Our Blog

The latest video production, creative development, and marketing news regarding Nordic Media

Nordic Media > Blog

Here’s the next installment of my top 31 horror films since 2000.

#12 The Triangle (2016)

When the credits rolled on The Triangle, I was convinced it was real. I still do. But I know it’s not. Right? Either way, it’s a rather stunning achievement that defies expectation at nearly every level. It immerses the viewer deep into a psychological study of human nature, the illusion of truth, the power of love and faith, and fear of the unknown or the other. All by doing not much at all except tell a rather simple, but compelling story about a group of defiant outsiders and their apparent quest for meaning in the Montana flat lands. A naïve group of filmmaking pals get a letter from a friend who has been missing for about a year, asking them for help in documenting the commune he’s joined as they prepare for the imminent rapture. The situation becomes more complex and harrowing however, by a growing sense of dread that slow burns into the psyche of the filmmakers when obscure secrets are caught on film. The innocence of the commune begins to ebb away as doubt, fear, pain and the impossible, clutter their minds and knot their guts.

This film is an exercise in taut, but very subtle, psychological warfare that exposes the fragility of the mind when our faith in reason is left in doubt. The Triangle builds unease and a large amount of tension as it veers off into the supernatural, or supranatural more accurately, and takes you into the scary, dark unknown. If you’re a ‘prefer the journey rather than the destination’ kind of film lover, then drink the cool-aid and accept The Triangle into your heart.

Check out the trailer below and be sure to tune in tomorrow for #11.

Mark Goodchild
Creative Director

Read More

Here’s the next installment of my top 31 horror films since 2000.

#13 Rubber Johnny (2006)
As a fan of Drill and Base musical auteur Aphex Twin, I knew how messed up his videos were, especially Window Licker and Come to Daddy, which are terrifying in their own right. The director of those videos is Chris Cunningham who is a master visionary and skilled effects technician who knows how to unnerve the viewer in a deep, subversive way. I stumbled across the Rubber Johnny website ten years ago. At the time, only the trailer was available, but you could order a copy. After seeing the trailer, I immediately ordered a copy, cuz it scared the shaving cream out of me. I still play it for those I want to toy with, to see how they react going into the experience blind.

Instead of a plot synapses, because there isn’t one, I’ll just copy what it says on the back of the DVD case, “Johnny is a hyperactive shape-shifting mutant child kept locked away in a basement with only his feverish imagination and his terrified dog for company. He finds ways to amuse himself in the dark.”

This is a short film, so I’m cheating a bit, but I had to include it because it really got me. It is so weird and brazenly creepy. If Chris Cunningham would direct a feature film, I could die a happy man. But for now, I’ll have to live with Rubber Johnny, wait no, I could never, ever live with that freak-show.

Check out the trailer below and be sure to tune in tomorrow for #12.

And here’s the link to the film in its entirety.

Mark Goodchild
Creative Director

Read More

Here’s the next installment of my top 31 horror films since 2000.

#14 Monsters (2010)
So why did director Gareth Edwards, a relative nobody, get the call to direct Godzilla (2014) followed by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story after making only one previous film? Because that film was Monsters.

The mythology surrounding Monsters is the stuff of legendary. Edwards, two primary actors and a crew of just five traveled across Central America, largely improvising with locals and riffing on the real life experiences they shared and filmed, acting on the trust that Edwards would fill in the blanks at a later time with a story he had developed. With nothing to act to, the actors were fed lines and situations so they could react accordingly. When they wrapped only three weeks later, Edwards used off-the-shelf effects software and a budget of only $50000 to made something astonishing. If you were to watch Monsters without the effects, it would look like a nicely shot home video, but after he inserted his genius and skill, I defy you to tell me this film wasn’t made in Hollywood with a multi-million dollar budget.

But that would all mean nothing if Edwards couldn’t tell a story, and this is where the film really shines. We follow a photographer who is charged to travel to San Jose and find and bring back to the US the daughter of his employer. A NASA space probe carrying an alien microbe exploded on re-entry and crashed in Mexico, spawning a new species of giant, tentacled creatures that become deadly when engaged. A photographer and the daughter must travel through the ‘Infected Zone’ and make their way back to the US. On their excursion, they develop an appreciation for the monsters, the land and for themselves. Audacious, wondrous stuff.

