25 Awesome (and unjustly under-rated) Films that I attempt to push on everyone

by Oliver-50 | created - 20 Mar 2011 | updated - 12 Mar 2016 | Public

I don't want to give any spoilers away. The brief descriptions are meant to entice, though it may come across as vague...

I love all of these, despite (and in some cases, because of) their imperfections.

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1. Shanks (1974)

PG | 93 min | Fantasy, Horror

A mute puppeteer uses a deceased scientist's invention to control dead bodies like puppets.

Director: William Castle | Stars: Marcel Marceau, Tsilla Chelton, Philippe Clay, Cindy Eilbacher

Votes: 502

Mimes. Evil Scientists. Biker Gangs. Dig in.

2. The Ninth Configuration (1980)

R | 118 min | Comedy, Drama, Horror

46 Metascore

A former marine arrives at a mental asylum housed in a remote castle to run it. There he attempts to rehabilitate the patients by letting them act out their craziest fantasies and desires.

Director: William Peter Blatty | Stars: Stacy Keach, Scott Wilson, Jason Miller, Ed Flanders

Votes: 5,845

The bar room fight scene is spectacular.

3. Wild Rovers (1971)

GP | 136 min | Western

Tired of cow-punching for a living, two Montana cowboys rob a bank and flee but their employer's sons chase after them.

Director: Blake Edwards | Stars: William Holden, Ryan O'Neal, Karl Malden, Lynn Carlin

Votes: 1,369 | Gross: $0.28M

One of the best western's of the 1970's.

4. Fighting Back (I) (1982)

R | 98 min | Action, Crime, Drama

It's a hard crime story about a Philadelphia shop owner who has enough of the criminals' violences and ravages. He organizes a patrol of civil people. It all starts to go wrong because his ... See full summary »

Director: Lewis Teague | Stars: Tom Skerritt, Patti LuPone, Michael Sarrazin, Yaphet Kotto

Votes: 424 | Gross: $3.34M

Terrific action movie. Really gets your blood boiling early on as Tom Skeritt unleashes his own brand of justice on pimps, pushers, and gangbangers!

5. Pretty Maids All in a Row (1971)

R | 91 min | Comedy, Crime, Mystery

California State Police Captain Sam Surcher investigates a string of teenage girl murders at Oceanfront High School.

Director: Roger Vadim | Stars: Rock Hudson, Angie Dickinson, Telly Savalas, John David Carson

Votes: 1,866

Hilarious sex comedy with Rock Hudson as a (possibly) murderous gym teacher who all the young ladies lust after. Plus, he rocks the 70's 'stache.

6. Busting (1974)

R | 92 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

Defying orders to lay-off the case, two Los Angeles vice-squad cops go after a local mobster and use unorthodox methods to achieve results.

Director: Peter Hyams | Stars: Elliott Gould, Robert Blake, Allen Garfield, Antonio Fargas

Votes: 1,052

Some great action sequences; the shootout in the grocery store is one long freakin' take! Not a great movie per se, but exciting.

7. The Big Hit (1998)

R | 91 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

31 Metascore

Socially anxious hitman Melvin Smiley, an expert in his lucrative field, goes on a job and falls in love with his kidnapping victim, turning his world upside down.

Director: Kirk Wong | Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Lou Diamond Phillips, Christina Applegate, Avery Brooks

Votes: 27,746 | Gross: $27.05M

Marketed as an action movie, when it's really a big goofy send-up of the genre.

Favorite Line 1: "Bust some caps! Give this man a gold star!"

Favorite Line 2: "How the f--- come you can't dump these two whack-ass, money-grubbing, no-respect giving b----es?"

Favorite Line 3: "Oh mama! Tapes not rewind?! Oh, that's gonna cost ya!"

8. The Possession of Joel Delaney (1972)

R | 105 min | Drama, Horror, Thriller

A woman (Shirley MacLaine) begins to suspect that her brother (Perry King) is possessed by a voodoo spirit.

Director: Waris Hussein | Stars: Shirley MacLaine, Perry King, David Elliott, Lisa Kohane

Votes: 859

Whoo, this is a disturbing one. I doubt they could get away with the ending nowadays. I'm surprised this one isn't talked about more and doesn't have a more notorious reputation because yikes! It's not bloody, just, well... you were warned, and encouraged!

