Top 5 Scariest Horror Movies Based On Folklore

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Beware – here be dragons – or trolls, or Wisps
that want nothing more than to lead you through a deadly swamp and keep you imprisoned for
eternity in their murky depths. Of course – it’s folklore. It’s a tapestry of a story that each and
every one of us has some kind of a thread in. The oral tradition has been one of the most
important aspects of sharing information – and the historical significance of the shifting
shapes of stories have forged ahead into contemporary fiction. Folklore and horror cinema often go hand in
hand, as they subvert our childhood fears – and bring them up to date in a much more
horrifying fashion than we could ever expect. And that simple equation, has made for some
terrifying horror movies. So, let’s take a look. Hello horror fans – what’s going on, and
once again welcome back to the scariest channel on YouTube – Top 5 Scary Videos. As per usual, I’ll be your horror host Jack
Finch – as today, we curiously take a look at the Top 5 Scariest Horror Movies Based
On Folklore. Roll the clip. For the curious amongst you, of course–that
clip is from Guillermo del Toro’s Magnum Opus – Pan’s Labyrinth, one of the most
vivid, surreal, terrifying yet captivating depictions of dark fantasy and folklore horror
of recent times. And while it deserves the most honorable of
mentions, Pan’s Labyrinth is also noteworthy, as del Toro pretty much threw all caution
to the wind–and created his own dark, twisted folklore: Pale Man included. It also leads us to a very important point,
because there are so many horror classics that are rooted within Folklore, but I’m
going to approach this list a little different–and hopefully, you’ll find a few new horror
films to add to your to-watch list. Kicking off at Number 5 – Willow Creek, 2013 And for our first brush with Folklore in Horror
Cinema–we’re heading over to North America, with perhaps one of the most legendary paranormal
creatures and sources of Forestry Urban Legend–Bigfoot. And while you may think that Bigfoot has historically
been more miss than hit in horror cinema–this film definitely has something to say about
that. Written and directed by Bobcat Goldthwait
in his first ever foray into horror cinema, Willow Creek is your standard indie found-footage
handheld-horror–about Bigfoot Lore, and is heavily influenced by the legendary Patterson-Gimlin
footage of 1967. However, while on the surface, this film definitely
doesn’t do anything new, and it doesn’t exactly break any new-ground for horror cinema,
as we step through the woods of Northern California–the folklore of the Sasquatch and Bigfoot, has
never been more real. Willow Creek tells the tale of Jim and his
long suffering girlfriend, Kelly. Jim is a fanatic believer of Bigfoot lore–and
an avid amateur-cryptozoologist in pursuit of the big hairy unknown. In classic found footage fashion, Jim’s
idea of a romantic getaway, is to head into the Six Rivers National Forest, and hopefully
find the infamous dry-sandbar deep in the woods, where the Patterson-Gimlin footage
was shot–and film the whole thing along the way. It’s a simple premise, with a relatively
simple interpretation of folklore. Bigfoot–it’s just a giant hairy elusive
humanoid that lives deep in the wild, right? Well, Willow Creek definitely believes that–but
it has a lot more to say about the implications of the unknown. I’ll say no more, because whilst this film
is short and straightforward in its approach, it also packs in so, so much more and expands
upon an already intriguing folklore. Also, mark my words–the last few frames of
this film will make your hair stand on end in some way or another. Coming in at Number 4 – Borgman, 2013 And for our next entry, we’ll be heading
over to the mysteries and dark fantasies of Germanic Folklore–and whilst this film isn’t
exactly the most clear cut interpretation of a fairy tale, it’s mechanics are a much
more modern description of an age-old fear. 2013’s Borgman isn’t exactly the clearest
or most obvious of horror films. In fact, in many ways, it’s a film that
relies on the psychology of fear to land its punches–but it’s in the surrealism of this
horror movie where things really get interesting. Written and directed by Dutch filmmaker Alex
van Warmerdam–Borgman paints the intriguing picture of a mysterious homeless man, that
goes by many names throughout the film–but in all reality, he is none other than an Alp–the
nightmare demon of Germanic Folklore. In the oral tradition of central European
society, the Old High German creature–the Alp–was likened to an often malevolent nature
god or demon, similar to that of a Faun, that would later be morphed into the elves of Celtic
and Scandinavian lore. In Borgman, this simple formula gets a much
more modern retelling–as the mysterious homeless man, otherwise known as Anton, gets chased
out of his underground home deep in the wilderness by a priest and two armed men, where he seeks
refuge in a wealthy families home. And then, as we expect–things take a much
more mystical turn. I won’t say any more, because Borgman is
a surprisingly shocking film, and the final act of this movie is pure evil. It’s almost like Michael Haneke’s Funny
Games–just with an ancient Germanic Alp instead. And that’s what makes it great. Next up at Number 3 – Little Otik, 2000 And where the hell do I even begin with this
film? I know I say that a lot–but perhaps the most
fitting example on that phrase *is* this film. Way back in the day, when I was taking Film
Class at college–we were studying European Surrealism, and this film just so happened
to rock up one day on my watchlist–and still to this day, I think back at how utterly messed
up it is. But don’t get me wrong. This film isn’t messed up in the sense of
say, A Serbian Film. This film is messed up because it’s just
so–strangely weird. Bizarre. Not quite like anything you’ve ever seen
or will see. It’s not even a horror film. In fact, it’s pretty damn hilarious in places. But trust me–Little Otik is a horror experience. Written and directed by the legendary surrealist
Jan Svankmajer, Little Otik is a Chezch film based upon the Otesanek fairytale from 19th
century Czechoslovakia. And what’s that, you may ask? Well. Otesanek is a dark, European cautionary folk-tale,
about a couple that have been struggling to conceive a child together. One day, out in the fields–the husband finds
