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Films from the stacks: Spooky Halloween edition

Just in time for Halloween, the HIL has a decent selection of horror films to curate a mini film festival of your own. To mix it up a bit this week I have three new reviews and a reminder to check out one of the all-time great horror films.

 The Beyond (1981) Dir: Lucio Fulci

The Beyond is not a great film. What it is though is a fun and very gory exercise in Italian horror, especially that of 1980s.  In the film, Liza (Catriona MacColl) inherits a long abandoned hotel in Louisiana that, unbeknownst to her, was built over top of one of the seven entrances into hell. You can predict from there the ghouls and goblins—or zombies if you’d like—come out from the trenches of the basement to kill the group fixing the place up. There isn’t much more to speak of for plot but that’s not what we came to The Beyond for. The over to the top gore will remind most of the Evil Dead series but this type of thing is old news for the Italians, especially Fulci, who directed the solid Zombie. Unlike most of the Italian horror films I’ve seen, The Beyond moves at a relatively quick pace. A good film to start off your horror fest.

Carnival of Souls (1962) Dir: Herk Harvey

After escaping death from a traumatic car accident that left three others dead, Mary (Candace Hilligoss) becomes drawn to a mysterious abandoned carnival. She starts to see images of an unknown phantom that seems to inhabit Mary’s psyche as her behaviour becomes increasingly bizarre and distant. The film examines the extent of post-traumatic stress disorder and its effect long before it became a headline topic. For a low budget horror film from the early ‘60s, and this one had a very low budget, Carnival of Souls is a solid little film that is a good mid-tier choice for your fest.

Home Movie (2008) Dir: Christopher Denham

Who doesn’t love evil children? Taking the “found footage” approach, Home Movie is about a couple who relocate to the countryside with their two kids, Jack and Emily. Their father documents the downward spiral of their behaviour on what seems to be only in and around holidays. The kid’s behaviour is immediately unsettling and only progresses from there up until the climax. I’m not a big supporter of the found footage genre but Home Movie works within its premise. This film is a creepy alternative to Children of the Corn; watch this late at night. 

Night of The Living Dead (1968) Dir: George Romero 

No doubt you have watched numerous films that owe most of their existence to the initial film by George Romero. I don’t need to sell you on the premise: zombies start rising from the ground and a group of people are boarded up in a farmhouse away from the zombies. If you haven’t already seen this you should do yourself a favour and pick this up; it is one of the best.

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