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October 29th, 2003 Nate Berne | DVD & TV
 

THE OBLIGATORY HALLOWEEN HOME VIDEO GUIDE

     
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So you like scary movies, and you've had your fill of all these modern "Rednecks vs. Gilmore Girls" slasher flicks. But if you're seeking new and scarier thrills, test your nerves against this list of lesser-known but truly harrowing tales

Dead of Night (1945)--Though a simple compendium of five individual nightmares, it's scary as hell throughout. Eerie interiors, expressionistic lighting, and some chilling tales of haunted mirrors, ghostly hide-and-seek, and that damn ventriloquist's dummy make this the true stuff of nightmares. The ending will knock you flat.

Séance on a Wet Afternoon (1964)--The less you know about this soft-spoken thriller, the better. Just have faith that the creepy psychic lady, her tender-fingered husband and a mysterious entity called simply "Arthur" have a spine-tingling scheme up their sleeves.

Bad Moon (1996)--Fine acting, lush scenery--and it works for dog lovers, too! Featuring a conflicted werewolf and his suspicious family, this compelling character study co-stars a German shepherd and could actually support the tagline "Man Bites Dog."

Slashers (2002)--This topical Canadian gem takes a bloody stab at reality television as six American contestants battle three armed psychos for cash. Fine design, and the long, real-time takes add a thick tension to the scares.

The St. Francisville Experiment (2000)--Basically The Blair Witch Project inside a haunted house, this slyly structured tingle-fest makes great use of dark stairways and creaky attics. You'll never look in a mirror without trembling again.

Patrick (1978)--The premise can't miss: A comatose Australian mental patient develops bizarre psychic powers, lusts after his nurse and terrorizes a hospital. Adeptly Hitchcockian throughout, the wash of sexual tension and psychological psycho-babble deepen the thoughtful scares.

Don't Look Now (1973)--Brilliant artistic horror. A daft American couple loses a child and jaunts around grimy Venice encountering clairvoyant old ladies, prophesying priests and mysterious little strangers in red raincoats. Weird and wonderful.

The Eye (2003)--Japanese import takes The Sixth Sense to greater, darker depths when an ocular transplant reveals the shadow realm to a young woman. True horrors await, and the calmly laced plot will keep you guessing.

Angel Heart (1987)--Part film noir, part voodoo nightmare. A sleazy private investigator hits New Orleans in search of a lost soul but find himself dogged by shrunken heads, faceless nuns, vats of chicken blood and a curious killer that's always one step ahead.

Pin... (1988)--Twisted family drama surrounds a demented brother's obsession with his freaky medical dummy, "Pin." Slow-paced but thoughtfully character-driven, the plot plods nicely along while the scares erupt with sadistic vengeance.

 
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