October is finally here! But why am I still wearing shorts? We can talk about the end of the world another time because here’s where we discuss horror films! As we’ve done in years past, Black Dog Video is happy to recommend a lovely horror movie a day for you to enjoy for the month of Halloween! Sad to say we’re not open anymore for you to come in and rent these titles but they can be purchased through our website or slide on over to Video Cat on Cambie to rent them!
If you’re sitting comfortably, then we’ll begin…
Nope (2022) – Might be my favourite Jordan Peele film (so far)! Is it a horror film? Sci-fi thriller? You decide! It certainly has some fine horror elements to it (I’m looking at you, Gordy). And a UFO thing that, well, I’m going to give any spoilers. If it’s still playing in the theatre, check it out there. I’ve seen it twice so far. Dig in.
Nosferatu (1922) – From brand new to brand old! I saw this a few weeks ago at the Rio where it was accompanied by a live band. It was pretty great. Even though it’s not that scary anymore, after all it is 100 years old, there were a couple of shots that were actually quite shudder inducing (the music really made it). It had some nice creepy vibes and Max Shrek is a weird looking ghoul. Good, classic, stuff.
Demons (1985) – The perils of going to a haunted movie theatre somewhere in the bowels of Rome (?). Moviegoers are trapped in a theatre full of hungry zombie-like creatures. Oh and there’s a helicopter involved as well. Good fun this one is! We did this one for a podcast episode a few months back!
They will make cemeteries their cathedrals and the cities will be your tombs!
Prince of Darkness (1987) Under-appreciated gem from John Carpenter! Some college kids and scientists find a big container of goo in an old church. Not drinking that I said to myself. They should have listened. Oh and has Alice Cooper killing a guy with a bicycle. Loved this one!
X (2022) Ti West is fast becoming one of my favourite horror directors (check out House of the Devil, The Innkeepers, Pearl – came out this year and is a prequel to X) and I loved this outing from earlier in the year! Some crazy kids go to a remote farmhouse to make a porno (it’s the 70s!). Unfortunately for them, the creepy old couple that lives there aren’t down with the dirty. Mayhem ensues.
Haunt (2019) Had this in the shop for a couple of years but was always put off by the box art. Thought it was about clowns. Tired of clowns. Anyhoo, watched this last night and was pleasantly surprised. Good pacing, tense atmosphere and sweet gore. It’s not going to change the genre but it’s impressive enough for a good night out. Bunch of kids go to an extreme Haunted House on Halloween and are bummed to find out that all the mayhem is real.
– note – I will be away for a week and will pick up this list upon my return. Until then you guys can fill in the blanks with your horror picks!
Alright, I’m back (I had to go to NYC for a week) with more lovely horror film recommendations for the month!
Phenomena (1985) – Quite a fun, weird, bug-riddled ride from Dario Argento, featuring a young, brave Jennifer Connelly as young girl who, for some reason, can communicate with insects. This helps her solve a horror mystery at a Swiss boarding school. The late great Donald Pleasence is along for the ride bringing with him a terrible Scottish (Swiss?) accent. Good times.
Phantasm (1979) – Anyone who knows me, knows I love me some Phantasm. I still remember seeing this on late night TV in the early 80s and it freaking my crazy beak. It’s such a fun, weird, highly-imaginative ride. There’s nothing like it. I have “The Ball” sitting on my mantle at home. Might watch this again sometime soon!
Burial Ground (1981) Let me preface this by saying this is NOT a good movie. Terrible actually. Slow moving, lousy looking, non-threatening zombies (except this ones that throw knives or wield scythes). Bad acting. Crap production values. Why am I recommending it then? Well it’s truly bizarre. We have creepy weirdo, 25 year-old Peter Bark, playing a 12 year-old and he steals the show (especially when he gets scared and wants to suckle at his mother’s bosom). Your jaw will be on the floor. But you have been warned – this is not a good movie.
Speak No Evil (2022) – A couple goes to Holland to hang out with some folks they met on vacation. Things don’t go very well. Not at all. An insanely tense, unnerving, uncomfortable, grim little number. Loved it (despite a few issues I had with it).
