The 90s often ranks among the worst decades for horror, and if we were judging solely on 1991s output, then the reputation would make sense. Strictly in terms of theatrical showings, the years biggest genre releases belonged to franchise sequels, a satirical Wes Craven horror-comedy, and an Oscar-winning film that still elicits debate about whether its even horror.
It seemed nowhere close to the boon in horror that the 80s brought. Still, between made-for-TV movies, limited releases, direct-to-video offerings, and the theatrical slate, 1991 managed to deliver more than a few cult favorites and notable gems. To give an overview of what horror looked like in 1991, here are some of the major highlights.
Warlock January 10
Warlockwas released in 1989 in Australia and the UK but fell into limbo after its distributor ran into financial troubles. It sat on the shelves until Trimark Pictures picked it up, dusted it off, and gave it a limited release two years later. Written by David Twohy (Pitch Black) and directed by Steve Miner (Friday the 13th Part II),Warlocksaw its titular character flee from the 17th century to the present to bring about the Armageddon with a witch hunter in pursuit. Julian Sands played the warlock, with Richard E. Grant as witch hunter Redferne and Lori Singer as the unwitting ally in the present. Its a setup very similar toThe Terminator.
Popcorn February 1
A box office dud, this slasher found its audience upon home release. To raise funds for the film department, film students put together an all-night horror movie marathon, complete with William Castle-style gimmicks, in an old theater scheduled for demolition. The only problem is that a killer is using the marathon as his slaying grounds. Jill Schoelen (The Stepfather) stars as the final girl, Maggie, with horror stalwart Dee Wallace appearing as her mother. Kelly Jo Minter makes for a strong supporting character, too, in this highly underrated gem.
The Silence of the Lambs February 14
Jonathan Demmes Academy Award-winning feature begs the eternal question of genre classification among film fans. A young FBI cadet seeks help from an incarcerated cannibal to catch a serial killer that skins his victims to create a skinsuit. Existing at the crossroads of crime thriller and horror,The Silence of the Lambsleft an indelible mark on cinema that still resonates today.
The Haunted May 6
BeforeThe Conjuring, there was the made-for-TV movieThe Haunted. Based on the Smurl Haunting case investigated by Ed and Lorraine Warren,The Hauntedfollows the paranormal activity that plagues the Smurl family shortly after moving into their new home. Much of it fixates on Janet (Sally Kirkland). Movies made for the small screen dont often get much attention, butThe Hauntedterrified those that grew up with the film.
Sometimes They Come Back May 7
It was a busy week for made-for-TV horror. Based on a Stephen King short story, a man returns to his hometown with his family but finds himself tormented by teens that died during his childhood. Directed by Tom McLoughlin (Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives), the movie stars Tim Matheson and Brooke Adams. It proved to be a big enough hit that it earned two direct-to-video sequels.
The Boneyard June 12
Alley Oates (Deborah Rose) is a depressed psychic investigating a child murder case with detective partner Jersey (Ed Callum). It leads them to a morgue, where the worker insists the corpses of three children arent dead. When hes arrested, the bodies spring to life, looking for their next meal, leaving Alley and Jersey in a fight for their lives. Special makeup effects artist James Cummins (House,Slumber Party Massacre II) makes his feature debut here, delivering a trio of effectively creepy ghouls and more.
The Pit and the Pendulum June 27
Everyone is familiar with Stuart GordonsFrom Beyond,Re-Animator, andCastle Freak. This loose adaptation of the classic Edgar Allan Poe short story doesnt get mentioned much. Its also more of a combination of many Poe stories in one. Set during the Spanish Inquisition, horror vet Lance Henriksen plays the sinister Torquemada, the one responsible for deciding whether someone is deemed a witch or not. Atmospheric and gothic, its a more sedate horror story but features many gruesome torture sequences. Frequent Gordon collaborator Jeffrey Combs does appear in a small role, but its Henriksen who shines in his villainous turn as the sadistic Grand Inquisitor of Spain.
Body Parts August 2
Bill (Jeff Fahey) is a criminal psychologist who agrees to undergo an experimental transplant after losing an arm in a car accident. He soon begins suffering visions of murder and loses control of his new arm. It turns out that the arm belonged to a serial killer, and it intends to keep on killing. Written/directed by Eric Red (Bad Moon), Body Parts also stars Brad Dourif and Lindsay Duncan. Body Parts didnt fare well at the box office, but its worth noting that the films ads were pulled ahead of release when Jeffrey Dahmer was captured, and dismembered bodies were found in his apartment.
