Horror movie recommendations

#243

The new Halloween movie is extremely good. Like damn.

I got to say, it has a ton of little shot homages and references to the previous movies and, somehow, they did the impossible and every single one of them works seamlessly as both a fun thing and also as a part of the story’s themes and character development. Even down to a point where the movie briefly imitates the 16mm film Halloween II was shot on as a character suddenly realizes that Michael is real and in front of her.

It also has the (huge mega spoilers do not click) the ultimate inversion of the slasher’s weapon as a phallic image as Michael is incinerated in a massive spiky womb as three generations of women who were in each uniquely traumatized by his actions emerge from it.

#244

Just watched Jacob’s Ladder and not gonna lie, I’m kinda shook. I’d say it’s more psychological thriller than horror, but it’s still pretty disturbing.

It follows the story of a Jacob Singer, a Vietnam veteran who after a few years of being home, starts experiencing PTSD-like symptoms. I think the film does a unnervingly good job of showing the slow deterioration of Jacob’s psyche, through narrative elements, visual effects, pretty creative editing techniques and camera work, and unsettling sound and music. This all works so well, that eventually it gets to to the point where (unfortunately, like Jacob) the viewer isn’t really sure what events are actually happening anymore, each new scene bringing with it a sense of dread and slight paranoia.

If you think you might give this a watch, I’d definitely recommend going into it knowing as little about the plot as possible.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go lie down and try to sleep, but actually just continue thinking about this ending…

god, war fucking sucks.

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#245

Saw British indie horror ‘Possum’ yesterday.

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It’s written and directed by Matthew Holness, who is most famous for creating Garth Marenghi’s Dark Place - probably one of my favourite shows of all time. It’s about a hack horror writer who wrote and starred in a TV show back in the 80s called Dark Place which was basically about a bunch of doctors working in a haunted hospital battling supernatural forces. It’s more of a comedy obviously, with Garth Marenghi believing he created something on great artisitic merit but in actuality was basically sub par 80s Doctor Who. It was brilliant. If you haven’t seen it, I’d thoroughly recommend. I’d imagine a lot of Waypointers are pretty clued up about it though.

So… Possum by contrast is much darker, much bleaker and definitely a horror with some really nightmarish visuals. It’s about a pedophile (played by Sean Harris) who carries around this bag containing this spidery puppet which I guess is supposed to represent his darker self or his darker urges that he tries vainly to suppress.

It won’t be for everyone, there’s a lot of German expressionist styled horror. It obviously deals with some very dark and difficult subjects. But rather than just villify this character who has definitely done some bad stuff, it does show his inner conflict, a history of abuse, not to mention his own dismal solitary reality and his battle with his demons.

It’s kind of bizarre when you think how some of the people involved with Dark Place went into horror. Holness obviously has a fondness and deep understanding of the genre. Alice Lowe (who played Liz) wrote and directed Prevenge last year - a movie about a pregnant mother who is compelled to kill by the foetus developing within her. Matt Berry has also done some surreal comedy most notably through Snuff box that definitely had a horror dimension to it.

#247

I did a 31 Nights of Horror marathon. Here are the results, in order of release date. For nearly all of these films, this was my first viewing.

