LIAM EASLEY, TRUMPET ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT DIRECTOR
It’s the time of the year again where we intentionally seek out anxiety- and stress-driven movies as if we didn’t have enough stress to begin with, and I recently spent a good fourth of my day refreshing my memory on the horror genre for you fiends to consume this Halloween.
“Train to Busan” (2016)
Speaking of consumption, there is a lot of flesh-eating in this zombie thriller from South Korea. This film has actually had some critics calling it a modern-day classic, and, compared to other modern zombie films, it makes sense. The two-hour duration of the film is so packed with action and intensity that your eyes will surely be glued to the screen for all of it.
In terms of gore and violence, there isn’t much. Yes, half the walls are covered in blood, but the gore levels are surprisingly mild, especially for those well-seasoned fans of the genre. This high-octane feature can be viewed on Amazon Prime Video.
“The Evil Dead” (1981)
The original “Evil Dead” remains one of the best independent horror films ever made. Bruce Campbell plays Ash Williams, a teenager who rents out a remote cabin for his friends and him. Once they stumble across the Necronomicon and inevitably summon demons, everything goes south. Despite the low budget of the film, director Sam Raimi spent a lot on special effects, and it shows once the movie gets gory.
This is the only film on the list that is available on Netflix, but it, along with its sequel, can be checked out at the Vogel Library on Wartburg Campus.
“The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” (1974)
Very few horror films effectively make their viewers feel just as trapped as the characters, and the original “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” is one of them. Deep within rural Texas, a cannibal family with meathooks and chainsaws terrorizes a group of teenagers on a road trip. This movie is not for the faint of heart, and it is sure to induce terror in even the most stoic individuals.
This original grindhouse classic can be viewed on the free streaming service IMDB TV, which can be accessed on the IMDB website or as an Amazon Prime channel. Because the service is free, there will be ads.
Thanks to the production equipment and sheer lack of diegetic sound, silent horror films are always much more atmospheric and bleak than what is created today. However, that doesn’t mean this movie is scary – it’s actually funny by today’s standards (although it terrified audiences back in the day). Equipped with monumental and crackling organ music, this movie is an essential to any horror fan’s arsenal of references.
The original “Nosferatu” can be viewed on Amazon Prime Video.
If you don’t like black and white or silent films yet still want to experience this tale, watch Werner Herzog’s much more chilling 1978 adaptation. Herzog’s “Nosferatu the Vampyre” is available on Peacock (another free service) as well as Amazon Prime Video.
“Night of the Living Dead” (1968)
George A. Romero was the father of the zombie horde film, and his 1968 classic is considered to be the first in the genre. A tale told in black and white, this film follows a group of people barricaded inside a house trying to withhold a swarm of massing zombies. This plotline may seem unoriginal now, but in 1968, it was a completely new idea – and it was perfectly executed.
If you want a good zombie film with less gore and just as much intensity, look for this title on Amazon Prime Video.
“Blood and Black Lace” (1964)
A horror film list would be incomplete without something from the Giallo category, and Mario Bava’s “Blood and Black Lace” is often seen as the genre’s humble beginnings. Complete with the colorful flare that Giallo is known for, the film follows a series of horrific murders among the women of a modeling agency in Rome. It employs artistic cinematography and tiptoes between the mystery and horror genres.
This bloody work of art can be accessed on Amazon Prime Video.
Science fiction and horror are two genres that commonly combine, but when they do, the horror is typically diminished from scary to shocking. “Videodrome” is not very scary, nor is it for a prudish audience (not like anything else on this list is, but this film especially isn’t). “Videodrome” is centered around underground snuff films, or films which portray real violence and even real murder, but don’t worry, it’s not a snuff film itself.
Instead, this movie is centered around those who make snuff films and lightly explores how humans react to violence and what actually draws us to it. It’s true – people will watch a car crash unfold, but that doesn’t mean we will enjoy the outcome of it. This movie is definitely a roller coaster, but do be warned – some of the dialogue really hasn’t aged well and can come off as misogynistic or xenophobic. “Videodrome” can be viewed on Peacock.
“The Corpse Grinders” (1971)
Just for fun, I thought I might add a B-movie. This suspense flick from 1971 is about a cat food company that is struggling to find suppliers for substance to put in their food. As a result, and as any other logical business would do, the company starts to kill local townsfolk and process them into cat food. And as a result of that, the cats around town start to crave human flesh and owners become victims of their feline “friends.”
Why a cat food company? Who knows. But this is definitely a movie to watch for a laugh. This cult classic can be streamed on Amazon Prime Video.