People: A Descent Into Holy Horror And Deranged Love

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Misery , Director: Rob Reiner.


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James Caan plays Paul Sheldon, author of a popular series of Regency bodice-rippers featuring a protagonist named Misery Chastain. And by rescued I mean abducted. The stories and characters intertwine on the same small town throughout Halloween night, intersecting in ways both classical the ghosts of a long ago tragedy return and modern a coven of female werewolves, out on the town.

Sly comedy and great performances from an array of familiar faces Brian Cox, Dylan Baker, Anna Paquin power each of the segments, and none of them overstay their welcome. We Need To Talk About Kevin concerns the experience of a mother struggling with the aftermath of a school massacre carried out by her son. Onibaba , Director: Kineto Shindo. In this case, Shindo. Nope and nope. Then everything gets so much more destructive and subversive. Her ambition turns her into a monster because she has nothing else: Her life is so devoid of meaning that doing the unthinkable has no downside.

No one is going to describe Starry Eyes as light viewing, and no one is going to laugh at the deaths. The Vanishing , Director: George Sluizer.

Having saved a young girl from drowning, and celebrated as a hero by his daughters, he wants to find out whether his act of kindness can be followed up by a similarly impressive act of evil. As the film allows Raymond to, over time, investigate the line between sociopathy and psychopathy, he spends hours meticulously planning how to best go about abducting a woman, rather than rescuing one. He experiments with chloroform, purchases an isolated house and practices different ways of getting unknowing women to get into his car. Sluizer later remade his own film for American audiences, with Jeff Bridges and Kiefer Sutherland , but its ending was drastically changed.

Black Sabbath , Director: Mario Bava.

“A ghost in daylight”: drugs and the horror of modernity

Indeed, the band in question famously took their name from this celebrated anthology film, which spins three tales of Mario Bava-directed horror. To say any more would be to spoil this fascinating and subversive take on the vampire story, an absolute essential totem of the horror genre. Scream , Director: Wes Craven. Vincent Price is as entertaining as the fly-crossed scientist as you would no doubt expect him to be. Along with The Thing , the film is one of the last great hurrahs of the practical effects-driven horror era, featuring some of the more disgusting makeup and gore effects of all time.

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The Orphanage , Director: J. It seems safe to say that director J. The scene featuring a reprise of the knock-knock game once played by the orphans is almost unbearably tense.


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Hers is a performance that stems right from the soul. The Descent , Director: Neil Marshall. But ah, how The Descent transcends its one-sentence synopsis. Not content to simply paint one of the two as flawed and the other as resourceful and ultimately vindicated, he uses a series of misunderstandings to illustrate human failing on a much more profound and universal level.

Ultimately, The Descent is as moving a character study as it is terrifying subterranean creature feature, with one hell of an ending to boot. But what it does give us is the first full distillation of the American slasher film, and a heaping helping of atmosphere. Utterly indispensable to the whole thing is the great Donald Pleasance as Dr. Videodrome , Director: David Cronenberg. In Videodrome , maybe more saliently than in any of his other films, Cronenberg squeezes the ordeals of the slumbering mind like toothpaste from the tube into the disgusting light of day, unable to push them back in.

Long live the new flesh—because the old can no longer hold us together. After a married couple Julie Christie and a typically unhinged Donald Sutherland loses their sole daughter to a drowning accident, they travel abroad while trying unsuccessfully to cope with the loss, until the wife is contacted by a psychic who claims to be able to speak with their deceased daughter.

Repulsion , Director: Roman Polanski. We spend much of the film with a single woman, Carole Catherine Deneuve , cloistered in a cracking, crumbling apartment that represents the slow erosion of her sanity. But at the same time, the dream sequences and hallucination scenes are the stuff of nightmares, a sort of evolution of the expressionist horror of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and others that deftly use both imagery and especially sound design to slowly ratchet up the intensity.

Carrie , Director: Brian De Palma. The tropes and individually famous scenes of Carrie are so ingrained into our pop cultural consciousness that one might not even really need to see the original film to understand what makes it significant. Rarely has abject terror and helplessness been so perfectly captured, Spacek desperately, pathetically clinging to her classmates in terror of her first menstruation, only to be derided and pelted with tampons as she lies in a screaming heap.

Carrie is a brisk film which thrives on those two strong, central performances, building to the gloriously cathartic orgy of revenge we all know is coming. Soles get bumped off yet again. When a family member dies and the long-held tradition is threatened, allegiances come into question, familial ties crumble and the younger generation faces an extremely difficult decision in potentially breaking away from the customs that have bound the family together for many generations.

Edward Docx's top 10 deranged characters | Books | The Guardian

In particular, the conclusion and final minutes of We Are What We Are is shocking in both its brutality and emotional impact, an intimate case study of family dysfunction driven by the changing times and the impracticality of archaic traditions that sustain us. In the years following Scream , there was no shortage of films attempting similar deconstructions of the horror genre, but few deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as the criminally underseen Behind the Mask. How does he pick his victims? How can he seemingly be in two places at once? Every, and I mean every, horror fan needs to see Behind the Mask.

