Film Portal in Review: It’s almost Halloween

With Halloween just around the corner, here is a selection of some pretty terrifying films that we’ve featured over the past few years.

Terror by Ben Rivers
2007 – England – 24 min
In an essay on Jean-LucGodard’s Film socialism (2011), Flachra Gibbons offers a reading of the film that understands it as a manifesto for a “new republic of images,” where the “new cinema will be cut and pasted together in a world beyond copyright.” Terror is a poster child for this new cinema . . . . View full post
Meshes of the Afternoon by Maya Deren and Alexander Hammid
1943  –  U.S.  –  14 min
Meshes can be enjoyed as a trance film, but narrative filmmakers have long borrowed from its rhythms and cryptic tone for dream sequences, psychodramas, thrillers, and sci-fi . . . . Viewfull post
Elephant by Alan Clarke
1989  –  England  –  39 min
Never one to shy away from blunt depictions of man’s capacity for savage violence, his work paints a particularly ugly picture of social conditions in Great Britain and Ireland circa the 1980s, a decade when Thatcherism and the Troubles loomed large . . . .  View full post
Film by Samuel Beckett and Alan Schneider
1965  –  U.S.   –  24 min
Buster Keaton stars as O, a man who desires to not be perceived by anyone or anything, but cannot escape E, the eye of the camera that doubles as O’s omnipresent “self.” As Beckett explains it, “The perceiver desires like mad to perceive and the perceived tries desperately to hide. Then, in the end, one wins.” View full post
Saute Ma Ville by Chantal Akerman
1968  –  Belgium  –  13 min
Saute ma ville stars Akerman herself as an eccentric young woman who seeks any means of amusement she can come up with while in her claustrophobia-inducing studio apartment. And as in Jeanne Dielman . . . all of this mundanity can only be leading towards an apocalyptic finish . . . . View full post
Blood of the Beasts by Georges Franju
1949  –  France  –  20 min
The film’s visceral documentation of a Parisian slaughterhouse retains its strength perhaps due to the unrepentant gaze of the camera, which looks on at actions as they unfold as indifferently as the worker who executes them. The workers, moreover, appear as mere cogs in a machine, in a way that eerily anticipates the development of the modern meat-processing industry . . . . View fullpost
Outer Space by Peter Tscherkassky 
1999  –  Austria  –  14 min
Outer Space is the apotheosis of the horror movie in the most literal sense. It’s not what’s been filmed that evokes our horror; rather, it’s the physical film itself, the exhibition of the scene, the screening of it ad infinitum, and, above all, the spectacle of collective viewing, that filmmaker Peter Tscherkassky locates at the root of our repulsion . . . . View full post
The Hands of Orlac by Robert Wiene
1924  –  Austria  –  90 min
Director Robert Wiene, most famous for the Expressionist masterpiece The Cabinet ofDr. Caligari, delves into more intensely ambiguous physiological territory in this 1924 film. Pianist Paul Orlac loses his hands in a railway accident and a surgeon replaces them with the hands of a recently-executed murderer. Upon learning this, Orlac becomes convinced that he is becoming possessed by the murderer’s spirit and that his actions are no longer his own . . . . View full post
Vampyr by Carl Theodor Dreyer
1932  –  France-Germany  –  73 min
The obscure, yet unshakable, sense of the grotesque that pervades the film is due in great part to the subtlety of the effects used. The suggestion of something awful is sometimes much more powerful than the thing itself . . . . View full post
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