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Oh! The subtitles! Over a month of only foreign Horror films. We’re glad it’s over, but we’re glad we persevered. Now, this list is compiled of Horror flicks created by filmmakers outside of the United States. If your favorite movie didn’t make it on the list, sorry. But not too sorry. We probably have it in mind for another listy list. Check out our previous list, diving into Psychological Horror.

Whether you’re into the blood and guts, or are looking to feel alive from Horrifying tales on the screen, keep reading. Many fans of Horror we’ve talked to aren’t ready to give foreign films a shot, they’re too much work, and the culture can be different. But let us tell you…start with these:

  • Train to Busan (2016) South Korea (Tubi, Netflix, Amazon Prime–Shudder)
  • The Ritual (2017) The UK (Netflix Original)
  • The Babadook (2014) Australia (Amazon Prime–IFC Films Unlimited)
  • I Remember You (2017) Iceland (Netflix)
  • Martyrs (2008) France
  • Bedevilled (2011) Korea (Tubi, Amazon Prime)
The Devil's Backbone
Taken from Canal+ España, Tequila Gang, Sogepaq, Anhelo Producciones, and El Deseo by video capture of trailer

15. The Devil’s Backbone (2001)

Spain/Mexico

Guillermo del Toro creates a tale of paranormal ecstasy wrapped in solitude. Watch this tale of abandonment and primal fear in this flick about an orphanage taken by overwhelming dread. The acting is on point, not artsy, but poetic in nature. Watch this if you’re looking for a fresh take on a ghost story.

14. Frontier(s) (2007)

France (Amazon Prime/Tubi)

Xavier Gens winds us through a grisly story of a group of rebels finding themselves in a messed up situation. Think Rob Zombie had a baby with Rob Schmidt, the director of Wrong Turn.

13. We Are What We Are (2013)

France (Amazon Prime/Tubi)

Now here we go…Our Horror jollies have been rocked after viewing this piece. Dread seeps through each possible crack. We follow a family with many secrets in this Jim Mickle movie. Be prepared to look at your parents a little differently after this one.

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The Wailing screenshot
Taken from Side Mirror, Fox International, and Production Korea by video capture of trailer

12. The Wailing (2016)

Korea (Amazon Prime-Shudder/Tubi)

Oh, the sweet blend of Horror and Comedy. Paranormal in nature, you won’t expect where this one will take you. Na Hong-jin understands the perfect balance of craziness mixed with normalcy in this movie about a police officer unravelling the town’s current big mystery. And boy, this gets darker than we expected.

11. Tumbbad (2018)

India (Amazon Prime)

What a story! And what a message! A piece all too familiar, this burrowing of greed in our hearts, the breakdown and cycle of our actions. A display of the ever pertinent circle of the ego and it’s effects on the people who look up to us. Rahi Anil Barve took a long six years, the time worth it. Not only is the story in this one good, but the visual and audio components make for a pleasurable watch. This is a story we could all be reminded of every once in a while.

Tumbbad screenshot.
Taken from Eros International, Sohum Shah Films, Colour Yellow Productions, Film i Väst, Filmgate Films by video capture of trailer

10. A Dark Song (2016)

Ireland/UK (Amazon Prime–IFC Films Unlimited)

The lengths a mother will go to…well, just watch it. Not only are moral concerns obliterated here, but the blood-fest, horrifying ending will leave you hangin’, mouth wide open. It’s slow to start, but Liam Gavin will keep you watching.

9. Climax (2018)

Climax trailer screenshot
Taken from Rectangle Productions and Wild Bunch by video capture of trailer

France/Belgium (Amazon Prime)

Ho, ho, ho…what a RIDE! Follow a group of performers as they party, ingesting an unknown substance, sh** hits the fan. All Hell breaks loose in this Gaspar NoĂ© piece. Calling all A24 fans! You won’t expect each revelation, and it’s even loosely based on a true story from the 90s.

