Extremely Strange Horror Cult Classic [list of films by Zachàr Laskewicz)

EXCEPTIONALLY STRANGE HORROR CULT CLASSICS*

 

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[1] CARNIVAL OF SOULS (1962)

  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0055830/

"Truly well-made and spooky film about a woman who during the coarse of the film gradually realises that she is dead. Made on a shoestring budget with wonderful scenes involving her seduction into the bizarre and scary 'carnival' and its set of weird characters who are metaphoric of the death awaiting us all."

"Carnival of Souls","Feature Film","Herk Harvey","","7.1","78","1962","horror, thriller","9310","1962-09-26"

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0055830/

 

[2] THE HAUNTING (1963)


Wed Mar 13 10:54:29 2013

"If you were unfortunate enough to see the dreadful remake of this film which appears more an exaggeration of this film than a readaptation of Shirley Jackson's novel, then you really should watch the original which is in stark black and white and truly scary to the extent that haunted houses that go bump in the night can be scary. Its a good adaptation of Jackson's effective novel, and its main deviation is casting one of the psychic characters as a lesbian played by Claire Bloom."

"Feature Film","Robert Wise","","7.7","112","1963","horror","17678","1963-08"

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0057129/

 

[3] THE NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968)

"7","tt0063350","Thu Jul 14 08:47:59 2011","Thu Jul 14 09:10:55 2011","The mother of all 'nature/culture' metaphor films which has a small group stuck in a typical family home trying to keep a horde of sepulchral ghouls from eating their flesh. I still love this film, although I have to confess that I'm fond of this particular metaphor (not so much zombies). Films like 'The Evil-Dead' and the more recent filming of Scott Smith's novel 'The Ruins' (among many others) owe a lot to this type of film.","Night of the Living Dead","Feature Film","George A. Romero","","8.0","96","1968","horror, sci_fi","60430","1968-10-01","http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0063350/"

 

[4] LET'S SCARE JESICCA TO DEATH (1971)

"Thu Jul 14 07:53:08 2011",

"The lurid title could easily side-track you from what is essentially an extremely frightening exploration of a woman's descent into madness. You can read it, of course, in a material sense as the title suggests; but everything in this film has the potential to signify something else entirely, and its this ambiguity that makes this film so macarbe and interesting. Everything, from the killing of the 'mole' to the conclusion during which Jessica is trapped the films ambivelent set of monsters on the middle of the lake on a barely floating boat (classic metaphor for human consciousness and mental health) communicates on different levels. The fact that there is no ultimate explanation for the strange set of phenomena that take place is also demonstrative of the horrific and inexplicable quality of psychotic behaviour for those suffering from schizophrenia (for those of us that have had the misfortune to experience it) or the side-effects of drugs.","Let's Scare Jessica to Death","Feature Film","John Hancock","","6.3","89","1971","horror, thriller","3380","1971-08-06","http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0067341/"

 

[5] THE DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS (1971)

"5","tt0067690","Thu Jul 14 09:13:19 2011","Thu Jul 14 09:13:19 2011","","Daughters of Darkness","Feature Film","Harry Kümel","","6.5","87","1971","horror","1880","1971-05-28","http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0067690/"

 

[6] THEY CAME FROM WITHIN (1975)

"6","tt0073705","Sat Jul 16 11:24:55 2011","Sat Apr 20 19:21:42 2013","This is perhaps Cronenberg's most controversial film which managed to completely escape the censors, since it was classed down as a video nasty and was therefore not considered to be attempting to achieve anything higher than shock value. Like 'Rabid', it went to second feature drive-in emissions or straight onto VHS. The subject, however, is extremely pernicious and challenging. It concerns a doctor who is experimenting on dabbling with genetics, the manipulation of flesh and pederasty where a doctor basically creates worm like creatures that enter the body through the sexual organs and turn the victim into a sex maniac. Set in a modern Toronto complex, the new type of living that was fashionable at that time, the inhabitants of the building become part of an experiment that goes dreadfully wrong. Here the relationship between outbursts of sexual expression, disease and some of the problematic ideas suggested manage to be hidden under what could equally be viewed as a slimy monster movie that turns the flat residents into undead like things. Very interesting and worthy of further analysis.","They Came from Within","Feature Film","David Cronenberg","","6.6","87","1975","horror, sci_fi","7696","1975-10-10","http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0073705/"

