This week’s Stream a Little Stream is an all Fandor, all horror list of recommendations. The films selected are all from a different decade and range in the subgenre of horror they represent.
We begin in the 60s…
Massimo Pupillo’s 1965 gothic horror l boia scarlatto (or Bloody Pit of Horror) was marketed as being “filmed in PsychoVision”. Invoking the Marquis de Sade, Pupillo’s film was quite edgy and kinky for it’s time. The plot revolves around a killer known as Crimson Executioner who gets off torturing people with torture devices and machines. The Italian made English language exploitation film is often grouped in with a subset of films that gets labeled as “Eurosleaze” or “Eurotrash”. It has a 22% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes and no official rating on the Tomatometer. The film is niche and is not for everyone, but if you like your horror sleazy and exploitative, give this one a go.
As the decadence of the 70s was in full force, the trappings that would become the slasher film rose out of the giallo movement and other horror films of 1970s Italy.
While many films were highly influential to what would become the slasher subgenre, it is hard to argue that any was more influential that Mario Bava’s 1971 A Bay of Blood. You can’t go wrong with a 60s or 70s Bava film, while some are better than others, all are worth a viewing or three.
The 80s, the decade in which all of the world’s awesomest people were born, bred a lot of interesting horror flicks.
1989’s Society is Brian Yuzna’s first full length feature as a director. This crazy body horror film came in the same year he produced Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, so to say he’s got diverse film interests would be an understatement. An extremely 80s vibe throughout, and I mean that in the best way possible… but the ending is something completely unique. The ending remains one of the most extraordinary and bizarre body horror sequences ever put to film. When coupled with the aforementioned fun 80s vibe, the total package is something very much worth your attention.
Horror fans often complain that the 90s were lacking in terms of quality, but I’d contest that the gems of the decade remain worthwhile even today.
Fandor has approximately 10 90s horror films in the collection, including the cult sensation Castle Freak. However, the standout that feels like the strongest recommendation is a Japanese atmospheric slasher homage by Kiyoshi Kurosawa (the other Kurosawa).
The Guard from Underground is a departure for the crime drama/yakuza film auteur. In this one, he goes out of his way to pay homage to what he loves about the 80s slasher subgenre. This twisted tale of a security guard is no Paul Blart.
The last 16 years have brought us some extreme and disturbing horror films in the forms of torture porn and related subgenres, but some of the most twisted tales of this modern era focus on things other than just blood and guts.
2004’s Belgian nightmare Calvaire is the most startling and unpleasant film I’ve watched in a few years. What makes it stand out is how well it’s shot and how strong it is as an overall film. The most perverse and affecting scenes have nothing to do with the viewer being forced to watch graphic violence or traditionally disturbing images (though a handful of these do exist in the film), but rather work as psychological burdens that leave the viewer weary and all together creeped out.