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Spice up your Halloween movie marathon with these scarily good international films

If you're a major horror movie fan but are tired of the American classics, international films are the way to go this Halloween. – Photo by Olivia Thiel

Halloween is creeping up on us, so, as per the spooky season, it’s time to stack our movie queues with the scariest horror movies we can find. While American classics like “Scream,” “The Exorcist,” “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and “The Shining” are tried and true, sometimes it can be fun to venture out and see how the rest of the world can terrify us. 

These foreign horror films are bound to have you at the edge of your seat and lying awake at night paranoid. So, if you’re up for the challenge, be sure to add these titles to your Halloween marathon list.

“Bulbbul” (2020)

This Hindi-language supernatural horror film, directed by Anvita Dutt Guptan, follows the life of a child bride named Bulbbul (Tripti Dimri) as she grows into a confident, intriguing woman and becomes the head of her house.

Meanwhile, her brother-in-law, Satya (Avinash Tiwari), becomes obsessed with trying to find out who’s responsible for the mysterious, bloody murders of various men in his and Bulbbul’s village. As Bulbbul fights to keep her independence in a village that wants to see her burn, she gets caught up in terrors that push her to learn to survive.  

If you’re interested in a strong, woman-led narrative and an atmospheric, aesthetically pleasing film, then “Bulbbul” will be quite the experience. This movie was made in India, and it’s available on Netflix with English subtitles. 

“The Orphanage” (2007)

Produced by Guillermo del Toro and filmmaker J.A. Bayona, this Spanish supernatural film centers on husband and wife Carlos (Fernando Cayo) and Laura (Belén Rueda), along with their adopted son Simón (Roger Príncep).

Laura, who adopted Simón from the same orphanage she used to live in as a child, returns to the orphanage after 30 years to turn it into a facility for disabled children. But when Simón begins acting strange and belligerent, leading him to eventually go missing, Laura must face the darkest secrets of her past in order to find her son again.

Complete with creepy kids with imaginary friends, Bayona provides the perfect mix of tear-jerking drama and spine-chilling horror. This thriller film is available to stream on Hulu.

“13B: Fear Has a New Address” (2009)

Originally released in Tamil and then re-released in Hindi, director Vikram Kumar tells a frightening story of a man named Manohar (R. Madhavan) whose life begins to mirror the events of a TV show after he moves into apartment 13B. When the events of the show get darker and darker, Manohar fears that his own life will go down the same route.

In order to protect himself and his family, he begins looking into the history of his apartment unit. Through his research, he realizes just how dark the story of 13B is and what role he plays in this disturbing production.

If you’re looking for a heart racing film full of twists and turns, be sure to stream the film on Amazon Prime Video

"A Tale of Two Sisters” (2003)

Inspired by an old folktale “Janghwa Hongryeon jeon,” which is similar to “Cinderella,” “A Tale of Two Sisters” is a South Korean psychological horror film that follows Su-mi (played by Im Soo-jung) after she returns home from a mental institution to her sister, father and step-mother, with whom she nor her sister gets along with.

Soon after Su-mi’s return, strange, inexplicable things begin happening and the relationship between the daughters and the step-mother sours to the point of violence.

Written and directed by renowned film maker Kim Jee-woon, this film is a perfect blend of both drama and horror, and is available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

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