Childs Play 3 August 30
Set eight years after the events of part two, teen Andy Barclay (now played by Justin Whalin) has been sent to a military academy after failing to cope in multiple foster homes. Production on Good Guy dolls resumes after the bad publicity finally dies, resulting in Chuckys (Brad Dourif) resurrection. Naturally, Chucky continues his quest for revenge against Andy. Directed by Jack Bender and penned by Don Mancini, Childs Play 3didnt fare as strongly as its predecessors and marked the last in the franchise (outside of the reboot) to useChilds Playin the title. No matter where this one ranks in the series, the final set-piece is a franchise highlight.
Cast a Deadly Spell September 7
This made-for-HBO movie is more of a loving send-up, marrying comedic horror-fantasy to noir. Set in an alternate 1940s where magic and magical creatures exist, Detective Harry Philip Lovecraft (Fred Ward) is hired to track and retrieve the stolen Necronomicon. That job leads to a much bigger conspiracy involving femme fatales, hitmen, ancient evils, and a bid to bring about Armageddon. Its a charming creature feature steeped in noir convention, with a stacked cast including Julianne Moore and Clancy Brown.
Freddys Dead: The Final Nightmare September 13
A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise producer Rachel Talalay made her directorial debut with the film meant to close out the popular slasher series. Her choice to lean hard into the campy tone the franchise had become wound up striking a raw nerve among critics and fans upon release. The new mythology attributed to icon Freddy Krueger likely didnt help. But the 3D addition and finality of this sequel meant Freddys Dead topped its predecessor in revenue. It also helped inspire Wes Craven to return to the franchise withNew Nightmare.
Ernest Scared Stupid October 11
For Ernest P. Worrells (Jim Varney) fifth feature, the plucky character accidentally unleashes a troll that wreaks havoc over Halloween. Its gateway horror featuring a snotty troll with a penchant for turning children into wooden figures and a clumsy hero fumbling his way toward victory with the help of young pals. Ernest Scared Stupidalso stars Eartha Kitt.
The People Under the Stairs November 1
Fool (Brandon Quintin Adams) accompanies two adults from his neighborhood on a burglary attempt after facing eviction. The plan is to find the landlords rumored valuable coins and save their block. Instead, they find Mommy (Wendy Robie) and Daddy (Everitt McGill) Robeson are far more deranged than your usual landlord. Wes Craven brings the insanity in his satirical depiction of gentrification and class warfare. He never forgets the genre fun- including a basement full of cannibalistic teens.
The Addams Family November 22
The Addams Familyoffered another gateway genre gem, and it proved to be a massive success at the box office. The plot sees con artists attempting to scam the eccentric Addams family by using an accomplice that pretends to be their long-lost Uncle Fester (Christopher Lloyd). The con artists get in over their heads against the masters of the macabre. Anjelica Huston, Raul Julia, Carel Struycken, and Christina Ricci round out the cast. It was the fifth highest-grossing movie of the year.
Critters 3 December 11
Released direct-to-video, this threequel sees the pint-sized aliens relocate to a Los Angeles apartment building. Outside of the critters and their insatiable appetite, the only other connective tissue is the reappearance of bounty hunter Charlie (Don Keith Opper), aiding the new batch of potential victims. Directed by Kristine Peterson, this sequel is most known for being the one starring a young Leonardo DiCaprio.
