We’re knee deep in the month of October. Things are finally starting to cool down and the foliage is browning and withering like it’s supposed to. We’re also well into the season of horror. Here at the Hubner house there’s been lots of proper horror viewing going on. Some good, some not so good, but it’s always entertaining.
Are you wondering what are some good horror flicks to hit play on this Halloween season? Well let me throw a few your way if you don’t mind some suggestions.
Imagine a cross between The Thing, Hellraiser, The Beyond, and H.P. Lovecraft and you’re well on your way to falling for this low budget, practical effects smorgasbord of metaphysical horror. Plot is fairly simple: A group of people are trapped inside a rural hospital one gloomy evening when the whole place is surrounded by cloak-wearing weirdos with long daggers. They’re part of some cult that are of course trying to bring some ancient creature back from some other realm. It starts out as your typical jump scare fare with decent enough acting and mood and visuals for miles. Soon enough, though, things go from tense and brooding to just plain bizarre and transdimensional.
This is probably one of my favorite horror films in recent memory. Not because it’s perfect in every way and the effects are mind-blowing, or that the story is solid. It’s pretty much a hodge podge of ideas and cheaply put together practical effects. It’s that the filmmakers just fucking go for it. Who cares if the story makes complete sense, or that the effects are somewhat limited. The acting is done well and the effects look pretty damn good for a shoestring budget. This movie oozes mood and a general uneasiness. If you like your horror a little on the Lovecraftian side of things, look no further than The Void.
The Devil’s Candy
The Devil’s Candy is a disturbing film. There are far more disturbing movies for sure, but this one is pretty disturbing. The story involves a man, his wife, and their daughter buying an old farmhouse on the cheap and being overjoyed at their find that seems too good to be true. The man is a painter and the land has an outbuilding where he has his own workspace to paint commission paintings as well as his own work. He begins to start working on much darker pieces, as if he’s being possessed to do so. They’re upside down crosses, black voids where the faces of screaming children are coming through the darkness. He doesn’t even remember doing the paintings. Meanwhile a large, bald man appears at the house saying that it’s his home. Turns out he lived there with his parents and ended up murdering them both when he was told by him mom to turn down the metal guitar he was playing in his upstairs bedroom. The loud noise is the only way he can stop the voices from telling him to kill.
This film, despite being disturbing(our bald psychopath murders a little boy and dismembers him, though not seen), is so well made and the acting is perfect. Ethan Embry, Pruitt Taylor Vince, and F. Murray Abraham all do great work here, and the music is every metalhead’s dream. The score is pretty much crunchy guitar stabs mixed with some otherworldliness thanks to Sunn O))). There’s some occult vibes, as well as some 80s “Satanic Panic” feels. If you grew up in the 80s you would remember all the “metal is the devil music” talk, and this movie really goes a far way to prove those church ladies right.
I’m a sucker for horror anthology films, especially when they’re done well. V/H/S and V/H/S 2 were done very well. The ABCs of Death? Ehh. Of course there’s the classics like Creepshow, Twilight Zone : The Movie, and Tales From The Darkside. Hell, I even liked Stephen King’s Cat’s Eye. Nightmares from 1983 was great, too. Southbound is another horror anthology well worth giving a shot.
So Southbound is 5 stories that sort of/sort of not intertwine. There’s two guys on the run from these floating black specters on some desert highway; three girls in a rock band get stranded on the same stretch of highway and are picked up by a strange couple in a station wagon; a man hits a girl in his car in the middle of the night on this same stretch of desolate road and ends up in the world’s most unhelpful ER; when a guy comes looking for the sister that went missing years before he finds more than what he was bargaining for and finally there’s a home invasion that goes horribly wrong and brings us back to where we started.
I’m not going to say this one was perfect because it wasn’t. But what it was was pretty entertaining with some interesting twists. Each story sort of bleeds(no pun intended) over into the next which gives the whole film a nice continuity. Each of our doomed characters are somehow or another heading south on this stretch of road that looks like Mad Max could show up any minute. Are they all heading to Hell? I don’t know. It may not be perfect, but it’s a fun ride regardless.
The House of the Devil
This is an older film by Ti West, but for me it’s an absolute classic.
A college girl recently gets a great apartment for herself and takes a babysitting job to help make some money in order to afford the sweet new living situation. When she arrives at the house where she’s babysitting she’s told by the man that hired her(the always excellent Tom Noonan) that in fact she would be watching his wife’s ailing mother. He tells her she shouldn’t be a problem as she’d probably just sleep all night. Of course, that’s not the case and weirdness ensues.
This film looks just like some creepy horror movie you’d come across late night while trying to find something to watch. It has the look of an early 80s film, though it was made in 2009. It pulls from slasher films, haunted house movies, occult, and that satanic panic I mentioned earlier. The cast is excellent, the score is brilliant, and the house it was filmed in evokes so much uneasiness that you can’t help but feel for this young woman stuck in the middle of nowhere with God knows what upstairs. It’s a classic in the genre of horror. Probably one of my favorite horror films that plays very well as an arthouse movie. Ti West has continued to make solid movies, but none as good as this. AJ Bowen, Greta Gerwig, Tom Noonan, Mary Woronov, Dee Wallace, and Joceline Donahue all turn in incredible performances. There’s no “wink and a nod” irony here, either. They’re true to the times and the style and stick to it, which makes the film all the more enjoyable.
Okay, that’s it. You want more suggestions? Then let me know. I’m happy to blabber on about more films if you’d like. Until then, check these out and get ready to get weird.
I recently picked up the Southbound S/T, which was done by The Gifted. Great score done with all analog synths. Check it out if you get a chance.