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19 Days Until Halloween (& A Poll!)


I've been thinking about good Halloween films (not necessarily horror movies, and definitely not lame slasher pictures, but suspenseful, atmospheric films that put a chill up the spine) that are "off the beaten path" -- that is, films that are independent, foreign, direct to DVD, or somehow under promoted, and thus might easily slip under the proverbial radar.

For example, we recently watched the 2009 Gothic film Dorian Gray, which I believe was never widely released in theaters in the U.S. I thought it was quite well done, true to the spirit if not the letter of Oscar Wilde's story, admirably restrained with the special effects, and graced by compelling performances by Ben Barnes, Colin Firth, and Rachel Hurd-Wood. It's perfect for the Halloween season, to my way of thinking. Here's the trailer:



Last year for Halloween we watched 2008's The Burrowers, an independent science fiction/horror Western that was short on cheap gore and long on psychological terror (just the way I like it), and we thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. Here's the trailer:



Some of the other recent "off the beaten path" films that I find chilling enough for the season include the following:
  • the Finnish historical fantasy/horror/morality play Sauna (2008 - thanks to mr_earbrass for the recommendation),

  • the surreal dark fantasy Franklyn (2008),

  • the chilling, true crime-inspired Borderland (2007),

  • the Spanish science fiction thriller Timecrimes (2007),

  • the moody, Lovecraft-inspired Cthulhu (2007),

  • the gorgeous, silent Lovecraft adaptation The Call of Cthulhu (2005),

  • the U.S. Civil War-era dark fantasy/horror Dead Birds (2004),

  • and the dystopian psychological thriller Final (2001).

Your mileage, of course, may vary.

Your turn!

Poll #1630581 What "off the beaten path" film(s) do you recommend for the Halloween season?

What "off the beaten path" film(s) do you recommend for the Halloween season?




Text of the Day: Do you have the Tuesday blues? I have the solution for you: the short story "Vampires of Venus" by Anthony Pelcher (1897-1981). Why? Because it has vampires. On Venus.

Teaser: Leslie Larner, an entomologist borrowed from the Earth, pits himself against the night-flying vampires that are ravaging the inhabitants of Venus.

Read the complete story here.

Comments

( 28 comments — Leave a comment )
mguibord
Oct. 12th, 2010 12:29 pm (UTC)
Ooh- Thank you for the rec of Dorian Gray- that looks terrific!
eldritchhobbit
Oct. 13th, 2010 03:13 pm (UTC)
My pleasure! I hope you enjoy it.
lothithil
Oct. 12th, 2010 12:34 pm (UTC)
I'm right there with ya on 'Dorian Gray'. Excellent film!

I must see these Cthulhu films!

Edited at 2010-10-12 12:35 pm (UTC)
eldritchhobbit
Oct. 13th, 2010 03:15 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad you liked it, too.

Cthulhu is only loosely based on Lovecraft's work (and more "Shadow Over Innsmouth" than anything else), but I think it comes close to capturing the Lovecraftian atmosphere. Call of Cthulhu is very close to the story and fascinating to watch.
peadarog
Oct. 12th, 2010 12:49 pm (UTC)
Great suggestions there! I have to admit, Dorian Gray didn't quite do it for me, but I can't remember why not -- it's been a while.
eldritchhobbit
Oct. 13th, 2010 03:16 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I'm sorry Dorian Gray didn't work for you. :( I was afraid it would become a CGI-fest, but instead, it felt restrained and wonderfully Gothic to me.
(Deleted comment)
eldritchhobbit
Oct. 13th, 2010 03:17 pm (UTC)
LOL! I hope you enjoy them.

I meant to include Session 9 which we saw only a few weeks ago. I can't believe I forgot it! *slaps forehead*
angua27
Oct. 13th, 2010 06:40 pm (UTC)
I know! That was one of the first movies I watched when I started liking horror movies. Still holds a special place in my brain. :)
mamomo
Oct. 12th, 2010 04:14 pm (UTC)
Timecrimes! Yes! The same day I saw it, I also saw The Cold Hour. It's a Spanish movie, and it's more scifi (post-apocalyptic) than horror, but I recommend it, too.

Some other recommendations: Bug, Frostbitten, and The Host. I saw The Loved Ones last week and recommend it, as well. It's more of a traditional horror, sorta-slasher movie, but I thought it was better than a good deal of stuff in that genre. It was a bit like a torture porn movie without the torture porn. There was some minor gore, but most of the suspense came from what wasn't shown or was implied.

*adding your recs to my queue*
eldritchhobbit
Oct. 13th, 2010 03:19 pm (UTC)
It's a Spanish movie, and it's more scifi (post-apocalyptic) than horror, but I recommend it, too.

Oh my. I just read the description of it, and it is right up my alley. I love this kind of story! *adds to queue*

Thanks for this and the other terrific suggestions, too! I'm going to give all of these a try.
jadepilot
Oct. 12th, 2010 04:19 pm (UTC)
I can't wait to check out these films.
eldritchhobbit
Oct. 13th, 2010 03:20 pm (UTC)
I hope you enjoy them! I completely forgot to add Session 9, which is the most recent one we watched. Argh! I recommend it, too.
(Deleted comment)
eldritchhobbit
Oct. 13th, 2010 03:21 pm (UTC)
My pleasure! Session 9 should be on that list, too. I can't believe I forgot it!
cookiefleck
Oct. 12th, 2010 04:53 pm (UTC)
Glad you included Borderland. An excellent film!

