Amy H. Sturgis (eldritchhobbit) wrote,
Amy H. Sturgis

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Halloween Countdown Day 22: Film Recommendations

It's film time! Every year about this time I think 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 VOD, or somehow under promoted, and thus might easily slip under the proverbial radar. Not the classics. Not the usual suspects.

I've already made a separate post this season with recommendations of Anton Yelchin's Halloween-friendly films, so I won't repeat those here.

Also, I'm not including Stranger Things (2016), as it was hardly under the radar and it's not a film, but if you haven't seen this wonderful series, you should put it at the top of your "To Do" list this Halloween. Consider it required viewing, people!

Now I have a few new recommendations to add to my list, based on this past year's viewing. (We accessed nearly all of these via Netflix or Amazon streaming.) Here they are in chronological order.

Last Night (1998): (Thanks to penfold_x for the rec!) In Toronto, a group of friends and family prepares for the fast-approaching end of the world. This apocalyptic film starts out like a dark comedy but ends much more like a serious drama. It won three Genie Awards, including a Best Actress for Sandra Oh, and I see why. She really shines here, and her last scene is stuck in my head. If you like to ponder how you would spend your very last -- and the world's very last -- night, try this.

Color Out of Space (2010): This is an absolutely brilliant adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft's "The Colour Out of Space" set in Germany. We thought this was amazing. Beautiful visual storytelling. Even if you're not one for subtitled films, do give this a try, especially if you know and appreciate the source material.

Extraordinary Tales (2013): Several of my students recommended this to me, and I'm grateful that they did! This is an anthology film comprised of five different animated adaptations of Poe's stories, namely "The Fall of the House of Usher" narrated by Christopher Lee, "The Tell-Tale Heart" narrated by Bela Lugosi, "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar" narrated by Julian Sands, "The Pit and the Pendulum" narrated by Guillermo del Toro, and "The Masque of the Red Death" -- my favorite -- which is eerily and beautifully silent. Despite uneven narration quality, due to the age of some of the audio recordings, this is terrific fun for Poe fans.

These Final Hours (2013): Wow, this one unexpectedly blew us away. A meteor has collided with Earth in the North Atlantic, and that leaves about twelve hours before the final global firestorm reaches Western Australia. In Perth, bad boy James leaves his pregnant girlfriend to try to drown his fear at "the party to end all parties," but his life abruptly changes when he comes across a young girl being attacked. This is a delicate and powerful story of character growth and redemption in the face of the biggest horror of all: the end of all things. Highly recommended.

Cruel and Unusual (2014): This was another film that surprised us. It focuses on a man condemned for killing his wife. He finds himself in a mysterious institution where he is sentenced to relive her death for eternity, along with others similarly sentenced. It's a dark and affecting work of psychological horror.

Killer Legends (2014): This documentary traces four urban legends (or are they?) back to their origins: The Hookman, The Candyman, The BabySitter and the Man Upstairs, and The Killer Clown. I found it to be fascinating, both in the real crimes it examines and the *lack* of crimes it exposes (such as the prevalent but unfounded rumors of Halloween candy poisoned or tampered with that I remember from my youth). A few sequences aren't for the squeamish.

Amnesiac (2015): This tells the story of a man who wakes up in bed suffering from memory loss after being in an accident, only to begin to suspect that his caretaker, who claims to be his wife, may not be his real wife and may not have his best interests at heart. Wes Bentley won me over as the bewildered protagonist, and good heavens, Kate Bosworth as the "wife" really brought the chills. Stylish, understated, and slow-burn spooky.

10 Cloverfield Lane (2015): Between you and me, this is the scariest film I've seen in ages. I'm sure the twists are common knowledge by now, but just in case they aren't, I won't say anything except this is absolutely ideal for the Halloween season -- or anytime you want your brain turned inside out and goosebumps on your skin. Hats off to John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and John Gallagher Jr. for bringing the tense, claustrophobic script to vivid life. You need to see this!

Estranged (2015): January is forced to return home after six years traveling abroad, because a near-fatal accident has left her temporarily wheelchair bound and depleted of her long-term memory. At the mercy of those who claim to be her loved ones, isolated from outside help, she tries to discover the truth about her past and her present. This is smarter and more complex than we expected it to be, very Gothic in tone and execution.

