(1973) The Hourglass Sanatorium

This film really taps into my weakness for visually immersive, surrealism horror. It’s psychedelic and dreamlike; the fluidity of the pacing alone is worth merit.

That said, the film was grating to endure and not because of difficult subject matter but more so, it’s just overflowing with so much pretentious and seemingly random bullshit. You find yourself scrambling to piece together metaphors or some kind of tangible timeline. It’s seriously pretty unenjoyable after the first hour or so.

I did not enjoy it.



(2018) Annihilation

Annihilation is a truly thought provoking film that seems to bridge multiple genres. I found it best to go in with zero knowledge and no expectations.

In terms of boldness and boundary stretching sci-fi, this film reminded me a lot of Tarkovsky’s Stalker. It’s challenging and tedious at times but that’s all part of building this whole new world. One of the most fantastic elements of the film is that as a viewer, you’re actually unfolding the mystery along with the characters.

It’s one of the best sci-fi films I’ve seen in a long time. The movie is incredibly balanced, mind-bending and original. I just can’t see someone not enjoying this.


(1978) Beauty and the Beast

I can safely say, after hours of scouring the internet for this film as well as it having only ~700 reviews on iMDD, it’s fairly obscure. If you’re in the mood for some seriously odd but stylish Czech horror, I encourage you to hunt it down.

It’s basically a creative, gothic retelling of the classic story of, you guessed it, Beauty and the Beast. The film is delightfully rough and gritty, lending to these beautifully dark landscapes. Bold, theater worthy performances lend a whimsical balance and the whole package ends up being something really unique.

I really loved how ambiguity of the supernatural elements, to me it added a certain level of maturity and thoughtfulness to the simple messages that are typically relayed with classic tales.

That’s basically it, go seek this one out.


(1944) The Uninvited

It’s crazy to hear people talk about this being ultra scary or timelessly thrilling. It’s not only funny now but I imagine it was funny back then too.

The character relationships are comically whimsical and coupled with the upbeat score, I didn’t get really any “scary” vibe from it. It’s an aspect I didn’t hate though, it’s really what this film is about, the characters.

The paranormal effects were legitimately impressive too, seriously timeless. I think about the way Hitchcock did The Birds and this film from the 40’s is a prime example of what kind of effects age.

So yeah, props to the things I mentioned but all-in-all, it’s a bit boring for my tastes. It’s not bad, I just don’t care for it much.


(2017) The Shape of Water

While this film isn’t horror in the traditional sense, it’s clearly Guillermo del Toro’s passion piece inspired by The Creature from the Black Lagoon. Not to mention, it’s just a wonderful film in general.

Guillermo’s films usually share the common strength of just unbelievable set pieces that really place his movie in a universe of their own. The Shape of Water is no different with this punchy, slight steampunk-ish, retro look. It’s aesthetically pleasing and I just have no idea how it was pulled off on the small budget he was working with.

The story itself is a whimsical, romantic vision of the classic monster films of the 50’s. The character dynamics and ethical quandaries are classic but executed perfectly. Between the darker tones of Michael Shannon’s acting and slightly gory visuals, it really feels like a Disney movie crafted for adults.

I think Guillermo’s films really speak for themselves, even when they don’t feel quite right for me personally, I can’t help but have respect for his vision. This film is a piece of art and whether it’s accepted by the horror community or not, it deserves all the praise it’s getting.


(2007) Hansel and Gretel

This film, in typical Korean fashion, explores the deepest recesses of humanity, only in this instance, it’s under the guise of a fantasy epic. It’s a fantasy that’s woven with sorrow, while also genuinely chilling in a Twilight Zone-esque way.

I truly didn’t know what to expect, maybe a creative retelling of the original fairy tale but this was so much more. Despite the blunt title, my favorite nods given to classic fairy tale stories were more so in a stylistic sense. Of course there were plenty of overarching themes to connect it too but I was just blown away with how creepy this whimsical, over-saturated environment looked.

The only criticism I can make, or at least attempt to, was that it’s a lengthy film and can tend to seemingly drag at once point or another. Really though, this technique feels both essential and deliberate to creating a kind of purgatory feel.

I’m putting this on my essential Korean horror list, it doesn’t get nearly enough recognition.