The 50 Best Foreign* Slasher Flicks: 20-11

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Go check out: #50-41; #40-31; #30-21

20: Fear (Italy, 1981)

VeVo: 3.5 Stars
IMDb: 5.4

fear 1981

Director Riccardo Freda, sometime mentor of Mario Bava, was already in his 70s when he helmed this comment on the slasher genre. An actor in a giallo film takes the weekend off to go visit Mom in her secluded country home, taking some friends from the film world with him. Once there, weird things happen: Girlfriend has massively long nightmares about spiders (with fingers!), the handyman dude acts all strange and stares a lot, and your off-the-shelf black-gloved maniac starts killing the newcomers one by one.

Cheesy as a slab of stilton floating in a fondue in the middle of Cheddar Gorge, Fear is a relatively obscure little gem of a flick, fun to watch and zany as fuck. Make a drinking game out of the number of times boobs ‘accidentally’ tumble out of the actresses’ blouses.

*

19: Scared (Thailand, 2005)

VeVo: 3.5 Stars
IMDb: 5.5

scard 2005

A class trip doesn’t quite go as planned when their coach crosses a wooden bridge too flimsy to hold it, plunging everyone into the river below. The survivors clamber ashore and find a deserted hamlet that’s rigged with dozens of traps that chop, crush, and choke them to death.

Sadly, this fun little Battle Royale-inspired flick has yet to be given an international release, meaning the only available DVD comes sans subtitles, making it hard to follow and, with a crowded cast, difficult to distinguish the teen characters, although when they start fighting back, they really fucking go for the jugular.

*

18: Amsterdamned (Netherlands, 1988)

VeVo: 3 Stars
IMDb: 6.5

amsterdamned 1988

At times more of a generic cop-vs-serial killer flick than a straight up slasherama: The canals of Amsterdamn (duh) are plagued by brutal slayings, including the awesome moment (above) where the hooker’s body hung beneath a canal bridge is dragged across the top of a glass-roofed tourist boat.

The film reaches new depths of desperation to try and circumvent the end we can all see coming, but is a solidly entertaining outing nonetheless.

*

17: Veritgé (France, 2009)

VeVo: 3.5 Stars
IMDb: 5.6

vertige high lane 2009

Four old school friends and the new boyfriend of one of them embark on a climbing adventure in the Croatian mountains, trapping themselves on a trail after the bridge they cross collapses in their wake. To make matters worse, the mountain is home to a homicidal loon with a penchant for bear traps.

France’s combo of The Descent and Wrong Turn has some magnificently vertigo-inducing scenes early on, before switching into slasher gear, however it soon transpires that not everybody can be trusted. A stupid ending deflates an otherwise solid flick.

*

16: Death Bell (South Korea, 2011)

VeVo: 3.5 Stars
IMDb: 5.7

db4

Exam results are everything at a haughty academy in Seoul, where at the end of term the Top 20 students stick around for a nerd-off, but instead find themselves being abducted and killed if their classmates can’t solve academic problems put before them in an allotted time: One boy is literally waxed to death, and a girl in shoved in a washing machine on a spin cycle.

There’s a sub-plot hoopla about the prerequisite Asian ghost-girl, which is never really resolved, but the identity of the killer was revealed in a good way, complete with flashbacks showing us just how they did it. Great stuff.

*

15: Stagefright (Italy, 1987)

VeVo: 3 Stars
IMDb: 6.8

stagefright 1986

Michele Soavi’s back to basics stalk n’ slasher has a cult following and reportedly inspired Argento to create Opera soon after. Actors locked up in a theatre for an intense rehearsal become the objects of play for escaped homicidal maniac Irving Wallace, who, donning a creepy bird mask, drills, slices, and chainsaws them off the stage, until only one resourceful girl remains, and she won’t go down without a fight. Plenty of intense scenes and gory demises in this one.

*

14: Inside (France, 2007)

VeVo: 3 Stars
IMDb: 6.8

inside 2007

Pregnant Sarah is about to pop and the night before she’s due to check into hospital, a mysterious woman comes a-knockin’ and then won’t go away, eventually gaining access to the house and set upon cutting the unborn child out of Sarah.

While not reaching the dizzy heights of Haute TensionInside opts for a more visceral, invasive approach, all of it relating back to the fatal car crash only Sarah and her unborn survived some months earlier. This is the kind of film even I find too intense in the heartless violence stakes, which, of course, means everyone else loves it.

*

13: Sleepless (Italy, 2001)

VeVo: 3.5 Stars
IMDb: 6.3

sleepless dario argento 2001

Dario Argento ‘returned’ to giallo in 2001 with this usual tale of attractive young women being murdered all over the place and a man thrust into the centre of the mystery. In this case, the son of a victim killed 17 years before. The killer was caught, and is dead, so what the fuck is going on?

Argento’s flair for the visual sells it to me, but, as usual, the representation of women as dumbfucks who can’t operate simple locks, or fall over every five seconds is annoying, while their male counterparts are free to act like prize pricks and go unslashed.

*

12: Eyes of Crystal (Italy, 2004)

VeVo: 3.5 Stars
IMDb: 6.3

eyes of crystal 2004

A millennial entry into the giallo canon, which sees a mystery taxidermist hacking people up in order to create a human doll – a bit like Pieces but with ten times the class. Two grizzled detectives investigate and try to forge a link between a college student and her stalker, and their hospitalised ex-cop friend, who keeps having flashbacks to a fire in the orphanage he grew up in.

All threads will come together by the end, and after almost two hours it’s impressive young director Eros Puglielli has kept us so entertained all that time, with imagery striking enough to give Argento et al pause.

*

11: Flashback (Germany, 1999)

VeVo: 4 Stars
IMDb: 5.4

flashback 1999

A young woman who survived the attack of a sickle-wielding, dress-wearing killer as a child gets a job as a French tutor to a trio of rich siblings at their remote country home. No sooner does she arrive then do similar killings begin.

One of Germany’s earliest responses to Scream is pure fun, sullied in part by atrocious dubbing on the international DVD (subtitles > dubbing every time), with much bloodletting, an abundance of pet-i-cides, inventive murders, and a satisfying resolution.

One comment

  • I ordered four of these last night after first reading the article. Looking forward to the upcoming top ten. I imagine Cold Prey 1 and 2 will be in the mix somewhere.

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