Let the Right One in, Dir: Thomas Alfredson, Eloise Hendy, @EloiseHendy
Everyone knows kids are creepy. Countless horror films have confirmed that a cherubic face is guaranteed to hide something a lot less angelic and a lot more disturbing. It’s rule number one: never trust a high-pitched voice and dolly shoes. And this definitely applies to this Swedish vampire flick.
Thomas Alfredson’s film is like Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom, with the colours toned down and blood thrown in. It’s an extremely unusual pre-pubescent love story, where the enigmatic 12 year old girl is actually centuries old, and undead. And if that makes it sound twee or naff, it’s not. It’s darkly disturbing.
It’s an ideal movie choice for a group who, usually, can never all be satisfied. It’s slow and gloomy and psychologically twisted, so thriller or noir film fans are sorted. It also has vamps and a whole load of gore, so supernatural fans and anyone who normally reaches for Saw get their fix too. And anyone who says Twilight is their favourite Halloween, or year round, treat can be tricked into watching by the wildly untraditional ‘romance’. It’s horrific and engrossing and touching and very, very creepy.
Alien, Dir: Ridley Scott, Callum Mckenna, @TheStudentFilm
One of the biggest flaws of horror films, specifically monster centred horror films, is that they usually don’t age well. It’s a shame, but we as a society are getting harder to scare. As special effects get better and better every year, the clunky costumes and puppets of times gone by just don’t cut it anymore.
We demand a better class of creature. Old classics like Romero’s zombie films can still be admired and enjoyed, but very few people will ever be scared by them. So when I watch Alien, a film released in 1979, and still find myself reaching for a sofa cushion to hide behind, I know it’s something special.
It’s not that Alien’s special effects were particularly good. Have you ever seen someone in the Alien suit just standing around? It’s ridiculous, but the way the film is shot means you very rarely get a good look at the thing, it just flits past in the dark, but the people look terrified. They know they’re going to die, and you know they’re going to die, but neither of you know how and when, and that’s what’s scary. Also that part where the guy’s chest explodes. That’s pretty cool.
The Descent, Dir: Neil Marshall; Rupert Radley, @RupertRadley
What is scarier than a group of loving friends getting involved in a caving expedition that goes horribly wrong? Probably, the deeply disturbing and frankly terrifying humanoid creatures which inhabit the caves.
Neil Marshal’s The Descent starts off brutal and remains brutal through to the very end. However, the film isn’t simply about blood, guts and gore – it carries suspense terrifyingly well. In fact, the film is easily tense enough, with the overwhelming claustrophobia and sense of hopelessness inspired at the beginning, without the addition of creepy monsters.
And those monsters are creepy as well. In fact, I’d be more than comfortable to say that they are some of the scariest creatures I’ve seen in horror.
What makes the factors of claustrophobia and creepy creatures so terrifying is the fact they are filmed in such a genuinely clever and tension inducing way- hand-held cameras are used as a means to inspire further fear whilst the lighting remains spot on from beginning to end, not something that easy to do when filming in caves.
Scream, Dir: Wes Craven, Nico Marrone, @ThatNicoMarrone
Nothing quite says ‘Halloween Horror’ like a good old-fashioned slasher flick. Maybe it’s the way that the genre plays on one’s increased sense of paranoia, or maybe it’s simply the fact that the antagonists have become some of the most iconic characters in film, and can be easily recreated as a Halloween costume. Regardless, the genre makes perfect Halloween viewing, and the film that manages to distinguish itself the most amongst its contemporaries is, without a doubt, Wes Craven’s Scream.
Craven uses his experience from A Nightmare on Elm Street, as well as an expert knowledge of the horror genre to craft a brilliantly frightening experience for the audience, while at the same time supplying a homage-come-parody to the genre itself.
Scream implements the clichés and tropes that came to define the genre during its hay-day to mock both itself and others of its kind, and thanks to a coupling with a darkly comic script, it manages to make even the most terrified viewer chuckle, all the while ensuring that they will be frequently checking over their shoulder to see if a real-life ‘Ghostface’ is lurking nearby.