GND’s 12 Cinematic favourites for Haunting Halloween viewing
(in no particular order)
Suspiria (Dario Argento), 1977
A moody, atmospheric assault of the senses. A young American woman arrives at a European ballet school where nothing is as it seems. Hallucinatory mayhem ensues.
The Resurrected (Dan O’Bannon) 1992
An intelligent, brooding adaptation of Lovecraft’s “The Strange Case of Charles Dexter Ward”. Chris Sarandon at his creepily aristocratic best.
Cube (Vincenzo Natali) 1997
Kafkaesque sci-horror reminiscent of a visceral Twilight Zone episode. A handful of strangers wake up inside a monstrous maze of interlocking cubicles which are armed with lethal traps. Why were these individuals chosen? What is this place they are in? Is there even anything outside the Cube?
Let’s Scare Jessica To Death (John D. Hancock) 1971
An eerie, dreamlike film in which a woman’s already fragile psyche undergoes further trauma at the isolated farmhouse where she initially sought solace. Is there really something sinister going on between the mysterious drifter and the baleful townfolk – or is Jessica spiraling further into delusion and madness ?
Dawn of the Dead (Zack Snyder)2004
Romero’s 1978 original was “sacred ground” for horror buffs, but even though I saw this remake 6 years ago, there are some nights I still can’t sleep thinking upon certain scenes; to this day I am convinced I will awake to find my neighbor’s child gazing upon me hungrily, ready to eat my face off.
Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things (Bob Clarke) 1972
A strangely awkward film, a bit of nostalgic whimsy on my part. A flamboyant theatre director brings his acting troupe to a remote island cemetery to raise the dead, as a practical joke. This turns out badly for all involved; as we all know, these practices are no laughing matter.
Lemora: A Child’s Tale of The Supernatural (Richard Blackburn) 1975
An orphaned young innocent is lured to a remote mansion on the outskirts of the strange southern gothic shanty town populated by bizarre mutants, and soon finds herself in the clutches of the wicked (and undead) Lemora. A long, unsettling nightmare of a film.
The Mist (Frank Darabont) 2007
Excellent Stephen King Adaptation; local folks are trapped in a supermarket when a mysterious mist envelops the town - some incredibly frightening monsters here…and that includes the human people as well.
Carnival of Souls (Herk Harvey) 1962
After a traumatic accident a woman seems to be losing all contact with the world of the living. Worthwhile viewing for the gorgeously oppressive atmosphere alone.
The Orphanage (Juan Antonio Bayona) 2008
A woman returns to her childhood home - a seaside orphanage - to reopen the establishment and raise her adopted son. The child’s mysterious disappearance, and frightening, otherworldly goings-on contribute to what is a quietly chilling, heartbreaking film.
*And a bonus pick from On The Borderland, who shares that since having seen Les Diaboliques, “I have been wary of face-like bathtub faucets ever since!”
Les Diaboliques (Henri-Georges Clouzot) 1955
Feel free to leave your own recommendations in the comments or in a post of your own!
OTB’s Picks for Twelve Tomes for A Terrifying Halloween.
(In no particular order.)
- 1. “The Music of Erich Zann” by H.P. Lovecraft. The shrieking and whining of desparate viols…defending against…what exactly?
- 2. The Tenant by Roland Topor. The most disturbing novel I have ever read, a nauseating crescendo of paranoia and sinister characters.
- 3. “O Whistle and I’ll Come to You My Lad” by M.R. James. Mysterious medieval whistles with Latin inscriptions and the infamous “face of crumpled linen”.
- 4. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. Evocative, eerie and I first read it in one sitting.
- 5. “The White People” by Arthur Machen. “And if the roses in your garden sang a weird song, you would go mad. And suppose the stones in the road began to swell and grow before your eyes, and if the pebble that you noticed at night had shot out stony blossoms in the morning?”
- 6. “The Willows” by Algernon Blackwood. Two campers encounter a place where the veil between the worlds has grown thin…an alien world, a world tenanted by willows only and the souls of willows.
- 7. “A Haunted Island” by Algernon Blackwood. Chilling terror and remniscent of the Adirondacks island camp I stay at in the summers. (Blackwood makes this list twice, because he is truly the master of the unsettling tale.)
- 8. The House on the Borderland by William Hope Hodgson. A found manuscript, swine creatures and the swift passing of the universe…is the narrator sane or not?
- 9. “The Spider” by Hanns Heinz Ewers. Mysterious suicides take place in the same apartment, seemingly without cause.
- 10. “The Human Chair” by Edogawa Rampo. A bizarre tale of the Japanese gothic.
- 11. “The Room in the Tower” by E.F. Benson. Sinister dreams and unfriendly nocturnal visitors.
- 12. “The Damned Thing” by Ambrose Bierce. What may happen in a field of wild oats.
A bonus pick by Mlle. Ghoul:
- 13. The House Next Door by Anne River Siddons. A singular tale, and from what I can tell the author’s lone foray into the genre. A unique take on the haunted house story - is the evil housed within in the structure of the dwelling, or is it the wickedness of the inhabitants that drive the horrors that occur within? The chills are so subtly sinister and so elegantly written that it is difficult to pinpoint exactly why the book is so frightening; I imagine the shudders provoked by these pages will be very different for each reader.
Feel free to leave your own recommendations in the comments on in a post of your own!