I have to admit, horror is probably my least favourite genre. Partly because I struggle to find a good story to sink my teeth into, partly because I’m a big wimp and spend most of the time curled up behind a pillow. Despite that, I do have some treasured horror flicks, and these are the top 10.
10. The Blair Witch Project
I was pretty young at the time The Blair Witch Project hit cinemas but old enough to understand the hype around it. Coming to a point in my mid teens where I felt comfortable enough to tackle it, I was thoroughly petrified into a state which lasted several hours, with that image of Mike stood in the corner burnt into my retinas. Despite the general consensus now and diluted affect following years of found footage films, it still remains (for me) a landmark in horror movies.
Psychological horror at its best. Roman Polanski did top Repulsion three years later with another horror film, but for only his second feature film it plays with some great affects and trippy sequences, with the ever brilliant and ever beautiful Catherine Deneuve working with the effects of trauma in some very horrific ways.
8. 28 Days Later
I do like zombie films, but none are this detailed. The opening scene of 28 Days Later is enough to land it in the cinematic history books alone, never mind all the political allegory and drama thrown into the mix. A zombie movie with substance.
As a franchise, I’m not a fan, but at the starting point before the gore got too much, Saw provided a very interesting concept. Not only do you have the gruesome predicament the two men are caught in together, but you also have the race against time for those on the outside to find them. The final scene is exhausting, and with the squeels and screams of a desperate man rolling out over the credits, you understand that the horror is truly never ending.
6. It Follows
One of the best horror films in recent years, brilliantly stylised and perfectly executed. There’s plenty of throwbacks on offer to the cult classics of the eighties and a unique and interesting villain that is unsettling more than anything. At all points through It Follows you’re surveying the periphery, looking out for the creature that could be anyone at all, simply walking towards its next victim.
5. Rosemary’s Baby
For me, Roman Polanski never did any better than Rosemary’s Baby. All of its many horrors play out off screen, no jumps or scares just an unshakable discomfort in the knowledge that those around Mia Farrow’s character are grooming her to mother the next Antichrist.
4. An American Werewolf in London
I see the dead moon rising. An easy watch, entertaining more than horrifying, but still producing some of the greatest memories the genre has given. The scene in which David transforms into the werewolf in the living room is some of the greatest special effect work of the eighties, considered by many as pioneering in the field.
3. The Thing
If American Werewolf in London’s special effects were pioneering, then that on show in The Thing is groundbreaking. Every time the creature rears its ugly head you are astounded by how it twists and tangles itself into some truly horrific creatures that terrorise and astound. Not only that, but The Thing is the greatest ‘Who Dunit’ there has ever been.
The first meeting of Ripley and the xenomorph resembles the best of both the horror and sci-fi genre. As far as iconic movie monsters go, it’s hard to surpass the face hugger turned alien killing machine that will make anyone sick to their stomach. Especially John Hurt.
Just thinking about the closing scene of Rec makes me shiver. Feelings of claustrophobia build throughout the film to a point where panic attacks are a given. There’s not much story to go on but you go in to this one knowing as much as the characters, and with that their fear and desperation is matched in you as things go from bad to worse with any hope of resolve dwindling fast. For me, Rec is my favourite horror movie.