Check out the trailer below and be sure to tune in tomorrow for #13.

Mark Goodchild
Creative Director

Read More

Here’s the next installment of my top 31 horror films since 2000.

#15 The Host (2006)
Well Korea’s back with what many have called the best monster movie since Jaws. Maybe, maybe not, but it’s a breathtaking movie, with a wondrously weird monster and characters, and a beautifully tragi-comic story to boot.

The Host is the antithesis of what you’d expect from classic monster movies. Writer/Director Joon-ho Bong turns almost every genre trope on its head: the heroes are a family of bumbling failures, the monster is just as dumb and not as scary looking so much as it is fascinating to watch. But it’s not without its charms – the biggest being that it’s the antithesis of every other monster movie out there. It’s both hilarious and sad. The characters are well rounded and wonderfully flawed, complex in their simplicity. And it’s scary, but in a “what did I just witness” kind of way, like watching a bear maul a zookeeper.

The story is simple: toxic waste is spilled in the river Han, creating a weird fish meets salamander-like beasty that runs amok along the riverside parks, swallowing up people to regurgitate later back at its den, which is hidden in the labyrinthine sewer works of Seoul. A clumsy dad loses his young daughter to the beast, and after receiving a jumbled cell phone call from his daughter’s phone (soon after one of the most bizarre grieving sequences in film) he gathers his father, brother and sister to join him in tracking her down. And so begins a strange and very messed up adventure for the family who must also evade a paranoid military presence, anti-pollution activists, crazed scientists, Americans, and their own frailties in order to find their missing kin. Each must dig real deep to pull from what seems like their only redeeming asset and pull together in order to be victorious. This is the heart of the film; the belief that a uniform band of nit-wits, bonded by their love for each other, can do the impossible. Well, almost.

Check out the trailer below and be sure to tune in tomorrow for #14.

Half way there. The list so far.
#31 The Damned (2014)
#30 A Serbian Film (2010)
#29 The Inside (2012)
#28 Calvaire (2004)/Inbred (2012)
#27 Frankenstein’s Army (2013)
#26 Thale (2012)
#25 Bridgend (2013)
#24 The Grey (2011)
#23 Across The River (2013)
#22 The Pact (2011)
#21 Rec (2007)
#20 Baskin (2016)
#19 Let the Right One In (2008)
#18 Resolution (2013)
#17 I Saw the Devil (2010)
#16 Spring (2014)

Cheers.
Mark Goodchild
Creative Director

Read More

Here’s the next installment of my top 31 horror films since 2000.

#16 Spring (2014)

I mentioned I crumble under a good love story. Well, have I got one for you that kicked me right in the feels.

An out of luck loafer, whose parents both independently died suddenly, is to re-assess his useless life, and on a whim decides to flee the US and book the first flight to somewhere, anywhere else. As luck would have it he ends up in scenic Southern Italy, where he finds a job on a vineyard working for an old romantic and falls in love with a beautiful, but aloof woman who studies biochemistry at the local university. In the usual romantic narrative, a multitude of conflicts make it difficult, if not impossible to sustain any real chance at love, especially when you have a dude searching for life-affirming understanding, and a woman, because of her distrust of humanity and disdain for rules, is more than a little…off.

Well it turns out, she’s waaaaaaaay off.

Again, the story of love that gets thwarted by some hideous and monstrous truth has been done to death, but what’s different with Spring is the unconventional way writer/director Justin Benson (who just happened to write/direct my #18 film, Resolution) tells a very intimate story between very real people, using flaws as strengths, and not pandering to cliched character development and giving these people a soul, when they themselves doubt one exists. I fell in love with these two. If you don’t think Louise is the coolest gal on the planet, and that Lou Taylor Pucci in a standout role as Even, is the human we wish we could all be, your just plain silly. The coolness factor and horror amps up when we see what deep secret Louise has buried deep within her DNA.

This is a great little movie, because it does so much with so little (Benson’s M.O.). It makes you believe in fairy tales again, especially the biggest one of all…love.

