Horror as a genre is gradually making its way back into the mainstream. As Halloween slowly draws closer – the perfect time to release a new horror flick – I thought I’d take a look at the best films the genre has seen.
10. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (original) It had to be on here, theres simply no doubt about it. Tobe Hooper’s cult classic shook the world up when it was released and cost just $ 140K to produce. A group of unheard-of actors basically get chopped up by a chainsaw-wielding cannibal by the name of Leatherface. If you haven’t seen it yet, get yourselves down to Blockbusters tonight and be prepared for a blood bath.
9. The Shining Originally written by horror powerhouse Stephen King, and converted for the screen by Kubrick (I love that man), The Shining is a chilling tale of a father possessed by an evil spirit in an isolated hotel. As is the case with all Kubrick films, the cinematography is stunning. A feeling of unease descends upon you about ten minutes into the film and refuses to budge until the credits at the end. Again, a must see.
8. Planet Terror I’m not sure if this counts as horror, but it’s got zombies in it, so that’s enough for me. Released as part of the Tarantino/Rodriguez Grindhouse series in 2007, the film is pure class, if not for everyone. Cheesy one-liners, litres of blood and a girl with a gun for a leg are three points that all make this film worthy of being in my top ten. Oh yeah; it’s got Bruce Willis in too.
7. The Blair Witch Project The Marmite of the film world. You either love the intimacy of this indy flick, or you can’t stand the constantly-shaking camera and the snot scene. But the reason this film is so good is that it plays on your imagination in ways that Jeepeers Creepers et al. don’t. You never see the ‘monster’ in the Blair Witch Project, which is, quite simply brilliant. Thanks Myrick and Sanchez, you did it.
6. The Omen (original) Again, not one that will on many people’s top tens, but as a teenager, this film really grabbed me as I sat there and watched on an old black and white TV late one evening. It was the dog that did it. That and the chilling photos developed by Roy Boyd that depicted how each person was going to die.
5. SAW Yes, here it is – the original film that started a legacy of films and inspired a ride at Thorpe Park. Saw was rather iconic as we all sat and watched Jigsaw play his sordid and sadistic games with people who he deemed to have messed up their lives with their own grubby actions. A clever (if a little predictable) twist made the film stand out from the crowd and certainly put in on people’s radars. 4. Eden Lake I only watched this film recently and was pleasantly surprised. Directed by James Watkins and starring the little one from This Is England, Eden Lake plays on the very real threat of unruly knife-wielding hoodies and what they are capable of when left to their own devices. After a mediocre start, the film bursts into action and ticks all the right boxes in terms of suspense, horror and nail-biteability. Quite simply, a must-see.
3. Event Horizon Horror or sci-fi? Event Horizon bridges the gap between the two genres and tells the story of a ship that has travelled through a black hole and back. It turns out the ship has been to some sort of hell and is now the residence of a devil-like being that feeds on fear. Very atmospheric and very tense throughout and well worth a spot in the top three.
2. The Human Centipede Tom Six you are one messed up individual. Quite how you came up with the idea for this I’ll never know, but it is, quite simply one of the sickest movies I have ever seen, complete with poor porn-movie acting to boot. If you haven’t heard anything of this film, go and google it now. Bucket at the ready.
1. Paranormal Activity This is my list, so I’ll decide what’s at the top. And Paranormal Activity certainly deserves its place at the top as being one of the only films to have ever sent a shiver down my spine. Another indie flick, Paranormal Activity cost just $ 15K to make, only stars a handful of actors, and plays on your subconscious mind throughout. Like the Blair Witch Project, you never actually see the monster, only the effect of its actions. There’s a sequel out this Halloween which so far looks pretty good. Here’s hoping it doesn’t follow in the BWP’s footsteps by making the sequel nothing short of an embarrassment.
Jon is a horror movie enthusiast and is looking forward to Halloween 2010, and the best Halloween events in London.