Thursday, April 30, 2020

Horror in Isolation.

As the lockdown continues, so too does the risk of boredom. And at The Strangeways HQ we are completely against boredom. So, in the hopes of introducing you to something you've never seen before, I present to you a list of films and series to check out while you're in lockdown. 

Ravenous (1999)

It's the 1800's and Lieutenant Boyd has been sent/banished to Fort Spencer, a remote garrison at the snow-covered Sierra Nevada mountain range. Home to the militaries outcasts, this frozen place is where the army sends the people it would rather forget. Despite this, everything seems to be going fine for Boyd and his companion. That is until a snowstorm blows a mysterious stranger, Colqhoun, their way and everything rapidly spirals out of control.
An interesting take on the Wendigo legend, the best way to describe Ravenous is glorious, gleeful chaos; it's humour at it's darkest.
The most important thing about this movie it to double-check which one you're watching. If you watch the 2018 Ravenous instead of the 1999 Ravenous then you'll be stuck with zombies eating people instead of Robert Carlyle eating people, and nobody want that.
Format: Movie
Available: Amazon
Subtitles: n/a

Noroi: the curse (2005)
After a fire at his home, which seemingly killed his wife, our protagonist Kobayashi has vanished without a trace and at this point it's unknown whether he was responsible or not. As a famous paranormal investigator and documentary maker, Kobayashi was in the middle of filming a new documentary, investigating a series of strange events that have been taking place just before the tragic incident took place. The tapes he took leading up to the disaster help us retrace his steps, as the seemingly random paranormal events he was documenting are revealed to be linked and are the sign of something much more sinister and, ultimately, unstoppable.
Most found footage movies try to play themselves off as true stories, but few manage as well as Noroi. This gem of a horror movie is atmospheric, disturbing and its complex and fascinating plot will leave your skin crawling.
Format: Movie
Available: Shudder
Subtitles: yes

Lake Mungo (2008)
Lake Mungo documentary-style movie that follows the family of Alice, after her untimely death by drowning. As friends and family are interviewed, we get to know Alice through their memories. Meanwhile, her brother has set up video cameras in an attempt to catch signs of her spirit, after she starts to appear in the documentary footage and photos, seemingly to help bring some closure to the family. As filming continues and strange events occur, we soon discover there's a bigger mystery afoot. Is the ghost of Alice everything it seems? And what really led to the teenagers death? The truth is more shocking than you'd expect.
I'm not big on documentary horror movies, since there's so many bad ones out there since the genre became popular, but I will always recommend Lake Mungo. It's spooky and a little sad, and so well acted that you could believe that it's a real documentary.
Format: Movie
Available: Amazon
Subtitles: n/a

Marianne (2019)
Successful novelist Emma is forced to return to the hometown she left behind her at the behest of an old childhood friend, who's mother has become disturbingly obsessed with the horror novel Emma writes. To her utter dismay, she soon finds herself having to stay there due to the chaotic events that are unfolding in the small town, all of which are linked to Emma, her novels and the dark spirit that inspired them. As the lines between fact and fiction become blurred, the question is can the horror be stopped and, if it can, at what price?
Watching Marianne with my friends, I found myself doing something that I haven't done for a long time while watching a horror series. I was watching through my fingers. Even my friend M, usually distracted by his phone, couldn't tear himself away from the screen.
Format: Series
Available: Netflix
Subtitles: yes

As Above So Below (2014)
The film follows Archaeologist Scarlett and her cameraman as they descend into the darker areas of the Catacombs with a group of urban explorers. Their goal? Scarlett is frantically searching for the infamous philosophers stone. Her father spent his life in pursuit of the stone and, as a result of his obsession, was mocked and scorned by his fellow academics. His reputation ruined, he hung himself. Following her fathers notes, Scarlett has traced its hiding place to somewhere within the twisting depths of the ancient catacombs. Our heroine's mistake was believing that such a powerful object would be unguarded and easy to obtain. Her quest continues regardless and this mistake puts her life, and the lives of her companions, in danger.
Claustrophobic and incredibly creepy, As Above So Below is well-acted, with an engaging and original plot. It's also nice to see a film based in the Paris Catacombs, as there really aren't enough and it's an excellent location.
Format: Movie
Available: Netflix
Subtitles: some

Pulse (Kairo) (2001)
Atmospheric, eerie and, at the same time, oddly beautiful. This melancholy story follows two groups of characters as they deal with the lonely dead coming back to the land of the living via an increasingly popular website, the people around them vanishing into delicate clouds of ash and what this paranormal invasion means for mankind as a whole.
Since Hollywood went through a stage of churning out terrible reboots of Japanese horror movies, you may have heard of Pulse before. But you've probably heard of the remake, which was pretty awful, despite Wes Craven being involved. As the saying goes, if it ain't broke then don't fix it.
Format: Movie
Available: Amazon prime
Subtitles: yes.