Terrified (2017) – Creepy AF film from Argentina finds some folks trying to figure out what the weird, scary shenanigans are all about in a neighbourhood in Buenos Aires. If you haven’t seen this one, give it a shot. Nice surprise.
Sleepaway Camp (1983) – One of my all-time favourite 80s horror films. It’s not scary but it is hilarious adn entertaining as hell! So many things – the outfits! the baseball game! the swearing! the mustache! the hotdogs! that ending! Get your friends together, crack a couple cold ones, and dig into this “masterpiece”!
Billy: Eat shit and die, Ricky!
Ricky: Eat shit and live, Bill.
Mother! – (2017) Controversial pick! Is it a horror film? Is it a thriller? Is it an over-blown biblical allegory? Whatever it is, I loved it! It hearkened back to the time when I was in high school and had a party when my parents were out of town. Hundreds of uninvited people showed up and wouldn’t leave. Stuff of nightmares. I’m Jennifer Lawrence in this. Just get out of my house!
The Beyond (1981) – Lucio Fulci’s masterpiece (imo) finds a woman inheriting a house only to find it sits on a portal to hell. Crazy things happen! Lots of spiders! Funny story – when we bought our house, I was told it also sits on a portal to hell. I paid extra for that.
Rosemary’s Baby (1968) – The Devil stole my ba-bay! Might just be a perfect film. Everything about this hits on the right notes. Great cast, setting, pacing, cinematography. Everything. Probably Polanski’s best work. If you haven’t seen this, get it in your eyes before it’s too late!
The Void (2016) – No, not the “Noid”, that guy you can avoid. But check out this weirdo Canadian gory effort (practical effects, people) where a cop delivers a dude to an understaffed hospital and then strange things start happening. Good fun.
Carrie (1976) – There’s been a lot of Stephen King adaptations, some good, some not-so-good, some great. In my not-so-humble opinion, this is one of the best. If not the best. Bad moms can lead to bad life choices. Love this film. One of DePalma’s best as well.
I Saw the Devil (2010) – A sadistic serial killer murders the pregnant wife of a sadistic cop. Sadistic game of cat and mouse or killer whale and seal hunting, entails. Not for the faint-of-heart, the easily-offended, the oft-craven, the squeamish, or folks with soft sensibilities. This Korean number is brutal and nuts and intense. It’s also excellent.
House of the Devil (2009) – It’s devil week here at Black Dog Video Laboratories and up next is this fine slice of throwback horror from Ti West. Broke college gal takes a babysitting job at a weird, creepy farmhouse. Need I say more? Enjoy, you devils, you!
Oculus (2013) – Who would have ever thought that a movie about a haunted mirror could be so darn good and scary? Mike Flanagan did, that’s for sure. Between him and Ti West, the horror genre is in pretty good hands at the moment.
Men (2022) – A woman moves into an estate in the rural English countryside still grieving from the death of her husband. There she meet an assortment of creepy men. Maybe a little too on the nose with the symbolism (eating the forbidden apple from the tree in her front yard, anyone) but this decent into hell and terror is ripe for the picking!
The Brood (1979) – What’s a horror list without a Cronenberg film? This early weirdo, gross-out number finds Oliver Reed as an unconventional therapist, Samantha Eggar as his patient with a creepy secret and Art Hindle wearing a big coat. It also feature murderous deformed children. What more do you want?
The Sadness (2021) – Some sort of plague rocks Taiwan, making everybody go crazy and commit the most depraved and deplorable acts they can imagine. Pretty fun, disgusting, gross, offensive piece of insanity. I liked it! It’ll get you right in the eye. Not for everyone – you have been warned.
Sinister (2012) Science nerds tell us that scientifically speaking, Sinister is the scariest film ever made. That’s up to debate of course (but not according to science!). What it is is a pretty darn good horror number (if not an easy pick) and contains some fairly disturbing scenes. Ethan Hawke finds some scary home movies in his attack. Should he watch them? Science says , yes he should. I love science.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) – It was a tough choice to pick a final horror film for the month. It was between this and It Follows (which I adore). But TCM won out as it’s an all-time classic and one of the best, most disturbing and grim horror films ever. And it still is! There’s been a lot of imitators and remakes etc but none can hold a candle (made out of human fat) to this one!
Have a great Halloween everyone. Thanks for playing along!