A great horror movie makes more of an impression on the psyche than any other kind of film. Hell, even a bad horror flick can scar you for life. There’s a phrase that every seasoned horror fan loves to hear: “Have you ever seen . . . ?” For the next 31 days, John E. Meredith will unearth some of his personal favorites that fell through the cracks, that are not so obvious, the kind that might even sneak up on you while you’re trying to sleep. Spoorloos, or The Vanishing 1988, Netherlands. Directed by George Sluizer, from the book by Tim Krabbe. Starring Gene Bervoets, Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu and Johanna Ter Steege. How far would you go to find out what happened to someone you love? That is one of the major questions posed by the 1988 Dutch thriller THE VANISHING. This is also the comparably quieter type of horror I spent a lot of time with in the ’90s, when I wasn’t watching dudes take out entire roomfuls of zombies with lawnmowers. While vacationing in France, Rex and Saskia run out of gas in a dark tunnel. Despite his girlfriend’s protests, Rex leaves the car and gropes his way toward the light in search of a gas station. When he returns he finds Saskia crying, utterly terrified. She makes him promise to never leave her again. The young couple has a roadside picnic near the filling station. We get to see them together, truly in love, a long future waiting ahead of them, before Saskia ventures into the filling station to grab a few things. And never comes back. While the ending of this movie is truly horrific, it’s more of a thought-provoking late-night psychological thriller than a straight-up horror movie. Other than a few nicely filmed moments in enclosed spaces, there’s very little that’s visually spectacular on the screen. But what that does is to draw you closer into the psyches of the characters. It’s s sneaky thing that the director, George Sluizer, has done here. Obviously, Rex is the person we feel we should be drawn to, the heartbroken and obsessed man in search of his lost love. But when that obsession continues for three years, with the endless television appearances and ads placed, all the while neglecting his new girlfriend and the rest of his life, Rex grows increasingly tiresome. Our sympathies are gradually shifted to the more interesting and even more likable character, the sociopath. This is all leading to the choice that Max is given when he finally meets the bad guy. He can know exactly what happened to Saskia, if he will just drink what’s in this glass . . . Be warned, there are subtitles. But be certain to look for the Dutch original, often called by its other title, SPOORLOOS. Due to the success of this film in his Sluizer’s native land, Hollywood threw a bunch of money (and Kiefer Sutherland) at him to remake it for American audiences. The remake is far inferior, with a ridiculous happy ending that the studio insisted on adding. See larger image The Vanishing [Blu-ray] A Dutchman goes with his girlfriend’s French kidnapper to learn her horrible fate. New From: $21.44 USD In Stock Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.