Grave Encounters (2011)
For those of you who love watching ghost hunting shows, but have always wondered what it would be like if one went terribly wrong, this is the ideal movie for you. Presented as a found-footage documentary, it aims to explain what happened to the crew of Grave Encounters, a Ghost Adventures style television program that had to be cancelled after the entire crew disappeared mysteriously while filming at an abandoned mental asylum. The footage they filmed there is recovered, soon the whole horrific story of what happened that night reveals itself to the viewer and all we can do is watch as what should have been a simple ghost hunt turns into something much more sinister.
The acting is good, the plot interesting and the ghosts? They'll haunt your nightmares. There's also a sequel, but it's nowhere as good as its predecessor and is nothing to write home about.
Format: Movie
Available: Shudder
Subtitles: n/a

The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)
While it has a nicely sized cast, The Autopsy of Jane Doe spends most of its screen time focusing on just three of the characters. Tommy is the local coroner in his small town and Austin, his bored of the job son, often helps him out at the family business. Austin is planning to go out on a date with his girlfriend, but all that goes out the window when the local sheriff arrives at the mortuary with the body of an unknown woman. This is Jane Doe, a common nickname given to an unnamed female corpse. Found at the scene of a multiple homicide, Jane doesn't appear to have been involved at all and her cause of death is a mystery. As a result, the Sherrif needs Tommy and Austin to work through the night to solve this mystery. The autopsy begins, but Jane's corpse defies all logic. The situation only gets worse as our baffled duo find themselves trapped in the building due to a storm and terrifying activity starts to occur around the mortuary.
The Autopsy of Jane Doe was yet another pleasant surprise for me and my friends, during our attempts to find a terrible horror movie we instead found this wonderful one. This movie will keep you glued to the screen and you'll find yourself playing detective, trying to decipher what is going on from the clues that the movie gives you.
Format: Movie
Available: Amazon Prime
Subtitles: n/a

The Terror, (2018)
Based on the book of the same name, The Terror follows a semi-fictional account of the ill-fated Franklin Expedition. Tasked with finding the Northwest Passage, our heroes set sail for the Arctic in the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror. However, they soon find themselves stuck in the ice with no thaw in sight, thanks to freak weather conditions and the hubris of expedition leader Sir John Franklin. After his untimely death, his second in command Captain Francis Crozier is reluctantly forced to take command and save his crew. But if the threat of frostbite and the fear of scurvy and starvation wasn't bad enough, there's something ancient and angry out on the ice and it wants them dead, picking the crew off one by one. And so what should have been a one year voyage turns into a terrifying cat and mouse battle for survival.
Part horror, part tragedy, The Terror will keep you glued to the screen, worried for the welfare of your favourite character. And trust me, you'll have a favourite character. The acting is top-notch, the special effects are excellent and the attention to historical detail is out of this world. This series didn't get enough attention when it first came out, but I highly recommend it. And if you enjoy it, then don't forget to check out season two.
Format: Series
Available: Amazon Prime
Subtitles: some

Hellier (2019)
Make yourself comfortable, because you'll find yourself wanting to binge-watch this. Hellier is presented as a documentary, following a team of paranormal investigators as they receive and investigate an email from a man who claims to be under siege by mysterious creatures, at his home in rural Hellier, Kentucky. On arrival in Hellier, our characters discover that the man who emailed them doesn't seem to exist but something paranormal is going on. They soon find themselves sucked into a mystery that's even bigger than they could ever have imagined, unable to tear themselves away from it as they proceed to investigate, despite being in over their heads.
I discovered Hellier through Twitter and I was instantly hooked. Gentle but at the same time spine-chillingly creepy due to its realism, there's something about Hellier that gives me podcast vibes. Well paced, it keeps you on the edge of your seat. You want to know what happens next and will end up genuinely caring for the welfare of the characters.
Format: Series
Available: Amazon Prime
Subtitles: n/a

I hope my little list has given you some ideas to keep you entertained while everything is in chaos. If you have any movie suggestions for me or have found a new favourite movie/series thanks to this list, then let me know over at Twitter or in the comments below. Until then, stay safe, dear readers.


  1. Thanks for these! I love horror movies but I always struggle to find new ones to watch so these are well needed recommendations! x


  2. Ohhh, great list with some awesome movies and some that I definitely want to check out now. I love horror, especially ghosts/haunted houses or psychological horror. Thanks for sharing/thanks for the recommendations.