If you fancy some on-theme film and TV recommendations for the month of Halloween, here are some works you can sink your teeth into over the next few weeks.
Interview with the Vampire (2022)
A fresh adaptation of The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice, Rolin Jones’s Interview with the Vampire is a Gothic romance on steroids. We watch Louis de Pointe du Lac (Jacob Anderson) narrate his life to veteran journalist Daniel Molloy (Eric Bogosian) in the former’s Dubai penthouse residence, tracing his birth into an affluent family in New Orleans in the early 20th century to his birth as a vampire.
Accompanied by a score just as goosebump-inducing as the chemistry between Louis and Lestat (Sam Reid), Interview with the Vampire explores themes of parenthood, abuse, sexuality, race, politics and business. Interview with the Vampire is available to watch on AMC+, which can be accessed via Apple TV.
What We Do In The Shadows (2014)
What if a gang of vampires lived the highs and lows of their bloodthirst and dark immortality while sorting out chores, dirty dishes, and the trials and tribulations of a flatting situation? The precursor to FX Network’s series of the same name, What We Do In The Shadows is a horror-comedy mockumentary created in New Zealand/Aotearoa with Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi at the helm, documenting the escapades of three vampires rooming together in Wellington. This is a delightful and standout feature that is sincere in celebrating its eccentricities and brings together vampires, werewolves, and zombies.
What We Do In The Shadows can be viewed on Prime Video and Apple TV.
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014)
A title like this would normally make a viewer concerned for the solitary girl in question wandering around at night. Little do they know that the Girl (Sheila Vand) herself might just be the most dangerous creature one could encounter. With minimal dialogue and the distinct style bestowed by the high-contrast black-and-white production, this Iranian indie tells the tale of a lone vampire who prowls the streets of Bad City, preying on men. Ana Lily Amirpour is the brains behind this German Expressionist piece that tackles loneliness, connection and intimacy, and whether these are even possible for a “monster” to experience.
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night can be watched on Prime Video.
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)
Rising from the ashes of war, recession, and the post-traumatic stress that comes with it, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is widely regarded as the trailblazer of the German Expressionist movement. Dr. Caligari, an expert hypnotist, uses somnambulists to commit serial murders. The darkness and warped perspectives of the cityscape emit an eerie atmosphere, culminating in a twist ending, the silent film that puts to the test the characters’ as well as the audience’s boundaries of perception.
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is available on YouTube.
His House (2020)
Haunted by their daughter’s death and forced to flee their war-torn home, Bol (Sope Dirisu) and Rial (Wunmi Mosaku) rebuild a life as refugees who are granted asylum in the United Kingdom while battling the horrors of grief, trauma, displacement, and the deadly spectre of something deadly and ineffable.
His House blends the political with the paranormal and treats a refugee’s story with the humanity and empathy horrifically absent in their treatment by too many governments, as is evident in the shabby, bare house provided to them and the hostile, frigid way in which they are received by British immigration officers and their case worker, Mark (Matt Smith).
His House can be streamed on Netflix.
The Tragedy of Macbeth (2021)
The absence of more traditional facets of horror does not make this adaptation of Macbeth any less chilling. Starring Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand in the exalted roles of Lord and Lady Macbeth, Joel Coen milks the psychological thriller aspects of the Shakespearean tragedy. The set design clearly takes its influence from the height of German Expressionism; the guilt, gloom, and doom that Macbeth suffers after ascending the throne manifests in the form of looming shadows that swallow their surreal and minimalist surroundings. Kathryn Hunter additionally shines as all three witches and brings about a sense of spookiness using her expert contortionist abilities.
The Tragedy of Macbeth is available on Apple TV.
The Fall of the House of Usher (2023)
The widely-proclaimed King of Horror meets the King of the Macabre in this upcoming Mike Flanagan-helmed adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher. While “...Usher” is the primary adaptation, it will also incorporate aspects of other Poe short stories. The trailer promises the series to be shrouded in the trappings of classical gothicism - a picture of gothic glamour that boasts themes like family secrets, guilty consciences, and sinister hallucinations. Mark Hamill stars in the series along with Flanagan’s returning collaborators Kate Siegel, Rahul Kohli, and Carla Gugino.
The series will be released on Netflix on 12 October.
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