TOP-TEN ENGLISH-LANGUAGE ~HORROR~ FILMS FROM OUTSIDE THE USA


Nov 10, 2005 (Updated Dec 21, 2005)


The Bottom Line Use this list to find some exciting English-language horror films from outside the USA. They're sure to make you soil your jammies!

So you don't like subtitles but you still want a scare of international dimensions. Here're some more goose bumps for those of you who have run out of fiendish frights from Hollywood. My ranking for these films is based on their overall worth as films, not how frightening they happen to be. I've also included a separate "Fright Factor" for each film – similar to the hotness rating for each item on the menu of a Thai restaurant. So bolt your bedroom door, toss down a couple of Xanax capsules, load up both barrels of the shotgun, and let 'em rip.


METALLUK'S TOP-TEN ENGLISH-LANGUAGE ~HORROR~ FILMS FROM OUTSIDE THE USA:

#1.   Repulsion (1965)

Country: U.K.
Director: Roman Polanski
Stars: Catherine Deneuve as Carole Ledoux; Ian Hendry as Michael; Yvonne Furneaux as Helen Ledoux
Runtime: 104 minutes
Rating: Not Rated
Fright Factor: High

Brief Synopsis: A frigid Belgian manicurist, Carole, played by the exquisite Catherine Deneuve, shares an apartment in London with her sexually liberated sister, Helen. When Helen and her lover go away for a weekend, Carole becomes increasing unglued, especially when an insistent suitor invades her troubled psychic domain. Polanski deftly reveals the mind of a psychotic person from the inside out and Deneuve's performance is frightening in its intensity.


#2.   Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975)

Country: Australia
Director: Peter Weir
Stars: Rachel Roberts as Mrs. Appleyard; Vivean Gray as Miss McCraw
Runtime: 115 minutes
Rating: PG
Fright Factor: Low

Brief Synopsis: Weir presents an insolvable mystery that forces viewers to explore non-rational solutions. Three girls and a teacher seemingly vanish into thin air at the legendary Hanging Rock on Valentine's Day in 1900. Search as they might, the police are unable to find any sign of the missing people, but an intense young Englishman discovers one of them, when she reappears as mysteriously as they all had disappeared.


#3.   The Shining (1980)

Country: U.K.
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Stars: Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance; Shelley Duvall as Wendy Torrance
Runtime: 119 minutes
Rating: R
Fright Factor: High

Brief Synopsis: Jack Torrance takes a job as off-season caretaker at a remote resort in the Colorado Rockies. He and his wife and son will be isolated there throughout the winter, once the snow buries the lone mountain road to the hotel. The hotel already has a history of violence. The previous caretaker, apparently stricken by cabin fever, had murdered his wife and twin daughters, before killing himself with a shotgun. Will the same thing happen to Jack, a recovering alcoholic?


#4.   Theatre of Blood (1973)

Country: U.K.
Director: Douglas Hickox
Stars: Vincent Price as Edward Lionheart; Diana Rigg as Edwina Lionheart
Runtime: 104 minutes
Rating: R
Fright Factor: Low

Brief Synopsis: Vincent price plays the worst Shakespearean actor in history and takes it upon himself to wreak vengeance of all of the members of the Critics' Circle who have repeatedly savaged his acting skills. In true Thespian fashion, however, he'll add a dramatic flourish and kill each one according to a scene from one of the great Shakespearean plays. The macabre vignettes that follow are priceless in their droll humor.


#5.   Don't Look Now (1973)

Country: Italy
Director: Nicolas Roeg
Stars: Julie Christie as Laura Baxter; Donald Sutherland as Donald Baxter
Runtime: 110 minutes
Rating: R
Fright Factor: Moderate

Brief Synopsis: When the daughter of Laura and John Baxter drowns tragically, it's all the pair can do to pull themselves together. Perhaps an off-season getaway to Venice, where John has a restoration project at an old cathedral, will lift their spirits. The spirits raised, however, turns out to include that of their deceased little girl, who comes with a dire warning that the insistently rational John prefers to ignore.


#6.   Dead Calm (1989)

Country: Australia
Director: Phillip Noyce
Stars: Nicole Kidman as Rae Ingram; Sam Neill as John Ingram; Billy Zane as Hughie Warriner
Runtime: 96 minutes
Rating: R
Fright Factor: High

Brief Synopsis: Rae and John Ingram also have a tragedy to overcome – the death of their son in an automobile accident. Their choice for nourishing their bruised psyches is a peaceful cruise on their private yacht, but when they encounter a sinking vessel, experienced seaman John feels obliged to adhere to the law of the sea and take the sole surviving passenger on board. In this tense psychological thriller, John soon finds himself stranded on the sinking vessel, fighting for his life, while his wife has to cope with a madman on the Ingram's yacht.


#7.   Felicia's Journey (1999)

Country: Canada
Director: Atom Egoyan
Stars: Bob Hoskins as Joseph Hilditch; Arsinée Khanjian as Gala; Elaine Cassidy as Felicia
Runtime: 116 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Fright Factor: High

Brief Synopsis: Joseph Hilditch leads a solitary life in the home where he grew up as the only child of a dynamic television personality. His mother played the hostess for a Julia Child-style television cooking show. Plagued by his desperately lonely childhood, Hilditch sets out to spare potential unwanted children the burden of existence by murdering promiscuous young women at high risk of becoming unwed mothers. Will the pregnant but naïve Felicia, who has come to England from a small Irish village in search of the soldier father of her unborn child, be Hilditch's next victim?


