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Being a housewife is scary! JU-ON and PARANOMAL ACTIVITY prove it

JU-ON

With Halloween right around the corner, there’s a plethora of scary movies to choose from here on Sundance Channel, including JU-ON tonight at midnight. In this chilly offering from Japan (seriously, Japanese filmmakers know how to give you the willies!), the death of a housewife creates a gift that keeps on giving in the form of a curse that won’t let go once it grabs on. It was terrifying enough that it was later remade as THE GRUDGE with Sarah Michelle Gellar in the leading role for U.S. audiences. But those are far from the only films where housewives make enticing victims — read on…

JU-ON (2000)
In this low-budget horror flick, filmmaker Takashi Shimizu managed to scare audiences without breaking the bank, using extreme minimalism to great effect. It all starts with the creation of a vengeful spirit in the form of a murdered housewife who’s determined to get vengeance. Her death creates a curse that keeps on spreading — and killing. Because actual onscreen violence is so rare in the film, it’s all the more jarring when it happens, and you’ll be left sitting on the edge of your seat till the very end.

DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK (1973)
When a young couple inherits a house, they have no idea that the spirits inhabiting it have designs on the wife; when she insists that something is wrong, her husband pooh-poohs her. It’s a frequent story in the housewife-as-victim trope: The woman no one listens to pays the ultimate price for everyone’s ignorance, or is forced to figure it out on her own. Women are used to being called hysterical when they see something no one else does, so movies like this play on a lot of deep-seated fears.

THE HOUSEWIFE SLASHER (2012)
Suburbia makes a great setting for horror movies because we all like to imagine what lies beneath manicured lawns and spotless developments. In this freaky film, someone’s stalking housewives and two detectives need to figure out who before another woman dies, but it’s an uphill battle when no one’s willing to talk about it.

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY (2007)
Yet another wife who sees a problem and gets written off by her husband. Katie and Micah may be living their dream in a new home, but Katie thinks she’s being stalked by a presence that’s followed her since childhood. Using a camera, Micah tries to capture evidence of the paranormal phenomenon, and this becomes the premise behind the film, which consists of found footage from their nights of terror. While Micah remains skeptical, Katie gets ever more terrified… until the shocking ending. (PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 4 hits theaters today.)

A KILLING IN A SMALL TOWN (1990)
To round out the list, we thought we’d include a little housewife-on-housewife violence. Based on a true story, the film tracks what happens when a housewife is brutally murdered and the suspect turns out to be her quiet neighbor. What unfolds next is utterly unexpected, and the story will twist and turn to the bitter end. It’s not horror, but it’s still pretty darn creepy, all the more so because these events really happened.

JU-ON is part of Sundance Channel’s WTF: Watch This Film. Catch our weekly selection of the weird, wacky and way out every Thursday at Midnight.