8. I Saw the Devil (2010)

Korea (Amazon Prime–Monsters and Nightmares)

I Saw the Devil Screenshot
Taken from Peppermint & Company by video capture of trailer

Don’t watch this one alone. You’ve gotta have at least a couple people with you. A great movie night pick for ADULTS without weak bellies. Just cut it on and roll with the punches. You’ll love it. There’s NO WAY you’ll guess what’s going on. And the ride, oh, what fun!! Kim Jee-woon is an entertainer like you wouldn’t believe.

7. The Killing of A Sacred Deer (2017)

Ireland/UK (Amazon Prime)

Georgios Lanthimos knows how to build a story. Watch Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman’s characters try to regain control over their lives as Barry Keoghan’s character seeps inside, unsettling moment after another. Another A24 film, it picks up pretty well. Be warned: this is not a film for the faint of heart. Actually, you can heed this warning for the rest of the films going forward. Ha.

6. Parasite (2019)

Korea

Bong Joon-ho just took home four Academy Awards for this masterpiece. We follow a couple families as their lives intertwine in the most odd of ways. Human survival and tough social concerns are battled here. We must say, we were left a little dry mouthed as the film came to a close, but it has grown on us, like a parasite. The tact shines over time, what an accomplishment in the Horror film industry.

5. Hagazussa: A Heathen’s Curse (2017)

Hagazussa screenshot.
Taken from Deutsche Film- und, Fernsehakademie Berlin, and Retina Fabrik by video capture of trailer

Germany/Austria (Amazon Prime)

Slow and artsy, this one. A metaphoric, seamless debut by Lukas Feigelfeld is guaranteed to hold you breathless. This isn’t a film to just watch an put away, moving onto the next one. We really don’t want to tell you anything else about the plot, but just pay attention from the get go. Every scene, every frame, the audience should be aware: Feigelfeld is certainly trying to tell us something. The clarity on this film didn’t come for days. Enjoy!

4. Goodnight Mommy (2014)

Goodnight Mommy screenshot.
Taken from Ulrich Seidl Film and Produktion GmbH by video capture of trailer

Austria (Amazon Prime/Tubi)

Watch as a set of twin boys try to get to the bottom of the intruder they think has taken their mother’s place following a facial surgery. The camera is taken into consideration here, and the acting is decent. Truly heartbreaking. We only cried for a couple weeks after watching this one, and it still pops in our head every once in a while. This one’s fine to watch alone, and we’d recommend this for any Momma’s out there who want to be scared to death. Literally.

3. Julia’s Eyes (2010)

Spain (Amazon Prime–IFC Films Unlimited)

This one took our number one Foreign Horror spot for the longest time. This isn’t just a story about Julia, but goes further, digging into the sockets of ourselves we don’t share with others. Brilliant, Guillem Morales, thank you. Follow Julia, as she battles with the terms of losing her eyesight, and watch as everything falls apart. Watch for little hits along the way! Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala are a foced to be reckoned with.

2. Raw (2016)

France

Raw screenshot
Taken from Petit Film, Rouge International, Frakas Productions, Ezekiel Film Production, and Wild Bunch by video capture of trailer

The woman of Horror, behold Julia Ducournau. She’s created a horrifying story with hints to social commentary. Human emotions hardly discussed are shouted here, as we follow a young girl and her sister on their quest of self discovery. but there’s a catch. Something’s going on with them that’s not quite right.

Honorable Mentions

  • Inside (2007) France
  • Here Comes the Devil (2012) Spain (Amazon Prime–Shudder)
  • Audition (2001) Japan (Amazon Prime–Shudder)
  • The Orphanage (2007) Spain
  • Baskin (2015) Turkey (Hulu, Amazon Prime–IFC Films Unlimited)

1.5) The Skin I Live In (2011)

Spain

The Skin I Live In screenshot.
Taken from El Deseo S.A., Blue Haze Entertainment, Canal+ España, Televisión Española, Instituto de la Cinematografía y de las, Artes Audiovisuales, and FilmNation Entertainment by video capture of trailer

This multi-genre masterpiece starring the ever handsome Antonio Banderas deserves so much more attention, especially with the developments in the social constructs of today. It’s relevant and bloody scary. Pedro AlmodĂłvar Caballero isn’t afraid to tell this story, we applaud him.

