A woman flees to a small town to escape a cult, only to realise the cult has followed her; a young family break down in a deserted canyon, and discover its not that deserted after all; a married couple find themselves stranded in a small town, and encounter a dangerous religious sect; a small town carnival’s festivities are spoiled by a murderous maniac… Welcome to the world of American rustic horror, where life away from the hustle and bustle of the big city, in small town U.S.A, isn’t as tranquil as you might hope… the most recent example of which is the extraordinary rural chiller DEMENTER, from indie horror director Chad Crawford Kinkle.
To celebrate its exclusive ARROW debut and Blu-ray release, here’s a collection of an unlucky 13 rustic horrors that’ll convince you to keep on driving until you reach the next city!
THE BROTHERHOOD OF SATAN (1971)
A small rural town and a family of outsiders, both trapped in the demonic grip of… The Brotherhood of Satan! Recently widowed Ben, his glamourous girlfriend Nicky and his small daughter K.T. are on a road trip across the Southwest, which comes to a screeching halt when they witness an accident. Heading to the nearby isolated desert town of Hillsboro to report it to the Sheriff, they soon end up entangled in a mystery that points towards a deadly satanic cult.
DEATH SCREAMS (1982)
Don’t go down to the river after dark – someone’s killing for kicks! In this recently rediscovered 80s slasher gem, the residents of a small town excitedly prepare themselves for their annual carnival, unaware that a machete-wielding maniac with a twisted grudge is lurking in their midst. When a group of teen revellers plan a late-night after party down in the local cemetery, they unwittingly set the stage for a bloodbath.
THE HILLS HAVE EYES (1977)
In Wes Craven’s horror masterpiece, the Carter family soon run into trouble when their campervan breaks down in the middle of the desert. Stranded, the family find themselves at the mercy of a group of monstrous cannibals lurking in the surrounding hills. With their lives under threat, the Carters have no choice but to fight back by any means necessary.
TWO THOUSAND MANIACS! (1964)
When a group of Yankee tourists take a detour and wind up in the small Southern town of Pleasant Valley – which has magically rematerialized 100 years after its destruction during the Civil War – they find themselves welcomed by the eager townsfolk as guests of honour at their centennial celebrations. Little do the Northerners know that the festivities are set to include torture, death and dismemberment, in exploitation pioneer Herschell Gordon Lewis’s deliciously depraved gorefest.
THE CHILDREN OF THE CORN (1984)
In the cult classic based on the Stephen King short story, a young couple (Linda Hamilton and Peter Horton) find themselves stranded in the small town of Gatlin, Nebraska where they meet a religious cult of children led by the mysterious Isaac and the unhinged Malachi and learn the blood-curdling secrets of He Who Walks Behind the Rows.
DEADLY BLESSING (1981)
They’ll build a barn from your bones! Rustic horror master Wes Craven unearths the darkness that festers beneath an isolated community in Deadly Blessing, starring Ernest Borgine, Michael Berryman (from Craven’s The Hills Have Eyes) that features an early performance from Sharon Stone. When Martha marries into a close knit sect she finds herself shunned as an outsider by its fanatical members, but when her husband dies mysteriously while riding a tractor expressly forbidden as a tool of the devil, things take a darker turn.
DOOM ASYLUM (1987)
When a group of horny teens wind up on the grounds of a creepy abandoned asylum, they think they’ve found the perfect place to party. Little do they know that inside the building’s crumbling walls lurks a freakishly deformed maniac, driven to madness by the tragic loss of his fiancée in a car accident.
EDGE OF THE AXE (1988)
The rural community of Paddock County is being rocked by the crazed exploits of an axe-wielding psychopath, who stalks the night in a black trenchcoat and mask. As the victims pile up, the authorities attempt to keep a lid on the situation, whilst computer whizz-kid Gerald and girlfriend Lillian seek to unmask the killer before the town population reaches zero.
A phone call from out of the blue brings Leo (Joey Millin) back into contact with his sister, Virginia (Madison West), who persuades him to embark on a cross-country road trip, to lift a curse on her that resulted from a sinister ritual performed by the cult she belonged to. Leo, at first cynical, begins to suspect his sister’s tall tale might have some substance, as their trip through small town America becomes increasingly strange and unsettling.
EATEN ALIVE (1977)
Deep in the Louisiana bayou sits the ramshackle Starlight Hotel, destination of choice for those who like to check in but not check out! Bumbling Judd, the patron of this particular establishment, may seem like a good-natured ol’ Southern gent – but he has a mean temper on him, and a mighty large scythe to boot. Another exercise in taut Southern terror from Tobe Hooper, director of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.
TRAPPED ALIVE (1988)
One wintry night, pals Robin and Monica are making their way to a Christmas party when they’re carjacked by a gang of crooks recently escaped from the local penitentiary. With the two young women taken as hostages, things take an even darker turn when their vehicle plummets down an abandoned mine shaft, trapping them underground with the dangerous crooks – and a mutant cannibal.
JUG FACE (2013)
In the debut film from DEMENTER director Chad Crawford Kinkle, Ada (Lauren Ashley Carter) learns the supernatural pit worshipped by her remote community in the woods has demanded her as a blood sacrifice. As she struggles to find a way to survive, the pit lashes out in anger.
Fleeing from a cult that has left her scarred both physically and mentally, Katie (Katie Groshong) is keen to get her life together. On her path to recovery, she takes a job in a care centre supporting adults with special needs, among them Stephanie (Stephanie Kinkle), a woman with Down syndrome. Convinced that the “devils” are coming for Stephanie, and tormented by flashbacks of her experience within the cult and with their leader Larry (Larry Fessenden, The Dead Don’t Die), Katie takes increasingly extreme measures to ward off the evil that is making Stephanie sick. But what if her rituals are doing more harm than good?
DEMENTER is available now on ARROW.
DEMENTER + JUG FACE Limited Edition Blu-ray is available now and released by Arrow Video.
Children of the Corn Trilogy is available now on Limited Edition Blu-ray Boxset + Children of the Corn on UHD, courtesy of Arrow Video.