Wednesday, October 30, 2019

My Five Favourite Foreign Horror Movies

This past Sunday, October 27, the talented Alicia Malone of TCM tweeted that each day she was going to tell us one of her five favourite foreign horror films. She also encouraged her followers to chime in with their favourites. To this end, then here are my five favourite foreign horror movies. Here I must stress that I am defining "foreign" as any movie not made by an Anglophone country. For that reason horror movies made in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand don't qualify!

Nosferatu (1922): The first and arguably the best adaptation of Dracula. It was also an unauthorized version. Bram Stoker's widow won a successful plagiarism suit against the makers of Nosferatu, one of the conditions of which was that all copies of the movie be destroyed! Fortunately for future generations, some copies escaped destruction. By the way, to show you how influential Nosferatu was, the idea that sunlight destroys vampires originated with this movie, not from folklore! While in folkore vampires were creatures of the night, they were never particularly photosensitive prior to Nosferatu.

Gojira (1954): Today when Americans think of Godzilla movies they are apt to think of campy movies from the Sixties and the Seventies in which Godzilla defends humanity against other giant monsters and even aliens. It wasn't always that way. The movie that started the franchise, Gojia, is a deeply philosophical film that capitalized upon a fear the Japanese were all too familiar with, the fear of nuclear destruction. Because of this, the movie is not only genuinely frightening, but disturbing as well.

Les diaboliques (1955): Before Peeping Tom (1960) and Psycho (1960), there was Les diaboliques, better known simply as Diabolique in many Anglophone countries. Les diaboliques is genuinely frightening and would inspire a whole slough of similar movies in the Sixties, Psycho merely being the most famous of them.

Sei donne per l'assassino (1964) Known as Blood and Black Lace in English speaking countries, along with Peeping Tom, Sei donne per l'assassino was a forerunner of the slasher movies of the late Seventies and early Eighties. It not only has a high body count, but was graphic in a way that no other films at the time were. The film was so influential that, along with Mario Bava's earlier film Black Sunday, the entire subgenre of giallo exists because of it.

El laberinto del fauno (2006): Know as  Pan's Labyrinth in Anglophone countries, El laberinto del fauno is set during the early years of the Francisco Franco regime in Spain. Because of this, the terrors of reality are sometimes more frightening than the film's fantasy elements. El laberinto del fauno blends elements of mythology, fairy tales, folklore, and history to create a wholly unsettling film.

1 comment:


I haven't watched Gojira and Blood and Black Lace yet. The other three are amazing choices. Nosferatu is nearly 100 years old and still terrifies us, and Les Diaboliques has sumply one of the best plot twists ever. El laberinto del fauno is great as well.
Thanks for the kind comment!