 

[7] THE CARS THAT ATE PARIS (1974)

 

[8] PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK (1975)


"8","tt0073540","Thu Jul 14 08:40:31 2011","Thu Jul 14 09:44:59 2011","On Valentine's day in Victorian-era Australia a group from a local girls' boarding school head off for a picnic in the bush. Three of the girls and one of the teachers go off for a walk and disappear, never to be seen again. The film begins with images focussing on the eroticism of the girls who are bursting into puberty; as natural forces collide with material ones, the rock of the title undresses and consumes them. The rest of the film concerns the complex ways this event plays off in the lives of the ones left behind. Haunting evocation of the horror inherent in an unfriendly and indifferent environment.","Picnic at Hanging Rock","Feature Film","Peter Weir","","7.6","115","1975","drama, mystery","16861","1975-08-08","http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0073540/"

 

[9] MARTIN (1976)

 

[10] THE TENANT (1977)

 

[10] ERASERHEAD (1977)


"10","tt0074486","Thu Jul 14 08:57:46 2011","Thu Jul 14 08:59:15 2011","If you like surrealistic horror metaphor films, this one has a lot of potential for you. Don't mistake it for an 'art'-film, although it has been put in that category by many. The statements it makes about the world we live in, both through imagery, metaphor and sound, are in themselves horrific.","Eraserhead","Feature Film","David Lynch","","7.3","85","1977","fantasy, horror","42560","1977-03-19","http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0074486/"

 

[11] RABID (1977)

"15","tt0076590","Sat Jul 16 11:25:54 2011","Mon Mar 11 18:43:07 2013","Cronenberg's ambiguous answer to the dangers of playing with the human body; pre-dates the idea of genetic harvesting but proposes ideas which seem remarkably valid. I watched it again recently and was surprised by its provocative message, one which went by the critics and censors as it was generally sent directly to second feature drive-in films and the video nasties section when both of those places still existed. Its attraction was its star, Marilyn Chambers, who for a porn actress doesn't do a bad job. The idea of a woman having a sexual appendage, essentially penis or enlarged-clitoris like, somewhere else on her body that jumps out and bites you was quite forward thinking; and as the infection she introduces spreads it becomes an all out living dead nightmare.","Rabid","Feature Film","David Cronenberg","","6.4","91","1977","horror, sci_fi","6726","1977-04-08","http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0076590/"

 

[12] SUSPIRIA (1977)

"11","tt0076786","Thu Jul 14 08:53:22 2011","Thu Jul 14 08:57:30 2011","This film, with its over-the-top art-deco and art-nouveau European settings, its brilliant tones, truly fascinating audio soundtrack and the superb acting of a young and beautiful Jessica Harper, gets better each time I watch it. The screen is always filled with things to see; beatiful and ugly things. I think it has one of the most horrifying opening slayings I've ever seen, in the most exquisite of settings.","Suspiria","Feature Film","Dario Argento","","7.4","98","1977","horror","29574","1977-02-01","http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0076786/"

 

[13] THE BROOD (1979)

"17","tt0078908","Sun Mar 24 11:21:34 2013","Sun Mar 24 11:28:40 2013","Cronenberg's cult classic; well-known for the scene in which Samanthat Eggar reveals the extended womb attached to havel which she rips open with her teeth, birthing in the most bizarre way another member of the title's 'broood'; creatures resulting from the rage of the extremely mentally disturbed mother - monsters which she, thanks to the help of her psychologist (played by Oliver Reed) and the dark and typically Cronenberg 'organisation' responsible for its perpetuation, produces without the help of a male. Arguably more shocking and controversial than the Alien bursting out of John Hurt's stomach in the similarly titled film; certainly one for the most creepy films of all time, and certainly pre-dating this film. If you like horror films and you haven't seen this, shame on you.","The Brood","Feature Film","David Cronenberg","","6.8","92","1979","horror, sci_fi","11030","1979-05-25","http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0078908/"

 

[14] THIRST (1979)

 

[15] THE CHANGELING (1980)


"20","tt0080516","Thu Jul 14 07:53:38 2011","Thu Jul 14 07:53:38 2011","","The Changeling","Feature Film","Peter Medak","","7.2","107","1980","horror, thriller","14917","1980-03-28","http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0080516/"

