A Guest List from Audio Antihero
We’re celebrating the spirit of Halloween with a very, very, very special Guest “List” from one of our favorite labels. Dig in to these collection of Horror B-Sides, and do not report back if they scare you because I hate scary things. p.s. if you really want to vibe with this list, start this mix from AA first.
I made this list with the idea that you’ve seen the obviously great Horror films; Evil Dead, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Exorcist, Dawn of the Dead, etc?
After seeing the classics, it’s possible to hit a dead end. This totally non-exhaustive list (there’s 100000s of Horror bloggers who could go deeper), offers ten slightly lesser known places (in no order) that you could consider going once you’ve exhausted the A-Sides.
Fritt vilt aka Cold Prey (Roar Uthaug / 2006)
Plot: A group find a derelict hotel, inhabited by probably the meanest person ever.
This Norwegian slasher films works within the conventions of a “Halloween” but carries such urgency and real sympathy for its characters. Jannicke with her pickaxe is the rad Horror heroine we’ve been waiting for.
Martin (George Romero / 1977)
Plot: Martin (the frail, pale and kinda dreamy John Amplas), who may or may not be a vampire is taken into the care of his furiously Catholic “younger” cousin. Hilarious consequences.
Thoughts: If you were doing a Halloween-All-Nighter, “Martin” would be saved for 4 a.m. and you’d tell all the sleepyheads about this great thing you’d seen and it’d sound stupid and they’d think you’d dreamt it. Horrible things happen in this quiet film. It isn’t easy but it’s probably the best zombie-less Romero film.
À l'intérieur aka Inside (Alexandre Bustillo & Julien Maury / 2007)
Plot: A woman knocks at the door of an overdue mother, willing to do anything to get INSIDE (ahhh!).
Pregnancy sounds scary. Living alone is scary. Home intruders are scary. Imagine a home intruder, while you’re living alone with your unborn baby who is due ANY FRICKIN MINUTE. This is a rough one. The French are good at Horror because they do not give a fuck.
Frightmare aka Horror Star aka Body Snatchers (Norman Thaddeus Vane / 1983)
Plot: Students steal the corpse of a Horror star. The actor (essentially a Christopher Lee party hire lookalike) was kind of a dick in life and he’s no nicer in death, stalking his grave-robbers in their inexplicably spacious and winding student accommodation.
This is lighter and won’t ravage your soul so much but I wonder if it’s as good as I remember. You know a film did really well commercially when they had to release it under three different titles. Includes Jeffrey Combs in his first Horror role.
Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat (Anthony Hickox / 1989)
Plot: Vampires seek redemption through the manufacture of a soy equivalent to human blood…but proponents for the old ways come knocking.
A fun one offering a civil war between progressive vampires and the fanged gun-toting right-wing (lol wing). I wouldn’t take the film’s politics too seriously, but anything it can do to mock gun owners is much appreciated. Cast includes Bruce Campbell and David Carradine.
Plot: Tired of drowning lusty sailors, a beautiful demon sets sight on a pure of heart war veteran (William Shatner, obvs), attempting to seduce him to the dark-side and earn herself a seat next to Satan (patriarchy never sleeps, huh).
It’s understandable why some consider “Incubus” to have been cursed - within a year of release, all prints were lost and two cast members had committed suicide. This bizarre but gorgeous black-and-white 78-minute film is entirely in Esperanto and stars a seriously foxy pre-”Star Trek” Shatner.
Plot: A bar full of misfits comes under siege from a pack of monsters. It gets disgusting in a hurry.
What the absolute fuck was this. This tour-de-force of insanity stars Henry Rollins, Jason Mewes and Judah Friedlander because of course it does. This entire trilogy is lunacy, pushes all boundaries of taste and logical filmmaking, shows no class, tact or mercy and verges on actual trolling.
Plot: People are going missing in NYC and photographer (Bradley Cooper) stumbles onto the “who”…and if he’s unlucky he might discover “what” and “why”.
If like all good natured people you ignore films with Vinnie Jones on the cover, you’ll have missed this one. Based on a story by Clive Barker (“Hellraiser”/“Candyman”), it’s a bad bad train ride. Cruel and grisly, sometimes over-the-top, but for the most a bleak and well executed journey into the dark heart of New York. And Brooke Shields is looking fierce.
Plot: A wandering woman with amnesia is captured and taken to a sterile tower block and introduced to a community of fellow sufferers (this memory disorder seems to only affect beautiful women and creepy men) who turn on one another in acts of escalating sadism.
When I bought this, the guy laughed at me. Turns out Jean Rollin specialized in “Erotic Horror” Vampire films and while there’s no Vamps, there’s some really long sex scenes featuring former Sex-Film actresses. Despite its varying motives, the film is pretty sad. The eventual reveal isn’t particularly OMG but the atmospheric dreamlike journey to its conclusion is oddly emotional.
Plot: A terminally ill man hires a struggling videographer to capture an honest look at himself for his unborn son. Things worsen.
Thoughts: Are we all zzzzz about found-footage films? Some are fantastic (“REC”/“Troll Hunter”/“VHS”), others are a bit of a plod. “Creep” is one that should be a plod, so slow and uneventful that it’s hard to place where you are in the film’s story - perhaps that’s what makes it so disarming? They don’t go looking for ghosts or witches - you don’t know what the threat is going to be or where it’s going to come from…but it comes. There’s one use of a goofy prop that’s just TERRIFYING.