Krampus (2015): This irreverent horror film, in which a boy who is having a bad Christmas accidentally summons an old-world Christmas demon to wreak havoc, is not for everyone, but if you're like me, and you'd trade Christmas for Halloween any day of the week, it's a lot of fun. Think of it as the evil Mirror Universe version of It's A Wonderful Life.

The Reconstruction of William Zero (2015): A geneticist who wakes up from an accident with only fragments of his memory must relearn who he is from his twin brother. But the deeper he digs, the more he realizes that he may be wrong about who he thinks he is -- and who he thinks his twin is. Variety review compared this sad tale of human cloning and human frailty to a story by H.G. Wells, and that sounds about right. It's not a perfect film, but it's a good example of thoughtful indie science fiction.

They Look Like People (2015): The longer we watched this indie psychological thriller, the more we liked it. It builds and builds and builds. It stars MacLeod Andrews as a man who believes that humanity is being secretly taken over by evil creatures (think of a slow and simmering episode of The X-Files in which Mulder or Scully never manage to arrive on the scene), and it won a special jury award at the Slamdance Film Festival.

The Visit (2015): This is a found footage horror film written, produced, and directed by M. Night Shyamalan. I know that Shyamalan can be hit or miss, but this was much more of a hit. A brother and sister are sent for their vacation to visit their grandparents, which is a gesture of reconciliation, as the family has been estranged. While there, the siblings become increasingly frightened by their grandparents' disturbing behavior. The kids are compelling, and their isolation is palpable. The twist, when it comes, it terrific.

The Witch (2015): This film is like watching a colonial American nightmare come to life (which is not for everyone, but definitely was for me). The production team worked extensively with English and American texts and museums, and they consulted with experts on seventeenth-century English agriculture as well to bring early reports and imaginative depictions of witchcraft alive in a gritty, realistic setting. I've read some of the texts that inspired the film, such as those referenced in and created by the witch trials, and I was transported and enthralled by this dark and disturbing work. It rations its moments of gruesomeness for absolute impact and relies heavily on suggestion, underscoring the choking paranoia and claustrophobia of the Puritan existence. Not for those faint of heart or short of attention span.

The Boy (2016): Although it has its moments of predictability, on the whole this one satisfies. Greta is a young American woman who escapes an abusive relationship by getting a temporary job as a nanny for a British family. When she arrives at the parents' home, they introduce her to their son, Brahms. Brahms is a porcelain doll who is treated like the living child he replaced after the real Brahms' childhood tragedy. Things get really weird from there in a mostly satisfying "this is how you go crazy" kind of way. Not perfect, but worth seeing.

The Forest (2016): Natalie Dormer stars as twins in this supernatural thriller about one sister searching for the other, who is presumably lost in Japan's Aokigahara Forest. My husband and I are on the same page about films about 95% of the time, but this is the one on which our opinions diverged this year. He found this to be trite and mostly short on substance. I was looking mostly for the chilling atmosphere of the so-called Suicide Forest and the acute sense of vulnerability that comes with being alone in an emergency in a foreign country, so I didn't mind the movie's (over)reliance on this, and I found the ending twist related to the twins' backstory to be effective. Your mileage may vary.

Sacrifice (2016): If Rupert Graves is in it, then I watch it, no exceptions. That's just how I roll. He stars opposite Radha Mitchell here in an adaptation of the novel Sacrifice by Sharon Bolton. Set in the Shetland Islands, this horror film fits in the Wicker Man category of ancient rites surviving intact in remote locales, and it effectively captures a nightmarish scenario: men using women to have sons and then, according to their old traditions, yielding them up as a kind of human sacrifice. Mitchell and Graves relocate to the Shetlands, where Mitchell's character unearths a "bog body" of a woman who had recently given birth and then been murdered in a ritualistic fashion. Mitchell and Joanne Crawford, portraying a local police sergeant, drive the investigation to bring justice to this woman, and in the process find their own lives at risk. The film has its flaws, but it's refreshing to see a genuinely spooky film with a genuinely feminist bent, and all of the leads are compelling in their roles. The scenic locations provide atmospheric settings for the eerie goings-on.

