Bloody Disgusting’s Remy Carreiro writes in: Being a huge fan of horror, I tend to notice one thing when people recommend horror movies to one another. Horror fans always recommend the same movies. People bring up The Exorcist weekly, as if no scary or decent horror movies were made since that (frankly, horrifying) movie. The reality is, there are tons of great horror movies out there that somehow have managed to fly just under most people’s radar. The horror movies that kick ass and take names, yet no one seems to ever talk about or recommend. Well, I am here to change that. As you guys recall from my last article, I am a big fan of foreign horror, so expect to see a few more foreign horror movies on this list as well. Here are six horror movies more people NEED to see.
Do you know how Quentin Tarantino kept talking about the brilliant movie, Big Bad Wolves from this year, saying it was easily the best movie of 2013? Big Bad Wolves is directed by Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado, and Rabies was their first movie. Not only their first film, but the first Israeli horror film ever made. That having been said, I would dare call it brilliant. Rabies feels like what would happen if Quentin Tarantino would make a horror movie with Park Chan-wook. Yes. I am heaping that amount of praise on it. Rabies takes what you expect from a “horror” film and flips it upside down, then ravages it in front of its family. Yes, it’s like THAT.
First of all, take the storytelling from something like Pulp Fiction, where we have intertwining lives that are impacting each other, though none of them know it. Rabies is about a brother and sister who run away from home into the woods, and this sets up them crossing paths with three other groups. It is a film filled with “they did NOT just do that, did they” moments, where you are in genuine shock at the dark turns this movie takes without warning. It is brutal. It is, at times, ironic. It is unflinching. Above all else, Rabies is a horror movie the likes if which you have never experienced.
Strap in tight when you watch this one, folks, because it is one helluva bumpy ride.
A Belgian, mockumentary, black comedy, horror film that follows the exploits of one serial killer as he goes around and does his deeds. While the idea of a mockumentary following a serial killer may not seem that new or exciting (Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon is another great example), what makes Man Bites Dog so amazing is that it came out in 1992. Yup. Way before The Blair Witch kicked the “found footage” horror genre into high gear, Man Bites Dog did it first, and did it in a time when many people still thought this stuff was real. It is a biting social commentary on the passive nature of the “viewer”, and just how manipulated we can all get as viewers. In this case, being manipulated into more than just seeing. Being manipulated into doing.
Man Bites Dog follows Ben. An oddly charismatic young serial killer, who gets followed by a camera crew as he expunges on (and shows us) the art of killing. It is off-puttingly funny at times, and incredibly stark and realistic in others. Man Bites Dog DOES feel like snuff from time to time. The jokes do break that up a bit, though. That strange balance it strikes is one of the main reasons it works, though. It finds a perfect blend and and balance between disturbing and funny, and it rides that line the entire length of the film.
What makes the movie so haunting and memorable is how Ben manipulates the crew over time. They start out as witnesses. Shocked and bothered witnesses. But over time, they sort of evolve (devolve) into what Ben is. It is the one film (besides Funny Games) that begs the question:
At what point do we go from being a voyeur to being involved?
Sometimes, strange, scary, or surreal things happen to us when we are younger, and we grow up having never talked about it. We keep it inside us like some burning ember that just scars us, silently. That is what Altered deals with. It also deals with aliens. The kicker with Altered is, it is one of the few alien movies done right. It is directed by Eduardo Sanchez (co-director of Blair Witch and the brilliant and criminally underrated Lovely Molly) and puts a nice spin on the alien abduction story. This time, humans abduct the alien.
When I recommend movies that people haven’t seen, I like to be vague. I want you to WANT to see the story, but I refuse to ruin it. The long story short here is these guys who find this alien also experienced one of their friends being killed by an alien when they were younger, so it ends up being a sort of interstellar revenge movie. Things obviously get complicated quickly, and the plan does not quite unfold how they all want it to. At times, it is funny. At other times, brutal. But one thing that most people agree about Altered once they see it is, it is undeniably entertaining.
Funny side note. The film was originally entitled Probed and was going to be an homage to Evil Dead and Troma films. It evolved into something more than that, though. Also, please see Lovely Molly. Seriously. Those two movies have cemented Sanchez as one of my favorite horror directors. Seriously.
