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Choice of the Choicest Horrors

Valerie and Her Week of Wonders (1970)
Valerie and Her Week of Wonders (1970)
Screenshot: Setsuled

One of the great joys in my life right now is that I’ve gotten The Criterion Channel to work consistently. Their always spotty streaming was made worse when I came to Japan by my spotty service provider, Softbank—though, conveniently, Criterion does not require a VPN. Unlike Netflix, Disney, or Amazon, Criterion seems to have the same rights for everything in Japan as they do in the U.S. But I’ve discovered I can get uninterrupted streaming if I set the video quality to 540p, and almost always uninterrupted streaming at 720p. I grew up on VHS so DVD quality is still pretty fancy for me.

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I do think image quality is important but if you ask me to choose between resolution and uninterrupted streaming, I’ll choose uninterrupted streaming every time. Pacing is integral to filmmaking as an artform, whether it’s the juxtaposition of shots, the amount of time the director chooses to hold a silence, or the precise sequence of dialogue—it’s the timing and placing that sculpt the impression.

Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979)
Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979)
Screenshot: Setsuled
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Anyway, this is a good time to get Criterion Channel working because they’ve just added a bunch of horror movies for October. Here’s a list of my recommendations from their current selection—not all of these are horror, some of them are fantasy or surreal, but they’re all what I would call Halloweenish. This isn’t a ranking but a playlist, a recommended viewing order:

Valerie and Her Week of Wonders
Vampyr
The Vampire Lovers
Cat People (1942)
Kuroneko
House (1977)
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
Eyes Without a Face
Night of the Living Dead
Rabid
Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979)
Les visiteurs du soir
Sylvie et la fantome
The Devil’s Backbone
Carnival of Souls
Throne of Blood
Hour of the Wolf

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Eyes Without a Face (1960)
Eyes Without a Face (1960)
Screenshot: Setsuled

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