The Veil (2016): Twenty-five years after members of Heaven's Veil, a religious cult, commit suicide, a documentary filmmaker contacts the sole survivor to film a work about what really happened. A Fangoria review describes the premise as the idea "that Jim Jones could have been right," and that pretty much sums it up. The film doesn't quite live up to such an ambitious premise, but the whole "investigating the cult after the fact" aspect, on site and with found footage, is so downright disturbing that this supernatural thriller still works well enough in the goosebumps department. Or to put it another way, the film radiates a sense of wrongness -- in part, no doubt, because it skirts so closely around tragic real-life events -- that it sticks with you.

They're Watching (2016): This is a film in the blood-soaked horror comedy oeuvre, which is not usually the way I roll, but I found this more palatable than most. The crew of an American home improvement TV show goes to Moldova to film a segment about an American woman who is transforming a run-down, isolated dwelling into an artist's haven, only to discover that the locals consider her (not without reason!) to be a witch. This isn't going to win any awards, but it doesn't take itself too seriously, and its parody aspects are on point.

Here are some of the other recent "off the beaten path" films that I find to be fittingly chilling for the season:

  • Stonehearst Asylum (2014) Based on a tale by Edgar Allan Poe and starring Ben Kingsley, Michael Caine, and Kate Beckinsale... need I say more? In the words of Film Journal International, "While the film lacks the macabre humor of the original story, it does an excellent job of conveying the creeping horror of Victorian medicine." Delicious.

  • As Above, So Below (2014) I know I'm in the minority here, but I really loved this film. A trip by urban explorers into the Parisian catacombs becomes a journey of alchemical transformation. Okay, this had me at "Parisian catacombs," but I was delightfully surprised by characters actually being smart in a crisis, having meaningful backstories, and seeking redemption along the way.

  • Housebound (2014) This New Zealand horror comedy about a woman under house arrest in what may be a haunted house was a morbidly pleasant trip, alternately wacky and spooky.

  • Cut Bank (2014) This small-town murder thriller may err on the predictable side, but outstanding performances by the likes of Bruce Dern, John Malkovich, Billy Bob Thornton, and Liam Hemsworth make it memorable.

  • Oculus (2014): We watched this for Longmire's Katee Sackhoff and Doctor Who's Karen Gillan. We ended up agreeing it was one of our favorite movies of the year. A young woman is convinced that an antique mirror is responsible for the death and misfortune her family has suffered. This is beautifully crafted horror.

  • Alien Abduction (2014): This is the film I mentioned in my post about the Brown Mountain Lights. It's a found-footage film done right, with scenes that reminded us of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Signs, The Blair Witch Project, and The X-Files. Its restraint in showing very little of the aliens is a strength. Be sure to watch through the credits!

  • Europa Report (2013): For my money, this is the best science fiction film of the last year. Gravity can't begin to compare. This recounts the fictional story of the first crewed mission to Europa, one of Jupiter's moons. Despite a disastrous technical failure that loses all communications with Earth mission control and a series of dangerous crises, the international crew continues their mission to Europa and encounters a baffling mystery. All SF fans must see this.

  • The Happy House (2013): It's the bed and breakfast you always dreaded - and that's on a good day. This is not a good day. This quirky, clever serial-killer comedy works unexpectedly well thanks to its dark, restrained script and compelling characters.

  • The House at the End of Time (2013) This Venezuelan horror-suspense film is a must see. I don't want to spoil it in any way. This may be my favorite pick from 2015. You want to see this. You do.

  • Haunter (2013): This Canadian film is about teenager stuck in a time loop that is not quite the same with each revolution. She must uncover the truth, but her actions have consequences for herself and others. This one really surprised us (in a good way). Shiver inducing and well worth watching.

  • How I Live Now (2013): Ably adapted from the award-winning novel by Meg Rosoff (which I really liked), this dreamlike film follows fifteen-year-old American Daisy, who is sent to stay with cousins on a remote farm in the United Kingdom just before the outbreak of a fictional third world war. I don't know why this haunting apocalyptic work didn't receive more attention, because it deserved it.

