Between October 31st and November 1st there’s a weird dividing line: at midnight, the whole USA suddenly turns its attention from Boris Karloff to Bing Crosby; the ghosts and monsters of the whole past month suddenly disappear, and it’s nothing but nauseating wholesomeness until the end of December. Before this happens, here’s something genuinely horrific to help bring a close to Halloween 2013…

More than a decade after the unexpected success of The Blair Witch Project, most of the follow-ons from Myrick and Sánchez’s film have mimicked its “found footage” aspect without stopping to consider what else could be done. Here are a handful of films which actually take a thoughtful approach to reconsidering the role of the camera in horror movies:

Atrocious (2010) — A Spanish film that at first looks like another pointless Blair Witch retread… until you get to the very end, and realize the film makers have done something really clever;

La Casa Muda (2010) — Not a found footage film, but a movie whose technical gimmick helps subvert its real intentions;

Silent House (2011) — The American remake of the Uruguyan La Casa Muda, which tries to take the (to say the least) controversial subject matter of the original and make it less ambiguous and more acceptable for an American audience… and in doing so, made it far worse and even ghastlier;

And…

Lovely Molly (2011), directed by Blair Witch‘s Eduardo Sánchez, a near-masterpiece that taught me I cannot trust what I think I’m seeing… especially when I’m watching the director’s interview.

This started as a fun reviewing project, and quickly turned sour. I was going to add a fifth movie for contrast, a Bollywood remake of Blair Witch that decided to omit the whole “found footage” aspect. But to my surprise, these first four films I’d chosen all turned out to have a harrowing common theme — the brutalization of children — and considering the disturbing nature of this common theme, the last film seemed jarringly out-of-place.


Finally, since this set is obviously more Trick than Treat, here’s a grim little Jess Franco outing that seems positively cheery by comparison:

1964: El Segreto del Dr. Orloff (aka Dr. Orloff’s Secret, Dr. Orloff’s Monster, Mistresses of Dr. Jekyll…)

Will Laughlin is the Braineater.


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