Underrated and overlooked supernatural chillers to see after Netflix's The Haunting of Bly Manor

click to enlarge The House of the Devil
The House of the Devil
As Halloween approaches, my various queues fill up with more and more creepy stories, and one of them is Netflix's latest series The Haunting of Bly Manor. It's a follow-up to the hugely popular Haunting of Hill House from a couple years back, and it has already received strong reviews from critics and audiences.

If you've binged through Bly Manor and are still in the mood for more haunted house chillers — but don't want to stick to the usual suspects — here are a few undervalued and overlooked horror films about things that go bump in the night that you can stream right now.

Hush (Netflix)
Not a haunted house movie, per se, but it does involve a creepy home invasion and comes courtesy of Hill House creator Mike Flanagan. This low-budget sleeper centers on a deaf and mute novelist (Kate Siegel, who co-wrote the script) living in an isolated country house who is terrorized by a masked man in the middle of the night. It's something of a riff on the Audrey Hepburn classic Wait Until Dark, as our protagonist begins to use her supposed disability to her advantage, and it's full of tension and shocking violence.


click to enlarge The Changeling
The Changeling
The Changeling (Shudder)
Even though this 1980 chiller has champions who frequently cite it as one of the great cinematic ghost stories, I don't hear it spoken about much outside die-hard horror circles. It's a morose, affecting film that wraps its haunted house scares in bruising human drama, starring the legendary George C. Scott as a man recovering from the freak accident that killed his wife and daughter. During his stay in a dusty Victorian house, he becomes aware of a spirit that's trapped in the attic, and his attempts to connect with the afterlife has him reliving his own trauma.

The House of the Devil (Amazon Prime)
Like The Changeling, Ti West's stylish genre tribute is a slow burner, and although it's in no hurry to get where it's going, I always get pulled into its seasonal atmosphere. Released in 2009, the film is a throwback to satanic slashers of the '70s and '80s as a babysitter takes a job deep in the woods, only to discover that her charge isn't a kid but an ailing elderly woman who the homeowners swear won't wake up at any point in the night. Most of the film involves our heroine creeping through the house, slowly opening doors and peering into darkness, and that unbearable tension finally explodes into a nutso, blood-soaked finale.

House (Criterion Channel & HBO Max)
Japanese advertising guru Nobuhiko Obayaski made his transition to feature films with this truly delightful slice of Japanese WTFery from 1977, which is part teenage soap opera, part slapstick comedy, part bedtime fairy tale and part surrealistic nightmare. Its simple story involves a group of schoolgirls on vacation in a creepy country mansion, and its merely an excuse for all their otherworldly encounters — flying severed heads, a man-eating piano, dancing skeletons and a cat painting that sprays blood. House is one of the great what-did-I-just-watch entries in international cinema, filled with bizarre optical effects, lurching shifts in tone, and images so out-there I don't think I can adequately describe them. Just see it.

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Fri., Oct. 23, 7 p.m. and Fri., Oct. 30, 7 p.m.
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About The Author

Nathan Weinbender

Nathan Weinbender is the Inlander's Music & Film editor. He is also a film critic for Spokane Public Radio, where he has co-hosted the weekly film review show Movies 101 since 2011.