Yes, yes, I know it’s June. This one appeared in Sin on October 25 2011.
First things first: I am a total coward. I love the supernatural, but when it comes down to it, I’d rather hack off my own foot than hang out with a gang of ghosts. But it is almost Hallowe’en, that special time of the year when the gossamer curtain between the mortal realm and the land of the dead is at its thinnest, when every creak on the staircase or rustle of an autumn leave sounds like a spectral footstep… and when college students like to dress up in silly outfits and watch scary movies. With this in mind, here are five horror movies to suit every occasion.
Scariest recent film: The Ring. Yes, yes I know. There’ll be howls of “That’s not scary!” But the American adaptation of The Ring is a very effective, atmospheric thriller, and the cursed videotape by itself is enough to give anyone the creeps. After the first time I watched this (alone, foolishly) my TV made lots of white noise and the lights flickered… Samara didn’t appear, but I spent a sleepless night. For a scarier experience, track down the original Japanese version. Honourable mentions: Paranormal Activity, The Strangers.
Scariest 1980s: The 80s were a decade of horror, and that was just the clothes. The movies were almost as terrifying. Top of the pile was Poltergeist, the story of a family who annoy some seriously malevolent ghosts by moving into a house on top of an Indian burial ground. What makes the film even more chilling is the story of a curse surrounding the cast and crew, which apparently claimed several lives. Honourable mentions: The Shining (spoofed too much to be really scary), Friday the 13th.
Vintage horror: It has to be the man himself, Alfred Hitchcock, with every shower salesman’s favourite film, Psycho. While the violence is mild by today’s standards, Psycho ratchets up the tension until you dread any human coming into contact with mammy’s boy, Norman Bates. The moment Norman’s little secret is discovered is still frightening all these years later. Honourable mentions: Dawn of the Dead, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
Best Gore: On the other hand, you definitely could not call the violence in Saw mild. A million sequels later, it’s still a massive franchise, and the Jigsaw killer will haunt your nightmares. The original film, released back in 2004, is full of twists and turns and of course, violence. Sawlaunched a whole horror subgenre of gore: the bloodier the better. Honourable mentions: Hostel, The Human Centipede (for the extremely strong-stomached).
Best Silly: By now, your nerves should be well and truly shot. Well, Dammit Janet, you’ve got to do the Time Warp with a Sweet Transvestite. Yes, it’s the Rocky Horror Picture Show, the cult classic which takes the mickey of every horror convention in the book. It’s a must-see, and the only scary bit is the sight of Tim Curry in stockings. Honourable mentions: The Nightmare before Christmas, Sorority Row (although I’m not sure if that was meant to be funny…)
As you attempt to close your eyes tonight, just remember- there’s no scientific evidence that ghosts exist, vampires were just the Victorians’ way of dealing with sex and sadistic serial killers make up 0.000000000001% of the popul- OH MY GOD, WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!