  • Jug Face (2013): This wins the original premise award. There's no way to describe the film that doesn't sound bizarre, but it's unexpectedly compelling. A teen girl who is pregnant with her brother's child tries to escape from a backwoods community, only to discover that her people have determined that she must sacrifice herself to a creature in a pit. (Be warned about the subject of miscarriage.)

  • The Numbers Station (2013): This is a British-American action thriller about a burned-out CIA black ops agent (John Cusack) assigned to protect the code operator at a secret American numbers station somewhere in the British countryside. I suspect the poor reception this received is because it's more quiet, melancholy, and introspective than the run-of-the-mill action-mystery. Of course, that's why we liked it.

  • Mama (2013): This is a Spanish-Canadian treat based on the Argentine Muschietti's Mamá, a 2008 Spanish-language short film of the same name. Young children can be disturbing. Young children abandoned in the woods for several years and raised by a (territorial and possessive) spirit can be doubly so.

  • Dark Skies (2013): This wasn't the very best spooky film we saw this past year, but it was far, far better than I'd anticipated, and it scratched that "alien abduction" itch of mine that's been troubling me ever since The X-Files left the small and big screens.

  • Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia (2013): This stand-alone story works independently of its prequel. It's not an unproblematic film, but if you have a taste for Southern Gothic, it's worth a look.

  • House Hunting, also released as The Wrong House (2013): What a surprise this psychological horror film was! Quite the mind game. Home-shopping families visit an empty farmhouse... and the house keeps them there.

  • After (2012) When two bus crash survivors awake to discover that they are the only people left in their town, they work together to unravel the truth behind the strange events. A bit saccharine, but worth seeing.

  • Citadel (2012) I'm still not sure what I think about this Irish psychological horror film, but months later I'm still thinking about it, so that's noteworthy in itself. I'm now horrified of high rises for an all new reason.

  • Extracted (2012): This thought-provoking indie SF film considers a scientist whose consciousness becomes trapped in the mind of a convict who volunteered to be a part of an experimental procedure. This is another cerebral tale well worth seeing.

  • Last Kind Words (2012): Brad Dourif movies are always a part of Halloween, or at least they should be. Seventeen-year-old Eli has just moved with his family deep into the backwoods of Kentucky to work on the isolated farm of a local recluse. Inexplicably drawn into the strange forest that lies beyond the farm, Eli encounters the beautiful, sweet, and mysterious Amanda, seemingly the perfect girl. But with the discovery of decaying bodies hanging from the trees, he realizes that the forest - and Amanda - are harboring some very dark secrets. If a horror film can be called lovely, it's this one.

  • The Wall (2012): This elegant Austrian-German film haunted me for a good long while. A woman visits with friends at their hunting lodge in the Austrian Alps. Left alone while her friends walk to a nearby village, the woman soon discovers she is cut off from all human contact by a mysterious invisible wall. With her friends' loyal dog Lynx as her companion, she lives the next three years in isolation looking after her animals. Understated and affecting.

  • The Tall Man (2012): I love it when a film goes in a direction I didn't foresee, and this French-Canadian mystery-thriller one did it again and again. In a small, poverty-stricken former mining town, children are disappearing on a regular basis. The abductions are blamed on a local legend called the "Tall Man." One of the standout favorites of the year for me, this one asks some uncomfortable and thought-provoking questions that keep you thinking long after the film is over.

  • The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh (2012): This little Canadian film serves up some effective atmosphere. An antiques collector inherits a house from his estranged mother only to discover that she had been living in a shrine devoted to a mysterious cult. Soon he comes to suspect that his mother's oppressive spirit still lingers within her home and is using items in the house to contact him with an urgent message. Vanessa Redgrave's voice-overs as the late mother add depth to the spooky visuals.

  • In the Dark Half (2012): This was the first of three micro-budget movies to be made in Bristol, UK under the iFeatures scheme. Despite its humble beginnings, this is an absolutely riveting and deeply soulful work. Young Jessica Barden gives a particularly brilliant performance. Bad things are happening in a run-down working-class town, where a young woman is convinced that something nasty is out to get her. But she's also struggling with conflicting feelings toward her hard-drinking neighbor, whose son mysteriously died while she was babysitting him. One of my favorites from this year.

