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Frights on Film

We talked with local educator, artist and horror enthusiast Jade Sisti about what she watches during the spookiest month of the year, and this is what she had to say.

People Under the Stairs (1991)

I adore this movie. It’s ridiculous, utterly ridiculous. On the surface it’s campy, with dated references and questionable horror-related makeup choices, but I don’t care. This movie is bomb. It touches on racism, gentrification, child abuse, cannibalism and so on. The dynamic between Daddy (Everett McGill) and Mommy (Wendy Robby) is disturbing to say the least, and they’re straight up frightening. Watching McGill running around in his little sexy suit screaming “kill, kill, kill,” is just as funny as it is horrifying. I’d also argue that the line, “Your momma sleeps with cats,” is the best line to come out of modern cinema. What better insult to come out of an early ’90s 13-year-old?

Perfect Blue (1997)

So this movie isn’t technically horror, but it’s horrifying all the same. This anime takes place when the phrase “dial up,” meant go have dinner, take a pee, watch a movie, then go see if you were connected to the internet or not. So in that regard it’s a little outdated, but nostalgic all the same. It’s hard to explain this movie without giving it away, so let’s say instead that going into this, assume you’re watching an Alfred Hitchcock film. I also like how the characters in this movie were drawn. None of them are overly attractive, including the main character, who’s a pop singer. Their designs feels a little uncomfortable, slightly off somehow. Even if you’re not into animation, this movie is worth it for the story.

Shaun of the Dead (2004)

So this movie is actually horror. Comedy of course, but still a horror. I love zombies and everything about them. I have a friend who can’t stand horror movies, so this is one of those rare flicks that we can both agree on. This movie shows so much respect to the original Dawn of the Dead (my favorite) and still managed to retain a solid story of its own. It’s funny, but geez it has its sad moments. It was such a refreshing idea at the time, when zombie movies were a dime a dozen. College wouldn’t have been the same without this.

Audition (1999)

This horror movie came out back when the Japanese were pumping out killer horror flicks. Don’t believe me? Look at all the remakes that came out around the same time here in the states. Japanese horror was on point I tell you. Anyway, this one in particular (which has yet to be remade) is one that I felt stood out from the rest. It’s creepy, visually disturbing and I kind of don’t feel bad for the victims in this plot. This movie can be squeamish at times and not everything will make sense. Just roll with it, it’s worth it.

The Bad Seed (1956)

This is old, like really old, but it’s way ahead of its time. The kid is a straight-up psychopath, and the movie questions whether a person could be born that way or nurtured into it. Rhoda (Patty McCormack) is the original crowned queen for creepy children and a mini Ted Bundy — charming, intelligent and an adorable killer. It was so ahead of its time, that the actors had to come back on screen at the end of the flick just to say everything was cool.

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