THE STATION: 10 Isolation Horror Films

The monsters will keep you company at The Station

Hola masses of Midnight Madness Marauders! 

Looking forward again to another depraved year of horror and psychotronics?! I sure am.  

To kick things off, explore some ISOLATION horror films -- films where the characters find themselves in an inescapable and utterly desolate predicament, either emotionally, physically - or both.

To mix it up a bit, I came up with some rules. I'm into complex rules for everything.
  • Try to avoid home invasion sub genre
  • Try to define it as main characters who are in bad spot
  • Try to avoid prisoner movies

(MM) denotes the Midnight Madness alumni!  

Spoiler level:  Mostly concepts (so to mid movie) No end game spoilers.  

Here's my picks - in no particular order!

There's a Spider-head in the hallway. Maybe let's go around the other way.

1. The Thing (1982) --  Carpenter remake. So imagine this, you're doing routine work in a remote Antarctic region. There's the slow realization that your group has been infiltrated by an terrifying organism bent on assimilating every life form on earth. Looking at their faces, you can't help but wonder who's already been turned. They act the same -- except when they're alone with you.  In which case, they'll eat you with fangs and tendrils. What makes this one great, is there's so many questions. You're never sure who or what form it will take on next, and psychotic acts of paranoia are completely justified.

2. Cabin Fever (2002, MM) -- Teenagers VS. a thriving strain of Flesh Eating Bacteria in a masterful movie that launched director Eli Roth's career, right here at Midnight Madness!  Looking forward to his new one (link), which could very well be on a future isolation horror best of list - but if you haven't seen it already, Cabin Fever is wall to wall insanity.

3. Bug (2006) -- A kind of a gem. Slower paced and positively itch-inducing.  Ashley Judd and a then lesser known Michael Shannon do a sort of self-imposed isolation, chronicling their increasing paranoia as "BUGS" have gotten deep underneath their skin. Other things to worry about too.

Okay, you know what, let's just go back to the Spider-head hallway.

4. Alien (1979) -- Space craft. Crew full of victims with nowhere to run.  A salivating razor- lined mouth to feed. Executed to perfection. 

5. Ravenous (1999) -- Man, I love this movie.  Somewhere cold, American civil war era. This movie has a very interesting and monstrously cunning villain that keeps you guessing. 

6. Day of the Dead (1985) -- Yeahhhhhh. Now that's what I like. A bunch of poor souls hiding out in a military bunker… during the zombie apocalypse. A George Romero original. Now, as much as I love Dawn of the Dead, I feel this one edges it in the claustrophobia department.  Pretty much a nightmare scenario, seeing as much as we have rotting hordes building at the above ground gate, and underground; along with all the survivors, there's a well-intentioned scientist running experiments inside with "live"-undead. Maybe he's on to something? Now add in an ultra jerk military leader, and you got yerselves a ticking time bomb.

7. The Descent (2005, MM)-- Bunch of lady friends go spelunking!  Soon they are trapped with each other along with their built-in friend dramas. But they're not alone…  some other bump in the night things are crawling up and down the walls…  Result: ultra gore. Really though, for me, it was one entirely relatable shot that landed this on the list. The one where she gets… 

8. Stuck (2007, MM) -- Stuart Gordon's opus about the TRUE STORY of a man who's hit and run by a nurse.  Okay to get technical, he's hit and run, and stuck halfway through her car windshield.  This situation might have then been corrected. Instead he's stored in her garage as he slowly bleeds out in the dark, pleading - why?  I'm sure they took some creative liberties with this one, but man, it does not end pretty.

Church security systems: Don't build em like they used to.

9. The Church (1989) -- This is a late night movie; the kind you're supposed to find when you're a kid, and the your parents are sleeping - that you really shouldn't watch.  Because it's filled with everything they've warned you about, and really, you won't understand it.  I still don't understand it!  Granted I just saw it for the first time this year, but I'm young at heart.  So some peeps are trapped in an archaic church when an accidental ritual unleashes a horde of imprisoned evil, and the local demon detecting device puts the building on perma-lockdown.  The imagery is truly eye-popping, everything about this movie is like remembering dream - and the Keith Emerson score is one of my favorites - ever, totally zany and lavishly delicious.

10.  Alive (1993) -- Now is this an isolation horror movie… Or is it a super inspiring true story about using cannibalism to survive unbelievable odds? Cop out pick? Well, the scary thing, this could (and did) happen. Not sure how much was changed, but I don't remember second guessing anything that I saw; the stuff nightmares are made of.

Honorable mentions:

Isolation (2005) --another MM alumni. The pocket-sized mutating predatory farm creatures are among the last things you'd want to be stuck with.

Cast Away (2000) -- That poor sentient volley ball!  Trapped with Tom Hanks - nothing's scarier than a nice guy slowly going nuts.  Except maybe a sentient volley ball. Add in some head exploding powers, and we coulda had a real contender here.

What did I miss? 

Only a million great movies…. Feel free to share your own lists below, and to satiate your own isolation horror fix be sure to check out THE STATION…  

THE STATION Screening Times:
Friday, Sept 6th, 11:59 PM RYERSON
Sunday, Sept 8th, 2:15 PM SCOTIABANK 14
Friday, Sept 13th, 9:15 PM SCOTIABANK 9

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