ByTommy DePaoli, writer at
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Tommy DePaoli

Listen up! The founder of Blumhouse Productions, one of the most innovative bastions of contemporary horror that's given us Paranormal Activity and Insidious, has some movie recommendations for you.

Last week, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jason Blum about his upcoming movie [The Lazarus Effect](movie:956553) (in theaters this Friday). More to follow on that neo-Frankenstein tale coming out this weekend, but in the meantime, let's talk about Blum's advice on essential films for horror fans.

One major takeaway: don't be afraid to try out foreign horror. Subtitles may draw your eye to the bottom of the screen, but screams are the true universal language. You'll be happy you strayed off the beaten path when you end with nightmares in Spanish.

Without further ado, here are three movies that every horror fan should see according to the brilliantly twisted mind of Jason Blum.

1. The Town That Dreaded Sundown

As I assured Jason, there's absolutely no shame in starting off with a Blumhouse picture. A great scare is a great scare, and [The Town That Dreaded Sundown](movie:825061) deserves much more attention.

The movie is directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, who you may know for his distinctive episodes of [American Horror Story](series:206668) or his Sundance smash Me & Earl & the Dying Girl. It features a crazed masked killer who sets his sights on a small town that was previously terrorized by another maniac decades earlier. The Town That Dreaded Sundown is stylish, self-referential, and supremely ambitious considering its small scale. If you are a fan of successful remakes AND sequels, you can't miss this one, which effectively manages to be both.

2. Kidnapped (Secuestrados)

I must admit that I was surprised by this selection, but now, however, I want to rewatch Kidnapped with new eyes. As the title suggests, the Spanish film follows a family that's been savagely taken hostage, but, unlike most similar stories, they manage to fight back.

Kidnapped is distinctive for moving away from a reliance on editing. The entire film consists of only 12 long takes, a feat that is particularly impressive for an anxiety-ridden horror movie. If you're in the mood for a thrilling experiment that toys with human psychology, consider getting Kidnapped.

3. Martyrs

One of my favorite horror movies of all time, Martyrs (2008) manages to combine almost every horror subgenre into one non-stop thrill ride that keeps you guessing. The French revenge flick is certainly divisive (it currently boasts a 52% score on Rotten Tomatoes), but its fans are staunch supporters who can't help but sing its praises. As it turns out, Jason Blum is enough of a fan that he's helping produce an American remake of Martyrs coming our way soon.

Definitely check out the original before the remake hits theaters. I can't be sure it will make its way onto your top list, but I promise that you'll end up with a strong opinion.

There you have it—your Jason Blum-approved triple feature.

Do you agree with these selections? What horror movies would you suggest for a master essential list?


For those who have seen them, which is the most nightmarish movie?


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