The ghosts and ghouls are almost here, the night of the living dead is close, and we all love to dress up as our favourite monsters, have fun and then watch the scariest films imaginable.
Here’s a run-through some of the best that the spooky genre has to offer to watch this Halloween:
5. The Thing (1982)
John Carpenter went through a golden age during the 80s and The Thing was unquestionably the high point of that era.
Based on The Thing From Another World (1951), Carpenter’s version has to go down as one of the very best remakes in history. This chilling tale of scientists in the Antarctic who are really tested when they come into contact with a shape-shifting alien that assumes the appearance of the people that it kills.
Featuring the brilliant Kurt Russell as R.J. MacReady [who loves to weald a flame-thrower] and the equally superb Keith David as Childs, The Thing is worth a watch at any time of the year, but Halloween seems as good a time as any to enjoy this sub zero sci-fi chiller.
4. The Fly (1986)
Another king of the horror genre has to be David Cronenberg. Scanners, The Brood, Videodrome and The Dead Zone are all worth watching, yet it’s The Fly which will stay with you long after the film has finished.
Yet another brilliant remake of an earlier horror film of the same name, (The Fly, 1958), Cronenberg’s version is arguably one of the very best sci-fi horrors of all time; combining sci-fi elements, with body horror and a splattering of romance.
The story follows a brilliant, yet eccentric scientist, Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum), who successfully builds a teleporting machine. Yet all goes wrong when he starts to transform into a giant man/fly hybrid after one of his experiments goes horribly array.
This film is utterly horrifying and will have you cowering behind the sofa for days. It will also make you silently pray that teleportation is never invented [don’t worry though, we probably won’t get to see it in our lifetime].
3. Alien (1979)
Ever wondered what it would be like to be trapped on a rickety old spaceship, having to hide from a hideous, powerful, almighty alien being, bent on destroying all in its path.
Thanks to Ridley Scott’s masterpiece Alien, you don’t need to! Alien follows the torrid tale of the crew of the spaceship, the Nostromo, who decide to land on a seemingly deserted planet when they receives a distress call from said planet.
After searching for survivors, the crew heads back to the ship only to realise that they have inadvertently brought something sinister back with them. [Enter the chest busting alien Xenomorph and much terror]. Alien is undoubtedly a work of art; the set design is beautiful, the direction is superb and Sigourney Weaver really kicks butt as Ripley.
It’s no wonder that this film spawned many sequels and reiterations, none of which, unfortunately, come anywhere close to the original.
2. The Shining (1980)
“Heeere’s Johnny!” Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of Stephen King’s classic horror story is as far away from its source material as one could possibly be. Yet, it’s still every inch as exceptional.
Kubrick was a true master of his craft and with The Shining made a disturbing, chilling, thought-provoking and ultimately terrifying film that will live long in everyone’s memory. It follows the story of the Torrance family who move to an isolated hotel to look after it during the winter.
They quickly discover an evil and spiritual presence, which influences the father, Jack (Jack Nicholson) into having strange visions and ultimately committing acts of severe violence towards his family. During this, his psychic son sees horrific forebodings from the past and of the future, this ability is known as ‘the shining’.
The Shining is a gold standard of the horror genre and a film which many have tried to emulate subsequently, yet no one has ever come close to Kubrick’s masterpiece. It’s not only a truly great horror film, it’s a truly remarkable piece of filmmaking, full of fascinating direction, hidden meanings and wonderful acting.
Danny Lloyd and Shelley Duvall are brilliant, yet it’s Jack Nicholson who steals the show with that insidious grin and an absolutely barnstorming performance. It’s more than just a film, it’s an experience.
1. The Exorcist (1973)
Well, no guesses as to which film is a must-see every single Halloween. Of course it’s going to be William Friedkin masterpiece, The Exorcist.
I can’t count the number of films which have tried to emulate it ever since it’s release in 1973. Most recently The Conjuring comes to mind. It is undoubtedly the BEST horror movie ever made and still stands the test of time to this day, no matter how much CGI or fancy computer graphics people throw at horror movies nowadays.
The Exorcist follows the dark tale of Regan MacNeil and her battle with what at first seems to be the incomings of adolescence, but is soon understood to be much more. Her strange behaviour is actually down to demonic possession and her mother, Chris, will do all she can think of to try to save her daughter from this evil force.
Despite all the taboo surrounding the film upon release, The Exorcist remains to this day one of the very best demonic possession movies of all time, and one which has been replicated again and again ever since. the word masterpiece comes to mind, and is a film you must all see this Halloween night!
If you don’t, you might find yourself possessed by the demon Pazuzu, then you would have wished you had seen the film, just so that you know what to do next!