#8.   The Company of Wolves (1984)

Country: U.K.
Director: Neil Jordan
Stars: Sarah Patterson as Rosaleen; Micha Bergese as Huntsman; Angela Lansbury as Granny
Runtime: 95 minutes
Rating: R
Fright Factor: High

Brief Synopsis: This innovative and lushly photographed horror fantasy turns the traditional tale of "Little Red Riding Hood" into a complex horror film and delves deeply into erotically charged archetypes relating to men and wolves in the mind of an adolescent girl, as she feels the first flushes of burgeoning sexuality.


#9.   Dead of Night (1945)

Country: U.K.
Director: Alberto Cavalcanti, Basil Dearden, Robert Hamer, Charles Crichton
Stars: Michael Redgrave as Maxwell Frere; Mervyn Johns as Walter Craig; Frederick Valk as Dr. van Straaten; Goggie Withers as Joan Cortland
Runtime: 102 minutes
Rating: Not Rated
Fright Factor: Low

Brief Synopsis: The first of the great horror anthologies, this film explores the déjà vu experience. When Walter Craig, a London architect, drives out to the country to meet with a prospective client, he suddenly realizes that both the place and the people that he meets precisely match the particulars of a recurrent nightmare that he has been having for years. He finds it all the more disturbing because he knows that the nightmare ends horribly, though he is unable to recall the precise path that it takes.


#10.   Peeping Tom (1960)

Country: U.K.
Director: Michael Powell
Stars: Karlheinz Böhm as Mark Lewis; Moira Shearer as Vivian; Anna Massey as Helen Stephens
Runtime: 101 minutes
Rating: Not rated
Fright Factor: High

Brief Synopsis: Mark Lewis works behind the camera in a film studio, but, at night, he freelances, shooting footage of prostitutes for a local porn dealer. Mark especially relishes filming young women at the point of death, as he murders them with the sharpened foot of a tripod leg. Helen, the unsuspecting daughter of Mark's landlady, takes a shine to the reclusive introvert, but her blind mother's unusually acute hearing raises her suspicions. Powell constructed the film in a manner to implicate viewers in the same kind of voyeuristic impulse that fuels the protagonist's madness.



FOUR MORE FOR DESSERT:

#11.   Horror of Dracula (1958) (See edmaidel's Review)

Country: U.K.
Director: Terence Fisher
Stars: Peter Cushing as Van Helsing; Michael Gough as Arthur Holmwood; Melissa Stribling as Mina Holmwood; John Van Eyssen as Jonathan Harker; Christopher Lee as Count Dracula
Runtime: 82 minutes
Rating: Not Rated
Fright Factor: Moderate

Brief Synopsis: Jonathan Harker, an English librarian, travels to Transylvania to take a job with Count Dracula, but soon discovers that his new employer is a vampire. After Harker falls victim to the bloodsucker, Dracula travels to London in search of the man's fiancée. Only Dr. Van Helsing stands in the fiend's way.


#12.   The Wicker Man (1973) (See artbyjude's Review.)

Country: U.K.
Director: Robin Hardy
Stars: Edward Woodward as Sgt. Neil Howle; Christopher Lee as Lord Summerisle
Runtime: 102 minutes
Rating: R
Fright Factor: Moderate

Brief Synopsis: Sgt. Howle is a Scottish police sergeant investigating the mysterious disappearance of a child on a remote island. He soon discovers that some of the locals are immersed in eerie pagan rituals.


#13.   The Last Wave (1977)

Country: Australia
Director: Peter Weir
Stars: Richard Chamberlain as David Burton; Olivia Hamnett as Annie Burton; David Gulpilil as Chris Lee
Runtime: 106 minutes
Rating: PG
Fright Factor: Low

Brief Synopsis: David Burton, a lawyer assigned to defend an aborigine accused of murder, encounters inexplicable events, such as torrential downpours during the dry season, and bizarre coincidences that are somehow connected with the mystical view of life of the Australian aborigines.


#14.   The Queen of Spades (1949) (see ChrisJarmick's Review)

Country: U.K.
Director: Thorold Dickinson
Stars: Anton Walbrook as Capt. Herman Suvorin; Edith Evans as The Old Countess Ranevskaya; Yvonne Mitchell as Lizaveta Ivanova
Runtime: 95 minutes
Rating: Not Rated
Fright Factor: Moderate

Brief Synopsis: An elderly countess is so intent on always winning at cards that she makes a pact with the devil.

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You may also enjoy my other genre lists for non-English language films:

Ten Excellent Spanish-Language Films
Ten More Excellent Spanish-Language Films
Coming-of-age – Outside the USA!
Top Ten Foreign Language Psychodramas
Top Ten Non-English Language Political Movies
My Top Ten Non-English Language Tragedies
Top Non-English Language Comedies
Top-Ten Non-English Language Film Biographies
Top-Ten Non-English Language Action/Adventure Films
Ten Best Non-English Language War Movies!!
Top-Ten Non-English Language Mystery Films
Top-Ten Non-English Language ~Horror~ Films
Ten Excellent Films Featuring Royalty
Ten Excellent Non-English Language Thrillers
Ten Non-English Language High-Yield Tearjerkers
Ten Excellent Non-English Language Senior Films
Top-Ten Non-English Language Films Featuring Classical Music
The Top Non-English Language Epics
The 10 Best Foreign Language Romance Movies!!
The Ten Best Non-English Language Love Story Movies!!
Top Bond Films and Other British Spy Movies
Top-Ten British Costume Dramas

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