5 Deep Cut Winter Horror Movies You Maybe Haven’t Seen


No genre is as prolific as horror, so it’s understandable that movies fall through the cracks all the time. That is where this new recurring column, Deep Cuts, comes in. While some movies remain popular and talked about, regardless of age, countless others have faded into the background or obscurity.

Each themed installment of this series will spotlight several overlooked, unappreciated or generally unknown movies from the past — some from way back when, and others from not so long ago — that could use some more attention.

The first edition of this column will look at horror movies featuring wintry settings. It may not feel or look like winter wherever you are right now, but somewhere it’s cold. And with a frosty backdrop, the five winter horror movies here feel more bleak than usual.

A Cold Night’s Death (1973)

Directed by Jerrold Freedman

Robert Jones and Frank Enrari (Robert Culp and Eli Wallach) are the two scientists dropped off at a research laboratory in the Arctic Circle. Their objective is to run tests on primates for the space program, but after discovering a dead colleague at the station, Jones and Enrari eventually succumb to their environment, isolation and growing paranoia.

A Cold Night’s Death (also known as The Chill Factor) aired as part of ABC’s Movie-of-the-Week series. This slow-burning telepic might not specifically take place during the winter, but it’s rich in atmosphere and unease. Over the years it’s been considered an inspiration for one of the all-time best winter horror movies, John Carpenter’s The Thing.

A low-grade, analog-sourced copy of A Cold Night’s Death has been circulating online for years. The reduced quality makes this horror movie even eerier.

Sleepwalker (1984)

Directed by Saxon Logan

winter horror sleepwalker

Alex (Bill Douglas) and sister Marion (Heather Page) live out in the country in an old and creaky house. When they’re visited by their friends, couple Richard and Angela (Nickolas Grace and Joanna David), tensions flare before everyone is finally consumed in a night of terror and blood.

Sleepwalker is a highly satirical horror story concerning four unpleasant Brits, though some are clearly more loathsome than others. Political discourse and eroticism come up in this 50-minute feature before everything ends on a pulpy note.

The British Film Institute (BFI) has since released Sleepwalker on Blu-ray, and the movie is currently streaming on Cultpix and BFI Player Classics.

Wolf’s Hole (1987)

Directed by Věra Chytilová


When a group of Czech teens is taken on a ski trip in the mountains, a sudden avalanche leaves them stranded. There is no way home in sight, and supplies are becoming limited. The young people develop cabin fever and clash with one another, but when they suspect something strange is going on with the adults in charge, they start working together in order to survive.

Wolf’s Hole (originally Vlčí bouda, also known as Wolf’s Chalet) is a celluloid allegory from avant-garde filmmaker Věra Chytilová. What sounds like a Czech take on the American teen slasher ends up being something else entirely, and the story becomes one long political metaphor. Not recognizing the coding, however, doesn’t impede your enjoyment of this unique and weird teen-horror movie.

Wolf’s Hole is currently streaming on The Criterion Channel.

Black Cadillac (2003)

Directed by John Murlowski

winter horror black cadillac

Two brothers (Shane Johnson and Jason Dohring) and their friend (Josh Hammond) are all joyriding across state lines before they all go their separate ways. After causing trouble at a dive bar in backwoods Wisconsin, the three main characters flee to their car. Little do they know, someone is following them — someone driving a black Cadillac. The young men struggle to escape before finally stopping and confronting their stalker.

Black Cadillac is a harrowing and angsty teen-thriller that never lets its foot off the gas. Sure, the three protagonists argue a lot, but beneath their frayed veneers is a believable kind of fellowship. Randy Quaid also gets in touch with his creepy side as the cop-turned-hitchhiker who you can never trust, despite what he says.

Black Cadillac is currently streaming on Tubi.

Knuckleball (2018)

Directed by Michael Peterson

While his parents are trying to heal their marriage, young Henry (Luca Villacis) is sent to stay with his grandfather (Michael Ironside) at his isolated farmhouse during the winter. The visit soon turns into a nightmare when the grandfather’s only neighbor, the dangerous Dixon (Munro Chambers), comes after Henry.

Knuckleball is a clever, sinuous winter horror movie that subverts expectations and goes to a dark place. Ironside and Chambers, who reunited after starring in Turbo Kid together, each delivered great performances. This disturbing as hell movie from the Great White North is best seen without too much prior knowledge.

Knuckleball is currently streaming on Tubi.

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