Oh you’re still not sick of horror movies yet? Good. Because there are still two and a half weeks of frightening spectacles to indulge in as the scariest month of the year winds on. If you’ve been playing along at home then you’ve already got your fill of monsters and creatures in week one, and spells, curses and spirits in week two. This week the theme is horrors of the human mind, scary films that are more about getting inside your mind, and there are some ace films on Netflix to get you in the Halloween spirit.
Wednesday the 15th – Manhunter (1986)
Incorrectly labelled a prequel to The Silence of the Lambs (1990), Michael Mann’s Manhunter is actually just the first adaptation of the series of books featuring Hannibal Lector. Brian Cox plays the killer with cannibalistic tendencies in this 1986 films before they latched upon Anthony Hopkins, but he’s almost just as effective. It’s certainly better than Red Dragon, and although despite its awfulness I find much to enjoy in the ridiculous Hannibal.
Thursday the 16th – We Are What We Are (2013)
Jorge Michel Grau’s We Are What We Are (2010) was an interesting urban horror film set in Mexico City about two siblings amongst a family of cannibals. Jim Mickle’s 2013 version isn’t your typical remake, however. In fact, it’s even better than the original. They flip the genders and change the locale of the horrors to a farmhouse in the Catskills, significantly amplifying the mood with its constant rain and overcast skies. Grisly in the best possible ways, it’s also a smart take on religious obedience and the destruction of innocence for the most dire of causes.
Friday the 17th – Ravenous (1999)
More cannibals. No less gruesome, but a bit livelier for a Friday night. The late Antonia Bird is responsible for this ghoulishly entertaining film. Yes, it’s about soldiers that eat humans to survive, but it went by the tagline “you are what you eat”, so you know it’s got a sense of humor. With a great cast that includes Guy Pearce, Robert Carlyle and David Arquette from the Scream films.
Saturday the 18th – American Psycho (2000)
On the surface, Mary Harron’s adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’ infamous novel of the same name is a repulsive film about a misogynistic asshole with no redeeming qualities. While it’s true that Patrick Batemen, as played with dead-eyed hysteria by Christian Bale, indeed has no redeeming qualities (well, except for his immaculate hair and enviable gym-perfect body), the film is something else entirely. A vicious satire and thrillingly complex horror movie all in one impeccably retro ‘80s package.
Sunday the 19thb– The Innkeepers (2011)
Rumors of ghosts haunting a small town inn have kept the business operating, but now on the final week of operation, a young lobby clerk decides to investigate. Perhaps the most restrained ghost story of recent years, Ti West’s fantastically spooky chiller (which also has its fair share of laughs) gets most of its frights from the most mundane of ghost story staples: the creaking of a door, the ominous playing of piano. And yet it works and builds to a final five minutes that, depending on your fears, may just stop you dead in your tracks.
Monday the 20th – Pontypool (2008)
In this expertly controlled Canadian film, three radio station employees working on the morning wake-up program when they start receiving unconfirmed reports of what appear to be riots happening in downtown Pontypool. An on-the-scene reporter confirms with sightings of rabid people tearing through the town and soon enough their own radio station is under siege from hordes of… well, what they are isn’t known. Taking place in a single room and predominantly using familiar news reporting methods to explain the story, Pontypool is incredibly effective and a must watch for horror fans.
Tuesday the 21st – Pi (1998)
No image in Darren Aronofsky’s rough and ragged black and white psychological thriller is quite as horrific as when its lead character, determined to obsessively hunt down the secret of the 216-digit number, places an electric drill towards his temple with the intention of getting rid of headaches in his brain. A contemporary techno-update of David Lynch’s Eraserhead (1977) with flashes of surrealism and a big dose of paranoia, this is the down and dirty cousin to Aronofsky’s Black Swan (2010).