If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Friends of mine will tell you that I am a freak for horror movies.
I totally am.
I friggin’ love horror movies.
I mean, sure, I love the endorphin induced high that a good comedy can bring and any Michael Bay-esque action movie would get me all pumped full of testosterone but they just don’t have the same visceral impact as a horror movie. There is something particularly primal about the horror genre and personally, no other film genre can get me as weak in the knees like a good horror movie can (unless you’re talking about The Avengers but that’s neither here nor there).
So anyway, I wanted to give you all a list of my Top 5 horror movies (Why just 5? ‘Because nobody reads no. 6 to 10 on a Top 10 list anyway); these are movies which scared me when I first saw them and still continue to scare me with every viewing since. While the manner in how each movie invokes fear may be different, these movies are effective in establishing powerful emotional response in the viewing audience.
And why, you ask, am I sharing my top 5 favourite horror movies with you?
Because it’ MY blog, damn it! That’s why!
Alright, enough dawdling; let’s do this!
5. THE EXORCIST
This movie was released way before I was born so I never had the chance to experience it theatrically. Apparently, it was a pretty big deal when it came out in theatres; what with audiences fainting out of fear and shock. Sounds like fun right?
By today’s standards, there isn’t anything special about The Exorcist. However, when this came out in 1973, it was HUGE. The plot is basic. A girl gets possessed by a demon and her mother seeks the help of two priests to try and exorcise the demon out of the girl.
I told you; it’s pretty basic. Movies with similar plots are a dime a dozen nowadays.
However, what makes this movie stand out is Regan, the possessed little girl.
Here she is all sweet and innocent.
And here she is telling you that your mother sucks cocks in hell; and yes, that is a line from the movie.
That is fucking scary.
There are plenty of moments in the movie that will scare you and these scare will stick with you for some time even after you’re done with the movie. These moments never feel forced or contrived like in other horror movies. One of the reasons this movie and the scares within works is because it is heavily hinted that the devil himself possesses Regan and, sometimes, he just does stuff to fuck with your mind.
Also, there is absolutely no reason why Regan is possessed. She didn’t do anything to deserve it; it’s not like the house they’re living in is haunted or anything of the sort. No, the movie doesn’t give you any reason why this is happening to her. It just is; and that makes you think – this crap could just as easily be happening to you.
I really don’t want to spoil too much of the movie but I will mention one particular scene involving Regan and a crucifix which I find extremely disturbing. YouTube it if you want to because I’m not giving you the link.
4. Silence of the Lambs
No, this isn’t your typical horror movie. There are no ghosts or ghouls here. This is for all intents and purposes a crime drama; which stars two very human monsters – Hannibal Lecter and “Buffalo Bill”.
Anthony Hopkins plays Hannibal Lecter, a cannibalistic psychiatrist imprisoned in a mental institution, who is asked by an FBI trainee, Clarice Starling (played here to great effect by Jodie Foster) to help give advice in the capture of another serial killer named “Buffalo Bill”.
This is Anthony Hopkins at his very best. His Hannibal Lecter is disturbing to watch yet utterly fascinating at the same time.
This is a man who exudes charisma and intelligence yet simmering just below the surface is the cruel cunning of a cannibalistic killer. The character doesn’t even appear all that much in the film (about 15 minutes or so in total) but he is such a critical part of why the movie works. The scenes with him and Clarice are fantastic tension-filled moments. The dialogue during those scenes is chilling and every line that Hopkins delivers cuts deeper and deeper into the psyche of Foster’s character.
“Buffalo Bill” himself is a fright to behold.
This is a man who murders woman and then skins parts of their body. I was disgusted and freaked out when the movie finally revealed what he intended to do with the pieces of skin he collected. There’s a scene of him “dancing” in front of the mirror and that scene will fuck with you for the rest of your life; such a creepy bastard
I love Thai horror movies in general but Shutter is the cream of the crop and my absolute favourite.
The story isn’t anything to shout about but it does have its strong points. Basically, this movie delves into the realm of spirit photography i.e. the capturing of ghosts and spirits on film. Our protagonist, Tun, is a photographer who mysteriously starts seeing strange figures and mists in his photographs. These incidents begin to exacerbate; crossing over into reality and thus begins a race to uncover the truth behind the hauntings before he loses his life.
