Unsung Horror Movies for Halloween: Haute Tension & Cabin Fever
Every year in October, television stations dust off their horror movie selection and play them repeatedly for those ready for Halloween. But, in most cases, every year, it is the usual suspects that get all the air time. It is always the franchises of horror’s top icons that are available for your viewing pleasure: Freddy, Jason, Michael, and others. Now, I don’t have a problem with any of these films (check out my Horror’s Icons blogs on here), and it is amazing that horror movies can even be found on TV at all, but maybe some of you are looking for something a little different.
And that’s what I am trying to do here. While these films are no doubt well-known to horror fans, maybe some of you out there haven’t seen these flicks in a while or maybe you have forgotten about some of these films and got some catching up to do. Either way, I hope you find this helpful and enjoy. I’ll be back each week in October with two more films to keep you scared all month long.
This is the movie that put Alexandre Aja (Mirrors, Piranha 3D) on the map in the U.S. Haute Tension (U.S.: High Tension, UK: Switchblade Romance) is a gory, violent movie that holds nothing back. Released in 2003 (released later in the UK and the U.S.), the film was one of the first in the horror sub-genre of torture porn, along with films like Saw and Hostel. Haute Tension stars Cecile de France, Philippe Nahon, and Maiween in a movie that not only will make you squeamish but will have you thinking all the way through and even after the credits are rolling.
The movie follows Marie (de France) and Alex (Maiween) as they are driving to Alex’s family’s house to study for the weekend. They get there and everything is going just as normal as it should. They eat dinner and then are going to sleep as the doorbell rings. When Alex’s father answers the door, it is a serial killer (Nahon) that is there to murder the family. However, he decides to kidnap Alex and Marie has to follow him if she wants to save her best friend’s life. The movie then turns into a wild ride as Marie must avoid the killer and free Alex before they both die. But, something happens that changes everything for Marie and Alex and the audience is left to watch what will happen at the end.
Haute Tension is the classic great movie from another country that gets a director noticed here in America. Aja has since gone on to direct other great horror films including a remake of the Wes Craven classic The Hills Have Eyes. The only downfall to the film is that it is dubbed for the American release and can be hard to make out at points. Also, if you are not a fan of gore, then I do not suggest this movie for you. It is not for everyone, but if you are a horror fans that knows no bounds, then it is worth the time.
Like Alexandre Aja, Eli Roth was introduced to the world with his 2002 debut film Cabin Fever. I’m sure horror fans have already seen this gory, yet hilarious film, but after Roth’s success with other films, Cabin Fever is often forgotten. The film stars Rider Strong, James DeBello, Jordan Ladd, Cerina Vincent, and Joey Kern as friends that travel to a remote cabin to enjoy spring break before heading back to school. But the fun soon stops when the blood starts flowing.
Paul (Strong), Burt (DeBello), Karen (Ladd), Marcy (Vincent), and Jeff (Kern) are all having fun drinking and, of course, having sex, when a homeless man enters the cabin and looks like he is about to die right there. But what they don’t know is that he is carrying a deadly, flesh-eating virus that will soon spread to them. Soon, one-by-one they all contract the virus and have to deal with their ultimate fate. The kids become paranoid of each other and some even resort to violence to try and stay healthy. From start to finish, the movie remains true to the over-the-top gore that was seen in several 80’s horror films while also mixing in humorous bits, especially with the “PANCAKE” kid.
Cabin Fever made Eli Roth a household name in horror and gave the young director the chance to make us squirm even more with his next film, Hostel. Besides directing, Roth has also made an impact as a producer and actor in films such as Inglourious Basterds, The Last Exorcism, Death Proof, and Aftershock. Roth also made a fake trailer for the release of the Quentin Tarantino/Robert Rodriguez Grindhouse double feature called Thanksgiving, that appears to be released as a feature length film next year. While not for everyone, Roth’s films are often well done and are a big part of the current horror genre.
Come back next week for two more films to sink your teeth into this Halloween. Hope you enjoyed and thanks for reading.