5 Great Horror Films To Watch On Halloween: Part 2

Seeing as it is Halloween soon I thought that it would be fitting to give another list of, what I consider, to be great horror films. Watch these on your Halloween night and it is sure to be an enjoyable, yet terrifying one. This list compiles horror films from a wide range in the genre, so it is likely that it will contain something that will give your spine a shiver.

Film Type: Creepy Classic

Psycho 1960

Where would horror be today if Alfred Hitchcock had not decided to take on directorial duties? Thankfully we don’t have ponder that question, as he created many masterpieces in his time; including the film which will have inspired many horror directors after him, Psycho. Anthony Perkins takes on the role of the infamous Norman Bates, a lonely motel owner who is slightly too attached to his eerie mother. When beautiful women check into Bates’ motel, they don’t usually check out. Perkins gives a stellar performance here, as he convinces the audience that underneath that shy persona a psychopathic mentality lurks, just waiting to strike at his next available victim. Psycho is a complete classic all round, will probably be in most horror fans film collections and contains one of the most famous shower scenes in cinema history. Janet Leigh never saw that knife coming.

psycho 1

Film Type: Uncanny Undead

Dawn of the Dead 1978

The second in the Godfather of Gore, George A. Romero’s, dead trilogy; and predecessor to the film which shaped zombie films today, Night of the Living Dead. Where the first in the trilogy introduced us to these flesh-eating ghouls, Dawn of the Dead was much more character driven and the make-up effects were just spectacular, even though most of the undead did appear blue. Zombies have already risen and two soldiers, with a helicopter pilot and his girlfriend team up to secure a mall to wait out the on coming hoards. From beginning to end this film is enjoyable, not only does it have great a story, characters and make-up but it also brings that creepy 70s vintage film vibe that adds a lot to the atmosphere.

dawn 3

Film Type: Sinister Supernatural

The Evil Dead1981

The demonic low-budget horror film which, along with its two sequels, has become one of the biggest films in the cult arena. B-Movie superstar Bruce Campbell stars as Ashley ‘Ash’ Williams, as he, his girlfriend and their three friends travel to a cabin in the woods for a night of debauchery. Unfortunately the festivities are cut short as one of the members of the group reads from the Necronomicon; an ancient evil book that is bound in human flesh and written in human blood. From that moment on a demonic force is released and goes on to take control of the various members of the group, forcing them to try to kill their friends. Buckets of blood, amazing make-up that will turn your stomach and cheesy one-liners make this a film one that you will never forget. Oh, and there’s the tree scene, no explanation needed…just watch it.

evil

Film Type: Eerie Extraterrestrials

The Thing1982
Master of horror John Carpenter has given us some amazing flicks over the years; such as Halloween in 1978 and The Fog in 1980. However, there is one film from this director that was leaps and bounds above what anyone expected it to be – The Thing. Based on the novella Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell Jr., the plot is that a crew working out in Antarctica find an odd frozen creature at a Norwegian outpost, after they take it back with them and it thaws out it takes the form of any person it can come into contact with. The audience, along with the characters, never know who truly is the alien and who isn’t; you find out quite suddenly though when it starts attacking you as its body morph into all kinds of nasty creatures. The Thing is praised for having effects which were way ahead of its time, and also one of the most suspenseful blood testing scenes ever.

thing

Film Type: Macabre Monsters

The Descent2005

This British horror from Neil Marshall really gives you that feeling of claustrophobia, as six women decide to take a trip caving and get trapped underground. What they don’t know is that this particular cave just so happens to house flesh-eating humanoids; creatures who have adapted to the dark and will tear at and eat any fresh meat they can find. The Descent plays on the creepy vibe so well, firstly by making you feel trapped in the caves with the characters, but even before the cave-in as it casually shows you the creatures lurking in the distance. The scene that makes this one of my favourites though is after the girls realise the trouble they are in, in the dark one of the group puts on the night-vision camera, and as we look through it a scare happens which I have never forgotten; no matter how many times I’ve watched it.

SAW_1Sheet_Comps

Happy Halloween.

What Are You Scared Of?

