Now this one I have really been looking forward to. I’ve banged on before about my great affinity for Horror Movies, the scary, gory, funny and kitsch alike. I expected to sit down to toil over one of the toughest lists so far but my Top 5 came forth with relative ease and I somehow managed to choose my top 5 each from a slightly different sub-genre of horror.
So here goes:
Lottie’s Top Five Horror Movies
“See? Head on a stick!”
I am a firm believer that brutal violence does not a true horror make. That is the reason that the Saw Franchise won’t make my list, despite Saw I being a spectacularly horrific and clever movie. I want however to consider the movies that have really affected me and Wolf Creek certainly meets that criteria. I watched 70% of the film from behind the couch, one hand on the door.
Set in the Australian outback and based (loosely) on true events the movie follows three backpackers who whilst backpacking in the outback run into car troubles and well…mayhem ensues. It’s a bit like a Texas Chain Saw for the naughties.
The film fared pretty well in the cinemas in comparison to it’s production costs and was was nominated for a number of awards for direction.
One of my prevailing memories of watching the movie was a lack of music but I this doesn’t seem to be the case as it has a score running throughout. It must have been the cold sweats that made me imagine that bit.
“She did lose her head that night, Trish, and you wanna know what he did for her?
He sewed it back on.”
Not to be confused or in anyway associated in my mind with the atrocity of a movie that was Jeepers Creepers 2 *pah spit pah*. The sequel is an affront to the original but then that’s Hollywood for you, they see a potentially profitable franchise and jump on it like a rabid cowgirl on a bucking bronco. Sorry, I just really hate the second one.
But back to the original, which is a classic yet unconventional horror movie. Centering really only around two characters, a brother and sister pair traveling home from college. It’s funny, tense, well written and brilliantly frightening.
Because of the small cast, it has rare character development that you don’t get in horror movies as they tend normally to be a death fest where each of thirteen teenagers is picked off one by one. Jeepers Creepers is a slow burn to the death. You really get to know the characters before the credits role. The only shortfall of the film is the final reveal of the villain but it doesn’t take from the overall experience. I can’t recommend this one enough.
3. A Nightmare on Elm Street - The entire series
“Whatever you do don’t fall asleep.”
It’s not cheating if I’m the one making up the rules. I can’t pick one of the Elm Streets as my favourite in isolation. They story weaves itself right through the, with 7 movies now (excluding the Freddy vs Jason), each time revealing a little more background to the best horror-bad-guy of all time.
I grew up with Freddy. He was the Jason Voorhees or Mike Myers of my generation and he was terrifying as a child. I can happily watch the movies now and laugh and find them entirely kitsch but they were, in their own time true horror masterpieces.
Last week I watched, for the first time, The People Under the Stairs and I will eventually get around to the 1972 version of The Last House on the Left…but I admit, I am a little bit scared. I would love to one day meet Wes Craven and give him a big hug for keeping my imagination over-excited as a child.
The Ring was one of the movies to blame for tipping me over the edge a few years back. It terrified me. The nails on the wall, the mirrors, the TV, the creepy child. There was nothing about it that didn’t make me uneasy. For a long time I after I couldn’t bear to watch another horror for fear that it would be even slightly as frightening as The Ring.
The Japanese version of The Grudge, entitled Ju-on had a similar effect on me and I had considered it for the list, but then some smart arse would just say I was throwing a foreign movie for the sake of it *ahem Darren*. The American retelling of The Grudge in 2004 borrowed heavily from the success of The Ring and really wasn’t a patch on the original. I recommend it if you ever want to be afraid of your own bed.
“The Power of Christ compels you!”
(Bet you thought I’d go for the other one)
Clichéd? I don’t think so. Despite being made in 1973, almost decade before I was born, I can say that I saw The Exorcist in the cinema in the late 90’s. Someone might be able to clarify if that was after the ban was lifted or simply the Director’s cut.
Like any great horror, it taps into the audience’s primal fears such as the unknown, madness, random evil and transformation. It has some of the most memorable and recognisable scenes from any film and sets the bar for what real horrors must achieve. No matter how many times I watch this movie, it will always be through my fingers and it will always scare the bejesus out of me.
Honorable mentions: So what didn’t quite make my cut but deserve a mention and recommendation? The Strangers, The Mouth of Madness, Descent, Rosemary’s Baby, Deliverance, Wrong Turn, Night of The Hunter, Cape Fear, The Village, Death Watch, Dog Soldiers and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre for a start.
I also have it on good authority that The Orphanage, (Produced by Guillermo Del Toro) is a horror masterpiece but I have yet to see it all. It’s on the to-do list.
One final question, now that the boy isn’t drinking for a month, do we need to change the title of the series?
Don’t worry about the title – I’m sure you’ll drink enough for both of us.
