As we headed towards October, Halloween month, the wife already had a super-exciting playlist of horror films on the horizon. We had committed to the challenge, a task that has actually been relatively easy to maintain, in spite of our often cram-packed daily schedules. Most of these films we had not seen, however, I was adamant about two movies in particular that we had to watch again – which is where I started this chapter. Here are the second 10 of the 50 Films for Halloween. Let us know, please, if you have seen any of these and what you thought. And also if you added any of these to your own horror film lists.
Vivid in scope, color, lighting, spooks, oh I could go on. Dario Argento’s wondrous, disturbing murder house horror Suspiria is a bloody shock-fest of an advert for prestigious ballet schools. Throttling us with a series of gruesome murders, the likes of which we hadn’t seen back then, and only imitators since have striven to mimic the visual and audio horror masterclass on show here.
In my view, and I rarely intend or want to be definitive, The Exorcist could well be the finest horror movie ever made. Regan’s repulsive dialogue can stir laughter today, sure, but the truth is this is still startles its audience, not just in the treatment of the child, but in its important subject matter, terrifically executed story, and some of the greatest technical elements in the genre’s history. Turn out the lights and crank the sound right up.
Speaking of sounds, this unclassifiable little movie slipped under many a net back in 2012. A film that, as the title suggests, goes for the throat with the audio aspects. This though is a rare achievement, in that Berberian Sound Studio doesn’t disappoint in its constant promise to alarm you, and in the end the satisfaction comes from the anticipation rather than any horrid act itself.
Wow, does this look dated now. So much so, likely looked a little B-movie-ish back in the eighties. A run-of-the-mill small town werewolf tale, this kind of scared me as a child watching it (I know, I shouldn’t have been watching horror films then – bite me!), but you develop an understanding of throw-away black humor as you get older. About as scary as an episode of Bigfoot and the Hendersons nowadays.
Halle Berry is a tough actress to get to grips with, her choices (if you can call them that) across the board offer a diverse range of both type of film as well as level of performance. Her role in the suspense thriller Gothika provides one of her finest moments. It’s a steady-as-she-goes horror movie, satisfying most chiller fans in its production – the dead early twist is a real refreshing curve-ball too.
Kill List is not really a horror until it becomes a horror. A seemingly crime, violence infested motion picture, it soon escalates, effectively paced at times, and heads toward a conclusion that is a kick in the bollocks regardless of whether you saw it coming or not. Aside from the horror and gruesomeness, there is some memorable inner-family tension captured on screen from the actors.
Appropriately titled High Tension gets under your skin early on, building, then launching the suspense through the roof – and it hardly loosens its grip. Before it turn what you think you know on its head (man, I love twists like this), the film feeds the senses with some truly horrific scenes, quenching our own longing to be both scared and grossed out, while keeping us on the edge of our seat.
Whether a story of split personality mental illness, or the inability to let yourself go with the attraction of the opposite sex, Tale 52 is a strangely compelling journey through the human psyche. A dark, scattered affair, the film has an extraordinary sound design, including the effective dubbing of the main protagonist, but really stands out for its disjointed and unsettling film editing.
Fucked up comes close to describing this gore-fest. We watch a story of a couple that seems linear and sense-making, all the while a bunch of secondary characters, and intriguing sub-plots, collide with the central “romance”. Disarray and confusion grow rather than envelope any kind of logical outcome of both the story and characters. I was bemused long before Beatrice Dalle eats a guy’s face during a moment of passion.
Ridiculously affecting and infectious from the get-go, Angst lives way beyond its name. The shaky camera, including insane front-facing point of view shots, and seeming natural, awkward actions of the characters, make this both menacing and disturbing pretty much the whole journey. When the acts of brutality do happen, they hit hard, leaving you somewhat bruised and aching.
Stay tuned for the third 10 shortly.
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See the full list on Letterboxd: Halloween Marathon 2016