Interesting article in the WSJ about the new wave in European horror movies. A few things for further exploration:
Mr. Argento's example has become a touchstone for a new generation of European horror filmmakers -- weaned on independent genre movies of the 1960s and 1970s -- who prize their creative independence above all else and are fully prepared to spurn advances by Hollywood.
The majority of these directors, who are mostly in their 30s, come from countries like France and Spain, which until recently have had no discernible tradition of making horror films. These new horror auteurs have gained praise for their artisanal approach, which favors old-school latex special effects over CGI, and for their ability to work within tight budgets, a perfect fit for these economically straightened times.
Mr. Argento hails the new generation of European horror filmmakers "for respecting the horror genre and making highly personal films." This new wave includes horror auteurs like Spain's Juan Antonio Bayona ("The Orphanage," 2007), Sweden's Tomas Alfredson ("Let the Right One In," 2008), France's Pascal Laugier ("Martyrs," 2008), and Belgium's Fabrice Du Welz ("Vinyan," 2008), all of whom make use of frightening images and gore, but also tell stories that contain subtle political or social messages.
"European production companies have noticed that a huge generation gap has sprung up between younger and older audiences and have begun to target younger audiences with horror and fantasy films," says Jean-François Rauger, head programmer at the Cinémathèque Française and a critic at Le Monde newspaper, who traces the current trend for French horror back to Alexandre Aja's mould-breaking, violent debut "High Tension," which came out in 2003.