Schlock [AKA Banana Monster] (1973, dir. John Landis)

A revived prehistoric apeman terrorises California. Episodic and absurdist, while directly spoofing 2001, King Kong, Frankenstein and a host of other movies, Schlock has some ramshackle charm and a few strong sequences, plus a well-realised creature at its heart, and a clear love of monster flicks powering it.

Dead & Buried (1981, dir. Gary Sherman)

The town sheriff investigates a series of murders in a New England fishing community. Odd horror piece with excellent technical credits and some creepy ideas, plus one standout performance. Works better on a tonal rather than a logical level: less weird than Phantasm, though scarcely mainstream.

We Summon the Darkness (2019, dir. Marc Meyers)

Six young adults party after a metal concert; a series of satanic murders is ongoing. Fun little 80s-set horror with comic notes and some subtle observations along the way. It’s kinda going where you’d expect, but doesn’t outstay its welcome and offers a decent role for star/producer Daddario.

The Wretched (2019, dir. The Pierce Brothers)

A troubled teen comes to believe that his neighbour is a witch. Okay horror flick that plays with a few well-established sets of tropes and images but which manages to do so in a way that feels fresh enough. An interesting marina location helps, as does an unfamiliar cast and some very solid practical effects work.

Sunshine (2007, dir. Danny Boyle)

A last-ditch effort to restart the Sun through deploying a nuclear device goes awry. Handsome though derivative SF that can’t decide if it’s an arthouse piece or a mainstream thriller. In trying to be both, and in quoting from Alien, 2001, 2010, Silent Running, Event Horizon, Dark Star and others along the way, it struggles for clarity and distinctiveness.

The Burning (1981, dir. Tony Maylam)

Five years after being burned alive, a caretaker returns to the woods near his old summer camp job. Derivative but somehow superior slasher, benefitting from excellent practical effects and some arty directorial moments. Nods to Psycho, Deliverance and Don’t Look Now, plus some subtlety between the horny teens and the kills.

The Last House on the Left (2009, dir. Dennis Iliadis)

A holidaying young woman is raped by an escaped prisoner; later, he and his crew happen across her parents. Overlong horror remake with handsome production values which problematise the movie; prurient direction doesn’t help, so confused messages abound, impacting on the potential for the movie to be, you know, entertaining.

Prom Night (2008, dir. Nelson McCormick)

A murderous obsessive escapes his facility on the night of his target’s senior prom. Keeping only the geography and one of the storylines of the 1980 original, this is a perfunctory slasher, startling only in its plot simplicity. Some depth in casting featuring The Wire alumni adds interest, but that’s about it.

Prom Night (1980, dir. Paul Lynch)

A masked killer stalks teens at their high school prom. Early entrant in the slasher subgenre, this mixes elements of whodunnit and giallo, an escaped psycho, plus a childhood tragedy to be avenged. Some arty moments in its direction; the film spawned four sequels and a remake.

Demonic (2015, dir. Will Canon)

A group of students attempt a ritual in a supposedly haunted house; a cop investigates the aftermath. Generally-solid reworking of familiar material (including nods to The Blair Witch Project) helped no end by good playing from reliable hands like Maria Bello and Frank Grillo. No real surprises, but decent enough for fans of the genre.