Last week I blogged about my top five favourite scary books. This week it’s the turn of the silver screen. I love a good horror movie. There’s nothing to beat going to the cinema and sharing a “jump” with the audience, inevitably followed by a wave of nervous laughter. Although I love the genre, it takes a lot for me to feel really scared and while my choices may not make me afraid to turn the light out, they never fail to leave me with a satisfied smile.
I love Silence of the Lambs. It’s a wonderful film and a great book too, but I have always preferred the sequel. Partly, it’s the setting. Florence has rarely looked more lovely than under the expert eye of Ridley Scott. The colours are lush: dark reds, ochres and browns give the film a richness that’s typical of the director. And then there is the titular cannibal himself, a study in restrained civility and good manners until someone is rude to him. I have blogged before about how I believed Dr Lecter was the ultimate romantic hero. I still think this. Of course, he is also a serial killer. If you’re not chilled with his “okay-dokay” then perhaps you have more in common with the good doctor than you realise.
THIS film scared me. A space ship ventured beyond the event horizon of a black hole (the point at which nothing can escape the hole’s vast gravitational pull) and comes back, many years later. A mission is sent to explore the ship and find out where it went and what happened to its crew. Very soon, the new crew begin to experience things that deny rational explanation and Sam Neil does a great turn as a driven scientist. This is a horror film that just happens to be set in space rather than a science fiction film so don’t let the setting put you off a brilliant horror movie.
Spain has produced some top class horror in recent years and for me, The Orphanage is the best. A former resident of a children’s home purchases the building and goes to live in it with her husband and son, with the intention of turning it back into an orphanage. During a celebratory party the boy goes missing and what follows is the mother’s attempts to find her son and deal with whatever it is that has been left behind in the huge old building. This film is haunting and heart-breaking and makes you feel more than just horror.
I have no idea what number in the Saw franchise we’re at now. Is it still going? Anyway, the original film is a tour de force in psychological suspense. Three strangers wake up in a filthy public bathroom, each handcuffed to the pipes. How they got there is a mystery and there is someone playing games with the prisoners, seeing just how far they’d go to escape. If you’ve only seen the torture-porn sequels, expect something very different indeed.
A strange mist comes down from the hills where, incidentally, there is an army base where strange activities are rumoured, and descends upon a small town. A bloodied man runs into the supermarket, screaming for the staff to lock the doors and stay inside. There are things in the mist, strange and dangerous things, and it isn’t safe for anyone to go out. The customers and staff of the small store are under siege as whatever is out there tries to get in. If you’ve never seen this film before, take some tissues for the end. I can guarantee you’ll need them.
I hope you enjoyed hearing about my choices. What are your favourite horror movies? I’m always on the lookout for a new recommendation so please let me know in the comments.