With Halloween upon us and by now I’m hoping both you and me have recovered from a weekend of dark and dangerous debauchery, I know I’ll be suffering a 2-day hangover for sure even as I write this before it’s all gone down.
Now where to start is a really tough one. Horror is a massive genre to tackle without having the same old ‘top ten’ lists that just include Freddy, Jason and Micheal. I’m not saying those aren’t great films (well not all of the sequels) but they are iconic and have a lot to answer for in the horror culture we have today. I wanted to have something different here for our top ten, but with films you might not have expected or ever seen, with a few good un’s there of course. So here’s mine and Elliott’s top 10 movies for you to enjoy this Halloween night! [SPOILERS MAYBS]
1/ HELLRAISER – 1987
P. From back when horror films didn’t rely on CGI or villains that they never show, hellraiser was the original gore fest. Revolving around an ancient puzzle box which when solved opens a door way to the dimension where the cenobites live. Heres when the shit really hits the fan though! The cenobites aren’t your bog standard bad guys though, they thrive on pain and torture! Not one for the squeamish.
2/ SAW [FRANCHISE] – 2004-2010
E. Sorrynotsorry, I can’t just pick one film from the torture-porn series that is Saw. I’d been brought up on 90s horror (slashers, vampires) and after watching the ending to the first movie, I was hooked. A film that has people try and escape elaborate traps based on their moral wrongdoings or else they’ll die? Yea, gimme 8 of those… And put the lead singer of Linkin Park in the last one getting glued to a seat of a car! Without the traps, the Saw franchise would’ve been pretty tame but luckily, the story of the host with the most – Jigsaw – is gripping enough to keep any Psycho lover entertained for at least the first 3 films.
3/ HOSTEL 1, 2 and 3 – 2005 – 2011
P. Running off the back of the torture porn movement started by saw Hostel took it to the next level and then some! Based in Europe and centring around a trio of back packers that are on the search for a secret city filled with Lusty women. Only all they find is violence and fear as they become the latest victims of a sick game. I love this film, I’m a sucker for gore I guess and loved seeing how far Eli Roth’s sick mind could take him. It’s a trilogy really and the sequels are definitely worth watching but it’s the first one that got me hooked.
4/ DONNIE DARKO – 2001
E. Technically not a horror film. More of a sci-fi drama, this film sees young Jake Gyllenhaal suffering from delusions and predicting the end of the world. What turned this into a horror film for me, was watching it at a very young age and having to get my sister to walk me to my bedroom as I was a mixture of confused and freaked out. The story and mythology behind it don’t require a science degree but a basic knowledge of time travel could help. Throw a guy in a freaky as hell bunny outfit with a hauntingly disturbing voice guiding the young protagonist throughout the film and you’ve probably scarred a 10-year-old for life. Watch it twice, trust me. Fun fact, this was Seth Rogen’s first appearance in a feature-length film.
5/ HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES –
Carrying on with my theme of gore and the more hardcore end of horror films I bring you Rob Zombies directorial debut. Meet the firefly family, a bunch of inbreed Psycho hillbillys. Through the course of the film they kidnap and torture a group of teenagers heading across the country. Initially filmed in 2000 it took 3 years to get it out cuz there were too many worries about its content of necrophilia and masturbation. Theres something for everyone here even touching on the supernatural a real mix with bits that made be proper belly laugh.
6/ THE CABIN IN THE WOODS – 2012
E. This one’s got everything a horror fan wants. Comedy, horror, gore, monsters, stupid plot. The Cabin In The Woods takes a tried and tired premise of a bunch of kids in an isolated cabin in the middle of nowhere and adds a fresh new idea. What if all this creepy shit that happens in the movies was being controlled by someone (or someones!!). The characters are fresh and feel relevant to this decade, the control scenes are some of the funniest parts of the film and the ending is… Well it’s not great but it’s a great ride there!
7/ THE BLOB – 1958
P. Now I’m going fully old school and taking things back to the legend Steve McQueens first leading role as a teenager. The plot is super simple and I wouldn’t even say it’s the best film ever but it is a classic and needs to be seen by all horror fans. It’s essentially about a giant red blog that comes from space and devours everything! simple but effective. still worth a watch.
8/ SCREAM – 1996
E. Whatever happened to slasher films? I know they tried to bring Scream back with the 4th film and that Netflix series (which I’m still on the fence about) but none of them will beat the original mid-90s classic. You can take your Freddy Kreuger (soz Fredz), your Jason Voorhees and your Michael Myers and stickem up your arse! Who needs undead beasts stalking your every move when you have a bunch of teenagers being stalked by… OTHER TEENAGERS! A film that had you champing at the bit to find out whodunnit and delivered so in a tasty fashion. The characters almost seemed to know they were actually in a horror film too… Not to mention this has one of the best parody movies to accompany it too (see Scary Movie for more).
9/ CRITTERS – 1986
P. More of a horror/comedy Critters surrounds a race of small furry aliens that land of the farm of the brown family and cause sheer havoc! All they want to do is fuck and feed and will do whatever they can to reach thier goals even if that means killing anyone in thier way. Two bounty hunter turn up with superhuman abilitys but they just get in the way. Along the lines of Gremlins it’s a good Saturday night film with some mates and a few beers. Though I always routed for the Critters rather than humans! go bad guys!
10/ FINAL DESTINATION 2 – 2003
E. I ended up watching these films in the wrong order (2, 1, 3, 5, 4) but I believe this is arguably the best film in the franchise. Death comes to us all, but how? The Final Destination series scrapped the idea of a dude with a machete coming to kill us in the night and made everyday tasks fucking scary as shit! With each film putting someone in the audience off one thing or another (flying, rollercoasters, highways), this film solidified my love of a gory film with the opening sequence. A barrage of death, fire and flying logs, this has one of the best openings of the series, setting the bar pretty high for the future films.
Words by Elliott Stubbings & Pete Butchers