Around the World in 31 Days: Mexico

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habitante

Movie poster.

Feliz Dia de los Muertos! I hope this day gives you much wonder, and that you remember – or commune with the spirits of – your loved ones beyond the veil.

Since I began my correspondence with the folks at It’s Playing, Just With Research, I’ve been obsessive about chasing down every last possession/exorcism movie out there. That’s how the terrific Mexican horror film El Habitante (The Inhabitant), came to my attention. I had a deep fear as I began this movie: that it would be as rote and derivative as 99.6% of all modern exorcism films since the release of The Exorcism of Emily Rose.

I was happily wrong. Continue reading

Around the World in 31 Days: Australia

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There is a category of fiction out there called “horror adjacent,” mostly applied to movies that might feature supernatural horror elements but whose storyline itself isn’t actually horror. Some of these could fall in with ‘horror-comedy;’ others with fantasy, and another set, like Australia’s Boys in the Trees, defy easy classification.

Paranormal tear-jerker?

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Around the World in 31 Days: Romania

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be my cat

Source: imdb

Romania. The very name evokes dark forests, gothic ambiance, and the home town of one Vlad Tepes. Universal and Hammer horror films. Innocent frights and delights that kept you up as a kid, and bring you warm feelings of love as an adult.

I understand Romanians themselves are probably sick of the “Dracula” associations and just want to join the modern world like any other country.

Well, Be My Cat: A Film for Anne is a horror movie in a very modern (and American) tradition – found footage – and devoid of anything gothic, vampiric or supernatural. Its plot is driven by adulation for a major American Hollywood celebrity. Is this a point? Continue reading

Around the World in 31 Days: The Philippines

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Seaside horror is going to have a resurgence. Robert Eggers, director of The VVitch, just released The Lighthouse. Another film (one I hoped to cover in this blog project), Cold Skin, also deals in coastal terror.

Where the land is adjacent to the cold, horror filled depths, that is fertile ground for nightmares. And Aurora delivered on those, although at times it is an uneven film. Continue reading

Around the World in 31 Days: France

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I’m not a gorehound, but when I heard the Faculty of Horror’s podcast episode on the New French Extremity movement I knew I had to delve (Alexandra West, podcast co-host, has written a book extensively covering these films.)

I was hoping to watch the original Martyrs, as its premise sounds mind-blowing, but I went for the low-hanging streaming fruit, Frontière(s) on TubiTV. Nazis are no longer quaint wrong fun for horror movie subject matter, so I wasn’t totally in the mood.

Now, NFE movies don’t typically fuck around; they will deliver some of the most shocking, nihilistic moods you can see anywhere. Frontière(s) opened with an abortion and the main protagonist declaring that this was no world in which to bring a baby forth. Opening salvo? Continue reading

Around the World in 31 Days: Argentina

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At the risk of revealing too much about myself, I’m a U.S. citizen with a deep Argentinian background. And because of that, I wanted the country to be well represented in this year’s 31 Days of Halloween blog project. I know that Aterrados (Terrified) has received great acclaim (I don’t have Shudder). And Penumbra is on Hulu and it looks quite good.

But I took in 2010’s Cold Sweat (Sudor Frio). And I’m honor-bound to present it here because it’s a deeply psychotronic bundle of WTF trash delight, and it deserves much discussion.

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Around the World in 31 Days: Denmark

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As a fan of many things Nordic, I was pleased to see that Denmark has a zombie apocalypse film all its own. Even better, it takes place in a sleepy suburb of Copenhagen (Sorgenfri, the film’s original Danish title), filled with attractive people. As it begins, it is bucolic and sunny and very pleasantly ordinary. It could have easily fallen into some quiet Euro coming-of-age story or family drama, but of course, that’s not where the path takes you. You know, of course, based on the blurbs, that the path is to a zombie movie. And what I would have loved was a different branch of that path. To explain this point I will need to move up the “what we’re afraid of.”

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