Don’t be ridiculous – I can’t pick one! I’m a horror girl, always have been, always will be. I never miss a horror movie in the cinema and it’s the only kind of movie I’m perpetually in the mood for. It can be tacky, terrifying or terrible and I’ll sit there with my eyes glued to the screen.
Now, I would definitely go as far to say I am an expert in this genre. In fact, I would say no-one’s knowledge of cinema as a whole compares to mine. I’m so well versed in the art of movie making that this list goes further than opinion – it’s fact.
I’m done being sarcastic now. Let’s begin…
Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
It’s almost impossible for me to convey how much I love this movie. This movie isn’t just on of my Halloween favourites, it’s one of my all time, super-duper, top five movies. Everything about it is so beautiful and so creepy.
Set in New York City in the swinging 60s Rosemary’s Baby follows the lives of a newly married woman moving into a swanky new flat with her actor husband. She soon falls pregnant, much to her delight, but things take a turn for the worst. Rosemary doesn’t know what’s wrong, but what she does notice is her husbands distance, and her creepy neighbours, and her strange cravings for raw meat…
The entire movie is so well shot and stays so loyal to the book. I love seeing New York in the sixties and the use of The Dakota (the building where John Lennon was shot!!!) as the Bramford is absolutely perfect.
Rosemary’s Baby Highlights:
- Rosemary’s chic, trendy Vidal Sassoon haircut
- ‘I can’t hear you, you’re in Dubrovnik’
- Everything about Ruth Gordon as Minnie Castevet
A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)
For some insane reason, sequels have this stigma that they’re not good. Ever heard of the Godfather Part 2? I rest my case.
In all seriousness, Freddy has had his share of bad sequals. In fact, every one except this one is pretty much terrible. But this one works, trust me. Dream Warriors does what it’s big bro Freddy’s Revenge failed to do – bring back Nancy!
Dream Warriors is set in a mental institution where kids are being locked up after the trauma their nightmares cause them. They all find out they’ve been dreaming about the same guy… a man with knifes for fingers… a man called Fred Krueger!! Then our heroine from the original (fantastic) movie comes back, with a little more experience, still sporting her grey streak, ready to help these kids get rid of Freddy once and for all.
Dream Warriors is Freddy meets One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest meets The Breakfast Club and it’s definitely worth your time. It’s when Freddy started bringing a little comedy and creativity to his kills, but before he took it too far and was just super gross.
Dream Warriors Hightlights:
- ‘Welcome to Prime Time, bitch!’
- Freddy being so considerate and making BESPOKE nightmares for each of the kids? I bet their parents and teachers don’t even care about them that much!
- Paper-mache Freddy
I was two when this movie came out, so I image I probably didn’t see it when it came out. Yet this movie seemed like part of the furniture growing up. I have two favourite genres in life, horror movies and teen movies, and Scream is the perfect clash of two titans.
What was interesting (in the 90s) about Scream was the way it played on classic horror movie tropes. It’s the film that compiled the rules. You shouldn’t drinks, do drugs, have sex… Or else you’ll die.
The killer, or ‘Ghost-face’ as he was come to known was the Halloween costume of the late nineties/early noughties. You couldn’t have a party without someone turning up in the ultimate low-maintenance Halloween costume. But that’s the scary part of the ghost-face costume, it could be anyone under the mask…
- ‘You hit me with the phone, dick!’
- 6 words: Drew Barrymore, Drew Barrymore, Drew Barrymore
- ‘What’s your favourite scary movie?’ – ICONIC
Stephen King’s IT (1990/2017)
This one was difficult, because I truly couldn’t pick. Stephen King’s IT may be a controversial novel, due to the uncomfortable ending, but it’s without a doubt one of my favourite books. The character of Pennywise the Dancing Clown is so genuinely terrifying that it’s the only book I’ve not been able to put down. Not because I was enthralled, but I couldn’t stop reading in case I put the book down and a clown was somewhere behind it. (Can’t sleep, clown’ll eat me)
The two theatrical incarnations of this novel are similar in so many ways, but so different in others. I have my love of both, and my reservations of both, but at the end of the day this comes down to the portrayal of the monster.
Tim Curry plays Pennywise the way I’d always imagined him, a colourful clown that wouldn’t look out of place at a children’s birthday party, hidden in plain sight. It’s what lies underneath that’s scary, the deadlights.
Bill Skarsgaard’s portrayal had to go further with Pennywise, he had to rely on character and charm to show the alluring side of the character as true horror was on the surface.
- Georgie’s yellow rain jacket
- The Turtle???
- ‘You’ll float too!’
Pet Sematary (1989)
Why have one Stephen King adaptation when you can have two? Pet Sematary is, by King’s own admission, one of his bleakest novels. So dark, in fact, the horror writer placed it on his shelf with no intent on publishing it, until he had a deadline.
Based on King’s own real life experience of living next to a busy road that claimed the lives of many of his children’s pets. This film follows the story of Louis, who takes a job within a university’s health service, and his family. Louis meets some interesting characters along the way, including the spirit of a student that died on his first day, and an eccentric neighbour, who tells him all about the mysterious pet cemetery that brings animals back to life…
Pet Sematary is one of the goriest, but perhaps one of the scariest movies on this list. It doesn’t rely on the supernatural to bring the trauma, it scares you with real life horrors.
Pet Sematary Highlights:
- Fred Gwynne as the wacky neighbour – what is that accent? I wish I had it.
- Sister Zelda.
- Fred Gwynne again, just everything he says. I wish he was my neighbour.
And there we have it, five of my top horror movies to get you feeling spooky just in time for Halloween, as I said before, this is the definitive list of top Halloween movies. You can trust me.
Honourable mentions: Silence of the Lambs, Get Out, It Follows, The Evil Dead, The Evil Dead 2, Halloween, Trick or Treat, Cabin in the Woods, New Nightmare, Hush, Rec, The Shining, Carrie and Psycho.