The horror film industry has been around almost as long as the film industry itself. The 1980s is often considered the pinnacle of the genre with the likes of The Shining and The Thing dropping during that decade, while it also marked the start of various seemingly endless franchises.
However, horror films don’t always have to come from a world full of money. There are countless low-budget horror films that are just as good as any blockbuster, despite not having the financial backing. That doesn’t mean they aren’t famous, though- there are some huge films lurking amongst the unknown indie flicks in the list below.
10 The Puppet Monster Massacre (2010): Tubi
Every natural reflex in one's body should be telling them not to watch The Puppet Monster Massacre just from the picture above alone. However, if they give it a shot, then this campy attempt at puppet-horror-comedy could be one of the most unsuspecting wins here.
The film managed to stick to its low budget by avoiding famous names and hand-making puppets that are simultaneously funny and genuinely quite creepy, while its storyline is unique.
9 Eraserhead (1977): Kanopy & The Criterion Channel
One of the strangest films ever made was directed, written and produced by David Lynch. He was given full creative control over a horror film full of some seriously weird scenes.
Things were taken even further in the film thanks to its black-and-white filming, strange choices of music and extremes of body horror. It has gone down in history as one of the best experimental horror films ever despite its tiny budget.
8 Paranormal Activity (2007): Hulu
The Paranormal Activity franchise thrives off of its simplicity. Its unique approach to found-footage gives it a unique selling point and an easy way to terrify its audience, but the way it is filmed meant that its creator, Oren Peli, barely had to empty his pockets in order to make over $200 million dollars. Considering it has become one of the biggest horror franchises of all time, that is a seriously impressive feat.
7 Sinister (2012): Netflix
2012's Sinister managed to attract Ethan Hawk into the lead role and land a rather sizable cinematic release, but the budget was just $3 million; marking huge returns of almost thirty times that figure.
While there are a few low-blow jump scares that take away from the suspense slightly, most of the film is incredibly tense and well-made, with the atmospheric cutaways to Super 8 ‘snuff film’ footage proving to be the highlight.
6 Killer Klowns From Outer Space (1988): Netflix & YouTube
Killer Klowns From Outer Space is fantastic for anyone looking for a lighthearted jump into the world of campy horror-comedy. Obviously, it’s about killer clowns who happen to be from outer space. The small budget (though still double that of Blair Witch) meant the visuals were bad, but it simply didn’t matter. A sequel has been in the works for more than thirty years.
5 [REC] (2007): Crackle
When the Spanish film [REC] was released, it was considered to be a bit of a ripoff of Blair Witch and its reception was expected to be rather poor. Somehow, it defied all expectations and, despite being in a language other than English, became a hit overseas, spawned various sequels.
4 The Battery (2012): Amazon Prime
Shot on a budget of just $6000, The Battery was impressively well-received thanks to a uniquely ill-prepared approach to the creation of a zombie film.
It might not have been seen by many, but thanks to showings at horror film festivals (and now streaming on Amazon Prime) it has picked up a lot of fans, who praise its simplicity.
3 Monsters (2010): Tubi & YouTube
Many people probably haven't heard of this because it doesn't exactly have the most inventive title in the world, but Monsters took the horror world by storm in 2010 when Gareth Edwards was able to turn a half a million-dollar budget into a multi-million dollar box office result.
The sci-fi horror attained positive reviews that immediately shot it to a place of respect in the horror world far beyond that of its big-budget competitors. The film also has the notoriety of being Gareth Edwards' first directorial credit. Just a few years after wowing audiences with this film, he rebooted to Godzilla franchise and directed what is arguably the only non-divisive Star Wars film ever: Rogue One.
2 The Night Of The Living Dead (1968): Tubi
Despite being one of the most famous horror films of all time, The Night Of The Living Dead is available for free on many outlets including Tubi.
This is because, despite it being the first and most impactful work of celebrated zombie-lover George A. Romero, it is now in the public domain. No one owns it, so one can basically do whatever they want with it. There is a reason it’s considered a masterpiece by film lovers.
1 Halloween (1978): Shudder
One might now think of Halloween as one of the most impressive and wide-ranging horror series in the world. It has multiple sequels and many have already seen it. What they may not be aware, is that the original was filmed on just a $300,000 budget. That’s almost as little as The Blair Witch Project.
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