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Katastichophobia
October 14, 2013 11:38 AM   Subscribe

For your October delight: Top 10 horror movies, as picked by Guardian critics, Ten Exceptionally Well-Written Horror Films, Top Ten Horror-Sci-Fi Films: A Primer And Pseudo-History, The 12 Weirdest Vampire Movies Ever Made, The Top Grossing Scary Movies Of All-Time, and, perhaps most importantly of all: The 25 best horror films on netflix instant.
posted by Artw (239 comments total) 138 users marked this as a favorite

 
From the Ten Exceptionally Well-Written Horror Films link:

The Wicker Man

Really? REALLY!? ... Oh, there's one from the seventies that doesn't star Nicolas Cage? Gotcha, my bad.
posted by RolandOfEld at 11:43 AM on October 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


Half of The Grauniad's selection are firmly in thriller territory.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 11:44 AM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


THE WICKER MAAAAAN
posted by elizardbits at 11:45 AM on October 14, 2013


RolandOfEld just wrote the scariest thing I've read all day. Hopefully as a work of fiction.
posted by Artw at 11:46 AM on October 14, 2013 [10 favorites]


Under the exceptionally well-written horror movies, Orphanage is a good choice, being really clever and unnerving. Se7en, on the other hand, is not -- it's well-photographed, but the plot is ludicrous and the characters doubly so. The Japanese Dark Water would have been a far better choice, being unrelentingly dreary and featuring an ending that is actually a twist (but that makes sense). Also The Changeling with George C. Scott is really great and deserves to be on a list like this. It's smarter than Se7en, at the very least, and Scott's portrayal of a broken man for whom being haunted is not the worst thing that's happened to him is pretty awesome.

So there, your list is wrong! On the internet!
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:48 AM on October 14, 2013 [6 favorites]


The box has a poop in it!
posted by Artw at 11:50 AM on October 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


Suspiria
Hellraiser
The Woman in Black (1989)
Whistle and I'll Come to You
posted by Iridic at 11:52 AM on October 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


I like that 25 best on Netflix list, good mix of new and old. I've only seen about half but I like them all (except for Scream, ugh) so I can trust it enough to start checking out the rest.

Plus, I don't have Netflix so I don't have to waste time saying "But what about ____ !!??!?".
posted by mannequito at 11:54 AM on October 14, 2013


Fuck yeah, Pontypool gets some love. That's one of my favorites of recent years. The opening title sequence alone is mesmerizing. That Paste list gives props to The Cabin in the Woods, too, but I imagine most folks know that one by now. Pontypool is an overlooked gem, though.

Other recent-ish horror favorites: John Dies at the End (smartass horror comedy); The Innkeepers; The Woman (Lucky McKee is an oddball feminist horror maestro); and the number one movie on my watch-it-over-and-over list of recent memory, Triangle, which you should not let a single person tell you a single thing about before seeing. Don't even read the DVD blurb or iMDb entry for Triangle, just see it.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:54 AM on October 14, 2013 [19 favorites]


Last year AskMeFi gave me a great list of good horror films from the past 10 years.
posted by Artw at 11:55 AM on October 14, 2013 [6 favorites]


The Greatest list is kind of weird, too -- I mean, I really like Vampyr, but it's not really a horror film. And Psycho is a great piece of cinema, but, because it's not possible to watch it with anything like the original impact (losing the star, the "twist"), I think it's a perfect example of a film that has grown weaker with age. The Exorcist has also aged really badly, and is hardly scary anymore. The Japanese Ringu, on the other hand, is one of the few films that has out and out scared me (and an equally jaded roommate. When the phone rings to a dead line, I still have flashbacks). It also introduced a whole new type of horror, so there is that.

It may be that there's a separation between "the greatest" and "with the most impact" which should be factored in....
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:56 AM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Not sure if it rises to GREATEST EVER status, but The Descent made a strong impression on moi.
posted by Zerowensboring at 11:56 AM on October 14, 2013 [16 favorites]


The Descent is a terrifying movie. Neil Marshall, its director, later directed the famous "Blackwater" episode of Game of Thrones.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:58 AM on October 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


Sorry, I am going to stop for a bit, but the American The Grudge (I could not watch the Japanese version) was, for me, utterly horrifying. The origin and motivation of the ghosts was terribly chilling, and catipulted the film over its gross out moments and rather lackluster acting.
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:01 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm with Zerowensboring. For me, The Descent was one of the scariest/most tense movies I've seen in ages. The film takes its time getting where it's going, doesn't feel rushed to start the body count. And the setting itself is potentially lethal. Really fun movie!
posted by Mister_A at 12:01 PM on October 14, 2013


Also enjoyed the Hell so to speak out of Drag Me to Hell.
posted by Zerowensboring at 12:02 PM on October 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


Session 9 is a movie that gets a lot of love on MeFi and with good reason. Brad Anderson (Transsiberian) directs the best haunted/abandoned hospital movie of this generation.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:03 PM on October 14, 2013 [6 favorites]


I don't mean to be uncouth by repeating myself simply for emphasis, but: if you have not seen Triangle and you're a horror fan, see it immediately, and avoid learning anything about it in advance. It's from the director of Severance and Black Death, which both have their merits, though neither is as brilliant as Triangle.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:05 PM on October 14, 2013 [9 favorites]


Drag Me to Hell didn't do anything for me. I think I'm over Judaeo-Christian spiritual war type horror. I found it ridiculous in a pleasant enough way.
posted by Mister_A at 12:06 PM on October 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


SO I guess it did SOMETHING for me, but the something wasn't a scary something.
posted by Mister_A at 12:07 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Drag Me to Hell isn't a horror movie, it's a protest movie about the recession. Watch it that way and I think you'll like it a lot better.
posted by escabeche at 12:09 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also: I haven't seen them all, but there's no way -- no possible way-- there are 24 horror movies on Netflix Instant that are better than Troll Hunter.
posted by escabeche at 12:10 PM on October 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


I know right! I thought that was like a Leprechaun 6 quality movie, straight-to-video garbage.
posted by Mister_A at 12:11 PM on October 14, 2013


If you're at all a fan of Welcome To Night Vale's darker moments, I highly suggest Pontypool.
posted by The Whelk at 12:11 PM on October 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


I can feel that, Mister_A, but it gets a lot of points in my book for being so straightforward and funny, and for its DWISOTT ending.
posted by Zerowensboring at 12:11 PM on October 14, 2013


DmTH isn;t "horror", it's spook-machine, jumps and cat scares and body horror.

Also I thought it was about eating disorders, not the recession (although huh that reading works too)
posted by The Whelk at 12:12 PM on October 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


Psycho's a solid #1 from the Guardian. Even if most of the secrets have long been blown and the second half isn't near as relevant as the first. For me, it's just the thought that Hitchcock did what he did at that point in time -- deliberately messed with the audience on the meta level of their expectations, their relative comfort within the accepted conventions of the horror/thriller narrative. Horrifying.

Kubrick's Shining works some of the same ground, arguably even scarier for those who've read the book. Because once Cook gets that axe through his chest ... well all bets are off, aren't they?
posted by philip-random at 12:12 PM on October 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


its DWISOTT ending

I did appreciate that!
posted by Mister_A at 12:14 PM on October 14, 2013


Excision takes some hard, demented turns, and is genuinely unsettling. Sort of a weird hybrid of satire and Cronenbergian body horror. Bonus: Traci Lords as a conservative Christian mom.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:16 PM on October 14, 2013


My wife is a huge horror fan while I dislike most of the genre, especially the pandering-to-the-suburbs home invasion/bad road trip ilk. It better be extraordinary crafted to get me in the front door because if there was ever a genre that justifies Sturgeon, it's horror. Give me Aliens or a Supernatural marathon any day over just about anything that calls itself a horror movie.
posted by Ber at 12:17 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


The trick to Sturgeon's Law, when it comes to horror films, Ber, is that 10% of them aren't crud, and if you seek them out, some of those are even very, very good.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:22 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


American Mary really ought to be on the "best of netflix instant" list. I watched it at the behest of my feminist horror friends and I was not disappointed. It has an amazing message of...learning to value yourself. The acting was really satisfying to me. And it's fucked up.
posted by Tesseractive at 12:23 PM on October 14, 2013 [5 favorites]


These are good, but remember always, in every conceivable situation, that any list of horror movies which does not include Suspiria should be read with a skeptical eyebrow raised as cunningly as possible.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:23 PM on October 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


DirtyOldTown, I agree that there is a 10% but sheesh, there's more shit to wade through than a Saturday afternoon watching the SyFy network. But thumbs up for Pontypool for a great low budget and truly creepy treat. And how come no one mentions the superb ghost story The Lady in White?
posted by Ber at 12:26 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Japanese Ringu, on the other hand, is one of the few films that has out and out scared me (and an equally jaded roommate. When the phone rings to a dead line, I still have flashbacks)

When I watched it with my roommates we got a phone call mid-movie immediately after we saw the evil tape for the first time. None of us picked up. Nope nope nope
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 12:26 PM on October 14, 2013 [7 favorites]


DirtyOldTown: Pontypool is an overlooked gem, though.

I came in here to talk about Pontypool. If you've seen that movie, just hearing the phrase "Mrs. French's cat is missing" will give you the willies.
posted by Rock Steady at 12:26 PM on October 14, 2013 [5 favorites]


Pontypool previously, which is where I first heard about it and was motivated to watch it.

I hadn't previously put it together in my head with Welcome to Night Vale, but if WTNV has a genre Pontypool is probably also in it.
posted by Tesseractive at 12:28 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Whelk: Also I thought it was about eating disorders

Totally. Even before I heard that theory, I joked that the working title of the movie was Gross Stuff in My Mouth.
posted by Rock Steady at 12:29 PM on October 14, 2013


Hausu is the world's most fucked up shampoo ad.

I love it so.
posted by Lemmy Caution at 12:33 PM on October 14, 2013 [6 favorites]


AAAAH THE DESCENT. I watched it accidentally the first time when I had pneumonia a few summers back so I was already fevered and confused and generally terrified about everything around me. It was from that day forward that I decided caves were terrible and should be banned.

It was a much better movie than I had expected, though I would not watch it again.
posted by elizardbits at 12:36 PM on October 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


A guy totally loses his goddamned shit about Lucky McKee's The Woman at Sundance. It's a textbook example of Gene Siskel's axiom that a movie is not about what it's about, it's about how it's about it. That McKee is a feminist filmmaker coming down hard against violence toward women is way, way beyond this man. (trailer for the film)
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:37 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Tucker & Dale vs. Evil

YES, I enjoyed the hell out of this movie. If you liked Cabin in the Woods, you'll probably enjoy this.
posted by Windigo at 12:37 PM on October 14, 2013 [12 favorites]


Pontypool is one of my favorite recent films, too. I went into it blind, which made it that much more enjoyable/interesting/weird and I'd highly recommend anyone reading who hasn't seen it to do the same. The premise is hard to express: Language is breaking. Words aren't meaning, anymore.

