Horror Films For Your Halloween

By Zachary Phillip Brailsford Halloween is swiftly approaching, and you know what that means — it's time to sit down and watch a terrifying (and/or disturbing/gruesome/chilling) film that will make you wish for some butterflies and Happy Meals (or Big Kid Meals, if you're a Burger King kind of kid). Here are a some film screenings in Austin that will be taking place this month, as well as several movies to keep an eye out for at the local video store. Beware — they will give you the heebie-jeebies.

The Guest (USA, 2014 — Adam Wingard): When a mysterious veteran arrives at the Peterson family's home with news of his time spent with their deceased son, a time-bomb of brutality (and excitement) is set. Wingard's film is an exhilarating ride. One that is built on lust, violence, and military action — with a good amount of well-placed comedy. With influences from master John Carpenter, The Guest is a film that takes its viewers to the brink of destruction, while giving them an awfully fun time on the way. Screenings at the Alamo Drafthouse - South Lamar


POSSESSION (France/West German, 1981 — Andrzej Zulawski): A film that is more rage than anything else, Zulawski's masterpiece centers on the finality of a relationship in Soviet-era Germany, and all of the horrifying things that come with it — like, you know, a demonic-octopus-doppelganger thing (which is how every relationship ends!). As horrifying in its depiction of the relations between these two people, as it is downright delightful in its sheer weirdness, POSSESSION is a movie unlike any other. It is a sprawling work of emotion that dedicates itself to crafting a world very far away, while hitting just so close to home. Screening at The Marchesa Oct. 7

Kwaidan (Japan, 1964 — Masaki Kobayashi): Built from Japanese folklore, Kobayashi's haunting work is split into four stories, each drawing the viewer into a world beyond our own — a world of spirits that can only be perceived through the canvas of art. As surreal as it is beautiful, Kwaidan is a feast for the senses, luring you into an experience you'll never forget. Screening at The Marchesa Oct. 10 and 12


Hausu (Japan, 1977 — Nobuhiko Obayashi): If you're in the mood for weird, look no further than Obayashi's tale of Japanese schoolgirls on vacation, which is set at a house more haunted and hilariously insane than almost any home in the history of cinema. Taking place over the course of a night, the girls deal with the terrors of a demon cat, the ghost of a loved one, a piano you should really stay away from, a bunch of bananas and a slew of other frights that will make you question what in the hell you're sitting through (but, you know, in a good way). Screening at The Marchesa Oct. 31 and Nov. 2

Now, here are some horror films you can watch within the comfort of your own home (if you can handle it):


Vampyr (Denmark, 1932 — Carl Theodor Dreyer): While there have been many vampire movies since the early age of sound (and before), there is none quite like Dreyer's Vampyr — a movie with mysteries that increase with each viewing, leaving the audience transfixed. When a traveler stops for the night in a small country town, he finds himself in a world where the supernatural takes hold of his very reality and lurches him into a terrifying trip, from which he can only hope to escape. The film is more of a subtle nightmare than anything else, bringing with it strangeness around every corner as shadows dance, spirits leave their bodies and a vampire stalks the grounds of an old estate. Available at Vulcan Video and I Luv Video; also on HULU Plus

Eyes Without a Face (France, 1960 — Georges Franju): A crazed doctor in the French countryside attempts to give his daughter the beauty that she once had in Franju's cockeyed work. This movie is a surrealist work in the most terrifying sense. Eyes Without a Face is one of the key works in French horror, and will give you chills just thinking about it. Available at Vulcan Video and I Luv Video; also on HULU Plus

Don't Look Now (USA, 1974 — Nicholas Roeg): Perhaps one of the most frightening horror films, this gem centers on a grieving couple after the death of their daughter who receives a terrible message from beyond this world. Centered in Venice, Don't Look Now creates an ambiance of complete dread, with an ending that has to be seen to be believed. Available at Vulcan Video and I Luv Video; also on Netflix


INLAND EMPIRE (USA, 2006 — David Lynch): Lynch's most recent film is one of the most unsettling films ever constructed — an exercise in tension that seems to make little sense, but gives way to an incredible discomfort, only to have an anxious spirit of joy right at the very end. Laura Dern plays an actress starring in a new film. When the world of the movie she's in begins to collapse into her own, the audience sees disturbing results. If you want to have the creepiest three hours of your life, Inland Empire is here for you. Available at Vulcan Video and I Luv Video