There’s something about being horrified that’s deeply addictive. Extreme sports, extreme relationships, betting on horses, playing the stock market or watching horror movies we do like to be scared. We are happy to be terrifyingly unhappy we like to get the adrenalin pumping.
We were hard wired for it, I think, when we were wild, hairy creatures of the jungle, the plains and mountains hunting woolly mammoths, fighting tigers and to the death, we got our rush.
Our ‘rush’, it connects us to our primal selves it makes us feel alive. Which is why we continue to charge the adrenalin batteries on a regular basis with all manner of terrifying entertainment.
There is no Nightmare on Elm Street or Chainsaw Massacre in my library and never a Twilight will you see. What you will find are Nazi zombies, freaky critters, witches, vampires all a bloodcurdling kind of fun.
Halloween is made for vampires and zombies work extremely well on Halloween. Watch some classics and some of the greatest horror actors of all time including Bela Lugosi the very first Drac and the best would have to be Christopher Lee’s Drac nasty and dangerous he hit his peak in Dracula: Prince of Darkness in 1966 and Dracula has Risen from the Grave in 1968.
I like a spot of humour preferably black humour, must be the Irish in me, with my horror. Humour improves horror its like salt in cooking it brings out the flavour. Classic horror humour! Try the original Fright Night from 1985 or for total hilarity go for Shaun Of the Dead. Too sophisticated for that, consider yourself a connoisseur of cult, try some of the old Hammer films with Vincent Price, Boris Karloff and Peter Lorre are a blast, nobody does character better than Peter Lorre. Then there is a unknown gem Crucible of Horror by Viktors Ritelis.
But for a more contemporary blast try my favourites you’ll never be the same again. Just ask my students they have been scared for life by my film classes.
Yes I know I look so innocent!
If you want to get some inside information on the horror genre try checking out this documentary The Masters of Horror narrated by Bruce Campbell featuring “warped twisted monkeys” John Carpenter, Wes Craven, Dario Argento, Guillermo Del Torro, Rick Baker and others.
A bloodcurdling kind of fun.
- Dumplings (2004) Hong Kong Drama/Horror
Director Fruit Chan. Language: Chinese
Cinema photographer Australian born Christopher Doyle Aunt Mei, a retired/disgraced doctor makes the most delicious youth rejuvenating dumplings and she lives in Hong Kong. She makes trips across the border and carries food warmers with the secret ingredient back. What could they contain? You will be horrified, you will. Horror in the full meaning of the word cleverly directed and beautifully shot, in spite of your suspicion and fears you cannot turn away from the screen. Disturbing and provoking you will not recover quickly from this encounter. DumplingTrailer
- Tetsuo Iron Man, (1989) Japan SciFi/ Horror/ Cyberpunk
Director: Shin’ya Tsukamoto. Language: Japanese
Audiovisually relentless, reminiscent of H.R. Giger, the “metal fetishist”, an odd man with an insane compulsion to stick scrap metal into his body, is hit and killed by a Japanese “salaryman”, out for a drive with his girlfriend. Later, the salaryman finds he is being taken over by a disease that is turning his body into scrap metal, and that the “metal fetishist”, is not in fact dead but masterminding the “salaryman’s”, mutation. Tetsuo Iron Man Trailer
- Tetsuo II – Body Hammer (1992) Japan SciFi/ Horror/ Cyberpunk
Director: Shin’ya Tsukamoto. Language: Japanese
Sequel to “Tetsou” this time has the Iron Man transforming into cyberkinetic gun when a gang of vicious skinheads kidnap his son. When the skinheads capture him, they begin to experiment on him…speeding up the mutative process. Body Hammer Trailer
- Audition (1999) Japan Drama/ Horror/ Mystery
Director: Takashi Miike, Language: Japanese
Shigeharu Aoyama has lived as a widower for a long time and decides it’s time to marry again. He decides to hold a cattle callto find a wife. It’s a known fact if you do something freaky you’ll get freaky back — staying single may have been a better option. If needles and piano wire freak you out this isn’t for you. Audition Trailer
- Alien (1979) USA SciFi/Horror
Director Ridley Scott Language: English
Cinematography by Derek Vanlint
Absolutely irrepressible warrior woman Ripley takes on the-all-time-handsdown-scary-never-to-be-another-one-as scary Alien mofo on a remote mining planet and wins kinda! Alien Trailer
- Suspiria (1977) Italy Horror
Director: Dario Argento, Language: Italian
A real nightmare, John Carpenter , Wes Craven and many others have been influenced by Dario Argento. A young American ballerina enters a prestigious European ballet school but gradually comes to realize that the staff of the school are actually a coven of dastardly evil witches bent on demonic disarray and destruction. Suspiria Trailer
- Let the Right One In (2008) Sweden Drama/Fantasy /Horror
Director: Tomas Alfredson,
Pre-teen Oskar is the constant target of the town bullies. He spends all his spare time dreaming of revenge and collecting cuttings of news items about a series of unexplained gruesome murders in his town. Things improve for him when he meets Eli who helps him to stand up to his tormenters. An extraordinary film with some very powerful themes, read the book it’s even more extraordinary. Let the Right One In Trailer
- Dead Snow (2008) Norway Comedy/ Horror
Director: Tommy Wirkola,
A group of Norwegian friends get the scariest history lesson of their lives during a weekend getaway to the snowy town of Øksfjord, where the party is interrupted by throngs of Nazi zombies who once occupied the area. Armed with a machine-gun-equipped snowmobile, the gang fights for survival in director Tommy Wirkola’s quirky horror, shot on location in the mountains of Norway. The film had its U.S. premiere at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. Dead Snow Trailer
- Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1994) Drama/Horror
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Branagh’s take on Shelley’s 1818 novel is very true to its literary roots. Frankenstein is not portrayed as a bogon monster but as an intelligent, articulate, cunning and revengeful son. Mary Shelley Trailer
- Sleepy Hollow (1999): Director Tim Burton Horror/Mystery
Visually stunning — the cinematography is hauntingly beautiful. In spite of some digressions from the original, Burton remains true to the book’s essence. (Koala bear stamp to Christopher Walken, who makes the headless horseman look intriguing rather than scary). Sleepy Hollow Trailer