Thursday, 30 October 2014

The veil is getting thinner

I love horror films, but I'm picky about them. I hate the killer rampage slasher style movies (I know, let's split up to look for the serial killer!), and one's that rely on cheap effects like things jumping out every two minutes. Last night I watched We Are What We Are, an absolutely perfect film up until the final 15 minutes. It was beautifully atmospheric and compelling, reminding me in many aspects of Shirley Jackson's We Have Always Lived in The Castle. Then it suddenly dwindled into typical modern horror movie cliches.

As it's the season, I thought I'd share some of my favourites to binge watch at, well any time of year to be honest.

The Craft (1996) - I know, I know. Tumblrs favourite. I've been obsessed with it since I saw it round a friend's house in 1999. The magic of it has never worn off. I know it's far off the point of the film, but I always feel like I want to live in their world. It's about a group of misfits at high school who practice witchcraft in their spare time (a fictional variation of Wicca.) New girl Sarah comes along and completes their circle of north, south, east and west, enabling them to get up to all kinds of mischief. There's no gory violence - it's more like a Halloween version of Clueless - so it's worth checking out if that stuff makes you queasy.

The Addams Family (1991)  - Who doesn't love The Addam's Family? I'm adamant that this is the very best version with a flawless cast - Raúl Juliá (I love Raúl Juliá, check out all of his other movies if you can), Christopher Lloyd, Christina Ricci, Anjelica Huston. It does not get any better than this.

Beetlejuice (1988) - Obviously. You can't go wrong with most of Tim Burton's pre-2000 filmography. The Nightmare Before Christmas is another seasonal favourite although I think of that one more as a Christmas film. When Michael Keaton's good he's brilliant, and this film is proof of that. Fun fact: Lydia Deetz was my style queen when I was teenager. I even copied her spiky fringe - daily.

Rosemary's Baby (1968) - This is one of my all time favourite films. It so perfectly builds up the sense of quiet unease, and I love how ambiguous it is right up until the end - is this woman mentally ill or are the old people next door really out to do her harm? I also love that it doesn't look like your typical horror film, with it's pastel candy coloured palette and achingly stylish '60s decor.

Repulsion (1965) - Another Roman Polanski film, it's seen as being part of an "apartment trilogy" and closely linked with Rosemary's Baby. This was before Polanski made it to Hollywood, and goodness is it tense. It stars Catherine Deneuve as a woman who's suffered through sexual abuse, and left to her own devices she begins having hallucinations as her past comes back to haunt her and she descends into madness. It may not be your cup of tea, so tread carefully.

Martyrs (2008) - This is a French subtitled film, and it's violent. I hesitated to put it here for that reason. I first heard of it from one of my closest friends who remarked how shocking it was, and intrigued I saw it. I found it incredibly uncomfortable viewing, to the point where I felt distressed. But afterwards I couldn't stop thinking about it, and I ended up watching it again a few weeks later. It's not a film to watch regularly unless your some sort of sadist, but if you can stand the gore I'd give it a go. Once you get past the emotional reaction it really has a lot of intelligence to it. It will make you think and ask questions for a long time after.

And you of course can't possibly go wrong with any of the classics - my personal favourites are anything starring Béla Lugosi or Lon Chaney (Sr), or Tod Browning's movies.


  1. Oh I love the Adams Family and Rosemary's Baby too! I totally agree about slasher films. I haven't watched The Craft but have been meaning to for a long time. You should check out Don't Look Now, it's one of my favourite ever films, it's very creepy but in the most wonderfully subtle and beautiful way. Lally X

  2. Even though Halloween isn't something many people celebrate over here, I still always love to try and sit down and watch some spooky movies (or at least more of them) for the occasion. Though unfortunately I didn't get much of a chance this year. I think I'll be adding a couple of these to my Halloween themed list to watch for when next year comes around, especially Repulsion, I've been wanting to watch it. Though in all honesty I don't think I could ever brave myself through Martyrs (it's on my family DVD shelf - my mother loves horror movies ha!)!
    I always do try to watch anything Tim Burton though, especially Nightmare Before Christmas, as I see it as a transition sort of movie for coming into the Christmas season.

  3. Beetlejuice and the Addams family are definitely favorites of mine! I haven't seen a lot of the other movies but I definitely want to check them out. Spooky movies definitely help you get into the spirit of the season!


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