The bad, the bugs, the bloody, the bizarre, the bratty, the bonkers, the banishment of the senses, and a basis for survival without them. Bringing into the light from the big, bewildering darkness a fresh series of horror movies was for me a daunting task. Has the genre declined? Do we expect too much from horror cinema? The wife and I (more the wife than I) dug up some real gems, some gory relics, a handful of twisted exercises in scares and surrealism. Let’s crack on with the next 10 of our 50 Films for Halloween.
A breath-taking, alluring motion picture experience, for which many would debate as a horror film altogether. What is not in question is the central performance of Isabelle Adjani – a stupendous, magnetic turn from the French actress – not just for the infamous subway meltdown, but for the entirety of her character’s submergence into ludicrousy. Anna’s descent is also a kind of liberation, but one we ought not to be embrace, but rather feel the chills and surrealism of it all.
Apparent from the start and as the closing titles roll that the American version of Let the Right One In was not really going to match up to the original. As expected though, a tall order to follow, but this version certainly has a damn good go. Utterly captivating throughout, and again top-notch performances from the kids, Let Me In echoes the Swedish film in style and pacing, while bringing something a little fresh to the table rather than completely mimicking it.
Oh Michael Haneke, why do we engulf ourselves in your film-making when you only proceed in emotional draining us? Eerily compelling and uncomfortable even before the real horrors kick in, Funny Games is an atmospheric, cruel motion picture, encapsulating several channels of the human ability to be thoughtlessly evil.
Pretty much pulling us into the infected, blood-curdling scenario where the first film left off, the second installment of the camera-captured zombie-a-like has much of the same bite, without disappointing given the novelty wearing thinner. More of an undercover mission, heading back into the disease-ridden apartment block, the kill-count soon mounts up and frights await us around many a corner.
Onto the third of the infectious Spanish franchise, it appears that it is not a nice day for a white wedding. A red, perhaps intestine-colored, wedding, yes. Raising the mindless entertainment bar up a couple of notches, the wedding-setting accommodates all manner of bloody fatalities and hair-raising suspense. See with an open mind, and an empty stomach.
Blending one of Ashley Judd’s very finest performances with the ever-watchable Michael Shannon proves a claustrophobic winner here in William Friedkin’s relentlessly brainwashing 2006 movie. This is not a movie about killer bugs in the more common sense, but rather a lurid, often tough to watch chiller, creating the skin-crawling grotesque through the abstract form of manipulating the human mind into physical submission.
The terrorized in a cabin in the middle of nowhere premise, used seemingly a million times in the horror genre, here adds to the mix that the heroin is in fact deaf. The film-making incorporates the audio impairment into the production effectively, but also makes great use of our other senses – as well as giving the women in peril (here, the director’s real-life partner) a kick-ass survival instinct.
The concept of going blind is a frightful thought at the best of times, so here, as Fernando Meirelles utilizes his cold, yet vibrant touch, we are subjected to the notion of blindness as a short-term social contagion. Reminiscent of Children of Men perhaps, there is a doomed sensual element attached to the progressive breakdown of certain veins of society as a result of the lack of sight.
The oldest film of the 50 Films for Halloween is a real catty, Hitchcockian affair, with spoiled brat and pig-tailed little madam Rhoda, seemingly unaware of her vicious actions, has the adults around her bemused and concerned as mysterious events occur. The Bad Seed is a steadily-paced, sedately executed thriller, watchable throughout, with a fantastically cringey performance by 11 year-old Patty McComarck.
A short film enters the series, but does indeed carry much vomit-inducing sensations as a sick member of the medical establishment embarks on a lot more than a mere autopsy or physical examination. I was reminded of a certain sequence in this year’s Neon Demon, and without going into too much detail this could well be influential, cinematic porn for the likes of Nicolas Winding Refn.
Stay tuned for the penultimate 10 shortly.
Follow the marathon on Twitter: #50filmshalloween
See the full list on Letterboxd: Halloween Marathon 2016