It occurred to me not too long ago that I am a horror fan, but not of horror movies. Mostly because they never genuinely frighten me. I just come out of most of them angry, or laughing so hard I fall off the furniture, and generally that's not the point. But, I love a great horror novel. Stephen King aside, you can put just about anything in my hands about ghosts, demons, vampires (so long as they kill people and don't sparkle), or anything that we fear lurking in our closets, under our beds, and in the shadows just waiting for us to close our eyes in the shower, and I'll enjoy it.
But yet, even I, picky elitist that I am, can find some movies that I managed to enjoy in the horror genre. Thus this week's Movie Flux post is about horror movies that I actually enjoy.
1. Black Swan
|I wish I looked this good going insane.|
Darren Aronofsky is one crazy son of a bitch. I don't think anyone who has seen Requiem For a Dream
will argue that point. And he made one hell of a psychological horror film in Black Swan
. One part body horror, two parts pathological terror, it sucks you into the mind of a young woman going slowly insane from the pressures of her life, be it her job, her mother, or the slow deterioration of her dreams. By the end of the movie you have no idea what was real, what was in her mind, and what was just one more crazy hallucination in the hunt for perfection that nobody should attain. In the end it leaves you feeling shaky and more than a little afraid that something your mind may have slipped as well.
2. Dog Soldiers
|Infinitely better than 99% of the other werewolf movies out there. Stop it Hollywood.|
Recently, this movie has become one of my favorite Halloween watches. Maybe because there is a lot of land in Luxembourg, where the movie was filmed, that looks a lot like my own back yard. Originally shown in the US as a SyFy Original film, this is actually an entry from Britain. Produced in 2002, Dog Soldiers
is the story of a group of British soldiers dropped into Scotland for a training exercise and discover they are fighting something far more deadly. Basically, werewolves. Holed up in a house in the middle of nowhere, they have to try and get away from some of the best creature effects I've seen in a long time, and there is real tension in this story. I also love how at the end, there's a newspaper shown, with a small headline titled "Werewolves Ate My Platoon." Future classic.
3. Rare Exports: A Christmas Story
|I can't sleep because Santa is gonna eat me.|
This movie. Oh this movie. This is billed as a fantasy film, but the eerie atmosphere gets it a horror listing from me. A Finnish contribution, Rare Exports is a re-imagining of the origins of Santa Claus. Changing the lovable Coke-a-Cola mascot into a demon from Hell that steals naughty children with the help of his emaciated, fiendish elves. He then either boils the children alive to eat them, or flogs them to death. The story begins though in a small village in Lapland Finland, near Korvatunturi Mountain. American miners dig something out of the mountain, and children and supplies begin disappearing from the town. The only person who is aware of what is going on is the son of a butcher, whom nobody believes at first. The twist near the end is great, believable, and had me sitting there, alternately grinning and staring at the screen.
4. The Silence of the Lambs
|Insert your quote about beans and wine here.|
The only people on this planet who probably haven't seen Jonathan Demme's The Silence of the Lambs
are living on Mars, and the Mars Rover should get their blu-rays to them soon. That being said, this movie is so damn sinister, teeth grindingly suspenseful, that it's no surprise that it won the Academy Award in all five top categories. The well-written, well acted story of fledgling FBI agent Clarice Starling going to cannibalistic genius Hannibal Lecter for help chasing a smart, brutal serial killer known as Buffalo Bill is the stuff that every movie lover dreams of. At least those of us that like to think about what is going on in front of our eyes. All that being said, this movie is why I refuse to leave my doors unlocked for any amount of time.
|So very, very wrong.|
Damn you Japan. You churn out movie after movie of tiny teenage girl ghosts with bulging eyes, and all it does is make me afraid of Nicki Minaj. And then I innocently sit down to view Audition
, and know I will never cross a small Japanese girl again. Audition
is the story of a lonely widower who holds a fake audition to find himself a new wife, and connects with a girl who he believes has great emotional depth. When the widower disappears, his son begins searching him out, following the references on the girl's resume and discovering her horrible secret, which is that the sweet looking girl has no problem heartlessly torturing the people she believes have done her wrong by cutting off their feet and fingers, amongst other body parts. This film is a combination of body horror and psychological disturbance that makes you wary of every single delicately boned girl you come across. It's one of the few J-horror movies I love, but I will be fine if I never see it again in my entire life.
There were a few more movies on my list, such as the Evil Dead
series, and the Tales From the Crypt
movies, such as Demon Knight
, but none of those movies actually scare me. This list is just made up of the ones that achieve that nearly impossible goal of actually leaving me with the unease that one would expect from something disturbing. But bravo that I could find even five.
Movie Flux - Because I want to bitch about movies, too.