An Iranian Vampire film, sound like something you would like? I instantly wanted to watch it and I was not disappointed. Directed by Lily Anampour, A Girl Who Walks Home At Night has been described as a ‘Vampire Western’ and is a very modern version of the vampire genre. The setting is an industrial urban town known as Bad City. The black and white style gives a grittier, picturesque and calming quality. Even of the few violent scenes, it’s meditative and filled with music and shadows.
The vampire is a ‘teenage girl’ who rides a skateboard, preying on men who disrespect women. It is a liberating view from a culture that has been traditionally repressive against females. She develops a relationship with a boy, Arash in who is blissfully unaware of the nature of The Girl. She begins stalking him and the suspense of what will take place between them is the suspense that carries us through the majority of the film.
The film is a tad slow, it is an artsy film after all, and it won’t be for everyone. If you go into it with an open mind I found it beautiful. It is shot in the Farsi language so you will be reading subtitles but the dialogue is subtle so you won’t be struggling to keep up. Although this is a horror film, it does not have jumpy-scares, gore or really much screaming.
Another movie for your list this week before Halloween is, Let the Right One In. Set in Stockholm during winter, it’s a tale about a boy named Oskar and his new friend, Eli, a little girl vampire who happens to be two-hundred years old. Like the protagonist in A Girl Walks Home At Night, Eli seems protective of the little boy and tries not to bring harm to many. Oskar is a sweet boy but is bullied at school and wants nothing more than to get even with the horrible boys that harass him everyday. Upon meeting Eli, he is enamored by her though she comes across quite peculiar at first. She can’t be in the sun and she can’t food and to come into a room he has to invite her. When Oskar finds out the truth about Eli he faces a hard choice when he realizes she needs blood to survive. It is rated R for some violence, language and brief nudity and there is a strange scene with a crazed cat I feel doesn’t fit exactly, but overlooking that it is a brilliant film and another that is subtle and calm not one that makes you too jumpy.
Moving over to Asia, another foreign horror film that I actually enjoyed quite a bit is one called The Host. This one, you are probably familiar with as there is an American version as well. This one is from 2006 and is exquisitely done. The plot revolves around a young girl who is ‘kidnapped’ by the monster and taken to the Han River. Her father, known as a lazy and not-so-bright-man attempts to rescue her and brings her grandfather and aunt and uncle along for the adventure. This film set a Korean box office record by selling 10 million tickets in 21 days. I have not seen the American remake but I don’t need to, this one hit all the right notes and I guarantee you’ll like it too. The Host goes beyond the typical scares (though they are there) and presents a political statement that tells us that the South Korean government is useless and uncaring when it comes to-well, pretty much anything.
There is no recipe this week since I am highlighting three different films but I would recommend sticking with a theme as I would for each of these, for example, calamari as an appetizer if you begin with The Host! Have fun with it and enjoy these original and artsy foreign horror films!