This isn’t a place for politics, but let’s just start by saying the vote to leave sucked.
It was stupid and shouldn’t have happened. But it has. Instead of focusing on the negatives though, let’s have a look at some of the awesome horror films Europe’s brought us over the years.
From East to West, the continent brought us some of the scariest, weirdest and most fun horror of recent (and not so recent) times.
Haute Tension (aka Switchblade Romance) [France]
One of Alexandre Aja’s earlier films, Switchblade Romance showed huge promise. It was urgent, visceral, laden with twists and gripped you by the neck throughout. A perfect introduction from the director who’d go on to bring us Horns, P2 and Mirrors.
It’s a medical fact that tiny kid ghosts are scary as hell. Know what doesn’t help the child ghost situation? Creepy masks. While this Spanish take on the governess in the haunted house trope will spook you, it’s also beautiful, well told and well ahead of many of its contemporaries.
A Serbian Film [Serbia, obviously]
Few films have left me feeling as empty and uncomfortable as A Serbian Film. It’s violent, visceral, bleak and breaks into virtually every taboo you can think of. Still, it’s an important statement from a country that’s still recovering from a terrible period in its history.
One of the all time classic horror movies, staring Max Schreck as the eponymous Nosferatu. Set in Hungary (naturally) the granddaddy of all vampire films continues to keep horror and film fans alike basking in its silent glory. Not only did the film set a precedent for vampires in films to come, but also solidified the myth about sunlight destroying the revenants.
When folklore’s brought to life right you end up with all the ingredients of a good horror: a creature that lurks, compelling story, mythology, the unknown and a bit of mystery thrown in. The Hallow has all this and a little more, set in woodlands deep in the heart of Ireland, where a couple finds themselves falling victim to an ancient Irish legend they may or may not be able to escape.
There’s no shortage of scares in the woods, it’s any wonder why people keep going back in them. But they do. Especially Cubs. Because that’s all Cubs do – go camping. While the hunted in the woods thing’s been done plenty, Belgian flick Cub managed to set itself apart in the last few years, delivering genuine scares that remind us once more: bullying people is dumb; don’t go in the woods.
While Scandinavia’s best known for its legions of dark, moody TV shows, it’s also right up these with producing its own brand of dark horror. The original ‘Let The Right One In’ has to rank high on the best vampire films on all time, along with Nosferatu, for its new take, strong plot and just the way blood looks in the snow. It’s a film that can’t quite be replicated outside of Scandinavia.
City of the Living Dead [Italy]
Italy’s a tough beast to pick from because it’s laden with not just good, but great horror directors. While it’d be just as easy to pick something from Dario Argento or Mario Bava, I had to go with Lucio Fulci. Famed for his passion for Gore and a mastery of Zombies, he created the cult classic trilogy, The Gate of Hell. City of The Living Dead marks the first part and it’s packed with enough blood and entrails to keep any gorehound happy.
OK, you caught me. This is an American film set in Slovakia, among other places. But one that celebrates the time honoured tradition of Interrailing around Europe. The only difference is that there’s no parties on the train, like there are in the film, and you’re unlikely to end up a pawn in some kind of murder game. That’s because Slovakia’s actually really nice and has loads of awesome beer, food and people and no mansions where rich people can pay to kill for money. Just don’t watch this before you go travelling.
Remember when I said Europe had a talent for creating some of the weirdest films you’ll see? This is one of them. Hungary’s Taxidermia is all about family. Only it’s a family that combines a speed eater, a taxidermist and a soldier who engages in some, let’s say leftfield, sexual activities. Do they all live happily ever after? Safe to assume not. But it’s an enjoyable, weird little ride as we watch them fall apart (literally and figuratively).
It’s hard to imagine many people, whether they’ve seen it or not, aren’t aware of this film. It was a long time in the making, and definitely ranks up in the ‘once seen never unseen’ category. In the immortal words of Dante, you never go ass to mouth. Sadly, that’s something The Human Centipede doesn’t abide by at all. In fact, it relies heavily on going ass to mouth, throughout. All I know is, at one point or another, the world needed to see a film about people having their butts sewn to other people’s mouths. Twice.
Got a favourite European horror film? Let us know in the comments.