Var­i­ous shock­ers and high-end horrors

Ten hor­ror films worth en­dur­ing on Net­flix? Here, in or­der of re­lease, is our laugh-heavy choice

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - NEWS -

The stream­ing ser­vice con­tin­ues to have a prob­lem with older films. So you will seek Bride of Franken­stein or Eyes Without a Face in vain. A Net­flix hor­ror fes­ti­val will in­evitably lean to­wards the sort of high camp ex­em­pli­fied by the di­vert­ingly lu­di­crous Shark­nado or the squalid bot­tom feed­ing rep­re­sented by The Hu­man Cen­tipede.

We have left those out. We have also ex­cluded TV se­ries such as the pas­tiche-drunk Stranger Things and the fab­u­lous-dar­ling Amer­i­can Hor­ror Story (best bet: Sea­son Two). All those are there if you fancy. Here, in or­der of re­lease, is our sur­pris­ingly laugh-heavy se­lec­tion.

LET’S SCARE JES­SICA TO DEATH (1971) In a re­cent Sight and Sound poll, Kim Newman, the peer­less critic, named John Han­cock’s psy­cho­log­i­cal shocker among his 10 favourite films in any genre. Zohra Lam­pert stars as a young wo­man afraid she may be re­laps­ing into men­tal ill­ness.

PHASE IV (1974) The an­swer to a pop­u­lar film trivia question, this tale of ants gain­ing con­trol is the only fea­ture di­rected by the great ti­tle de­signer Saul Bass. Un­sur­pris­ingly, his sin­is­ter film is no­table for its un­set­tling vi­su­als.

THE TEN­ANT (1976) Fol­low­ing Rose­mary’s Baby and Repul­sion (nei­ther on Net­flix), Ro­man Polanksi com­pleted his “apart­ment tril­ogy” with a work de­scribed by Richard Scheib as “the first Kafkaesque hor­ror film”. The di­rec­tor plays a man hav­ing vi­sions in a Parisian apart­ment.

FROM BE­YOND (1986) The peren­ni­ally imag­i­na­tive hor­ror mas­ter Stu­art Gor­don ex­pands H P Love­craft’s sim­i­larly ti­tled story into a char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally dis­gust­ing and end­lessly hi­lar­i­ous fes­ti­val of trans­gres­sion. It’s all to do with the pineal gland ap­par­ently.

KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE (1988) Given the re­cent craze for scary clowns, we couldn’t leave out The Chiodo Broth­ers’ comic clas­sic (above) about . . . Well, it’s all there in the ti­tle. Worth a click for the scary bal­loon an­i­mals alone. SCREAM (1996) The late Wes Craven re­turned from a pe­riod in the wilder­ness with a post-mod­ern de­con­struc­tion of a genre he helped cre­ate. It’s flashy and gim­micky, but the meta-slasher still of­fers pal­pa­ble shocks. Over the suc­ceed­ing decade self-ref­er­ence be­came an un­avoid­able trope in hor­ror.

THE OTH­ERS (2001) Ale­jan­dro Amenábar di­rects Ni­cole Kid­man and Fion­nula Flana­gan in a ghost story that owes plenty to Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw. Ms Kid­man shiv­ers with her chil­dren in a gloomy cor­ner of Jer­sey. Keep eyes open for the late Eric Sykes.

PAN’S LABYRINTH (2006) We are stretch­ing the lim­its of the genre here, but Guillermo del Toro’s dark fan­tasy – Alice in Won­der­land dur­ing the Span­ish Civil War – is cer­tainly lay­ered with the ac­cou­trements of hor­ror. Be­ware the Pale Man.

GRAB­BERS (2012) Ter­rific Ir­ish romp con­cern­ing the in­va­sion of a sea­side town by re­lent­less ten­ta­cled aliens. A film con­cern­ing drunk peo­ple that will play very well to drunk au­di­ences. Kevin Le­hane’s script is a gem.

THE BABADOOK (2014) In­ces­santly eerie Aus­tralian hor­ror about a young wo­man cop­ing badly with a child who may be haunted by a char­ac­ter from a pop-up sto­ry­book. Part of a re­cent resur­gence in high-end hor­ror that also gave us It Fol­lows and The Witch.

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