So the day is finally upon us – October 31st. The day when the dead walk the earth for one night of frivolous action. Where Witches ride in the night sky and cauldrons boil with the eyes of toads. If you’re too scared to venture out this evening, then check out this Top 10 list of films that you can watch tonight…
10 – As Above, So Below (2014)
So sue me, I’ve just completed a review for this (watch this space!) it may not be one of the most talked about films in the last couple of years, but it was able to manage that elusive thing and keep me thinking about it days after having watched it. A team explores the catacombs of Paris and come across some strange occurrences. The entry below foreshadows the evil that is about to be unleashed…
9 – The Exorcist III (1990)
It would have been too easy to list the original Exorcist; but there are just so many suspenseful options to choose from! There’s the spider-walk, the pea-green soup vomit and the transformation of innocent girl to full-blown demon, but these sequences have been parodied so much nowadays we turn to the third outing in the franchise – the underrated and misplaced Exorcist 3 shows us some discomforting scenes. There’s the lead up to a scissor cutting decapitation, of course, but this scene from inside the hospital just oozes creepy…
8 – Audition (1999)
Needles and wire. It’s true that our cultural collective minds have simply become desensitized to the gore and torture porn films that are readily out on the market these days, that type of filmmaking often fails to leave much of a lasting impression, certainly in terms of individual moments. But one title that totally qualifies is Takashi Miike‘s weird, disturbing “Audition,” especially in its extended torture climax. The build up leaves the audience shrinking away behind their sofa, knowing what is about to happen. The sound mix is the real winner here.
7 – 28 Weeks Later (2007)
Silence. It’s the first thing that hits you in Director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo’s sequel to Danny Boyle’s Rage Zombie flick – it’s like a mini movie on its own, with the opening segment establishing a terrifying world of people simply trying to stay alive and creates the paranoid, unnerving feeling in just six minutes. Leaving his wife to save his own skin, the terror that has been built up in the ‘safe house’ is unleashed as he runs for the escape boat. Added into the mix is John Murphy’s ‘In a heartbeat,’ theme – an opening prologue to a film you won’t forget in a hurry.
6 – The Last House On The Left (1972)
The original, ‘notorious’ video nasty, there are many moments in the late Wes Craven’s revenge flick that could be mentioned on this list – the film was subject to controversy over the infamous rape scene and ‘slasher’ mentality. After being tortured by a gang of murderous thugs, Phyllis is cornered and stabbed relentlessly. It’s the vacant enjoyment the murderers take in stabbing their victim to graphic death that is particularly shocking. And also guts.
5 – Jacob’s Ladder (1990)
Adrian Lyne‘s vastly underrated film showcases the effects that can be had from PTSD, in an era before PTSD was established. Part thriller, part mystery, we’re slowly led down the rabbit hole into the depths of a possible alternative reality to find creatures with shaky heads and in particular, a nightclub scene that involves Jacob’s girlfriend having sex with a lizard monster. Maybe. The most chilling interactions come from the ghastly glimpses of the creatures in Jacob’s (Tim Robbins) mind.
4 – Silence Of The Lambs (1990)
There are a plethora of unsettling scenes in The Silence of the Lambs; some would choose one of Anthony Hopkins’s exchanges with Jodi Foster’s Clarice, there are some that would pick his escape by using another person’s face as a mask, but this list is about suspense. And you don’t get more frightening than being in Buffalo Bill’s basement, as we see through the eyes (and night vision goggles) of the murderer, and know that Foster’s Starling is blind and helpless in the dark.
3 – The Thing (1982)
What’s worse than knowing that an alien is running around on an Antarctic outpost, killing and impersonating whomever it pleases, usually turning into a horrific space monster with tentacles once it’s been discovered? How about having a heart attack and seeing a friend’s chest caving in during defibrillation, revealing a set of inner teeth to get you in the Halloween mood? Special nod to the practical creature effects (mostly by Rob Bottin) that earn this horror movie classic a place on the list.
2 – It Follows (2014)
2014’s indie horror hit is one of the most recent films on this list, but it’s supremely chilling, and sets the mood for the rest of the film in the opening sequence which will stand the test of time. You know something isn’t quite right from the moment the teen runs out in her red high heels (red is a common theme in the film, check it out), and when the reveal comes, ‘It follows,’ teases a truly unsettling, inescapable horror.
1 – Alien (1979)
The original ‘Haunted House in Space’ film still sets the bar for creating frightening, terrifying imagery. H.R. Giger’s Xenomorph is as iconic as ever, yet the demise of Dallas in the first film shows what can be achieved with little more than a dot on a screen, electronic blips, some atmosphere and darkness.
And if your pumpkin doesn’t look like this, well…Get To The Chopper…