No disrespect to Hillbillies or Southerners in general is meant by this list or any of the content within it, it’s purely for fun, and I happen to love Hillbilly Horror films, and films set in the South in general.
The list is in no real particular order at all.
1. Deliverance (1972)
Although not horror specifically, this film was made in ’72 and is still very effective by today’s standards. Some of the shots of the team of guys paddling through the Cahulawassee River are still chilling to this day, especially when you realize that they’re being watched by a community of undesirable inbred locals! Check this one out if you have not done so already!
2. Southern Comfort (1981)
Once again, not horror really at all, and somewhat of a cash-in (in ways) on Deliverance’s success, but this film is still solid, and the hillbilly’s who are stalking these National Guards all throughout this film are quite menacing indeed. A little more Action/Thriller than horror, but definitely check this one out, it was one of my brother and I’s favorite action flicks when it came out.
3. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
This is Tobe Hoopers best film, bar none. The overall atmosphere and feeling of dread throughout this piece is still very unsettling today, and somewhat of an achievement as a director, I feel. Although the film was followed by so many sequels and remakes, this is the best, and the only one you should really see, although The Beginning is also a good watch, as i s the official Remake of this film.
4. Just Before Dawn (1981)
Just Before the Dawn is a nice little bit of hillbilly stalker horror from 1981. Be honest, everyone likes a wild machete wielding hillbilly stalking 5 campers through the woods,right? This is actually much better than your average hillbilly slasher from the 80’s, and is led by a pretty good cast and some impressive kill-scenes.
5. Rituals (1977)
Originally titled Rituals, re-titled as “The Creeper”.
Five doctors go on vacation deep in the Canadian wilderness. After all but one pair of the party’s shoes disappear, the remaining camper decides to hike out and go look for help. Soon after he leaves, however, his four companions realizes that something is very wrong when someone leaves a decapitated deer head just outside their camp. Even though they still don’t have their shoes, they decide to follow their friend’s trail out of the woods, but their path is blocked by someone who doesn’t want to see them leave the forest alive. This is a very tight and menacing slasher/horror, led be a nice cast of actors, and a very good. This film is often overlooked by people, yet it started the whole “maniac in the woods” horror genre, and it is quite good indeed.
6. Hunter’s Blood (1986)
Five “city boys” travel to the country to relax by doing some hunting, drinking Bud, and generally having good time. However, the local inbred backwoods psychos turn the hunters to be the hunted, and they need all the ammo and wits they have to get out of the woods alive.This is quite a fun late 80’s hillbilly horror, one which a lot of people miss out on, purely because I think it gets lost in the mix, but check this one out!
7. Deranged (1974)
This film came out the same year that Texas Chainsaw Massacre came out, which is why I think it got slept on a bit. It’s based on Ed Gein (who everybody knows was one sick hillbilly), a deranged rural farmer becomes a grave robber and murderer after the death of his possessive mother whom he keeps her corpse, among others, as his companions in his decaying farmhouse. There is some truly sick moments throughout this nasty piece, and it holds a special place in my heart as one of the earlier films in this genre that I saw. Robert Blossoms gives an outstanding (and very believable) performance here, worth seeing the film for alone!
8. Straw Dogs (1971)
I first saw Straw Dogs back in about 1981, long before I should have, but it has stuck with me. This film delivers fine performances from Dustin Hoffman, the beautiful Susan George and a host of others. What sets this is apart from others of the genre is the fact that instead of American Southern hillbillies, we here have British rural countryside ones. A breath of fresh air indeed, with some incredibly nasty kills, and top-notch direction from Sam Peckinpah
9. Wrong Turn (2003)
Even though this spawned a shit-tonne of sequels (as per usual), the original and first is still the best. The Hillbilly savages in this flick are both menacing and somewhat funny, which is quite refreshing in the genre, each hillbilly has been given a specific style, which is also a nice touch. Matched with some very nice kills, and the beautiful Eliza Dushku.
10. Day of the Woman (aka I Spit on your Grave) – (1978)
This (if in order of favorites) would be my number one, but since this list is in no order, I have saved my personal best for last. The original of this film is astonishing, and everyone who is a fan of horror of exploitation films in general should know it. A knockout performance from the stunning actress Camille Keaton, this film is menacing, twisted, dark and very nasty. If you’re not a fan of rape-revenge type 70’s films, you should still check this ultimate classic out, and it’s remake from 2002.
10/10 – a Classic!