Autumn Horrors: Some Truly Scary Films

With Halloween looming, many of us crave the feelings of being disturbed and scared by good horror films. With today's CGI technology and state-of-the-art film processing, the horror film genre maintains its hold on us with realistic and fantastic images. Of course, the crucial elements needed to keep that interest alive require credible scripts and believable acting.

Demonic possession and devil worship are popular staples of horror movies. Roman Polanski's Rosemary's Baby introduced a chilling yet ambiguous tale about Manhattan devil worshippers and what could be the birth of Satan's son. The Exorcist is generally credited with initiating the modern take on demonic possession with graphic images and language. The Omen, along with two sequels, portrayed the mysterious Damian Thorn as the anti-Christ foretold in the New Testament of the Bible.

Recently, The House of the Devil interspersed human sacrifice and demon worship with lunar eclipses in the 1980s. The Conjuring, taking place in 1960s and based on an actual case of exorcism, presented a disturbing and realistic attempt at dispelling a demon from a possessed mother while her family tried to cope.

Europeans, especially Italians, have produced numerous disturbing and terrifying movies. Many of them are even more graphic and violent than American films. Dario Argento, horror maestro of Italian cinema for over 40 years, created a trilogy of horrific films about witchcraft and three covens in Freiburg, Germany, New York City and Rome led by three evil witch-mothers. The first, Suspiria, relates the tale about a ballet school in Bavaria which is really a front for a coven of evil witches. A very graphic movie, the first ten minutes alone are worth at least a rental. Not for the squeamish! Inferno, the second in the trilogy and taking place mostly in New York City, continues the saga with lunatic zeal. Finally, Mother of Tears, situated in a Rome, completes the trilogy. Here, the ancient city becomes inundated with maleficent witches from around the globe coming to pay homage to the Third Mother.

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