The lovely folks at The United Nations of Horror produce great things, including a very entertaining podcast on horror cinema. You should follow them and listen to their every word. When I informed them on their Facebook page (a fun and very welcoming horror fan community) that Around the World in 31 Days would be my theme for this year’s Halloween blog project, they were quick to suggest Austrian film Angst. And here I am to take us through this stark, ugly, realist beast.
It’s official: James Wan’s Conjuringverse has set its stamp on global horror cinema. A lot of the foreign horror films coming across my streaming platforms are taking the formula of haunted abodes, nuclear family, demonic evil and resolution by faith, and placing it within their own cultural context. At least that’s how it seems to me; hopefully I’m wrong and there’s a wealth of horror cinema telling all kinds of different stories.
To my highly-limited knowledge horror movies from Pakistan are rare, and I was happy to checkout Pari, currently streaming on Netflix.
I remember very distinctly reading this 1987 New York Times blurb on the Cuban animated film ¡Vampiros En La Habana!. And in the years from 1985 to 1990, vampires had turned the corner, for me, from something to fear (yes, I was very much afraid of Dracula and his brethren as a child) to something alluring and powerful. “The Vampire Lestat” was ubiquitous on the bestseller lists, The Lost Boys promised a world of eternal youth and rock and roll, and the Marvel graphic novel “Greenberg the Vampire” was an erotic fever dream I couldn’t comprehend but just went blam in my hormone-addled seventeen year-old mind.
I had thought all the while that Vampires in Havana was one of those sexy Nelvana adult animated movies, like Heavy Metal, Fire and Ice, or American Pop. But I finally took it in this, the year 2019, and discovered its a goofy, weird stylized film, with sophomoric sex and some terrific music.
And then there’s the Cuban revolution. Continue reading
Unfortunately, I was unable to find a full length Kenyan horror film. My research pointed me to In the Shadow of Kilimajaro; but it feels more like a British production than Kenyan.
However, I did find on YouTube two terrific horror shorts directed by Sandra Nekh. Her biography is here on Smashwords, and she’s talented indeed. Above all, the shorts below show she’s got quite an eye for composing shots and scenes and creating subtle, creepy atmosphere.
The Devil’s Nightmare (1971) is credited as an Italian/Belgian production. Italy has a legendary horror movie tradition so I’ll give this one to Belgium.
Now, I don’t know what if anything The Devil’s Nightmare had to say about the Belgian national character in 1971 (definitely some post-war Nazi anxiety there), but it was an absolute delight. At times I could have sworn I was watching a precursor to the Rocky Horror Picture Show, what with tourists trapped in a spooky castle and creepy pale skulkers a la Richard O’Brien’s Riff Raff (Daniel Emilfork as the devil himself.)
There is military horror, there are witch movies, and in this film, the genres shall meet. Thanks to HBO for broadcasting El Páramo, which I found fairly meaningful, in light of the awful conflicts that continue to ravage some Andean nations.
For New Zealand, I chose Do No Harm, a 12 minute short written and directed by Roseanne Liang, which made a strong impression on me at The Sundance Film Festival in 2017. I’m venturing outside of strict horror and into the realm of action/martial arts thrillers, but that subset of horror fans known as “gore hounds” could find some satisfaction in this terrific story. Continue reading
Like many of the movies I’ll be discussing, Can Evrenol’s 2015 Baskin kept peering at me in a sea of selections on Netflix that looked good, but that caused decision freeze on the question of whether I needed to invest time in this story. It’s a rare thing for me to see a Turkish horror movie; the only time I had seen one previously was Seytan, the unintentionally comic remake of The Exorcist.
A jaded horror fan rarely experiences fear anymore, but they can experience profound distress. I was left so disturbed and revolted that I question whether or not I needed this in my life.
In other words: a job well done!
Welcome to Chillerpop’s Around the World in 31 Days blog project. See what I did here? October 1 on October 1.
One thing I was very excited to do with this project was to watch and reflect on horror films from lands and countries far removed from me. I did a lot of research on what horror films from African countries are available and worth watching. Nigeria came up a lot, as there is a ‘Nollywood’ industry. There is a zombie movie named Ojuju that looks quite good and has received acclaim. Alas, not available to any of my streaming means, but, October 1 is available on Amazon Prime.