1) What We Become (2016)

What We Become screenshot
Taken from Meta Film by video capture of trailer

Danish (Amazon Prime–IFC Films Unlimited)

The piece that takes the cake. The most accessible on this list, just like Summer of 84. We follow a family merely trying to survive an outbreak of some sort of sickness. This beauty steals the number one spot purely on relevance. It’s terrifying. With the virus nicknamed the “Kung-Flu” running rampant, this film directed by Bo Mikkelsen is all too close to reality. Check it out. Like, now.

What do you think of our list? Which goodies did we miss? Do you completely disagree with any of our selections? Tell us in the comments below! What list should we put together next?

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Movies n TV

Goosebumps Say Cheese and Die

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Released in 2023, Goosebumps is the latest in a line of content based on the insanely popular children’s book series with the same name. And if you’re here, I’m guessing I don’t have to tell you a lot about Goosebumps. Most horror fans are at least passingly aware of the colorful covers, dark plotlines, and surprise twist endings. Some of us even have a few of the original books lying around.

For nostalgia.

Cover for Say Cheese and Die, Goosebumps number 4.

With so many good and bad versions of the original stories floating around, I was unsure how to feel about this brand-new series. I was sure, however, that I had to watch all of it. Especially with the infamous Slappy appearing so prominently in the advertising.

So, how was the first episode?

The story

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We start this episode with a flashback to 1993, and a young man named Harold Biddle. We don’t spend a lot of time with him. He comes home from school and goes right to the basement. There he starts writing some concerning notes in his journal. This is interrupted when a fire consumes the basement, killing him.

We then flash forward thirty years to the real start of our story. The Biddle house has just been inherited by a man named Nathan Bratt, played by the delightful Justin Long. He adores the place but is less than thrilled when a bunch of teens crash it for a Halloween party.

The teens end up not being thrilled either.

Now we come to our real main characters, Isaiah, Margot, Allison, and James. It is the four of them that planned the ill-fated party.

Zack Morris in Goosebumps

While in the house, Isaiah finds a Polaroid camera. He starts taking pictures of his friends, only to find that they don’t come out right. One of them, Allison, shows her on the ground in the woods, terrified for her life. Another shows Margot in a panic next to a snack machine.

Of course, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that he eventually sees both of the girls in those exact situations. The real trouble comes when Lucas takes a picture of him, and it shows him on the football field, horribly injured.

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All of these near-death experiences seem to be caused by the flaming spirit of Harold Biddle. And it soon becomes clear that the adults of the town likely know more than they’re willing to tell about what went down at the Biddle house thirty years ago.

What worked

For someone who grew up with the series, and is therefore of a certain age, the first scene of the episode was a lot of fun. It oozed 90’s vibe in a way that’s immediately recognizable to most, and familiar to my generation. Well, insomuch as wearing flannel and coming home to an empty house is the pinnacle of being a 90s kid.

It was also fun for the constant references to books in the original series. Blink and you missed them, but I saw the Cuckoo Clock of Doom, Haunted Mask, and Go Eat Worms. These make sense, as they each have their episode this season. But I’m sure I missed a few. Please let me know in the comments.

That was a lot of fun for someone who grew up with the series. But it wasn’t so constant and all-consuming as to distract from the story. Someone could have never read a Goosebumps book in their lives and just enjoy this episode of television.

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More importantly, younger viewers can watch this and feel like it’s for them. The main characters aren’t the parents, they’re the kids. And it’s clear even in this first episode that, even if it was the grownups who caused this horror, it’s going to be the kids that fix it.

This is a series that is for kids. And that’s great. It’s introducing a whole new generation to a series in a way that feels like it can be theirs just as much as it was ours when we were kids.