 

[16] MOTEL HELL (1980)

"16","tt0081184","Fri Feb 3 10:09:21 2012","Mon Mar 11 18:42:35 2013","This unusual horror parody with its harvesting of motel guests who have their vocal chords cut and have been 'planted' in the garden for later use in sausages, seems to be making a commentary on vegetarianism, or at least that is what I felt when I saw it. The reduction of the human figure to screaming crazed animalism, along with the strange murderous pig-mask wearing butcher at the end (who confesses in his dying moments to 'using artificial ingredients' in his sausages) certainly seem to promote the advantages of a green lifestyle!","Motel Hell","Feature Film","Kevin Connor","","5.9","101","1980","comedy, horror","4255","1980-08-14","http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0081184/"

 

[17] THE EVIL DEAD (1981)

"13","tt0083907","Thu Jul 14 08:48:13 2011","Thu Jul 14 09:05:42 2011","As well as being a land-breaking film on a visceral level, gripping you almost from the very beginning into its extremely morbid atmosphere, this film has meant a lot to me because of the culture/nature metaphor which is represented by those who think they're protected inside the house, and the extremely unfriendly forces outside which roots them out (no pun intended) one by one. I'm afraid I found the sequels embarrassing laughathons; and Sam Raimi has demonstrated that he can do little more than follow the Hollywood buck to film after film of horror cliché (and Spiderman? ugh). But nothing will decrease the extremity of fear and horror which is developed on a shoestring budget with only four (unknown) actors.","The Evil Dead","Feature Film","Sam Raimi","","7.6","85","1981","horror","84919","1981-10-15","http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0083907/"

 

[18] SCANNERS (1981)

"14","tt0081455","Sat Jul 16 11:25:09 2011","Wed Mar 13 11:03:39 2013","Did you think De Palma's adaptation of the idea of psychic powers as a destructive force in 'The Fury' was predictable and lame? Then you should see Cronenberg's Scanners which does really interesting things with the idea, using it as a point of departure rather than a point of arrival.","Scanners","Feature Film","David Cronenberg","","6.8","103","1981","horror, sci_fi","21686","1981-01-14","http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0081455/"

 

[19] BASKET CASE (1982)

"18","tt0083624","Sat Feb 4 20:44:54 2012","Mon Mar 11 18:33:56 2013","Cult classic which is these days pretty dated but was made on a low budget, has some interesting scenes and is in all not bad.","Basket Case","Feature Film","Frank Henenlotter","","6.0","91","1982","comedy, horror","7400","1982-04","http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0083624/"

 

[20] CREEPSHOW (1982)

"19","tt0083767","Thu Jul 14 09:08:54 2011","Thu Jul 14 10:10:00 2011","This film is based on the EC-Horror Comics. But it is in no way a film intended for children. The silly moralistic stories which form the content of this anthology film are carefully crafted in such a way that they become one with the illustrated format of the media. And each of the stories is extremely horrific; I saw it again recently and felt that extremely nasty set of emotions which start in your stomach as you gradually realise that the 'horror comic' is not really funny at all. For me the most horrible remains 'The Crate' with a wonderfully exaggerated Adrienne Barbeau and her brow-beaten husband (who gets his revenge) played by Fritz Weaver. Also notable is Stephen King's cameo appearance in a story which is direct reference to Lovecraft's 'the Colour Out of Space'. Most stupid moment: when the cockroaches burst out of the guy's stomach at the end. For me, the music in this film plays a particularly strong role in creating its sense of hyped-up, irreal and frightening horror.","Creepshow","Feature Film","George A. Romero","","6.6","120","1982","comedy, horror","19760","1982-05","http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0083767/"

 

[21] ONE DARK NIGHT (1982)

"21","tt0086050","Thu Jul 14 07:54:02 2011","Thu Jul 14 09:31:51 2011","Although the teen actors in this film are somewhat less than illustrious, the adult nature of the extremely horrific content makes one wonder how it got a 'NRC' rating. A sexual predator who feeds off the fear of the victims he abuses and kills (the film begins with his body being carted off as his naked victims are revealed hidden around his filthy apartment) is able to assault the three girls with a barrage of dead bodies stuck for the night in the mausoleum in which he is being held. Truly horrifying moments awaiting those who are intimidated by anything sepuchral (like me).","One Dark Night","Feature Film","Thomas McLoughlin","","5.5","89","1982","horror","836","1982","http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0086050/"