  • Sinister (2012): After moving to a new town, a true-crime writer discovers a cache of videotapes depicting brutal murders that took place in the very house he just bought. As he tries to solve the mystery behind the crimes, a sinister force threatens his own family. I'm sort of breaking my own rules here, as this wasn't an under-the-radar film, but merely hearing the music for this movie creeps me out!

  • Paranorman (2012): Okay, this wasn't exactly an off-the-beaten-path film either, but it's so wonderful, I had to list it. A perfect "feel-good" movie for Halloween!

  • The Awakening (2011): If I had to recommend one new(ish) film for this season, this would be it. Gorgeously done from start to finish. In post-World War I England, a boarding school haunted by a boy's ghost calls on Florence Cathcart, who disproves hoaxes for a living. But Cathcart senses something truly strange about the school, leading her to question her belief in the rational.

  • Whisperer in Darkness (2011): You can't go wrong with the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society's adaptations of Lovecraft's stories. This is a "talkie" instead of a silent film (like the HPLHS's Call of Cthulhu, and it works well.

  • Sound of My Voice (2011): Wow. I mean, wow. This is high on my list of favorite viewing from this year. In this psychological thriller, journalists Peter and Lorna undergo an elaborate preparation process in order to infiltrate a cult, leading from a desolate road to an unmarked location, but the mystery only deepens when their blindfolds are removed. This is a smart, chilling film with just the right touch of cerebral science fiction.

  • Ghost from the Machine (2010): After his parents die, Cody, an inventor, becomes obsessed with finding a way to contact them once again. Tom, a local scientist who lost his wife, becomes interested in the project and helps Cody. Together, they discover that Cody's invention can cause ghosts momentarily to reappear as flesh and blood. What follows is a dark and moving study of human nature.

  • True Nature (2010): This is another film that really surprised me, to my delight. This tells the story of a family reunited when their college-age daughter is found after a year-long disappearance. With no memory of what happened to her, she soon discovers that her very presence threatens to expose the secrets and fragile lies by which her family has lived.

  • Womb (2010): This stark, minimalist, quietly haunting film stars Eva Green and Matt ("Eleven") Smith, both of whom turn in subtle performances. A woman's consuming love forces her to bear the clone of her dead beloved. From his infancy to manhood, she faces the unavoidable complexities of her controversial decision. I found this to be wrenching, disturbing, and darkly beautiful. Full disclosure, though: my husband found it to have more style than substance.

  • Imprint (2007): Can you hear their cries? Shayla Stonefeather, a Native American attorney prosecuting a Lakota teen in a controversial murder trial, returns to the reservation to say goodbye to her dying father. After the teen is killed, she hears ghostly voices and sees strange visions that cause her to re-examine beliefs she thought she left behind. This is a solid independent film with a gifted Native cast.

  • Wicked Little Things (2006): This is a film about the Appalachian children who died in a mine coming back to haunt the mine-owner's descendants. It's exactly what it says on the tin, no real surprises. What sets this apart is beautifully atmospheric shots of the woods and a spectacular sense of place. Visually memorable.

  • House of Voices, also released as Saint Ange (2004): This French-Romanian film is a sophisticated mind game that kept me utterly fascinated and glued to the screen. A young cleaning woman is dispatched to tend to a crumbling orphanage called Saint Ange that houses only one child. While going about her duties, the new housekeeper begins to witness supernatural occurrences, causing her sole co-worker, a cook, to question her sanity. Whatever you expect this to be, I guarantee it will surprise you.

  • Breaking Dawn (2004) No, this is not that Breaking Dawn. This is cerebral little film that rewards careful watching. Dawn is a young medical student is charged with uncovering the murder of a mental patient's mother. Or is she? Well crafted and satisfying. And spooky.

  • Below (2002): This is a World War II-era horror film that makes great use of the claustrophobia of submarines to create a chilling mood, very atmospheric. If you like Star Trek's Bruce Greenwood (and who doesn't?), you'll want to see this.

Here are my other top recommendations from recent years:

  • Woman in Black (2012): This one isn't "off the beaten path" by any means, but I enjoyed it so much I'm noting it anyway. It's a rare example of a film adaptation that changes the ending of its source text and in fact improves the story.