Re my poll responses...

Confessions of an Opium Eater - Well, I know no one on Earth has seen this except me, and it's about opium dens and a slave trade of Chinese women in cages rather than something truly Halloween-spooky, but heck it's one of my most favorite films and stars Vincent Price and has weird atmosphere up the kazoo. Can provide more info if you are interested.

Night Tide - Not really "scary" but very atmospheric and strange in its own way and who can resist a mysterious story coupled with a young Dennis Hopper and everything takes place at the Santa Monica Pier.

Eraserhead - I know I don't have to explain this one. Love it. (Speaking of things related to David Lynch, by the way, we had a "Twin Peaks reunion" at the autograph show last weekend and I had a chance to speak with Ray Wise... love that guy).
eldritchhobbit
Oct. 13th, 2010 03:22 pm (UTC)
Great recommendations! I haven't seen Eraserhead in years, and I've never seen the other two at all. Thanks so much for these!
lothithil
Oct. 12th, 2010 05:37 pm (UTC)
... and 'The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus' :D
eldritchhobbit
Oct. 13th, 2010 03:22 pm (UTC)
*slaps forehead* How could I forget that? Thank you!
endlessrarities
Oct. 12th, 2010 05:55 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the recommendations! I'll have to check them out!
eldritchhobbit
Oct. 13th, 2010 03:23 pm (UTC)
My pleasure! I hope you enjoy them. I should've included Session 9, too. I'll have to post a "P.S." about that one!
mr_earbrass
Oct. 12th, 2010 06:05 pm (UTC)
Glad you liked Sauna, one of my favorites, and agreed big time on The Burrowers and Dead Birds--not enough historical/western horror, though Neil Marshall is apparently working on "a Lovecraftian western," so we can hope it's as awesome a film as the combination of those two words implies it should be. Praying to the old ones the tone is closer to The Descent than Dog Soldiers.

The last one I mentioned, Eyes of Fire is super hard to find and really, really weird--almost a Blackwood/Machen/Lovecraft feel to it at times, and I remember being pleasantly surprised despite the budget constraints. It's been a while, though...

Also might have added The Fearless Vampire Killers if I didn't have such a vexed relationship with it--a childhood favorite, and a beautiful, atmospheric, and charmingly silly film with a great soundtrack, but it's not only directed by Roman Polanski but also stars him, which I imagine might be triggering for some people. It also stars Sharon Tate and was made before Polanski's degeneracy into human filth, and seeing the two of them share the screen before everything went to shit adds a very palpable pall to the film--but it's an intrinsic part of my childhood and nigh-unheard of nowadays, so I thought it deserved mention.
eldritchhobbit
Oct. 13th, 2010 03:25 pm (UTC)
Neil Marshall is apparently working on "a Lovecraftian western," so we can hope it's as awesome a film as the combination of those two words implies it should be. Praying to the old ones the tone is closer to The Descent than Dog Soldiers.

Yes, exactly! Ditto what you said.

Thanks so much for your other recommendations. I've never even heard of Eyes of Fire. It sounds fascinating! I'm marking down all of your suggestions.
mr_earbrass
Oct. 13th, 2010 05:09 pm (UTC)
Period Horror FTW
Oh wow, if you haven't seen Ravenous yet I'm extremely jealous--wish I could watch that one again for the first time. One of the very few films I went and saw in the theatre more than once during its theatrical run--although it has its warts, it balances dark humor with horror brilliantly. One of the very, very best original soundtracks of all time, too, any genre, any era, IMO. All that said, just about everyone I've recced it to has been underwhelmed, so, as always, low expectations may yield higher returns.

Now that I've gushed you'll have seen it and thought it was teh stinkiest, but that's life and discussions of film ;)
eldritchhobbit
Oct. 19th, 2010 02:15 pm (UTC)
Re: Period Horror FTW
LOL! I know what you mean about how going in with low expectations tends to help the viewing experience.

According to Netflix, Ravenous is on its way to us now.
reynardine
Oct. 12th, 2010 10:16 pm (UTC)
Interesting list of films! Must put on my to-watch list!
eldritchhobbit
Oct. 13th, 2010 03:27 pm (UTC)
I hope you enjoy them! Thanks for your great suggestions, by the way. You remind me I haven't watched Candyman in far, far too long.
sittingduck1313
Oct. 13th, 2010 03:37 pm (UTC)
For a movie, I would suggest The Uninvited. Specifically the 1944 film with Ray Milland. A very stmospheric ghost story. Good luck finding it though. I don't think it's been released on DVD. You'll have to scrounge E-Bay or Amazon Marketplace for the videotape release. Or hope that AMC will show it on Halloween.

For radio, there's the Quiet, Please episode The Thing on the Fourble Board.

http://www.archive.org/download/QuietPlease/qp60.mp3

And recently I got a Call of Cthulhu campaign entitled Tatters of the King. As the title suggests, it focuses on The King in Yellow. A lot of the sequences are very unsettling. As a bonus, there's a cameo appearance by none other than J.R.R. Tolkien.
eldritchhobbit
Oct. 16th, 2010 01:10 pm (UTC)
I need to search for The Uninvited via my DVR this season. Thanks for reminding me, and for the audio recommendation.

As the title suggests, it focuses on The King in Yellow. A lot of the sequences are very unsettling. As a bonus, there's a cameo appearance by none other than J.R.R. Tolkien.

How terrific is that? Awesome!
( 28 comments — Leave a comment )

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