Hello again, horror lovers! It's your resident obscurity-loving gore hound, Tony Announces, with another blood-soaked festival of fun for you!
When you begin delving into the annals of horror cinema, you usually start at the gates of mainstream box-office successes like Saw or The Blair Witch Project, work your way back to the great slashers of the 70's and 80's, and perhaps even venture as far down the rabbit hole as the early Universal creature features and Bela Lugosi/Christopher Lee iconic monster movies. Just glancing at the wide range of horror films of the last few decades is an exhausting escapade, and tons of viewers barely scratch the surface. We absorb all of the classics: the Nightmare On Elm Street, Friday The 13th, and Halloween franchises in all their glory; the Wes Cravens and John Carpenters of different generations; and of course, the crazes and bursts of sub-genres which wax and wane with every half-decade. We've all seen those fantastic and influential works, and they are paramount to the development and success of the genre as a whole, but they are but the tip of the proverbial iceberg!
Below the surface of big-budget blockbusters lie the real lifeblood of horror: obscure, art house, and the ultra-low budget flicks from across the world. You've seen all the classics. You know the ins and outs of mainstream horror, and if you're anything like me, you HUNGER for something fresh. Something original. Something deeply dark and spine-chilling. And my friends, I have some real treats for you today. In my travels I've watched hundreds, if not thousands, of horror films, and I want to share six of my off-the-beaten-path flicks which you may never have heard of. Without further ado, here they are.
#1: 2LDK (2003)
This is one of those movies you come across once in a long while that blends suffocating tension with intelligent writing and brutal violence, with just the right touch of dark comedy. Yukihito Tsustumi directs this look into the lives of two roommates, a pair of struggling actresses named Lana and Nozomi who are vying for the same lead role and the same man. And they're willing to do ANYTHING to win, including breaking out power tools, swords, fire extinguishers, and whatever else is around the house to maim and murder each other. The two characters (played effectively and believably by Maho Nonami and Eiko Koike) have some great dialogue, and the director makes great use of voice-overs for internal monologues. Plus the last twenty-five minutes are just brutal! You'll love this squabble, and it might make you think twice about pissing off your roommate...
#2: Aftermath (1994)
Aftermath is a Spanish short film brought to the screen by Nacho Cerda and starring Pep Tosar, who looks suspiciously like Javier Bardem (Anton Chigurgh from No Country For Old Men), but that's probably just my over-analytic brain being unable to fully cope with what I saw on the screen. What this flick lacks in run time, it more than makes up for in gore and gross out factor. The film centers on a coroner who takes a very strong liking to a recently deceased woman. With a collection of horrifying gore scenes and graphic necrophilia, this is no easy fit to sit through. One of the few movies that can disturb without a single spoken line of dialogue, it's absolutely worth a watch if you seek the extreme. Any aspiring VFX artists must see this achievement in practical effects.
#3: Inbred (2011)
Do you like ridiculously over-the-top violence? (Is that even a question if you're still reading this?!) Have you ever wanted to watch a freak show where the subjects are dispatched in the most insane ways you could think of? Have you ever wondered what happens when a stomach gets pumped with about a hundred litres of gasoline? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you'll LOVE Inbred! Director Alex Chandon has made something really awesome to get drunk with your friends to. A British horror with sludge-black humor, this is one of those super fun, ultra-violent romps that come around once every decade or so, and is not to be missed (If you can find a copy, that is)!
#4: Grotesque (2009)
You've seen Saw and Hostel, but you don't know the definition of "torture porn" until you experience this Japanese carnival of gore and depravity. Koji Shiraishi's 70 minute assault on the senses is truly of its own caliber, with so much more violence than anything else in its sub-genre and some of the most nauseating scenes of any movie world-wide. It's the tale of a deranged surgeon (brilliantly portrayed by Shigei Osako) who kidnaps a couple on their first date and decides to take them apart, one gruesome piece at a time. No part of their bodies are safe from the doctor's instruments of death, and you will leave this film changed in a profound way. Surviving this without retching is a challenge for even the most hardened horror fans, so remember to bring a bucket when you check this one out!
#5: Last Cannibal World (1977)
Ruggero Deodato, the madman behind Cannibal Holocaust, started his cannibal filmography with this hardcore jungle survival film. Oil proprietor Robert Harper (brought to life by Massimo Foschi), his friend Rolf (played by the Italian cannibal flick regular Ivan Rassimov), and two others fly to an island in the Philippines to check on their operation, but find that the camp has been attacked by the natives. One of them is captured by the tribe, and the others brave booby traps, barbaric rituals, dangerous wildlife and the unforgiving jungle to try and escape with their lives. Last Cannibal World provides suspense, action, great gore, and all the hallmarks of the Cannibal Boom from Italy's 1970's and 80's. Do yourself a favor and watch arguably the best of the cannibal flicks out there. Is anyone else hungry seeing this poster?
#6: Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1998)
Talk about a strange flick! Tetsuo: The Iron Man is a trippy cyber-punk dive into the mad world of a "metal fetishist" who goes insane immediately before getting run down by a couple in a car. Being the reasonable citizens they are, they dispose the body and try to forget about it. However, it turns out that forgetting a murder isn't that easy when your body starts morphing into a metal-flesh hybrid and you're constantly pursued by half-cyborgs with steel protruding from every surface of their bodies. This is a great movie with some crazy effects and a just plain wacky plot. You will be puzzled. You will feel a profound sense of confusion. You'll also probably have a great time watching the madness unfold in front of you. I can't tell you any more without spoiling the best parts, so be sure to check out this Japanese montage of strange!
That's it for this list, so thanks for reading and make sure you watch these little-known moments in horror cinema! Which of these have you seen, and what do you want to read next? Let me know down below, and above all, have a killer time experiencing the obscure!