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Forgotten B-Movie HORROR film gems from 90s

After presenting a list of B-horror movies from the 1980s, it’s time for the next decade and another set of real gems, known among fans of the genre, but not to a wider audience.

Gracja Grzegorczyk-Tokarska

5 August 2023

Forgotten B-Movie HORROR film gems from 90s

While the previous decade was filled to the brim with slashers, the 90s brought the need to define the genre completely anew…

Hardware (1990)


The production, although low-budget, tries to imitate many science fiction masterpieces that scared the audience like no other in the late 70s and early 80s. Of course, we are talking about Ridley Scott’s Alien and James Cameron’s Terminator. Despite this, the production from the early 90s was able to present many interesting ideas on the big screen and create an extremely original scenery of the post-apocalyptic world. Behind the camera was Richard Stanley, who is known for his attempt to shoot The Island of Dr. Moreau with Val Kilmer and Marlon Brando – work on it has already become an urban legend. Fortunately, the director had previously created Hardware, a bloody story reminiscent of the aforementioned Terminator, which was rated R, which means that people under the age of 17 can only watch the film with a parent or adult guardian. The creators use a great, though not very original idea at that time and lock the murderous robot in a small apartment with the main characters. The compact setting provides a claustrophobic feel, but also less scope for true large-scale havoc, which is both a downside and an upside. The production also offers many scenes that are cool from start to finish. Stanley’s contribution to the genre cannot be denied, and people who like science fiction horror should definitely reach for this position.

The Pit and the Pendulum (1991)

The Pit and the Pendulum

The 1990s is primarily a turn towards classic stories. Of course, The Pit and the Pendulum was filmed by Roger Corman as part of his fascination with the stories of Edgar Alan Poe. So in 1961 we got a great adaptation with Vincent Price himself. But the 1991 version also follows in the footsteps of camp traditions, performing remarkably well compared to other attempts at adapting the already classic story. Lance Henriksen stars as Torquemada’s perverse grand inquisitor who enjoys being tied up and beaten, when he’s not terrorizing Spain for the glory of the Church, of course. So we have torture, feminine qualities and more torture, but it all makes Stuart Gordon’s version very interesting to watch. The cast also includes Oliver Reed and Jeffrey Combs, but it’s Henriksen who steals every scene he appears in. The scene where, filled with anger, he orders his subordinate to “go and torture heretics” is, in my opinion, one of the best moments in the history of cinema. It’s a pity that Gordon, known for the first Reanimator and having a large impact on the development of the genre, is not associated with this film at all. I dare say that this is one of his most underrated productions.

Brainscan (1994)


A lonely teenage horror fan discovers a mysterious CD-ROM computer game that uses hypnosis to make the player experience the most terrifying experiences imaginable. When the hero comes out of his hypnotic trance, he discovers with horror that the brutal murder depicted in the game actually took place, and he – unfortunately – turns out to be the killer. The acting is really good, especially since the main character is played by Edward Furlong, known primarily from his performance in Terminator 2. The special effects are amazing, mainly due to the fact that practical effects were used, which is surprising in the context of the fact that the plot of the film revolves around a computer game. The same goes for gore effects. The starting point for the plot was a real game called Brainwaves. Following the film’s theatrical release in the United States, the game was re-released in Europe as Brainscanners. This production is not only interesting because of the plot, murders and the character of the Trickster, but also the portrait of a teenage boy living away from the world. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, you definitely need to catch up.

Ticks (1993)


The VHS market made home theaters full of B-movies about all sorts of monsters in the 1990s, more than half of which were so awful they were unwatchable. Ticks production significantly stands out from these movie monsters, while not aspiring to be an Oscar-winning film. It’s disgusting, and we have fun watching it – what more could you want from a film with such a title. The plot is standard. A group of heroes must face giant, blood-sucking insects. The practical effects are great, especially the scenes where the ticks are under the skin. Initially, I was skeptical about this idea, because I still have The Killer Shrews in my head, but the whole thing looks really good and is a strong point of the production. However, if low-budget special effects are not your thing, don’t even bother with this horror movie. In addition, quite a neat cast, in which we can see a young Seth Green. If you liked James Gunn’s film entitled Worms, this is a proposition for you. If you love B-movie vibes, this is a movie you can’t miss.

Modern Vampires (1998)

Modern Vampires

The production was originally titled Revenant. It is a classic example of comedy horror, which, like other works of this type, tried to capitalize on the success of Blade. The film even had a very similar campaign to the production with Wesley Snipes, however, the two movies are radically different from each other. It’s set in an alternate Los Angeles where vampires can exist as long as they don’t attack normal people, which sounds a bit like the plot of True Blood. I will not reveal more, because this is an example of a production that is one of those eccentric experiences that you have to experience for yourself. Casper Van Dien stars as a vampire exile who decides to return to the city, while acting legend Rod Steiger plays Van Helsing, who is portrayed as a Nazi war criminal using gang members as a vampire-hunting crew. Of course, as it happens in this type of films, humor balances on the border of good taste, which is why it’s not a production for everyone. An interesting fact is that the film was directed by Richard Elfman, brother of the famous film composer Danny, who also took care of the soundtrack to Modern Vampires. Without a doubt, there is no other movie like it, so you must check it out if you haven’t seen it yet.


Gracja Grzegorczyk-Tokarska

Chociaż docenia żelazny kanon kina, bardziej interesuje ją poszukiwanie takich filmów, które są już niepopularne i zapomniane. Wielka fanka kina klasy Z oraz Sherlocka Holmesa. Na co dzień uczestniczka seminarium doktoranckiego (Kulturoznawstwo), która marzy by zostać żoną Davida Lyncha.

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