 

[22] THE THING (1982)

"12","tt0084787","Thu Jul 14 07:55:38 2011","Thu Jul 14 09:25:39 2011","John Carpenter was doing the right thing when he chose to remake the lame fifties sci-fi formula film. turning the polar setting populated by a pack of rough and tumble scientists, doctors and workers into a claustrophobic nightmare after the infiltration of a potentially indestructible alien force which adapts in a truly horrific way as it absorbs the living things it consumes. Reminds you also of how much better and effective special effects were BEFORE digitalised animation.","The Thing","Feature Film","John Carpenter","","8.2","109","1982","horror, mystery, sci_fi, thriller","157379","1982-06-25","http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0084787/"

 

[23] THE HUNGER (1983)

 

[24] VIDEODROME (1983)

"22","tt0086541","Sat Jul 16 11:24:39 2011","Mon Apr 1 06:34:34 2013","The technological nightmare film that made the world pay attention to the Canadian director Cronenberg. It pre-dates the Japanese adoption of technology into their nightmares (i.e. Ringu and the like), but it has its own Cronenberg stamps that are recognisable from earlier films, including dark, mysterious and ultimately dangerous organisations, a relationship between technology and human flesh that is more than a little sexual and borders on sado-masochism; Debbie Harry, perhaps her only major role, seems to celebrate or even glorify the merging of the flesh with the machine, whereas the character played by James Woods just gets trapped in it.","Videodrome","Feature Film","David Cronenberg","","7.3","87","1983","horror, sci_fi","37521","1983-02-04","http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0086541/"

 

[25] DEAD & BURIED (1985)


"9","tt0082242","Thu Jul 14 07:56:10 2011","Thu Jul 14 09:38:00 2011","I saw this film recently and I was both astounded and shocked by its fascinating use of location, costume, atmosphere and violence to create the horrific build-up to its macarbe conclusion. It has extremely scary moments but at the same time no expense is spared in taking care of smaller details.","Dead & Buried","Feature Film","Gary A. Sherman","","6.5","94","1981","horror","4829","1981-05-29","http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0082242/"

 

[26] CANDYMAN (1992)

"34","tt0103919","Sat Apr 20 18:58:08 2013","Sat Apr 20 19:12:04 2013",

CANDYMAN

"This is a class act, right from the opening credits which fly by above a geometrically facetted view of the highway system of Chicago and its overwhelming Philip Glass score; but it certainly deserves a place on this list not only because of what it did to the idea of urban legends, but also the imaginative comparison between two different cultures, upper middle-class educated academics and the gang-ruled anti-culture which the character played so well by Victoria Madsen goes to analyse for her thesis. I'm not really a Clive Barker fan at all, but his two books of short stories 'Books of Blood' impressed me. This film is based on a story called 'The Forbidden' taken from one of these collections. The stories are incredibly imaginative and worth reading, although the story this film is based on is one of the least interesting. In the credits, Clive Barker is listed only as executive producer as far as I could see. The imaginative application of the basis ideas of the short story which flower into a magnificently horrifying clash of cultures (architecture and economics playing a role) appears to have been done by Bernard Rose. Madsen is perfectly cast as femme fatale and the way the rumours about the story of the 'Candyman' and the death of 'Ruthie Jean' are cleverly montaged together until the highest moment of horror is reached and Madsen becomes implicated in the crimes herself, turning her academic experiment into urban legend into one of extreme horror as she becomes inextricably drawn into the world 'created by the writing on the wall'. It may seem a bit dated now seeing that films have been making references to urban legends since this film was released, it still packs a wallop and the Philip Glass score certainly helps.","Candyman","Feature Film","Bernard Rose","","6.5","99","1992","horror","33574","1992-09-11","http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0103919/"

 

[27] BLEEDERS (1997)


"3","tt0119279","Thu Jul 14 07:52:47 2011","Thu Jul 14 08:47:33 2011","If you like Lovecraft, you'll love this film; it's one of the most understated Lovecraft adaptations to date, and is authentic to not just one but a number of different wierd tales. It's got all the things a good Lovecraft tale should have: a prodigal son, truly ugly deformities in the cellar, a lighthouse, unspeakable interbreeding, an idyllic New-England island setting (although it was probably filmed in Quebec). It also lacks some of the less memorable qualities of other 80's and 90's adaptations, including Jeffrey Coombs [truly awful actor], excessive gore, sexuality gone rampant overtaking the horror of the film, among others. Interstingly, this film is not credited as being connected to Lovecraft in any way and I haven't seen it included in any of the Lovecraft films lists.",

