So, that time of the year is a couple of days behind us. But, as a true horror fan, I don’t really need the promise of candy. I crave things that go bump in the night, all year. And, as one who also revels in making up lists, I of course have my favourites.
What you’ll notice though, apart from the nightmares that these gems induce, is their staying power. I have always believed that it isn’t the jump-scares that terrify us; but rather the story that frames them. And that’s what makes these movies essentially evergreen. They project very real, human stories. And thus, the fear is also empathetic.
Let’s start off with one that’s closer to home, and my heart. This oft-overlooked gem was Pakistan’s foray into horror. There are whispered tales of its legacy of course. Like how a woman had a heart-attack at a screening.
But, at its helm was a very human fear; and no I’m not talking about vampires. Instead, the penultimate peril in Zinda Laash is the fear of death itself. And at the risk of being presumptuous, I’d say that most of us share that fear.
Another gem from a time gone by, this one has amassed renewed interest because of the excellent Netflix series. At some point, we will of course get into the series as well. But, I want to encourage you to give this classic horror movie a try as well.
True, by our modern, gore-happy standards, it may seem relatively bland. But, the fear of the unknown still resonates with most of us. Which is what makes this subtle movie bone-chilling.
Few movies, let alone horror movies, have the kind of impact that Ringu enjoyed. Ushring in the era of creepy girls with long, black hair. And a tirade of subpar American remakes of great Asian horror films.
I mean, just watch this video of Chris Stuckman (one of my favourite film reviewers on YouTube) explaining its impact.
There are so many reasons why this movie will always be terrifying. The aesthetic alone will send children screaming down hallways even twenty years from now.
But perhaps the great triumph of this classic, and Asian horror in general, is the setting. In this excellent article written for The Guardian, Joe Queenan highlights that Asian horror is almost always set in urban dwellings. Rather than a remote farm, that’s cut-off from civilisation, Asian horror is set in cosmopolitan environments.
High schools, office buildings, cities, and the like. The caveat being that in Asian horror, you don’t have to be dumb enough to go looking for trouble. It will come to you, in something as unassuming as a video tape. And that, is pretty scary.
Speaking of secluded farms. Also, how many of us still sleep with one eye on the top of your cupboards?
Just based on the string of sequels, I would argue that it is one of the most successful horror films of our time.
Again here’s Chris Stuckman video. I love that he loves horror. Also, I don’t want to link the trailers of these movies. Because I have work in the morning, and I kind of need to sleep. So yeah, let’s watch this lovely man review the film instead.
And again, there are so many reasons for this. I would argue that one of the key ingredients is the character development.
A terrifying tragedy is all the more tragic when you genuinely don’t want anything bad to happen to this charming little family.
Arguably, as strong a film as The Conjuring (that’s right; I went there). But sadly not nearly as popular, this is the movie that put me off of mirrors. Forever.
You know what’s coming right? Chris Stuckman review.
The star of this show? Reality, or rather our perceptions of it. Beautifully projected by interspersing present-day with flashbacks, this story kept me guessing for the length of its runtime.