a strange log of wood, that curiously resembles the figure of a baby–and so he decides to
bring it home to his wife. The couple are completely overjoyed by their
new wooden-child, and suddenly–that log-baby comes to life and demands to be fed. But then, as time passes–the baby can’t
stop eating, and Otesanek gets hungrier–and hungrier–and you can see where this is going,
right? Little Otik is incredibly straightforward
with it’s narrative, but Jan Svankmajer manages to squeeze every last terrifying and
intriguing drop out of this fairytale. He blends strange, twisted stop-motion animation
with live-action set pieces–and this film really is a feast for your eyes. Although it isn’t a traditional *horror*
film so to speak, if you haven’t seen Little Otik, please do–because you won’t be forgetting
it in a hurry. Swinging in at Number 2 – November, 2017 This film is *beautiful*–and sick, and twisted–and
brilliant, and everything you could ever want from a horror fantasy based on folklore, because
it’s a hodge-podge of all of those things, woven beautifully in those same surreal, dark
tones of Northern Europe. This film shot way, way under the radar–and
admittedly, it may be a little too arthouse for some people–but forget about that, because
visually speaking–from a horror perspective, this film is worth so much. There’s nothing like it. It’s exciting, and it’s brilliant. And film’s like this, as well as Robert
Eggers The Witch–are important entries into both folklore and horror cinema. Written and directed by Rainer Sarnet, November
is an Estonian dark fantasy horror–based upon the novel Rehepapp ehk November by Andrus
Kivirahk–which is essentially a modern Grimm Fairytale about the price of young love and
the dangers that come with it. Aren’t they all, eh? Set in a small 19th century village in Estonia–that
is unwittingly besieged by every magical creature in the forest, spirits, wood elves, trolls,
knolls and even the devil himself–the folklore elements of November are juxtaposed by a very
historical reality. You see, the town is also besieged by the
Black Death–The Plague, and the Church are trying their utmost to save some souls. Behind that though, is the backdrop of a young-love
triangle, trying their best to circumvent each other’s hearts desires in the classic
cautionary fashion that we expect. I don’t say this lightly, but this film
is Shakespearean. There’s so much calamity going on–that
it’s almost like a horror depiction of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and it lends itself
perfectly to the ingenuity of Baltic folklore and literature. Despite that though, November also crams in
all the dirt, grime, and the very physical gore of pain and existence out in the rural
mire of 19th century Europe–and that alone makes it worth a watch. This film’s brilliant. Give it a watch. And finally, coming in at our Number 1 spot
– Sauna, 2008 Let me preface this with a very important
point. This film is hella messed up. And you will either love this film, or you
will hate it. It’s as simple as that. But the reason this film takes our Number
1 spot, despite me being a massive fan of it, is down to it’s no-nonsense approach
to the stark realities of folklore–and the price of human life that is often paid in
its cautionary tales. 2008’s Sauna does not pull any punches,
it doesn’t sugarcoat the realities of death with the magical or mystical, and because
of that it is perhaps one of the starkest interpretations of myth and legend of recent
times. Sauna, otherwise known as Filth–or Evil Rising
in it’s English release–tells the tale of two brothers in Finland in 1595. It takes place at the end of the bloody Russo-Swedish
War–and the brothers, one of them a violent and grizzled warrior, and the other a kind
and timid scholar–are tasked with marking the new border between Finland and Russia. So, what does a Sauna have to do with it? Well, I’ll leave that for you all to discover–because
part of the appeal of this film is pulling at the threads of its mystery. But heading into this film, you need to know,
although it may not seem like it, the folklore connotations of one of Scandinavia’s most
ancient past-times–the steamed hut and hovels of a Sauna–play a very significant, and horrifying
role in this film. There are so many tales throughout Finnish
folklore about the dangers of meeting mischievous figures behind the ancient mists of a sauna,
but this film is instead concerned with it’s surprising spiritual connection, and the role
it played in the cleansing of sins. You may have to dig deep into this film to
truly understand it’s significance to Folklore–but put it this way. The Sami people of Northern Finland were one
of the last bastions of the Ancient Paganism, and remained unconverted by Christianity until
the 18th century. Keep that thought in your head–and then watch
this film. I’ll say no more. Well, there we have it folks, our Top 5 List
for the Scariest Horror Movies Based On Folklore. What do you guys think? Do you agree? Do you have any more that you’d like to
add? Then please, let us know your thoughts–as
well as your own Top 5 List, down in the comment section below. Before we depart from today’s video though,
let’s first take a quick look at some of your more creative comments from over the
past few days. First up, Iver Klausen says — Jack: “Thomas Jane is always awesome”
Mutant Chronicles: “Hold my beer” — Alright, alright. I get your point, but we can’t always knock
em out the park. Sometimes you have a bad day. Mutant Chronicles was terrible. But Thomas Jane was still awesome. Because he’s always awesome. And finally, Pop Culture Psychology says — Jack, never stop the dad jokes. On behalf of all dads who share a love of
horror movies with their kids, it’s something for us too! — Well, Pop Culture Psychology, I think this
may just be my favourite comment in a long time. Thank you very much. I’m still trying to master the true art
of the dad joke–but hopefully I can learn from some of the best. Well, there we have it horror fans–unfortunately,
that’s all we’ve got time for in today’s video–cheers for sticking around all the
way until the end. If you were a fan of this video, or just Top
5 Scary Videos in particular, then please be a dear and hit that thumbs up button, as
well as that subscribe bell–and I’ll be seeing you in the next one. As per usual, I’ve been your horror host
Jack Finch–you’ve been watching Top 5 Scary Videos, and until next time, you take it easy.

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