"Bleeders","Feature Film","Peter Svatek","","3.5","89","1997","horror, sci_fi","1887","1997-07-31","

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119279/"

[27] CUBE (1997)

[28] THE BLAIR-WITCH PROJECT (1999)

"30","tt0185937","Sun Mar 24 11:56:41 2013","Sun Mar 24 12:00:23 2013","I find it hard to add this film to the list which, although very atmospheric and original, is not particularly scary. But it did start an enormous cult, did so on an enormously small budget, and was original enough to begin its own sub-genre. The acting of the small cast is competent and for this reason it is entirely believable; I've met people who really do believe that it took place. Admittedly, these people are either dumb or easily convinced by what they read on the internet, still, it shows that by being origial and making use of meagre means, you can create something that can really make an impact on the world. Worth seeing for anyone who likes haunting and original films; a must see for genre fanatics.","The Blair Witch Project","Feature Film","Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sanchez","","6.3","81","1999","horror, mystery","129247","1999-01-25","http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0185937/"

 

[29] JU-ON (2002)

"23","tt0364385","Wed Mar 13 10:48:43 2013","Wed Mar 13 10:53:12 2013","Really frightening Japanese horror film which is particularly effective because of its departure in style and its stylised representation of the victims of the 'grudge' as one by one its tendons slaughters mercilessly everyone it touches. Although there are many good Japanese horror films, this remains the best one I've seen.","Ju-on: The Grudge","Feature Film","Takashi Shimizu","","6.6","92","2002","horror","20483","2002-10-18","http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0364385/"

 

 

[30] THE DESCENT (2005)

"25","tt0435625","Sun Mar 24 11:29:02 2013","Sun Mar 24 11:39:06 2013","This film has its problems but for the sheer horror and shock moments its creates, is worth seeing. The title makes a double reference; firstly and perhaps foremostly to the descent into the madness which the main protagonist undergoes as she descends with her team of female friends into an as unyet explored caves system. Secondly, and perhaps most problematically, to the film it references - Boorman's 'men encounter and overcome nature' film 'Deliverance'; in the latter, the Deliverance that few of the group make is along a river. In this very cleverly filmed studio film which was almost entirely filmed in a studio with the same set reused continuously with constant small variations, none of the characters are so lucky. And here are the film's problems; you can tell that it's been written and directed by men; although the variation on Boorman's classic is the fact that it's a cave that's being descended into and a group of women, although the characters are strong and interesting, they could equally well have been played by men and you wouldn't tell the difference. The climactic fight at the end, ultimately resulting from a jealous fight over a man (which is frankly laughable and far more typical of a similar situation of macho's fighting over a woman) is unfortunate. But the creatures in the cave that kill each of the brave spelunkers one by one are absolutely terrifying; that combined with the imaginitive use of sets make this, whatever faults is may have, a real scary film and as far as I'm concerned a horror classic. Warning: íf you ever do watch the DVD, don't listen to the actor/director's commentory on a second viewing, no matter how tempting that may seem. On doing so, you'll just discover how easy it is for actors to prove that they are a hundred times more superficial than the characters they play.","The Descent","Feature Film","Neil Marshall","","7.3","99","2005","adventure, horror","100008","2005-03-11","http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0435625/"

 

[31] SILENT HILL (2006)

