Horror is a vast church, and within its hallowed walls reside a variety of delights to please the most discerning devotees of terror. Horror is also a genre that transcends – perhaps transgresses would be a better word – cultural boundaries; anyone who has known fear is sensitive to its dark charms. So here is a selection of what is currently waiting to send a shiver down the back of your couch…
Released to commemorate the centenary of FW Murnau’s silent classic Nosferatusthe first (and very little authorized) film adaptation by Bram Stoker Dracula, this 90-minute documentary dives deep into the history of the legendary leech (or lich, if you prefer). Taking us from the historic Vlad II of Wallachia that inspired Stoker’s gothic classic, through the author’s almost complete reimagining of the vampire mythos, to the various cinematic versions of Universal, Hammer and beyond, from experts including renowned author, critic and Dracula expert Kim Newman. us into the dark heart of the greatest vampire tale of all time.
Dracula unearthed premieres at 8:30 p.m. Monday, October 31 on SBS VICELAND, and will be available on SBS On Demand after it airs.
This 1998 Japanese horror classic spawned a hugely popular franchise that still works in one form or another today. Nanako Matsushima plays the role of a journalist, investigating the death of her niece, who discovers an urban legend about a cursed videotape: after watching the horrible thing, the viewer receives a strange phone call. Seven days later, they die. Gazing dumbly at the tape at hand, she enlists her psychically sensitive ex-husband (Hiroyuki Sanada) to try and break the curse. Weird, unsettling and visually arresting, it’s ground zero for the J-Horror craze and essential viewing for any fan of the genre.
Ringu is now streaming on SBS On Demand.
The curse of Audrey Earnshaw
A deep sense of creeping dread pervades this Canadian chiller. It’s 1973, but superstition and mistrust still reign in a remote and devout village in the Canadian hinterland. When a mysterious plague begins to kill the village’s crops, then livestock, and eventually the village’s children, suspicion falls on Agatha and Audrey Earnshaw (Catherine Walker and Jessica Reynolds), mother and daughter occultists whose property seems immune to the infection. But are they the target of misguided paranoia, or are they more than they appear? Following gender companions The witch and Midsommarit’s another moody and memorable modern popular horror.
The curse of Audrey Earnshaw screens at 10:55 p.m., Sunday, October 29 as part of the SBS World Movies Modern Horror Showcase (see the full list here). The film is also streaming on SBS On Demand.
Hired by Saturnian Louis Cyphre (clearly having fun Robert De Niro) to find missing musician Johnny Favourite, private detective Harry Angel (Mickey Rourke at his most charismatic) follows a chilling trail from New York to New -Orléans and soon finds himself lost in a twilight world of voodoo magic, brutal murder and passion with the seductive Epiphany Proudfoot (Lisa Bonet). But Harry is closer to this case than he ever imagined and solving it might just damn him forever. Alan Parker’s baroque and stylized allegorical horror was hugely controversial when first released and still retains the power to shock today.
angel heart is streaming now on SBS On Demand.
This Spanish found footage film breathed new life into a format that was starting to feel its age, but which vibrates very differently in the post-Covid world. Accompanying a group of firefighters on an emergency call to an apartment building, a journalist (Manuela Velasco) and her cameraman (Pablo Rosso) find themselves stranded there when authorities quarantine the building due to a infection. The infection in question? Zombies. Crisp, brutal, claustrophobic and desperate, it’s a lean, mean zombie movie that pulls few punches.
REC is streaming now on SBS On Demand (expires November 30).
South Korea produces big historical action epics by the bushel, but this offering raises the stakes by the simple expediency of adding zombies to the mix. Returning from exile in China at the behest of his late brother, Prince Ganglim (Hyun Bin) discovers that the Machiavellian Minister of War, Kim Ja Joon (Jang Dong Gun) is plotting to usurp the throne – and that an invasion of zombies, brought to the Kingdom by European arms dealers, invades the countryside. Political intrigue, searing swordplay, and plenty of gruesome blood. Ambitious, epic, and fun, it’s a great addition to the zombie canon.
crawling is streaming now on SBS On Demand.
Oscar-winning Kathryn Bigelow’s solo debut lifts vampires out of the aristocracy and back into the blood-soaked land where they belong. After modern-day cowboy Caleb (Adrian Pasdar) is seduced by waifish Mae (Jenny Wright), he soon finds himself with a thirst for blood and an aversion to daylight. Forced into his pack of wandering vampires, he must decide if an eternity in Mae’s pale arms is worth his bloody price. A modern western horror classic, almost dark completely upended the vampire genre and features iconic turns from B-movie legends Lance Henriksen, Jeanette Goldstein and the late great Bill Paxton.
almost dark is streaming now on SBS On Demand.
Artist Tracey Moffatt is inspired by the stories she heard as a child of her Aboriginal and Irish-Australian extended family to bring to the screen a trilogy of surreal and harrowing ghost stories. ‘M. Chuck’ sees a Native child haunted by the ghost of an American soldier as he struggles to survive his abusive family and care for his younger siblings. “Choo Choo Choo Choo” follows a woman, played by Moffatt herself, who feels compelled to return to the train tracks where her family has been threatened by a ghostly train. Finally, “Lovin’ the Spin I’m In” presents us with the ghosts of two Torres Strait Islanders dancing eternally in the warehouse in which they died after escaping an arranged marriage. torment rejects the stereotypical treatment of Aboriginal culture and beliefs to give us a truly unique Australian genre effort.
torment is streaming now on SBS On Demand.