  • The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari - 1920 - Robert Wiene
    Very interesting, surreal set design. But it moves so slowly I had trouble understanding the plot. Only worth watching for students of horror’s history.
  • Gojira - 1954 - Ishiro Honda
    I only recently learned that the version of this film I had seen previously was an American edit that strips this film of most of its power. I’m really glad I watched it again because the original version is so much better.
  • Carnival of Souls - 1962 - Herk Harvey
    One of my least favorite films I watched this month. I just don’t have the patience for the way old movies are paced. Still, I can see why this movie was recommended to me.
  • Night of the Living Dead - 1968 - George Romero
    In contrast, I think the slow pacing really helps this film. My impatience felt appropriate for a film about being trapped in a house with little hope to escape except to wait for rescue. I haven’t seen the sequels and I’m interested in how they work because the zombies in this film don’t actually feel like a huge threat.
  • Suspiria - 1977 - Dario Argento
    Just a gorgeous movie. Stunning visuals. Again, I had trouble following the plot at times but I was always able to figure it out down the road. While the previous films were tense or interesting, this was the first to have some proper scares. I’m really curious about the remake, despite hearing mostly negative things.
  • Halloween - 1978 - John Carpenter
    A classic. But there’s a lot of classics I’ve never seen. This movie created some problematic tropes, but when viewed in its own context, I think it gets away with them. I love a slasher with quick, clean kills. And I really like the slow first half of this film.
  • The Beyond - 1981 - Lucio Fulci
    One of the films on this list that I’d already seen. Even on re-watch the plot is a confusing mess. But those effects! It’s not a “good” film, but it’s fun enough that I want to see the other 2 films in Fulci’s Gates of Hell trilogy.
  • Halloween II - 1981 - Rick Rosenthal
    No slow first half for this sequel! This movie bears much more in common with The Beyond than the original Halloween. It’s not nearly as confusing, but it is a fun, creative movie with few real scares that I would struggle to call it “good”.
  • Videodrome - 1983 - David Cronenberg
    I loved this movie. It was one of the highlights of my month. From the beginning, the plot is bizarre and it only gets stranger. And yet I always felt I understood what was happening as much as I was supposed to. Cronenberg’s body horror really gets to me.
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street - 1984 - Wes Craven
    Like Halloween 2, Nightmare is fun and creative but I have to say I was a bit disappointed by this classic. It was perfectly fine and fun, but nowhere near as scary as I was expecting.
  • The Fly - 1986 - David Cronenberg
    Not nearly as good or interesting as Videodrome, but a solid body horror film. Watching Goldblum deteriorate is incredible
  • Raising Cane - 1992 - Brian De Palma (2016 Director’s Cut)
    It’s very possible that this is a good movie. But the Director’s Cut I watched sure isn’t! It moves scenes around to give the movie a more slow start and then flashback to the killings later. But there’s very little indication those flashbacks are happening which made the timeline very difficult to follow. Even beyond that, I didn’t find the film to be very interesting.
  • Cube - 1997 - Vincenzo Natali
    Definitely not a good movie, but a concept I found really interesting! The idea that each character had a role to play was predictable and the autistic savant reveal was just awful. But I’m a sucker for a good concept and this movie really commits to a concept.
  • Event Horizon - 1997 - Paul W. S. Anderson
    Another movie centered around a concept, but a much better one. The fact that Event Horizon went to Literal Christian Hell was groan inducing, but everything else was fantastic.
  • Halloween H20: 20 Years Later - 1998 - Steve Miner
    Worth a watch if you like Halloween. It’s fun, but I certainly preferred the original and even the first sequel to this.
  • The Devil’s Backbone - 2001 - Guillermo Del Torro
    The first of a few films I included that stretch the lines of “horror”. Sure, there’s a ghost. But the film’s not really about the ghost. I liked this movie and would recommend it, but I couldn’t help but compare it to 2007’s The Orphanage which share’s a lot of similarities and is much better.
  • Session 9 - 2001 - Brad Anderson
    Somehow, I was convinced that this was a zombie movie. I have no idea how that happened and it certainly colored the way I watched it. Suffice to say there are no zombies. The film revolves around a multiple personality plot which has a twist that doesn’t save it. It’s a well done film centered around a bod concept.
  • Thirteen Ghosts - 2001 - Steve Beck
    This movie is campy trash that looks beautiful. I liked it. That’s really all I can say about it.
  • Shutter - 2004 - Masayuki Ochiai
    This movie was great! It’s a horror mystery with several small reveals that kept me guessing. I didn’t 100% love the ending, but it was worth it for that last reveal.
  • La Horde - 2010 - Yannick Dahan, Benjamin Rocher
    It’s “The Raid with zombies” except it was made before The Raid! Cops storm a large apartment building run by a gang. But then zombies happen! It’s a silly concept, taken a little too seriously. The hand to hand fight scenes are shot horrendously. But I still had fun.
  • The Conjuring - 2013 - James Wan
    I like haunted house films and this is a pretty good one! I haven’t seen any of the sequels, but I think this movie does a great job of suggesting a wider universe without bashing you over the head with it.
  • The Purge - 2013 - James DeMonaco
    I only watched this movie because of the Waypoint podcast and was really surprised by how much I liked it! A great concept with surprisingly good politics!
  • The Purge: Anarchy - 2014 - James DeMonaco
    I strongly disagree with the Waypoint crew on this movie because I liked it a lot more than the first. While I can agree that some of the racial stuff was not handled great, I really enjoyed the way the film shows various groups getting real weird for Purge Night. I also really enjoyed the way the film went from set piece to set piece so quickly. This movie is more interested in exploring its concept broadly than digging into any singular piece and I am also interested in that.
  • Bone Tomahawk - 2015 - S. Craig Zahler
    Another movie that is maybe not really horror. Does the fact that the film uses a “civilized” indigenous person to explain that the “savages” are monsters and not people make this movie less racist? I don’t think so. It’s an excuse to pull the same bullshit that older, more racist films did, and call it High Concept. Was it otherwise good enough to help me look passed the racism? No.
  • Hush - 2016 - Mike Flanagan
    This is a weird one. The film goes out of its way in the opening minutes to establish how vulnerable this woman is and then spends an entire film allowing her to evade her tormentor. I found myself yelling advice at the screen, but to the killer! In the end, I would say that being mad at the killer for not being a good enough killer was a unique enough experience that I can recommend this movie.
  • The Purge: Election Year - 2016 - Jame DeMonaco
    What if the United States government tried to murder a dissident and encouraged citizens to help murder the dissident and the dissident STILL told everyone to trust the system that was trying to murder her? I loved 90% of this movie but the last 10% made me so mad.
  • Raw - 2016 - Julia Ducournau
    Boy, I only saw the first commercial for this and I definitely misunderstood where it was going. The actual concept is so much more interesting that the “College turns into concentration camp with forced cannibalism” that I thought was going to happen. Great concept, great visuals, INCREDIBLE soundtrack.
  • Train to Busan - 2016 - Yeon Sang-ho
    So many tropes here. But I love confined spaces in action movies. It’s why I was able to enjoy La Horde and a big part of my love for Snowpiercer. This movie certainly doesn’t lift the zombie genre to new heights or anything like that, but it’s a lot of fun.
  • Gerald’s Game - 2017 - Mike Flanagan
    I was amazed at how this movie kept me invested the entire way through, despite the simple conceit. Like Purge: Election Year, the end is bad, but in this case, not nearly bad enough to ruin the movie.
  • Apostle - 2018 - Gareth Evans
    Fun, tense, definitely owes A LOT to The Wicker Man. I have a weird thing where I always kind of sympathize with cults, but the way this cults falls apart was really fun to watch. Not nearly as good as Raw, Gerald’s Game, or Mandy, but certainly worth watching.
  • Mandy - 2018 - Panos Cosmatos
    I think this is the most beautiful film I’ve ever seen. The use of color is just incredible and combined with creatures from hell, a weird battle axe, and psychedelic drugs, it’s just wonderful. The plot is really just an excuse to give us the next beautiful thing, but that’s fine. Just go ahead and give in to astonishment.
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#249

