Local film buff Clameur du Cinema picks out his Halloween favourites.
Looking for a good horror to get you in the mood for Halloween? Clameur du Cinema’s Wynter Tyson has written a guest blog for us listing his top ten chilling favourites.
1. Get Out (2017)
Jordan Peele’s debut feature works brilliantly because it is a perfect meld of ideology and aesthetics. It plays with the audience’s political and genre assumptions to deliver scares and laughter without wasting a single moment. Peele’s second feature, Us, would turn this into a great double bill.
2. The Quatermass Experiment (1955) / Quater mass 2 (1957)
I couldn’t get away with a list that didn’t include Hammer Horror or TV writer Nigel Kneale (The Stone Tape, The Woman in Black) so here we are. Adapted from the popular BBC serials, the Hammer Quatermass films might be slimmed down but, thanks to the direction of Val Guest remain exciting sci-fi horror stories. How Professor Quatermass hasn’t re-emerged in the modern era is a mystery suitable for, well, Quatermass himself.
3. Alien (1979)
Jaws, in a haunted house, in space. Add in a layer or corporate conspiracy thriller and you have a fine film. Add in the nightmarish creature design of H.R.Giger and you have a genuine cinema classic.
4. Suspiria (1977)
Although Luca Guadagnino’s recent remake was a staggering piece of work, Dario Argento’s original vision of Suspiria remains a bonkers experience. From the heightened colour and emotional palette to Goblin’s overwrought soundtrack the film is an all-out attack on the senses. The wonderful Jessica Harper is perfectly cast as the dancer who suspects that her new ballet school might be hiding a dreadful secret.
5. The Shining (1980)
I had to get Stephen King in here somewhere so apologies that I’ve chosen a film adaptation of his work that he loathes. The full possessive title (Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining) gives the game away that much from the novel was jettisoned and it’s a fair criticism to point out that Jack Nicholson looks mad from the start but the star here is The Overlook Hotel. From the disorientating carpet to a layout that just doesn’t make sense, the hotel is a foreboding, malevolent force. The sequel, Doctor Sleep, combines some of the missing elements from the novel with the iconic images from Kubrick’s film.
6. Shallow Grave (1994)
Before their adaptation of Trainspotting, Danny Boyle, John Hodge and Andrew McDonald gave us Shallow Grave. The set-up is simple, three friends discover a bag of money next to the dead body of their fourth flatmate… and things go downhill from there. Starring Ewan McGregor, Kerry Fox and Christopher Eccleston Shallow Grave is a sharp and grisly exploration of consequences.
7. Psycho (1960)
Following on the heels of North by Northwest, Psycho, with it’s black and white photography, limited locations and small cast, seems like one of Hitchock’s more restrained films but contains some of the most indelible images of the director’s career. Norman sitting awkwardly amidst the motel’s taxidermy, the car slowly rolling into the water, the house on the hill and, of course, that shower scene. Anthony Perkins is perfect as one of cinema’s most iconic characters.
8. ParaNorman (2012)
Children should be scared and ParaNorman is a perfect way to do that. Combining many horror strands into a fun, inclusive and spooky tale, this film from animation superstars Laika (Coraline, Boxtrolls, Kubo) is a joy from start to finish and reminder of the fun of a great monster movie.
9. Train to Busan (2016)
Zombies are everywhere but the genius of this Korean commuter horror is that it’s about survival rather than the same tired apocalypse wish fulfilment that Rick and Co indulge in. At its heart, it’s a touching family focused drama but it never forgets to deliver the gore and nail-biting suspense when needed.