Arthouse Horror

By Sharon Weinberg

Big budget Hollywood horror films can certainly be scary, but an artistically done film can be just as frightening. Enjoy these selections!

  • Trolljegeren: Trollhunter


    A group of curious university students set out to make an investigative documentary about a suspected bear poacher. Of course, they uncover a lot more than they bargained for. This Norwegian found footage style mockumentary delivers hilarious did-not-see-that-coming thrills. Time to scream, "Troll!” You can file this under Troll Education 101.

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  • The Orphanage


    Laura moves her family to a long-abandoned orphanage, located on the Spanish seaside, with plans to turn it into a home for disabled children. However, her son soon claims to have invisible friends. Nothing like a few unseen entities to ruin your happy home life. With little bloodshed, there is much heart-stopping suspense, thanks to a smart screenplay from Sergio G. Sánchez.

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  • The Host


    In this Korean horror comedy/drama, a giant monster rises from the Han River and kidnaps the daughter of a riverside snack bar owner. Her squabbling family race to the rescue, much to the chagrin of corrupt officials. Environmental warning and teachable moment here: an American scientist created the problem when he ordered a toxic waste dump. I like that you get to see the entire creature early in the film. How often does that happen? Its movements and dexterity are fascinatingly, terrifyingly realistic.

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  • Nosferatu


    An undead blood-sucking fiend…. well, you heard it all before. Made in 1922, this silent German expressionist film was an unauthorized Dracula adaptation. Hence, we have Count Orlok as the main vampiric presence. Film buffs are thankful that Mrs. Stoker did not succeed in having all the prints destroyed. While this movie is not very scary by today’s standards, it was terrifying enough back in the day. F.W. Murnau made effective use of shadows, stop motion photography, atmospheric sets, and creepy make-up and costumes. Max Schreck, an experienced thespian, was so convincing that many thought he really was a vampire. Dim the lights and get the popcorn ready. This is a unique viewing experience.

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  • Carnival of Souls


    After surviving a traumatic car accident, Mary becomes increasingly disturbed. OK, think about ghoulish stalkers. Made in 1962, using low budget techniques, this movie is now a cult classic. Shot in black and white, there are many eerie, shadowy scenes. Furthermore, the soundtrack has an awesome spine-chilling vibe, and the pacing is just right to build dramatic tension. It is easy to see how this influenced so many filmmakers.

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  • Slither


    The fun starts when an extraterrestrial parasite crash-lands in the woods of a small town in South Carolina. Slug beasties aside, a box office bomb in 2006, today it is an underrated favorite. James Gunn, now famous for The Guardians of the Galaxy, impresses with this directorial debut. Attention pop culture fans, Slither includes Nathan Fillion before becoming TV's Castle, Elizabeth Banks before Hunger Games notoriety, and Michael Rooker before his turn in The Walking Dead and of course as Yondu, the Guardians' favorite good bad guy.

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  • The Witch


    Set in 17th century New England, a family exiled from the community builds their new home in a secluded location at the edge of a forest. Then the baby disappears. This is a slow burn of a movie. The filmmaker uses historical details to draw the viewer into the deep, metaphorical story. By the end, I was nearly convinced that the events depicted happened. There goes my imagination.

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