Deep Cuts: 5 Underseen Picks for September
Shudder Curator, Sam Zimmerman, here. Much like the teens of Elm Street, once movies enter the Shudder library they feel like all my children now. Anything from our highest profile new release to weirdo Greek murder sprees from 1976 find a special place in my heart. It’s ones like the latter—under the radar insanities—that I find really exhilarating, however. With the launch of Shudder Blog, I’ll be checking in each month with five recommendations for hidden gems, cool curios and crucial creepers that otherwise may not cross your path.
Arguably the greatest home invasion film of all, Gerald Kargl’s Angst is a movie utterly unhinged. Loosely based on real life killer Werner Kniesek, this vicious Austrian spectacle quite literally follows a killer newly released from prison as he descends upon a vulnerable family. What makes Angstis so special is the shattering lead performance from Erwin Leder working in tandem with Zbnigiew Rybczyński’s groundbreaking cinematography, which leaves you chained to the shocking acts onscreen, unable to look away and at the mercy of a maniac. In Angst, literally no one, not even the filmmakers, feel in control. What’s more terrifying than that?
Next of Kin
Maybe one of the best horror movies of the 80s, but unsung in North America for so long, this Australian creeper is one part gothic mystery, one party stylish fever, and it rules. Jacki Kerin stars as a young woman who inherits her mother’s estate, a manor that acts as a retirement home. Moved back in, Linda begins to wonder if someone isn’t creeping around at night, if deaths weren’t natural causes, and if piercing childhood memories aren’t trying to tell her something. Come for the eerie, dreamlike mood, stay for the totally bravura climax.
From directors Juanfer Andres & Esteban Roel, and produced by Spanish horror legend Alex de la Iglesia, Shrew’s Nest was one of the very first Shudder Exclusive releases and remains one of my very favorites. Some outrageous mix of fantastic wallpaper, crazy eyes, Misery and Repulsion blesses us with the exact type of elegant period thriller-cum-twisted grand guignol shit I live for. I cannot recommend this movie enough.
Kiss of the Damned
Let’s talk vibe. A few years ago, Xan Cassavettes (who previously helmed a fantastic document of Los Angeles’ Z Channel in Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession) made one of the neatest modern vampire movies in Kiss of the Damned. A primal, sexy ode to Jean Rollin and Euro atmosphere, Kiss hits higher than pastiche as it coats you in blood, romance and groove.
Glacial and grotesque, aggressive and atmospheric, Hagazussa is a penetrating folktale about monsters we’re forced to become. It is a witchy death trip. Get on its level.