6. Woman In the Dunes

Now Streaming on FilmStruck

This surreal, haunting 1964 film from Hiroshi Teshigahara follows a school teacher (Eiji Okada) on an expedition to locate insects that dwell in the sand near a small village in the middle of nowhere. After he misses the last bus home, villagers direct the teacher to stay at the home of a widow (Ky?ko Kishida), who inhabits a small hut at the bottom of a dune. Soon, the teacher finds himself trapped by the villagers who want him to marry the widow and help her dig the ever-shifting, always present sand that threatens to swallow them all up. Teshigahara and cinematographer Hiroshi Segawa create a gorgeous tapestry with this film, portraying billions and billions of flecks of sand in extreme close-up as the linger on the widow’s exposed skin. With it all comes a quest for meaning in a seemingly meaningless universe and the sense that we are all doomed to repeat our daily rituals whether we like it or not. “Are you shoveling to survive,” the teacher asks the widow, “or surviving to shovel?”

For fans of: The Face of Another, When a Woman Ascends the Stairs, Pitfall, lots and lots of sand.

7. Among the Living

Streaming Now on Shudder

Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo, the directors of the extremely disturbing French horror film Inside, made Among the Living in 2014, but like their second film Livid, it never saw the light of day in the U.S. Thankfully, Shudder has come along and dropped Among the Living onto their streaming service in all its nasty glory. The film sees Maury and Bustillo channelling Stephen King and Steven Spielberg and filtering those influences through the lens of New French Extremism. Three young friends skip detention on the last day of school and hike out to an abandoned movie studio on the outskirts of town. Unfortunately, a hulking serial killer and his doting father have taken up residence at the studio, and they aren’t very happy to have company. The end result is like The Goonies meets The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

For fans of: Inside, Stranger Things, It, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, squirming.

8. The Vengeance Trilogy

Now Streaming on FilmStruck

Here’s a bonus! Three movies in one entry! You’re welcome. Park Chan-wook’s brilliant, bloody Vengeance Trilogy is now residing on FilmStruck, just waiting for you to carve out about six-hours of movie watching time. There’s Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, in which a deaf man kidnaps a girl to ransom her in order to pay for his sister’s surgery, only to have things go terribly wrong; Oldboy, following a man imprisoned by an unknown captor for fifteen years who then goes on a quest for revenge when he’s inexplicably released, only to have things go terribly wrong; and Lady Vengeance, about a woman recently released from prison who plots revenge against the child killer who forced her to confess to his horrible crimes, only to have things go terribly wrong. It’s a trilogy of astounding movie-making that will probably make you feel kind of terrible, but hey, it’s worth it.

For fans of: Stoker, The Handmaiden, Kill Bill, squid.

9. Magic

Now Streaming on Shudder

“Magic is fun! We’re dead!” So croaks Fats, the malevolent ventriloquist dummy who makes life hell for his handler, the milquetoast Corky Withers (Anthony Hopkins). Is Fats alive? Is Corky crazy? That’s up to you to decide as you watch Richard Attenborough’s 1978 thriller Magic. Penned by master screenwriter and novelist William Goldman, Magic is a probably best known for its eerie trailer, which featured Fats the dummy screaming a poem directly at the TV, horrifying children (and adults) who happened to catch it on the tube in between reruns of The Love Boat. Now you go beyond the trailer and experience the film in its entirety thanks to Shudder. Unless you’re too afraid.

For fans of: Dead Silence, Child’s Play, Puppet Master, Anthony Hopkins arguing with a vulgar puppet.

10. 2 Days in the Valley

Now Streaming on Amazon Prime Video

After Pulp Fiction blew everyone away in 1994, Hollywood starting churning-out Tarantino knock-offs that struggled to recreate his style of ultra-cool criminals, intersecting narratives and sudden bursts of ultra-violence. One of the more interesting Pulp-clones is John Herzfeld’s 1996 2 Days in the Valley. There’s almost too much going on here, with stories involving hitmen, movie directors, art dealers and cops, but the film does manage to exude its own sense of style and warped charm. Look for Charlize Theron in an early, memorable performance and James Spader wearing some really cool glasses.

For fans of: True Romance, Things To Do In Denver When You’re Dead, Go, movies that feature characters with names like “Dosmo Pizzo” and “Teddy Peppers.”

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