It wastes no time, going straight into its comic violence within the first 10 minutes and never letting up. The Babadook , Director: Jennifer Kent. But The Babadook is so layered, so complex and just so goddamned dramatic that categorizing it outright feels reductive to the point of insult. You will also come away enriched and provoked. Australian actress-turned-filmmaker Kent has made a movie about childhood, about adulthood and about the nagging fears that hound us from one period to the next.

Demons , Director: Lamberto Bava. Demons , his best work, catches several different genres at an interesting crossroads. The plot involves a movie theater besieged by demons during a horror movie screening, in a structure that mimics Night of the Living Dead. The Witch , Director: Robert Eggers. From its first moments, The Witch strands us in a hostile land. We watch, and writer-director Robert Eggers holds our gaze while a score of strings and assorted prickly detritus—much like the dialogue-less beginning to There Will be Blood —rise to a climax that never comes. All of this Eggers frames with a subconscious knack for creating tension within each shot, rarely relying on jump scares or gore, instead mounting suspense through one masterful edit after another.

The effect, then, is that of a building fever dream in which primeval forces—lust, defiance, hunger, greed—simmer at the edges of experience, avoided but never quite conquered. There is no joy in their worship, there is only gravitas: prayers, fasting, penitence and fear. What more can be said of Night of the Living Dead? More importantly, it established all of the genre rules: Zombies are reanimated corpses; zombies are compelled to eat the flesh of the living; zombies are unthinking, tireless and impervious to injury; the only way to kill a zombie is to destroy the brain.

The film still holds up well, especially in its moody cinematography and stark, black-and-white images of zombie arms reaching through the windows of a rural farmhouse. The Cabinet of Dr.

Caligari , Director: Robert Wiene. Still, in the same vein as Nosferatu , its fantastical visual palette is instantly iconic: Buildings cant in impossible angles and light plays strange tricks—are those shadows real, or painted directly onto the set? The story revolves around a mad hypnotist Werner Krauss who uses a troubled sleepwalker Conrad Veidt as his personal assassin, forcing him to exterminate his enemies at night.

Black Sunday , Director: Mario Bava. After years spent toiling as a cinematographer and at times uncredited co-director on an assortment of moderate to low-budget horror and sword-and-sandals productions, Mario Bava broke out in a big way with Black Sunday. Loosely and I mean loosely based on a short story by Nikolai Gogol, the film centers on the resurrection of a 17th century vampire-witch Barbara Steele and her paramour Arturo Dominici as they seek revenge on the descendants of the brother who executed her.

Designed as a throwback to the Universal Monster movies of the s, Black Sunday drew significant controversy for several gruesome sequences including, but not limited to, the implementation of a spiked death mask and a moment where a cross is stabbed through an eye. Though time has since lessened the impact of the gorier scenes, the movie still packs a huge punch with its nightmarish atmosphere, which is further accentuated by its vivid black-and-white photography and striking production design.

The Sixth Sense , Director: M. Night Shyamalan. Critical examination aside, it truly is a frightening film, from the scene where Cole is locked in a box with an abusive ghost to the little moments I always found the scene where all the kitchen cabinets and drawers open at once while off-screen to be particularly effective.

For better or worse, though, this is the defining film of M. Rarely has the danger of success been so clearly illustrated for an artist—Shyamalan crafted a scary film that still holds up today, and then spent most of the next decade chasing that same accomplishment with rapidly diminishing returns that have only recently been rehabilitated with the likes of Split. Santi, the young ghost haunting this Spanish orphanage, is a mystery, a cipher whose desires are alien to us, brackish as the ghostly water consistently weeping from his wounds.

It remains his purest horror film. No doubt this is a factor of being the last to come along, as Wes Craven had a chance to watch and be influenced by the brooding Carpenter and the far more shameless and tawdry Cunningham in several F13 sequels. The original Wicker Man , a British film released in , was a unique new horror tale with haunting cinematography and a deeply creepy soundtrack.

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Edward Docx's top 10 deranged characters

The film explored gender politics and sexuality in a way that only s horror flicks really could, combining eroticism with violence to titillate and horrify viewers. Woodward manages to portray a virginal, overly righteous character in a way that is both sympathetic and thought-provoking. And it all builds to a conclusion that has to be regarded as among the most shocking of its era.

The Changeling , Director: Peter Medak.

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George C. Dubbed one of the scariest movies of all time by Martin Scorsese , The Changeling deals the terror out in spades, with Medak playing up the tightening fear of the unknown with the precision of a horror maestro. What begins as another haunted house story ends as a commentary on the history of America: a nation built not just on hard work, but also on blood and not-always-heroic sacrifice.