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Friday, June 30, 2023

5 Deep Cut Horror Movies to Seek Out in July 2023

This month’s installment of Deep Cuts Rising features a variety of horror movies. Some selections reflect a specific day or event in July, and others were chosen at random.

Regardless of how they came to be here, or what they’re about, these past movies can generally be considered overlooked, forgotten or unknown.

This month’s offerings feature a giant monster bug, home invaders, a zombie boy, a killer videographer, and a water spirit.

Blue Monkey (1987)


Directed by William Fruet.

As its name suggests, Pandemonium Day (July 14) is all about bedlam. And William Fruet’s Canadian tax-shelter movie Blue Monkey (a.k.a. Insect!) is as chaotic as they come. Originally called “Green Monkey” at one point, this movie’s final title is still a misnomer; there are no monkeys here. Instead, the characters battle a deadly parasite inside a quarantined hospital.

Fruet (Killer Party) delivered a gooey and goofy update of Silver Age monster movies with Blue Monkey. If viewers don’t take it seriously, this creature-feature offers plenty of fun.

Blue Monkey is currently available on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber and is also streaming on Tubi.

If I Die Before I Wake (1998)


Directed by Brian Katkin.

Home-invasion movies took off in the 2000s, but their origins go back further. The ’90s saw a fair deal of these kinds of stories, but perhaps the one that gets under people’s skin the most is the little-known If I Die Before I Wake (also known as Panic House). The setup is a familiar one; a family awakens one night to find strangers in their house. They’re not there to steal, though. No, these three intruders (including one played by Muse Watson) are looking to hurt someone. As the terrible night goes on, the oldest daughter, Lori Beth (Stephanie Jones), builds up the courage to save her family and herself.

While the movie is indeed billed as a crime-thriller, it’s executed like horror. This endurance test also doesn’t flinch when subjecting the victims to torture both physical and mental. The suspense is straightforward, but the brutality is overwhelming.

If I Die Before I Wake is currently available on DVD from Artisan (U.S.) and ’84 Entertainment (Germany).

The Nature of Nicholas (2002)


Directed by Jeff Erbach.

While a lot of horror movies are produced and shot in Canada, not all of their stories are actually set in Canada. However, Jeff Erbach’s one and only long feature, The Nature of Nicholas, takes place in the gothic prairies of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Young and confused Nicholas (Jeff Sutton) is navigating his adolescence while also confronting a strained relationship with his mother (Ardith Boxall). When Nicholas and his friend Bobby (David Turnbull) share a kiss one day, a zombified version of Bobby manifests. The guilt-ridden Nicholas then looks after his rotting guest while also hiding him from his mother.

This beautifully retro coming-of-age story has some intense moments, yet it’s not traditional horror. It is more along the lines of Paperhouse and The Reflecting Skin. Highly metaphorical, a tad uncomfortable, and just plain strange, this movie explores common childhood feelings in a grotesque way without being defined by genre or logic. Anyone looking for movies for Canada Day (July 1) should add this one to their queue.

The Nature of Nicholas can be watched here.

You Are Not Alone (2014)


Directed by Derek Mungor.

I Know What You Did Last Summer is the go-to slasher for Independence Day (July 4), but buried deep in the avalanche of early 2010s found-footage horror is Derek Mungor’s You Are Not Alone. Upon returning home for July 4th fun and festivities, college grad Natalie (Krista Dzialoszynski) becomes the next target of a recent serial killer. The masked murderer has been in the news elsewhere, but no one in Natalie’s area thought he would come there. They were wrong.

You Are Not Alone was criticized for being unevenly paced, however, once Natalie is fully aware of her stalker, the movie transforms into a dizzying game of real-time survival and pursuit. Mungor brings new meaning to the phrase “killer’s POV shot.”

While not currently streaming, You Are Not Alone was released on DVD.

The Pool (2014)


Directed by Chris W. Mitchell.

Folks will naturally want to go outside during the sunny months. However, had the characters in the Dutch-language movie The Pool (De Poel) known what was in store for them, they would have undoubtedly chosen a different destination. An idyllic hike in the forest turns sour for the two hapless families here; everything goes to hell after they set up camp near a lake. From food poisoning to fatal rivalries, this vacation is a total nightmare.

This movie from the Netherlands starts off like a family dramedy before elements of both folk and psychological horror emerge. The tension between characters, though, can be sensed from the outset. Eventually that cocktail of paranoia, resentment and jealousy combines with a supernatural force lurking in the water.

The Pool is currently streaming on Tubi.

No genre is as prolific as horror, so it’s understandable that movies fall through the cracks all the time. That is where this recurring column, Deep Cuts Rising, comes in. Each installment of this series will spotlight several unsung or obscure movies from the past — some from way back when, and others from not so long ago — that could use more attention.

The post 5 Deep Cut Horror Movies to Seek Out in July 2023 appeared first on Bloody Disgusting!.


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