Horror, it’s a beloved genre that has put smiles on the faces of millions over the years. As I write that I realize how messed up of a sentence that is. To think that there are that many people out there that find enjoyment in blood, gore and being terrified, well that’s a little disturbing. Who cares though, as I am proudly one of those people. I LOVE horror. There’s no other way to say it. With this article I want to look at some of the most iconic horror movies that have stood the test of time but were made with shoe-string budgets. So here we go:
I wanted to keep this list to 5, so I struggled for a very long time as I thought on what the five should be with there being so many worthy options out there like Friday The 13th, Psycho, Night Of The Living Dead and many more. Alas, these are the 5 I’m choosing to go with,a nd I think they are all more than worthy.
There’s no better place to start with but the best, so that’s where we are starting. The horror film GOD John Carpenter crafted in 1978 a horror film that has endured for almost 45 years and brought with it one of the most iconic horror film characters of all time. Michael Myers and one iconic film score. He was a simple creation. A man who killed to kill with no real method to his madness, which in the end is what made him so damn scary. Countless sequels and reboots came after, but the original cannot be touched. It was made for next to no money and has generated umpteen times that since. Carpenter, the genius that he is, relied on less is more aspect of horror and implied horror. In one interview they famously talked about their lack of equipment available, so in the opening scene they had move lights around to compensate for the camera moving throughout the house.
2) The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Tobe Hooper created a masterpiece of not just horror, but of all cinema in 1973. Much like Halloween, which came after, he was working with no money, and relied on minimalistic implied horror. Left the rest up to the audience’s imagination. To this day it still terrifies people with it’s realistic feel, and there is minimal blood in the movie. It’s all what’s in your head.
3) The Blair Witch Project
Allow me to preface this by saying I am not a fan of this movie. Saw it when it came out in 1999 and was not on board. However, there is no denying the impact this film had on the entire industry of filmmaking. They crafted a backstory by using the internet in its infant stages and went viral (before that was a thing) to create an urgency in audiences to want to see this new “found-footage” horror documentary about real people. It was genius marketing, and the film went over like gang busters. Again, with a limited budget they relied all on implied horror and clever marketing.
4) Get Out
Granted, this is not that old of a movie, but it assuredly is a banger. It changed the game of horror and re-introduced Jordan Peele into a new genre (having prior been known for Comedy). I mean, this man killed it with this film, and he did it with a minimal budget (well, minimal in Hollywood’s eyes). He interwove the lighthearted nature of comedy with the intensity of suspense and horror. He cut down many of the cliches that are found in horror and injected some much-needed social commentary on racism into the narrative. There is no denying this man is a genius and getting powerhouse and star-making performance from Daniel Kaluuya, Lakeith Stansfield and Lil Rel Howery propelled this film to iconic status.
Wait, what? How could Jaws be low budget? Well, when they were shooting it in 1974 it was, in Hollywood terms, low budget. A young, wet-behind-the-ears director in Steven Spielberg given his first shot at the big time. Well, he swung for the fences and knocked it out of the park. He ushered in the summer blockbuster with Jaws. Now, when I say low budget in this sense, I’m not saying they were filming with peanuts. I’m saying it in terms of they were not afforded the usual luxuries that came with studio pictures. They had a shark that they couldn’t get to work, which in the end was the best thing for the movie, as it forced Spielberg to stretch his creativity as he filmed most of it without the shark, and instead used POV shots which added to the suspense (and John Williams’ score didn’t hurt either).
There you go, that is my list of some of the best low budget horror movies out there. I hope you enjoyed it, and if you haven’t seen any of them, do yourself a favor and amend that situation immediately.