Another recent film that's good to go in totally blind is Branded. It's gotten lots of bad press, mostly for being a "Network/Idiocracy/Schizopolis written by Charlie Kaufman and H.P. Lovecraft" thing, and not a "Michael Bay remakes The Live with transforming Coca Cola robots that fight each other" thing. The pacing is not slow--it's uneven, and jumps from discombobulated vignette to discombobulated vignette. A lot of it feels artificial up to a point, then artificial in a different kind of way after that point. I'm pretty sure all of this is deliberate; it's a very bizarre film, not really drama or horror or science fiction, but highly enjoyable if you like raw creativity in films. Read/watch absolutely nothing about it beforehand for maximum funtimes.

The recent adaptation of The Whisperer in Darkness is in my queue of things to watch soon. That's one of my favorite Lovecraft stories, so if it's even halfway approaching watchable, it's worth checking out.

My favorite horror film is The Vanishing (Spoorlos; not the US remake!), one of those films that's well known enough that I expect a lot of people will have seen it, but not well known enough that it doesn't merit a mention. My other favorite horror films are The Wicker Man and Jacob's Ladder, which I've been itching to watch all month...
posted by byanyothername at 12:38 PM on October 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


Tucker & Dale vs. Evil

I think I enjoyed the concept of this movie more than the actual movie, it just felt like it was a rewrite or re-edit away from being GREAT but kinda fumbled the dismount and just fell into Amusing.
posted by The Whelk at 12:39 PM on October 14, 2013 [6 favorites]


Oh, and here's Dellamorte Dellamore, AKA Cemetery Man. God bless you, indulgent rights holders!
posted by Iridic at 12:42 PM on October 14, 2013 [11 favorites]


Sock from Reaper counts for a lot.
posted by Artw at 12:45 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Tucker & Dale vs. Evil

YES, I enjoyed the hell out of this movie. If you liked Cabin in the Woods, you'll probably enjoy this.


Eh, Cabin is a proper spooky movie, even when you see it coming. Tucker & Dale is funny, in the same (very) general "spoofing horror movie tropes" movie. Because of T&D, my wife and I often yell "COLLEGE KIDS!" (in the comfort of our own home ... though I did say it in company of actual college students, but quietly, so as to not spook them out).
posted by filthy light thief at 12:48 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


If the kinda meta-ness of Tucker & Dale tickled you, I'd recommend Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon, which starts off as a hilarious mockumentary taking the piss out of slasher movies, then sort of transmogrifies itself into its own postmod kinda slasher movie.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:48 PM on October 14, 2013 [6 favorites]


Not on these lists because they're not great, but merely decent: Stake Land and State of Emergency (both links to Instantwatcher pages for Netflix). I didn't catch much of the first, but my wife liked it enough to recommend it to other horror movie enjoying friends, while we watched the second film together. SoE is a low-budget film, but it was filmed well. Heavy on the tension and suspense, and with decent acting.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:51 PM on October 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


After seeing Session 9 I had to sleep with the lights on for almost a week.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:53 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I enjoyed Red Eye as a thriller cause almost no one bothers with tight little locked room stories anymore.
posted by The Whelk at 12:55 PM on October 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ok, I have some suggestions for more obscure movies with low budgets. Note that these all have various flaws that will probably cause various viewers to hate them, and in particular it seems to be really hard for mid-range horror movies to pull off a decent ending, but I liked them all pretty well (each of these has one or more of good acting, production, or writing, but usually not all three).

First off is Absentia, which having zero budget still manages to produce a creepy little David Lynch number about horror lurking in the everyday, mostly through decent writing and acting.

On the subject of zero-budget, oddball, flawed little indie sleepers, I also enjoyed Resolution, about a guy trying to help his friend kick meth in a creepy cabin, and The Corridor, which is sort of an odd, gratuitously violent From a Buick 8 type story about a group of friends who find a mysterious force in the woods.

Stake Land is a serious drama about a sort of paternal bond developing between an older and younger man, which happens to be set in a vampire apocalypse. The Tunnel is an Australian found-footage movie which is basically stuck together with duct tape and surprisingly good acting and editing. The Pact is a creepy haunted-house movie which sort of gets to the root of what is unsettling about haunted-house movies in the first place.

Finally, The Shout is an odd, overlooked British gem from 1978, an open-ended story about a magician sort of in the vein of The Wicker Man.
posted by whir at 12:55 PM on October 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


Like the more I think about it the more I am totally sure that a bunch of people just going into a cave and having sandwiches would be a legitimate horror movie to me.
posted by elizardbits at 12:56 PM on October 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's a textbook example of Gene Siskel's axiom that a movie is not about what it's about, it's about how it's about it.

The Woman tapped into something deep in me. I watched it alone in my apartment and that was lucky, because I would have disturbed an audience if I'd been sitting in a theater. Even as I sat there rocking back and forth and trying not to keen in vicarious anguish and rage, I felt that film reach into me and twist something hard.

It's an incredible piece of work that I would nonetheless hesitate to suggest to most people. As I put it in my review, "This is not a film for everyone. It’s hardly for anyone." I don't think I can rephrase this part any more clearly, so please excuse me quoting myself:
Some critics complained that The Woman is outrageous, dehumanizing, sickening. And those complaints are right, in a very limited, obtuse way: it is an outrage. Abuse and rape — and even worse, the way our culture conspires to shame victims of abuse and rape — are dehumanizing. The sheer beaming smugness of an abusive patriarch secure in his role is sickening. It’s not the movie that makes them so.

This viciously, mercilessly graphic film expresses something I’ve long felt in my heart: that misogynists, and those who support misogyny by standing silently by, aren’t just denying women’s abilities or intelligence or rights: they are denying our very humanity. They are arrogating the mantle of full humanity to themselves and denying it to me and to other women based purely on anatomy.
posted by Elsa at 12:57 PM on October 14, 2013 [10 favorites]


Elizardbits: but you balked when I said I wanted to.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 12:57 PM on October 14, 2013


Fans of Session 9 should check out Brad Anderson's 2008 film, Transsiberian. It's not a horror film, per se, more of a Hitchcockian thriller, but fans of the former will enjoy Anderson's even more assured direction.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:58 PM on October 14, 2013


These lists sort of depress me because they're a reminder that I have seen pretty much every vaguely good horror movie made after 1970... and a lot of bad ones too.

Whir, I'm glad you mentioned Absentia. I thought it was quite good and a great example of what a movie can do with a tiny budget.

My usual recommendation for Netflix horror is Lovely Molly. Most people haven't seen it before, and it's one of those rare smaller horror titles where the ending actually makes the movie better instead of just being crazy for crazy's sake. (YellowBrickRoad, I am talking to you.)
posted by jess at 12:59 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I found The Descent to be terrifying just from the claustrophobia alone. The rest of the scary parts in that movie I didn't actually think were super good, but the notion of needing to crawl through a little tiny tunnel in the dark and almost getting stuck is enough to break me out in a cold sweat.
posted by whir at 12:59 PM on October 14, 2013


This is not a film for everyone. It's hardly for anyone.

Extremely well-said, Elsa. Terrific review, too.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:01 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I found The Descent to be terrifying just from the claustrophobia alone.

No kidding! I was holding my breath with anxiety well before [SPOILERS REDACTED]. Spelunking looks scaaaaaaaaary.
posted by Elsa at 1:02 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


the notion of needing to crawl through a little tiny tunnel in the dark and almost getting stuck is enough to break me out in a cold sweat

YES

WHY WOULD ANYONE EVER
posted by elizardbits at 1:03 PM on October 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


I probably should have mentioned that The Woman is beyond "needs trigger warning." It's like 90-something minutes of trigger.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:03 PM on October 14, 2013


Behind the Mask is so good! I bought it randomly in a boxed set that had Re-Animator and Phantasm but it's turned out to be one of my favorite horror movies of all time. I had no idea what I was getting into. (To be fair, I am always down for fake-documentary or found-footage horror, but this one is particularly satisfying/hilarious/engaged with feminist discourse.) (I guess on that note S&Man is a pretty interesting one in the sense that Carol Clover is actually IN it. But it's kind of a bad movie. But by being a bad documentary it is actually scarier...)
posted by Tesseractive at 1:03 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I love The Descent, and of course knew about the [SPOILERS REDACTED] going in, and I honestly don't know if it'd be better walking in blind or not.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:05 PM on October 14, 2013


The Descent is also that rare thing in that it rewards repeated viewing. The creatures are fleetingly visible about six times before they are introduced to the plot, and the realization that they have been watching the spelunkers about as long as you have can give viewers both heebies and jeebies.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:07 PM on October 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


By the way, if you want to keep up to date on horror films, I highly, highly recommend The Jaded Viewer. If someone had told me in advance that the smartest, funniest, most plugged-in voice on horror films belonged to a grammar- and spelling-challenged guy on Blogspot who gives ratings in "spin kicks," I'd have never believed it. But it's really true.

It's via this blog that I first heard of I Am a Ghost, which I have not seen yet, but looks to be one of the horror highlights of recent years.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:10 PM on October 14, 2013 [5 favorites]


Fuck yeah, Pontypool gets some love. That's one of my favorites of recent years. The opening title sequence yt alone is mesmerizing. That Paste list gives props to The Cabin in the Woods, too, but I imagine most folks know that one by now. Pontypool is an overlooked gem, though.

A part of me really wants to recommend those who liked Pontypool to read the book, another part of me doesn't. The movie does the horror part right, but the book sort of explains in both good and bad ways what is really going on, but has as much similarity to the movie as my hand does to an orange. it's interesting, but even more crazy than the movie.

and the number one movie on my watch-it-over-and-over list of recent memory, Triangle, which you should not let a single person tell you a single thing about before seeing. Don't even read the DVD blurb or iMDb entry for Triangle, just see it.

Oh man, i LOVE triangle. I went into it blind, just sounded neat from the blurb. Started watching it and kept thinking the main character couldn't act, but that got quickly explained and made even more sense on repeated watching. There was one scene, that i can only really describe as "when she comes around the corner" that really blew me away.

Also, is the netflix list down for anyone else?
posted by usagizero at 1:11 PM on October 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


I also thought Lovely Molly was a good, if not mind-blowing, ghost story. And Behind the Mask is pure candy if you're a genre fan (although I wish it didn't have the ending it did).
posted by whir at 1:16 PM on October 14, 2013


Here's more worthwhile horror, streaming on Netflix, that the list omitted:

Evil Dead is good, yet, but Evil Dead 2 is better in more or less every way, and was recently added.

Seconding Behind the Mask. It deconstructs slasher movies and then turns into one.

Slither, which is glorious fun.

Monsters, a fun little found-footage movie that succeeds at what it is trying to do.

Severance. Great stuff.

Going through the category on Netflix, it seems like they've removed a lot of the really good horror they used to have, which is a sadness. Also I depart from their opinion in one huge way: Don't bother with V/H/S. After watching it, I think I now know how teachers feel when they have a student with lots of potential who flunks out.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 1:18 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Going back a bit further, 2000's Ginger Snaps uses werewolves as a lens on menstruation and puberty and is kind of genius.

