ONTD Original™ - Halloween Edition: 20 Horror Movies From Around the World (Part 2)



No matter where you come from, you know what it's like to be scared. Every culture has different ideas of what is scary, and some translate better than others. Below are twenty random horror related movies from around the world.

Cemetery of Terror
1985
Rubén Galindo Jr.

A professor's fears come true when a dead killer is revived through dark magic by a group of teenagers. The spell not online reanimates the killer, but it also awakens the residents of a nearby cemetery as hungry zombies.

This Mexican classic is not going to win any awards for originality as it borrows from Italian horror. Regardless of that, Cemetery of Terror is a lot of fun. It also boasts some really wonderful makeup and practical special effects.


Without Name
2016
Lorcan Finnegan

A surveyor ventures deep into a remote, unnamed part of the woods for a project. There, a silhouette among the trees watches him, but no one else sees it.

Lorcan Finnegan's debut is a somber, slow burn. There are no jump scares, and there is no monster stalking the protagonist. What is there is solid acting, a foreboding mood, and some beautiful, lush footage of the wooded area. Without Name definitely shows Finnegan's potential as a director.

The Booth
2005
Yoshihiro Nakamura

An arrogant radio host and his crew are temporarily moved to an old building with a dark past. As calls are answered throughout the late night show, an unknown person can be heard on the line, calling the host a "liar." He becomes increasingly paranoid as his secrets are closer to being exposed.

The Ring and its copycats have practically pigeonholed Japan in a corner where it seems like the country has no other choice but to produce movies about vengeful, long-haired women haunting creepy, old houses. Once in a while, though, something a little different comes along. The Booth is a taut, psychological thriller, running under eighty minutes, that teeters on the boundary between the natural and the supernatural. There is an obvious influence from Hitchcock and other pulp media as the protagonist is experiencing a nervous breakdown brought about by his own guilty conscience. The story is broken down using memories from the host's psyche, all of which tie into the current situation. The ending is not clear cut as there are unresolved matters caused by the abruptness. Still, The Booth is a satisfying change of pace from an industry that's still churning out Ring sequels.

Someone Behind You
2007
Oh Ki-hwan

After her aunt is murdered by a loved one, Ga-in is attacked by peers and other members of her family. She learns that there is a curse against her, and it will not stop until she is dead.

This South Korean supernatural thriller went under the radar despite being released internationally on video under the boring title of Voices. It boasts a pretty original concept that sets itself apart from most contemporary Asian horror movies, and there is enough blood splatter to keep slasher and gore hounds interested. The at-times confusing mythology behind the curse is not fully explained, but once the twist is revealed, audiences can better understand why the story took that route.

Hard Labor
2011
Marco Dutra & Juliana Rojas

Although her husband just lost his job, Helena goes ahead with reopening a neighborhood market that was abandoned by its previous renters. The business venture proves to be more difficult than Helena ever expected. There is a growing black stain on one wall as well as a foul stench throughout the store. Helena and her husband will eventually understand why the last owners disappeared.

This realistic, well-acted, and uncomfortable slown burn is not remotely a traditional horror movie. It focuses extensively more on the internal and external drama surrounding Helena, her family, and the market. There is always an underlying sense of tension throughout, though. The slightest bit of horror finally comes to light near the end, but it is never fully explained. Yet somehow that makes it even creepier.

The Visitors
1988
Joakim Ersgård

A patriarch begins to act strangely after moving his family into a new house. He suspects there is something strange behind the locked door in the attic, and he even contacts a paranormal researcher for help. His wife, though, fears for her and their children's safety.

Sweden does not produce a lot of horror movies. The most acclaimed and well known one would be Let the Right One In, but otherwise, one would be waiting a long time before someone could answer the question, "Can you name five Swedish horror films?" This late eighties flick is a Poltergeist wannabe without the special effects. In fact, the only time you see the domicile's spectre is in the end. Until then, the movie centers on the father's antics as he tries to prove the entity exists. Director Ersgård does a decent job of simulating that look of Hollywood '80s chic, but the pacing and lack of ghostly action are both hard to ignore. That being said, there is something charming about The Visitors that is hard to explain. The movie was dubbed into English for an international release, but it is more funny than effective.

Lake Bodom
2016
Taneli Mustone

A group of students decide to do a scholarly, on-location reconstruction of the infamous 1960 Lake Bodom murders. They quickly learn that someone nearby is watching their every move.

This proto-slasher is loosely inspired by the 1960 true crime. The movie takes a surprising change about halfway through, but it never leaves the realm of horror. There is also some beautiful cinematography to be found in this Finnish import.

Bless This House
1988
Ronny Yu

Along with a new promotion, a building designer receives a house out in the country. Little does he or his family know that the home harbors a dark past.

Ronny Yu is best known in the west for Bride of Chucky and Freddy vs. Jason. If you can recall the almost zany action oriented direction from those movies, you will have a better understanding of Yu's haunted house flick from 1988. Tonally, Bless This House bounces between slapstick comedy and campy horror. The story is a rehash of better ghost movies, but the execution makes this one memorable.