"28","tt0384537","Mon Apr 1 05:49:05 2013","Mon Apr 1 06:21:49 2013","I had the fortune to see this film before I knew it had anything to do with a video game and even though and went out and played the games and its many spawns afterwards, I've formed my opinions on what the film presented rather than what I expected of it. It came across as a surreal gothic horror masterpiece, particularly beautifully designed and with a strong cast, dominated by the four actresses who play essential roles as the little girl is brought home and the strange religion which keeps the ghost town's inhabitants trapped forever within the 'other world' - one which never really makes much sense until you play the game, and then it makes even less sense in terms of what the movies did with it. Without knowing this however, the film seems to use as its central premise a very disturbing idea about how insane sect that seems to be based on hate, sacrifice and death can demonise a child into becoming the prophesised vehicle of utter destruction. Alice Krige is perhaps the highlight of the film; her penchant for playing evil characters receives in this film a stellar expression as Cristobel, the cult's mouthpiece that has kept the village trapped in a kind of eternal purgatory (her death scene torn apart by barbed wire is not to be missed). Deborah Unger, although in a small role, is the film's only real recognition that the whole concept of the film results from Japanese artistry; her character looks like something out of Noh theatre, and her acting style is similarly exagerrated and stylized. If you don't know anything about what the film's origins are, you're in a position of advantage because you can make your own mind up about what the constant barrage of symbols could mean; what sort of reality the characters become trapped in. In this sense it's both a journey of discovery which quickly sinks into a terrifying nightmare, one which seems to be based on the anger of the little girl who is expected to bear the universe's woes and lead to its destruction. The ambiguous ending - that the character's who have overcome what the film confronts them with, are not able to return to the real world. Did any of it actually happen at all? Did all the characters who become trapped in Silent Hill die, seeing that they were all involved in pretty nasty car accidents.","Silent Hill","Feature Film","Christophe Gans","10","6.5","125","2006","horror, mystery","115335","2006-04-21","http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0384537/"

 

[32] LE CHAMBRE DE MORT (2007)

"26","tt0990361","Mon Mar 11 18:30:20 2013","Mon Mar 11 18:42:59 2013","Gothic horror French style; problematic in its typical French representation of homosexuals as complete psychotic maniacs, but sufficiently interesting and complex to keep your attention.","Room of Death","Feature Film","Alfred Lot","","6.3","115","2007","crime, mystery, thriller","969","2007-11-14","http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0990361/"

 

[33] CTHULHU (2007)


"24","tt0478126","Thu Jul 14 07:54:26 2011","Thu Jul 14 09:37:49 2011","An understated but extremely effective adaptation of Lovecraftian ideas; set in a modern environment but refashioned in a way that for the first time made sense in a contemporary setting. Also, if you don't know anything about Lovecraft, this film has the potential of working even better because all the references to 'Shadow over Innsmouth' could work directly rather than as an anecdote. People who judge this film because of its derivation from its source should rethink their criticism: as the awful adaptations of Lovecraft time and time again demonstrate, the campy reproduction of ideas with what appear to be racist overtones has ultimately nothing to do with the original material.","Cthulhu","Feature Film","Daniel Gildark","10","4.6","","2007","drama, horror, thriller","1130","2007-06-14","http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0478126/"


[34] REC (2007)


"27","tt1038988","Sun Mar 24 11:48:51 2013","Sun Mar 24 11:56:16 2013","This Spanish film can thank the Blair-Witch phenomena and its many spawns for its film style. I saw it without any knowledge of what it would be like, and was pleasantly surprised. An interviewer and her cameraman are filming a light-weight documentary at a fire station. Beginning quite innocuously, it quickly descends into a terrifying nightmare as the two travel with a group of fireman to a strange scene of unknown violence of infection in an old terraced building quickly becomes completely isolated preventing any of its inhabitants to escape; from here it owes a lot to Romero Zombie phenomenon, but has interesting enough variations, particularly the way it is filmed and the way the narrative develops, to keep it exciting. I must say, the Hollywood version was (arguably) equally good as the original but I'm not going to include it in the list because it is almost exactly the same as the original and therefore doesn't deserve individual mention. If you can't stand subtitles, see 'Quarantine', otherwise stick with the far more original film that started this small sub-cult. Worthwhile viewing.","[Rec]","Feature Film","Jaume Balagueró, Paco Plaza","","7.5","78","2007","horror, mystery","83239","2007-08-29","http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1038988/"

[35] THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE (2000)


"29","tt1467304","Sat Feb 4 20:45:26 2012","Sat Feb 4 20:50:21 2012","No matter how you feel about the contents of this film, it certainly deserves a place on this list. The stark message of the film seems to direct you towards the loathing human beings can have for others as well as the human body in general; this film can leave a nasty aftertaste and it did upset a lot of its viewers. I found it difficult to watch, but still I stayed until the rather downbeat ending.","The Human Centipede (First Sequence)","Feature Film","Tom Six","","4.6","92","2009","horror, thriller","33844","2009-08-30","http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1467304/"