On preview: I could not love Slither more than I do, FAMOUS MONSTER. As time has gone on, work like this and Super has increasingly convinced that it's James Gunn who deserves most of the credit for the Dawn of the Dead remake, not that tiresome visual fetishist Snyder.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:20 PM on October 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


I wouldn't exactly call it a horror but I'd like to give a little shout out to Arachnophobia for being an under-appreciated classic.
posted by neuromodulator at 1:22 PM on October 14, 2013


Splice?
posted by Zerowensboring at 1:27 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Jennifer's Body
posted by jph at 1:28 PM on October 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


I love spooky stories. Some of these movies sound so intriguing to me. But I can't watch horror movies. I was listing off the ones I've been able to sit through - The Shining, The Exorcist, The Omen, Rosemary's Baby- and I realized I'd read the books first, so I knew what to expect. They were still scary, and unnerving, but I could relax a little. I tried to watch the Woman in Black last night and I got so keyed up by the time he was in the house the second time that I had to go do something else. I just get too creeped out.
posted by Biblio at 1:29 PM on October 14, 2013


GenjiandProust: "Se7en, on the other hand, is not -- it's well-photographed, but the plot is ludicrous and the characters doubly so. "

If by "ludicrous" you mean "completely plausible", and the characters doubly so, then I'd agree.
posted by IAmBroom at 1:29 PM on October 14, 2013


Tucker & Dale vs. Evil is a Comedy first and Horror (a distant) second. I liked it, but if you're planning a Scarefest, watch it first.
posted by achrise at 1:29 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Jennifer's Body isn't a horror movie, it is a glorious utopia.
posted by elizardbits at 1:31 PM on October 14, 2013 [5 favorites]


where we devour the living flesh of terrible boys and become magnificent
posted by elizardbits at 1:32 PM on October 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


I once went to a lava tube cave in Big Island Hawaii and the movie it most resembled was Alien. The walls were covered in a thin patina of dull but shiny metal. Curved, smoothly arched, organically rippled walls. The walls were sometimes the size and shape of a subway tunnel, sometimes shoulder-width narrow and windy but high ceilinged as a cathedral, sometimes narrow and low enough to require crawling through. It went on for kilometers. There were occasional deep and possibly bottomless pits.

Every cave tour includes a moment where your guide will sit you down and have your group turn off the lights. You literally cannot see your hand in front of your face and you wonder if your proprioception is broken. It's darker than black, like anti-light.

On a cave hike you will typically find skeletons of animals as big as pigs that fell in, couldn't find their way out and scrabbled about in the dark until they starved. Then they were eaten by the strange, patient slow moving cave species, skeletonized where they fell. You realize that horror is a genuinely appropriate emotion in your current environment and you doublecheck your backup light.

You should go.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 1:32 PM on October 14, 2013 [14 favorites]


Cannot help myself... more favorites...

Cube - sort of a precursor to Cabin in the Woods, with conspiracy paranoia instead of humor
Dead & Buried - criminally overlooked 1981 classic with a mystery/twist structure that will stick in your head
Society - unexpectedly surreal/satirical 80s flick
Parents - Bob Balaban's black comedy about a 50s tween who suspects his parents are cannibals
The Mist - good King adaptation made truly memorable by the most savage, jams it in and breaks it off ending in Hollywood history.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:34 PM on October 14, 2013 [6 favorites]


elizardbits: "where we devour the living flesh of terrible boys and become magnificent"

I didn't know you were Catholic.
posted by Mister_A at 1:37 PM on October 14, 2013 [6 favorites]


Because I don't have many excuses to quote reviews of terrible movies on obscure blogs, and because it hammers home how perfect The Jaded Viewer's writing on horror is... (from his review of Prowl)
I'm 100% sure the teens cell phones all work because AT&T and Verizon cover 97% of America and one of them must have AT&T or Verizon and not shitty Metro PCS or *gasp* T-Mobile...right? Like every other horror movie, either the battery has run out or every other horror movie takes place in that damn 3%. I'd like to totally visit this 3% place. I am 100% sure it's one of the Dakotas.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:38 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh man, Parents is so good! That was one of my all-time favorites. Probably one of Randy Quaid's greatest roles, and just bursting with 1950's cookbook-style closeups of meat.
posted by whir at 1:41 PM on October 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


Unless the numbers are adjusted to balance-out ticket prices with ticket sales over the decades, "Top Grossing" lists should be banned.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:45 PM on October 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


Oh, another time I went cave hiking some of us fell a few steps behind our guide and were looking the wrong way at some beautiful 500 year old limestone formation when we realized we couldn't see him and didn't know by which route he'd left the room. We were only separated from him for a few seconds but for those seconds we looked at each other and our eyes said we cannot get out we cannot get out we cannot get out

Same trip our guide told us about an inexperienced caver he'd rescued who'd gone in unguided. He got separated from his friends and then had his only lamp go out. I can't imagine what his eyes must have looked like if anyone could have seen them as he wandered in circles, his hands groping blindly on the rough stone.

You should go.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 1:49 PM on October 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


Lavatubes are, at least, pretty simple compared with multi chambered limestone labyrinths.
posted by Artw at 1:51 PM on October 14, 2013


When I watched Ringu on TV (despite Mark Kermode famously spoiling the ending in his introduction) I literally thought I was going to have a heart attack at the end. It's the only film that proper scared me (and gave me nightmares) since I was a kid. If there's any film that's genuinely infected with dark forces it's that one.

Regarding more recent stuff I expected V/H/S to be a pile of shite so was pleasantly surprised when it wasn't. Not a masterpiece but worth a watch, likewise V/H/S 2. Also the original REC

Re watched American Mary last week and it actually seemed better the second time around (not that it was exactly rubbish the first time)

And I've banged on about it before but A Field In England is one of the best films (never mind horror films) I've seen in years (probably helps if you're English and not a townie)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:55 PM on October 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


I took the "Wild Caving" tour at Mammoth Cave where you crawl through damp, narrow passages and crevices off the normal tour routes.

After the truck dropped us off, we took a long, spiral staircase to the starting point, from which normal tours went one way and we'd be going another. I was about 15th in line and as I planted my foot on a step, it was so caked with mud from the people who went before me that my foot went right out from under me and I fell about a third of the way down the staircase, landing on my right hand, which twisted hard across the metal, kind of spiky-textured stairs. I tore it open pretty deep in about three places, including a spot just under my pinky that ended up a missing chunk about an inch long and the diameter of a pencil.

The truck was long gone. This was before cellphones and the walkie talkies were out of range. So I had little choice but to patch my hand up as best I could with someone's travel first aid kit.

And then I had to crawl through four hours of "wild cave" with a bleeding, kinda mangled right hand.

That was... not awesome. Cave fears seem totally reasonable to me now.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:57 PM on October 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


Maybe I need to give Triangle a second shot. I watched it as part of a little mini horror marathon after ArtW's askme question last year but it didn't make much of an impression (I had to double check on IMDB just now to make sure it was the movie I thought it was).

The two that were the most memorable from said marathon, both already mentioned in this thread, were Absentia and Stakeland.
posted by mannequito at 2:02 PM on October 14, 2013


Lake Mongo was the unexpected standout for me.
posted by Artw at 2:08 PM on October 14, 2013 [5 favorites]


This is my favorite horror movie. Hands down.
posted by pxe2000 at 2:14 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is my favorite horror movie. Hands down.

I see it more as a reiteration of The Heroes Journey, in the mode of Star Wars.
posted by Artw at 2:19 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I took the "Wild Caving" tour at Mammoth Cave where you crawl through damp, narrow passages and crevices off the normal tour routes.

The wife and I did this too. Well without the busted hand...

The NPS ranger who was our guide put us into the 'bear hole' first. His reasoning was that since it was the tightest spot in the entire day it would make both he and the rest of us more confident with our ability to A) not freak out and B) physically fit anywhere we needed to go. Imagine a hole about as big as a basket ball that went down at about a 30 degree angle, and then you have a crawl that's so tight there are places you have to remove your hardhat, which has the only light source down there, and push it along next to you. But after you crawl for, oh, about 50 yards (maybe less but it seemed like 50!) it opens up and we were to wait for him to pop out behind us.

I went last, after I get to the level/crawl portion (which wasn't all that fast) I look back for the guide's light behind me. Nothing. Nada. Blackness. I see the lights ahead of me bobbing away as people slither away on their bellies in the dirt so I haul ass to catch up. I pop out at the end into a room about as big as a fourth of a subway car and tell the group (maybe 7 others, tour size is EXTREMELY limited to minimize impact on the ecosystem) that we shouldn't expect the guide to pop out because there's nobody behind me....

At about that time the guide pops out from around a corner we'd never seen and says "Yea you get tired of making that crawl about 2 or 3 tours into the season." We all breath a sigh of relief and then get over our rage. He then asked if anyone wanted to go with his assistant back to the bus, as this was the best and only time for someone freaked out to leave before we went deeper and panicking wouldn't be an option. One couple bailed on the spot, nobody blamed them one bit...

... but they missed out on one of the most amazing days I've ever had. If you ever have a chance to go caving (not spelunking, as we were told by the guide ranger! Cavers rescue spelunkers or some such...)...

GO!
posted by RolandOfEld at 2:26 PM on October 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ah, make that the 'bare' hole... supposedly based on some person who had to remove all their clothes to get unstuck. There's a reason the tour requires you have no more than a 32 waist or bust size...
posted by RolandOfEld at 2:32 PM on October 14, 2013


Pretty sad no one has mentioned Trick 'r Treat. It's great if you loved Tales from the Crypt.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 2:49 PM on October 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


Splice?

The real horror in Splice was the production designer OBVIOUSLY EUROPEAN IDEA OF WHAT COOL AMERICANS WOULD DECORATE THIER HOME LAB LIKE. It was so ..outsider looking in looking that it pulls me out of the movie and I never got back in.
posted by The Whelk at 2:56 PM on October 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


Awesome lists, gonna have to watch some of these very soon. I've been craving some good horror movies lately.

What are some of the best horror alien movies that aren't necessarily sci-fi like "Alien", but closer to Signs in content? I guess I'm looking for alien abduction sort of stuff. My girlfriend and I are incredibly disturbed by aliens (re-watching The X-Files lately has been a bit of a chore) and Signs, for me, is one of the most terrifying movies ever (despite the horrible storyline).

