Barbara Crampton in Sun Choke

5 Underseen Indie Horror Movies: Barbara Crampton Edition

Welcome to Underseen Indie Horror Movies, an ongoing column that celebrates the hidden corners of spooky cinema. This edition is dedicated to Barbara Crampton.

From the moment she won our hearts in Re-Animator and a handful of other fun cult team-ups with Stuart Gordon, up to her horror career renaissance after appearing in Adam Wingard’s horror-comedy You’re Next, Barbara Crampton has been a pleasant and beloved staple of the horror film world.

Many people know her classic films like From Beyond and Chopping Mall, but in the last decade, some of her most interesting films haven’t gotten the love and recognition they deserve. So let’s dive into these five underseen horror movies starring Barbara Crampton.

Beyond the Gates (2016)

If you’re looking for a horror version of Jumanji that also lovingly pokes fun at the ridiculous VHS board games of the 1980s, Beyond the Gates will definitely be your speed.

Crampton plays the creepy host of a VHS game that two brothers find in the rental shop of their mysteriously vanished father. They play the game, only to find out there are supernatural stakes at play.

Sun Choke (2015)

A slow-burn psychological horror film with three central figures trapped in a destructive dynamic that is tantalizingly ambiguous, Sun Choke gives its three female leads a lot to work with.

Sarah Hagan from Freaks & Geeks plays a troubled young woman watched by a domineering caretaker who becomes fascinated by the intimate details of a local woman’s life. Crampton’s chilling performance as the caretaker is brilliantly nuanced and unnerving.

We Are Still Here (2015)

Director Ted Geogheghan’s homage to Italian horror of the 1970s, particularly Lucio Fulci, plays like a classic haunted house story steeped in wild visuals and a permeating sense of dread. 

Crampton teams with Larry Fessenden as a grieving couple recovering from their child’s death by buying a new home in a wintry New England town. Whatever unholy history this house has, the evil wakes up once again to torture its new inhabitants.

Road Games (2015)

No, not the classic Richard Franklin Ozploitarion film starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Stacy Keach. This Road Games starts as a thriller with two hitchhikers meeting moments before being picked up by an eccentric local and brought back to his home to meet his wife. 

Set against the backdrop of a serial killer operating somewhere in the area, the hitchhiker couple finds that their hosts aren’t as innocent and welcoming as they first thought. Crampton’s Mary is the quiet wild card that sets much of the plot in motion.

Blood Brothers (2015)

This chilling tale of a pair of brilliant sociopaths and half-brothers who set out to commit horrible acts to prove their mental superiority, Blood Brothers is loosely based on the true story of Leopold and Loeb, who kidnapped and killed a 14-year-old boy as an intellectual exercise. 

The movie is a reunion of sorts for Crampton and her From Beyond co-star Ken Foree.

Most impressive of all is that four of the five titles on this list all came out IN THE SAME YEAR, 2015! What a phenomenal output from a supremely talented, iconic, and endlessly positive fan favourite.

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