10 Criterion Horror Motion pictures That Will Make You Smarter11 min read

There’s nothing extra spine-tingling than arguing over the deserves of Criterion backbone numbers.

Criterion Horror Movies
By  · Revealed on October ninth, 2023

October is outlined in Webster’s Dictionary as “31 days of horror.” Don’t hassle wanting it up; it’s true. Most individuals take that to imply highlighting one horror film a day, however right here at FSR, we’ve taken that up a spooky notch or 9 by celebrating every day with a prime ten record. This text rating the ten greatest Criterion horror movies is a part of our ongoing collection 31 Days of Horror Lists.

Typically, you want a little bit backup. After I was a child and required parental permission to persuade the Blockbuster clerk that it was okay for me to observe Night time of the Residing Useless, I might have used the Criterion Assortment. Whether or not or not they’re a correct canon is much less necessary than folks believing they’re. People put weight into Criterion, and that weight can open minds that have been beforehand sealed shut. “Oh, Night time of the Residing Useless is held in the identical regard as The Seventh Seal? Let the boy watch it!”

As time marches on, the Criterion Assortment turns into extra huge and unusual. Disney is in there now, proper alongside David Lynch and Cheryl Dunye. Digging via their closet takes greater than a day. There are complete tracks that might eat your consideration, and for our functions, their horror titles are as various as every other realm they’ve absorbed. Narrowing them right down to the ten greatest is definitely fairly troublesome, however our Boo Crew (Rob Hunter, Chris Coffel, Meg Shields, Jacob Trussell, and myself) was keen to fulfill the problem.

These ten Criterion horror flicks run each which means. We’ve received monster films, ghost tales, slashers, and kinkier affairs.  There may be one film that’s almost 100 years outdated and some others from this century. Dive in and use them to let these doubters in your life know that horror may be as artsy-fartsy as the rest.

10. Don’t Look Now (1973)

Don't Look Now

A cause why Nicolas Roeg’s adaptation of Daphne Du Maurier’s haunting story of tragedy is so celebrated by movie lovers — and why it was added to the Criterion Assortment — is the extent of symbolism and allegory layered into the movie’s visible storytelling. As movie critic Mark Kermode talked about in an interview with Roeg, everything of the movie is in essence summarized within the opening moments, because the characters unknowingly sit by whereas their daughter drowns in a close-by lake. With flashes of pink combined with photographs of water and the agonizing face of Donald Sutherland, we’re given a kaleidoscopic picture of the phobia that’s set to unfold. It’s a method of horror storytelling that also feels contemporary and distinctive 50 years later. (Jacob Trussell)

9. Videodrome (1983)


I’m going to be courageous and say it: Videodrome is probably the most deserving bodily launch on this record. Was David Cronenberg’s techno-horror in dire want of restoration and re-distribution? No, not precisely. Have been followers chomping on the bit for a chance to see James Woods’ cancerous finger/penis gun between The Battle of Algiers (backbone #249) and Slacker (backbone #247)? Sure, however that’s not my level. See, there’s simply one thing about watching a DVD of Videodrome — a movie repulsed and enamored with media’s corruptive, beating coronary heart — that feels further particular. You don’t get the identical erotic, fleshy sting watching Brian O’Blivion proselytize on a streaming service. I don’t know if this, however the Criterion version of Videodrome truly shudders and oozes in your arms as you slide it into your media participant of alternative. I’ll say this a lot, I’ve by no means needed to extinguish smoldering cigarettes on my clavicle after watching Videodrome on Kanopy. (Meg Shields)

8. Godzilla (1954)

Godzilla Suit

Godzilla is a movie you don’t watch as soon as. It calls for revisitation. If for no different cause than to remind your self that this franchise started as one thing far more than a monster film. The collection has traveled via many alternative tones, and the way we method Godzilla as a personality shifts continuously via the sequels and reboots. The unique movie instantly responds to the atomic devastation introduced down upon Nagasaki and Hiroshima. It’s a haunting, horrific endeavor the place a small group of people dares to acknowledge and forestall a artifical apocalypse. Our terror of the bomb pulsates via each body, leading to a way more haunting film than the rest. The Godzilla design stays top-notch, nevertheless it’s what’s underfoot that stays with the viewer and is commonly forgotten or ignored within the many follow-ups. (Brad Gullickson)

7. The Satan’s Spine (2001)

The Devil's Backbone

With out The Satans Spine, Guillermo del Toro‘s profession might have evaporated into nothingness. Most likely not. his filmography, it’s clear he would have finally satisfied quite a few folks to tackle his tasks. Nevertheless, within the late nineties, after Mimic, del Toro was at an excruciating level. His time on the cockroach film had crushed his spirits, and his soul wanted a win. The Satans Spine was a victory for him, however principally for us.

For the primary time, del Toro travels to the Spanish Civil Struggle. Younger Carlos is deserted in an orphanage whereas the world exterior tears itself aside. An unexploded bomb sits within the courtyard; deep under it, a ghost whispers to those that will pay attention. By investigating the supernatural thriller, Carlos confronts human evil and a microcosm of the battle that rages past his sight. The Satans Spine is a profoundly unhappy and equally satisfying ghost story. It’s thematically aligned with all the pieces del Toro has produced however advised in probably the most simple and stripped trend. (Brad Gullickson)

6. The Brood (1979)

The Brood Mom

Relying in your temper, chances are you’ll method The Brood in one among two methods. These creepy little demon children can look somewhat foolish of their brightly coloured coats. You’ll be able to have amusing at them. In case you’ve pickled in some Cronenberg already or are naturally attuned to his wavelength, The Brood is among the most upsetting films he’s made.

