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The top 5 scariest foreign films for Halloween

Updated on October 16, 2010
Bloody good horror is definitely available overseas.
Bloody good horror is definitely available overseas. | Source

This October, if you are looking for a few new ways to scare up some good movies to watch, why not check out some oversea films that can definitely frighten across the language barrier.

If you have any of your own suggestions to add to this list, put them in the comments below!

Diabolique, France 1955

Anyone who loves Hitchcock owes it to themselves to see this film. Rumor has it French director Clouzot snagged the movie rights to the story mere minutes ahead of Hitchcock. The appeal is obvious - this is a tale of suspense that can terrify without having to resort to monsters, violence or gore.

Christina is a teacher in a boarding school run by her abusive husband Michel. Finally fed up with her mistreatment, Christina enters a partnership with Nicole, another teacher at the school who is also suffering Michel's abusive behavior as his mistress.

The attempted poisoning seems to be successful at first, but when the body vanishes and strange events begin taking place.

The tension is masterfully ratcheted up, all the way to the surprise ending. For a cinematic treat, as well as some nail-bitting, this is a great film.

A 1996 American remake is also horrifying, but for all the wrong reasons, such as assuming Sharron Stone would work in any thriller, just because Basic Instinct was pretty good.

Inside (À L'intérieur), France 2007

Pregnancy is scary. Even when everything goes right, there is a lot of pain and blood involved. There is a lot of emotional fear involved too, lives can be changed forever.

In this film, by director Julien Maury, all the hopes and fears of pregnancy are meshed with a very bloody revenge tale involving a mysterious woman out to steal an unborn baby.

With a plot that has seen grisly reality in a few horrifying cases, and cinematography that echoes the "torture porn" aesthetic of the Saw and Hostel movies, this movie is definitely not for the squeamish. In fact, the website Bloody Disgusting named it one of the decade's 20 best horror films.

Something wicked this way comes

The Host (Gwoemul), South Korea 2006

Director Joon-ho Bong is a master of both horror, and of producing films that deal with how a family's dynamic can help mitigate, or magnify the terrors of life. It is definitely the latter on display in the case of his newer film "Mother."

The Host's narative and emotional center is the Park family,which you can quickly side with as they struggle to deal with with military machinations, and a lurking creature that abducts the family's daughter early in the movie. In a country where family bonds are highly valued, it is easy to see how the themes explored in the film helped set box office records.

Of course it is the mysterious monster combined with the threat of infection by a strange disease that helps also make the more primal themes of fear really kick in.

Let the Right One In, Norway 2008

There is an American remake of this dark vampire tale currently in theaters (Let Me In), but according to a few sources, including the New York Times critical review, the foreign original is just a touch scarier - in part by relying less on CGI effects than just good pacing and camera angles.

It's a refreshing vampire tale that doesn't once rely on teenage angst, or invoking the name 'Dracula' to get where it's going.

Ring (Ringu), Japan 1998

Special effects, a horrifying "monster," an intriguing mystery. The first time I saw this film, it was without the benefits of English subtitles, and it still captivated and terrified me.

This is the movie that helped put J-Horror on the map for American audiences, and in my opinion, is an edge better than later films like "The Grudge," and definitely better than the American remakes.

Directed by Hideo Nakata (who directed the U.S. version as well), the movie tells the story of Reiko who is investigating a cursed videotape. Let's just say the late fee for the cursed video is a real killer</groan>.


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    • glenn wallace profile imageAUTHOR

      glenn wallace 

      8 years ago


      In general, I prefer the J-horror originals to the U.S. remakes, not to say they're bad.

      The one exception to that rule might be Dark Water, with Jennifer Connelly. I thought the US version captured the mood perfectly, and moving the story to NY worked a lot better than just having American characters having some contrived reason to be in Japan (AKA The Grudge).

    • John B Badd profile image

      John B Badd 

      8 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

      Thanks for the good titles. Ringu is the only one I have seen. I like it better than the American version. The original Eye was way creepier than the remake also.


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