The last alien movie I saw that was pretty freaky was Fire In The Sky and although it's pretty cheesy, it definitely made me feel a bit uneasy. I saw V/H/S 2 in theaters and although the alien part didn't scare me, I am really looking for something along those lines.
posted by gucci mane at 2:56 PM on October 14, 2013


Interesting that none of the linked lists mention the big horror franchises with a recognizable antagonist: Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the Thirteenth, Halloween, Child's Play, etc. The Netflix list contains Hellraiser, but that's it.
posted by painquale at 3:01 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


If you want true horror, true utterly irredeemable evil, a vileness which can never be cleansed from your shriveled, blackened soul, you should look to the most gruesome and monstrous movie of all time.
posted by elizardbits at 3:04 PM on October 14, 2013


Elizardbits, my I suggest the horror movie Grace? Cause it's all about the unspeakable horror of babies and also checks the " I strongly suspect this movie was written for a producer with a really specific fetish." box.
posted by The Whelk at 3:07 PM on October 14, 2013


I'm a bit too jaded to really get into horror movies, nine times out of ten gore just reads as "cool effect bro." and I've watched about three hundred billion million of them so they usually just bounce off my eyes, but the more psychological horror stuff on TV has been really hitting my panic buttons, the Martha Steward Living Torture Chamber on Orphan Black, Hannibal's feverish dream state reality ( oh god the pillow) even the weirder " Is Don breaking down or is ...reality breaking down" Mad Men episodes.
posted by The Whelk at 3:13 PM on October 14, 2013


The real horror in Splice was the production designer's OBVIOUSLY EUROPEAN IDEA OF WHAT COOL AMERICANS WOULD DECORATE THIER HOME LAB LIKE.

Oh, no, Whelk. The true horror...

[holds flashlight under chin]

...is that the film was written, directed, and produced by CANADIANS!!!
posted by Iridic at 3:19 PM on October 14, 2013 [6 favorites]


I knew there was something indescribaly wrong with it.
posted by The Whelk at 3:23 PM on October 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


I liked seeing The Inkeepers on there. I went into that movie not expecting much and left pleasantly surprised. It came together well for what started out so seemingly contrived and hokey.

Recently I don't know if I'm easier to scare, but I was scared by and quite enjoyed Mama, The Caller, The Pact, and Sinister in the last couple of years. I also finally just got my hands on Fragile, the horror movie starring Callista Flockhart and I'm excited to see it.

Also highly, highly recommended by me are a few shorter movies from the "6 Films to Keep You Awake" series I found on the iTunes store. In particular The Baby's room scared the bejeezus out of me, To Let was good as well, as was A Christmas Tale.

I've also enjoyed a few of the Masters of Horror episodes but they are a very mixed bag. Cigarette Burns was entertaining, as was Homecoming. Pick Me Up was just excellent. The Damned Thing was a decent watch too.

Finally, I am a huge Evil Dead fan and I liked the remake. I thought it was well done considering the crushing expectations of Evil Dead fandom and to me looked like what it would have been, more or less, if Raimi had the budget the first time out.
posted by Hoopo at 3:23 PM on October 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


No love for The Others? Nicole Kidman totally owns the Mummy Tiger role at the heart and the horror is perfectly entwined with the story.
posted by Sebmojo at 3:29 PM on October 14, 2013 [7 favorites]


gucci mane: You might like "The Forgotten"

The only Masters of Horror I've seen was "The Screwfly Solution", which was a solid adaptation of the source. My favorite thing added by the video was a little bit of set dressing: graffiti that read "Genesis 3:16", which fit *perfectly*
posted by rmd1023 at 3:29 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Frailty is pretty damned good, too... so much so that it's nearly tragic Bill Paxton hasn't ever made another film.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 3:31 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Others is a perfectly fine throwback haunted house film, almost self consciously retro, although I did once describe it as Nicole Kidman's battle over her cruel, oppressive buttons.

It also had a decent, pulpy ending, so many haunted house movies just completely bunt the 3rd act.
posted by The Whelk at 3:36 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I do really like Haunted House tropes so I'm predisposed to liking them regardless of how good the actual movie is, although The Orphanage just proved that, much like a lot of Asian horror, I cannot take Spanish Magical Realism horror seriously.
posted by The Whelk at 3:41 PM on October 14, 2013


On the one hand I'm really tired of hearing about Let The Right One In, but on the other hand I'm reminded to download Hardware, so at the end of the day I suppose nothing has changed.
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:44 PM on October 14, 2013


Also if we have anyone here really, really well-aquainted with Korean and Japanese horror there was something I caught on TV while living in Japan that was fucking awesome scary. It was a compilation of Korean horror shorts. The 2 scariest ones that stuck with me both involved bathrooms. In the first one, there was a knock at the door of the apartment when a little kid is home alone. The knocking keeps up and no one is visible through the keyhole. The kid gets scared as the knocking gets louder and louder and the kid goes and hides in the bathroom. You hear the front door open and footsteps approaching the bathroom door. All of a sudden these white fingers with bright red nailpolish creep under the door, hugging the doorframe. They move all the way around the door even though it's closed and the space between the door and the frame is not very big which is scary as hell. The other one my memory of is even hazier; it was a public washroom, and ghost women were coming in and out of view of the stalls, but like horizontal and stuff in ways that made no sense at all. Creepy shit, stuck with me for 8 years despite not even speaking the language.
posted by Hoopo at 3:46 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


gucci mane, it's honestly not a very good movie, but if you need that alien abduction fix, Dark Skies will deliver a tolerable dose of it.

I saw Spectre from that Films to Keep you awake series and liked it a lot too, definitely in the slow-burn arty subgenre of ghost stories (much like Ghost Story). I'll have to check out the others in the series.
posted by whir at 3:47 PM on October 14, 2013


Hardware

Number 1 on any Top N Industrial Soundtracks list. Probably the rest of the list is all Tetsuo movies.
posted by Artw at 3:48 PM on October 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


It also had a decent, pulpy ending, so many haunted house movies just completely bunt the 3rd act.

SPOILER: It's one of the two twists it will always be when things are very mysterious. The other was most recently seen in Shutter Island. Anyone who thinks either of those twists are very original basically hasn't read or seen any horror ever.
posted by Artw at 3:52 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Speaking of Korean movies, The Host is one kick-ass monster movie.
posted by Ber at 4:04 PM on October 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


Eh, any ending, Shutter Island had way more problems then the ending ...like how you couldn't hear anyone over the spooooooky soundtrack.
posted by The Whelk at 4:05 PM on October 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Interesting that none of the linked lists mention the big horror franchises with a recognizable antagonist: Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the Thirteenth, Halloween, Child's Play, etc.

Most of those aren't very good past the first outing, and often not even then. Plus there's an element of playing to the in-crowd.
posted by Artw at 4:08 PM on October 14, 2013


Another notable absence: Almost the entirety of the Torture Porn subgenre.
posted by Artw at 4:09 PM on October 14, 2013 [6 favorites]


The three movies that freaked the living fuck out of me were two easies and one difficult.

The easies:

Blair Witch Project, in the theatre, a day or so after opening before the dialogue had hit the media.

The Grudge, which I bought in Montreal's Chinatown on CDR and was completely emotionally unprepared for.

The difficult:

Luther the Geek. It's a Troma movie, but isn't the usual Troma movie, and somehow managed to strike a chord with me that no other horror movie ever has. 17, watching solo on VHS and somehow scared out of my mind, by a man who has no special powers or supernatural abilities but stalks people while clucking like a chicken.

Honorable mention:

Silent Rage, which somebody thought was a good idea to show a troupe of Cub scouts in a large basement rec room after a rained-out camping trip. How does Chuck Norris vs. Superzombie turn into something that scars me for decades to come? I don't know, but it does.
posted by Shepherd at 4:18 PM on October 14, 2013


We saw Alien the day it opened. My wife and I, along with most of the audience, were expecting some sort of really cool scifi thriller with some horror element. We knew that it would be scary but I don't think anyone had any idea what we were in for. When the credits rolled, the audience exited in complete and utter silence. Next time I saw an audience that fucked over was No Country for Old Men.
posted by Ber at 4:23 PM on October 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


Torture porn is some repugnant shit. There's some kind of diminishing return on those movies directly related to the number of damaged, corroded holes you have in your soul.

I don't even know why people bother anymore since A Serbian Film is such an impossibly fucked up maxing out of that genre, I have no idea how anyone could hope to go past it. That's a movie I haven't even seen and just from reading the plot summary in Wikipedia, I felt like it damaged my soul.*

* This is not an endorsement. I am not trying, in some roundabout way to get you to see that movie. I strongly advise against even reading about it. People are fucked up. You don't need that kind of additional proof.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 4:25 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Exorcist III is a mixed bag (William Peter Blatty was forced to cut/edit/reshoot it in ways he didn't agree with), but there's still THAT ONE SCENE -- no spoilers, but everyone who's seen it knows which one I mean -- that's just brilliant, and terrified the ever-living fuck out of me when I saw it.
posted by scody at 4:30 PM on October 14, 2013 [5 favorites]


Combat Shock was another Troma film that's actually good (it was released by Troma, but not actually produced by them IIRC). Probably one of the sleaziest-feeling and bleakest movies I've ever seen, and full of the horror of crushing mid-80s poverty.

Also those of you who liked the Kill List might enjoy the recent The Conspiracy, which has a similar feel to it.

A Serbian Film is actually a surprisingly well-made movie, in a purely technical sense, but the subgenre is certainly not for everyone.
posted by whir at 4:32 PM on October 14, 2013


I know exactly which scene you mean, Scody!

If we can do partials, the first act of the original When a Stranger Calls is your teenage urban legend derived nightmare come to life. And I, Madman is pretty awesome for a while before it careens off the rails.

I actually have a pretty long mental inventory of great segments from bad horror films.

Like the cable through the crowd sequence in the otherwise crapulent Ghost Ship? Yikes. That's a miserably awful movie with one scene so good, you still get your money's worth.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 4:34 PM on October 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


A Serbian Film is actually a surprisingly well-made movie, in a purely technical sense, but the subgenre is certainly not for everyone.

I read an interview with the director where he made a convincing case that he was making larger allegorical/political points about the plight of the Serbian people. So I don't doubt that it has its merits. I'm not arguing against its existence or taking a stand against people who appreciated the film.

I'm just admitting that it's past the limits of my tolerance. And it's so far out there that I wonder why people who only work within that subgenre to shock and appall think there's any further they can go.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 4:39 PM on October 14, 2013


Movies that freaked me out as a child, in increasing order of freaking:
Alien
The Thing
Poltergeist
Nothing but Trouble
posted by Pyry at 4:41 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


...is that the film was written, directed, and produced by CANADIANS!!!

Think of us as uncanny valley Americans.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 4:46 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Adding my support to put in the "excellent" list: Triangle, The Descent, Pontypool, Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon, Frailty, The Grudge (US version), Session 9.

The Whisperer in Darkness is good, but I suspect many will be put off by it being clearly an homage to those old black and white adventure serials with monsters, more than HPL's obsessions.