Check out the trailer below and be sure to tune in tomorrow for #15.

Mark Goodchild
Creative Director

Read More

Here’s the next installment of my top 31 horror films since 2000.

#17 I Saw the Devil (2010)

I love Asian genre films, especially those made in NorthSouth Korea. There’s a naïve elegance and simplicity to them that rips away the fat and gristle that insulates western storytelling and gnaws at the raw nerve. But the beauty is, they just twang it once exposed, plucking at our sensibilities, toying with our emotions and anxieties like a cat to a mouse. They’re often silly and weird, stylish and experimental, but familiar enough for us to get surprised when things go off the rails.

Take I Saw the Devil, where a crazed serial killer of women is hunted by the bad-ass husband of a recent victim who also happened to be pregnant. Now, this in it’s own right would be awesome, but we’ve seen it before with films like Death Wish and Taken. What does writer/director Lee-woon Kim do? He makes the husband take his time with the killer, driving him insane as the husband finds, beats and tortures him, then lets him go only to do it all again a few days later. The viewer, of course, is subject to the same treatment. Kim is just as cruel with us as his killer is to his women, as his hunter is to the killer. He makes us watch as innocence it stripped away from the victims. He doesn’t flinch at showing the ugliness of violence, keeping the camera still and focused while slowly severing the tendon of an Achilles heel with a scalpel.

It’s viscous stuff, but there’s a profound awareness of it being so. Repeatedly the characters denounce the maniacal actions of their counterparts, calling them “sick”, or “crazy”. But really, it’s Kim, critiquing the viewer and the filmmaker alike. He’s acutely aware of the perverse interplay between us and questions its nature. What’s it say when he relishes subjecting us to such graphic brutality? What’s it say knowing we love to watch?

Check out the trailer below and be sure to tune in tomorrow for #16.


Mark Goodchild
Creative Director

Read More

Here’s the next installment of my top 31 horror films since 2000.

#18 Resolution (2013)

Man, what a cool movie. Talk about expectations blown; so clever and inventive, funny and unusual.

Michael, married and about to be a father, receives a video map, a cry for help, from his crack-addict best friend Chris who, since wrecking Mike’s wedding has gone AWOL. Mike decides to find Chris and in a final effort to save his friendship and Chris’ life, tracks him down, chains him to the shack he’s been squatting, in order get his friend and attempts to get his friend clean. So begins a week of discovery down a weird rabbit hole that begins with the realization that Chris didn’t send the video leading him to his friend. Mike stumbles across clues left for him by an unknown source, including impossibly shot footage of the two of them together since Mike’s arrival. As the mystery unravels, their reality and sanity come into question.

The real charm of this film, is the very real and powerful bond between Mike, Chris and us, the viewer. Are we meant to be watching these two in their raw intimacy? Sometimes they catch us watching. Are they our fiction, or are we theirs. Whatever’s going on, we’re in it together

With such an intelligent concept, brilliantly executed with little or no razzle-dazzle, Resolution resonates. It’s not a horror film in the traditional sense. There’s maybe one jump scare, almost no violence, and very little blood. But it is unsettling and builds a slow-burn fever of dread.

Check out the trailer below and be sure to tune in tomorrow for #17.

Mark Goodchild
Creative Director

Read More

Here’s the next installment of my top 31 horror films since 2000.

#19. Let the Right One In (2008)

A bullied boy befriends a girl who has just moved into the same apartment complex with her father. The emotional connection between them grows stronger as each senses the other’s weaknesses and is compelled to protect and save them from harm and from themselves.

Once again European cinema, in this case, Swedish, re-imagines the exhausted vampire story and does so with such patience, intelligence and innovation that it makes almost all other attempts seem garish, vulgar and utterly puerile in comparison. We’re never told to feel for these kids; we’re never made to empathize with them. Instead, we are carefully allowed to come to those realizations on our own. It’s so refreshing. Action, though sparse, is inventive and unruly, making the acts of horror seem really horrible. LTROI has one of the coolest and brilliantly conceived set pieces in horror film history that is both shockingly violent and totally kick-butt at the same time.

