Friday, October 27, 2017

31 Days of Horror Lists by the Losman- 10 Obscure Must See Horror Classics

For the month of October I will put out a list of Top 10’s on a number of subjects each day, this should be fun as I would enjoy feedback and discussion on my list and will welcome feedback on how to improve the list as I plan on featuring them on my website. 

Obscure Must See Horror Classics

Häxan (1922)
Dir- Benjamin Christensen

A Swedish-Danish documentary on the role that superstition played during the witch hunts of the Europe in the 15th Century based on a study of the Malleus Maleficarum. Häxan is broken up into four parts that go into the origins of demons and witches in our culture. Superstitions are explored involving the beliefs of witchcraft and the role Satan plays, this is followed by how people were punished for engaging in their activities. The final segment tries to demonstrate how modern approaches to science and medicine may explain away mental illnesses that were often confused for demonic possession. Häxan was a controversial movie in its day and was banned in the US for many years.

Cat People- (1942)
Dir- Jacques Tourneur

I found myself enticed by the beautiful and exotic Simone Simon, the French actress who portrays the tragic Irena. The story begins at the zoo, where a strange and charming lady named Irena draws a young ship designer named Oliver; she is strangely attracted to the Panthers and sketches them with great pleasure. The two hit it off, and they soon marry. However, Irena becomes withdrawn and expresses her fear of intimacy. She believes she is one of the Cat People, a race of Serbian exiles who mated with Panthers when the King drove them out centuries before. The film boasts some excellent scenes including a chase where Irena seems to stalk her husband's friend as a human and a cat and a pool scene that is genuinely frightening. Although the remake focuses more on the sexual aspects of the story, we find a beautiful film with great visuals and a decent script. The tragic conclusion is both enlightening and depressing in positive ways. A great movie and I highly recommend it for those who have seen the 1982 remake.

Les Diabolique (1955)
Dir- Henri-Georges Clouzot

One of the most influential horror/thrillers of its day, Diabolique pretty much set all the standards by which most thrillers often imitate. The movie is set in France at a boarding school where the tyrannical Headmaster maintains an iron grip on both his students and employees. His battered wife and his former mistress both conspire to murder him and get rid of his body during a student holiday. The events that follow will lead the pair down a dark path as they try to avoid a determined police inspector and the discovery that the body is missing. The finale is both shocking and well worth the wait. Over the many years since its release, many films have imitated and ripped off the style of Diabolique. The style and overall technique are very reminiscent of an Alfred Hitchcock film, so much so that Hitchcock tried unsuccessfully to remake Diabolique. One of the most influential thrillers of the period, Diabolique remains a great film that would inspire so many movies and directors for years to come. Remade several times over the years.

Eyes Without a Face (1960)
Dir- Georges Franju

Georges Franju directed this classic about a distraught physician who kidnaps young women and removes their faces in the hope of restoring the lost beauty of his daughter who wears a china mask that covers a facial disfigurement. The movie features a picturesque setting and is beautifully photographed, and it is best viewed in its original French dialogue. With its subtle blend of horror and poetry, the film carries with it an aura similar to Psycho and boasts one of the earliest gore scenes on record.

Carnival of Souls (1962)
Dir- Herk Harvey

A Church organist survives a car crash and finds herself followed from Kansas to Utah by a pale-faced stranger. The woman arrives at her destination and shacks up at a boarding house, and soon enough she encounters some of the locals. She has a hard time relating to people around her and is strangely drawn to a crumbling lakeside carnival pavilion. Once there the woman encounters dancing couples that may or may not be living. Is this lady facing ghosts or is she among the living dead? The Carnival of Souls is both haunting and influential, being a low budget film shot by an amateur director makes it even more of a horror treasure. Although it was lost in obscurity, it has found a whole new audience with showings at art house festivals, late-night TV, and video. A unique and genuinely creepy film that is best known as the inspiration for George Romero's all-time class terror classic Night of The Living Dead. One wonders what other great scary movies await a new audience

Cube (1997)
Dir- Vincenzo Natali

Seven years before Saw, this Canadian Sci-Fi horror was released that had a group of people who find themselves in a mysterious cube-shaped room with doors that led to similar rooms. Not knowing one another or where they are it is soon learned that the many of the rooms may be booby-trapped and their goal of finding an exit will depend on their ability to figure out which rooms are safe and which ones are to be avoided. Cube did not get a significant release but has become a huge cult favorite despite a plot that has critics on both sides. The setup of the Cube is quite original, and the quest to escape will remind older viewers of a classic Twilight Zone episode. The ensemble cast does a great job and what adds to the tension is the mystery why they are there and who build this cruel prison. Followed by a sequel and a prequel that tries to explain the origins of the cube. 

Session 9 (2001)
Dir- Brad Anderson

A hazmat team is charged with cleaning an abandoned sanitarium. During the week-long job, one of the team members finds a collection of audio tapes that reveal some alarming events. Directed by Brad Anderson, Session 9 was shot in a portion of an abandoned State Asylum adding to the authentic atmosphere. The movie is not gory, but the isolation of the asylum adds significantly to a film that is considered one of the great underrated horror films of the first decade of the new millennium. 

Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006)
Dir- Scott Glosserman

This black comedy is presented as a mockumentary following an aspiring serial killer as he details his plan to a film crew that is interviewing him. Leslie Vernon is friendly and talks about the slasher film killer he admires. The film crew follows him as he meticulously prepares his significant event that is to take place in a remote farmhouse. Despite his intentions being out in the open, the film crew does not try to stop him until the night of the event; it is then they realize that Leslie Vernon may have them factored as part of his plan. Behind the Mask is highly original and almost Meta in its delivery, the brutality of his murders are contrasted by his friendly nature and enthusiasm to get the job done right. The movie was well received by critics and fans alike, often recommended for its unique take on slasher movies.

The Girl Next Door (2007)
Dir- Gregory Wilson

A pair of young girls are sent to stay with an aunt after their parents are killed in a car crash. The eldest daughter soon faces abuse from her aunt and her relatives while neighborhood kids are encouraged to participate in humiliating her. What happens next is too disturbing to speak of or witness. Based on actual events Director Gregory Wilson took Jack Ketchum’s disturbing novel and put together a film that will stand out as one of the most disturbing films of the past decade.

Home Movie (2008)
Dir- Christopher Denham

A series of home movies document the descent into darkness for the Poe family and what happened to them at the hands of their children. What starts out as the perfect family in a remote upstate New York home takes a shocking turn as the children are shown to be hiding something from their parents. The children are deeply disturbed, and the further along the movie goes the audience witnesses the acts of cruelty and horrible events that leave the parents terrified and looking for help. Home Movie has a much more disturbing and realistic feel than most other found footage movies as this one seems so genuine and foreboding given the outcome of the family’s tragic fate. Easily one of the most disturbing movies in recent years and one of the best made found footage films. 

No comments:

Post a Comment