What didn’t work

All that being said, the story also felt a little dumbed down. A little too predictable. There was one line that particularly irritated me in this regard. When Nora goes to see Isiah’s dad in the hospital, she just flat-out says, “The children will suffer for the sins of the fathers.”

Not only is that just a bad line, it’s also a lazy one. It’s awkward and unrealistic. People simply do not talk that way. And we frankly didn’t need this information dropped on us. It was pretty clear during the football game that at least some of the grownups in town were going to be involved with this when we saw Nora recognize what was happening to Isaiah and try to stop the game. Kids are smart. They would have figured this out by themselves.

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It’s also a really tired trope. Freddy and Jason after all, are both killing young people for the sins of their parents. It was a big part of the storyline in Hide. And while I get that this might feel relevant to the next generation who are all paying for the mistakes of Boomers that Gen X and Millennials have not done enough to solve, it’s also a bit lazy. I just feel like, if this is going to be our main story, it could have been a better one.

But this isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy this episode. Overall, it was a fun start that left me with lots of questions. I’m excited to see where the rest of the season takes us.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

If you’re a fan of my work, please check out my latest story, Nova, on Paper Beats World. New chapters every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

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The Dead Take the A Train Review: Queer Magic and Monster Mayhem

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“Julie crawled onto the table, straddling her intern, both hands around the knife. She torqued it downward, cursing. Brad shrieked harder.” -pg 57, The Dead Take the A Train by Cassandra Khaw & Richard Kadrey

The Dead Take the A Train is the first book in a duology by authors Cassandra Khaw and Richard Kadrey. It was published in 2023 by Tor Nightfire (like the Scourge Between Stars, which I reviewed here). I was not previously familiar with Kadrey’s work, which most notably includes the Sandman Slim series. However, I was introduced to Khaw through The Salt Grows Heavy (review here), which I absolutely adored in all its twisted, gory glory. Therefore, I was thrilled to pick-up The Dead Take the A Train, which promised similar heart in a modern cosmic horror package.

In The Dead Take the A Train, a magical fixer named Julie must hunt down eldritch monstrosities threatening the lives of those around her. To do this, she has to go up against her shitty ex, a questionable angel, finance executives, and her own sobriety. When an old friend shows up, Julie is terrified to find herself making a retirement plan that doesn’t involve getting murdered by a demon.

The Dead Take the A Train is reminiscent of N.K. Jeminsin’s The City We Became, with both featuring queer characters tackling eldritch horror plots in New York City. In the same way, the novel was reminiscent of a gorier version of Dimension 20’s Unsleeping City actual play series. However, it clearly carves out a space for itself among the droves of cosmic-horror inspired love letters to New York City. For one, it is mostly unconcerned with borough beef, which (not to sound like a curmudgeonly Midwesterner), is so refreshing. The book also has a relatively novel way the world works, which helps it stay memorable.

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Overall, I really liked The Dead Take the A Train. First off, the characters are fun and easy to root for. Julie is a mess in pretty much every aspect, but her bad decisions are understandable and she is charismatic. Her romance with her friend, Sarah, also serves to make Julie more likable. It helps that the villains are so easy to hate too. What’s not to hate about rich Wall Street assholes engaging in human sacrifice? Speaking of which, I liked the juxtaposition of corporate Wall Street and cosmic cultists. The actions taken were evil, but more importantly, they were just business.

The prose was flowery, but not quite as much as in The Salt Grows Heavy. So, if you struggled with Khaw’s other works for that reason this may be a much easier read. Personally, I enjoyed the prose in both. There is quite a bit of gore in The Dead Take the A Train, but I didn’t find it to be overwhelming. I think you could still enjoy the book if you don’t love gore, though maybe not if you have a weak stomach.

One of the largest issues I have with The Dead Take the A Train, is the lack of clarity in power levels of the various characters. Especially since all their forms of magic work in different ways, it is sometimes unclear the level of danger present. This can also sometimes create room for plot holes. For example, Julie has a friend who is tapped into anything and everything happening online. This is an absurdly powerful ability (and is used as such). But there were moments where the main conflict probably could have been avoided or solved using that power. It also felt odd that no one else in this thriving magic community felt strongly about stopping a world-ending catastrophe. Because of this, the magic underground of NYC could feel smaller than I think was intended.

