13 (Nearly Forgotten) Unappreciated Horror Films for Halloween

31 Oct

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Pin (1988)

This Canadian-made movie featuring David Hewlett, Cynthia Preston and Terry O’Quinn is truly chilling piece of cinema directed by Sandor Stern. There’s no monsters here, only a medical dummy that Dr. Frank Linden (O’Quinn) uses to teach his children, Leon (Hewitt) and Ursula (Preston) about how the body works. Ventriloquism is used, and if there’s ever a movie that plays successfully on the Automatonophobia, this movie has to be it! It’s effective use of camera pans and stillness of the air (and the mannequin) while showing Leon’s descent to dementia makes for some creepy juxtapositions. This movie is close to being forgotten by most horror film aficionados and it deserves praise for its direction. I did not sleep at all after watching this movie!

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Nightbreed (1990)

When this movie came out, it was critically panned. The cuts made to it nearly made the film unwatchable and since then, the Cabal Cut (which restores Clive Barker’s vision) only made its rounds at select conventions. This restored version is a must watch for the season, even though it’s not set around Halloween.

Here, what’s examined is the cold heart within. It’s not the Hellbound Heart that launched the Hellraiser franchise but instead it’s the chill that can take place when an individual does not understand himself. Boone (Craig Sheffer) is trying to understand the nature of the beast. He’s a seemingly normal young man. However, he experiences waking nightmares and almost like Caesare from The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920), he shambles about. Most of it is due to the meds that Decker (David Cronenberg) prescribed to him.

Due to massive brainwashing, Boone believes that he is The Beast. When several brutal murders point to him, he  believes he’s guilty. In what separates him apart from humanity (or anyone else) is in what he thinks is true about himself. Thankfully Shout! Factory has released a restored cut of the film that respects Clive Barker’s original vision. When considering this film spawned spinoffs in comic book media and two video games, that says something about this legacy.

This film is worth a watch during the All Hallow’s Eve season for the same reason that everyone wants to embrace their inner beast during this time.

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