Sunday, October 10, 2010

Scary DVD Picks for October

Around this time of year, we get bunches of requests for horror movies.  Unfortunately, folks don't come up to ask for a good horror movie--they tend to ask for whatever over-produced Hollywood slasher garbage from the last year or so has stuck in their minds.  So, eschewing the regular staff picks, this month I'm recommending six horror movies in order of least to most scary, on a subjective scale, of course.

Coincidentally, these are mostly movies I've seen for the first time in the last year. I wonder how that happened...

A radio DJ and station staff in a relatively small town receive reports of strange behavior and attacks, but valiantly stays on air.  Employs a unique concept in a traditional sort of horror film, and is enjoyably campy.

This Swedish film follows a group of Swedes and Russians as they travel, mapping out the border between their two countries after the end of the Russo-Swedish War.  They come to a town not found on the map.  The sauna will cleanse them of atrocities they committed.  As an added bonus, this film looks so good--the photography, editing, costuming, and use of (or lack of) color add so much.

The Orphanage (El Orfanato)
A creeptastic Spanish film in which an adopted child's imaginary friends are perhaps less imaginary than originally thought.  Another great looking film with unique story elements that take this beyond being a mere haunted house film.

Drag Me To Hell
Sam Raimi's story of a cursed young lady who is tormented by demons and must shake the curse before she is, well, dragged to hell.  Includes a bit of Raimi's characteristic horror humor--you've been on edge, waiting for the tension to break in the inevitable scary moment and Bang!,  you're laughing instead. If you're a horror fan, you've already seen this, but if you're the sort of once-a-year horror person, you may have forgotten this one.

I'd love to put the trailer here for your convenience, but "the man" won't let me.  It's on IMDb, though.

Paranormal Activity
One of those movies that unwinds from footage provided by the characters.  A young couple has been hearing strange noises in their house and sets up a camera to document the fun.  I had low expectations for this one, but I was impressed.

[REC], or for the subtitle-averse, Quarantine, the US remake
All the Spanish of The Orphanage with all the characters-film-the-movie of Paranormal Activity.  A TV host and camera-man are filming a night in the life of the fire department, and go out to answer an emergency call at an apartment building.  There's no fire, but a terribly ill tenant, who turns out to have a sort of fast-spreading super-rabies.


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