Posts Tagged ‘spain’

31 Days of Horror – Day 27 – 6 Films to Keep You Awake

6 Films to Keep You Awake

We’re almost through 31 days and I’ve managed not to include any horror anthologies . . . until now. 6 Films to Keep You Awake is a horror anthology from some of the finest horror directors in Spain featuring Mateo Gil’s Spectre, Alex De La Iglesia’s The Baby’s Room, Jaume Balaguero’s To Let, Enrique Urbizu’s A Real Friend, Paco Plaza’s A Christmas Tale, and Narciso Cerrador’s Blame. Spectre tells the story of a man haunted by a bizarre and supernatural love affair from his past, The Baby’s Room focuses on a shadowy figure who haunts a family’s new home, in To Let a young couple faces the onslaught of the landlady from hell, imaginary friends prove to be deadly in A Real Friend, a group of kids face down a vicious criminal dressed as Santa in A Christmas Tale, and Blame provides a grim abortion fable. The crown jewels of this collection are To Let, The Baby’s Room and A Christmas tale, but that should come as no surprise as that group of filmmakers would go on after this anthology to work on The Last Circus and the REC franchise. This is not to say that the other 3 are not solid and entertaining films. I’m just a little biased towards De La Iglesia, Plaza, and Balaguero’s work. In short, it’s an excellent, relatively unknown collection that offers a primer on some of the finest horror filmmakers Spain has to offer.

The Baby’s Room on IMDb

To Let on IMDb

The Christmas Tale on IMDb

A Real Friend on IMDb

Spectre on IMDb

Blame on IMDb

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31 Days of Horror – Day 25 – The Last Circus

The Last Circus

Alex De La Iglesia’s The Last Circus is a brash, bizarre, grotesque, and demented exploration of two crazed clowns and their battle for the affections of an equally twisted acrobat, Natalia. The story follows a pair of circus clowns, one happy and one sad. The sad clown, Javier, dreams of following in his father’s footsteps as a “happy” clown, but, personal tragedies and low self esteem keep him mired in the role of the sad clown. The happy clown, Sergio, is not only Javier’s boss and one of the most popular performers in the circus but a violent alcoholic who beats his girlfriend, Natalia, on a nightly basis. Javier swoons for the affections of Natalia and, despite her masochistic fascination with Sergio, Natalia begins to entertain Javier’s advances and an intense and violent love triangle develops that brings out the dark side of Javier. The violent competition reaches a crescendo as Javier devolves into a near feral monster that threatens to consume everyone and everything in his path. The lead actors deliver powerful performances that drive the growing madness of the film to new heights and make The Last Circus, easily, not only a great horror film but one of the best films released in 2011.

The Last Circus on IMDb

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31 Days of Horror – Day 22 – Timecrimes

Timecrimes

At first glance, the cover of Timecrimes might make you think of some twisted re-up of the Invisible Man, but, I assure you, the truth is even more bizarre than that. Director Nacho Vigalondo spins the tale of Hector, a relatively ordinary guy, who is moving into a new house with his wife when he catches a glimpse of a woman stripping off her clothes in the woods not too far away. Not satisfied with just a peep, Hector ventures into the woods for a closer look, discovers that the woman appears to be dead, and, without warning, he is stabbed by a strange man with pink bandages and flees into the woods. Hector seeks refuge in a research facility where a mysterious scientist beckons him to hide in an odd chamber and the weird tale kicks into overdrive when Hector awakens to discover that he has just gone back in time. Vigalondo has crafted a jewel of a time-traveling horror film that keeps the viewer guessing as he slowly draws back the curtain to reveal the truth behind the odd events in this tense thriller.

Timecrimes on IMDb

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31 Days of Horror – Day 17 – [REC]

[REC]

For me, the holy grail of cinema verite movement in horror films of the last half dozen years has to be the REC franchise. The initial film in the series, [REC], has spawned numerous imitators and left a mark on the genre with its intensity and creativity. The story follows Barcelona TV reporter Angelina who, while making a documentary about the lives of late-night fireman, rides along on an emergency call to an apartment complex only to find it infested with zombie plague and trapped inside by a government quarantine. The POV style narrative finds a way to exploit the strengths of the cinema verite style and provide the viewer with an inside the chaos view that almost feels like a haunted house ride of life-or-death proportions. This was definitely the film that opened my eyes to just how good modern Spanish horror films could be. Don’t waste your time with its butchered American copycat cousin, Quarantine. [REC] and its resulting 2 sequels are a franchise that belong in horror royalty.

[REC] on IMDb

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