If you are a fan of the horror movie, there comes a time when you might just feel immune to the charms of horror, and missing that much needed shudder. I’ve been watching horror movies for as long as I can remember, and I can honestly say it’s been at least three decades since one scared me (I was 9 then). I honestly do not think I’ll ever see a movie that will scare me again, however that does not mean I don’t get those moments that the hairs on my neck, so I think it’s only fair I share those with you.
I’m going to start at the present, and move back and this year two films have given me a moment to shudder. Sinister is a fairly generic horror movie, but what it does is deliver its crimes/killings on 8mm film, so you get that feeling of realism, which is what gets you going, There are two deeply disturbing scenes, one in which a family are dragged into a swimming pool, and the second is the first thing you see after the opening credits roll. Another family hanging from a tree, then the realization they are not hanging at all, they are just stood up, to your horror you see them rise from the ground kicking and presumably trying to scream, it’s unnerving stuff. Next up End Of Watch, this cop drama that has the feel of TV show Cops (told with hand held cameras), starts out normally, then goes down an incredibly dark path, in the most disturbing scene the two stars uncover a house used for dealing drugs, but as they venture further in they stumble across something that makes them flee, and anyone watching a little drowsy, wake up with a shock.
The film Insidious was arguably for many a big disappointment, but around the half waypoint something appears behind the heroes shoulder, something that really takes you by surprise. Eden Lake is a fairly shocking move throughout, but as the film draws to a close, the film’s heroine suddenly makes an alarming series of discoveries; this is followed by one of the darkest final moments in British cinema history.
House Of The Devil is a movie made as recently as 2009, but is set in the 1970’s, it’s this level that creates the shiver points, the innocent looking start soon get’s more alarming, and while you can plot the story out from the offset, there is a certain feel about the movie you simply cannot shake off. Of all the found footage movies, The Last Broadcast is by far one of the weakest, but it’s opening section contains something visually quite disturbing, and shown literally for a Nano-second, but see it and it will haunt you forever.
Back in 1987 John Carpenter created one of his most understated movies, Prince Of Darkness is a plodding old tale, but it’s what you see in the characters dreams that might really put the wind up you. A vision of a person stood in a doorway, sent like video footage into the dreams of those that are close to the horror, each dream is unsettling, but the final revelation is by far the worst. Long Weekend is a movie that has been made twice, but it’s the 2008 version that has the most unhinging feel about it, the washed up sea creature, and the camper van discovery will takes it’s toll on your mind. Endangered Species from 1982 is a movie that seems like nothing out of the ordinary, but around half way in and things get both considerably more gory, and unsettling.
Over to Italy, and there are lots of great Italian scares out there, but Alien 2 – Sulla Terra is the most traumatic, it combines full on horror, with some intense moments of claustrophobia, imagine being trapped below the earth’s surface, and fighting a terrifying alien that just wants to slowly chew your head off. Let’s stay underground for Neil Marshall’s The Decent, the story is good, as are the effects, but it’s the claustrophobic feel that might make you push the stop button on your remote control.
Finally 1992’s Ghostwatch, ok so not technically a film, but a feature length TV show. The show was sneakily put out on Halloween night, and viewers were not clearly told it was a play, many thought it was a live ghost hunt. It’s all fairly predictable, and the performances (of non-acting celebrities) is fairly wooden, but that still does not stop one monumental moment, when the camera swings round a room and you see something truly unnerving.