9. Dirty Little Billy (1972)

R | 93 min | Western

A more realistic, based-on-reality, unsensationalistic portrayal of the gritty early years of one of the most famous Wild West outlaws in history, Billy The Kid.

Director: Stan Dragoti | Stars: Michael J. Pollard, Richard Evans, Lee Purcell, Charles Aidman

Votes: 446

Grimy, dingy western. Very well done and gotta love that poster!

10. The Sender (1982)

R | 91 min | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi

A disturbed telepathic man is unable to fully control his ability to transmit his dreams and visions into the minds of the people around him, or even influence reality. A female therapist tries to help him, but his mother gets in the way.

Director: Roger Christian | Stars: Kathryn Harrold, Zeljko Ivanek, Shirley Knight, Paul Freeman

Votes: 1,370 | Gross: $1.05M

Slow in spots, but has plenty of creepy moments, including a memorable bit in a hospital with lots o' flying glass bits cutting the hell out of people.

11. The Oasis (1984)

92 min | Drama

A plane crash in the Mexican desert leaves a small group of survivors who are desperate for food and water. Fearing that they may never be found where they are, they head for where it is ... See full summary »

Director: Sparky Greene | Stars: Chris Makepeace, Scott Hylands, Richard Cox, Dori Brenner

Votes: 72

If the opening scene doesn't grab you, I'm not sure what will. Harrowing, scary stuff.

12. Mystery Men (1999)

PG-13 | 121 min | Action, Comedy, Fantasy

65 Metascore

A group of inept amateur superheroes must try to save the day when a supervillain threatens to destroy a major superhero and the city.

Director: Kinka Usher | Stars: Ben Stiller, Janeane Garofalo, William H. Macy, Hank Azaria

Votes: 60,204 | Gross: $29.66M

I'm amazed that this one never gets the love it deserves. A little long, plenty of the jokes fall flat... but that cast! Geoffrey Rush plays a character named 'Casanova Frankenstein' who has an army of disco dudes led by Eddie Izzard! Come on!

13. Basket Case (1982)

Not Rated | 91 min | Comedy, Horror

77 Metascore

A young man carrying a big basket that contains his extremely deformed Siamese-twin brother seeks vengeance on the doctors who separated them against their will.

Director: Frank Henenlotter | Stars: Kevin Van Hentenryck, Terri Susan Smith, Beverly Bonner, Robert Vogel

Votes: 15,232

Any fan of stop-motion animation should check this out. Schlock mixed with scares. Love it.

14. Iceman (1984)

PG | 100 min | Drama, Sci-Fi

62 Metascore

A prehistoric Neanderthal man found frozen in ice is revived by an arctic exploration team, who then attempt to use him for their own scientific means.

Director: Fred Schepisi | Stars: Timothy Hutton, Lindsay Crouse, John Lone, Josef Sommer

Votes: 5,018 | Gross: $7.34M

I really enjoyed this when I saw it years ago. John Lone is remarkable as the thawed-out caveman. Great ending.

15. Mean Dog Blues (1978)

R | 108 min | Drama, Action, Thriller

When his friend injures a little girl in a small southern town while driving drunk, country singer Paul agrees to state in court he had been driving. But his lawyer betrays him, and he ends... See full summary »

Director: Mel Stuart | Stars: Gregg Henry, Kay Lenz, Scatman Crothers, Tina Louise

Votes: 213

One of my favorite 'B' movies. Gregg Henry is terrific and the chase scenes are exciting and long. Not your typical prison movie!

16. Knightriders (1981)

R | 146 min | Action, Drama

69 Metascore

A medieval reenactment troupe find it increasingly difficult to keep their family-like group together, with pressure from local law enforcement, interest from entertainment agents and a growing sense of delusion from their leader.

Director: George A. Romero | Stars: Ed Harris, Gary Lahti, Tom Savini, Amy Ingersoll

Votes: 4,156

It's a knight on a motorcycle! Rad!

17. The Bedroom Window (1987)

R | 112 min | Crime, Mystery, Thriller

45 Metascore

Terry has an affair with his boss' wife. From his bedroom window, she sees a rape and murder attempt. Terry reports it to the police as if he saw it. Things get complicated.

