Kamera asked its in-the-haunted-house horror master specialists, Michelle Le Blanc and Colin Odell, to give us a list of the ten best horror films for Halloween. True internationalists, they served up a selection of horror films from all over the world.
Halloween (USA,1978. Dir:John Carpenter)– Scares and jumps abound in the classic supernatural serial killer film. An influential score increases the tension as plenty of grotesque murders will satisfy thrill seekers, but it’s restrained enough in the gore department to keep the popcorn down.
Spoorloos (aka The Vanishing, 1988, Holland. Dir: George Sluizer) – Unsettling and deeply disturbing but carefully paced, this is a thriller that slowly reveals its horrible secrets. Not one for gore-hounds but it will stay in the mind well after Bonfire Night.
Ugetsu Monogatari (Japan, 1953. Dir: Kenji Mizoguchi) – Elegiac and moody ghost story that relies on atmosphere to send a gentle shiver down the viewer’s spine. The template of the ‘less-is-more’ genre of Japanese horror films.
Vampire Circus (UK, 1972. Dir: Robert Young) – Hammer at its exploitative best. Coy sex, lashings of gore and some imaginative in-camera effects make this a guilty treat that never flags. David Prowse and Lalla Ward add supporting icing to an overly sugary cake of delights.
Haute Tension (Switchblade Romance, France, 2003. Dir: Alexandre Aja) – Slick and sick serial killer film with warped twists of plot and logic. The ostensibly basic premise takes a very nasty turn as it careers into the bloody heart of darkness. You’ll never want to listen to Muse again…
Suspiria (Italy, 1977. Dir: Dario Argento) – Pump up the volume and turn down the lights as Argento’s sensory overload of a film overwhelms you with its operatic style. Gruesome, imaginative and prolonged murders are enhanced by eyeball searing colours and a rowdy yet hypnotic score.
El Día de la bestia (Day of the Beast, Spain, 1995. Dir: Alex de la Iglesia) – The son of the devil will be born this night! A priest needs to become the ultimate sinner to defeat the anti-Christ in this hilarious splatter horror. "Forgive me father, for I will sin!"
Cronos (Mexico, 1993. Dir: Guillermo del Toro) – Dead but not buried this is, in parts, a tale of a bloody return from the after-life and moving family drama. At turns grisly, poignant and funny this is a sumptuous yet personal horror that balances its apparently disparate elements with consummate ease.
Braindead (New Zealand, 1992. Dir: Peter Jackson) – Possibly one of the most gore laden, squelchiest zombie splatterfests committed to celluloid Braindead, by pre 10-hour-epic Jackson, is a riot from start to finish. Kung-fu vicars, possessed cannibal babies, puss, gore and, yes, even a massacre with a lawnmower. It’s set in the 1950’s. So it’s heritage. Sort of.
The Eye (Hong Kong, 2002. Dir: Oxide Pang Chun & Danny Pang) – The Pang Brothers at their stylish best. A slow burner of a plot with a (turn away spoiler haters!) wrong-footing dozy of a twist that out-Sixth Senses the Sixth Sense while still finding time for an outlandishly unnecessary, but wholly enjoyable final reel.
Michelle Le Blanc and Colin Odell are the authors of the Pocket Essentials – Horror. They are currently working on the Kamera book on David Lynch.