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Sunday Scaries: Horror Movies That Played at the Cannes Film Festival

The Sunday Scaries are upon us once again! Yes, as the weekend concludes, most of us feel an oncoming sense of anticipatory dread about the week ahead. Anxiety about work manifests itself into a feeling that’s known as the Sunday Scaries. However, we at Awards Radar are here to combat that, by taking back the name. Now, we want you think about a horror-centric piece on the site when you hear the term. So, let us continue on with another installment of the Awards Radar Sunday Scaries!

At the moment, we’re knee-deep in the 2021 Cannes Film Festival. Without question, it’s the most prestigious film festival in the world. Normally, that sort of connotation excludes horror from the equation, but Cannes is a unique beast. For decades, the fest has had scary movies of the finest ilk playing. Below, you’ll see a half dozen recommended titles to pop in today that have a Cannes pedigree (much like I did with Tribeca here). A special citation goes out to Parasite, which isn’t quite horror, but would have topped this list if I had included it. Other titles that just missed the cut include Antichrist, The House That Jack Built, The Lighthouse, The Neon Demon, Train to Busan, and Zombi Child. Now, we can get on to the list, which is a pretty diverse lineup, if I do say so myself…

Here are six of the best fright flicks that played Cannes:

It Follows – One of the best horror films of the past 30 years, It Follows is a masterpiece of atmosphere and dread from David Robert Mitchell. With a star-making turn from Maika Monroe and an amazing amount of metaphorical creativity, this is an utter gem. I love it and it is one of the more inspired Cannes selections, regardless of genre. If you haven’t seen It Follows yet, rectify that immediately!

Irreversible – One of the hardest films to watch in cinematic history, Gaspar Noé truly pushed the envelope here with something that’s not traditional horror, but is nonetheless horrific. As the kids say, if you know you know. In the case of Irreversible, if you know why it’s so terrifying…you know.

Green Room – Jeremy Saulnier knows atmosphere. Green Room is an amazingly accomplished example of that. The horror is based in a fairly real fear, which makes the tension all the more palpable. Especially these days, the scenario is terrifyingly plausible. As an added bonus, of everything on this list, Green Room is the most fun of the lot, in addition to being one of the best.

Martyrs – A gory yet oddly profound French fright flick, it did seem oddly at home at the Cannes Film Festival. Can it be a little pretentious, when not being an incredibly violent movie? Yes. Does that take away from the visuals and the unique discussions it can generate? Absolutely not. Martyrs is divisive, but it’ll leave you wanting to talk about it, that’s for sure…

The Skin I Live In – You might not know it, but Pedro Almodovar directed a pretty gnarly horror movie. The Cannes Film Festival featured it, and while it got solid reactions, it’s a little under-appreciated in his oeuvre. For my money, though, it’s one of his best, bar none. The less you know about The Skin I Live In going in, the better…trust me there.

The Evil Dead – Back in 1981, the original in this franchise played Cannes. Can you believe it? Before Sam Raimi was an A-lister, he was at the fest pushing The Evil Dead upon the world. It’s of its time, to be sure, but it’s a classic, and I love the thought of that festival crowd trying to make sense of it. What a day that must have been!

Do you have a favorite horror movie that has played at the Cannes Film Festival? Let us know!

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Written by Joey Magidson

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