We here at Black Dog love the horror genre and are terribly excited to share our favourite terror-filled films with you. So it’s become a (somewhat) tradition that we concoct a very nice list of horror films to be celebrated during the month of October! Everyday we’ll recommend a sweet little number guaranteed (no actual guarantee) to flip your hair back and scare the pants off of you (figuratively and hopefully, literally!) Enjoy!
Hereditary – I thought that since this is a new list for this year, we’d start with what is probably going to end up being the best horror film of 2018. Part dour family drama, part haunted house dealy part, well I don’t want to give anything away suffice to say that what starts out as a slow burn ends with an intense crazy, if somewhat derivative, ending. Great performances throughout. Looking forward to seeing what this guy does next!
The Innocents (1961) – Let us step back in time a few years for an amazing tight little ghost story. Based on Henry James story Turn of the Screw, Deborah Kerr is the ward of a couple of youngin’s at a giant house with big gardens. But something’s not right! Is it haunted? Are their ghosts? Well, I’m not one to spoil anything but… It would make a great double bill with another fine ghost story from around the same time that will appear later on this list.
Baskin – Strap yourself in for a weird, gross ride into the pits of hell! No we’re not going to Denny’s, we’re watching a bunch of Turkish cops set out to investigate some goings on out at a large country estate. But what they find there is a stairway to hell! It’s revolting, debauched, bloody and even a tad repulsive. And fun did I mention fun?! (I guess it would also depend on your definition of fun.)
The Others – I love a good haunted house movie. Have I mentioned that? And here’s an excellent little number that finds Nicole Kidman and her two kids living in an old dark manor house out in the country (sounds eerily familiar!) who come to believe that their house is haunted. Is it? Well, I’ll never tell.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers 1956/1978 – It’s not often the remake of a great film equals or betters the original but here’s the exception to the rule. I remember watching the original on TV when I was a kid – I didn’t really get the communism allegory at the time – but it freaked my crazy beak right out the door! It was like a giant game of Spider but with stakes being much higher. The remake, which features a nice little cameo but Kevin McCarthy – star of the original, held up it’s end of the bargain and heightened the paranoid horror. Props for having the better ending of the two as well (it also made me look at capers in a different light!) .
The Wicker Man – I remember catching this on late night TV when I was but a youngin’ and I couldn’t believe what I was watching! Strange rituals and masks, naked women, singing and dancing and that ending, holy hotdogs! Such a great creepy experience. The remake is fun on its own because it’s so absurd and poorly made and over-acted (looking at you, Mr. Cage). But for good chills, stick with this classic.
Raw – Happy (Canadian) Thanksgiving everyone!. On the menu for tonight is a tasty little number from France. A nice vegetarian girl from the countryside goes off to veterinarian school and soon develops a tasty craving for the joys of the flesh. I won’t say anymore about this fine film except bon appetit!
Everyone likes a good ghost story, right? Well here’s a nice little anthology movie dealy from England! Three spooky tales are book-ended by another scary story. Usually in these types of affairs not all the of the tales are quality but the three on display here are all top notch. My only complaint is that I wanted more out of each. The wrap-around story is just OK as well but there’s lots of good scares here!
Drag Me to Hell
Sam Raimi has made some of my favourite movies (Evil Dead II can’t be beat) and this is among his very best. I just re-watched it on the weekend (probably scarring my 13 year-old son in the process) and loved it all over again! It is simply a perfect film. It balances the comedic elements (which there are many) with the terrifying parts (which there are many!). Best old hag fight sequence ever laid down on film!
The Haunting (1963)
I’m a sucker for a good haunted house or ghost story and this is one of my all-time favourites.. Based on the Shirley Jackson book, The Haunting of Hill House, the story is simple – Some folks spend some time in the in an awesomely creepy old mansion to see if it’s haunted. This black and white masterpiece is a master class in the use of sound and editing to heighten the scares. So good.
Tucker and Dale vs Evil
A couple of lovable hillbillies head to their cabin where they run into a bunch of preppy college kids who assume they are redneck maniac chainsaw-wielding murderers. Much hi-jinks, hilarity and gross gory deaths ensue. This totally fun take on the cabin in the woods scenario is a hoot. And it’s Canadian!
A woman, who recently lost her unborn child and husband, really wants another woman’s unborn child. And I mean really really wants it! This film is bonkers! It’s as intense and gory as anything I’ve ever seen. Man, I want to watch this again! But be warned, if you’re pregnant, about to be pregnant, know someone is pregnant or know what the word pregnant means, this might not be for you! Or it might!
Under the Shadow
When was the last time you saw a ghost story from Iran? Well here’s your chance! Not only do a mom and her daughter have to worry about living in war-torn, post-revolution Tehran in the 1980’s, but they also have to deal with a terrifying presence in their home. Very effective chiller. Check this one out!
Whoever thought a film about a haunted mirror could ever work? Well Mike Flanagan sure did (he’s behind the new adaptation of the Haunting of Hill House – better be good, Flanagan!). And he was right. A pair of siblings attempt to destroy a sinister mirror – one that shows you things that aren’t there, which is very scary in itself, that was responsible for the death of their parents. Great tense atmosphere add to the chilling fun!
Another great haunted house film! I think one of the key factors in this genre is to have an amazing house to start with. And then add George C. Scott. Shot here in Vancouver (and Victoria) but set in Seattle the tale tells of a guy who, well, moves into a haunted mansion. That’s about it. It’s a very well done, tense chiller. Reportedly based on a true story!
A woman inherits an old mansion in Louisiana (of course) that happens to be built atop one of the 7 gateways to hell (I imagine there’s one in Surrey as well – aaoo!). Lucio Fulci’s fun, barely-coherent, poor-acted piece of awesomeness takes such delight in staging weird, crazy murders it makes up for all that it’s lacking. The scene with a bunch of tarantulas is the highlight (for me at least)!
I could riff on The Burning of weed or maybe suggested some marijuana themed horror movies (if there are any) because, as of today, weed is legal in Canada! But, whatever. I remember seeing this nasty little shocker way back in the 80s and it’s reputation has grown since then. A caretaker is horrible burned when a prank by some unruly teenagers goes wrong. Of course the only course of action is to get some garden shears and seek revenge! Features spectacular gore effects from the master, Tom Savini.
More Evil Dead II and Dead Alive than a straight up horror film, New Zealand’s Deathgasm is a riotous mix of heavy metal (a song is used to invoke a nasty demon that makes everyone go crazy) and blood and guts (and lots of it!). It’s a fun blast of a party movie and with a description such as this – Suddenly, they are attacked by Brodie’s uncle Albert and his wife Mary who have also been possessed, but manage to kill them using three dildos and a chain saw! – one can’t really go wrong.