Frank can’t perceive the bruises which are showing on his daughter Candace. He’s in a disastrous custody battle together with his ex, however he can’t think about Nola being able to such abuse. His inquiries into these marks plunge him right into a catastrophic battle with Nola’s psychotherapist, Dr. Hal, performed righteously and viciously by Oliver Reed. Neither Frank nor the viewers might think about the sights he would finally see throughout The Brood‘s climax, nevertheless it ranks proper up there with David Cronenberg‘s most memorable horrors. (Brad Gullickson)

5. Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)

Pan's Labyrinth The Pale Man

Guillermo del Toro‘s fairy story follows a 10-year-old Ofelia (Ivana Baquero), who escapes the traumas of the actual world by venturing into a wonderful however eerie labyrinth. Within the labyrinth, Ofelia meets a Faun (Doug Jones) who believes she is the reincarnation of their long-departed Princess Moanna and a hideous creature referred to as the Pale Man (additionally Jones) who likes to eat youngsters. Typically you watch a film, and also you immediately suppose just one particular person might have directed that film. Assume Goodfellas or No Nation for Outdated Males. Pan’s Labyrinth is a kind of films. In accordance with del Toro, the thought for the movie got here from a pocket book he had been carrying round for twenty years with drawings and varied plot concepts written down. It reveals on the display with Pan’s Labyrinth providing what is probably the clearest glimpse into the thoughts and imaginative and prescient of the Oscar-winning director. It’s a movie that’s magical, scary, glad, and miserable unexpectedly, with breathtaking visuals. A worthy addition to the Criterion Assortment, to say the least. (Chris Coffel)

4. Freaks (1932)


Freaks is an uncomfortable movie. Whereas watching it, particularly throughout your first watch, you’re continuously interrogating whether or not Tod Browning‘s film exploits or champions the titular characters. There are moments the place the script falls into mocking, however in the end, my learn (no less than, my present one) is that Freaks showcases the inhumanity folks can fall into after they observe others as different. The monster in Freaks is the beautiful trapeze artist who manipulates Hans into loving her so she will steal his wealth from him. Her wretched habits is rewarded by Hans’s compatriots turning on her and making her exterior look replicate the horror she perceives in these she dismisses as lower than. (Brad Gullickson)

3. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Books Silence Of The Lambs

Jonathan Demme is such an assured director. His photographs are so clear, so purposeful. He calls for his characters look proper down the barrel of the digital camera and forces his viewers to have interaction in conversations they might not wish to have. His films are unsettling however hypnotic. One watch gained’t do.

The Silence of the Lambs spawned a ridiculous stream of wannabes. These pretenders can truly be loads of enjoyable, as they principally achieve highlighting the standard of the unique. To observe Jennifer 8 or Kiss the Women is to understand the sly wit and confidence of Demme’s movie. Hannibal Lecter, as portrayed by Anthony Hopkins, would enterprise into parody with the Hannibal and Purple Dragon follow-ups. Nevertheless, his first time beneath the Lecter’s pores and skin nonetheless ranks as one of the vital hilariously villainous performances. He’s Darth Vader, child. He’s extremely merchandisable however completely shouldn’t be. (Brad Gullickson)

2. Night time of the Residing Useless (1968)

Night Of The Living Dead

Has there ever been a film as equally inspirational and influential as Night time of the Residing Useless? You don’t want Hollywood. You simply want some mates with a little bit expertise and a keen coronary heart. George Romero and John Russo cherished Richard Matheson‘s I Am Legend and thought they might retool it into one thing easy to shoot. No vampires. Let’s do zombies. However not these zombies we normally see on display. They secured their areas and started working making a film that may go off like an atom bomb on the drive-in. In these last sequences, when the final shot is fired, the universe is modified. Motion pictures have been by no means the identical afterward. (Brad Gullickson)

1. Home (1977)

House Horror

There’s no actual system in relation to Criterion selecting which movies will get a launch on their label, and I don’t suppose they might say any completely different. Like pornography, they know a Criterion-worthy movie after they see it. That’s a very good factor and is obvious in the wide range of titles which have seen a Criterion launch through the years, from probably the most obscure piece of slow-motion cinema from overseas to… Michael Bay’s Armageddon? The one fixed is {that a} Criterion launch is a launch value listening to, and to that time, one of many label’s biggest releases — and so they’re greatest horror launch — is Nobuhiko Ôbayashi‘s 1977 masterpiece of the weird, Home.

A horror movie, most actually as a gaggle of younger mates are killed off one after the other in a creepy outdated home, nevertheless it’s additionally a lot extra. There are laughs all through as visible gags (a decapitated head flies via the air to land bite-first on one other lady’s behind) and blackly humorous dialogue accompany us via the story. There’s a mad appreciation for inventive genius as Ôbayashi makes use of all method of optical and sensible results to deliver his imaginative and prescient to life, from animated furnishings to carnivorous musical devices. And there’s additionally a heavy dose of unhappiness as the reality behind the killings settles in, the mixture of grief and jealousy from a era lengthy handed haunting the halls and the way forward for Japan’s youth. Home is precisely the sort of movie deserving of a Criterion launch because it’s a welcome introduction to viewers who may in any other case have handed over a subtitled film with a deceptively generic title — as a result of there’s not a rattling factor generic about this home. (Rob Hunter)

However don’t spend all of your days trapped contained in the Criterion closet. Bust free and devour the remainder of our 31 Days of Horror Lists!

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Brad Gullickson is a Weekly Columnist for Movie Faculty Rejects and Senior Curator for One Excellent Shot. When not rambling about films right here, he is rambling about comics because the co-host of Comedian E-book {Couples} Counseling. Hunt him down on Twitter: @MouthDork. (He/Him)

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