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Christine Hakim and Ario Bayu appear in <i>Impetigore</i> by Joko Anwar, an official selection of the Midnight program at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.

Movies

‘Impetigore’ and the importance of foreign horror

Foreign horror is more important than people think.

Foreign films can have a huge impact on the movies that come out of Hollywood. The French New Wave and Hong Kong action flicks are just two example of influences from other countries. This may be seen most in horror movies. Horror is a popular genre around the world and ones from America have left a powerful impact. This does not mean foreign horror films have become obsolete. The increasing popularity of streaming services like Shudder have introduced fans to scary movies from around the world.

Earlier this year, a AIPT covered Impetigore’s United States premiere at Sundance. It was a great example of how universal horror can be. It debuts on Shudder this week and will be gory fun for anyone who watches it. As a matter of fact, watching foreign horror movies is not only entertaining, it is essential to being a true horror movie fan.

Listen to the latest episode of our weekly movies podcast, Adventures in Movies!

A different take on terror

Yummy

A scary movie is a scary movie. There is ominous music, shadowy figures, and the mandatory jump scares. It is the premise of these movies that differ. Recently, American movies have tended to be more methodical or based on remakes. Many Japanese and European horror movies are based on folklore. In France, the horror movies they tend to tackle real life concerns but deal with that to extremes.

There is also differing cultural factors. An American ghost story is much different from a European vampire tale. Gender roles, age, and sexuality are all treated differently in different countries. Things that seem groundbreaking in one country are passe in another. Even a horror movies with similar plots will have these differences.

Staying fresh

lake of death

Watching too much of the same thing will eventually lead to tedium. There comes a point where everything becomes standard. In order to stand out, something has to be better than it necessary in order to be enjoyable. Watching foreign film keeps things fresh. A horror movie from Indonesia will be different from a horror movie from Italy which will be different from a horror movie in America. There will be some similarities and obvious influences but there will be enough differences to keep things fresh.

A greater appreciation

Foreign horror is more important than people think.

In order to get a full appreciation of anything a person needs to try various forms of it. It is hard to truly appreciate a good movie without seeing bad ones. How much do you truly like wrestling if all you watch is WWE? It is absolutely possible to form opinions based on a small sample size. It is just a matter of how much a person wants to limit themselves. Watching foreign film opens a person up to different ideas, themes, and techniques.

The more types of horor a person watches individually, the better they can appreciate the genre as a whole.

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