For thriller fans who crave something outside Hannibal Lecter’s well-trod realm, here are unsung, or simply forgotten, films destined to disturb.
THE EXORCIST III (1990) ”The Exorcist” author William Peter Blatty wrote and directed this spookfest starring George C. Scott as a detective tracking a serial killer. Highlights include ominous old people scuttling across ceilings and the scariest beheading you’ll ever see.
THE INNOCENTS (1961) Eerily precocious children whispering in Gothic mansions? That’s creepy! Loosely based on Henry James’ ”The Turn of the Screw,” the film stars Deborah Kerr as a governess who believes little Flora and Miles are possessed by a pair of malevolent ghosts.
PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK (1975) You won’t jump, but you’ll shiver as three prim Victorian schoolgirls and their teacher vanish on a class outing in the Australian wilds. Peter Weir’s psychological drama has yet to be discovered by a new generation.
SESSION 9 (2001) When an asbestos-cleanup crew guts an old asylum, horrific visions and crazed mutterings ensue. Is the place haunted, or are they going mental? The jerky camera moves and grainy digital video transfer make the images even more unsettling.
TELL ME SOMETHING (1999) Garbage bags filled with body parts are found all over Seoul, and it turns out the dead men were all once involved with the same woman. This slick Korean thriller unspools with the coyness of ”Basic Instinct” and the dark hush of ”Seven.”
THE VANISHING (1988) Skip the 1993 remake and pick up George Sluizer’s French/Dutch original. Three years after Rex’s girlfriend disappears, he’s still searching — and her abductor takes an interest. The final nightmarish minutes are not for the claustrophobic.