The Bunker
2015
Nikias Chryssos

When a student rents a room in a family's remote bunker, he is asked to tutor the son, Klaus. He soon learns that the son is actually a stunted adult man. The student goes along with the charade until it becomes clear that something sinister inhabits the bunker.

Nikias Chryssos' directorial debut is a mix of twisted comedy and abstract, surreal psychological horror. It never tries to be realistic, and it often comes off as absurd. As The Bunker continues, you almost start to understand all four of the characters and why they act the way they do. And that's what is really scary.

Benny's Video
1992
Michael Haneke

A teenager with a morbid curiosity for death commits murder.

This movie falls under the horror-of-personality niche where the villain is completely human, but he or she possesses horrific traits. The titular young man in this film from the director of Funny Games did something horrible, but what his parents do after is reprehensible.

The Bar
2015
Álex de la Iglesia

A group of people are trapped inside of a Madrid bar after one of the patrons is shot by a sniper while trying to leave. The survivors, unbeknownst to what is really happening outside the bar as communications have been cut off, try to find a way out as paranoia spreads among them.

The director helmed one of the better segments, The Baby's Room, in the Spanish series of TV-made horror movies collectively known in English as "Films to Keep You Awake." This thriller offers suspense and humor without ever succumbing to being just another standard virus outbreak/zombie flick.
A Quiet Place in the Country
1968
Elio Petri

An eccentric young artist starts to go mad as he stays in a secluded country house.

This pop art style psychological thriller leaves audiences wondering if the cause of the protagonist's mental downward spiral is rooted in reality, or something otherworldly is behind it. That vagueness is refreshing.
The Autopsy of Jane Doe
2016
André Øvredal

A father and son working in a morgue receive a Jane Doe found in the remains of a burnt down house. As they work through the night, the two realize that there is something most unusual about the body.

This is the English language debut of Trollhunter director André Øvredal. It's an eerie film with a great reveal. It relies more on mood and mystery, something many modern horror movies are often overlooking nowadays.
Shopping Tour
2013
Mikhail Brashinskiy

A Russian widow and her teenage son go on a shopping tour in Finland. There, their bus is brought to an empty store for a private buying spree. The truth, though, is that they've been gathered there as prey for the local cannibals.

While this is yet another found footage horror movie, it's a fun microbudget flick. The drama between the mother and son can be a little grating, but maybe that's because it's a little too realistically portrayed. Shopping Tour runs barely over an hour, and the plot is very simple. Not sure it's a glowing endorsement for Finnish tourism, though.
Pin
1988
Sandor Stern

After a pair of siblings' parents die, the brother starts to project his disturbed alter-ego upon his late father's medical dummy, Pin.

If you're expecting a killer doll movie, well, you'll have to watch. It's obvious this Canadian thriller borrows a bit from Psycho, but Pin works well on its own as a psychological character study with some horror elements.
Deathgasm
2015
Jason Lei Howden

Two bored teen outcasts make the mistake of summoning a demon.

New Zealand is getting to be the capital of horror comedies. They've given the world such gems as Dead Alive, Black Sheep, and Housebound. Deathgasm is like Evil Dead, but for the punk rock demographic.
The Stone Tape
1972
Peter Sasdy

A group of researchers stumble upon an ancient recording medium while developing technology for their electronics company. Within the walls of a specific room, mysterious stones are capable of "recording" events of the past. The team finds themselves trying to debunk the theory as well as deal with the very possible fact that something sinister has been unleashed from the room.

This teleplay was first aired as a Christmas ghost story by BBC Two. It combines gothic horror with contemporary science fiction. The Stone Tape relies on your imagination more than visuals or gags. It hasn't aged well in some regards, though. Such as one rather disgusting scene where the cast makes fun of Japanese people. If you can look past that as just a remnant of a different time, this British TV-movie is an innovative pioneer of the "ghost hunters" trope that is so common today in horror.
Calvaire
2004
Fabrice Du Welz

A struggling performer traveling through Belgium around Christmas gets stuck in a rural area after his car breaks down. He quickly becomes the target of the maniacal owner of an inn he stays at.

Some consider this slow burn a dark comedy, but it's really not funny in any sort of haha way. The series of misfortune that the protagonist endures continue to escalate until they become so bleak that one has to wonder what kind of sicko would ever describe this movie as humorous.
Scare Campaign
2016
Colin & Cameron Cairnes

A horror prank TV show's crew has a taste of its own medicine when a mysterious rival web series pays them an on-set visit.

Scare Campaign is outright mainstream, and it tends to be too self-aware. Yet it's an entertaining popcorn piece of horror with several twists.
High Lane
2009
Abel Ferry

When a group of friends go mountain climbing in a closed off area, they eventually learn that they are not alone.

Known as "Vertige" (Vertigo) in French, High Lane can be described as a combination of Vertical Limit and Wrong Turn. The acting is fairly good for a movie like this, and there is hefty amount of suspense in both the rock climbing scenes as well as the horror scenes.


Part One Here



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[Other entries in my ONTD Original™ - Halloween Edition series]
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