Of all the holidays celebrated worldwide, no one day is more loved by the UTG staff than Halloween. With the arrival of October, the time has finally come to begin rolling out a plethora of features and special announcements we have prepared in celebration of our favorite day, including the one you’re about to read.
31 Days Of Halloween is a recurring daily feature that will run throughout the month of October. The hope and goal of this column is to supply every UTG reader with a daily horror movie recommendation that is guaranteed to amplify your Halloween festivities. We’ll be watching every film the day it’s featured, and we hope you’ll follow along at home. If you have a suggestion, contact us and we may include your favorite scarefest in an upcoming column!
Day 12: The Collector (2009)
The brainchild of the team behind Saw’s latter incarnations, The Collector is a genre-splicing horror that leaves a lengthy and creeping aftertaste. I’m not that much of a horror fan, in the conventional sense – I tend to balk at anything gory or gross-out and prefer my scares to come in the form of something more cerebral or supernatural (see 1963’s The Haunting – and never the sordid remake – for inspiration). The Collector however is a unique property in that it mixes the more insidious elements of a thriller with all the bloodiness of a horror film. It’s set almost entirely in a remote country home, the site for a planned heist by protagonist Arkin (Josh Stewart), who learns at the worst possible moment that someone else has gotten there before him, taken the family captive, and rigged a series of death traps around the house.
The movie combines the intimate shock and intrusiveness of a home invasion story with the nerve-shredding suspense of a paranoia film and all the gross-out gore of a more conventional horror picture. This is its USP, and what makes it so uniquely effective. We never see the masked killer’s face, and indeed Arkin spends more time edging around the house and the killer’s various lethal traps than he does being beaten or cut up. Even the plight of the unfortunate family themselves is rarely shown – a number of scenes are intercut with shots of Arkin hiding in the shadows upstairs, so that they’re never quite gratuitous but all the more pervasive because of what’s suggested rather than depicted. There are chilling screams and echoing noises lining the dark, twisted corridors of the house, bathed as it is entirely in moonlight throughout, and the use of eagle eye camera angles to cross-section the house and illustrate quite how close to doom Arkin is at any given moment is quite stark and inhibiting.
Intense, shocking, and gruelling, The Collector is a stellar addition to any Halloween playlist – not least because its sequel The Collection opens next month. And it has a particularly gnarly cliffhanger ending to whet your appetite…
You can pick up a copy of The Collector on DVD here.
Editorial written by: Grace Duffy