Films You Didn’t Know You Needed to See 666

(Kai Parker, creator extraordinaire of The List, has hatched this creepy, spooky and altogether ooky posting event on great horror films you might have missed. Below you will find my top three picks designed to scare off your britches. To see the entire list, visit the post on his blog.)
 
 “Black Christmas” (1974) — Before “Friday the 13th,” before “Halloween” and even before “When a Stranger Calls,” there was Robert Clark’s wholly unsettling “Black Christmas.” Hailed by fans as one of the original (if not THE original) slasher films, this scary little find of a film turns a cozy, Christmas-lit Canadian sorority house into a den of psychological terror, mayhem and murder as a prank caller’s calls turn from annoying to scary. You’ll never look at your attic — or your telephone — the same way again.

 

“The Brood” (1979) – Horror films don’t tend to contain deep, personal messages; David Cronenberg’s “The Brood,” however, is one of the few that does. Written during his own painful custody battle with his ex-wife, this disturbing horror film/thriller centers on an emotionally distraught divorcée (Samantha Eggar) who seeks the help of an unconventional therapist and begins giving birth to deformed, child-like beings that exact revenge on those who hurt her. The kid killers are scary, but it’s the message about the trauma of a family divided really lingers unpleasantly.

 

“The House of the Devil” (2009) — Ti West’s unbelievably tense “The House of the Devil,” a minor indie horror sensation, is not for the impatient. The film, which introduces a cash-strapped college student (Jocelin Donahue) who takes a babysitting job despite the employer’s (Tom Noonan) obvious creepiness, is slow going for a full 80 minutes — a time of complete inaction (nothing, truly, is all that happens). But West understands that the anticipation, the endless waiting, plays on our minds and forces us to do all the real long-term damage to ourselves.

6 Responses

  1. Great picks, M. I really need to see the original Black Xmas as I have only seen the remake.
    The Brood looks crazy creepy which is no surprise from Cronenberg.
    As far as Devil, I’ve heard so many great things that I actually bought it but just need to pop it in one of these days!
    Great list… thanks for taking part!!!

  2. The Brood is such an underrated, creepy, nasty little monster movie. Nice to see a shout-out for such a long-forgotten picture.

    I’ve heard a lot of really bad-to-mixed things about House of the Devil, which disappoints me because I dug West’s The Roost. Sounds like you’ve got a different perspective on it, though, so I may just check it out for myself.

    • @ Kai — “Devil” is an acquired taste. When I say “nothing happens” for 80 minutes, I mean it. It’s all about the tension and the build-up.

      @ Andrew — Ever since I saw “The Brood,” I can’t stand next to my bed without wondering if there’s some deformed kid-creature underneath waiting to wail on me with a mallet.

  3. I was really surprised at the pace of The House of the Devil. Such a long buildup could never be made by a major studio.

  4. I will check out black Christmas..

    • @ CFFC — Definitely true. The pacing is slow, but it’s certainly not leisurely — it’s very tense if you’re paying attention.

      @ Elgart — Don’t miss this one. Like I said in the review, this is one of the ORIGINAL slasher films, and it’s a very good one.

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