Frightening Flicks To Avoid

Are you someone who only watches scary movies one way, i.e. not at all? Me, too. The seasonal rush for scary fare has my eyes twitching. But knowledge of horror films is protection from duplicitous invites to a "fun movie night." Paying attention to titles is another. Keywords serve as harbingers of doom and your cue to quickly parry with Auntie Mame.

Trickier still is the party host who understands fear is a universal language and screens horror films from around the world. If you're stamping your horror passport for the first time, supplement Wes Craven 101 with a few tropes and foreign language film titles.

  • Apocalypse - The beginning of the end with REC 4: Apocalypse (Spain), Doomsday Book (Korea) and The Last Days (Spain/France). Life after the end, Battle Royale (Japan).
  • Carrie? Meet Alena (Sweden).
  • Calling Dr. Frankenstein - Eyes without a Face (France) came first, then Billy Idol's song. This factoid may win you a beer one day. Ingmar Bergman's The Magician (Sweden) and The Skin I Live In (Spain) are lethal as a double feature.
  • Haunted architecture and ghosties - Under the Shadow (UK/Jordan/Iran) promises "fear will find you" while Bollywood explores relationship complications from paranormal activity in 1920 (India) and Shaapit (India). Fans of the food should avoid the film Pizza (India). Yep, they went there.
  • Scream Till You're Laughing - Fans of Dave and Tucker vs Evil may try to slip in a dark comedy like Der Samurai (Germany), Attack of the Killer Backpacks (Germany) or 3 Beauties (Venezuela) which features angsty siblings. This is not a Cinderella story.
  • Vampires - Thirst (Korea) and Guillermo del Toro's classic, Cronos (Mexico).
  • Zombies - Train to Busan (Korea) is nothing like the Orient Express and Morituris (Italy) features gladiator zombies. Hey, when in Rome!

Even with the best preparation, 30 minutes into a film the music is changing, foreshadowing screams which don't need subtitles. My fail-safe plan? Earplugs. Don't leave home without them.

Written by Laurie. on October 25, 2017


Dana F on October 26, 2017


I just watched Train to Busan, because Stephen King called it a perfect holiday movie (it was in a Christmas movie discussion, so I assume the recommendation was tongue-in-cheek). It was an amazing movie, scary and touching all at once!


Oh, I am so glad you were "tricked" into seeing Train to Busan. To date, the film has been nominated for 36 various awards (including best film) and has taken home 28 trophies. 

Larry on October 26, 2017


Awesome! I ordered all the ones I hadn't seen yet!


The Criterion copy of Guillermo del Toro's Cronos (Mexico) includes a video tour by del Toro of his workspaces and various collectibles - Welcome to Bleak House!

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