We’re back once again with some alternate viewing pleasures for your Halloween Season. Yes we love our Halloween staples but why not this year find something new to watch and possibly find a new favorite? First up is Lauren Gallo:
1. Hush (2016)
Hush feels like a familiar horror/thriller set up: a remote home in the woods, a serial killer, and the young woman who has become his next victim. The difference here is that our main character is deaf, something the killer quickly learns and likely thinks will make his target an easy kill, but Maddie is anything but. While the premise isn’t new, it is interesting watching the main character portrayed with the inability to hear, as we rarely see Final Girls with perceived disabilities in horror and hopefully this opens the door for more inclusive choices within horror.
2. Inferno (1980)
With Dario Argento’s second offering in his “Mother of Tears” trilogy, it must be said right off the bat that Inferno is not near the masterpiece it’s predecessor, Suspiria, is. That being said, it’s not awful either and serves as a decent Italian horror flick that continues the supernatural story of three powerful witches, Mater Suspririorum, Mater Tenebrarum, and Mater Lachrymarum, who each do their dark workings behind the scenes from their respective homes in Germany, New York, and Italy. In this installment, an American music student studying in Rome, Mark Elliot, heads to New York after an urgent letter from his sister Rose, who suspects she’s come across one of the infernal Mothers.
While it doesn’t quite live up to Suspiria, Inferno still has some beautiful imagery and a good progressive rock score by Keith Emerson, whom Argento chose to score this film as he wanted a different sound for this one than the iconic Goblin score of the previous film. This is a good late-night, popcorn type of watch if you dig Argento’s Mater mythos.
3. It Follows (2014)
In what is the most literal haunting allegory for one hell of an STD, It Follows follows the story of teenaged Jay, who after a sexual encounter starts being stalked by a strange supernatural force in the form of many different human-looking creatures that only she can see. With the help of her friends, Jay tries to get the bottom of this sinister force, which is apparently like a curse passed on through sex. Starring the talented Maika Monroe, this is a movie where the houses and settings feel so real and not the hyper-stylized homes of other Hollywood films. They look truly lived in, messy, and almost circa the ’80s with little modern updates. The unknown, stalking creeping terror of what follows Jay is well done, with a scene by the beach and in an indoor pool being truly excellent at showing how this force can hurt more than just it’s intended victims.
If you’ve felt a little bored of the classic slasher and have been looking for something that feels fresh and original, give this one a try. Also, don’t have sex, apparently, either.
4. The Invitation (2015)
Being invited to a dinner party in the LA canyons by your ex-wife and her husband is totally not awkward enough right? So let’s make it worse and add murder. Will and his wife Eden divorced after the tragic accidental death of their young son, and now Eden lives with her new husband David and is hosting a dinner party in which she invites Will, his current girlfriend Kira, and several of their mutual friends plus a few friends of David. What starts as awkward starts to thaw a little, but something has Will feeling a little off and then sliding into paranoia about what’s actually going on. It doesn’t help Eden and David have seemed to find “religion”, and not in a good way, and the party definitely goes tits up when people start dying.
This is a slow burn type of thriller that ratches up the tension incrementally, and makes me hope the LA wellness crowd sticks to yoga and adaptogens, and, you know, not mass murder.
5. Berlin Syndrome (2017)
When a holiday fling goes wrong in this film, it goes really, really wrong. Aussie tourist and photojournalist Clare is visiting Berlin where she meets local gym teacher Andi, a seemingly kind, slightly shy man who she keeps running into. What seems like two lonely souls finding comfort in a physical connection goes very wrong when he’s not willing to let Clare go. Not just emotionally either, Andi locks Clare in his apartment and ends up keeping her trapped there, trying to force the relationship to continue.
This is another one that starts off a bit slow, but then when shit hits the fan (or rather, lock hits the door) the film dives deeper and deeper into the tension of Clare trying to survive her captivity, discovering she was likely not the first girl Andi has kidnapped and then trying to survive his growing dissatisfaction with her that could likely be fatal. All in all, Berlin Syndrome is a good thriller/drama and Teresa Palmer as Clare really sells the loneliness, fragility, and yet also stubborn strength of her character. Moral of the story is, when Nice Guys go bad, they go realllllly bad.
Lauren Gallo has been a horror fan since family members who would babysit her as a child would leave things like A Nightmare on Elm Street on in the background. A sometimes contributing writer to Geek Nerdery, Lauren now spends a lot of her time on the real-life horror that is riding Bay Area Rapid Transit and relaxing to Bon Appetit Youtube videos.