Horror is a genre where a lot of diehards have seen the majority of “the classics” and finding new features worth checking out can be a task that often leads to looking for a diamond in the rough (and boy does it get rough out there in the lower echelons of horror cinema).
My recommendation is when you get bored with regional fare, look abroad. Italy and Spain have a lot of decent genre work from the 60s and 70s filled with vampires, castles werewolves and more or less putting their own cultural touch on familiar Hammer entries. Later in the decade, even if one thinks they have seen enough giallo, there’s usually another good/weird enough entry out there worth checking out (ah, Perfume of the Lady in Black, you were certainly not boring!).
First up: A Trip To India
Look, I get it for a lot of people dipping their toes into the waters of international cinema can be a daunting task. When those waters become as vast and deep as the ocean that is American cinema, one wonders where to begin in the byzantine bountiful biosphere of Bollywood. Picking a genre you already like is a good start!
A Guy A Ghoul and a Pizza Shop
Pizza (2012)-So here’s a movie that one could see happening any language/culture: small city younger pizza man and younger wife live a decent existence together. She’s a writer, but the relationship doesn’t really get competitive and is pretty sweet. Our deliveryman is not a hardcore skeptic, but simply doesn’t believe in the paranormal. This obviously means that one night out on a delivery he runs into the paranormal. At his boss’s house. Horrific hijinks ensue.
With some solid makeup effects and some creepy uses of lighting and candles at times, this movie was a tad scarier than I expected. There was a decent bit of humor, but with some tense moments often lurking around the corner. While not a horror-comedy, I’d definitely say this is the type of movie that usually falls under my “fun scary” column. Also while there is a musical number or two, I’d say this movie is much leaner on such numbers compared to some other Bollywood fare I’ve seen.
This one’s on Netflix, give it a watch and let me know what you think!
Second Stop: Feasting in France
Beyond Found Footage
This week I will be getting more into my thoughts on the found footage phenomena with other entries, but I think it’s important to note how much influence it had beyond it’s immediate impact. Movies like Searching involving a father using social media to try and find his missing daughter, play out in ways similar to the limits of found footage but aren’t under the exact same constraints of the specific term. This has had similar situations play out in the horror genre as well with the Unfriended movies and today’s example: Wer (2013).
While it would not be fully correct to call Wer a found footage movie, it definitely plays across a series of mediums instead of just a normal narrative setup using devices like news interviews, security camera footage, audio recordings and other ways of getting the story across even though much it does play out with a team investigating the potential supernatural at the heart of this story.
Letting out the Beast
So if it wasn’t obvious from the title, this story is about werewolf lore and the central figures in the main team’s investigation is whether or not a rather tall French farmer committed a series of violent murders and also whether or not that means he’s something not quite human. Bypassing the usual setup of most found footage movies, this one is able to jump into gear right away because of its willingness to play a little fast and loose with its boundaries of narrative delivery. I don’t want to give much of the plot away because I feel like it’s such a unique take on the subgenre I wouldn’t want to spoil any potential novel revelations. I will say that this film does a great job of balancing digital and practical effects providing plenty of examples of why each can work well in their own right.
The found footage genre is often about a sense of immediacy or revisiting something that is already doomed. Either way it attaches you to the characters in a manner similar to epistolary storytelling did before it. While I have seen my fair share of shaky camera uninspiring entries, I am still a staunch defender of found footage horror and plan to highlight others I enjoy this week.