I do not find films that are traditionally classed as "horror" to be anywhere near horrifying. Surely that is the whole reason for the genre, to scare, to frighten, to unsettle. But what is known as horror (and I do admit to talking about mostly American horror) is more the slice and dice and murderously adept yet nimble individual who fell in the dressing up box.
This film, The Vanishing/Spoorloos/The Golden Egg depending on what country you hail from, was turned in to a thriller by a totally unnecessary American remake. They totally missed the whole dynamic of the film. Or in my opinion anyway.
I first saw this late one night and completely by chance. Flicking through the few channels we had in the early nineties I saw this, stopped, and stayed up until the wee small hours completely hooked.
The American remake changes the ending. Without spoiling this for anyone who may read this at any point (and I doubtanyone is) the ending is what makes the film, what establishes it firmly in the genre of horror.
No sudden boo got-ya, no overzealous murders shown in graphic technicolour. Instead this works in the mind. If someone you loved vanished one day, just completely vanished, how far would you go to try and find out what happened? And say someone, who to family and colleagues is someone worthy of respect, held the answers. I find the whole mental anguish to be so unsettling that this to me is what is horror. Real life, because this kind of thing occurs to people every day, the kind of things that can suddenly turn you from normal every day to a world you cannot escape, ever.
I have only seen this once more, I can remember it all clearly though. I can remember the end clearly and that is the scariest thing of all.