- New On Shudder In March 2021: Exclusive Horror Movies, TV Shows, And More - GameSpot - February 20th, 2021
- The Main Reason to Watch I Care a Lot Is Rosamund Pike - Vulture - February 20th, 2021
- Alexandre Aja Producing Feature Version of Short Horror Film 'Mr. Thisforthat' - Bloody Disgusting - February 20th, 2021
- The Best Unintentionally Funny Horror Movie Scenes, According To Reddit - Looper - February 20th, 2021
- Brittany Snow & Jenna Ortega Have Been Cast In a Horror Movie Together! - Just Jared Jr. - February 20th, 2021
- Gurmeet Chaudhary will be seen in horror film, The Wife - The Tribune - February 20th, 2021
- Creepy Trailer For The Supernatural Horror Film THE TOLL GeekTyrant - GeekTyrant - February 20th, 2021
- Why Aliens Best Movie Future Brings The Xenomorphs To Earth - Screen Rant - February 20th, 2021
- 6 Bollywood horror movies full of spooks and gags coming up in 2021 - GQ India - February 20th, 2021
- Zee5s horror film 'The Wife' to release on March 19 - The New Indian Express - February 20th, 2021
- Keke Palmer joins the cast of Jordan Peele's new horror movie - Shelbynews - February 17th, 2021
- A Horror Movie Targeting the Ugliness of Influencer Culture - The Daily Beast - February 17th, 2021
- How To Watch Nicolas Cages Wild New Horror Movie Online - We Got This Covered - February 17th, 2021
- 5 Women Centric Horror Films That Are A Must-Watch - SheThePeople - February 17th, 2021
- Now Scream This: Have a Spooky Valentine's Day With These Streaming Horror Movies - /FILM - February 17th, 2021
- The Most Anticipated Scary Movies Premiering on Netflix This Year - Flickering Myth - February 17th, 2021
- Rick & Morty: The Obscure Horror Movie Referenced In Never Ricking Morty - Screen Rant - February 17th, 2021
- Zee5's horror film The Wife to release on March 19 - Cinema Express - February 17th, 2021
- Charles Dance faces a tense standoff in British horror movie The Delivered - Wiki Of Thrones - February 17th, 2021
- 'Saint Maud' spoilers: Why that horrifying ending will 'take you aback,' and what it all means - USA TODAY - February 17th, 2021
- What Happened To The Cast Of The Original The Amityville Horror? - Looper - February 17th, 2021
- Jayro Bustamante's Horror Movie 'La Llorona' Has Made the Oscars Shortlist for Best International Film - Bloody Disgusting - February 10th, 2021
- School's Out Forever review gloriously gory adaptation of YA sci-fi horror - The Guardian - February 10th, 2021
- Autism Within Horror: 'Come Play' and the Next Steps for Representation - Bloody Disgusting - February 10th, 2021
- The Invasion (2007) Nicole Kidman - WTF Happened to This Horror Movie - JoBlo.com - February 10th, 2021
- 'The Vigil' Watches Over a Dead Body This Month; Watch Creepy New Trailer for the Supernatural Horror Movie - Bloody Disgusting - February 10th, 2021
- After Midnight, or horror as couples therapy - The Spool - February 10th, 2021
- 10 Horror Movie Monsters That Shouldnt Work - But Do - WhatCulture - February 10th, 2021
- 'Horror movie' dog attack sees poor little Chihuahua have third of its lung removed - Daily Star - February 10th, 2021
- 'Valentine' Director Jamie Blanks Hosting a Live Commentary and Q&A for the Film's 20th Anniversary - Bloody Disgusting - February 10th, 2021
- The 50 Best Horror Movies on Netflix, According to Critics - Newsweek - February 9th, 2021
- 'The Lair': Neil Marshall Getting Ready to Film His Next "Full-On Monster Movie" - Bloody Disgusting - February 9th, 2021
- 10 Horror Movies That Are Secretly Romantic, Ranked by Rotten Tomatoes - Screen Rant - February 9th, 2021
- Reinventing the horror film genre? Mahesh Bhatt and Vikram Bhatt team up for new movie - Zee Business - February 9th, 2021
- Learn what hell awaits deep in the earth in exclusive trailer for horror film 'The Devil Below' - SYFY WIRE - February 9th, 2021
- Scares galore: All the horror movies on Netflix you can watch tonight Film Daily - Film Daily - February 9th, 2021
- 'Ju-on' Director Takashi Shimizu Heads to the 'Suicide Forest Village' With Next Horror Movie [Trailer] - Bloody Disgusting - February 9th, 2021
- Twitter Is Comparing The Weeknd's Super Bowl Halftime Performance to a Horror Movie - Yahoo Canada Shine On - February 9th, 2021
- Perspective: An Appreciation of Duane Jones | Pittwire | University of Pittsburgh - UPJ Athletics - February 9th, 2021