[36] CITADEL (2012)


"31","tt1641975","Sun Mar 24 11:40:29 2013","Sun Mar 24 11:48:33 2013","Although this film was made thanks to sponsorship from the Irish film board; it is far from a piece of Catholic dogma. The character who plays the priest renounces religion entirely and the film's horror is an original and recent addition to the genre. It's full of good ideas and can be comprehended to relatively recent phenomena; the urban sprawl and the creation of enormous flatblocks outside city centres, prevelanent across the United Kingdom and disaffected youth who hide themselves from the enormous collection of security cameras which dictate life their. Spawns of drug selling youth hide their identity by hoodies; who'd have guessed 20 years ago that being approached by a group of youth wearing tracksuits would be such a menacing phenomenon. In this film creative use is made of this fear. The film is far from perfect, but it's original, fear is created the way it should be, as suspense, and the implication of the horror created by its themes don't require an enormous spilling of blood or disgusting special effects to disquiet and disturb you. I'm glad I saw this film; it proves again that truly good things that can be added to this list and to the genre in the genre, don't originate from Hollywood.","Citadel","Feature Film","Ciaran Foy","","5.3","84","2012","drama, horror, thriller","2273","2012-03-11","http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1641975/"

[37] ANTI-VIRAL (2012)


"32","tt2099556","Fri Apr 5 23:39:07 2013","Fri Apr 5 23:40:15 2013","David Cronenberg once discussed the role of the virus in an interview; he noted that although their presence could often lead to the death of the host, this occurrence meant that the virus had achieved its ultimate goal in existing; he added that he interpreted his own work by seeing himself as syphilis. Brandon Cronenberg, the director of this unique, original and unusual film, is indeed his father's son; so many of the themes that are touched upon in the film as well as more practical techniques such as the subtle use of music he shares with his father. There’s also the almost obligatory presence of a foreboding organization. In this film, however, perhaps a step out of line with his father’s general malign approach to experimental hospitals, companies or research centres, although its impetus is profit, it can ultimately thank its existence to a society that not only requires it, but ultimately demands its presence and the strange products it offers.
The fascinating story of a bizarre world in the not too distant future is at times painfully plausible; at the moment enormous sums of money is made out of companies exploiting patenting and retaining the profit rights to drugs to cure people. Now let's imagine that we live in a world that is basically disease free, but that for another reason people actually are willing to pay enormous amounts of money to get infected with the diseases that bring them closer to the illusions of human beings which are created and perpetuated by society as celebrities. The film goes so far to suggest outright that celebrities are only illusions in the sense that they exist in the minds of the people who worship them and the profit-makers who are responsible for the marketing and merchandise This film makes some problematic and frighteningly possible suggestions about what might happen when extremely socioculturally powerful trends like celebrity-mania and scientific developments like stem cell regeneration meat (and the misspelling is a deliberate pun; harvesting and eating the muscle cells of one of your favorite stars is a common occurrence).
Bizarre ideas like this are suggested within the seedy bars that are hidden away from the company which patents these diseases, because it's in places like this that the black-market can trade in drugs which have been smuggled out of the company and sold on the streets to an ever hungrier public demand.
The two main protagonists appear at the opening of the film together. Syd March, the film’s anti-hero, looks down at the grey and depressing city; he appears sick and his skin is pallid. Behind him, an enlarged poster board of an ideal female is seen smiling indifferently towards a world the actual character herself sees little of. Here the ‘illusion of perfection’ is made out of paper and stuck on an enormous advertising board. The character of Syd March may look unhealthy at the beginning and become deathly ill as the film progresses; but the audience is often asked to question whether or not Hannah Geist actually exists at all; although there are a few moments when we hear her speak, she generally becomes a tool of others, lies limply and helplessly in bed or is seen in a recording regretting the fact that she can’t be present in real life (considering she may well actually be dead). She is helpless to save herself from the world which is exploiting her and which will ultimately profit so enormously from her demise.
Our anti-hero March seems to adore Geist; that is made clear from the beginning; he's a victim as much as are any of the characters to the celebrity-obsessed cultural world surrounding them. He understands his clients who want to imagine that they've been kissed by Geist when they are injected with herpes simplex virus and await the cold-sores which will naturally appear as a result of an entirely imagined physical contact. Some of the most uncomfortable moments of the film are when you're not sure whether Geist is dead yet or not; and ultimately who it is that will profit most from her death. Our anti-hero who has infected himself by accident with a disease he had no idea would be fatal, seems to have an active interest in finding a cure. Surely, if he can cure himself, he can cure her and fight the system? But his attitude towards the system remains ambiguous. What is his ultimate motive? These are some of the strange questions posed by the film.
It's interesting to note that in the first scene direct reference is made to Geist's imperfection; the fact that she lacks a vulva recalled for me an almost too familiar image of Bujold's character in 'Dead Ringers' who has an extremely mutated cervix, and the set of bizarre surgical instruments designed to handle mutated women which become at first works of art and then the means in which the twin gynecologists both played by Jeremy Irons kill each other at the end. This reminded me of the bizarre packaging of the ‘celebrity diseases’ which seemed to grow their own faces that deviate strongly and quickly from the human face.
The anti-hero March has links with the black-market and smuggles through his own blood samples out into the seedy dives where strange masses of muscles and nerves could be becoming people and customers come daily to get their supply of the star they wish to cannibalize. Through an unexpected encounter with Hannah Geist after his colleague is caught committing the crimes he himself is also guilty of, he takes her blood – assumedly for the purpose of marketing by the company – but quickly removes it from its secure packaging and injects it into his own bloodstream. Is it an attempt to get closer to Geist herself or to make his blood available to the black market for the primary purpose of profit? From the beginning his obsession with Hannah Geist seems pretty clear, but whether or not his attempts to find a cure for the disease that was killing them both remained ambiguous to me and I've seen the film a couple of times. There is a bizarre scene that ends the film that is open to interpretation; is he attempting to cure her or simply to feed on her flesh in some way, fulfilling the fantasy of becoming one with her? You'll have to make your own minds up, and that's why this film is worth seeing if you like to be stimulated to think.
Another notable reference to his father's work is when he is attached to the machine that is designed to test his blood, and in a surreal fantasy sequence he actually becomes the machine and a fantasy image of Geist (which is in fact the German word for 'spirit' or in some senses 'illusion') draws the blood from the machine-like protuberance that has replaced his mouth and that will soon in his everyday existence become the main symptom of the sickness he's infected himself with; the connection between machines and the flesh, and in fact in a way sexual desire as well, seems an almost clear nod of respect to his father who has achieved so much in a field which was initially quite ambivalent toward his work; the direct reference is naturally to Cronenberg's unusual film Videodrome.
Brandon will probably have more success because thanks to his father the world has become more prepared to explore many of the themes introduced in this fascinating film; but I wonder what it's like living in the shadow of such an important figure, especially if you feel the need to reference their work so much and so often.","Antiviral","Feature Film","Brandon Cronenberg","9","5.6","108","2012","horror, sci_fi, thriller","2099","2012-05-19","http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2099556/"