Director: Curtis Hanson | Stars: Steve Guttenberg, Elizabeth McGovern, Isabelle Huppert, Paul Shenar

Votes: 4,468 | Gross: $12.64M

Excellent thriller if you can ignore the fact that Steve Guttenberg is in it. Ah, who am I kidding, Guttenberg rocks! Curtis Hanson (the director of L.A. Confidential) knows how to keep you intrigued.

18. Demon Seed (1977)

R | 94 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

55 Metascore

A scientist creates Proteus--an organic super computer with artificial intelligence which becomes obsessed with human beings, and in particular the creators wife.

Director: Donald Cammell | Stars: Julie Christie, Fritz Weaver, Gerrit Graham, Berry Kroeger

Votes: 7,747

A completely crazy movie. Creepy as F---! A robot impregnates Julie Christie!

19. Nighthawks (1981)

R | 99 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

56 Metascore

Conservative street cop Deke DaSilva (Sylvester Stallone) reluctantly agrees to terminate an international terrorist who has demanded media attention. But DaSilva's "at-home" tactics are very much put to the challenge.

Directors: Bruce Malmuth, Gary Nelson | Stars: Sylvester Stallone, Rutger Hauer, Billy Dee Williams, Lindsay Wagner

Votes: 16,368 | Gross: $14.91M

I'm not a Stallone fan - I hate the Rambos - but this early gem has some great action scenes. He doesn't handle the dramatic scenes well, but it gets better and better as it goes! If you thought Rutger Hauer was a memorable badguy in 'The Hitcher' (I didn't), he is downright menacing in this one!

20. Innocent Blood (1992)

R | 112 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

Marie is a vampire with a thirst for bad guys. When she fails to properly dispose of one of her victims, a violent mob boss, she bites off more than she can chew and faces a new, immortal danger.

Director: John Landis | Stars: Anne Parillaud, Anthony LaPaglia, Robert Loggia, David Proval

Votes: 8,858 | Gross: $4.97M

Not as good as Landis' 'An American Werewolf in London' (few things are!) but stands on its own as a very funny, very bloody vampire comedy.

21. Brimstone & Treacle (1982)

R | 87 min | Drama, Thriller

A strange young man has a sinister effect on the family of a middle-aged writer.

Director: Richard Loncraine | Stars: Sting, Denholm Elliott, Joan Plowright, Suzanna Hamilton

Votes: 1,306

One of a kind. Love those opening credits! Sting is terrific!

22. Internal Affairs (1990)

R | 115 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

63 Metascore

An Internal Affairs agent becomes obsessed with bringing down a cop who has managed to maintain a spotless reputation despite being involved in a web of corruption.

Director: Mike Figgis | Stars: Richard Gere, Andy Garcia, Nancy Travis, Laurie Metcalf

Votes: 16,499 | Gross: $27.73M

Richard Gere playing one of the best badguys in movie history. He should have been nominated for an Oscar. Don't believe me? Well then, your move!

23. Split Image (1982)

R | 110 min | Drama, Romance

57 Metascore

A rootless young man's drawn into an unnamed religious cult by a beautiful girl. Every moment with the group causes him to become increasingly under the control of the cult's leader. After ... See full summary »

Director: Ted Kotcheff | Stars: Michael O'Keefe, Karen Allen, Peter Fonda, James Woods

Votes: 641 | Gross: $0.26M

Michael O'Keefe joins a cult led by Peter Fonda! Only available on VHS, so good luck tracking it down! But it's so worth it! James Woods' best performance - better than Salvador.

24. Dirty Mary Crazy Larry (1974)

PG | 93 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

52 Metascore

Down on their luck racers Larry and Deke steal from a supermarket manager to buy a car that will help them advance their racing chances. Their escape does not go as planned when Larry's one nightstand, Mary, tags along for the ride.

Director: John Hough | Stars: Peter Fonda, Susan George, Adam Roarke, Kenneth Tobey

Votes: 5,929

Good ol' 70's car chase movie! Never lets up for a second!

25. Dead & Buried (1981)

R | 94 min | Horror, Mystery

A suspense horror film set in a small coastal town where, after a series of gory murders commited by mobs of townspeople against visiting tourists, the corpses begin to come back to life.

Director: Gary Sherman | Stars: James Farentino, Melody Anderson, Jack Albertson, Dennis Redfield

Votes: 9,250 | Gross: $0.22M

Awesome horror film with some great Stan Winston make-up effects and one of the scarier films I've seen.

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