Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Alternative Horror: Them, House of the Devil, Human Centipide

Today's entry is inspired by Slant Magazine's recent article, "The 25 Best Horror Films of the Aughts" (follow the link for the whole article).  Several films featured in the article are streaming on Netflix Watch Instantly.  As you may know from reading the rest of this blog, I'm not the biggest horror fan but a few of these have intrigued me enough to put them in my Netflix queue, and some I've been meaning to catch up with for a while now.

This will be my last Halloween / Horror themed entry before the holiday, but you may want to check out some of my previous entries (with most of the recommendations still streaming):

Classic Horror: Roger Corman's Edgar Allen Poe Cycle

Horror: Zombies on Watch Instantly

Miramax, Part Three: Dimension Films and Genre Franchises

Horror: International Zombies

Asian Horror: Three Extremes, Thirst, Dumplings, Audition

Horror: Let the Right One In, Let Me In, and Classics

Them (David Moreau, Xavier Palud, France, 2007, 76 minutes)
Netflix: Late one night, Lucas (Michaël Cohen) and Clémentine (Olivia Bonamy) encounter strange events in their remote country home. It starts with prank calls and strange noises, but when the power is cut off and their car disappears, the terrified couple is trapped by the unseen force. Is it simply kids from the school where Clémentine teaches, or could it have something to do with a mother and daughter who mysteriously vanished the day before?  Netflix link.

The House of the Devil (Ty West, USA, 2009, 95 minutes)
Netflix: A cash-strapped college student named Samantha (Jocelin Donahue) takes a babysitting job during a full lunar eclipse and ends up fighting for her life. She soon discovers that her employers, Tom (Tom Noonan) and Mary (Mary Woronov) Ulman, are hiding a wicked, sick and twisted secret. Ti West (Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever) writes, directs and edits this terrifying film set in the early 1980s. Greta Gerwig and AJ Bowen co-star.  Netflix link.

The Human Centipede has become a pop culture frame of reference for various parodies (including South Park's HUMANCENTiPAD episode), so many know the basic premise of the film without ever having seen it.  I count myself among those who have been avoiding the film, but perhaps in the spirit of the holiday I'll try to watch it in the next few days.

The Human Centipede (Tom Six, Denmark, 2009, 91 minutes)
Netflix: After their car breaks down while in Germany, Americans Lindsay (Ashley C. Williams) and Jenny (Ashlynn Yennie) wind up at a remote villa -- and soon find themselves trapped in a nightmare. Dr. Josef Heiter (Dieter Laser) kidnaps them for his demented experiment to create a human "centipede." The plan includes removing their kneecaps so they must walk on all fours, then surgically connecting them to a Japanese man to create a bizarre human chain.  Netflix link.

Strictly speaking, I wouldn't call Lars Von Trier's Antichrist a horror film, but it certainly draws from many tropes of the genre and plays with some of its conventions.  Like The Human Centipede, this is not for the squeamish, but then you knew that already when you read the name Lars Von Trier.

Antichrist (Lars Von Trier, Denmark, 2009, 108 minutes)
Netflix: After their child dies, a therapist (Willem Dafoe) and his wife (Charlotte Gainsbourg) flee to their cabin in the woods, where they hope to mend their emotional wounds. But the grief-stricken couple watches their troubles multiply when very strange things begin to happen. Acclaimed Danish auteur Lars von Trier divides this tale into multiple narratives, revealing a surreal, horrific psychological adventure about the evils of nature, humanity and desire.  Netflix link.

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