[38] SINISTER (2012)

"33","tt1922777","Mon Apr 1 06:22:13 2013","Mon Apr 1 06:34:14 2013","This film reaches the list not because of anything particularly special about the thought-provoking themes (which it doesn't present) and certainly not for the incredible special effects (which simply are not required by the film). It doesn't even reach the list specifically for the incredible acting talent of its small ensemble cast; not much is really required of them and the dialogue is sometimes pretty tacky. It makes the list on creepiness alone and the fact that it can use such simple means to create such a sense of dread; at least for me it was pretty damn obvious that the family of four were in great danger and that the drawings on the wall of the opening scene made the daughter the means to which the family meets its end. The plot, although simple, is ingenious, and it makes use of pseudo-occult figures which are made convincingly plausible by an underplayed academic who only communicates by webcam. A crime-writer, played by Ethan Hawke, moves into the house of the a horrific murder; he discovers that similar murders can be traced back through the recent past in different places across America and ultimately into pagan religious history. The other reason that this film reached the list was the ingenious use of a dated technology, 16mm film; it makes a clever connection between the world we live in and the one created by flickering lights and gives more contemporary substance to the supernatural element within the film.","Sinister","Feature Film","Scott Derrickson","","6.7","110","2012","horror, mystery, thriller","50305","2012-03-11","http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1922777/"

 


 


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Last modified: 27 November 2013

 

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