I’m a sucker for love stories, especially those involving untainted innocent love. LTROI is one of the best vampire films ever made and one of the best love stories ever told. It never stops charming. It never stops surprising. Please don’t watch the silly American remake first. There’s a TV series on the way, which screams catastrophic as it completely misses the point of why vignette is always better than prolonged ogling. When will they ever learn?

Check out the trailer below and be sure to tune in tomorrow for #18.

 
Mark Goodchild
Creative Director

Read More

20. Baskin (2016)
If Hieronymus Bosch were to make a film, it would be Baskin. Like the third panel of The Garden of Delights, this Turkish delight is a descent into perverted torments of Hell. There is a freedom with Baskin that like many films outside the western sphere of influence, are allowed to go full bore into a subject without discrimination or the confines of mass appeal; they are allowed to make art and experiment instead of answering to the bottom line. Much like A Serbian Film, Baskin, goes places western films wouldn’t touch. While not as ugly as ASF, Baskin gets real dark and very twisted.

Five butch policemen kill time at an out of town restaurant exhibiting obnoxious machismo as they break in the new guy. They are called out to back up a patrol that had been called out to a place called Inceagac, which has historically been associated with evil. En route, they are run off the road and while on foot, soon encounter a group of weird gypsies whom they force to lead them to the specific location of the call out – an old abandoned building. Inside they encounter, are held captive and tortured by a mass of sadistic ritualistic imps who dwell in the space between earth and Hell – or some form of it.

Baskin is a hypnotic gore-fest with heart. Not lovey-dovey heart, but the blood pumping kind; the kind that drives people to fully commit to something they love doing. A lot of conviction and special care went into putting something this nasty on camera and getting away with it. Baskin is visceral, cruel, demented and wonderfully strange.

Check out the trailer below and be sure to tune in tomorrow as it starts getting real good from here.

The list so far.
#31 The Damned (2014)
#30 A Serbian Film (2010)
#29 The Inside (2012)
#28 Calvaire (2004)/Inbred (2012)
#27 Frankenstein’s Army (2013)
#26 Thale (2012)
#25 Bridgend (2013)
#24 The Grey (2011)
#23 Across The River (2013)
#22 The Pact (2011)
#21 Rec (2007)

Cheers.
Mark Goodchild
Creative Director

Read More

Here’s the next installment of my top 31 horror films since 2000.

#21. Rec (2007)

If you’re a fan of horror films, you’ve seen Rec. With The Blair Witch Project, Rec is responsible for (better or worse) defining the found footage sub-genre as a viable anxiety inducing canvas for telling small stories with big scares. It brought the camera indoors, in stable professional hands. Instead of implying an off-screen horror through incomprehensible blurred shots and deep dark shadows (effective in its own right), Rec opted to keep the mayhem in frame, well lit, and in your face. And while this format has since been done to death, ten years ago it was a very new and special movie.

Like TBWP, Rec reached mythological status before it hit mainstream audiences. I remember hearing, “Have you seen Rec? The scariest film ever” and doing all I could to get copy, and once I did and watched it, I reveled in its originality and terrifying authenticity. I hadn’t seen anything like it. The set pieces were immaculately choreographed. The actors were flawless. The setup was completely believable: a Spanish news anchor and her film crew, while shooting a puff-piece about one of the local fire departments, goes on an emergency call out to an apartment building that unbeknownst to them has an outbreak of a zombie/rabies-like virus. They are quarantined and the news crew takes it upon themselves to document their ordeal. This leads to one of the creepiest endings ever and an iconic ‘monster’ that has since been ripped-off many times over that still manages to freak me out.

Rec easily deserves to be in my top ten, but by no fault of its own, it is now is a little underwhelming. Imitation, they say, is the sincerest form of flattery, and because it’s easier to assimilate than originate, you most likely have seen Rec in one form or another (including an American remake called Quarantine – DO NOT WATCH THIS DRIVEL!!!), but if you’ve been living under a rock, I envy you because if you give Rec a viewing through untainted eyes, you are in for a real treat.

Check out the trailer below and be sure to tune in tomorrow for #20.

 
Mark Goodchild
Creative Director

Read More