Halloween Horrors: Coming of Age and Little Monsters in ‘Der Nachtmahr’

Coming-of-age stories are no stranger to the horror genre. The emotional turmoil, bodily transformations, and anxieties that come with teenage years are ripe for the horror picking, from Ginger Snaps to Raw. Sometimes, you think you’ve seen all the different variations of these stories. Then you see something new and exciting, something that blows your mind using a strange little puppet monster. My next recommendation for this month of horror is The Nightmare, or Der Nachtmahr.

The 2015 German film follows party girl Tina (Carolyn Genzkow) as she navigates a life of house music, drugs, boys, and anxiety. As the bass pumps ever louder and the lights never stop flashing, Tina loses herself in the music, a momentary reprieve from the pressures of being 17. However, she can’t escape for too long, because her fears take a physical form: a little gremlin creature with which she is mentally linked.

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Halloween Horrors: The Psychosexual Terror of ‘The Untamed’

It’s Halloween month, arguably the best time of the year. As the leaves change to orange and a chill enters the air, it’s the perfect time to curl up with the lights off and watch your favorite horror movies, from Halloween to Trick’r’Treat. But this year, I’m challenging you to sprinkle something new into your Halloween watchlist. This month, I’ll be providing horror film recommendations for films that are by non-American filmmakers that haven’t received much critical attention. My first recommendation comes from Mexican filmmaker, Amat Escalante, with his 2016 sci-fi-horror film, The Untamed, or La región salvaje.

The Untamed follows three characters: Alejandra (Ruth Ramos), her husband, Ángel (Jesús Meza), and her brother, Fabián (Eden Villavicencio). Alejandra and Ángel are deeply unsatisfied with their marriage, one that has been built on necessity and secrets. They are short with each other and their sex life leaves something to be desired. An air of dissatisfaction permeates this film: dissatisfaction with relationships, with heteronormativity, with their ‘assigned’ roles in the household. But these dynamics are interrupted when a mysterious woman named Verónica (Simone Bucio) comes into the picture. She knows about something, something not from this world that can bring ultimate pleasure to anyone. The premise sounds like something out of a campy, 1980s B-horror film. But the attention to cinematography and the sympathy created for its characters make The Untamed something special and something truly odd.

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12 Horror Movies You Should Definitely Check Out This Halloween

Staying in for Halloween this year? Gonna camp out in front of the television/computer with popcorn and pray you’re not disturbed by trick-or-treaters? Not sure which movie you should watch? Never fear, we’ve got you covered – and with recommendations from six different sub-genres, there’s something for all tastes in this list.

With special thanks to our guest contributor & full-time horror enthusiast Georgia, who can be found on twitter at @GeorgiaMaeSixx

Psychological Horror Films

GEORGIA’S PICK: 1408 (2007, dir. Mikael Håfström)

mv5bnjizndu2mzi0mf5bml5banbnxkftztgwnda0mtc3mte-_v1_sy1000_cr0014941000_al_.jpg1408 (2007) © Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc

It’s very hard to keep an audience captivated when the majority of your film is one actor in a single room, but John Cusack sells it. An unconventional story about a haunted hotel room with one of the most solid twists in recent memory, this film is definitely unsettling. Mike Enslin, a skeptic who writes about the ‘haunted’ locations he has stays in, decides to visit the eponymous room 1408 in The Dolphin hotel, and the fun ensues. The director successfully adapted the Stephen King short story whilst putting his own twist on it. The film does not rely on the grisly details or gore and instead goes for imagery that truly disturbs. Samuel L. Jackson also stars as the owner of the hotel and also delivers a strong and unnerving performance. The film also features three endings including the theatrical release so make sure to watch all three as they offer very different resolutions to the film.

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