Firstly, apologies for the delay in posting the list this week. It’s my fault. As easy as Lottie found it to put her top five together, I’m finding it next to impossible. I am a horror nut – it’s without a doubt my favourite genre and I enjoy every piece of mulch the genre spits out. From the epic Shining, to the kitch Nightmare on Elm Street, from the torture porn of the Saw franchise to the skewed vision of Scream, I love it all. How can I pick my top five? I’m not sure I can…
Darren’s Top Five Horror Movies
One, two, Freddy’s coming for you.
Three, four, better lock your door.
Five, six, grab your crucifix.
Seven, eight, better stay awake.
Nine, ten, never sleep again.
In my notepad I have a list of about 20 horrors, which I am struggling to dwindle to five. What could I put in fifth place instead of Freddy’s first outing? I looked at the lost in the woods films such as Cabin Fever, Wrong Turn and even Wolf Creek. I thought about the werewolf movies that I have watched time and time again, American Werewolf in London and Dog Soldiers. There’s a lot to be said for adding the sweeping horror-dramas of Dracula, Interview with a Vampire, Rosemary’s Baby and even M. Night’s The Village, but this list would we deficient if I didn’t include the movie that first got me hooked on horror.
Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street introduced the world to one of the greatest screen villains ever, Freddy Krueger. Because of the farcical nature of the subsequent franchise, people tend to forget how chilling the original was – it tapped into the most frightening place anyone has ever been – dreams – and played with all the common dream scenarios to create a frightening but clever horror that never took itself too seriously, but made sure to wring every drip of terror out of each scene.
The franchise that it spawned was fun and resulted in at least two great movies – the second sequel, Dream Warriors, turned the dream sequences into mini-movies and was as origianl as the first, while Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (the 7th in the series) broke the forth dimension to create a forerunner for Scream. More than Jason Voorhees, more than Mike Myers, even more than Norman Bates or Hannibal Lecter, Fred Krueger is the ultimate horror creation. Why? Because as much as we are scared by him, as much as we hate him and are disgusted by him…we love him too.
4. The Ring
What will happen to the person we show it to?
The Ring (US) did not scare me as much as The Grudge (US), but without it we would not have had the influx of Eastern inspired creepy horror that was so prevalent in the early Naughties. The creepy kid, the use of technology as an horrific force, the warped hair and body movements. In 2002, it was the first truly scary horror I had seen in years.
3. The Shining
Wendy? Darling? Light, of my life. I’m not gonna hurt ya. You didn’t let me finish my sentence. I said, I’m not gonna hurt ya. I’m just going to bash your brains in.
A Stephen King adaptation was destined to appear in the list. The stuff of children’s nightmares, Pennywise the Clown in It, has become dated and Misery is more a thriller than horror (IMO). Carrie, Christine and Pet Semetary are fun, but The Shining eclipses all of these. Dark, grand in scale and as beautiful as it is chilling, Kubrick’s classic stands the test of time and is terrifying in a more cerebral way than many other horrors. It pains me that so many people that I know still haven’t seen this. It is one of the most ‘must see’ movies ever. Sort yourself out, O’Shea.
Mother? What’s wrong with me?
How could this not be on the list? The darkest and most evil of all horrors. I think if you grow up with a belief in God, this movie is made all that much scarier. When I finally saw this film in the cinema, it was with a group of loud lads and girls, ready for a night out and not too interested in the scary side of the film – it was all abotu having a laugh at the movies with friends. Within minutes of the film starting, we were deathly silent and remained gripped until the end. Even when nothing is happening on screen, it’s scary. Though parodied to death, when watching ti for the first time, it’s the most unpredictable and terrifying of all horror movies ever made. Forget Freddy, forget inbred cannibals in the woods, forget crazed chainsaw killers or psychos with dead mothers. The evil in The Exorcist is faceless – almost.
Life is like a movie. Only you can’t pick your genre.
You might think this a strange choice. First and foremost, it is a horror – there are plenty of jumps and gore – but it is also a comedy and an extremely clever deconstruction and reconstruction of the entire horror genre. Scream revitalized the genre in the mid 90s, similar to the what Halloween did in the 1970’s, but it used a standard concept with a tongue-in-cheek approach that combined straightforward scares with the satirisation of slasher film conventions. For a horror movie buff, Scream both laughs at its genre and celebrates it all at once. Wes Craven created the ultimate horror homage, and managed to frighten a few people along the way. Granted the sequels left a lot to be desired and the plans to make another Scream trilogy do not fill me with joy, but Scream is not just a groundbreaking horror, it is a seminal piece of filmmaking in terms of reinvigourating a dying genre.
Honorable mentions: It was tough to leave Saw out of this list. So too, Childs Play, Jeepers Creepers, Event Horizon, In the Mouth of Madness, Decent and a scary part of my childhood, Dark Night of the Scarecrow.
So, over to you – what are your favourite horrors? What makes you scream?