5. Jacob’s Ladder (1990, Adrian Lyne)
This classic Adrian Lyne film tells the story of a Vietnam veteran mourning the loss of his dead child. Depressed and deeply confused, he takes a downward spiral toward his own version of hell. Seeing ghosts and demons and having flashbacks of ‘Nam, he must find out what it is that’s making all of this happen.
With the help of a brilliant Danny Aiello as his doctor, he tries to discover what’s real. It’s one of the most overlooked horror films, one that sets the question of what is reality, the conventions of religion, time, and the afterlife.
4. Arrebato (1979, Ivan Zulueta)
This Spanish masterpiece is a wonderfully complicated and crafted film from 1979. It’s a surreal and dark nightmare for a young filmmaker who starts to lose it after watching a possessed hypnotic powerful super-8 film. Once you’ve seen it, you are not the same. A chain of surreal encounters begin to happen, making our protagonist a madman, or that’s how he’s seen.
Accompanied by beautiful sequences that grab you and take you where it wants to go, we witness the breathtaking experience of this film. “Arrebato” stands on its own as one of the most inventive, scary, cool, and different horror movies of the times to come.
3. Martyrs (2008, Pascal Laugier)
“Martyrs,” as well as “In a Glass Cage” tackles the horror throughout child abuse. Two women begin a quest of finding the people who abused one of them. While seeking out the people responsible for destroying her life, they start to lose sight of good and evil and begin to take a gory, violent, bloody revenge. They come back to what hurt them in the first place and find themselves becoming what they hated and tried to fight against.
2. Death and the Maiden (1994, Roman Polanski)
Based on a theater play, this overlooked horror piece by Polanski tells the story of an activist who becomes certain that her guest is a government worker who once tortured her. Filled with paranoia and suspense, a magnificent Sigourney Weaver takes matters into her own hands against a suspicious character played by Ben Kingsley. “A paranoid is someone who knows a little of what’s going on,” so maybe torturing and finding out the truth is the only way she has of knowing who he is.
1. Carnival of Souls (1962, Herk Harvey)
If there is a movie that tackled horror and made it smart, elegant, brutal, and at the same time breathtaking, it’s this one. A woman crashes her car and ends up at the bottom of a river. She miraculously survives, but soon she starts to feel attracted to ghost figures, which represent her past, her demons, and the way she has dealt with an unresolved past. This abandoned carnival is a subconscious call to the things she’s experienced. It also changes the tint or sensation of the film, depending on her state of her mind. This was also, at the time, deeply experimental.
The film was made for a tiny $30,000 budget. It’s reminiscent of the silent era of movies, creating an aura around it; an atmospheric punch in the guts that makes you unable to stop watching. A haunted life dealing with the magnetic energy of creatures that cannot be explained. If you haven’t seen this movie, close the computer and get at it!