Horror by Way of Europe
It’s time for a change of pace and style when it comes to selecting your poison of choice this Halloween. If you don’t want to be stuck with more slasher films with more gore than you can handle, you may want to check out Euro-horror for your screamfest this year. Below are some of the more notable films you may want to get your ghoulish hands on.
- Diabolique (1955, France)- Christina Delasalle suffers greatly at the hands of her sadistic husband Michel, who is the headmaster in the boarding school she inherited. Nicole Horner, Michel’s mistress, is a teacher at the school and suffers equally from the same maltreatment that Christina does. Together, the women decide to kill Michel. They lure him to Nicole’s house, where he is drugged and drowned in the bathtub. After this, they wrap up and dispose of his body in the school’s murky and filthy swimming pool. After several days, his body fails to float up to the surface and when the pool is drained, his body is nowhere to be found.
- The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920, Germany)- This one may take your by surprise, because it is, indeed, a silent film. Not the silent film of Charlie Chaplin or the Keystone Cops, but a true silent film that is a testament that cinematic magic can be found even in the humble silent film. The basic premise is that of a man relating a story that happened to him and his friends – their unnerving discovery of a crazed mountebank, Dr. Caligari, and his prophetic sleepwalker. It follows a series of murders and growing madness, keeping you in constant suspense and confusion until the very last scene.
- The Vanishing (1988, the Netherlands)- While on a cycling vacation, a young couple, Rex and Saskia, stop at a service station to rest and get some provisions. It is the last time Rex sees Saskia. For the next three years, he dedicates his to trying to find her. When someone sends him a postcard vowing to tell him what happened to Saskia, Rex has to decide whether to pursue this potential lead and risk his life or walk away and never get closure.
- The Devil’s Backbone (2001, Spain)-Set in 1939, nearing the end of the Spanish Civil War, The Devil’s Backbone revolves around Carlos, the 10-year-old orphaned son of a slain Republican. He is left to fend for himself at an isolated orphanage for boys, run by a curt but sympathetic headmistress and Dr. Casares. With the meager funds they have, they manage to get by. In addition to the bully that torments Carlos, a ghost boy names Santi latch on to him and warns him of the death and destruction that is to come. Directed by Guillermo del Toro, this film is hauntingly epic.
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- The Ear (1970, Hungary)-This unique film touches on the study of fear among the communist presence in the 1950s. It revolves around Ludvik, a top bureaucrat, and his wife, Anna, coming home one night from a reception to find their home has been bugged (during a period of political purging). The paranoia and sleepless night sets Ludvik and Anna on edge, and the result is a tense psychological thriller
Now that you have your list in hand, break out the vino and prepare to be scared!
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