Movies Guaranteed to Get Your Heart Racing

It’s time for Valentine’s! Love is in the air, and trite cliches are flying left and right. Now is the perfect moment for every horror movie fan to go back to the classic collections, and pull out some titles that will make your heart fly right our of your chest.

Deep Red (profundo rosso)

Deep Red (or Profundo Rosso), is a great example of Italian film done on the cheap. For those unfamiliar with the giallo sub-genre of film, it is one of the finer, more coherent examples. The giallo, or spaghetti thriller, is any Italian thriller with excessive blood or nudity (which in this case takes the form of a hatchet-weilding psycho). The term means yellow in Italian, and supposedly refers to the yellowed colors of Italian dime-store novels. Deep Red has one of the best horror movie scores I’ve heard. It’s a creepy take on children’s tunes will insures you’ll never again be able to comfortably listen to the Wiggles. Be prepared to scoff at the idiot English pianist protagonist (a somber David Hemmings); he never seems to be able to put all the clues together, even with a dead psychic on his side.


As most horror fans know, few movies of the genre can drum up enough money for amazing special effects or sets. Cube, a film by Vincenzo Natali, brilliantly surmounts all these obstacles with the simple idea: place a bunch of people in a murderous box. One room=one set=major monetary savings! There are very few “special’ effects in this film (why get fancy when you can just throw acid in someone’s face?) but that does not detract from the Italian-Canadian, mathematical idiot-savant realness of the movie. Just one warning before you see this one: do not, I repeat DO NOT for any reason ever watch Cube zero (the third film in the cube series). It ruins the whole concept of seven people trapped in a box for mysterious reasons, and will instill an intense loathing for the entire series.

The Phantom of the Paradise

This 1974 gem is from everyone’s favorite (slightly misogynistic) director Brian de Palma. It’s based on the Phantom of the opera story, but IS NOTHING LIKE the Andrew Loyd Weber musical. Instead, de Palma draws on Faust and Paul Williams to make a fairly decent rock opera. Beach Boy look-alikes get exploded, and someone’s face gets burned off with a record press. Gerrit Graham definitely shines as Beef, the slightly effeminate glam-rocker who claims to know “real real from drug real” though his actions suggest otherwise. The villain, as with any movie from the seventies, is The Man, who just happens to take the form of Satan incarnate. Be sure to watch out for the not-so-subtle commentary of the seventies music business.

I hope my readers will consider all of these fine films in this time of love and passion. Though neither glitzy nor glamorous, each deserves to be loved for its own unique charms. After all, what could be better on Valentine’s Day then someone clutching your arm in mutual terror?