Halloween 2017: Gerald's Game, Deyyum, Karvva and other bone-chilling horror films to binge-watch
Here's a list of five truly scary movies, from different ghost-genres and languages, to binge-watch on Halloween.
Bringing out pumpkins (actually make that Pumpkin-anything), trick-or-treating and generally being kiddish is an apt marker for Halloween.
What else? Oh, yes, playing pranks (like calling up your exes and pouring your heart out to them; please, don’t do it, that’s ridiculous), watching horror movies, and reading/writing scary stories (the ones where the boys have two faces – one on the head, and the other on the back).
I celebrate Halloween (and, possibly, every day) by watching horror movies. And so, for a day that celebrates horror, here's a list of five truly scary movies, from different ghost-genres and languages, to binge-watch on Halloween. (Much effort has been taken to suggest off-beat films, so don't expect to find (The Exorcist, Bhoot, Kanchana and/or Omen in this list)
Based on the Stephen King novel (of the same name), this movie is not an easy watch. It tears your heart slowly with its story about a woman who is handcuffed to bedposts. It becomes a survival drama within the first twenty minutes.
When a wife and husband (played by Carla Gugino and Bruce Greenwood) drive to a no-man’s area for a weekend to spice up their sex life, things take an ugly turn. As the husband drops dead from a heart attack, the wife is left with a glass of water and the people in her head to help her get out of the house.
Gugino’s performance is top-notch. She cries, screams, dreams, and talks to herself reassuringly every now and then, with a sense of vulnerability that makes her character seem believable.
(Available on Netflix, with subtitles.)
Ram Gopal Varma’s Deyyam, starring Jayasudha, J. D. Chakravarthy, and Maheshwari, begins with a disclaimer that says this film has been made only to scare the audiences. The climax used to give me nightmares two decades ago as it was the first zombie-horror film I watched in my life.
Trouble knocks on the door of the farmhouse in which a family of four has newly moved in. The farmhouse is built on the site of a graveyard. Isn’t this a perfect recipe for horror films? The lead couple – Chakravarthy and Maheshwari – breaks into a romantic song soon after the death of a six-year-old kid (Maheshwari’s nephew). The songs and Chakravarthy’s obsession with kisses (he keeps asking Maheshwari to kiss him) may sound silly on paper, but RGV’s film is genuinely scary in some parts.
(Available on YouTube, with subtitles.)
Yaar? falls in the B-grade category of horror films of Tamil cinema. This 80s movie has comedy (thanks to Senthil), a sleazy song featuring a married couple (Arjun and Nalini), a devotional song (requesting the god to destroy the demon), a thin line of story that shows how good triumphs over evil, fights (because Action King Arjun stars in it), and a terrific scene where a bad man helps Satan’s child kill an old man.
The fates of some of the Tamil horror films of today haven’t changed much since Yaar? (1985). At least, in Yaar?, there was some attempt to scare the viewers, and whacky moments like Arjun and Nalini conversing telepathically. Where can we find that in the Aranmanais and Kanchanas of Tamil cinema?
(Available on YouTube, without subtitles.)
Karvva starts off like a regular Kannada horror comedy (chills and laughs evenly spread). However, what really keeps this film together is its music and twists.
The twists keep coming till the end. Some of them can be sniffed out, but cinematic twists that don’t smell of regularity are present, too.
More than the horror-comedy aspects of the movie, Karvva has roots in a thriller. Poonam Singar’s character truly stands out, and she silently steals the show from other actors (Vijay Chendur, Anisha Ambrose, RJ Rohith, and Anu Poovamma).
(Available on Voot, without subtitles.)
Bhooter Bhobishyot uses the technique of “story within a story” to tell the story of a few ghosts who live in a palace. An actress who’s getting ready to shoot looks at a ghost in the mirror and faints. This is one of the first scenes of the movie.
The ghosts in this Bengali comedy include the owner of the palace, an Englishman, an actress from the 40s, an army officer, a rickshaw puller, a musician, a cook, etc. In one of the funniest scenes, Saswata Chatterjee, who plays a rowdy-ghost, tells a wronged woman to not kill her husband as he’d join them (the ghosts do not want a criminal “living” amongst them).
The living dead drink, dance, and even sleep in this movie. I didn’t know ghosts needed sleep until I watched this film.
Well, if you want to tell kids a ghost story, you can surely pick threads from this one.
(Available on YouTube, with subtitles.)
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