Clive Barkers Hellraiser films are not only the greatest horror films ever made, but some of the best films ever made period. Hellraiser is in my top 4 of all time ever. My mum used to be a real horror freak. She had every Stephen King book and James Herbet book ever written and watched scary films all the time, until my sister was born and she watched Hellraiser. She literally slept with the landing light on for a month. She threw away every trinket box she had, and she still has recurring dreams about a box chasing her until she spoke to a therapist friend who told her to open the box(?!). Now if this doesn't endorse a film for a young impressionable mind, what does?
I myself had a love hate relationship with the film, forcing myself to watch them, being absolutely transfixed, scared, disgusted and frightened. The coenobites and Uncle Frank are so terrifying you can barely look at them. I even had the coveted box set in the pandoras box, bought for me as a get well present, but I couldn't have it in the house so I returned it to HMV, citing the reason as 'I AM SCARED BY ITS PRESENCE.' The cashier took one look at me, and my then boyfriend, he gave him a knowing look that said, look you are not going to win this one bro, just agree with her and return it. He did. I am now over the fear, and can now just appreciate the films for what they are. Beautiful masterpieces from a man who knows how to conjure fear and the grotesque. Not to be missed.
Bad news, its not on Netflix or Amazon Prime, but it is real cheap to buy on DVD and you should add it to your collection because it is a banger
So this is sufficiently campy and in my opinion, frightening. There is a character in this film who has his lips sewn together and pre teen me thought it was terrifying. I also fancied the cat. More than anything this film is distressing, and stirs up weird crushes on cats and Bette Midler. It is colourful and disney and encapsulates what I imagine Halloween to be like in America. Everyones houses done up spectacularly, everyones costumes are to a professional standard and not from the 99p shop, it is unexplainably super 90's and they go on a super adventure. I love all the little details, even how the book looks, it kind of reminds me of the evil dead book, and Sarah Jessica Parker has this awful role because she hasn't broken through yet, and tiny Thora Birch, and it all takes place on Halloween night, in Salem. Perfection.
You can rent this from Amazon, its like going Blockbusters but you don't have to move from your sofa
Here comes the Devil
So, if you haven't seen many foreign horror films, or possession films, or even if you have, I still highly recommend Here comes the Devil. A Mexican supernatural film by Adrián García Bogliano. I rated this quite low when I watched it early last year because there is a gratuitous shot of breasts and I had also watched a lot of ghost films at the time so I was a bit burnt out. However I kept thinking about it a lot after. There is an unsettling creepy feeling throughout the film that I couldn't shake off. The premise of the film is, some parents lose their children at a service station, and after a while they find them again, but something is....different. Some quite troubling and real things take place after. This is one to watch in the dark, with your mind broadly open, it plays on your insecurities.
Good news, its on Netflix UK at the moment too!
Arguably the film that put modern found footage films on the map. Although Blair Witch had been released 8 years previously, Paranormal activity was made in 2007 during a renaissance period, with a slew of others like Quarantine, The Poughkeepsie Tapes, REC, even George A Romero joined in with the real shoddy Diary of the Dead. However it wasn't actually released until 2009 and became the most profitable film ever made (because it was made for like $2 or something stupid). Like the Blair Witch Project, Paranormal Activity had been marketed as a new classic, a new wave of horror masterpiece, people had been 'walking out the cinema in fear.' This kind of mega hype often leads to people having incredibly high and different expectations for the film and often end up disappointed, and say things like 'nothing happens this is rubbish.'
Found footage is scary, it feels real, and raw, you feel like you are not supposed to be seeing it, you also feel like you are in the room and quite literally the first person witnessing the things happening, which give a whole other level to being creeped out. That is what I love about found footage, and in
2009 I hadn't seen any found footage other than REC (which I class as a zombie movie before found footage) and when anything peaks like this I try very hard to ignore everything and go in with an open mind. I also set the mood, I find this an important thing when watching horror films. Everything can change when you don't have your phone in your hand, and the curtains are closed and you haven't got to get up half way through to feed the cat or do the dinner. Not that you should have to go out of your way to make a film better, but sometimes getting in the right frame of mind is important, and that is what I did for Paranormal Activity, and it was the scariest thing I had ever seen in my life. Now subjectively now I can see that perhaps it wasn't, but on that night it was, which means it has a special place in my heart, and all the subsequent sequels still scare me and probably always will. Just think, all these little things that happen to Katie and Mica are plausible (if you believe in demons and ghosts).
Good news, it is also on Netflix UK, along with all the sequels, which I think are all worth watching, especially 2 & 3
Charlotte is one half of Bimbo Movie Bash, runs Black Heart Creatives, enjoys gory horror films, shouting, smoking fags, and laying downLetterboxd | Twitter | Instagram