Aterrados (Terrified)

Aterrados (Terrified, now streaming on Shudder) is the most frightening film I’ve seen since… well, frankly, since I was a teenager. It’s extremely well written, acted and directed, with terrific cinematography and sound design. It’s not about a cabin in the woods or a masked serial killer. This is an adult horror film, the likes of which we haven’t seen since The Shining (which is really more of a psychological thriller in my books) or George Sluizer’s The Vanishing. It arrives just in time for Halloween. And I can’t wait to watch it again. 

 

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Death Ship vs Ghost Ship

First came Death Ship. 1980. A not-very-nasty Canadian co-production with a smattering of American actors and Nick Mancuso running around with his shirt off. Some incredibly bad ocean footage, cringe-worthy dialogue and a lot of strange and repetitive shots of the engine working. It was a Nazi death ship and like a Timex watch, it just kept on ticking. But in order to keep doing that, it needs blood. And George Kennedy as Captain is going to see that it gets it.

Then came Ghost Ship. 2002. Pretty much the same premise, but far more artfully told, and with an opening sequence that is breathtaking but, also, sets the bar rather high for the rest of the film. (Unfortunately it never rises to the occasion, but it is a well-made film.) Instead of George Kennedy we have Gabriel Byrne leading a team of salvagers who stumble upon a mysterious luxury liner with… ghosts, gold and Nazis! The supernatural element is played up a lot more, but for whatever reason, Ghost Ship gets grounded. Still worth a watch.

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Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

Instead of starting this year’s Horror Month off with a bang, I’m opting for a sigh.
I’ve seen Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s sixth feature film. In 2010 it was screened at the Cannes film festival and won the Prix du Jury.

I rented the DVD from Bay Street Video several years ago and fell in love with the film’s eccentric, very laid back vibe. There isn’t much of a story; the film is perhaps more like a meditation on life and the afterlife with a widower farmer suffering from kidney disease as he approaches death. It isn’t frightening, nor do I think it was meant to be. But it presents a fascinating glimpse of how a culture–one many people don’t know much about–deals with death.

In addition to the farmer’s visits from deceased relatives, there is another (shorter) narrative about an unhappy Princess who finds love in the arms of a sizeable catfish.

Yes, it’s bizarre, but I heard people say that about The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Weirdness is relative.

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Horror Month 2018 has arrived!

October is my favourite time of year. The dramatic, often delayed, switch from summer to fall, the two weeks of cold temperatures before my building turns on the heaters, sweaters, shopping for the perfect pair of warm fuzzy socks, jackets, the busy catering season is officially underway, all the beautiful-tacky Halloween decorations, screenings of old favourite horror movies at local cinemas, and a real concentrated focus on horror. For me, this year, October means completely immersing myself in my favourite genre of film. As I round the finish line of work on my mini-series, I’m going to take extra care to ensure my viewing habits will positively influence my writing. (Glad I got “Death Ship” out of the way early on…)

So if you’re going to follow along, I hope that some of the films I mention/review will be new to you and, if not, that my take on them may cause you to reconsider.

Welcome to another hellish, haunted Horror Month!

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