Having been familiar with Khaw’s work previously, The Dead Take the A Train clearly feels like a mix of Khaw’s style with someone else’s. This could be a boon or a hindrance, depending on your view of Khaw’s distinct prose and storytelling. Either way, if you are interested in learning more about the process or the authors, check out the interview they did for SFF Addicts Podcast!

Cassandra Khaw and Richard Kadrey on the SFF Addicts Podcast

I recommend The Dead Take the A Train, especially for those who are fans of modern urban eldritch horror. The book is an even bigger steal if you are looking for danger, gore, and queer characters. Check it out! And keep your eyes peeled for the next book in this duology. 

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[USR 4.2]

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Movies n TV

Dolores Roach, A Fillet of Left Cheek

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The second season of Dolores Roach started with a bang. The first episode was dark, gristly and in a strange way whimsical. It certainly brought to light new elements of the character.

The story

We begin our story with Dolores somewhere, talking to someone. I’d like to be more specific, but that’s all we know right now.

She tells this unknown person about her flight from Empanadas Loco. How Jeremiah killed Luis. How she, whether she meant to or not, killed Jeremiah. How she then set the building on fire by blowing up the fryer in the kitchen.

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Scared and alone, Dolores then ran for the underground. Dragging her purple massage table she runs into a hole in a subway track and finds herself in a whole different world.

Almost at once, she finds a place where someone is living. There’s a hot plate, a kettle and several packets of ramen. Even better, everything has Jeremiah’s name on it, literally written on it. Exhausted and alone, Dolores makes herself a cup of ramen and goes to sleep on her massage table.

She’s woken sometime later by a small man named Donald. He knows her because he knew Jeremiah. Dolores proceeds to tell him an abridged version of events that led up to Jeremiah’s death. And by abridged, I mean she blamed Luis for everything, throwing him under the bus so hard I’m surprised she didn’t pull something.

Donald seems inclined to help Dolores. He tells her that if anyone messes with her she should go further down, down a stairwell that he points out for her.

Dolores thanks him, then tries to go back to sleep. She’s soon woken again by a young woman collecting Jeremiah’s things.

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While Dolores has an issue with this, she’s willing to let it go. Until that is, this woman tries to take her table. Then, Dolores does what she does best. Because one thing is for sure. Dolores is going to take care of herself.

What worked

One thing I love about this series so far is that our main character, Dolores, is crazy. And hearing her rationalize her crazy is both terrifying and fascinating. I hate/love how sweet and soothing she can be. Even with the rat that she killed in this episode. She cooed at it, encouraging it to come to her, even calling it a subway raccoon.

Then she killed it and started crying.

I also love the underground community. It’s both horrific and whimsical. It reminds me of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, which is full of worlds most people don’t see but are all around us. It’s also horrific because there are so many people that our society has failed, that they’ve gathered underground and made their own little society. That’s not great. There just shouldn’t be that many people who need homes.

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What didn’t work

Unfortunately, this episode did have two major flaws. And the first one is a personal pet peeve of mine.

In the last episode of season one, certain things were established. Dolores said she was carefully rationing her weed. She said she didn’t have anything to eat since coming down to the tunnels. She still had her massage table. This episode rewrote a lot of that.

Frankly, I hate when stories do that. It may or not make a difference to the story. It just strikes me as poor planning and lazy writing. This show has proven it’s capable of doing better.

All things considered, I thought this was a great start to the season. I’m invested in the story, curious about the new characters, and worried about the well-being of everyone Dolores comes in contact with. And that’s all as it should be.

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3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

By the way, if you like my writing, you might want to check out my latest sci-fi horror story, Nova. It’ll be released episodically on my site, Paper Beats World, starting February 5th.

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