shot on budgets south of $100,000. A few of these picks may surprise you…
THE BATTERY ($6,000)
How anyone can shoot a riveting zombie film on a $6,000 budget clearly has some talent. Jeremy Gardner is the one with the talent, and if he can make masterfully desolate picture such as this with less than 10k, well, the world should start paying attention. No telling where this mastermind ends up, but his future is bright, regardless of what he chooses to do next.
BIGFOOT THE MOVIE (unknown, but it sure as shit is cheap)
BIGFOOT THE MOVIE may initially look like an uncontrollable shit storm, but it quickly flips a 180 and gets itself positioned on the proper side of the road. Believable buddy humor seems to really work in this instance, and the mystery that cooks up around our protagonists is pretty engaging. As for the Bigfoot, he looks pretty good… but not as good as the fake mullet that Chuck rocks… or just about as much as any other punchline you’ll discover in the flick as a whole!
THE LATE NIGHT DOUBLE FEATURE ($10,000)
This is a wild anthology film that essentially chucks all the rules from the window. Because the stories aren’t sewn together seamlessly the pic often takes on a murky vibe. But that’s not to say the film isn’t enjoyable, because it most certainly is. There are a few potentially iconic characters in the lineup, and there’s plenty of humor – both intentional and unintentional – to soak up. This one has all the makings of being a stellar companion to an ice cold 12-pack of brewskies!
PARANORMAL ACTIVITY ($15,000)
No doubt one of the most popular additions to this list, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY not only breathed new life into found footage, it scared the shit out of viewers who expected little more than a quirky possession tale. Nowadays we understand that the film was extremely important to the genre. Back in 2007 found footage was a young instable branch of the horror tree, but PARANORMAL ACTIVITY altered the game in a big way, empowering the film format, thus changing a lot of minds that may have been harboring negative thoughts about the production. We know who got the last laugh.
No one can deny the fact that David Lynch has complex, often disconcerting concepts, and outlandish ideas, and he loves to pour that mush into one big cauldron and boil it up until it forms just the taste he yearns for. And that taste, admittedly, can be a little odd from time to time. Case in point, ERASERHEAD, the story of a family slowly broken down by what they deem is a burden of a mutated child. It’s an intense film, and atmospherically speaking, it doesn’t get much better. Lynch’s strange style is evident, but that’s a good thing. ERASERHEAD somehow still holds up today, so if you skipped it, hit rewind.
BAD TASTE ($20,000)
Hands down, without even a hint of a doubt, BAD TASTE is as nutty as it comes. Hell, it may be nuttier than can be put into words. We’re talking totally, and completely batshit crazy. This early Peter Jackson piece involved a bunch of aggressive alien creatures (that look absolutely priceless in the strangest way imaginable) that could have given many a victim a heart attack on site. But that’s no way to end it… is it? Jackson delivers big comedic presence and it’s greatly appreciated. It’s just wild to see how far Peter Jackson has come over the years.
FEEDING FRENZY ($25,000)
FEEDING FRENZY isn’t what I’d call a serious flick, but that almost adds an entirely unique charm to the viewing experience. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable little satire, poking fun at all the ludicrous clichés we’ve come to expect from horror. But don’t get me wrong, this is indeed an engaging little picture that just might help you to develop a defined six pack, you’re liable to laugh so hard. FEEDING FRENZY remains an underrated commodity, but don’t let that deter you should you have a chance to pick this one up. It’s kooky, and it’s crazy, and that fits the stereotypical horror fan to a T!
THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT ($60,000)
THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT was the film that truly launched the found footage subgenre. And although it hasn’t aged all too well (a product of society and the typical moviegoers desire to see copious amounts of blood and outrageous explosions and severed limbs at every turn), it’s still a profoundly disturbing little picture. I had the pleasure of catching this one in theaters upon arrival, but to be honest, the film is far more terrifying when watched in the not-so-comfortable setting of your front room… lights down low, empty house, not a peep echoing through the abode. That’s when it gets terrifying… still!
THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN ($69,000)
It’s wild to think that Hammer’s go-to genius, Terence Fisher assembled this amazing film for less than $70,000. This is no doubt one of the greatest Frankenstein films in existence, and if you ask a genre fan for a top five Frank flick, chances are extremely high that THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN will make that list. The sets look great, the performances are awesome and, quite frankly, it’s always amazing seeing Peter Cushing join forces with Christopher Lee in front of the camera. Hell, those casting decisions alone help to dramatically increase the entertainment value of this movie.
THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE ($83,000)
Remember when Tobe Hooper scared the shit out of us in 1974 with his visceral tale of a cannibalistic family who holds no prejudice, completely content to eat anyone. The film, THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, helped to launch Tobe Hooper into stardom, and that was well-deserved. Hooper’s given us a series of excellent pictures over the years, and ranking right up there at the top of the list is this suggestively savage film that, believe it or not, really didn’t showcase much graphic gore (that was left for viewers to conjure up in their imaginations). The fact that the up-close-and-personal shots still steer clear of the overtly graphic violence says a lot about Tobe Hooper as a filmmaker. This man has it, in spades.