The '90s was an interesting time of transition for horror movies. In the '80s, slasher movies were the king, and everyone loved Michael Myers, Freddy Krueger, and Jason Voorhees. However, when the '90s started, the slasher movie was dying off, and it was time for Hollywood to find the next big thing. However, there was no next big thing in the '90s outside of self-referential horror films, and those were quick to die as well.
With that said, there was not an absence of good or bad horror movies. It was like any other era, except without a real identity. The decade included films that either remained forgettable, ended up overlooked, were praised and overrated, or the few that became true classics. Here is a look at five horror movies from the '90s that were way underrated and five that were overrated.
10 IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS - UNDERRATED
John Carpenter used to be a master of horror, and he was responsible for some of the best horror movies in existence. He directed the first Halloween movie. Carpenter directed The Thing, possibly the best horror remake ever. He even directed some great sci-fi with Rowdy Roddy Poper in They Live. However, people think he was finished in the '80s.
Those people either have never seen, or they criminally underrate In the Mouth of Madness. Released in 1995, Sam Neill stars as an insurance investigator who sets out to investigate a missing horror novelist. What he finds drives him completely insane.
9 I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER - OVERRATED
Released in 1997, I Know What You Did Last Summer was just an attempt to capitalize on the success of another Kevin Williamson horror movie, Scream. However, there was a huge problem with this one: it was long, boring, and derivative. The cast wasn't bad — it did have Buffy Summers in the movie — but they were just kids doing stupid things.
The slasher movie died out mostly because the monsters ended up more interesting than the victims. In this movie, neither the killer nor the victims were interesting. Kids ate this up at the time and it got a sequel, which was even worse than the first.
8 JACOB'S LADDER - UNDERRATED
When a horror movie relies on a twist ending, that movie better be really good to avoid being a cliche and angering audiences. Luckily for fans, Jacob's Ladder was not only really good, but it was a trippy masterpiece that stands the test of time.
Directed by Adrian Lyne (Fatal Attraction), Jacob's Ladder stars Tim Robbins as a military medic who is stabbed in the jungles of Vietnam and wakes up in a New York City subway. He then starts to see monstrous creatures chasing him, and when anyone associated with his stint in the military begins dying, he is forced to face the harsh truth.
7 SCREAM - OVERRATED
Scream is a fun movie. It was nice to see Wes Craven back in the horror genre with a film that fans loved. However, the entire movie ended up being a gimmick that gave way to several copycat movies that were all a step below. At the end of the day, Scream was something new that revitalized the horror genre but it wasn't anything special.
The movie made its name on never taking itself seriously. Scream was about kids who had watched all the slasher horror movies stalked by a serial killer themselves. They knew the tropes and what to expect. Sadly, there was a fun movie that never took itself seriously that started to take itself seriously with three sequels, each lessening the impact of the first.
6 CEMETERY MAN - UNDERRATED
Also known as Dellamorte Dellamore, the 1994 Italian horror-comedy Cemetery Man is something that more people need to see. However, as with most older horror movies (especially foreign-language efforts), it is one that too many people today won't watch, and it remains an underrated masterpiece.
Cemetery Man stars Rubert Everett as Dellamorte, a cemetery caretaker. While his job is to tend the grounds, he also has the unusual task of watching for those revenants who rise from the graves so he can put them back down. When he kills one and realizes she might have been alive when she rose, he starts to go mad.
5 BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA - OVERRATED
Francis Ford Coppola is a master filmmaker and has made some of cinema's most brilliant films. He directed The Godfather movies and Apocalypse Now, which alone makes him one of the best of all-time. This past is likely why people look at Bram Stoker's Dracula and see something better than it is.
The movie picked up four Oscar nominations and won three of them. However, look at the wins: costume design, sound editing, and makeup. The film looked great and Gary Oldman is always entertaining, but this was just another tale of Dracula. This particular adaptation was just a melodramatic movie that falls below most others about the Universal Horror monster.
4 CANDYMAN - UNDERRATED
With the biggest slasher movie icons being names like Freddy, Michael, and Jason, possibly one of the best in Candyman remains criminally underrated. Released in 1992, Candyman is loosely based on the old Bloody Mary story, where if you say his name three timers in a mirror, he comes to life and kills you.
However, it is the backstory of Candyman that makes him stand above the rest. He was a slave murdered by his plantation owners for the crime of falling in love. He now returns and seeks vengeance on anyone and everyone who dares say his name. Tony Todd is brilliant in his role as the man with the hook for a hand.
3 THE SIXTH SENSE - OVERRATED
M. Night Shyamalan knows how to put a movie together. The guy is very talented when it comes to his work behind the camera. However, over time, his writing turned many fans against him. Shyamalan started to rely more and more on twist endings instead of organic storytelling, and it became a joke.
It all started with The Sixth Sense. Honestly, on the first watch, the movie was a slow, captivating look at a young boy who sees dead people. Then, when the twist arrives, it made people believe they just watched a masterpiece. Shyamalan added nice tricks throughout to lead to his reveal, but this is a movie that has lessened over time as he added twist after twist to all his other films.
2 THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT - OVERRATED
The Blair Witch Project was a movie that had everyone talking in 1999. People claimed it scared them to death, and it started the new craze in found footage movies. Most of the found footage movies that came later were lackluster at best, with only a rare few rising above. However, to be honest, The Blair Witch Project was never that good.
Almost the entire film consisted of the actors carrying cameras around and freaking out at sounds they hear. They stare into the cameras hyperventilating and crying. Then, in the end, they find something and then drop the camera, and the movie ends. It was a lot of buildup for nothing.
1 STIR OF ECHOES - UNDERRATED
In 1999, three horror movies hit in a short period of time. Out of those three movies, The Blair Witch Project was miscategorized as a modern-day classic. The Sixth Sense was considered a masterpiece that has not grown well over time. However, the third movie is one few people discuss.
Stir of Echoes is a solid ghost story starring Kevin Bacon. He allows himself to be hypnotized at a party, and that somehow unlocks his house to a ghost that only he and his son can see. The spirit seems malevolent but only wants the mystery of who killed her unveiled and that situation set up one of the best, and most underrated horror movies of the '90s.