50 greatest Indie horror films

Red, White & Blue (2010)

The Indie Horror: Disturbing revenge thriller in which Erica (Amanda Fuller) is targeted by a jealous ex (Marc Senter) as she drifts through Austin, Texas looking for love.

If It Had A Bigger Budget: It’d break out of Texas and be more transcontinental to really show how adrift Erica is.

The Girl Next Door (2007)

The Indie Horror: According to Stephen King, the most shocking American film since Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer. No, not the Elisha Cuthbert comedy, but a horror about a young girl who silently suffers torture and abuse.

If It Had A Bigger Budget: Stephen King would’ve written the script.

Cube (1997)

The Indie Horror: Mind-bending Canadian sci-fi directed by Vincenzo Natali. Seven strangers find themselves in a booby-trapped environment that seems to be just one massive cube.

If It Had A Bigger Budget: The entire cube could’ve been made – as it was, only one 14ft set was built and set-dressed to look like different rooms.

Paranormal Activity (2007)

The Indie Horror: Reigniting the craze for found footage horror, Oren Peli’s slow-burn chiller was made for just $15,000 and made $193m at the box office. It’s a formula that has also worked for the film’s two sequels. Activity 4 is out this October.

If It Had A Bigger Budget: The demon in the film would be a full-on CGI creation instead of the invisible presence presented here.

Monsters (2010)

The Indie Horror: Not an all-out horror, but one that contains elements of monster movie madness, Gareth Edwards made his directorial debut for just $500,000, and shot it on the fly throughout North and South America.

If It Had A Bigger Budget: The film would be set in Tokyo, and involve a giant reptile smashing its way through the city…

Colin (2008)

The Indie Horror: Supposedly made for just £45 (we’re assuming that doesn’t include post-production), Colin put a spin on zombie horrors by taking a surprisingly emotional approach to the gore-soaked sub-genre. The result is an effective genre-buster.

If It Had A Bigger Budget: Director Marc Price could’ve afforded to use a camera that wasn’t a decade old. And probably pay for catering.

Zombie Flesh Eaters (1979)

The Indie Horror: The film that turned Lucio Fulci into a horror icon, and a much-loved video nasty that didn’t get an uncut release in the UK until 2005.

If It Had A Bigger Budget: The shark vs zombie skirmish would’ve been a full-on fist-to-fin fight that lasted at least 30 minutes.

Switchblade Romance (2003)

The Indie Horror: French slasher also known as Haute Tension , Switchblade Romance is a bloody tension-cranker that comes equipped with one of the coolest twists in horror movie history.

If It Had A Bigger Budget: Director Alexander Aja probably would’ve thrown in a few CGI piranhas for good measure.

Tucker & Dale Vs Evil (2010)

The Indie Horror: Tongue-in-cheek comedy horror that lovingly sends up slashers in gushes of arterial spray. Eponymous duo Tucker (Alan Tudyk) and Dale (Tyler Labine) are harmless hillbillies whom a group of college grads mistake for serial killers.

If It Had A Bigger Budget: It wouldn’t have made a jot of difference – even on a tiny budget, this film manages to cram in a Bond-style razor-blade-between-the-legs finale that truly impresses.

Ginger Snaps (2000)

The Indie Horror: Canadian horror that plays around with werewolf mythology, cleverly giving it a menstrual skew. Kooky sisters Ginger and Brigitte have their sisterhood tested when Ginger starts going through some changes…

If It Had A Bigger Budget: Ginger and Brigitte’s death scenes would’ve been even more elaborately OTT – we’re thinking death by Empire State Building and highway pile-ups.

Josh Winning has worn a lot of hats over the years. Contributing Editor at Total Film, writer for SFX, and senior film writer at the Radio Times. Josh has also penned a novel about mysteries and monsters, is the co-host of a movie podcast, and has a library of pretty phenomenal stories from visiting some of the biggest TV and film sets in the world. He would also like you to know that he "lives for cat videos..." Don't we all, Josh. Don't we all.