The Blair Witch Project is ‘The Cardiff Giant’ of modern horror films. The film employed the now common trope of “found footage” to give an authentic and haunting atmosphere to the story. The movie was also one of the first to use the internet to reinforce the found footage concept, going so far as to hire actors to pose as policemen for interviews and post pictures of artifacts found at the crime scene.
Deceptively titled and oddly mis-marketed as a horror movie, Trey Edward Shults’s second feature It Comes at Night, might much more appropriately be viewed as a ‘post-apocalyptic psychological family drama’.
I’m often loath to place a movie under a genre classification, because certain movies might straddle several genres and don’t easily fit into pigeonholes.
However, if you go to see It Comes at Night expecting a conventional horror film, you will be disappointed… or perhaps you’ll be surprised.
“You can’t trust anyone but family.”
The concept of the ‘beautiful female corpse’ is by no means a new idea in the realm of gothic horror. In fact, it has been a stalwart of the genre since it began. Edgar Allan Poe was particularly partial to it and Bram Stoker took it to its natural conclusion when he hit upon the novel idea of having alluring dead ladies start walking about and seducing people.
Norwegian director André Øvredal follows up his found-footage indie sleeper Troll Hunter, with English-language debut The Autopsy of Jane Doe – a gory excursion through a dead woman’s innards.
“Every body has a secret.”
Get Out concerns Chris, who is invited by his girlfriend of five months, Rose to travel upstate for the weekend to meet her parents. Chris is concerned about how Rose’s privileged white family’s might react to him, as she hasn’t told them that her boyfriend is black. Meeting the parents is a frightening prospect at the best of times, but Get Out offers a vision of a black guy’s unnerving entrance into a particularly unorthodox white world.
Chris’s girlfriend brushes off his concerns, assuring him that her parents are liberals and that he has nothing to worry about…
“Just because you’re invited, doesn’t mean you’re welcome.”
John Carpenter’s The Thing still resonates with audiences to this day, with unparalleled practical effects from Rob Bottin and Stan Winston, themes of isolation and memorable performances from Kurt Russell and Keith David. In my own humble opinion, it is the perfect horror film. Fright-Rags commemorates 35 years of alien terror with The Thing Collection.
“I dunno what the hell’s in there, but it’s weird and pissed off, whatever it is.”
The Wailing offers images that appear in many a horror films: disembowelled livestock; creepy candlelit shrines plastered with odd photographs; curtains of blindingly heavy rain; a foul-mouthed, possessed child; blackened, rabid zombies lunging at stunned victims and blood-splattered murder scenes.
It’s unlikely however, that any horror aficionado has seen all these tropes thrown with such bravado into the same melting pot, producing such a rich and unsettling brew.
“You awoke something recently that you weren’t supposed to. You disturbed it.”
What a delightful coincidence that the young actress in Gore Verbinski’s latest feature A Cure for Wellness should be named Mia Goth. Never has an appellation been more appropriate.
A Cure for Wellness proves to be an audacious, intoxicating, feverish piece of cinema – administering copious doses of Freudian symbolism and classic Gothicism. If you’re not a fan of things Gothic, or if you suffer from ichthyophobia, this may not be the film for you…
“Do you know what the cure for the human condition is? Disease. Because that’s the only way one could hope for a cure.”
Originally released in 1971, A Bay of Blood was later refused certification from the BBFC in 1972, ensuring that the film could not be shown at any cinema within the United Kingdom. Fast forward to 1984, and the unmonitored home video market was beginning to find traction with consumers. Bava’s A Bay of Blood would finally find a UK audience upon it’s simultaneous release on VHS and Betamax (from Hokushin under the title Blood Bath) that same year.
“Diabolical! Fiendish! Savage… You may not walk away from this one!”
In the United Kingdom, Liverpool Small Cinema presents an iconic Japanese horror double bill: Hideo Nakata’s Ringu (1998) and Nobuhiko Obayashi’s Hausu (1977).
“To try and narrow down a selection of Japanese horror films, which cover all things psychological, supernatural, explicit and mythological, is no easy task however, so we felt that the programme would need to reflect the full scale of myths, folk and ghost tales that have dominated Japanese culture for centuries.”
Directed and co-written by Vincenzo Natali, Cube is a Canadian science fiction horror released in 1997. Significant for being the Canadian Film Centre’s (CFC) first feature film, and Natali’s feature length directional debut, Cube has polarised audiences since release due in part to it’s ‘kafkaesque’ setting; a surreal, industrial cube-shaped design.
Cube is one of the greatest, and unfortunately most underrated horror movies from the 1990s.
“The only way out lies within your own mind.”
Cesar Romero’s portrayal of The Joker as Batman’s greatest enemy was memorable to say the least.
Known for his sharp wit and malevolent laugh, The Joker was constantly escaping Arkham Asylum and a relentless threat to Gotham City.
“Have you heard this one? It’ll *kill* you, Batman!”
A Tale of Two Sisters (2003): From its eerie opening credits – indistinct ripples ebbing over green wallpaper – to the plot twists and revelations at its climax, ‘A Tale of Two Sisters’ is worthy of admission to the ranks of the best psychological horrors with greats such as ‘The Innocents’ or ‘The Others’.