Are you looking to hang out with a few friends on Halloween night and watch a great horror flick? Every day in October, I’ll be suggesting a film that I believe will make for excellent Halloween viewing. Whether you’re an avid celebrator or a casual observer of the holiday, these films will convey the proper mood and spirit of October. In no particular order, here’s the next entry in my list of 31 excellent movies for Halloween Night—or whenever you’re looking for a frightfully good time.
My recommendation for October 17th is… Frontier(s).
5150 Elm’s Way (5150, Rue des Ormes) may just be the best French-Canadian shocker since Martyrs. It’s based on the novel of the same name by Patrick Senécal, who also serves as the film’s screenwriter. Director Éric Tessier masterfully guides his skilled cast, creating a deceptively banal movie with brutal resonance. Why this film is almost completely unknown amongst Horror aficionados is a mystery to me–and something I intend to rectify immediately.
Check out my review after the jump.
Those familiar with my blog know that I’m a huge fan of French Horror movies, specifically a subgenre known as New French Extremity. New French Extremity refers to a collection of films from French directors who gained prominence around the turn of the 21st Century. I find the timing of this movement astounding; in addition to kicking off the millennium, I believe this subgenre is a product of (and a reaction to) the stress of life in post-9/11 society. There can be no doubt that 9/11 changed just about every facet of modern culture, and its effect on the emotional and psychological landscapes of Horror cinema can not be understated–but that’s a blog for another day.
Deep in the Woods (Promenons-nous dans les bois) is a moody and atmospheric chiller directed by Lionel Delplanque. It was filmed in 1999 and released in 2000, obviously before 9/11, and it’s not necessarily a movie regarded as “Extreme”. Still, this film struck me as a precursor to my beloved subgenre; I detected tones and elements that would later be expounded in classics like High Tension and Sheitan (among others).
Check out my review after the jump.
Written and directed by Frank Richard, The Pack fits into the New French Extremity sub-genre—but only just barely. It’s not lacking in the extreme (violence, cruelty, gore) but it strays from the genre’s core tenets by incorporating a supernatural element absent in other notable French offerings of the past decade (like High Tension, Martyrs, and Frontier(s) to name a few).
Read my review after the jump.
American Horror cinema is in a slump and has been for a few years. Major studios have been a cause of endless ire as a glut of ill-conceived sequels, remakes, and prequels have flooded the landscape. That’s why Saucy Josh looks outside U.S. borders for the best and most original offerings in modern Horror. As the Asian Horror fad began to wane around 2005, I found myself pulled into a stark, new sub-genre: New French Extremity. Who would have thought that the French were such masters of mayhem? Films like Inside, Sheitan, Frontier(s), and High Tension have raised the Horror bar to new heights.
So it makes sense that the smartest of American Horror producers have also been looking beyond U.S. borders for innovation, similarly taking note of the “deviant” minds behind New French Extremity. In 2005, Wes Craven recruited Alexandre Aja (High Tension) to direct the remake of The Hills Have Eyes—with outstanding results. Recently, Anchor Bay teamed up with writer/director Xavier Gens (Frontier(s)) to produce his English-language debut The Divide (an apocalyptic Horror set for limited release in February). Now another big name in French Horror is poised to unleash a new twisted vision on us jaded Americans.
Read the synopsis for The Tall Man and peep the demo-reel over at FilmSponge.com!
I’ve been wanting to write about Livid (Livide) for a while. This film was written and directed by Julien Maury and Alexander Bustillo, the creative duo who shot to fame with their debut film Inside (a film Bloody Disgusting called “The Crown Jewel of New French Extremity“). Livid began generating buzz months before its North American premier at Sreamfest in Los Angeles. So why did I wait so long to blog about this movie? I was waiting (and waiting and waiting) for the trailer to drop. Well, it finally arrived this weekend—and it looks awesome (even if you don’t speak French)!
Check it out over at FilmSponge.com!
In an alternate reality, The Academy of Motion Pictures began awarding Oscars for Best Horror Films in 1980. The 80’s were an incredibly vibrant era in Horror Movie history. The 90’s, on the other hand (with a few notable exceptions), was a terrible decade for Horror. The new millennium, however, ushered in a true Horror Renaissance. Many of the films released this last decade are some of the best in Horror history. In addition to a wave on “Found-Footage” films, the millennium brought us New French Extremity, “torture porn”, and a few truly amazing remakes.
If the last decade is any indication of what’s to come, 2010-2019 is only going to get better. Less than 2 years in, and this decade is off to an amazing start with films like: Black Death, The Crazies, Insidious, The Last Exorcism, Let Me In, Resident Evil: Afterlife, Don’t be Afraid of the Dark, Final Destination 5, Scream 4, and Paranormal Activity 3 (to name a few).
Come with me, one last time, back into the past, as I recap the Best Horror Film Oscar contenders, nominees, and winners from 2000-2009.
I’ll admit it: I was on the “I hate the French” Bandwagon for a bit. It wasn’t because France didn’t support the US when we invaded Iraq (because I wouldn’t have either). Most likely, my distaste for France stems from jealously, as I’ve never experienced this country and its culture first hand. So I bought the stereotypes: The French are all winos, everyone eats snails, the Subway stinks, Paris is overrun with mimes, all guys wear stupid berets and run around saying “Ooh la la”, and the women never shave their underarms. Worst of all, French are weak for letting Hitler roll his tanks in (as if I’m an indignant WWII Vet or something!).
Since leaving LA almost a decade ago, I’ve adopted more of a live-and-let-live attitude, not just in regards to France and the French, but towards everything. I’m all about celebrating mankind’s similarities rather than putting folks into boxes based on arbitrary characteristics.
But it wasn’t until the Netflix Era that I realized the French are actually the new Masters of Horror. With Netflix’s suggestions and viewer comments, I was exposed to a plethora of Horror and gore that I might otherwise have never seen. I didn’t go out in search of French films, I went looking for the best Horror films, regardless of where they were produced. It just so happened that Horror movies exported from France were continuously blowing my mind. I’d like to thanks Netflix for guiding me towards this Horror goldmine, and I’d like to thanks the French for revitalizing my enthusiasm for all things terrifying. This list is my tribute to you. Viva la France!
Looks like another awesome example of the New French Extremity. Jump to FilmSponge.com to see the trailer and come back to Blood and Guts for Grown Ups this Friday for my latest Top 10 List: 10 F*ckin’ Freaky French Horror Flicks.