By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
In part two, some ghost stories take advantage of the season more so than a specific day to deliver the chills. This list of ghostly tales considers how the land is ready to rebel against the wayfarer.
Fighting the Wendigo isn’t tough, but rather is in why hasn’t it terrorized humanity sooner? There’s also the Yeti to consider, but those films involving a monster of the North or icy tundra are a dime a dozen. In keeping to the spirit, only shades are considered in this list:
Kwaidan “The Woman in the Snow” (1965)
This anthology series has one stand out for the season. The Woman in the Snow is about a woodcutter who meets an icy spirit. He would’ve been killed, but made a promise to not say a thing to anyone else about her. The chills are truly delivered when he forgets his promise ten years later…
The Snow Woman (1968)
This feature length film is an expansion of the former tale. It’s far spookier, and the lighting effects define much of the emotional factor to leave some hiding underneath the sheets. It’s simple by design, but deadly in its premise. Two individuals are forever changed when they meet a Yokai Onna during a snowstorm…
Ghost Story (1981)
Peter Straub’s beloved novel turned into a movie, like Dead of Night (1945), set a precedent for movies still to come. It’s about how a family is haunted by the same woman and uses the New England landscape to deliver the chills, much like the Halloween classic Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
Technically, only one story in this anthology series by legendary Akira Kurosawa sells the idea of why it’s bad to explore a mountain when the weather is against you. These mountaineers thought it was safe, but before they can get to the safety of the nearby log cabin, they are caught in “The Blizzard.”
It’s a simple tale with ominous tones. As each climber gives up and allows himself to succumb to the element, only one seems determined. But should he pay attention to the beautiful girl that’s appeared before him? That’s the clincher. She’s worse than a Greek Siren. Should he desire Yuki-Onna’s embrace, death will be calling…
The Last Winter (2006)
When Ron Perlman is involved, what can go wrong? He’s Hellboy! He can take on any supernatural threat. In this film’s case, the phantom animals are problematic. They represent a greater threat, as Mother Nature is ready to rebel against humanity. Within the story, a brilliant environmental message defines what this film is truly about: the spirits of long dead prehistoric beasts are coming back to life and delivering justice to those miners seeking new deposits of oil.
Crimson Peak (2015)
Del Toro’s tour de force is one part Edgar Allan Poe and another part Hammer. But there’s so many influences behind this work and to name them all would be fruitless. It’s a visually stunning piece about Edith and Alan, who meet a pair of siblings from the United Kingdom, wanting investors for their clay mining operation. What they uncover is more than sinister, and the contrasts between the purity of the dead winter landscape against the bright red make this work memorable.