Have you noticed that all your vague acquaintances are baking recently and then Instagramming their baked goods (pies of the pumpkin variety) and uploading those warming and friendly photos to Facebook to make you feel bad about yourself?
It can mean many things, but it’s most likely to mean that you need to delete some people and that it’s probably fairly close to Halloween too. People just love themes and nothing offers the world that option like Halloween. So, thematically we’re sticking by our guns and giving you a list of five cult horror films to get your monster mashing.
Get yourself a camcorder, a shaky hand and a bumbling lead and you too can make a horror franchise, or at the very least a tired spoof. But back in the good old days of burning witches and angry pitchfork toting mobs, nothing got on the establishments nerve like a god forsaking horror film. Some were banned (I Spit On Your Grave), most were shunned and derided (The Exorcist), but all of them were packed full of abject fun (Carrie).
Most cult films are now deliriously famous and even being remade (sell outs!). Think The Evil Dead trilogy. So instead of the cult film welcome pack, we’re going to insert our fangs, step into our sheet, and bring some fresh scares this all hallows eve.
Suspiria – Dario Argento
Known as the Italian master of horror this man’s body of work is built on a solid foundation of corn starch. Part of his “The Three Mothers” trilogy and one of his most successful films this 1977 classic is a lesson in suspense. It’s about a ballet school in Germany where they don’t just teach dance, but, you know, black magic. We follow young American Student Suzy (Jessica Harper) as she enrols in the school, gets ordered to drink win every day, falls asleep at really inopportune moments, sees lots of people die, and eventually after lots of counting discovers the secrets of the school.
One of the final feature length movies to be filmed in technicolour the primary colours are heavily emphasised which means the blood looks bloodier and with a soundtrack by prog rockers Goblin it both looks and sounds like a nightmare. It’s surreal, it’s graphic, it still looks fresh and it’s truly terrifying from beginning to end.
The Innkeepers – Ti West
Ti West should be huge and that’s the truth. He’s the poster boy for the modern classic horror film and with this and The House of the Devil under his belt he’s easily the best in the business right now. This is slow, like, slooow; the only jump in the first 45 minutes is both clever and hilariously cheap, you know it’s coming, but it won’t stop you from shrieking when it does. The pacing though shouldn’t be a problem if you love to be scared because you’ll love the characters, Claire (Sara Paxton) and Luke (Pat Healy), who are two slackers working the closing weekend at the local guest house. They also happen to be ghost hunting and this is their final chance to get some proof that the inn is haunted. Like everyone watching this film they want to be scared and the subtle use of sound as they wander round the winding corridors of the empty (yeah right!) building is creepy as…
This is a very modern horror film; half slacker comedy to start with and then like all of West’s work brings the thrills thick and fast for a truly insane finale. You’re going to regret wishing something would happen when it does. This one had Midnight Movie practically written in its blood. If you weren’t scared of empty hotels after The Shining then you will be now.
Inside – Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo
This is one of those films that, like rollercoasters, should come with a warning. You should have to be over a certain age, height, not suffer from heart problems or currently be pregnant. Part of the new wave of French horror this is possibly more terrifying than anything you’ve ever seen and gets ten points for disturbing content. Put very simply it’s a home invasion movie where the invader is a woman who wants a baby and the home owner is a woman with a baby. One woman has a pair of scissors and one woman has a baby. Inside of her womb.
It’s unrelenting in its brutality and miserable in its vision, but it’s not hard to watch, it’s engrossing. Possibly one of the most extreme films this writer has ever seen and definitely one of the best horrors.
Braindead/Dead Alive – Peter Jackson
From the chap who has directed some of the most boring films I’ve ever been forced to watch comes one of the goriest bloodbaths in recent memory. Who knew?
This is a cult film in the same silly vein as The Evil Dead and just like its brethren it is undoubtedly being shown to rooms of geeks the world over in the run up to Halloween. Like all the great zombie films it starts with a bit of ancient folklore from some more ‘primitive’ time spilling forth its bloody brains. Then of course there’s the Sumatran Rat Monkey, a town full of zombie’s, one really good mummy’s boy, and limbs, everywhere, apart from on bodies mostly.
If that doesn’t have you hooked then the fact that it was Simon Pegg’s biggest inspiration for Shaun Of The Dead should. Braindead brings new meaning to the line, “You’ve got red on you.”
An American Werewolf In London – John Landis
Okay. So, you’ve probably seen or at the very least heard of this one, but for one of the greatest horror comedies (and films) ever made it still feels massively unappreciated. This is practically the definition of a cult film and once you love it you’re in for life with the understanding that you watch it at least once a year around this time. So, here’s your chance to join the club.
American’s backpacking across the moors, creepy unwelcoming locals, werewolf’s, Jenny Agutter, London; what more could you possibly want in a film? Oh disturbing dream sequences where your dead friend slowly decomposes? Well, by gum it has those too. It’s these scenes that really are the pinnacle of the film as Jack(Griffin Dunne) greets his friend David (David Naughton) to inform him about moons and turning and blah, blah, blah. The effects by Rick Baker are phenomenal here and in the pivotal transformation moments, they changed the face of horror in the 80’s and invigorate this strange film. It’s not scary, but they don’t make atmosphere like this anymore, it’s perfect in so many ways and guaranteed to leave you reeling, scared of the moors—if you weren’t already—and very paranoid when walking into any country pub ever.
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