October is my favorite month of the year, and this is largely due to movies. When I was a young redheaded rapscallion, my parents censored a large portion of my television watching. I was the kid who could not watch The Simpsons or Married, With Children (for that I thank them) or the blood and scream filled horror movies about which all of my friends were talking on the monkey bars (which is an elementary school version of a water cooler, I believe). So what did I do? I went to my friends’ houses and watched them in the middle of the night. I remember the first time I saw Psycho at David’s house. I remember the first time I saw IT at Doron’s house. Each time I was scared shitless, but ultimately delighted. Then, around 6th or 7th grade, my parents stopped caring. My father took me to the video store and watched as I rented Natural Born Killers and Texas Chainsaw Massacre. He warned me that I would probably be permanently damaged by the violence and terror of these films, but that he was sick of me whining. So I watched them. And then I watched more.
Now, years later as a grown man, I still try to see every horror movie there is. While they’re not as interesting anymore, and usually consist of remakes, sequels, remakes of Japanese movies and remakes of Japanese sequels, there are still a few good ones that slip through the cracks. October is when I go crazy on horror movies. While we all know great movies like The Shining, The Exorcist and Rosemary’s Baby, here are a few great ones (some old, some new) that may have fallen below your radar.
The Collector: I watched this one with (and upon recommendation from) BS enthusiast Greg as well as ChezJJP and boomstick. Less outwardly frightening and more absorbing and eerie, this film stars Terence Stamp as a bank clerk who begins collecting butterflies, until he finds a young woman he wants to nab instead. Using a series of chloroform cocktails, he manages to get her into his underground dungeon, where the two form a relationship over several weeks. She develops a bit of Stockholm Syndrome, as he does not seem to want to harm her, just admire her in a captured state. If you liked Silence of the Lambs, you should enjoy this as well. Much like Hannibal Lector, the character here is well defined, outspoken, and often quite sweet and sympathetic.
Ravenous: This movie begins with the quote from Nietzsche: “He that fights with monsters should look to himself that he does not become a monster.” Following that is an uncredited quote which simply says, “Eat Me.” This sets the tone for this semi-serious horror flick which is both hilariously funny and graphic. A man is assigned to an outpost in the Sierra Nevada Mountains with a bunch of forgotten military degenerates. While there, another man shows up claiming to be the sole survivor of an expedition where they ran out of food and started to turn on each other. If you liked Texas Chainsaw Massacre, you might also enjoy this. While this is more character driven than TCM, both will make you never want to eat meat again. Clearly, I highly recommend this to recklesley.
Freaks: Tod Browning created the greatest Dracula film in history in 1931 and then followed it up with this, the film that pretty much ruined his career. A group of circus freaks live peacefully in a traveling show, until one of them (a sideshow midget) falls in love with a “normal” trapeze artist. She leads him on and attempts to con him, despite his friendliness and honesty. While slow moving at times, there are many things in this movie that I guarantee had never filmed before, including a violent finale that must be seen to be believed. Fans of Tim Burton films like Edward Scissorhands and Nightmare Before Christmas might enjoy this, as it is told from the perspective of people who are not often main characters.
Zombi 2: This movie is made for the people who do not cover their eyes during the gory bits. For example, there is a scene in this film where you watch a woman’s eye ball being slowly pierced by a piece of wood. Lucio Fulci doesn’t fuck around with gore. A boat shows up in New York which appears to have no survivors, until a corpse comes back to life. The boat is traced back to a remote island, and a journalist travels there to get the story, only to find a horde of hungry corpses. Fans of Eli Roth’s Hostel should check this out and see what horror gore (or “gorror”) is really all about. Oh yeah, and there’s a scene where a Zombie fights a shark. Find something that original in another movie. I dare you.
Anyway, there’s four to start you off. All of these films are available on Netflix. I’ll come back with some more each week until the end of the month. Make sure you sleep with the lights on. Happy October!