Thursday, 25 October 2018

Hallowe'en Horror Movies - A Few Suggestions

Here's a few rambling, random thoughts on types of film I have yet to cover, and a little tribute to some lesser-known gems. Let's begin in the fairly mysterious East...

A Tale of Two Sisters is a 2003 Korean horror movie with shocks aplenty. It has rightly been praised for combining classic ghost story elements with a psycho-thriller plot that hangs together well and offers a startling twist. Director Kim Jee-woon created the biggest-selling Korean movie of all time, and the first to be screened in American cinemas.

Next up, more Lovecraft! Though you might not think so at first glance.

After doing a few Poes, Roger Corman settled on 'The Case of Charles Dexter Ward' for his next costume Gothic. Scripted by Charles Beaumont, the film keeps some of the original story but deviates so strongly from it in key ways that it is almost an original plot. Vincent Price plays Ward and his ancestor Curwen, and there is a great cameo from Lon Chaney Jr. Debra Paget, object of Peter Cook and Dudley's Moore's lust in their TV shows, is Ward's much-menaced bride.

But the best aspect of the film is Arkham, a misty old place where half the population are hideous hybrids. Beaumont changes Lovecraft's central intention, making Curwen a kind of idealist who wishes to somehow create a new human race by offering nubile Arkham lovelies to a Thing that lives in a pit under his castle. Needless to say, it is not a viable strategy.

Finally, a bit of modern US horror that takes an ambitious approach to the traditional ghost story.

Static (2012) stars Sara Paxton and Milo Ventimiglia as a couple who have recently lost a child, and are fraying under the stress of grief. Their relationship is made even shakier when a young woman arrives on their doorstep, asking for refuge. Things take an even weirder turn when masked, hooded figures are glimpsed in the night. A home invasion occurs, the couple try to escape, and it's a moot point whether the viewer will guess what the real situation is. I admit I worked out the twist before it came, but I still enjoyed the film a lot.

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