Diane Spencer picks some right horrors for your Halloween viewing.
Time to make black paper chains, hollow out pumpkins and stop dusting till November 1st to get that really authentic haunted house feel. For you dear readers, I have constructed a fright night movie list. (My scare rating is clearly how likely you will be able to sleep, gore rating is how visceral the entire thing is going to be and Hitchcock rating is how artistically satisfying it is.)
So if you are ready, turn down the lights, hear the creaking of your house as the wind moans through the night, and let the list begin – enter our haunted kingdom –peruse and find the right one for yoooooou!
Drag me to Hell (2009, director Sam Raimi)
AHollywood slick flick that shows what happens when you try to be a career woman and don’t have the nous to get a promotion without pissing off a haggard gypsy woman. There’s humour in this witchcraft-led horror, so, if your normal choice of film is something more akin to Sex and the City, but you want to try a horror film without too much blood and guts, Drag me to Hell is ideal.
The Skeleton Key (2005, director Iain Softley).
There’s a creeping sense of spooky, as Kate Hudson takes a job nursing an old man on a voodoo-riddled New Orleans plantation. An ideal film if you don’t like gore, but do like witchcraft and superstition. There’s a sincere psychological to the horror and the end scenario is chilling, especially to someone like me, who spends far too much money on face creams.
The Descent (2005, director Neil Marshall)
A group of women go potholing. That’s terrifying enough before everything goes dangerous, weird and their relationships are as unstable as the boulders around them. It’s intensely good at creating a sense of enclosure and claustrophobia and actress Shauna MacDonald is a brilliant action hero . As the social circle disintergrates in a crisis it reminds you that there’s that one person in your circle, who always makes you think “she’s going to let me down”. Now be stuck down a hole with her.
Zombieland (2009, director Ruben Fleischer)
Although the film’s best moments are in the opening 20 minutes or so, what a fantastic 20 minutes they are. There’s humour, gore and a real sense of letting loose. One of the best things about zombie apocalypse films, is that moment of joy when the living have the empty world and it’s trinkets as their playground – Zombieland does this in a beautifully and cathartically. Also, the rules of are a delight – and they have followed up with a fun, quirky web series, which you can investigate to your hearts content.
Tucker and Dale vs Evil (2010, director Eli Craig)
Have you ever given someone a bad first impression and they thought you were a cannibalistic inbred redneck? A comedy horror, ideal for people who want more of a laugh than a fright, but like to keep with the theme of Halloween. The two leading cast members Tyler Labine and Alan Tudyk are beautifully cast and play their performances with open charm and humour.
Attack the Block” (2011, director Joe Cornish)
A horror action film, which shows a community pulling together in the wake of a terrifying alien infestation. What is magical is the theme of “them and us” which also translates into the “haves and the have nots”. This film questions poverty, the impact of broken families and what it can feel like growing up on an inner city council block. A clever film, with great dialogue.
Silent Hill (2006, director Christophe Gans)
Okay, one of my favourite other genres, is film that originally started life as a video game. It is visually rich, surreal and stunning. There’s gore, darkness and creepy shit everywhere as reality flips dimension and a woman tries to find her child amid the madness. But does she know who her child really is? Great for those who like surreal artistry.
Rec (2007, directors Jaume Balaguero, Paco Plaza)
The pinnacle. Remade, practically word for subtitled word and rebranded Quarantine, the Spanish original really contains the creeping sense of damnation and infection. Please choose this one over the American remake that, like an overly botoxed face, has some originality polished out of it. Filmed in hand-held documentary style, this could be a considered a zombie film, but these are definitely more in keeping with Danny Boyle zoombies. They are not zombies in that they are not reanimated corpses – they are infected, with… well, I don’t want to ruin it. “Rec” is eerie, it is a slow burn, initially, but at the moment it takes off, it hits you with a bang and keeps on running.
Diane Spencer is a standup comedian and writer. Her favourite genres include comedy, horror and sci-fi. Loves halloumi.