With the latest Halloween installment proving a hit at the box office, here’s a list of 8 horror flicks from closer to home to binge over the All Saints Day weekend!
SUICIDE CIRCLE/SUICIDE CLUB (2001)
When a horror film opens with 54 schoolgirls holding hands and hurling themselves in front of a moving train, you’ve got to pay attention. Following the gory opening, police are at a loss when suicides start occurring throughout the city. With the body count rising, all roads lead to an idol group with a supernatural hold on their fans. Deftly mixing horror with a police procedural and social commentary on the nature of fandom, Suicide Circle is somewhat uneven, but well worth a watch.
SNOW WOMAN (2016)
Taking its cues from Japanese folklore, Snow Woman is a lush, beautiful retelling of the tale of a beautiful spirit who appears to a pair of woodsmen in a blizzard, leaving only the younger of the two alive. Years later, the survivor meets a young woman who looks exactly like the spirit, whom he marries and later has a daughter with. As the family live their lives and the cycle of paranormal events looks set to repeat itself, Snow Woman takes a more emotional, lyrical approach to the traditional ghost story, and one well worth a look.
CARVED: THE SLIT MOUTH WOMAN (2007)
Carved is based on the Japanese urban legend of Kuchisake-onna, a woman whose face was cut by her jealous husband with a large pair of scissors. Now cursed to wander Japan with her slit mouth hidden behind a surgical mask, she asks unsuspecting people whether or not she’s pretty, with scissors at the ready to give you a smile like hers. The film updates the story, making the titular character a tragic figure preying on the children of a small town. Creepy and bloody in equal measure, Carved will bring you back to the days when the scariest things in life were ghost stories told around the school yard.
DARK WATER (2002)
Dark Water is yet another adaptation of a Kôji Suzuki story, brought to life by Hideo Nakata, who did the same for the author’s The Ring four years prior. This time around, the story follows the experiences of a divorced mom and her daughter as they contend with supernatural occurrences stemming from a mysterious water leak in the ceiling of their new apartment. With the scares coming in the form of a girl who had gone missing the year before, Nakata twists any notions you may have about your home being a safe place. The film was a hit in Japan, resulting in a 2005 Hollywood remake starring Jennifer Connelly as the mom who would do anything for her daughter.
“Deliriously weird” would be the best way to describe this one. To summarize the plot would be next to impossible, but in a nutshell, it involves a group of high schoolers visiting a classmate’s aunt’s ancestral home and coming face to face with (in no particular order) a demonic cat, ghosts, and, perhaps most infamously, a piano with a taste for human flesh. Conceived at from the childhood imagination of director Nobuhiko Obayashi’s daughter, the same mindset was applied to the film’s effects, deliberately made to look as though designed by a child. Funny, scary, and impossible to turn away from, Hausu is in a class all its own.
Perhaps the most famous entry on this list, The Ring’s reputation is one that’s well-earned. Based on the novel by Kôji Suzuki, The Ring is a wicked twist on chain letters that uses a VHS tape as the cursed item of choice. Director Hideo Nakata (Dark Water) delivers a slow burn that builds tension from the opening frame, leading to the unforgettable finale. Forget whatever you know about the American remake, or its godawful sequels – this flick is the real deal. Whether or not you grew up with VHS tapes, The Ring is a film every true horror fan must experience.
NOROI: THE CURSE (2005)
Presented in a found footage format uncommon to Japan, audiences familiar with the likes of REC (2007) or Paranormal Activity (2007) should be right at home in this unsettling tale of spirits, suicide, and possession. The story centers around a documentary filmmaker who goes missing while looking into a young girl’s disappearance. A master at making the viewer feel uneasy, director Koji Shiraishi (Sadako vs. Kayako) brilliantly avoids the excessive exposition scenes or “lucky” shots that pull the viewer out of the “found footage” experience, creating an engaging, terrifying film that will stick with you long after the credits have rolled.
Despite most posters and video box art spoiling the final third of the film, true horror fans owe it to themselves to check this out knowing as absolutely little as possible. But to be perfectly honest, even if you know what’s coming, there is absolutely NOTHING that can prepare you for the directions this Takeshi Miike film is willing to go. As it is, we’ve already said too much. Grab a copy, turn the lights down, and prepare to be amazed and disturbed. Nearly 20 years on, this flick still gives us nightmares.
Which of these have you seen? Tell us about them below!