The Cremator (1969, Juraj Herz, Czechoslovakia)
Uncomfortably close movie in both its subjective cinematography and subject matter. Spends time putting you into the protagonist’s head so you can experience how he gives in to Nazi propaganda. Brilliant and terrifying.
Legend of the Mountain (1979, King Hu, Taiwan)
Beautiful, haunting, mythic story set in the Song Dynasty.
The Haunting (1999, Jan de Bont, USA)
Sorry to split this from its sibling House on Haunted Hill, but the dry, precise humor, big spooky house, and Nell and Theo’s bi energy win me over.
A Bucket of Blood (1959, Roger Corman, USA)
There are so many American sci-fi and horror movies from the 50s that feel so sanitized by the Hayes Code that any that subvert it stand out even more. Regardless, this is a black comedy that feels lived in and untethered to its decade.
The 4th Floor (1999, Josh Klausner, USA)
This was a real delight and a movie I’d never heard of before it showed up on the list. It’s a super slow psychological horror mystery about a woman (Juliette Lewis) who is terrorized by an unknown neighbor. The movie walks a line between making the other tenants of the building cartoonish weirdos and too-easily-believable creeps.
Lady Terminator (1989, Jalil Jackson, Indonesia)
An infamous scene-for-scene ripoff of Cameron’s Terminator, yet it’s grounded in Indonesian mythology in such a way that make it incomparable to Cameron’s. Guaranteed to please at parties.
- House on Haunted Hill (1999, William Malone, USA)
- Friday the 13th (2009, Marcus Nispel, USA)
- A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989, Stephen Hopkins, USA)
- Eerie Tales (1919, Richard Oswald, Germany)