Halloween is fast approaching and one of the ways to celebrate is watching a good horror movie. Though the United States has dominated the market of horror from one of Edison’s first films "Frankenstein," from this we can see the frameworks of horror being constructed, ideas of creationism, unspoken law and monsters.
However, the genre is not limited to monsters or ghouls, rather it’s an ever-expansive genre critiquing or mirroring aspects of culture. These are some horror films that not only go against the grain but form new concepts in the horror genre.
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
“A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night” follows the story of a vampire who enacts a form of vigilante justice in the imaginary “Bad City, Iran.” The film follows the unnamed character The Girl as she crosses path with Arash, a young handyman who must support his father.
Filmed with an Iranian-American cast, the film was funded and produced in the United States. Though it bears certain aspects of American culture, with Reagan Mask and a James Dean look-alike in Arash, the film provides an Iranian perspective of these identities, transporting the viewer into a pre-revolution Iran.
Equal parts horror, western, romance and art house film, the film challenges genre conventions while providing a unique vision of vampire folklore and Iranian cultural norms. The film can’t be pinned down as a single genre, though the horror is truly a stand out as scenes shift or escalate into moments of tension and terror.
“Suspiria” follows a woman who enrolls at a ballerina school in Germany, where a series of interconnected murders occur in gruesome detail, while a mysterious figure walks the halls of the school at night. Tense and enigmatic, the film follows an unlikely sleuth as she attempts to unravel the mysteries of the school.
“Suspiria” is notable for its use of color and genre. Notably, the colors are strong and apparent in every scene. Vermilion, jade, indigo and other colors paint the scenes in eye-catching ways. The genre is a mixture of supernatural-horror, slasher and giallo.
These qualities give the film it’s mixed inspiration and presentation. An Italian horror, dubbed in English and filmed in Germany, creates several layers of identity to the film that comes across in its genre and color. “Suspiria” becomes a unique take on horror that gives it a re-watchable quality.
“The Host” follows the three generations of a family who work and live out of a small waterside concession stand who lose a family member to an unknown monster. Meanwhile, the family struggles to find the missing member as they are ignored by the larger governing body itself.
A notable aspect of “The Host” is the fact it’s an addition to the monster movie genre, a genre that was popular in the ’40s with films like "The Wolf Man” that saw a public resurgence with "Jaws" before fading into occasional appearances. The director, Bong Joon-Ho, builds on aspects of these early films and makes something unique and specifically “Korean Horror.” Particular elements include horror with dark humor, to construct and undermine moments of suspense.
The blend of horror/comedy has become a style of South Korean productions, as each new film adds to a certain genre-cannon Bong Joon-Ho has contributed toward. Though not all films from Korea can be held to this rule, it has been noted as a welcome addition to horror films at large.
Benjamin Ervin is a senior studying English literature and writing at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk more about it? Let Benjamin know by emailing him firstname.lastname@example.org.