6 R E A L L Y S C A R Y F I L M S
Last Halloween I picked some scary album covers, now is time for some scary films. The Exorcist, The Omen or Hellraiser are way too predictable choices to make this kind of list. Bloodsucking Freaks, Dead Alive or Re-Animator are gore movies made for laughs (out loud). There's also a lot of vile artless crap out there unworthy of mention. So what to expect here? 6 non-obvious, non-hysterical, state-of-the-art scary and shocking movies.
Agustí Villaronga. 1987
Forget about Inglorious Basterds, Tras El Cristal offers a really twisted revenge against nazi atrocities. After WWII a sadistic german doctor settles in some place at Catalonia to resume his activities (which include torture and abuse against children) until he tries, unsuccesfully, to commit suicide jumping from a window. The failed attempt leaves him quadriplegic and connected to an iron lung, so the family hires a male nurse to take care of him. But, guess who the nurse turns out to be; a former victim of the doctor. At this point the revenge begins. Beautifully photographed and artfully crafted, this film is nonetheless a ride into human's scary depths.
Jörg Buttgereit. 1987
¿A visceral -literally-, metaphor of society's degradation? -read reviews like this one in allmovie to get the point-, ¿Or just a fucked up joke?, this movie can bring the chills even to the most Halloween enthusiasts because on the surface it deals with one of the most decaying -again, literally- taboos, just look at the cover and the pun-intended title to figure it out. At least some of this flick's most creepy scenes are shot in a psychedelic way with a romanti(k) piano soundtrack.
Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma
Pier Paolo Pasolini. 1975
This film portrays some of the scariest monsters ever to hit the screen. But this ones are well-educated, suit-wearing human aristocrats. An adaptation of Marquis De Sade's book 120 Days in Sodom, Salò takes place in a 1944's fascist Italy mansion, where the aforementioned aristocrats decided to have some fun with a group of kidnapped young boys and girls. But their concept of fun is everybody else's concept of terrifying attitudes and hardcore perversion.
Nikos Nikolaidis. 1990
An unfortunate detective is investigating a crime when he get stucked in the middle of nowhere at night, it's raining, but soon a lady and her daughter will take him to their house. Mother-daughter relationship has never been so close. Living in a distant house somewhere in Greece both of them are like any other family; kill people for fun, bury them in the backyard, mummified their dad so they can have sex with him in a bondage fashion, practice cannibalism, get sexual aroused by puking and like to make jokes, because after all this movie has elements of... comedy. This black and white feature from greek director Nikolaidis is a film noir -very noir- with high artistic values despite the mayhem it depicts, actors break the fourth wall talking direct to the camera in a comedic manner, the classic music are tastefully placed between raining and storms sounds and you get the feeling -if you're a film aficionado, of course- that you just watched a twisted, nihilistic piece of art, as shocking as it may be.
Tetsuo: The Iron Man
Shinya Tsukamoto. 1989
In this surreal industrial/apocalyptic movie's first scene we see a guy in a desolate factory cutting his right thigh with a knife to insert a rusty piece of metal in the wound, just to discover there's a lot of moving maggots inside of him. That's when you realize you're into something different, but you know, this is a Japanese movie, you were totally expecting something like that. Our maggot-infested-leg friend is the Metal Fetishist and is later accidentaly killed by an innocent couple in the streets who then get rid of the body and continue with their lives as if nothing had ever happened... but the man isn't dead, not in spirit. Soon the fetishist tries to make a comeback via the body of his killer, who begins to experiment a creepy mutation into a flesh and metal creature. Another scene includes that dude trying to penetrate his girlfriend with a giant drill/penis, until he finally manages to do it. The use of industrial music, stop-motion and flashbacks adds tension to an already stressing movie like this. A classic.
David Lynch. 1977
A nightmarish journey involving a dark city, a non-stop-crying deformed baby, gallons of blood and a decapitated body whose head are taken to a pencil's factory and turned into... yes, erasers. For those with a sensibility towards cinema the experience of watching this could be compared with a masochistic enjoying some kidney stones, while the visuals and sounds are certainly disturbing one could only admire the work of a rising talent. As a pretentious neophyte I must state that, along with The Elephant Man, this is Lynch at his finest.