Love Is Kind Of Crazy With A Spooky Little Movie Like You

Our friends at Quarter to Three, one of the best gaming sites on the web (and one not involved in #Gamergate!) are compiling a list, with detailed reviews, of great horror movies from the past two decades. 31 movies in 31 days. You know all about The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Night of the Living Dead, but have you seen Audition? Did you know that "The Call of Cthulhu" has been filmed, and that someone, somehow, actually made a decent film based on H. P. Lovecraft?

One of my rituals, every October, is to watch a mix of classic and newer horror movies. The people behind this series know what's good, and I'm looking forward to watching their recommendations. But if you're squeamish, don't click!

Last 5 posts by Patrick Non-White


  1. Matthew Cline says

    and that someone, somehow, actually made a decent film based on H. P. Lovecraft?

    Well, Re-Animator, from nearly 30 years ago, is based on a Lovecraft story, so it's not like it's unprecedented.

  2. says

    Very loosely based on a Lovecraft story. I like Re-Animator well enough as a film. As a Lovecraftian horror movie, or a faithful adaptation of a Lovecraftian work, it's a failure.

    The Call of Cthulhu movie is nothing like that.

  3. says

    I don't know that I'd go so far as to call the Call of Cthulhu movie 'decent'. It fell more into the 'noble but doomed experiment' category for me.

    On the other hand, Martyrs is the most horrific film I've even seen in my life. Not scary – horrific. It's on a very short list of films I actively tell certain people not to watch if they don't seem like they can handle it.

  4. Davey says

    Hmmm… October horror movie month. Good idea. My style is a little sillier – time to drag out my collection of "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes" DVDs.

  5. ivraatiems says

    I hate that "not involved with #gamergate" is an important thing now, but honestly, it is. I don't care which "side" of that debate anybody's on; the only winning move is not to play.

  6. Jack B. says

    I haven't seen all the films on that list, but there are some good titles in there. Frailty is probably my favorite American horror movie of the past two decades. Audition, [rec], and Let The Right One In are faves of mine, too.

    And while A Tale of Two Sisters isn't a bad movie, it's probably my least favorite Kim Jee-woon film; dude's got an impressive resume. I Saw The Devil, The Good The Bad, The Weird, and A Bittersweet Life are all awesome movies. A Bittersweet Life can be hard to find, but it's definitely worth checking out.

    And yeah, Martyrs is seriously fucked-up, although I've seen much, much worse *cough* A Serbian Film *cough*

    [edited to add]: I don't know if it qualifies as true horror, but the Japanese film Versus is pretty damned awesome. Think Highlander meets Evil Dead 2 and you're on the right track.

  7. says

    Patrick I kind of have the same ritual as you when it comes to mixing up movies in Oct. This is a great list of horror movies but one of my all time favorite is Night Of The Living Dead. That is a classic.

  8. Woff says

    After watching Audition I seriously spent time reconsidering my sexual orientation. I don't think I have ever been as creeped out by a movie as that one, it didn't help I had just started a new job and one of my co-workers could have been the female leads double.

  9. says

    A Serbian Film was outright rejected, and there's no real torture porn on the list. Chris (our host over at Qt3) isn't a fan. I'm not either, though I lobbied for the inclusion of Saw for a couple of reasons. There's no denying it had an impact on the genre (and part of this exercise is Chris discussing the staleness in the west that had come about in the 90s, and the subsequent revival). It made a boatload of money (and, mind-bogglingly, continues too) and it resuscitated a dormant sub-genre. I think that sub-genre has sort of withered since and I think that's a good thing. It doesn't offer up anything, and in some respects its a very 90s sub-genre.

  10. R. says

    So which one is decent? Dagon? (actually a pretty faithful* adaptation of The Shadow over Innsmouth…)

    *though set in Galicia..

  11. says

    Jack, that "very short list" only has one other film on it… guess what it is.

    The difference, for me, is that ASF is more along the lines of Pasolini's Salo than it is a true horror film. I wasn't as horrified by it because it felt more like an intellectual exercise. I was able to maintain some emotional distance from it.

    For whatever reason, I can't keep Martyrs at arm's length in the same way. That thing just rips through every defense I have.

  12. Mark says

    I first saw the Call of Cthulhu movie back when it came out. For an indie work deliberately attempting to be a silent movie that could have been produced in the 1920's, it works extremely well. The fact that it is a silent movie that could have been produced in the 1920's also means it's by definition only going to appeal to a niche audience. It looks a lot better than actual silent movies from the era, but that might be due to the aging film stock.

    I loved it for being faithful to the story and being compelling, but I wouldn't call it scary in the least. Creepy at times, though. Much like most of Lovecraft's writing, now that I think about it – compelling and creepy and a bit grotesque but not really frightening. I'd recommend watching it at least once, for what is essentially a fan project it's incredibly well done.

  13. says

    @anonymous coward – the creature effects in In The Mouth of Madness were bad when it came out and have gotten worse, but it's otherwise a terrific movie and I agree very much in the spirit of what Lovecraft was about. It might have been the last good (western made) horror movie in the 90s. It was Carpenter's last great movie.


    There are many types of horror. Creepy is one of them. Scary is relative.

  14. Mark says


    Completely agree, and it's the kind I prefer. Creepy, suspenseful and mildly disturbing are the way to go. To me, the best horror is the kind that isn't scary until around 2 AM a few nights after you see/read it.

    Then again, one of my favorite horror flicks is John Carpenter's Prince of Darkness. Crazy all over, and John's synth music just adds the perfect surreal touch.

  15. Votre says

    Where are the ponies? How can this be a list of 'real' horor movies if there aren't any flicks featuring ponies??? They must have finally gotten to the Popehat staff! It's "game over" folks.

    On a more serious note: Martyrs. One of the nastiest pieces of cinema ever made. The only thing on the list – and I've seen all of them but two – I would NOT watch again.

  16. says

    @Mark – Completely agree! Prince of Darkness is a series of weird things that seem incongruous when listed on a piece of paper; it's much greater than the sum of it's parts. I just love the movie. "The God Plutonium will not save you". I've been fantasizing about table top RPG campaigns that are based around the movie, where Victor Wong's Prof Birac effects a sort of quantum "spell" (quantum physics being the science the trapped entity actually fears) that traps the church as is after the end of the movie, but this causes all sorts of problems in the rest of the world (think Rifts meets Thundarr meets the hypothetical fourth Evil Dead movie where Ashe wakes up having gone too far forward in time to when the Deadites overran humanity). That's how gonzo Prince of Darkness is.

    @Doctor X – I'm not familiar with that but I look forward to reading it. Thanks for posting.

  17. crankytexan says

    They had me at this line:

    What I found most fascinating about this tale of unrequited love and piano wire dismemberment was that it went places I never thought it would.

  18. Doctor X says

    @Grandy: Credit Where Credit is Due Department: I had it recommended to me some time ago. Very intricate and engrossing plot that involves reference to many Lovecraftian stories as well as other historical characters.

  19. says

    Cast a Deadly spell and its sequel are certainly inspired by Lovecraft (maybe "little l" lovecraftian) but not especially horror as I recall.

  20. Kilroy says

    Was Blair Witch on the list? Cause that kind of determines whether it is a viable list or not.

  21. NotPiffany says

    It's got The Blair Witch Project as it's first entry. If they've got that no-payoff-snoozefest as #1, I think I can ignore their list.