- We have nothing to fear but fear itself and rollercoasters - Duke Chronicle - February 9th, 2021
- 'In the Earth' Release Date: When Does the Sundance Horror Flick Come Out? - Decider - February 9th, 2021
- What Movie & TV Genres Perform Well in the Netflix Top 10s? - What's on Netflix - February 9th, 2021
- Stand By Me: Why Stephen King's The Body Should Be The Next Story To Be Adapted For A TV Show - Cinema Blend - February 9th, 2021
- 10 Funniest Nicolas Cage Movie Moments (That Weren't Intended To Be Funny) - Screen Rant - February 9th, 2021
- How "Saint Maud" turns a feminist lens on body horror and gives its "final girl" autonomy - Salon - February 6th, 2021
- Mechanical Monster Horror Movies That Went Unloved! - Flickering Myth - February 6th, 2021
- Nightmare On Elm Street: How Freddy Coming Through The Wall Was Filmed - Screen Rant - February 6th, 2021
- Why 'The Exorcist' Is the Best Movie About a Crisis of Faith Ever Made - Bloody Disgusting - February 5th, 2021
- Japanese Cube Remake is Coming and It Has a Teaser - /FILM - February 5th, 2021
- RIP Christopher Lewis: The Unsung Hero of Shot-on-Video Horror - Film Threat - February 5th, 2021
- Nightmare on Film Street and The Horror Virgin Podcast Celebrate Women in Horror Month [Podcast] - Bloody Disgusting - February 5th, 2021
- Sundance 'In The Earth' Review: Ben Wheatley's Pandemic-themed Horror Movie Is An Assault On The Senses - Mashable India - February 5th, 2021
- Bedford Has a Year-Round All-Horror Shop - Dallas Observer - February 5th, 2021
- 7 Horror Movies Where Supporting Characters Save The Day - WhatCulture - February 5th, 2021
- Zombie Reddy movie review: Netizens give a thumbs up to the Telugu action-horror film - Republic TV - February 5th, 2021
- Frightful February: 23 Horror Movies, TV Shows and Video Games Coming This Month! - Bloody Disgusting - February 4th, 2021
- Leprechaun: Origins - Where The WWE Horror Movie Reboot Went So Wrong - Screen Rant - February 4th, 2021
- The Best and Worst of Sundance 2021 - Vanity Fair - February 4th, 2021
- 'John and the Hole' Review: A Chilly Psychodrama That Imagines 'Home Alone' As a Horror Movie [Sundance 2021] - /FILM - February 4th, 2021
- 13 Horror Books We Can't Wait to Read in 2021 - Bloody Disgusting - February 4th, 2021
- [Watch] World of Death Films Get Haunted by "Mannequins" and Scratch That Body Horror "Itch"! - Bloody Disgusting - February 4th, 2021
- Frances Oscar entry Two Of Us is a clandestine romance that plays like a horror movie - The A.V. Club - February 4th, 2021
- Golden Scares: Should Horror Receive Its Own Category at the Golden Globes? - Bloody Disgusting - February 4th, 2021
- The 10 Best Slasher Movies Of The 2010s, Ranked (According To Rotten Tomatoes) - Screen Rant - February 4th, 2021
- Every Horror Movie Releasing On HBO Max In February 2021 - Screen Rant - February 2nd, 2021
- Horror Movies Have Long Preyed on Female BodiesSaint Maud Changes That - Vogue.com - February 2nd, 2021
- Every Horror Movie & TV Show Coming To Shudder February 2021 - Screen Rant - February 2nd, 2021
- Is this horror movie 2021s Hereditary? - i-D - February 2nd, 2021
- 10 Horror Movies From 2020 That Were So Bad They Were Good - Screen Rant - February 2nd, 2021
- The 10 Best Horror Movies Of The Last Five Years, According To Reddit - Screen Rant - February 2nd, 2021
- Viggo Mortensen Teases New Horror Movie With David Cronenberg - We Got This Covered - February 2nd, 2021
- Vivarium is a horror movie that features suburbia as the monster - Boing Boing - February 2nd, 2021
- Horror Movie Remakes That Did Justice to the Originals - Flickering Myth - February 2nd, 2021
- The Swarm cast: Read to know the actors who starred in this 1978 horror film - Republic World - February 2nd, 2021
- Ben Wheatley's In the Earth Is the First Great Horror Movie of 2021 - Gizmodo - February 2nd, 2021
- Action-Packed Kung Fu Horror Movies You Need to Watch - Flickering Myth - February 2nd, 2021
- Sundance 'Censor' Review: A Surreal Horror Film That's So Relevant Due To The Rise In Censorship - Mashable India - February 2nd, 2021
- Possessor ending explained: What happens to Tasya & Colin in this scifi-horror? - Republic World - February 2nd, 2021
- Every Eli Roth Movie, Ranked (According To IMDb) | ScreenRant - Screen Rant - February 2nd, 2021
- New David Cronenberg and Viggo Mortensen Movie in the Works - /FILM - February 2nd, 2021
Reviewed and Recommended by Erik Baquero