TV/Film Review

Eldritch/Cosmic Horror Films

This was a longer Tumblr post but I think it works on my blog too!

ANNIHILATION (2018) was so good, I loved the Shimmer and the concept and the vibe, so interesting – a much better Colour Out Of Space film than COLOUR OUT OF SPACE (Nick Cage). But the body horror did get to me in COOS, I was eating my lunch while watching.

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THE THING is obvs great, and IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS and PRINCE OF DARKNESS. Love the John Carpenter trilogy. I can’t decide which of the 3 I like best.

Some others that I keep thinking about:

JUG FACE – you never see the monster but it lives in a pit, cw for graphic miscarriage and incest among other things

THE CALL GIRL OF CTHULHU – I did laugh, I’m easily pleased

THE RITUAL – I wasn’t sure about the Sami-coded cult (was it?? That felt …off to me) but I loved the creature design and the atmosphere

SATOR – slowburn and more demonic entity, I wasn’t sure about this film or if I liked it, but I keep thinking about it.

THE HALLOW – Irish eco-horror, so much parasitic fungi body horror and the fae creature design was great. Yes, I’m counting the fae as eldritch, that’s where the word comes from! Not humans, not angels or fallen angels, but a secret third thing…

THE LURKING FEAR – 90s creature feature based on a HP Lovecraft short story, similar themes of heredity and concealed monstrosity as The Shadow Over Innsmouth, but this is about underground things.

HP LOVECRAFT’S THE DARK SLEEP – not great, actually pretty bad, but again the concept is something I keep thinking about.

THE DUNWICH HORROR (1970) – I haven’t seen the 90s one, but I didn’t mind the 1970 one. You can always trust the 70s to sex things up for no reason, and I quite liked it.

THE VOID – I do like this, it’s got a lot of things going on in a besieged hospital

SACRIFICE – Norwegian cult and pregnancy horror, heredity and gods in the fjords etc, gave me big Ramsey Campbell The Inhabitant of the Lake vibes

I quite liked the Full Moon mini series THE RESONATOR even though ep 5 is missing and I’m not the biggest fan of The Reanimator as a story as I hate zombies and brain stuff. I have seen THE REANIMATOR though and it was fine.

UNDERWATER – loved this one, it starts off very The Shadow over Innsmouth and then segues into The Call of Cthulhu. Plus Kristen Stewart was good in it, I thought! I enjoyed it a lot.

HELLRAISER – I’m counting the whole franchise and the new film in this. All of it.

THE MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN – Yeah, I do think this counts, so little is explained (good) and it’s a cultish conspiracy in NYC. Vinnie Jones has the best role. I liked the short story too!

STRANGER THINGS – yeah, I’d say this counts? Kinda?

NOBODY SLEEPS IN THE WOODS TONIGHT 1+2 – The sequel took me places I didn’t want to go, but this is a solid Polish body horror concept. It’s body horror and mutations caused by a meteor thing. I wouldn’t rewatch them, I don’t think, but it kept me on my toes.

MONSTERS (2010) – survival romcom? It was cute and I liked the alien thingys. I don’t know if it really counts, it’s dispassionate aliens invading accidentally creating an ‘infected zone’, which was similar to ANNIHILATION. I haven’t seen the sequel yet.

APOSTLE – I might include this as there’s some unexplained stuff going on with this island, and the whole ‘prisoner of the landscape’ thing that appears in Welsh Gothic fiction as a trope. In this case, if you’ve seen it, you’ll know what I’m referring to.

THE CABIN IN THE WOODS – loved this the second time around. Saw it in the cinema and due to circumstances wasn’t into it. Saw it again and realised it was more my thing than I remembered.

BLACK SPOT – This is a French series, folk horror, eldritch weird stuff in the forest, eco-horror, slowburn. Worth it, I thought.

REQUIEM – I think this does count, also a series, Welsh Gothic themes abound, it’s classed as supernatural but it’s much, much weirder than ghosts. Plus a lot of the Welsh Gothic themes – prisoner of the landscape (which also contains the haunted history and secrets relevant to the present), cultural disinheritance, music as language, etc, all pull through to create that folk horror/eldritch horror atmosphere. It also has weird cult playing with forces beyond their control.

SOCIETY – No idea where else to put this, but even though it’s a cosy 80s teen body horror shocker, the themes are reminiscent of THE MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN (same basic concept in fact in terms of conspiracy and cult and so on) but with added overt class discourse. I do love this film.

LAIR OF THE WHITE WORM – based on the Bram Stoker story but has Lovecraftian overtones, and then goes full on Hammer Horror THE REPTILE which doesn’t belong in this list. LAIR is – not good. Hugh Grant and Peter Capaldi carry the film and are so young, and it’s not their best work ever. I made it 1min 30secs in twice and turned it off, but third time lucky. Now I can say I’ve seen it to the end. There was no prize.

THE STRANGENESS – abandoned gold mine and mysterious, people-eating slime creature that dwells within. Kind of “In The Mountains of Madness” but … not.

THE WRONG HOUSE – This is weird, timey-wimey but not, inexplicable nightmare that’s a lot more than a haunted or sentient house. It’s the horror of being stuck somewhere that won’t let you leave, and there are no rules, no explanations, and no way to figure it out.

DON’T BLINK – an extinction event that also goes completely unexplained, very weird, very unsettling concept. Life forms of all kinds just… stop existing when you stop looking at them.

THE CIRCLE (2017) – a stone circle on a remote Scottish island, a monster thousands of years old, a mystery that a group of archaeologist students try and solve (it doesn’t end well).

I haven’t seen a load of obvious ones, but would like some recs on which are worth watching? Anything with the above vibes (including the comedies) welcome!

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