Halloween... a time to watch the same fucking handful of movies over and over. Rocky Horror Picture Show, Ghostbusters, Beetlejuice, The Nightmare Before Christmas (which kind of works for two holidays, way to cash in Tim Burton), something from the Saw, Scream, Halloween, Friday the Thirteenth, or A Nightmare on Elm Street franchises, a bunch of weird Japanese horror movies about ghosts that have bizarre endings, I'm sure you can come up with more but it's all the same fucking shit year after year. Well, I've had enough. Here are five movies to watch this Halloween that probably wouldn't make your traditional list, but are horrific in their own ways (and as a bonus, they're all from different countries... have a cultured All Hallows' Eve this year!):
David Fincher has made three amazing films (Fight Club, Se7en, and The Game) and a bunch of other ones that arguably range from "meh" to "not too shabby." Not bad for a guy who used to make music videos for Madonna. Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman attempt to hunt down a serial killer who is murdering his victims based on each of the seven deadly sins. Se7en is not really a horror film as much as it is a thriller, but it's a dark, moody thriller that just never lets up, and I know that sounds fucking cliched but it's true. From the unnerving opening credits to the grim ending, this is a movie that fucks you up so well the first time you watch it, you wish you could erase your memory just so you could let yourself experience it again.
A Canadian horror film with a cast of nobodies (the most famous person in the movie is an actress that was in a couple Kids in the Hall sketches). People talk about how great the first Saw movie was on a budget of a little over a million, Cube was made for $350k and blows it out of the fucking water. A psychological thriller about a group of people trapped in a gigantic cube made up of smaller cubes probably sounds really boring, but within about a minute when the Cube claims its first victim, you'll shut the fuck up about how boring you think it is. It's a great minimalist film that has some excellent gory moments (the effects are pretty solid for how much they spent on the movie) and manages to be a pretty fun mind-fuck overall. Oh, but ignore the prequel and the sequel. They sucked.
Not a horror movie at all, despite the section some shitty HMVs put it in, but the premise would be pretty terrifying for most 13-14-year-olds: What would happen if your entire class was kidnapped, put on an island, and forced to kill each other for sport and because the government doesn't have a better solution for population control? Battle Royale only recently became available in North America, conveniently just before The Hunger Games hit theaters (the plots are similar, and the author of The Hunger Games franchise claims that they never heard of the novel or the film Battle Royale before writing it, but then Battle Royale is kind of a rip-off of Stephen King's early novels The Long Walk and The Running Man, and I'm sure someone would suggest those novels borrow elements from other works as well, so... what the fuck can you do). It's got everything you need this Halloween: violence, creepy Asian girls, a weird bad guy that's possibly a pedophile, and more violence. It's kids viciously murdering each other on an island! What more do you need to know!?
Normally when you think "French films" you think about a bag blowing in the wind for 45 minutes while a mime cries and it's in black and white. While definitely horrifying, thankfully that's not what 13 Tzameti is (although it IS in black and white). Absolutely NOT a horror movie in any way, but similar to Battle Royale in the sense that the situation is the terrifying part. A guy doing a construction job on a private house finds out about an envelope in his employer's home, said envelope including instructions that could net him a fortune. What follows is so fucking awesome that I don't even want to give any more away, although I'm sure someone will spoil it for you if you try to look any deeper into it, but the guy gets sucked into a world he wishes he hadn't. Doesn't ruin the whole movie or anything if you find out where the envelope takes him (it happens in about the first 30 minutes and the rest is him dealing with the situation), but if you can go in completely spoiler free, it makes it even cooler, so I'm not going to be the asshole to tell you. They did an American remake that's pretty close to the original (it was made by the same director), so if you absolutely must watch it in color and in English then the option exists, but don't be lame. Just watch the original.
I Saw the Devil
(South Korea, 2010)
Before Kim Ji-woon made his American directorial debut with The Last Stand (an unfortunate misuse of his talents), he directed this modern masterpiece. The premise seems pretty simple at first (a cop tracks down a serial killer after the killer makes it personal) but then we get an interesting twist: the cop relentlessly tracks, beats, tortures, and maims our villain only to keep releasing him so he can beat him some more (with unfortunate consequences for all involved). Never let it be said that Koreans don't know how to make revenge films (see also: Oldboy and Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, both of which could also have easily made this list). There's a gruesome scene involving an Achilles tendon and a sharp object that makes me cringe every time I even think about it, a darkly humorous moment with a screwdriver, and so much brutality throughout that I couldn't leave it off this list. Never mind the shitty "jumpy-loud-noise" scares of bullshit modern horror like The Conjuring or those Paranormal Activity movies, this is that creepy, uncomfortable and unsettling horror that stays with you some time after the movie is over.
So there you go, five different movies to watch beyond the usual crap we always end up watching at this time of year. The downside to all of these movies is that your girlfriend isn't going to cutely grip your arm and hide her face in your chest while you watch them and then fuck you when it's all over. They're just going to be pissed that you made them watch these with you. Of course, if they do want to fuck you after watching any one of these... they're a keeper. A weird, disturbed keeper. My kind of woman.
Read more by Buckley, visit www.adam-buckley.com/dose.
THE spot for your favorite fan theories and the best Netflix recs. Learn more