Horror cinema went through something of an overhaul in the 1990s. Surviving to slay another day after the video nasty purge of the 1980s, horror films went more mainstream than ever, shifting from bargain basement productions made on shoestring budgets into glossy, teen-baiting, metafictional productions that were typically more concerned with quippy dialogue than the dark depths of the human psyche, or indeed the kind of extreme gore that came before.
And yet, it would be another decade or two before the genre really broke free from the widely held misconception that it was cinema's lowest common denominator and unfit for or unworthy of polite society.
In the meantime, non-horror directors were trying their severed hands at the hard stuff, horror's old guard began to look for prizes in other places, and a plateau was being reached that would take years (and some very good movies) to break. While the bulk of the genre's output from this decade is well documented, a good few films have nonetheless managed to slip through viewers' fingers and remain lost, forgotten or simply ignored to this day.
So, whether you eat jump scares for breakfast or only dabble in the dark stuff on the weekend, here are ten '90s horror movies you may have heard of but probably haven't seen.
10. There's Nothing Out There
Rolfe Kanefsky's oft-overlooked satirical teen horror sees a group of teenagers go on a trip out to a house in the woods, where there's no human life for miles around. So far, so predictable. But when a frog-like creature from space begins laying siege to their idyllic getaway, and trying its darndest to mate with the young women amongst the group, something must be done.
Luckily, one of the guys has Letterboxd-level film knowledge and knows all the ins and outs of the horror genre, directing the group on the best possible ways to survive. But, as we know, horror characters don't take advice well, and while the best intentions are achingly present, there's little to stop the girls running around screaming in their bikinis – straight into the gaping maw of danger.
It's meta, it's raunchy, and wouldn't you know pretty much nobody has seen it.
There's Nothing Out There took a match to the tropes of the broader horror genre a good five years before Scream even hit the scene, but with its low budget and B-movie credentials it failed to pick up a theatre distribution deal and went straight to video.