What with the countdown to Halloween upon us, I reminded himself that we should start our horror film marathon. He was..less than enthusiastic about it, given that movies of a scary nature are really more my thing. So I decided to share my top ten horrors (but not in any actual numerical order, just to confuse matters) with you lovely people instead, husband be damned! (no, not really, he'll still have to watch most of these with me).
I should point out that there are several sub-genres within the horror genre itself and I did wonder if I should try and include one from each in the list, but to be honest that would take way too much time, so here are my general favourites instead. I tend to avoid anything that could be considered "torture horror"- I've watched Hostel, The Collector (internal shudder), Wolf Creek, Creep, The Hills Have Eyes, Captivity and several of the Saws, so we can all agree I've done my homework but they're just not for me. Scary? Indeed. Classics? Oh, hell no. I like my horrors with a bit of intelligence- not just instantly forgettable sadistic slashers. Also, I don't know if I can include Alien or Jaws in here, cause although they both are considered horrors in a way, Alien is really more sci-fi and I've mentioned Jaws before HERE, so I said I'd leave it out of this list.
Noteworthy mentions should also go to Friday the 13th, Final Destination, Evil Dead, Insidious, Jeepers Creepers (which was bloody terrifying, now that I recall), The Hitcher, An American Werewolf in London, Night of the Living Dead, The Birds, The Woman in Black, The Wicker Man, Don't Look Now, The Exorcist, It, Carrie, The Silence of the Lambs, Misery, The Mist and Candyman. If you think of any I've missed, please let me know in the comments!
Scream marked Wes Craven's return to horror in the 90's and signaled a complete upheaval of the entire genre. It features a group of teens (the heroine and main target being Sydney), one by one being picked off by the unknown masked killer, "ghostface", culminating in a big final showdown at a house party. What's so great about Scream is that the characters are aware of the history of horror movies and make reference to it several times as a plan for survival- it means we, as the audience are part of the in-joke, something that hadn't been seen in scary movies before then.
After all that I was saying about "torture horror", picking the film that pretty much started off that entire genre probably seems odd but The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a classic horror- it's been copied (badly) by so many others for a reason. Basic premise- teens out in the middle of nowhere after their van breaks down, they stumble upon a family of inbred psychopaths and the rest is pretty terrifying history.
The Omen was one of the first scary films to employ the use of a small yet terrifying child to freak us all out- Damien is basically the spawn of the devil. It takes his parents a while to figure it out, much to their misfortune. Lots of nasty deaths and an excellent musical score make this a good'un.
Ah, Psycho. I've spoken about this before HERE so I won't go into detail again. Just to say I saw this in the cinema recently and it's even better on the big screen. Psycho was so shocking in its day because it was the first of its kind. It's been copied so much since but it is still the original and best.
The Ring- The American version, a remake of the Japanese original. I often think there are no good remakes of horrors, except for this. Some say this one isn't as scary as the Japanese one but I disagree. The creepy child (who simultaneously looks like a grown man when moving- very unsettling) crawling out of the tv to kill people- shudder.
A Nightmare on Elm Street- the very first one. All the others were a complete washout. Freddy Krueger is a Paedophile/school janitor who was burnt to death after the parents of his victims found out about his crimes. Krueger now haunts and kills the townsfolk's teenagers- but in their sleep. Worth watching for the scares but also to see a young Johnny Depp get torn to shreds. If you're, ahem, into that sort of thing.
Halloween is one of my all time favourite horrors- it follows Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) around on Halloween (unsurprisingly) as she's stalked by psychopathic killer Michael Myers. She's aware something weird is going on and is a bit freaked out but thinks it's all in her mind until her friends start going missing one by one that night- and then it's her turn. One of the first "slashers" made, this also has had many copies and it's own franchise but nothing beats the original.
Ah God, I love a good zombie movie. I say "good" cause there have been some awful ones. 28 Days Later however, is amazing- made by Danny Boyle and starring Cillian Murphy, the zombies in it are infected by rage so they move at an alarmingly fast rate and although the usual beating to the head sorts them out, they are pretty terrifying when they can't be outrun like your average undead. Unusually, this one questions what would happen to uninfected members of society if there was a zombie outbreak. In this case the answer, realistically, is some good old misogyny with male sociopathic army dudes in charge, adding an extra element of creepiness to the film. As an aside- 28 Weeks Later is also great.
The Shining is based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, although the two are very different and I have to say, I prefer the book. Regardless of that, the film is still excellent. The Torrance family have moved to the Overlook hotel in the snowy back arse of nowhere to be the caretakers while it's closed for the Winter months. Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) plans to work on his writing while there but the haunted hotel and his sons ability to sense the paranormal (called "the shining") conspire against him and he ends up going a bit mad. All work and no play, etc. If you've never seen this, I cannot recommend it enough. It is absolutely chilling and so well made. Watch it!!
Rosemary's Baby is a real slow build of a horror. Don't watch it if you're expecting jumps and non-stop shocks, cause you won't get it. Rosemary and Guy are a young married couple who move into an old apartment building in New York that has a fairly unpleasant history. Their neighbours are an elderly couple who quickly immerse themselves completely in Rosemary's life, particularly when she becomes pregnant. I can't really say much more without giving away the entire plot but what I will say is that this is probably the perfect film for you this Halloween if you're not actually a huge horror fan..it's very creepy and you will spend the entire film with a sense of growing unease and tension. You know something bad is happening and you know something even worse is coming but it's so cleverly written that it's more like a disturbing jigsaw puzzle then anything else.
So that's your lot! Happy viewing and of course, Happy Halloween!