Well, it’s Halloween week and you’ve got nothing to watch to celebrate the occasion. Should you go out and rent all the classics you’ve seen before, like ‘Halloween,’ ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ and ‘Friday the 13th or should you try something new? As a lover of horror films, I’m here to tell you… go on and be a little different this year and watch something outside the box! While I love the movies listed above, there are plenty of other horror flicks that are just as good (and in some cases, better) out there that you should see to break the monotony. Here is a list of some of my favorite not-as-well-known scary films that you should check out this Halloween.
Before I start this though, PLEASE keep in mind that all of these movies are fairly extreme and should not be shown to children, the easily scared, the squeamish or anyone who may take offense to this form of entertainment. I will be sure to keep you informed from time to time. Any movies that may possibly be considered highly offensive or overly graphic will have a ** next to them.
Psychological scares have played a big part in horror since the very beginnings of the genre. What a viewer may hear or find out about, but does not see, plays an integral role in fear. There are many movies out there that use the element of surprise and dread of the unknown to their advantage. If you’re looking for something smart and don’t care much for gore-films, try ‘Spoorloos’ (aka ‘The Vanishing,’). It is one of the best films ever made and it is unfortunate that it is rarely heard of today, only a little over 20 years later. This Dutch film involves a woman going missing, her sociopath abductor and her chillingly obsessed boyfriend who has never given up hope in finding out her fate. Cold and calculating like its villain, ‘Spoorloos’ refuses to let the viewer in on its secret until its very last moments, which are haunting and frightening; however, PLEASE don’t get this mixed up with the 90’s remake of the same name as it is a complete bastardization of the original film.
Now, on to the rough part. There are some people out there who like rather extreme horror, movies that might make the average person revolted. Now, I’m generally not into these types of films, but I do like a few. ‘From Beyond’** based on a short story by H.P. Lovecraft, is one of those movies. It involves two scientists who invent a device to stimulate the pineal gland, bringing horrifying creatures from another dimension into our world. It is hyper-violent, overtly sexual, insanely bizarre and is not for the faint of heart.
Another intense movie within this sub-genre is a Japanese film called ‘Battle Royale’**. While not a horror film per se, it was tremendously controversial in its home country of Japan (and if it’s controversial in Japan, imagine how it would go over here in the States) and has never had an official release in America, but is legally available through Netflix. About an alternate violent universe where Japan has won World War II, the nation has collapsed, unemployment has skyrocketed and children are violently boycotting school, adults have implemented a plan to take care of their wayward children: send them to an island and have them fight until there is only one survivor. Sounds goofy, but what the viewer eventually gets is quite possibly the best, most socially important film ever made. It is sad, it is violent, it is poignant and it is thought provoking. It has some of the most realistic characters ever seen in cinema and while it is violent and controversial, it is still a valuable and thought-provoking piece of art and is highly recommended.
Finally, there are the two classics of the genre that need no real introduction. If you are a fan of the strange and the absurd, watch both ‘The Evil Dead’** and ‘Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn.’** My father has a story he likes to tell about Halloween parties in days gone by where he would show movies. ‘Evil Dead 2’ being his favorite, he would invariably put it on and a crowd would ever so slowly form around the television set. Once, when asked what it was, my dad replied “My favorite movie, ‘Evil Dead 2’” to where as the guy replied, “Wow. I’ve never seen anything like it!” and turned back to the TV, fascinated. If you have a taste for the macabre, the creepy and the utterly insane, wet your palette with ‘Evil Dead 2’ (and the original, of course). You will not be disappointed.
Have a happy and safe Halloween and until next time, have a creepy fun time!
(All of the movies referenced in the above review are available through Netflix.)