Finding a good horror movie is like finding $100 on the street. But if you look outside the walls of Hollywood, where low-quality, gimmicky productions flourish, you will find an abundance of foreign horror films that are sure to scare you shitless. Below are five truly innovative films produced overseas.
Even vampires need to go house hunting. This film follows Count Orlok as he searches for a new home. The Count takes an interest in a residence near his real estate agent, Thomas Hutter — not only for its location but also because of its proximity to Hutter's wife. The 1922 German film is a cult favorite among horror geeks. Despite being a silent film, Nosferatu will have you screaming thanks to the disturbing makeup used to transform German actor Max Schreck into the iconic Count Orlok.
Japan has produced several of the best horror films ever made, as well as the screenplays for popular English adaptations. However, I couldn't create a list of best foreign horror films without including Ringu. A reporter discovers her niece is dead after watching a cursed tape. Curiosity kills the cat in this film, as anyone who dares to watch the tape is then called by a little girl who promises to kill them in seven days. Gore Verbinski's 2002 remake, The Ring, starring Naomi Watts, made American audiences familiar with the story, but the retelling fails to capture the same atmospheric effect of the original.
This horror movie is thinly veiled as a love story between two lost souls. Widower Shigeharu Aoyama (Ryo Ishibashi) manages to live a fairly successful life as a businessman but cannot fill the emotional void left by his late wife. Our lead consistently puts his needs above others, but still cannot escape his overwhelming loneliness. With the help of a friend, Aoyama holds auditions for a fake production, casting for the role of his wife. A rather shallow act gives us our female lead Asami Yamazaki (Eihi Shiina) whose flaws are quickly swept under the rug, as Aoyama looks past inconsistencies in Asami's résumé and pledges devotion at a rather quick pace. The last 30 minutes of the film are grueling. The audience bears witness to the disturbing power dynamic between a seemingly gentle ballerina and lonely gentleman. The film's acupuncture scene and amputations will have your skin crawling, yet the sadistic behavior is so intoxicating your eyes won't leave the screen.
Salò, or The 120 Days of Sodom
As a horror film lover, I've seen a lot of messed up shit. Nothing compares to this film. Based on the Marquis de Sade's 1785 book The 120 Days Of Sodom, the film follows four powerful yet deranged Italian politicians in fascist Italy. The group, aided by prostitutes, recruits eight young men on the basis of their penis size to help kidnap 18 boys and girls and subject them to months of torture. Tongues are cut, eyeballs are ripped out, and at one point, you watch these young adults engage in coprophagia — or eating shit as the libertines like to refer to it.
Before The Blair Witch Project popularized the found footage horror genre, there was Cannibal Holocaust. The film chronicles the experiences of a documentary film crew who went missing in the Amazon while filming cannibal tribes. Presented as lost footage, Cannibal Holocaust attracted attention for its graphic scenes featuring extreme violence, sadism and sexual and mental torture. Director Ruggero Deodato was even taken to court for obscenity charges amidst rumors that he produced a snuff film, as the film's special effects, most notably the impalement scene, were revolutionary for their time. Today, the film is often claimed to be the most heavily banned film ever made.