Some interesting/good ones I've seen recently:
- The Seasoning House: big warning, it's very realistic and probably contains enough trigger material to traumatize a whole small town
- The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh: impressive atmosphere and one of the saddest endings I can recall
- The Collector: efficient and lean "serial killer with fetish in locked house", avoid the overwhelminingly stupid sequel like hell though
- The Color Out of Space: probably the best HPL adaptation yet? Great atmosphere and low-key plot development.
- Retribution: really good j-horror ghost story, full of fascinating visual compositions
- Sleep Tight: little Spanish fable about why you should not piss off your building super
- Hansel and Gretel: an excellent Korean reinvention of the old story, creepy as hell and beautifully shot
- Noroi (The Curse): now this is what the mockumentary genre exists for, how you do it, and the way you smartly freak out your audience
posted by Iosephus at 5:07 PM on October 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


I guess it's probably not within the horror genre, but I'm surprised no one's mentioned Night of the Hunter, which is creepy as hell.
posted by triggerfinger at 5:14 PM on October 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


Exorcist III is a mixed bag (William Peter Blatty was forced to cut/edit/reshoot it in ways he didn't agree with), but there's still THAT ONE SCENE -- no spoilers, but everyone who's seen it knows which one I mean -- that's just brilliant, and terrified the ever-living fuck out of me when I saw it.

I think it's a very under-rated film, and it's gorgeous to look at.

And I have seen it several times, but I have only seen THAT ONE SCENE once, because..booga...no...nonono....

The original TV version of The Woman In Black is extremely creepy and has one scene that kept me up at night for a while.

The Possession is a well-made, old-fashioned creepy horror movie. I loved it.

The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh is quite good if you like slow, atmospheric horror. It's silly in parts, but it's quite affecting if you're in the mood for what it has to offer.
posted by biscotti at 5:35 PM on October 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


Metafilter: A survivor...unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of morality.
posted by Renoroc at 6:29 PM on October 14, 2013


While we're on the horror list subject, Joey Comeau has a list of rape-free horror movies.
posted by NoraReed at 6:30 PM on October 14, 2013 [6 favorites]


Haven't had a chance to read through this thread but a ctrl+f through this whole page lead me to believe that nobody has mentioned what is, in my own opinion, one of the best horror movies ever:

House by the Cemetery

by Lucio Fulci.

At first it seems like your normal zombie-is-a-slasher horror flick but that's just the surface. If you pay attention you'll find out that it's much scarier because of what it implies. It's a Lovecraftian sort of horror.
posted by I-baLL at 6:35 PM on October 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


Exorcist III also offers richer dialog and characterization than you could ever hope for in a horror sequel. I enjoyed the book when I was young, but I get the feeling it does not hold up as well as the movie has.

Also I am so happy to see mentions of Parents here! I just caught that for the first time in forever, the other night, and the satire is just so sharp and enjoyable, that it almost stops working when it tries to be more horrific towards the end.

Also also, I'm really surprised to see Martin on anyone's "exceptionally well-written horror movies" list. I suppose I love Romero as do we all, but while Martin is a neat idea, Romero has never been strong on characters, and the idea isn't strong enough to keep the movie going.
posted by mittens at 6:36 PM on October 14, 2013


Leftovers...
posted by Artw at 6:41 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


But what were they before they were leftovers?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:45 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I could lose a month of evenings thanks to this thread. I owe you all, if for no other reason that I now have a fire lit under me to keep Pontypool from lingering unwatched in my queue.
posted by middleclasstool at 6:49 PM on October 14, 2013


Ponty...

...pool..
posted by Artw at 6:52 PM on October 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


There is this movie The Signal, which I would say it's a bit related to Pontypool but more from a Stephen King's Cell angle. Exposure to this signal (broadcast through all public tv and radio channels IIRC) causes varied degrees of mental fuckup, from plain animal aggression to paranoia, sucidal fixation, disorientation, OCD, loss of high brain functions, etc. It's in three parts and very uneven, but if you stick through the weak sauce first part, the second one is a very dark, amusing, and creepy tale about irrational jealousy and rambling paranoia. The third segment goes back to weak sauce, alas. Just mentioning it for all the Pontypool fans willing to risk tepid waters in search of something similar.
posted by Iosephus at 7:07 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Right at Your Door was surprisingly good.
posted by orrnyereg at 7:11 PM on October 14, 2013


Pontypool! Pontypool!
posted by ovvl at 7:11 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


ne pas traduire ce message
posted by The Whelk at 7:15 PM on October 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


Interesting/related AskMe: What is the initial verbal meme that triggers the outbreak in the movie Pontypool?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:29 PM on October 14, 2013


I am so, so happy that Martin has been slowly getting the critical recognition it deserves. Such an interesting take on the evolution of horror tropes, such an effective documentary of decaying post-industrial Pittsburgh, and with some interesting angles on the era's shifting gender roles. Now if we can just get a little love for Ganja & Hess, maybe the only movie I can think of to approach the vampire myth with a specifically post-colonial lens.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 7:40 PM on October 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


I just watched Pontypool on Netflix because of this thread. I liked it. By coincidence, I'd had a tab open for an article titled "Unusable Words."
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 7:43 PM on October 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


I guess it might qualify as "torture porn", though it's kind of subgenre-bending, but "Martyrs" really, really disturbed me. I watched it with my girlfriend, and we're both pretty hardcore horror fans and not easily fazed, but she had a full-on panic attack by the end of it, and I was pretty close to that myself. It starts out as one thing and ends up as another, and both of those things are totally harrowing.

I've described it as "what Dario Argento would make if he could actually write and direct actors", which is a total descent into evil. It's human evil with a supernatural motivation, and it's totally fucking horrifying.

I'm not sure I'd exactly recommend it, though. It's a great horror movie I would not at all want to watch again.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 7:50 PM on October 14, 2013


I have to admit I thought the first Saw movie was quite clever, and "shocking" in the same way a KFC Zinger burger is "spicy", but the handful of torture porn films I've seen since then have left me completely cold. Wolf Creek would be an exception, but I don't really consider that torture porn.
posted by turbid dahlia at 7:59 PM on October 14, 2013


Oh, yeah, Martyrs. Odd film, but I enjoyed it. Inside is another excellent French brain-fucker.
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:02 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Some of the movies on Paste's Netflix list are genuinely terrible, and their confusion of the poster for Herzog's Nosferatu with the entry for Murnau's frankly makes their ideas about anything related to horror a little suspect. (Ditto the inclusion of Cabin in the Woods, which is kind of fun but also so smug about its half-thought-out idea of "horror" that Whedon should have his genre license revoked.)

But if you have Netflix Instant and like horror, I urge you to try the Japanese Internet horror flick Pulse, which is dynamite.
posted by Mothlight at 8:08 PM on October 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


What the hell is the deal with the Johnny Dead Eyes coda after the credits to Pontypool?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:18 PM on October 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Thelast film to actually horrify me was We Need To Talk About Kevin, which nobody should have to watch. It probably actually qualifies as a very good film, but is really deeply unpleasant.
posted by Artw at 8:20 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I haven't seen the film, but the novel We Need to Talk About Kevin gave me nightmares, and I would describe it exactly the same way.
posted by peppermind at 8:23 PM on October 14, 2013


That is a profoundly upsetting film.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:26 PM on October 14, 2013


I've really wanted to read that/watch the film (...Kevin) but I have a serious problem with angsty teens and pre-teens and movies and literature: I want to twist their heads off, and cringe whenever they are on-screen, or open their mouths. Tom's son in War Of The Worlds? Every movie ever by Larry Clark? They make me so completely angry.
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:30 PM on October 14, 2013


Oh, this is on a different level. This isn't even the same dimension.
posted by Artw at 8:35 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


We Need to Talk About Kevin is not a movie about angst. That's a movie about evil, about evil that's innate and evil that springs from the wrongs that we commit against the people we love. It reflects on the chicken and the egg question of which comes first, but has no answers to make you feel better.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:35 PM on October 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


You want horror? Have your parents take you to see Jaws, in the theater. When you're seven.

Two straight weeks of nightmares, and I didn't go near a pool for six months.
posted by gottabefunky at 8:40 PM on October 14, 2013


While we're on the horror list subject, Joey Comeau has a list of rape-free horror movies.

That seems awfully short; unless I'm forgetting some scenes from the movies mentioned here I think a whole lot of the movies mentioned here would qualify. Session 9, Drag Me To Hell, The Descent, The Innkeepers, Tucker & Dale Vs Evil, The Ring (I think?), The Grudge, The Host, The Blair Witch Project, Troll Hunter, The Changeling...those are just the ones I've seen.
posted by Hoopo at 8:43 PM on October 14, 2013


I actually seem to be the only genre fan that didn't like Pulse, but it just came across as kind of a half-baked rehash of The Ring to me. I do really like some of director Kiyoshi Kurosawa's other horror-esque efforts, though: Cure and Charisma. (He also directed Retribution, which someone mentioned upthread; I haven't seen it myself.) Cure is a sort of a slow-paced mind-fuck about a detective investigating a baffling series of crimes. One of its better Japanese antecedents is the obscure 1994 film Angel Dust, about a psychologist turned detective who, er, investigates a series of baffling crimes. I'd recommend both highly if you like your serial killer flicks to include a lot of head-games and questions about identity.
posted by whir at 8:44 PM on October 14, 2013


Absentia was surprisingly good, considering it was Kickstarter-funded and shot mostly on a Canon 5D.
posted by gottabefunky at 8:46 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ditto the inclusion of Cabin in the Woods, which is kind of fun but also so smug about its half-thought-out idea of "horror" that Whedon should have his genre license revoked

The notion of the mermaid absolves him of all sins.
posted by Ber at 8:46 PM on October 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


I do really like Haunted House tropes so I'm predisposed to liking them regardless of how good the actual movie is, although The Orphanage just proved that, much like a lot of Asian horror, I cannot take Spanish Magical Realism horror seriously.

For me, at least, The Orphanage took way, way too much from The Turn of the Screw. I don't know how well known that story is in Spain. I can't imagine Henry James translates well. As a reader of English, though, I couldn't help but feel, watching that movie, that I'd already read a similar story told better.

That said, I should probably re-read the one and re-watch the other, as my memory of both is vague.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 9:03 PM on October 14, 2013


If you have not seen the recently-in-theatres horror flick "The Conjuring," I HIGHLY recommend it. Spooky, atmospheric, with bonus Lili Taylor!
posted by whistle pig at 9:03 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Conjuring is like, the prime example of a haunted house movie going off the rails in the 3rd act. Cause, it;s REALLY GOOD for a LONG TIME, the retro look/vibe, the ghost hunters, the paranoid/supernatural 70s feeling and slow build up of scares using just...doorways and noises and hey, how great that Lilli Taylor is finally in a decent haunted house movie after The Haunting? (The Haunting Of Hill House is the arch haunted house book, and yeah the Orphanage was basically an adaptation of The Turn Of The Screw, which was pretty obvious quickly in)


BUT, they don't have anything like a decent payoff for all this atmosphere and mood and detail they've built up. Like I was expecting a complete and total breakdown of reality and a bigger body count from everything set up (and the set up was GREAT, juuuust on the edge of campy) but like the last half hour was just "oh wait, okay there are...ghost..witches..people do things, and it's done.
posted by The Whelk at 9:10 PM on October 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Like you need another twist there, even The Haunting Of Hill House had that final twist, cause you're never sure if the ghost was really a thing or if Eleanor was just deliberity being driven mad.
posted by The Whelk at 9:11 PM on October 14, 2013


(the original 1963 film version of the Haunting of Hill house, the haunting, did some great film-metaphor-for-lesbianism-with Theodora's psychic powers)
posted by The Whelk at 9:14 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Repulsion, Rosemary's Baby, and The Tenant comprise the greatest horror trilogy of all time.