Can a martial arts movie with a T O N of body horror be recommended?

Because Jesus… I squirmed A LOT watching The Night Comes for Us.

It was similar to the feeling of watching the gory scenes of Eastern Promises, a gangster film, but made horrific because of Cronenberg’s ability to make effective gore scenes.

It’s also so filthy and grimy. I was so nervous throughout.

#250

I’ve stumbled across a lot of good movies via the Zombie Grrlz podcast, especially their end-of-the-year episodes.

2016 In Review
2017 In Review

#251

A seriously tense film is Cam on Netflix about a cam girl who has her account hijacked.

The way they portray the pressure of being on cam mixed with the actual horror part is great. Plus beautiful lighting

#252

New Suspiria is straight up excellent.

Just it has nothing to do with the original beyond a girl named Susie Bannion goes to a dance school in Germany and there are witches.

But the two biggest ways it differs are that, one, the original ends wish Susie triumphantly marching off while the remake repeatedly drives home that we delude ourselves into going for fairy tale the big bad is gone so everything is fine now accomplishments in life when that’s some bullshit and the way the movie ties that in with it being set in Berlin in the 70s is extremely effective as well as how it ties in with Susie’s own briefly shown childhood in ultra conservative home schooled religious zealotry in the late 50s and early 60s (going by the actress’ age and how the cast is all clearly meant to be a little older here) in Ohio. The movie goes into territory regarding guilt and despair (sigh) over surviving WWII and the continued personal fallout of that in ways I wasn’t expecting - Like you 100% understand why a Mother of Sighs, Mother of Darkness, and Mother of Despair exist. The other more obvious thing is that the original could take place anywhere where there’s an old building in a rural area, but this movie HAS to take place when it where it took place and I appreciate movies that establish a sense of place that well.

Also this movie did something that genuinely impressed me, it has a moment or two with some CG blood splatter amid the practical stuff that didn’t take me out of the film at all despite my hatred of that. They wisely reserved this for moments that went into surreal-ness just enough that it works. In the mean time there was sufficient practical gore, intestines laying around, nasty as hell leg wounds, makeup/etc. that it looked great.

