videocam First Annual Halloween Video Festival

reviewed by Nick Burton

Published in Issue No. 17 ~ October, 1998

You were maybe expecting my review of Titanic? Next month, I promise.

This is October and I love Halloween. It’s my favorite time of year. It also functions as a good excuse to watch cool horror films in excess . Horror films, in fact, seem to be going through a new phase of popularity these days at the box office with the Kevin Williamson scripted Scream films and I Know What You Did Last Summer. While those films have a certain hip appeal and an awareness of the genre that provides for a kind of jokey if not tongue-in-cheek style, they seem to have aligned themselves with the kind of cut-and-paste post-modern pop culture anesthetics that pass for content these days, as if a hip attitude alone is enough to carry a film. Where these films continually fail is in their sense of the macabre; it simply is not present.

True horror, of which I hope to supply you with a few examples, has a steadfast belief in the supernatural, a reverence of it as something elemental. Horror should evoke nervous laughter rather than intentional yuks, and should have an awareness of surrealism. True horror, above all else, is atmospheric: even on the lowest budget, a cool horror film ought to be able to evoke a sense of dread and of evil, where even the most ordinary of circumstances take on sinister meanings.

The following list is comprised of a variety of horror films that I think are worth seeing and are readily available on video. Sadly, one of my favorites, Ingmar Bergman’s Hour of The Wolf, seems to be currently unavailable so I cut it form this article. I certainly don’t expect anyone to agree with the choices below, so if you have a title you think is particularly worth seeing please email me.

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Nick Burton lives in Newport Beach, California. His fiction has appeared in many small press and web publications, inlcuding: Chronicles Of Fiction, Pauper, and of course Pif.