Lucky McKee's May is a terrific film by any measure. It's guess it's horror? Sorta?

Lucky McKee's The Woods is a fine B movie. Don't expect great things, but if you like horror movies, and not just Great Movies, give it a shot.

In The Mouth of Madness is my favorite John Carpenter movie. So underrated. So very good. It somehow manages to be one of the best Stephen King adaptations, and one of the best H. P. Lovecraft adaptations, without actually being either one of those things.

William Friedkin's The Birthday Party is not a horror film, but it is fucking scary. It's very easy to see how he wound up making The Exorcist after this. Also, even though The Guardian is a terrible movie, there is some great camerawork within it. There's one shot of the druid flying through the forest, and it's actually sort of chilling, despite how laughable the story is.

I'm also a big fan of Friedkin's Bug, but that's barely horror.

Exorcist III is solid gold. Yeah, you can see the seams from where the studio was mucking around, but as scody aptly points out, THAT ONE SCENE. Other scenes are great, too, but yumpin' yiminy, THAT ONE SCENE. If I was a horror director, I would just keep re-watching that scene over and over again, slowly realizing that I could never make anything so perfect.

Pontypool is really, really cool. It's almost like a Blue Jam horror movie.

I don't like torture porn, but Hostel II was surprisingly good. It's the movie that the first Hostel wishes it could have been: sly and subversive.

Slither is so great. James Gunn is a superstar. That is what he are.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:37 PM on October 14, 2013 [6 favorites]


Oh, also, Seconds and The Servant are not really horror movies, but they sure are both totally awesome, with amazingly creepy black and white photography.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:38 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I deeply enjoy horror. The trailers for We Need to Talk About Kevin give me panic attacks.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:46 PM on October 14, 2013


yeah "we need to talk about kevin" is pretty much the worst fears you might have about having kids done up in BIG BOLD STROKES.
posted by The Whelk at 9:52 PM on October 14, 2013


Hostel II surprised me too, it's indeed subversive of the whole genre. I usually find torture porn stupid and a contest to see who can outgore each other faster and damn the script or plot, so it was refreshing to see such self-destruction at work.

I doubted up there whether to mention Martyrs or not, thinking I'd probably wouldn't like to be resposible for traumatizing some daring reader. It is a very difficult film to sit through, you might classify it as theological torture porn, considering the surprising ending and all. It does a good number on your head about the possible roads to find the divinity and their cost, if nothing else. The director recently made The Tall Man, a somewhat baffling movie that hinges on a pretty silly plot trick, but you can still recognize this tug between ends sought and means acceptable in the whole "saving children by force" plot line.

And yes, Inside is a nice gorefest with home invasion, pregnancy stealing, holy stalker mix that gets happily bonkers midways and never dials it back. Very entertaining, but keep the mop at hand.
posted by Iosephus at 10:02 PM on October 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I agree that the third act of "The Conjuring" is. .. not its strength, alas. But I'm so starved for halfway decent horror that I was willing to give it a pass for being so freaking good otherwise. Come to think of it, it sorta gave me flashbacks to "Signs."
posted by whistle pig at 10:03 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I loved most of Masters of Horror, for what it's worth.
"Imprint" from Takashi Miike genuinely squicked me. Insidious was quite clever in some ways. Sinister I enjoyed
too.

I've been looking for good, new horror for years, and seem to see so much dross (Hatchet is one that was praised and .... yet.... boring) and this post is probably going to be a godsend. It reminds me of some I have seen and enjoyed (Stake Land), been annoyed by (YellowBrickRoad) and some that I need to see (The Tunnel).

Good job Metafilter!
posted by Mezentian at 10:06 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Can I also add that I loved Vampyr as a teen?
I even have it on VHS. But I am afraid to re-watch it in case the visuals aren't capable of living up to the hype.

After seeing Orphan and some other films in Del Torro's orbit I became convinced the horror I wanted was in Spanish, especially after seeing La Herencia Valdemar (not so much the sequel/second half) and I went hunting for 6 Films to Keep You Awake, and while I have only managed to see The Baby's Room I'm optimistic about the other films in the series.
posted by Mezentian at 10:15 PM on October 14, 2013


My brain just decided to spit out the memory that I enjoyed the remake of The Crazies (haven't seen the original). It's pretty bleak and ruthless, but also avoids most cliches of the "mad infection" subgenre, or so I thought at the moment. Seems nobody mentioned it yet.
posted by Iosephus at 10:28 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Kill List is by far the best horror movie I've ever seen, from a huge variety of angles. Really, one of the best films I've seen.
posted by cthuljew at 10:28 PM on October 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


Seconding the remake of The Crazies. Totally solid, plus Timothy Olyphant.

Citadel had its moments, and atmosphere to spare.
posted by gottabefunky at 10:37 PM on October 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Pulse, which I think might have the highest stupidity of premise(a haunted website?) to movie quality ratio ever. I love the subtle ways in which buildings empty of people while cables and electrical detritus remain behind, the quiet and calm of the ongoing disaster, and how nothing really scary or graphic shows up on screen but there's no way I'd watch it alone.
If you too have a taste for films where nothing much happens, and find that a long shot of a scared person walking down a dark corridor is the pinnacle of horror movie technology, I'd like to recommend Silent House. The trailer implies this is a found footage deal- it's not, but makes excellent use of a single shot / real time gimmick that means you're watching the best scene of all haunted house films (frightened protagonist hears something and investigates with a flashlight! Slowly!) for the whole movie. It does fall apart in the last ten minutes, but what can you do? I'd love to see the original Uruguayan film, but I haven't been able to track it down.
posted by velebita at 10:53 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sinister could have been so good if the monster hadn't been a Norwegian black metal dude.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 11:11 PM on October 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


I keep wanting to like James Wan's movies, they always start so promising, but overall he seems to be much better at building the tension than delivering. How many times can he expect to scare the audience with the reveal being a person standing still, then suddenly flashing up to their face with the mouth suddenly wide open? I think it happened close to ten times in The Conjuring.
posted by mannequito at 11:41 PM on October 14, 2013


Regardless, I'm happy this thread exists as well, I'll likely be coming back often over the next month to report on stuff I've watched. Just checked out Lake Mungo, very solid, well-made little film. At least one major creep out scene for me (the found cellphone footage near the end).

My only complaint (minor SPOILER) was the subplot of the sex tape with the neighbor. Felt pretty random and as a result the end of the movie came off incomplete, like I kept waiting for that to tie back in in some way. Definitely worth checking out in any case.
posted by mannequito at 11:44 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Session 9 doesn't belong in this thread. Or any thread about great horrors.
posted by Mitochondrial_Steve at 1:05 AM on October 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Martyrs and Inside are utterly brutal; it's a pity towards the end they get a bit too grand guignol and ridiculous because up until then... well if you can say any torture porn gets close to reaching the sublime it's them.

No one's mentioned Audition yet... that totally creeped me up... not the ending but the... 'thing' in the bag... shudder (also how it starts of so flat and almost boring... until...)

One I've just remembered is Mum & Dad a low budget British film that I was pretty impressed by. It's very loosely based on the real life murderers Fred and Rosemary West and it's one of those really nasty no-fun horrors so it's not going to be for everyone. Perry Benson plays 'Dad' who I've only every seen in lightweight comic roles... never realised he had that performance in him.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:36 AM on October 15, 2013


If you've liked any of Romero's zombie films then the original The Crazies is well worth checking out. Not seen the new one.
posted by Artw at 1:39 AM on October 15, 2013


Zerowensboring: "Also enjoyed the Hell so to speak out of Drag Me to Hell."

So deliciously retro, from the relative lack of violence, to the use of shadows. When I saw it, I found it better than expected.
posted by Samizdata at 4:19 AM on October 15, 2013


DirtyOldTown: "I don't mean to be uncouth by repeating myself simply for emphasis, but: if you have not seen Triangle and you're a horror fan, see it immediately, and avoid learning anything about it in advance. It's from the director of Severance and Black Death, which both have their merits, though neither is as brilliant as Triangle."

Going to see it today. If it sucks, I reserve the right to do 'orrible things to you. (Although name checking Severance was a good way to perk my ears up!)
posted by Samizdata at 4:28 AM on October 15, 2013


Windigo: "Tucker & Dale vs. Evil

YES, I enjoyed the hell out of this movie. If you liked Cabin in the Woods, you'll probably enjoy this.
"

How could you not? Seriously. (Of course, I have a bit of a man crush on Alan Tudyk, so there's that.) Well, keeping that movie in mind, check out Jack Brooks Monster Slayer. The aforementioned slayer is a plumber with anger management issues. Some really great practical effects too (yes, Virginia, there is a NO CGI at all policy that works). Really more a monster comedy, but a fun little indie film nonetheless.
posted by Samizdata at 4:34 AM on October 15, 2013


Tucker & Dale vs. Evil is a proper laugh out loud comedy... not laugh out loud as in a 'heh' but 'oh my god, I can't breath!' laugh out loud
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:41 AM on October 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Another vote for Martyrs - definitely not for everyone, but it stayed with me in a way that very few films have (e.g. Requiem for a Dream). There's been a wave of French films that blend gore and tension into an almost perfect mix - Inside's been mentioned, but there's also Haute Tension and Frontière(s) too.

I haven't seen A Serbian Film, but it's just a visible tip of quite an iceberg of films that are all about the shock value. I'm told it's actually pretty well made, but the same can't be said for, say the August Underground films, which I found to be more banal than disgusting. Trying to work out what's the worst thing you can depict on screen is just lame and adolescent. Without decent direction, characterisation, plotting, camera work etc it becomes meaningless. Even in better made films, the torture porn of Hostel or Grotesque it feels like there's an unheard director's commentary shouting 'ha ha, look what I did, chainsawed off his fingers, isn't that cool huh?'. I love gore, but give me a story. I don't even mind sadism per se, if it feels like there's a motivation for its depiction other than just a gross out.

I'm also disturbed by the use of rape-as-horror-vehicle. Not to say it should never be depicted (don't want to spoil it, but there's a film mentioned a couple of times earlier in the thread where there is an element of rape-revenge, but the fall-out is more complicated than that), but it seems to be a lazy plot device at best, overly sexualised at worst, and implies female characters only become 'strong' mentally and physically in reaction to events.

Oh, and I should chuck in the 1963 version of The Haunting as a recommendation. Scary without any trickery other than sound effects, camera angles and acting.
posted by spectrevsrector at 5:17 AM on October 15, 2013


Zerowensboring: "Also enjoyed the Hell so to speak out of Drag Me to Hell."

