***Warning- this post contains spoilers***
With Hallowe’en fast approaching, I thought it was about time to draw up a list of the ultimate horror movies to stick on the DVD player this weekend. While big-time horror movie buffs will advise every cult movie from the obscure to the downright disgusting, I (as someone who only enjoys a scary film from time to time) will be focusing on the classics- those that exploded onto the mainstream movie scene with a pile of blood, guts and high-pitched screams.
10. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
Fulfilling the compulsory sci-fi selection, Invasion of the Body Snatchers is a superbly creepy depiction of an alien takeover. With an all-star cast, including Leonard Nimoy and Donald Sutherland, the acting is also much better than many horror movies. Ultimate scary moment: Donald’s Sutherland shriek at the end… obviously.
9. Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
What would a horror movie list be without a film about a group of horny teenagers getting picked off one by one? Nightmare on Elm Street is one of my particular faves (I dressed up as Freddy Krueger for Hallowe’en when I was ten). Despite its cheesy 80s nature, it still delivers a whole lot of scares. Ultimate scary moment: the death of Glen a.k.a a young, hot Johnny Depp- he was just too beautiful to die.
8. Paranormal Activity (2007)
This series has its lovers and its haters but if I can say one thing for the first film, it does make you jump right outta your skin. I swear your heartbeat only just regulates before the next scare causes it to Usain Bolt its way out of your chest. Ultimate scary moment: where do those footprints in the flour come from?
7. An American Werewolf in London (1981)
Definitely the best of the werewolf genre, the story of the man that finds himself acting a bit weird around the full moon before full on changing into a fuzzy killer is humorous, thrilling and terrifying all in one. Ultimate scary moment: the first time he changes into a werewolf- it literally looks like every vein is about to pop out of his body.
6. Saw (2004)
While this series definitely got dragged on for too long (apparently they’re thinking of making more – WHY?!) the original premise was brilliant and executed expertly in the first film. It manages to deliver 1001 different shocks, and it’s all (mostly) filmed in one dingy bathroom with like two guys and a saw? Incredible. Ultimate scary moment: when the guy saws his fricking foot off with a handsaw – again, pretty obvious.
5. Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Is it not every mother-to-be’s nightmare that she will give birth to a monster? Well if it’s not it will be after watching a pregnant woman slowly discover she is giving birth to the devil incarnate. Ultimate scary moment: the raw liver scene – all that needs to be said.
4. The Exorcist (1973)
Disgusting and terrifying, this depiction of a young girl possessed by an evil spirit and the priest that tries to save her has branded itself on the brain of everyone who has ever watched it. Ultimate scary moment: the scene of the possessed girl masturbating with a crucifix is probably the most awful thing that ever made it onto the big screen.
3. The Wicker Man (1973)
Okay I can handle monsters, gore and suspense but human ritual sacrifice and a messed up cult led by Christopher Lee (one of the creepiest individuals on the planet) is something that gives me nightmares. Plus it’s set in Scotland (where I live). A clever but massively disturbing suspense ridden thrill ride, which ends in devastation. Ultimate scary moment: the appearance of people in creepy animal masks, which triggers the realisation that he won’t make it off the island.
2. The Shining (1980)
Absolute classic starring Jack Nicholson who suffers from a case of the crazies after too long spent alone with his family in a hotel. Based on the Stephen King novel, the movie exudes supernatural elegance and psychological trauma. Ultimate scary moment: HERE’S JOHNNY!!!
1. 28 Days Later (2002)
Some might consider it a travesty that I’ve picked this as my number one over others but hear me out. Directed by Danny Boyle, one of the best guys ever, it is the most stylishly executed zombie apocalypse movie of all time. From fantastic acting to gory yet subtle special effects, the film becomes believable and downright terrifying. It manages horror without the over the top nature of so many in the genre. Ultimate scary moment: when a drop of infected blood hits the dad in the eye and he zombifies right in front of his teenage daughter- heart-breaking yet petrifying.
Disagree with my list? Feel free to post your favourite horror classics in the comments section below.
-Image courtesy of Giuseppe Broccolo (flickr.com/photos/gibro)