Sorry of that title screws you up, but I wanted to cover all bases. Sometimes this movie is called Livid, and sometimes it is called Livide. I talked about Inside in my last article here, so you know I had to discuss those directors ( Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo) follow-up to that amazing horror movie.
Livid is not as extreme as Inside, but it is entirely just as memorable. Honestly, I will use a word to describe Livid that you will not likely see being used to describe horror very often. Beautiful. Honestly, the movie is beautiful. Sometimes it feels more like a fable or fairty tale than a horror movie. Then someone gets their throat slashed and you remember, oh yeah, this is horror. Please don’t let that description put you off. The French have never let you down with their horror before, and they wont start with Livid.
Livid is about a girl named Lucy (played by one of the most stunning woman in the world, Chloé Coulloud) who is a care taker for an ill old woman. She comes to find out there may be an artifact worth great money in the house, and she decides to come back late one night with a couple of friends to see if they can find it and break out of their financial rut they have all been in. Ofcourse, as is the case with most good horror, be careful when you go looking where you shouldn’t.
It may start slow, but once things pick up, it is hard not to be magnetized to this film. We find out the old lady she is caring for may not quite be who we thought she was, and this house itself has a bit of a sordid history. Oh, and there are ballerina vampires. That may sound lame, but trust me, there are a couple scenes with them that are visually stunning and wholly unforgettable.
Just excuse the ending. Everything in this movie is perfect until that final shot, when it all turns into a fucking Disney movie. But seriously, if you can look past that, you will love Livid.
Oh, and Beatrice Dalle is in it, too. Because you can’t do good French horror with Beatrice Dalle.
I will say this right now. I think Ben Wheatley might just be our brightest ray of hope in horror right now. I have seen four Wheatley films in just as many years, and each one has impacted me in a different way. Sightseers from this year was hilariously cynical and brilliant. A Field in England (from this year) was also brilliant, but in an entirely different way. Trippy as hell, that is a movie that needs multiple viewings to really appreciate. Down Terrace was genius, building pace perfectly. Then we have Kill List. A film I truly thought was one of the best movies from 2012.
I know BloodyDisgusting has already told many of you how great this film is, but I need to reiterate it. Kill List IS The Wicker Man of our generation. No, not the remake, which is to say, NOT THE BEES! No, I mean the original. A movie where you really don’t have any inkling what is going on until the final frame, but that final frame just drops your jaw. Hell, I cannot recall a horror movie that has a better ending than Kill List. Honestly. The last twenty minutes of that movie is like nothing else, and doesn’t even give you a second to come up for air.
So for those of you who don’t know, Kill List follows Jay and Gal (former soldiers turned hitmen) who are looking to do one final set of jobs so they can get on with their lives. We learn quickly that Jay seems to take a little bit of pleasure from killing, even if it is business. Things get more and more cryptic and vague (all the people he is set to kill say “thank you” to him right before he kills them, as just one example) and the film boils up to a conclusion that will leave a bad taste in your mouth, and a new appreciation for just how good horror can be. You think Kill List is a slow burn, but you look down and realize you are blistered and it is anything but.
From 2010, Cold Fish is much like Kill List in the sense that initially, you will have no idea what is going on or what anyone’s true motives are. But much like Kill List, by the time it ends, you will be exhausted and eviscerated.
Cold Fish begins with a girl stealing from a fish store. The meek mannered (haha hardly) owner tells her parents that there is no need to press charges. He says the young girl can work in his store now and can work off what she did, while also learning a thing or two about manners. What happens next is the two families get mixed up with one another, and we find out the owner of the store where the daughter stole is a serial killer (based loosely on a real life Japanese serial killer couple who owned a pet store and are said to have killed at least four) and his actions get more and more depraved and insane.
It may seem a simple premise, but do not undermine it. This movie is a lot like I Saw the Devil (the South Korean revenge thriller) in pacing and just how brutal the gore gets. On top of all that, though, is an incredibly engrossing story about how easy it can be to fall on the wrong side of the tracks, and how hard it is to pick yourself back up and walk away from that. Is Cold Fish disturbing? Yes. Intensely so. But it is also and unforgettable film, and a great way to end this list.
So what horror movies do YOU think more people need to see? Hit up the comments and let us know.