Film Review: Six Scary Movies To Watch This Halloween Part I

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Another installment in our lead up to October 31st and this time I'm bringing you the ultimate guide to staying-in this Halloween with some underrated classics...

Now I could count down the classic Horror titles, the ones we all know and love; The Exorcist (1973), Psycho (1960), the classic Hollywood monster movies etc, but that would be too obvious. Instead, I've opted to share with you six known and not-so-obvious masterpieces of the Horror genre. Featured are some stomach-churning, unsung B-Movie classics - frightening foreign films and a few spine-chilling cult classics from my personal collection. So turn out all the lights; shut all the curtains, grab your oversized popcorn and Haribo fun-pack - company optional, and enjoy my Top 6 spooky treats in no particular order....

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Three film students vanish after entering in to the Maryland Woods to make a documentary about the Legend of the Blair Witch but what the teens find is far worse. Leaving only their footage behind, this film relives the events leading to the teens' disappearance. The Blair Witch Project divides film fans, many think it is artless where as for it's generation it was unlike anything seen before. Made using just handheld cameras and cuts between day shots and night vision, as an audience you are amerced in the panic of the teens stranded in the forest. No detail in spared in making the narrative believable, combined with an entirely realistic special features documentary and the 'Missing Persons' campaign made online, this film is the original Paranormal Activity and leaves your heart pounding every time. Watch it in the dark for the full effect and alone if you're brave enough.

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Up first is one certainly not for the faint hearted...or even the not-so faith hearted. Divided in to three short films, Three...Extremes is a cross-cultural trilogy of horror films from established indie directors of China, South Korea and Japan, proof that Asian horror does it best. Each short explores the mythical horrors and social fears of their land as a contextual study through the medium of graphic horror, each more gruesome than the first.

Dumplings - A Hong Kong film directed by Fruit Chan, explores the fears of aging, following an actress desperate to reclaim her youth by any means. She visits a woman who makes dumplings with have regenerative powers but with a gruesome ingredient.
Cut - Park Chan-wook's South Korean short which tells the story of a successful film director and his wife who are kidnapped by an extra from his own film, who forces the director to play a series of sadistic games. If he fails, his wife's fingers will be chopped off one by one every five minutes.
Box - A Japanese finale by Takashi Miike, a short about a young woman who has recurring nightmares about being buried alive in a box in the snow. Searching for her long lost sister, she realises the nightmares may be a reality as she won't leave the past alone.

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A British horror which follows six female friends who venture in to an undiscovered cave. When they become trapped, their expedition soon goes horrifically wrong and they no longer find themselves alone but prey to a strange new bred of underground crawlers. Centred on female empowerment,  The Descent is a suspense-filled, well shot horror and the ultimate last stand story. As an underage teen renting this movie, it gave me goosebumps and remains a nostalgic classic amongst my ever-growing horror collection.

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Frank (Elijah Wood) is a deranged mama's boy who restores vintage mannequins by day and stalks, scalps and murders woman by night. When he meets a beautiful, artsy photographer, he is delighted to learn they share a passion for mannequins. Before long he is torn between his unfamiliar feelings and his thirst to kill. A strange premise, no? But unlike it's gritty original of the 1980s that failed to achieve the respectability of the likes of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Halloween,  this remake is an intelligent and wonderfully gory narrative that brings something new to the butcher's slab. Plagued with the task of having to play a character who is hardly on screen, Wood is stunning and deeply disturbing as Frank in this French stylish gore fest.

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For you film fans who aren't looking for something so serious, this part Evil Dead, part Truman Show horror follows a conventional narrative as a group of teens visit a remote cabin for the weekend, unaware that they are pawns in a sadistic game. When the teens explore the house, engaging in your stereotypical deeds, they have no clue that they are choosing their own fate. For horror hounds who love a laugh, The Cabin in the Woods is an intelligent and refreshing horror that has a solid backbone and good understanding of it's source texts. Written by Buffy creator and The Avengers director, Joss Whedon, this film is filled with witty humour, a few familiar faces and just the right levels of gore to keep it's audiences thrilled towards an outstanding finale.

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When the Davison family comes under siege during their anniversary get-away, the gang of mysterious masked killers soon learn that one of the victims harbours a concealed talent for fighting back. In a multi-million, remote home, a rich family's sunday lunch is disturbed when an arrow kills one of the guests at the dinner table. What follows is a gore-fest and bloody battle to survive as a gang in animal masks savagely attempt to take down the family and their first time guest, Erin who was supposed to be meeting her in-laws. You're Next doesn't so much as play on conventions like The Cabin in the Woods, yet it is aware of it's genre and the dysfunctional family under siege is outrageously entertaining if you can stomach the gore. In a conventional tale of last girl standing, she sets out for revenge with a shocking twist which results in a hugely underrated crowd pleaser.

And there you have it. This list was simply too hard to narrow down and it could of gone on forever but for the time being I thought I'd share some of these underrated horror beauties. As a film student, I would focus the majority of my studies on the Horror genre because the codes and conventions fascinate me, especially within World Cinema. Horror films are purely socially and politically contextual and I love exploring them. Let me know what you think of my picks, I'd love to hear your comments.  What are your top Halloween film favourites?

Until next time,




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8 comments:

  1. My boyfriend loves Takashi Miike and Chan-Wook Park so I shared this with him and he's really excited. I'm not as brave as him so I hope I don't regret showing him this haha

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    1. Oh I hope you like them! Just to warn you, Dumplings is the most disturbing if you have a weak stomach but I'd love to hear your thoughts after :)

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  2. I love your blog and film posts defo want to give you're next a try! ox

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  3. I love halloween!

    http://bluecoastofdreams.blogspot.com/

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  4. Great list, I haven't seen two of these I will need to get watching! The Three Extremes trilogy looks really interesting!

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    1. Yeah it's really good - certainly not for the faint hearted but it's great if you want to be truly scared! x

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