Written and directed by Frank Wisbar, this hour-long B thriller from 1946 is so obscure that it doesn’t even rank an entry in Leonard Maltin’s Movie & Video Guide, but it’s a perfectly adequate example of the low-budget fare that was cranked out like sausages by Producer’s Releasing Corporation (PRC) in post-World War II Hollywood. Of interest to trivia buffs is the youthful appearance of future Pink Panther director Blake Edwards as the movie’s youthful would-be hero, while Rosemary La Planche plays his beloved, who would sacrifice herself to spare her lover from the title character–the shadowy ghost of a ferryman (played by Charles Middleton) who haunts the local swampland, avenging his wrongful hanging for murder. Steeped in rich, foggy atmosphere, the film copies the effective visual style of Wisbar’s earlier German film Fährmann Maria, and although this shoestring spooker barely registers on the fright meter, it’s still an interesting oddity for hardcore film buffs, who will appreciate the fact that a movie of such minimal consequence has somehow made its way to DVD.
Rodney Ascher’s terrifying film explores the topic of sleep paralysis, and the twisted inner workings of the human brain.
2. “There’s Something Wrong with Aunt Diane” (2011)
HBODocs From the title, we obviously know that there’s something wrong with Aunt Diane, but you don’t know the depths of it. The film is compelling throughout it’s entirety, profiling a woman who seems to have things together, as she’s happily married with kids, but then you recognize there’s something very troubling about her.
3. “Boy Interrupted” (2009)
Filmmaker Dana Perry profiles her son Evan, who had a fascination with death and dying at a young age. He went through therapy throughout his youth as he struggled with depression and mental illness. Boy Interrupted is a heavy watch, especially when you see Evan’s downward decline, but it highlights the seriousness of mental illness.
4. “Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy” (2014)
Freddy Krueger has probably been the star of your nightmares before. Explore the origins of the terrifying “dream demon” in this award-winning documentary.
5. “My Amityville Horror” (2013)
Daniel Lutz tells his version of the notorious Amityville haunting at his Ocean Avenue home where Ronald DeFeo Jr. once slaughtered his sleeping family.
6. “Paradise Lost” (2009)
Berlinger and Sinofsky’s documentary profiles the triple murder of three children in West Memphis, Arkansas. The film follows the families of the victims and the accused throughout the trial, and centers on the small-town criminal justice system.
7. “The Imposter” (2012)
Thirteen-year-old Nicholas Barclay goes missing in 1994, and three years later is found alone and scared in Spain. However, it becomes clear to the family that the boy who went missing is not who he says he is, and is literally an imposter to the family. This chilling documentary will send shivers down your spine from beginning to end!
8. “Killer Legends” (2014)
Urban legends make for great horror stories, but how much of them are fiction? Filmmakers Joshua Zeman and Rachel Mills attempt to uncover the truth behind the urban legends we’ve grown to be fearful of.
9. “Room 237” (2012)
This documentary explores one of the greatest horror movies of all time, The Shining. It’s an intricate look into fan interpretations of it and its twisted theories.
10. “Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father” (2008)
This one may pull at your heartstrings a bit. Dear Zachary follows filmmaker Kurt Kuenne’s tribute to his murdered best friend, Andrew Bagby, who was killed in cold blood by his estranged girlfriend, Shirley Turner. In a shocking turn of events, Turner announces that she is pregnant with Bagby’s child. The film is an expose of the custody case, and an emotional letter to his son, Zachary.