  • Another Earth (2011): On the night of the discovery of a duplicate planet in the solar system, an ambitious young student and an accomplished composer cross paths in a tragic accident. This is one of my very favorite films of 2012.

  • Absentia (2011): A woman and her sister begin to link a mysterious tunnel to a series of disappearances, including that of her own husband. This is my other top favorite of 2012.

  • Exit Humanity (2011): A young man struggles to survive in the aftermath of a deadly undead outbreak during the American Civil War. This is a period zombie film with a heart and a brain. There's zombie-related gore, but it serves the purpose of the story.

  • Cabin in the Woods (2011): Five friends go for a break at a remote cabin in the woods, where they get more than they bargained for. Together, they must discover the truth behind the cabin in the woods. Joss Whedon wrote this, and that's probably enough said right there. This turns all the classic horror tropes upside down.

  • Hobo with a Shotgun (2011): In this satirical film, a homeless vigilante played by Rutger Hauer blows away "crooked cops, pedophile Santas, and other scumbags" with his trusty pump-action shotgun. Warnings for gore and adult content. This is a dark and wry tongue-halfway-but-only-halfway-in-cheek dystopia.

  • Some Guy Who Kills People (2011): This is a horror-comedy about a small town loser fresh out of an asylum who seeks revenge on those he deems responsible for ruining his life. Unexpectedly poignant and character-driven.

  • The Last Exorcism (2010): A troubled evangelical minister agrees to let his last exorcism be filmed by a documentary crew. I was unexpectedly enthralled with this; it twisted and turned in directions I didn't anticipate, and its ending is straight out of a Lovecraft story. Highly recommended. Note(!!!): The 2013 sequel is a terrible mess. Don't waste your time.

  • Tucker and Dale vs. Evil (2010): "Good old boys" Tucker and Dale are on vacation at their dilapidated mountain cabin when they are attacked by a group of preppy college kids. This is ridiculously clever as it plays into and subverts classic horror scenarios. I laughed out loud.

  • YellowBrickRoad (2010): In 1940, the entire population of Friar, New Hampshire walked up a winding mountain trail, leaving everything behind. In 2008, the first official expedition into the wilderness attempts to solve the mystery of the lost citizens of Friar. There's gore here, but far more psychological horror. The premise would've made a fine Twilight Zone episode. My husband felt the ending was a disappointing cop-out, but I give it props for originality.

  • The dark fantasy Black Death (2010): Set during the time of the first outbreak of bubonic plague in England, a young monk is tasked with learning the truth about reports of people who are immune to the sickness in a small village, allegedly made so by "witchcraft." What follows is a dark fable that considers evil and love, loyalty and death, faith and fate. Excellent turns by Sean Bean, Eddie Redmayne, and a strong supporting cast really bring this to life (pun intended), and I was more than pleasantly surprised by the atmospheric eeriness and thoughtful tragedy of this film. As Alan Jones from Film4's "FrightFest" said about the film, "This intelligent original represents a commendable break from the genre norm and is one of the most powerful films made about God, the godless and what the Devil truly represents."

  • Dorian Gray (2009): I don't believe this was ever 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.

  • The Brøken (2008): This understated doppleganger film plays out much like a modern-day Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Quiet and disturbing, and I mean that in a good way.

  • The Burrowers (2008): This is a brilliant 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. Highly recommended.

  • You can't miss the brilliant, quirky, lovingly satirical films of Larry Blamire (thanks to marthawells for the recommendation), which are "must see" material, including The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra (2004) and its sequel The Lost Skeleton Returns Again (2009), as well as the standalone films Trail of the Screaming Forehead (2007) and Dark and Stormy Night (2009) - I simply can't praise these enough.

  • The Lazarus Project (2008): A former criminal gets a second chance at life and mysteriously ends up working at a psychiatric hospital where nothing is at it seems. Terrific psychological piece. I don't know why this didn't receive more attention and praise.

  • Another well worth watching is the Finnish historical fantasy/horror/morality play Sauna (2008 - thanks to mr_earbrass for the recommendation).

  • We also quite liked the surreal dark fantasy Franklyn (2008), as well as

  • 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.

Okay, you're turn: what under-the-radar, off-the-beaten-path, Halloween-friendly films do you recommend?
Tags: film, halloween

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