Halloween is here. And if you’re like most people, you’re probably going to spend a little time watching cheesy-fun horror movies like Friday the 13th, or an old classic like White Zombie, or maybe even an aestheticized gorefest like Hostel or Saw. You’ll get some friends together, make some popcorn, and everyone will gleefully laugh, groan, and squeal, and in the end you’ll all be smiling.
Let me just say – FUCK THAT.
Halloween, for a lot of people, is about mere fear – a titillating, momentary frisson of uncertainty that almost always resolves into understanding and acceptance. But what if you want a Halloween that will really teach you about the darkest parts of the human experience, an Eve that will make you question your most fundamental beliefs about what a human being is capable of, and leave you unable to look at anything the same way ever again? In that case, you need films that are truly dark, truly disturbing, and truly challenging. Here are the first five, with five more coming tomorrow.
Begotten: E. Elias Merhej’s one-of-a-kind allegorical silent bloodbath stars a rheumatic, blood-vomiting God sitting in the corner of a hut as degraded mud-monsters claw their way up the side of a hill. The soundtrack is haunting, and the point may be hard to track, but this film is a total experience in every possible way.
Anti Christ: One of the most horrifying films of the last decade wasn’t billed as a “horror movie” as all. The acting is incredible, the story is mind-bending, but the most incredible part of Anti Christ is the cinematography, showing with crystal clarity why “Nature is Satan’s Church.”
Trash Humpers: Trash Humpers follows three elderly people around as they commit acts of petty larceny and make lewd gestures and sing songs. Except the elderly people are clearly younger people in masks, the cinematography makes suburban America look like Hell, and the performances are insanely disturbing. There’s very little actual interpersonal violence in the movie, but it still manages to be nearly as unsettling as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. If the only Harmony Korine movie you’ve seen is Spring Breakers, you’re . . . well, you’re sort of ready.
Possession – Directed by Andrzej Żuławski and starring Sam Neill, this film is nearly impossible to find . . . legally. Like Anti Christ, its real topic is the horror of human relationships, and some of its scenes dramatize the simple horror of being human in ways that anyone with a soul will probably relate to a little too much:
But if that’s not enough, there’s also a hell of a zinger waiting at the end – one heavily hinted at one the movie’s cover art, and taking H.P. Lovecraft places he probably never could have imagined.
Tetsuo the Iron Man: This low-budget original was followed by two sequels, each a significant step down in power. Watch as an obsessed man shoves metal into his own flesh – and don’t miss the mechanical dick scenes. This movie was an obvious cinematographic and conceptual influence on Daren Aronofsky’s Pi.