What is it about horror films that scares us? It could be a number of things, or it could just be one element of the film. Whether or not you will admit to it, there will have been a film that has made you feel uncomfortable whilst you have been watching it. It could be the dialogue, the characters, the setting, the effects or the story line. While some films will scare certain people, others will not be so terrified by them. The tone of the film and what is in it is what determines who will get scared by it. I think that there are at least 5 different categories in horror and everyone falls in to one of them. Whether you like it or not, there is one film out there that will have had the hairs on the back of your neck stand up as the cold chills ride themselves up your spine.

psycho

Jump Scares

We have all been there, you have just sit down to watch a horror film and as you begin to get into the story and know the characters there comes a loud bang and the appearance of the antagonist; which is usually followed by your arms flailing in the air and your vocal chords letting out a loud, screeching yelping noise. You have just been the victim of a jump scare. They are one of the oldest types of scares from horror films and generally are given when the antagonist, another character or an animal jumps out onto the protagonists. However after so many horror films have used them through the years, the building music followed by total silence and then a big bang has become a cliché. Therefore they have lost some of the ‘oompf’ which used to terrify audiences.

Example: The Descent

 

Gore

This aspect of horror films has been constantly getting improved on throughout the years (unless they decide to use CGI) which means bad news for anyone who is squeamish around the sight of blood, disembowelment or limbs being pulled apart. Apart from affecting the squeamish, gory films may also be so effective because if is done well it can make the film and the scenes which are depicted so much more realistic to the viewer. Sometimes gore can improve a film when the plot is lacking a bit; the make-up effects can keep you gripped throughout. For example with the 1979 film Zombie Flesh Eaters, it is an iconic film in the horror genre; not so much for the story as it is for its exceptional make-up work on its characters. I have seen a lot of gory horror films in my time, but the effects still astonish me, and on more than one occasion have made me clench my teeth together and make a disgusted face.

Example: Hostel

 

Creepiness

This is one of my favourite elements of horror films. It is great when you see a film that just sets the tone of the plot so well, that it can have you shaking just from listening to the dialogue of the characters. Like the imagination element creepiness is used best when not much of the antagonist is seen on camera, but just snippets or the feeling that an evil force is lurking nearby. What is great about the creepy aspect is that film makers can use nearly every part of their movie to give you that creepy feeling. Diegetic/non-diegetic sounds, lighting, settings and even silence can be used to immerse the audience into that state of them being in danger from a deadly presence. A great example of this is M. Night. Shyamalan’s Signs. In this personal favourite of mine Shyamalan uses all of these aspects to give a creepy notion throughout the entire film. Although you could argue that it was slightly ruined with the CGI ending, there is no doubt that you constantly feel as though the characters are being watched, something which is rubbed off onto the audience.

Example: Signs

 

Our Own Fears

Probably the most obvious element of a horror film scaring a viewer is if they watch one that uses something they are scared of in their daily lives. For example with me it would be aliens and therefore The Fourth Kind brought the heebie jeebies to the surface. Other examples could include REC for a fear of disease, It for a fear of clowns, Ju-On: The Grudge for a fear of ghosts and Buried for a fear of small spaces. It just all depends on what you are scared of because film makers will have thought about what scares people when they aren’t watching films and will use that idea to make a movie which will probably force the viewer to be even more terrified of their fear.

Examples:  The Fourth Kind/It/REC/Ju-On: The Grudge/Buried

 

Imagination

Your imagination might be thought of as a fantasy place where you can create whatever you want and do whatever you want. However, your imagination is also the doorway to the deepest, darkest fears which lurk inside your head. They are just waiting for you to turn off that light or walk down that dark alleyway so that they can unleash whatever it is that scares you the most. I think that this element is quite possibly the best one to use for a horror film. As well as it delivering the creepy factor and playing on your own fears, it gives the audience the ability to form the idea of the antagonist themselves. Thus making them release their inner fears and project them into the film. Films which use this factor generally do not show the villain at all, or if they do it will only be a slight glimpse. Therefore they use suspense to their advantage. If the film makers can keep the suspense at a high throughout most of the film then that is great, but ending the film on a high without showing the ‘bad guy’…now there is the real challenge.

Examples: The Blair Witch Project/Atrocious/Paranormal Activity

Let me know what it is in horror films which scares you and why.