Screening tomorrow, one of the highlights in the Walter Reade weekend of Scary Movies is the unreleased-in-the-U.S. Triangle (a U.K. Film Council funds recipient…). Brit horror maven Christopher Smith once again puts fresh settings to unnerving use: distrait daisy-duked mom Melissa George and her yacht-going friends hit dead calm and then wind up on a ghost cruise-liner. That’s when the premature mind loss, literalized split identity, and sloppy gunshots begin, in an absorbing WTF story of recursive reality. It takes a sure hand to guide such a disorienting film, and Smith has it (making one curious what he’s done with the bubonic menace in Black Death, screening right afterward).
And already passed but noteworthy is the 1980s pick in this year’s edition, Clive Barker’s Hellraiser—which every single person I talked to remembers almost solely from its VHS cover. That talismanic recall befits a movie that, like some of the best horror, makes little initial attempt to explain its unleashing of demonic nightmares, willed and otherwise, and fleshly grotesquerie worthy of Dante’s Inferno. Pinhead in fact conserves his appearances, like any sensible undead star, and wears high-collared jacket and pins-in-head by Jane Wildgoose. Gone now, but followed this weekend by other Scary revivals including Messiah of Evil (1973), Dead of Night (1945), and a rare Freddie Francis double feature.