The movie in general feels a lot like it’s from the time it was filmed in. It’s very ambitiously shot which is great, but the pacing feels old fashioned. Managing to be relaxed and leisurely despite lots of individually very intense scenes. Compared to the original’s short run time (this one is straight up two hours and 32 minutes!) I’d say this is a lot closer to some of those sorta giallo but not quite movies of the 70s, something like Stigma or The Perfume of the Lady in Black comes to mind in that respect. But the editing is great and all of the performances are good so I never got bored.

Another thing I was not expecting was how the plot goes more into how the witches work regarding their rites of succession and how they worship the Three Mothers and so on and there’s a clear old vs. new schism regarding that. If you want to look up something as specific as Italian witchcraft in the 70s you can see how this parallels the actual schism that was kind of set out in a couple of written works throughout the 70s creating a separation at that time between “stregonaria” - Catholic and folk magic inspired beliefs and customs developed by Italians who immigrated to North America/the rest of western Europe, and “stregheria” witchcraft which was mean to be more strictly based on “The Old Religion” practices that were Etruscan in origin (The supposed Mother of Sighs to be, Helena Markos, being insanely old and Greek- isn’t a coincidence either in this remake or in the original). Not really into the stuff myself but it’s cool to see something more realistic like this in a movie instead of the more typical one person against a bunch of evil drones coven sort of thing.

Anyway the movie is packed, it’s pretty impressive. Like I didn’t even get into how Tilda Swinton plays Blanc, Markos, AND Dr. Josef :open_mouth: or how the state of the coven is chronologically matched to the PFLP hijacking.

#253

Gasper Noe: Hold my J&B Whiskey.

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#254

Top 3 from me, all of them released in 2018!

  1. The Meg (2018)
    After escaping an attack by what he claims was a 70-foot shark, Jonas Taylor must confront his fears to save those trapped in a sunken submersible.

  2. A Quiet Place (2018)
    A family is forced to live in silence while hiding from creatures that hunt by sound.

  3. Halloween (2018)
    Laurie Strode confronts her long-time foe Michael Myers, the masked figure who has haunted her since she narrowly escaped his killing spree on Halloween night four decades ago.

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#255

Rewatched Noroi last night:

Can’t decide if this or REC is my favorite found footage film.

#256

How is the movie in terms of gore? I’m interested but there’s only so much I can take in that regard. (I’m usually more of a psychological horror fan.)

#257

The majority of the gore happens in a pretty stylized way and there isn’t too much of it outside of the third act, though there’s definitely some brief moments of more typical stuff. Honestly the grossest scene thanks to the sound and editing is probably one where a woman is telekinetically bent and broken to death because it’s not even a special effect and was filmed with an actual contortionist performing it. :open_mouth:

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#258

Somebody mentioned REC just now - can’t go wrong there. I even liked the remake with Jennifer Carpenter. Curious if you any of you horror heads pursued the REC series to its conclusion, if it’s indeed concluded. I bailed after REC2 - I did not like the direction they were taking things.

But REC 1 is a great standalone fright flick .

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#259

FWIW I don’t have a big problem with the majority of gore, but the portrayal of the body horror in this movie had some stylistic accents (music, tone, editing, etc.) that haunted me for a few days. It’s extremely effective at being deeply unsettling.

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#260

Thanks NeoRasa and kcin! I think I may give this one a shot.

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#261

You know what movie I fuckin’ love? Nightbreed. A couple of years ago a good, actual director’s cut of it was released which is rad. But now it seems like an extremely long version of it is happening. A really long work print like cut of it from when it was still going to be titled Cabal (imaginatively referred to as the Cabal Cut) has been around for a while and even got a limited actual release not long ago. But this new version will have even more footage that was thought lost until recently and will be like three hours long.

That’s not necessarily BETTER, but Nightbreed has a ton of great makeup and unique monster designs and stuff, so while this will inevitably be bloated and probably won’t add much in the way of characterization compared to versions that have already been released, I’m hoping to see more of the monsters.

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#262

Anybody checked out/planning to check out Us? I’m going to see it later tonight.

For those who aren’t aware, it’s Jordan Peele’s new spooky flick:

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#263

Probably will have to wait a couple weeks to get to this, but I’m so excited.

#264

Caught the latest adaptation of Pet Semetary last night at a preview screening. It was fine, creepy in places and a couple of good scares. Definitely more understated than the latest It adaptation. I think when it comes to Stephen King, I do usually find reading the books a much more frightening experience. Though I’m kind of hoping the movie is setting up a King Verse. There’s a use of a door in a dream sequence that once again lit the torch in my mind for a better Dark Tower adaptation.

I’m more excited about Mike Flannagan’s Doctor Sleep adaptation. Wondering if it’ll go back and reference The Shining and if it does will it be more in line with the movie or the book.