So deliciously retro, from the relative lack of violence, to the use of shadows. When I saw it, I found it better than expected.


I love Drag me to Hell, but it did steal its plot from Night of the Demon.
posted by Summer at 5:53 AM on October 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Summer: "Zerowensboring: "Also enjoyed the Hell so to speak out of Drag Me to Hell."

So deliciously retro, from the relative lack of violence, to the use of shadows. When I saw it, I found it better than expected.


I love Drag me to Hell, but it did steal its plot from Night of the Demon.
"

But, the presentation was so wonderful. And, truthfully, I haven't expected a lot of creativity out of Sam Raimi since Darkman (which I still claim is one of the best superhero movies ever).
posted by Samizdata at 6:50 AM on October 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's linked in NoraReed's rape-free horror film list (although I have to say Altered has a whole lot of that on the metaphorical side of things, but I digress and kind of like the film), but Splinter (trailer) is terrific. It's the kind of low-budget horror that works within that limitation so well that you never even notice.

Isolation (trailer) is another film in this genre -- low budget, small cast, basically a single location, creature horror -- that does pretty well.

If we're going to mention Tucker and Dale (i.e. Wash and Sock), then we should probably also mention Black Sheep (trailer), the ridiculously over the top sheep horror film.
posted by Panjandrum at 7:17 AM on October 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Darkman is so deliciously overwrought that I wish Raimi would drop horror and superheroes a while to do some absolutely purple-prose type romantic melodramas. Or maybe just Wilkie Collins adaptions. Either way!
posted by mittens at 7:35 AM on October 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


Session 9 doesn't belong in this thread. Or any thread about great horrors.

WRONG it totally does because it's excellent and scary.
posted by Hoopo at 7:38 AM on October 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh man. Several years back I saw a Halloween double-feature of The Haunting and Night of the Demon at San Francisco's incomparable Castro Theater. Among the Castro's many charms is that it has a built-in pipe organ with a retractable keyboard which sort of rises out of the stage while an organist plays a little music before the film. On this night, the organist was dressed as Dracula, and the theme he played was, of course, Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor. It still stands as one of the best cinema-going experiences I've ever had. I hadn't seen either movie and they are both quite excellent (in different ways). The Haunting in particular is a master-class in generating fear and suspense solely through ingenious sound design and meticulous control over atmosphere and mood, plus it stars Laura Palmer's psychologist.
posted by whir at 7:58 AM on October 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


If you liked The Haunting and haven't read the original novel by Shirley Jackson you should, and you are in for a treat. She writes the best unreliable narrator since The Turn of the Screw.
posted by velebita at 8:21 AM on October 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


The original Romero film The Crazies is really worth seeing. The use of locals as extras gives the film an almost documentary vibe, which gets really chilling when there's shot after shot of government men using flamethrowers on hippie kids.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 9:30 AM on October 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Phantom of the Paradise
The Abominable Dr. Phibes
Night of the Creeps
The Monster Squad
And don't let anyone tell you it's shitty, Halloween III: Season of the Witch is the greatest movie made by human beings.

Also, seconding/thirding/fourthing/etc Pontypool, Inside, Session 9, Triangle, Slither, Absentia, Lovely Molly, Stake Land...
posted by Timmoy Daen at 11:17 AM on October 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


The Abominable Dr. Phibes

We're back to Seven again.
posted by Artw at 11:23 AM on October 15, 2013


See also: Theatre of Blood - got to love the themed murder subgenre.
posted by Artw at 11:26 AM on October 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm surprised to see that Wake Wood hasn't been mentioned (although I'm gonna admit that I haven't rtfa's yet...). Far better than I expected a new-school Hammer film to be.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 11:55 AM on October 15, 2013


Dead End is another film that pokes the same pleasure centers as Triangle and Pontypool and other Halloween season favorites for me. Not really many similarities between them, just an interesting simple premise combined with skilled execution and the sense that the filmmakers really enjoyed what they were doing.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 12:04 PM on October 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


See also: Theatre of Blood - got to love the themed murder subgenre.

Well if you're going there, and why not, there you'll be wanting the cream of Amicus' productions, which whilst obviously a bit long in the tooth, have aged a lot better than the Hammers - Dr. Terror's House of Horrors, Asylum, From Beyond the Grave, The Beast Must Die (An amazing blacksploitation horror that begs to be remade staring Samuel L. Jackson - had a Werewolf Break during which audience members were supposed to guess which cast member the werewolf is)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:39 PM on October 15, 2013


Panjandrum: "It's linked in NoraReed's rape-free horror film list (although I have to say Altered has a whole lot of that on the metaphorical side of things, but I digress and kind of like the film), but Splinter (trailer ) is terrific. It's the kind of low-budget horror that works within that limitation so well that you never even notice.

Isolation (trailer ) is another film in this genre -- low budget, small cast, basically a single location, creature horror -- that does pretty well.

If we're going to mention Tucker and Dale (i.e. Wash and Sock), then we should probably also mention Black Sheep (trailer ), the ridiculously over the top sheep horror film.
"

Splinter was another pleasant surprise. Walked into it not expecting much, walked out of it with a grin on my face,
posted by Samizdata at 1:16 PM on October 15, 2013


Timmoy Daen: "Phantom of the Paradise
The Abominable Dr. Phibes
Night of the Creeps
The Monster Squad
And don't let anyone tell you it's shitty, Halloween III: Season of the Witch is the greatest movie made by human beings.

Also, seconding/thirding/fourthing/etc Pontypool, Inside, Session 9, Triangle, Slither, Absentia, Lovely Molly, Stake Land...
"

FWIW, back in the 80's, I had a chance to see Vincent Price speak (as much as we have had a tempestuous relationship wuth my dad - not the least of which is my fault, he has given me some awesome experiences) and, in response to my question, Price stated that due to its intense absurdity, Phibes had been one of his favorite roles.

AND SERIOUSLY I'VE YOU HAVEN"T SEEN NIGHT OF THE CREEPS DO SO.

NOW.

DON'T WAIT!

It has not only a lead character I quote in real life all the time ("Thrill me."), but one of the tensest scenes I have ever seen. And you might as well do a Fred Dekker double feature with Monster Squad, because, in case you don't know, "Wolfman's got nards!"
posted by Samizdata at 1:23 PM on October 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


a box and a stick and a string and a bear: "I'm surprised to see that Wake Wood hasn't been mentioned (although I'm gonna admit that I haven't rtfa's yet...). Far better than I expected a new-school Hammer film to be."

Indeed. It went places I did not expect.

Okay, so I watch/have watched a lot of horror, what's your point?
posted by Samizdata at 1:24 PM on October 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sinister could have been so good if the monster hadn't been a Norwegian black metal dude

I thought it was pretty scary anyway. You don't actually see much of the monster, and when you do it's pretty creepy. I was legitimately uncomfortable watching the found footage etc., and I liked the fact we had a movie where the bad guy was a demon and it actually worked. Also Varg Vikernes is a pretty scary dude (as were the rest of Mayhem from what I've read) so I'm not one to brush aside Norweigian black metal dudes lightly.
posted by Hoopo at 1:57 PM on October 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Haute Tension

I watched this with a couple of mates and by the end we were laughing out loud at the woman's non-stop Parkinson's tremor. It was ridiculous.

A Serbian Film

I'm pretty neutral on this one. I guess it was well-made, but I can't really say because I haven't seen too many movies from Serbia. Perhaps they are all totes amazing? Anyway, it was basically Oldboy, if I remember correctly: a catalogue of evil done to the "protagonist", followed by a lengthy sequence of vengeance, and then plot twist. I certainly don't recall ever being shocked by it, but that's not just because I am super-hardcore. I think it's mainly because I couldn't make any kind of connection to anything happening on the screen.

Oldboy, though. Now there's a god-damn movie.
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:09 PM on October 15, 2013


Wow. Triangle...

Just wow.
posted by Samizdata at 3:33 PM on October 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


So many great recommendations. October is the best month.

Here's one: Folks who like body horror should check out the 2012 film Antiviral by Brandon Cronenberg (David's son). Pretty damn good creepy horror about a near-future where folks inject celebrity diseases and eat cell steaks grown from celebrity flesh to feel closer to the stars.
posted by mediareport at 5:44 PM on October 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


mediareport: Folks who like body horror should check out the 2012 film Antiviral by Brandon Cronenberg (David's son).

Thanks for the recommendation. It's on Netflix Instant and I've been thinking about checking it out. Now I will for sure.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:12 AM on October 16, 2013


According to my Serbian friends, someone always dies in Serbian films. Drama? Death. Historical biopic? Death. Romance? Death. Zany Road Trip Comedy? Death. I've only seen a couple, but the one that my partner's mother sent to us was about the gay pride parade in Belgrade ("Parada"), and sure enough, spoiler alert, at the end of a zany road trip comedy, there awaits... death. (The other Serbian film I saw was "Leptirica" - available on YouTube! - a 1973 film about a vampire who lives in a flour mill, so clearly there was to be death in that one... And undeath!)

Anyway, this inability to anticipate where the storyline is taking you is exactly the sort of thing that I find *actually* horrifying. Not scream-and-throw-the-popcorn horrifying, but honest-to-goodness-tremor-and-shake-and-lose-sleep-over horrifying. When films depart from the story arc that the audience anticipates, it just throws me for such a loop. French films where a main character just up and dies which acts as a turning point for the entire tone of the film, or like that psychothriller with Audrey Tatou where a love story is retold and shown to actually be one of obsession and stalking. ("A la Folie... Pas de Tout").

I'm someone who deals with anxiety, so this is maybe not surprising that I'd have a difficult time dealing with twists and turns like this. But honestly, it really creeps me out when I am lulled into a false sense of knowing what the end is going to be and then BAM... I'm sitting there sobbing at the end of "The Family Stone" wondering if any of it really matters anyway and blaming Sarah Jessica Parker because she can be rightly blamed for just about anything ever. Ugh.

It's a sadness to me that this "unsettling" hasn't been more popular in horror filmmaking. Things like Srpski Film and The Human Centipede seem to rely on shock and disgust, which are - to me - in a completely different genre, and which honestly don't take a lot of effort or creativity to create.
posted by jph at 10:04 AM on October 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


Rock Steady, the best thing about Antiviral is the visual style and mood, and the creepy goodness of watching the main character dive down the celebrity disease rabbit hole (the actor does a great job descending into...whatever he descends into). It's about 20 minutes too long and not perfect in other ways, but I didn't know what to expect and was surprised at how much I liked it.
posted by mediareport at 5:08 PM on October 16, 2013


mediareport: "Rock Steady, the best thing about Antiviral is the visual style and mood, and the creepy goodness of watching the main character dive down the celebrity disease rabbit hole (the actor does a great job descending into...whatever he descends into). It's about 20 minutes too long and not perfect in other ways, but I didn't know what to expect and was surprised at how much I liked it."

