Each day in October, three brave souls from our gang of Groovy Goolies (co-editor Paul Childs, Boardgames Master Aaron Nash and Ultimate Movie Geek Nathaniel Jepson) are watching horror films from around the world and across a wide spectrum of the horror genre, so expect slashers, ghosts, cultists, demons, vampires, cannibals, zombies, kaiju, aliens and more!
Paul’s Choice – The Uninvited (1944)
Last year when I was putting my list together Den of Geek’s Sarah Dobbs was really helpful in directing me towards a couple of hidden gems – the fabulous Spanish thriller Julia’s Eyes and indie creature feature The Void. She also shared her article on Games Radar with me for some of the best black and white horror. I chose Carnival of Souls last time but made a point of consulting that list again this year. And so I did, choosing Ealing’s only horror, Dead of Night. She then told me I really ought to watch The Uninvited (and verbally kicked herself for leaving it off her list) so I add that too.
And I’m so glad I did. For the most part, it’s a gentle drama about a man moving to a house on the Devon coast and falling in love with a local girl, to the disapproval of her overprotective grandfather. One might almost say that, at times, it falls more into the romantic comedy bracket than horror as there are several laugh-out-loud moments. But beneath all that jolly fluff is an extremely engaging murder mystery which twists and turns like a twisty-turny thing as new information is systematically revealed.
Oh and there’s also the ghost! The juxtaposition between the light-hearted moments and the spectral encounters is jarring. For the most part, like many of the best haunted house films which would follow (I’m specifically thinking of The Haunting and The Others) the sound design is top notch. The first time we hear the ghost, the sound of a woman crying out of shot, is immensely creepy.
For a 74 year old film, the effects work when we finally get to see the incorporeal spook in the closing minutes of the film is impressive and eerie. And then, to ease the tension, we’re suddenly thrown back into Rom Com territory with a joke which makes you realise that the whole movie was a setup for a monumentally funny punchline!
Sweet, funny, creepy but most of all very entertaining!
Aaron’s Choice – Martyrs (2008)
Martyrs is hands down one of the most impressive and truly amazing horror films to exist. It completely turns the genre on its head while a times feeling familiar. Let me just say I am talking about the French Pascal Laugier film, not the remake from a few years ago.
Going into it I didn’t really know what to expect. I knew it was considered ‘extreme’, but nothing more than that. What I got truly blew me away. It’s not just a horror film as it crosses genres regularly and seamlessly. At times it’s a revenge thriller, at others a ghost story or a torture film. It even encompasses belief and what it is to be human. It’s fascinating to watch and truly edge of your seat stuff.
Everything from the acting to the direction is perfection. You truly feel for the characters as you get caught up in their situation. The story is crafted in such a fantastic way with new turns at every corner. I have seen this film numerous times over the years and each time I notice something slightly new.
Some have labelled the film as ‘torture porn’ which is doing the film a massive disservice and is ultimately incorrect as it’s not a film just about gore and violence. I feel sorry for those who to miss this masterpiece on that label.
At times scary, at others heartbreaking Martyrs is a film to watch with a fresh mind and one looking for something fresh, powerful and strangely uplifting by the end.
Nathaniel’s Choice – Se7en (1995)
Our resident YouTuber is sharing his thoughts via a video every day. Here is his review of David Fincher’s stylish debut, Se7en: