(Welcome to Pop Culture Imports, a column that compiles the best foreign movies and TV streaming right now.)
We’re coming in right under the wire for our spooky season recommendations on Pop Culture Imports, but this Halloweekend, check out a few subtitled (or straight up silent) horror movies in addition to your old favorites. This week we have a French suspense film that was a major inspiration for Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, two disturbing Korean horror films, a German Expressionist classic, and a French revolutionary take on the zombie genre. Fire up those subtitles and let’s get streaming. These are the best foreign movies and TV streaming right now.
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(Welcome to The Quarantine Stream, a new series where the /Film team shares what they’ve been watching while social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.)
The Movie: Les Diaboliques
Where You Can Stream It: Amazon Prime
The Pitch: An unlikely alliance is formed between the frail wife (Vera Clouzot) of a cruel boarding school headmaster (Paul Meurisse) and his mistress (Simone Signoret), who teaches at the same school. United by their hatred for the abusive man, they hatch a plot to murder him and seem to pull off the perfect crime. But when his corpse mysteriously disappears, strange occurrences — ghostly apparitions, contradicting trails of crumbs — plague the wife, who begins to unravel from her paranoia.
Why It’s Essential Viewing: “Hitchcockian” is a term that gets bandied around a lot, sometimes accurately, sometimes not. In the case of Les Diaboliques, it couldn’t be more accurate, as film trivia legend claims that the British auteur just missed out on the story rights before director Henri-Georges Clouzot snapped them up. Based on the French psychological thriller novel by writing duo Boileau-Narcejac, Les Diaboliques feels like a classic Hitchcock suspense film crossed with the sordid soap of French cinema. That’s the one aspect that Clouzot brings to the story that Hitchcock and his favored themes of repressed sexuality could not — the slightly lurid, brazen sexuality that the French do best.
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