It’s no secret that most, if not all, of the best horror films being made today are being made not in Hollywood but overseas: namely Asia. Stories not about ghosts, but about the simplest of acts, are being told with horrific overtones, and this is one of the best. Art-house horror flicks are not a very common genre but Takashi Miike’s film ‘Audition’ is a welcome addition to the canon. Beautifully shot and orchestrated, it is both a subtle personal drama and one of the most genuinely horrifying things I have seen.
10. Ebola Syndrome
Ebola Syndrome is understandably not something that everyone will enjoy. It’s a Chinese film that intentionally earned their infamous “Category III” rating, which is equivalent to the old X’s or current NC-17′s in the U.S. The film is full of over-the-top (although not strictly pornographic) sex, violence and all-around depravity. The combination of gore and various kinds of bodily fluid excretion/ejection/evacuation may be too much for those who have weak stomach.
One of the most vibrant and fun art house films you are ever likely to see. Vera Chytilova was merging feminism, nihilism, psychedelic color filters, collage aesthetic, and silent film slapstick into a one of a kind film about two young girls named Marie who decide to self destruct, and be just as wicked as the world.
12. Valerie and Her Week of Wonders
Valerie, a 13 year old staying with her grandmother while her parents are away has her first menstruation, triggering a series of interlocking dreams about lustful vampires who prey upon her youth. ”Valerie and Her Week of Wonders” is a wonderfully surreal and hallucinatory horror/fantasy tale made by Jaromil Jires.This poetic film looks like a curious mixture of “Alice in Wonderland” and “Nosferatu”.
13. Black Moon
Louis Malle meets Lewis Carroll in this bizarre and bewitching trip down the rabbit hole. After skirting the horrors of a mysterious war being waged in the countryside, beautiful young Lily takes refuge in a remote farmhouse, where she becomes embroiled in the surreal domestic life of an extremely unconventional family. Evocatively shot by cinematographer Sven Nykvist, Black Moon is a Freudian tale of adolescent sexuality set in a postapocalyptic world of shifting identities and talking animals. It is one of Malle’s most experimental films and a cinematic daydream like no other.
14. El Topo
It’s a violent, brutal, to some confusing, but fascinating and ultimately a brilliant allegorical film. It was the first of the midnight cult films. Truly astonishing film from writer/director/composer Alejandro Jodorowsky. This is one of the most hypnotic films you’ll ever see and is one that stays in the mind for days afterwards. There are so many things to like and admire in this film from the sometimes purposely jarring editing and the beautiful music to the gorgeous vistas inhabited by a plethora of interesting and unusual characters
15. Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter… and Spring
This film is a pastoral poem about the changing seasons and a meditation on the cycle of life. In a tranquil and timeless setting of a temple floating atop a man-made lake in a forest, surrounded by mountain spires that cut the monastery off from worldly concerns, an old monk teaches his young disciple the wisdom of Buddha over the many seasons of their lives. It’s symbolic, complex, elegantly simple, evocative and gently touching the universal religious and the profound.
Derek Jarman’s final work is perhaps his most unusual. The visuals are nothing but a solid screen of bright blue. The soundtrack is a montage of sound effects, voice overs, and music. The dialogue is Derek Jarman’s coming to terms with himself, and his terminal illness. Some will find the whole affair a pretentious bore. Others will find it a moving farewell from a groundbreaking British film-maker who was completely blind by the time the film was completed. He broke the rules, especially with this film, and it’s probably how he wanted to be remembered.