Watched it earlier today. It's pretty damn Cronenberg, but it was quite enjoyable. I also liked the whole slam against celebrities that are apparent celebrities for no real reason, which is a personal unhappiness maker.
posted by Samizdata at 5:42 PM on October 16, 2013


Night of the Creeps

(with a few annoying commercial breaks)
posted by philip-random at 7:18 PM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


The 25 most ridiculous movies with "Of The Dead" in the title (io9 list with embedded videos) - in case you didn't have enough cheesy zombie films to watch/avoid.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:13 PM on October 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I just watched Pontypool and came back in here to say to all of you who said Pontypool upthread that I want to thank you from the bottom of my Pontypool and if we ever meet I will gladly Pontypool each and every one of you in the Pontypool of your choosing, I don't Pontypool what my wife Pontypool Pontypool Pontypool

Pont
posted by middleclasstool at 9:09 PM on October 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


Things like Srpski Film and The Human Centipede seem to rely on shock and disgust, which are - to me - in a completely different genre, and which honestly don't take a lot of effort or creativity to create.

I'm not so sure of that. I mean, yeah the shock and disgust thing is true, and I definitely don't enjoy these kinds of movies. However in terms of creativity? The concepts are often pretty creative and original, even though they're revolting and repugnant. I'd never heard of anything like them. I wish I hadn't at all, but still.
posted by Hoopo at 9:14 AM on October 18, 2013


Wes Craven's first film, Last House On The Left, is having its soundtrack rereleased on a Belgian label. Streaming here - it's really fucking weird and good. From the link:

While the film itself is a seriously dark piece of work, that's not always true of its score, which often offsets the movie's dark and twisted nature. Among the sprawling reissue's tracks, you'll find everything from beautifully arranged pastoral folk tracks ("Wait for Rain"), stark electronic experimentation ("Phyllis Spills Her Guts"), downright buoyant countried instrumentals ("Mari's Birthday Surprise") and fuzz-filled psych rompers ("Urban Snatch").

As One Way Static so wonderfully explains, "David's work here contains some truly beautiful songs, the discovery of which, for some, may be in stark contrast to the brutal displays of sadism and violence for which he was known to purvey onscreen. The fact that Hess could perform as both the poet, and the monster, is a testament to his skill as an artist. The soundtrack to Last House on the Left is a brilliantly unique and diverse mixture of farcical comedy, poignant, reflective folk music and instrumental experimentalism. Hess constructed a wonderful counterbalancing entity, which serves only to accentuate the impact of the movie."


Apparently they're doing the Hills Have Eyes soundtrack next, which is one of my all-time favorite horror films.
posted by mannequito at 11:26 AM on October 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Another io9 list: 11 horror movies that are scary because of what they say about humanity, plus more recommendations in the comments. I really don't consider Fido scary at all - maybe startling at moments, but it's more social commentary and humor than horror.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:06 PM on October 18, 2013


25 scary stories by Stephen King and other great horror writers you can read NOW
posted by Artw at 10:15 PM on October 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm starting to wonder what is wrong with me that I hated the second half of Pontypool.
posted by Mezentian at 5:00 AM on October 20, 2013


mediareport: Rock Steady, the best thing about Antiviral is the visual style and mood, and the creepy goodness of watching the main character dive down the celebrity disease rabbit hole (the actor does a great job descending into...whatever he descends into).

I watched it this weekend and it was, indeed, pretty good. It was a bit logy, for me, and kind of heavy-handed in a very Cronenbergian way. I always wonder about children of artists who create art that is so similar to that of their parents. The celebrity steaks in Antiviral, for example, look so much like something that would be in one of his Dad's films. Are the parents proud that the kids are following in their artistic footsteps, or are they (secretly?) a little disappointed that their kids don't have a more unique artistic vision?
posted by Rock Steady at 6:27 AM on October 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


middleclasstool: "I just watched Pontypool and came back in here to say to all of you who said Pontypool upthread that I want to thank you from the bottom of my Pontypool and if we ever meet I will gladly Pontypool each and every one of you in the Pontypool of your choosing, I don't Pontypool what my wife Pontypool Pontypool Pontypool

Pont
"


OMG Yes. I just watched this last night based on reading this thread. Great Movie. Movie. Movie. Movie is swingset. Movie is swingset. Movie is swingset.
posted by Big_B at 9:16 AM on October 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


In defense of The Conjuring's 3rd act, it is such a horror genre norm for the audience to expect "decent payoffs" all the time. The bigger surprise in a horror film is when maybe nothing suddenly jumps out so to speak -- less can often be more. Bear in mind, the story of what the Perron family went through and how Lorraine and Ed Warren participated is actually nonfiction. I appreciated the closure, and the respect the writers showed for Lorraine Warren's own personal accounts - they collaborated with her a lot. (Relatedly, "The Demonologist" by Gerald Brittle is also a solid, creepy book with many awkward! exclamation points! throughout!). Fantastic movie, it got me good (clap and seek, freaky dolls - the real one was a Raggedy Anne - eek!), and I'm so glad it had a big audience. Also adored Insidious and Insidious 2. Looking forward to watching James Wan's star rise.

@gucci mane: "What are some of the best horror alien movies that aren't necessarily sci-fi like "Alien", but closer to Signs in content? I guess I'm looking for alien abduction sort of stuff."

The Fourth Kind, starring Milla Jovovich. Not yet mentioned here, but fits your bill exactly and is damn good.

Is there seriously no love at all for Signs? Joaquin Phoenix watching TV news in the closet and shouting at the Brazilian kids in broken Spanish made that movie for me.

Glad someone else mentioned The Crazies with Timothy Olyphant, and The Caller with Stephen Moyer.
posted by hush at 12:12 PM on October 28, 2013


The Fourth Kind, now, I have no idea what genre to put that one in. It's one of the biggest WTF of the recent years, that much I can assure you. The way it gleefully fucks up with the narrative level from the metalevel is a wonder to behold, heh.
posted by Iosephus at 8:45 AM on October 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


The 25 Best Horror Movies Since The Shining
posted by Artw at 2:28 PM on October 29, 2013


Honorable mention for Shaun of the Dead? BOOOOOOOO.
posted by middleclasstool at 8:01 AM on October 30, 2013


I'm glad some of y'all went out and watched Pontypool and Triangle. I'm a relentless cheerleader for those movies, and now you can see why.

I've taken the recs given here to heart and have been stockpiling titles discussed above. It's going to be a fine, fine Halloween.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:27 PM on October 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also.... That worst ".... of the Dead" films list has a few that aren't so bad. Dance of the Dead is sort of like Night of the Creeps-lite. It isn't good, really, but it might be worth letting it play while you fold laundry, just for the scene where a garage band stops a zombie horde in its tracks purely through the power of their rock.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:13 PM on October 30, 2013


From ArtW's link:
Edelstein and Ebiri: 10 Horror Movies That Almost Made Our Best List
Quiz: Can You Identify 20 Horror Movies From Their IMDb Plot Keywords? (I got 97).

The former mentions Shutter Island as a horror film, which, I suppose, from a certain point of view.

(Incidentally, if you enjoyed Wolf Creek from the "best" film list (which puts The Descent so low? Below Death Proof? I have no words) that much there's a sequel out about now).


And here's 13 things you didn't know about Poltergeist. The one that creeps me the most is that those are real bodies, allegedly.
posted by Mezentian at 11:06 PM on October 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


And here's 13 things you didn't know about Poltergeist.

Whoa. Flashback time. I was maybe 10 when I first saw Poltergeist, but even then, I remember noticing the 16-year-old mom thing. Even in 1992, I remember thinking, "man, things change." I had completely forgotten about that realization.

Also, Poltergeist fucking ROCKS. It is a relentless fun-scary ride. Poltergeist was maybe one of the first movies to ever terrify me. I didn't have the words for it then, but there was something exciting about both wanting to watch the movie, and wanting to look away. As a kid, the most terrifying moment was when the toys are swirling around in the room - that scene scared me even when it was only present in the TV commercials for Poltergeist airing as part of Channel 11's Shocktober.

We don't see too many fun rides like Poltergeist. Movies that are fun like a haunted house ought to be fun. Too many horror movies nowadays are humorlessly grimdark (Wolf Creek, bleh), hollow machines to produce jump-scares (Paranormal Activity and its imitators), or self-referential horror-comedies (which I even like, but which are a separate genre).

Tobe Hooper is underrated in general. Or, maybe I just think he is, because I've avoided his weaker stuff. Invaders From Mars was great. It's a shame that it's not more popular - it's hard to think of a good, recent movie for kids that wasn't also a movie for babies, if that makes sense. An adventure movie that's just scary enough to be too scary for a little kid.

As for Lifeforce, it's a psychotronic blast. I'm a huge fan of the dessicating bodies, and the line "WALP, HERE I GO".
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:33 AM on October 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Correction: technically, the first movie to scare me was not Poltergeist, but Heavy Metal.

My dad had taped a movie off of HBO. Just before the movie began, there was a promo that interwove several movies together, including Tim Burton's Batman and Heavy Metal, all set to Elfman's Batman theme. The most vivid thing for me was seeing the Joker's leer intercut with the astronaut getting his flesh melted off.

I remember watching that promo over and over again.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:38 AM on October 31, 2013


Mezentian: Want to know something similarly creepy if not potentially creepier? When they were filming an episode of the "Six Million Dollar Man" in a haunted house, the crew moved what everyone thought was a mannequin and it turned out to be an actual corpse of an outlaw killed in 1911.
posted by rmd1023 at 6:03 AM on October 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


The 13 Greatest Horror Directors of All Time
posted by Artw at 6:10 AM on October 31, 2013


Poltergeist is definitely my first scary movie memory. I was at an aunt and uncle's house and the "adults" were all watching it, so us kids got kicked into the backyard to play. I watched it through the window. I was probably 7 or 8. Probably explains my fear of the dark that lingered for years and now a constant "hey let's watch this scary movie!" when everyone else is saying no.

Sticherbeast: "hollow machines to produce jump-scares (Paranormal Activity and its imitators)"

It may be hollow, but Paranormal Activity is the first movie in a long time that I had serious problems watching, and every time I see it (or it's imitators!) in the Netflix "Recommended for you" list they are met with a big fat NOPE! We have a video baby monitor that we use for the littlest one's room, and every once in awhile when I'm looking at it my brain will imagine seeing something move because of that damn movie.
posted by Big_B at 9:00 AM on October 31, 2013


just for the scene where a garage band stops a zombie horde in its tracks purely through the power of their rock

Has anyone said Wild Zero yet?

Wild Zero.
posted by Shepherd at 9:31 AM on October 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


10 of the spookiest scary stories you'll ever read.
posted by Artw at 8:51 PM on October 31, 2013


We have a video baby monitor that we use for the littlest one's room, and every once in awhile when I'm looking at it my brain will imagine seeing something move because of that damn movie.

Then, as I and someone else upthread recommended, you need to see 6 Films to Keep You Awake: The Baby's Room.

It is tailor made for you nightmares. Or, you should avoid it.
posted by Mezentian at 9:04 AM on November 2, 2013


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