Director Karyn Kusama Chooses 5 Horror Movies That Shaped Her Career

This weekend sees the release of The Invitation, Karyn Kusama's unnerving indie about a dinner party gone horribly wrong. To celebrate the release, Kusama, who rose to prominence after her breakout movie Girlfight, is this month's guest curator for Shudder, a streaming service whose only goal is to scare the living crap out of you. Led by curators Colin Geddes, a prominent film aficionado and historian, and Sam Zimmerman, a horror expert, the service offers viewers "a variety of films that span all decades and subgenres of horror in detailed collections. Kusama is the latest filmmaker to curate her collection, and you can click through the following slideshow to find out which films she chose and why she chose them. 

Photo via Glass Eye Pix

Habit

“I remember seeing this film when it first came out in the mid-'90's, and being struck by its twin narrative threads: the story of a man possibly entangled in a romance with a vampire, and, more profoundly, the story of a man spiraling into catastrophic alcoholism. The film is an incredible thematic companion piece to Abel Ferrara's The Addiction, and is a grimy, vivid portrayal of a life getting very out of control.”

Photo via Filmpool Nord

Let the Right One In

“One of the world's rare perfect films, centering on a brilliantly realized main character, whose pre-teen loneliness and alienation help fuel a lifelong romance that's doomed from the start.  Utterly sublime filmmaking.”

Photo via Kelly/Jordan Enterprises

Ganja and Hess

“This early '70's film about black identity, class politics, and vampirism plays across my memory like a beautiful hallucination.  Bill Gunn made a stylish, kaleidoscopically ambitious film about lovers with a thirst for blood.  It's hard to find -- so watch it pronto!”

Photo via MPI Media Group

House of the Devil

“I love the simplicity and purity of this movie.  Ti West's film stuck with me in an unexpected way, probably because I spent so much time hanging out with the main character waiting for something momentous to happen.  Once it does, you can't really "erase the icky" from your mind.”

Photo via Werner Herzog Filmproduktion

Nosferatu, the Vampyre

“Four words: Herzog. Kinski. Adjani. Ganz.  I don't really think I need to say any more, but if you like vampire films (and judging from this list, I obviously do), this beautiful film is a must.  In more traditional treatments of this story, The Count is a dashing seducer.  I love that Herzog and Kinski allowed this Count to be monstrous from the start -- there's no Frank Langella suaveness in sight.  AND THOSE RATS!”