Author Hailey Piper joins the club this week to tear through about 25 different cosmic horror movies, eventually landing on some fuzzy math favorites. Join us, won’t you?
“The box…you opened it. We came.”
Man, those cenobites were scary cool, weren’t they?
Hellraiser, Clive Barker’s feature directing debut, worked not only as a grisly splatterfest suited to the Eighties horror landscape. It’s easy to see the film as an occult or supernatural horror, but it’s just as likely a cosmic tale of a dimension you could open without even trying, another reality on the other side of an afternoon’s puzzle past time.
5. Spiral (Uzumaki) (2000)
Higuchinsky’s mind bending 2000 Japanese horror went underappreciated upon release – likely because of the interest in ghosts and digital horror during that period. That’s too bad, because his adaptation of the not-yet-released Manga Uzumaki is a delight.
It starts with a snail shell. It ends with a town in chaos. If you missed it, you should remedy that now.
4. In the Mouth of Madness
Sutter Cane may be awfully close to Stephen King, but John Carpenter’s cosmic horror is even more preoccupied by Lovecraft. The great Sam Neill leads a fun cast in a tale of madness as created by the written world.
What if those horror novels you read became reality? What if that sketchy writer with the maybe-too-vivid imagination was not just got to his own page, but god for real? This movie tackles that ripe premise while ladling love for both of the horror novelists who made New England the creepiest section of America.
3. The Endless
There is something very clever about the way Justin Benson and Aaron Moorehead’s movies sneak up on you. Always creepy, still they defy genre expectations even as they play with them.
Camp Arcadia offers the rustic backdrop for their latest, The Endless. A clever bit of SciFi misdirection, the film follows two brothers as they return to the cult they’d escaped a decade earlier.
It is this story and the pair’s storytelling skill that continues to impress. Their looping timelines provide fertile ground for clever turns that fans of the filmmakers will find delightful, but the uninitiated will appreciate as well.
Alex Garland’s work as both a writer (28 Days Later…, Sunshine, Never Let Me Go) and a writer/director (Ex Machina) has shown a visionary talent for molding the other-worldly and the familiar. Annihilation unveils Garland at his most existential, becoming an utterly absorbing sci-fi thriller where each answer begs more questions.
Taking root as a strange mystery, it offers satisfying surprises amid an ambitious narrative flow full of intermittent tension, scares, and blood—and a constant sense of wonder.
Just his second feature as a director, Annihilation proves Ex Machina was no fluke. Garland is pondering similar themes—creation, self-destruction, extinction—on an even deeper level, streamlining the source material into an Earthbound cousin to 2001.
1. The Mist
David Drayton (Thomas Jane) and his young son head to town for some groceries. Meanwhile, a tear in the space/time continuum opens a doorway to alien monsters. So he, his boy, and a dozen or so other shoppers are all trapped inside this glass-fronted store just waiting for rescue or death.
Marcia Gay Harden is characteristically brilliant as the religious zealot who turns survival inside the store into something less likely than survival out with the monsters, but the whole cast offers surprisingly restrained but emotional turns.
The FX look amazing, too, but it’s the provocative ending that guarantees this one will sear itself into your memory.