Five Must See Horror Films
Halloween is over and, if you're anything like me, you're feeling pretty bummed. It's like you've
binge-watched your favorite show and realize you have to wait three hundred plus days for the
next season. To make matters worse, every store has already started playing Christmas music.
Back in the day Netflix used to have customer profiles, and movie lovers would publish lists of the best films they'd seen on Netflix under their user names. This was such a great resource. All you had to do was find a few people who shared your taste in movies and voila!
Netflix stopped customer profiles almost ten years ago, and not long after that they also stopped carrying most of the rare gems that made me love them in the first place. I worked at a restaurant where a few of my fellow employees discovered we were all fans of horror films. We started to share titles and lists of films and swap DVDs old-school style. Recently some great streaming sites like Shudder and Shout Factory TV have picked up the slack in the genre film market, but I still like to trade lists between friends because there's great stuff out there I might have missed if a friend hadn't recommended I see it.
So here is my first list of horror movie sleeper gems. I can't guarantee that every film on the list is something you've never seen. They are just films I think are overlooked, and while they aren't all Citizen Kane, I think there is something to love about each of them. Please feel free to comment or share a title (way way down at the bottom of the blog page). I'd like to post a list at least once a month.
Starring: David Caruso, Peter Mullen, Josh Lucas, and Brendan Sexton III
A lot of people who saw this movie made a pilgrimage to Danvers Mental Hospital where nearly all of this film was shot. Exquisitely photographed, this movie is about personal fears and relies on an extraordinarily effective sense of dread. It doesn't need a lot of gore. I can't help but admire the way the movie scares the #### out of you in a seemingly effortless way. Director Brad Anderson did everything right, but the film somehow failed to revive David Caruso's career. It's on my very short list of, "films I can't watch if I know I'm going to be spending the night alone."
Someone needs to screen this at a revival house soon!
Simon calls to Peter Mullen
Brendan Sexton III has Nyctophobia — an irrational fear of the dark,
The creepy voice of Simon emerges in the Session 9 tape
A Tale Of Two Sisters
This scene takes it's cues from the seizure scene in Eraserhead and the thing behind the diner in Mulholland Drive.
Directed by Kim Jee-Woon 2003
Based on a Korean folk-tale, it's a story of a family with some very dark secrets. A visually spectacular film, it borrows heavily from David Lynch style scares and an Argento-eque color palate. This is one you will love or hate. Agreed, it isn't an easy film to understand on a first viewing, and I had to read a few reviews before finally putting it all together. It's important to remember while watching this one that not everyone is who they seem and you really have to pay close attention to details. This is another film about every day horrors — a fractured mind unable to escape the past. Skip the obligatory American remake. This is another one I wish would be screened in a theater - SOON!
Directed by Masayuki Ochiai
Not to be confused with other films of the same title - I've always had a soft spot for this off-beat little gem. It isn't a perfect film by any means but it is surprisingly effective. Obviously influenced by Lars Von Trier's Kingdom series for Danish television, whose signature "ghost ambulance" was taken from an Argento horror anthology made for Italian TV in the 1980's, it's a mash-up of Von Trier, Lynch and Argento. Yet another horror film that inhabits a mental state. I have yet to fully understand the ending, but that hasn't stopped me from enjoying it even thirteen years after it was made.
Directed by Jack Shoulder 1987
I first heard about this movie while working in a video store. The Hidden is sci-fi, horror, thriller, and buddy cop movie all rolled into one. Its got car chases, guns, explosions, gross aliens, a killer soundtrack, and a sentimental ending. Like Aliens it's a roller costar ride that grabs you from the first scene and never lets go! I can't imagine any action, horror, or sci-fi fan not loving this one. Its also got hot Michael Nouri (Flashdance), young hot Kyle Maclachlan (just before Twin Peaks), hot Claudia Christian as a gun toting stripper, and a cameo by the great Lin Shaye! Find it. See it. You won't be sorry you did.
Dead End trailer 2003
Directed by Jean Baptiste Andrea and Fabrice Canepa 2003
Staring Ray Wise and Lin Shaye
Five family members get lost taking a back road on their way to a holiday party.
An accident happens while they are bickering, as families tend to do when trapped together for the holidays. The story itself is a little bit like an episode of the Twilight Zone, but great dialogue and knock out performances by Ray Wise as the father and Lin Shaye, who really kills it here as she straddles the line between comedy, horror and insanity, elevate the material. Nice twist ending. Forget that Insidious nonsense- this is probably Lin Shaye's defining career moment - she's that good! A strong film from these two French filmmakers. It appears they haven't done much since- which is a shame. The disc can be hard to find. Nitehawk, Alamo or IFC center need to pick this one up as a holiday midnight horror film.
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