I tried picking just one foreign horror film to recommend, but there’s just so many good ones, so I just decided to pick a few. Here are a few select countries, and one great horror movie it produced:
Italy: Suspiria (1977)
Suspiria is one of the most famous Giallo (Italian horror) films. Directed by Dario Argento, one of the many masters of horror, the film’s about an American ballet-dancer, Suzy Bannion (Jessica Harper) as she’s transferred to Germany to a prestigious dance academy, but she soon discovers an evil inside the walls of the institution.
Giallo films are known for their vibrant color palettes, the blood is almost a neon-red and seems to pulsate off the screen, and Suspiria is no exception. The film looks beautiful; every frame has so much life and color in it. Suspiria, compared to other Giallo films, has one advantage: Goblin. The score was produced by Argento in a collaboration with the band, Goblin, and it makes the film. I’d recommend listening to the original score by itself before you watch the film, just to know what kind of movie you’re getting into.
Suspiria is an absolute blast. It has all the quirks and charms of any Giallo film (dubbed dialogue, over-acting) and it’s non-stop fun. (5/5)
The film is available to watch for free on Tubi.
Japan: One Cut of the Dead (2017)
One Cut of the Dead is a Japanese horror comedy written and directed by Shin’ichirô Ueda. With a low budget of ¥3 million ($25,000). It opened in a small theatre, but following international success, it began getting wider exposure and a wider appreciation. It grossed over $25 million (over ¥3 billion) in Japan and over $30 million worldwide. It made box office history by earning over a thousand times its budget.
The film’s original title “Don’t Stop the Camera” fits better as the film’s premise is about a crazy, megalomanic director, who’s filming a zombie film, while a real zombie apocalypse starts to happen, but he insists they keep filming.
It’s a crazy fun movie about moviemaking that, even despite me telling you the premise, will surprise you with its heart and humor. I highly recommend going into it knowing nothing else than what I’ve already told you. (3.5/5)
The film available to rent on Amazon and to watch on Shudder.
South Korea: The Host (2006)
Before his historical and deserved win for Parasite (2019), Bong Joon-ho directed The Host, a modern-day Godzilla movie. Gang-du (played by the marvelous, Song Kang-ho) is a father working at a snack bar neat the Han River, but following the dumping of gallons of toxic waste in the river, a giant mutated creature emerges from the depths and attacks the town. Gang-du’s daughter, Hyun-seo (Go Ah-sung), is kidnapped by the creature and her father risks everything to try and find her.
The Host is a heartwarming film about family, but it’s also a commentary on man’s ignorance of nature, media sensationalism, and the failings of bureaucracy. It also acts as a microcosm of South Korea’s relationship with the United States.
Bong-Joon ho is one of the greatest directors working today. His master of the craft is almost unparalleled. His writing is sharp and witty, with bits of black humor. His emotional core is resonate and strong. It’s a fantastic movie. (4.5/5)
You can find the film to watch on Amazon Prime, Hulu, Criterion Channel, and Tubi TV. You can also rent the film on Amazon.
New Zealand: Braindead (1992)
Before there was Lord of the Rings, there was Braindead, also known as Dead Alive. Directed by Peter Jackson, the film is about Lionel Cosgrove, whose mother gets bitten by a Sumatran rat-monkey and she’s transformed into a zombie and spreads the infection to others. On top of that, it’s also a romantic comedy.
The film is a lot of things: a horror movie, a comedy, a romance, and it manages to successfully be all three of them at the same time. As I said before, this kind of film was Peter Jackson’s forte, as before he made Lord of the Rings, he directed Bad Taste and Meet the Feebles, both films have the same sincerity and tone as Braindead.
Braindead is one of the greatest zombie movies ever. It’s probably one of the goriest movies ever made. It’s got everything you would want, it has wonderful humor, great special effects, a Priest that “kicks [butt] for the Lord,” and an explosively gory finale. (5/5)
The film seems to be unavailable most places, but if you look hard enough, I’m sure you can find it. If you want to watch it but can’t find it anywhere, come to me and I’ll help you.
Canada: The Brood (1979)
The Brood, an early work from David Cronenberg, one of the few directors to master the “body-horror genre, and is a terrifying film about divorce, but with mutant children.
The film is about Frank Caverth (Art Hindle), who’s trying to uncover a psychological therapists unconventional therapy techniques. The therapist, Dr. Hal Raglan (played by the brilliant Oliver Reed) has been using theses techniques on Frank’s wife, Nola (played by the beautiful Samantha Eggar). As Frank’s doing this, a series of vicious attacks are being committed by mutant children, which is directly linked to Frank’s investigation.
A few fun facts about the film:
1. David Cronenberg wrote the film following an tumultuous divorce and child-custody battle with Margaret Hindson. Cronenberg even said that Eggar’s character, Nola, possessed some of the characteristics of his ex-wife.
2. Oliver Reed was arrested by the Canadian police during production. Reed made a bet with someone that he could walk from one bar to another without wearing any clothes in the bitterly cold weather.
The Brood is a family-horror film, and one of the best of its kind. It’s about parents’ insecurities and inadequacies, and how it affects their children. It’s a terrifying film with an ending that will shock you, whatever you think the ending is, you’re wrong. (4/5)
The Brood is available to watch on HBO Max and Criterion Channel. It’s also available to rent on Amazon.