Sure, the story seems simple and straightforward but don’t let my summary fool you. The plot is actually pretty good. You will initially sympathise with Tun as he is haunted by this female ghost but as you discover the reason behind the hauntings, you will actually start believing that the good for nothing asshole really does deserve it.
This was just a good movie all around. The scare tactics really work in this movie. There were several moments in this movie that made me squirm uncomfortably in my seat as the tension was building; and when the climax comes – BAM! I yelled like a scared little girl.
Also, the final 10 to 15 minutes in this scene was sooooo good. Basically, Tun has had enough of the hauntings and in a fit of (foolish) rage, outright challenges the ghost to show herself. He snaps of shot after shot on his Polaroid camera to try and find where she is but he just can’t find her. When it’s finally revealed where she is, damn, that scene will scare the crap out of you.
2. All three "Paranormal Activity" movies
A lot of people don’t really like these movies and I can understand why. The movie is slow to start and can be draggy at some points. The characters are mostly irritating and the scares just aren’t all that scary.
Yet, this movie is one of the few movies that explore what a real haunting could possibly be like. There is no expensive CGI and no giant set-pieces here. The scare tactics here are subtle and you’ll miss it if you aren’t paying attention. The scares here work by being relatable and, for the most part, are things that all of us are likely to have experienced ourselves; and that’s what I love most about these movies.
How many of us have been home alone and then thought you heard voices in the bedroom?
What about finding a light turned on that you swore you had switched off?
A door left ajar after you closed it?
What about finding things in places other than where you last placed them?
These are things in reality that we all have encountered which the Paranormal Activity movies incorporate and then attribute as being ghostly hauntings; and it works on that level. In real life, we know that all the strange things we encounter are simply our minds playing tricks on us; to which the Paranormal Activity movies argue, “what if your mind isn’t playing tricks on you?”
And that is freaking scary.
This is the movie that launched the Jap-Horror genre.
Ringu is basically about a cursed video-tape who kills anyone after 7 days of you watching it. Our protagonist is a reporter named Reiko Asakawa who is investigating the mysterious death of a group of teenagers. She inadvertently finds and watches the cursed tape and having done so, has 7 days to find a way to break the curse of the tape before it kills her.
Sounds stupid? Maybe.
Is it fucking horrifying? Yes.
Ok – so, for the benefit of those of you who hasn’t seen the movie, I’ll break down what happens when you watch the tape.
(1) You watch the tape; and it is creepy as heck.
(2) Immediately after the tape ends, you receive a phone call.
(3) When you answer the phone, there’s nobody on the other end.
(4) Congratulations! You now have 7 days left to live.
(5) After 7 days, this bitch drops by and kills you
Ladies and Gentleman, allow me to introduce to you, Sadako; our main antagonist in the film A.K.A the long-haired-lady-in-white that launched a thousand J-horror films outside Japan. Yes, if you were wondering why every horror movie these days has a long-haired ghost in a white dress - she is the reason why.
All kidding aside, this movie really did affect affect me on a very personal level because the entire premise of the film is that watching these images on the video would get you killed.
And I saw those same images.
Does that mean….
I watched this movie when I was 11 or 12 years old and I was scared as fuck when I left the theatre. There was a very genuine fear that this movie could cross into reality. This was a movie that reached out beyond the screen and you as an audience really felt that you could be a victim of the killer video tape.
Also this movie has one of the best twists in any horror movie. In any typical horror movie, the protagonist eventually manages to break the curse they’re under and then sets the evil spirit to rest. In Ringu, the protagonist doesn’t even realise that she had already broken the curse earlier and that her actions at the end of the movie actually makes things worse.
Damn, that last 15 minutes of the movie is possibly one of the scariest scenes ever in a movie. Holy shit.
And you know how you can tell that this movie is good?
Hollywood made a remake of it which was actually not bad. Ringu is so good, not even Hollywood could fuck up the source material.
Aaaaaaaaand those are my top 5 favourite horror movies. I hope you guys had fun reading my list as much as I did writing it. If you haven’t seen these movies, hopefully I’ve convinced you to give them a try because I assure you, you will enjoy them.