Pan’s Labyrinth

This dark fairy tale interweaves two plots, and it is often difficult to tell where one ends and the other begins. The horrifying depiction of ‘paleface’ – one of the most frightening scenes in all of cinema – is perhaps itself less horrifying than the cold, calculating malice of the fascist colonel, and the resulting stomach-churning violence.

 

Requiem for a Dream

Darren Aronofsky’s films are known for their jarring aesthetic. In this film, it seems to be the small things—the unnerving sudden disappearance of a half-grapefruit and black coffee with ‘gulp’ sound effects, for instance. But, by the end of the film, the entire thing feels like a nightmare, complete with a raging fridge-monster trying to devour a hapless dieting grandmother.

 

The Elephant Man

Though sometimes called ‘body horror’, the true horror of this film is its study of the dark underbelly of the human psyche. It is our penchant towards ‘othering’, our insatiable desire for a freak show (even when we are ourselves the freaks), which is dissected in this devastating film.


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