In no particular order;
1. Scream 1, 2, 3, 4 -
Probably being my favourite horror movie series, Scream will always have a solid place in my heart. Set in the small town of Woodsboro, the story tells of teenage girl, Sydney Prescott, who is trying to recover from the brutal murder of her mother the year before. Leading up to the anniversary of the death, classmates of Sydney's are barbarically murdered by an unidentified killer, nicknamed GhostFace. The killings don't stop and thus lead Sydney to believe that it may be the person who in fact murdered her mother; and that that person is after her as well. The best thing about people who watch this film for the first time is that you cannot help yourself from making up your own assumptions as to who the killer is. It has a nice twist at the end which will come as a shocker and will make you keen to watch the others in the series. The director of this, Wes Craven, has done some great work in the past, such as the A Nightmare on Elm Street series and the original The Last House on the Left; so you can be guaranteed a good movie. All the Scream movies are directly related to Sydney and her mother, who happened to have a lot of skeletons in her closet!
If you haven't yet seen this - the pinnacle of teen slashers - then do so, you will not be disappointed.
2. The Strangers -
This movie, I feel, was incredibly underrated. When I saw it in theatre's, I was absolutely terrified! I even took my best friend out to see it the second time and she, who never gets scared, was properly freaked out! The story of this movie is; a couple have just been at a friends wedding and have retired back to a remote countryside house late at night. The movie starts off rather sombre as it appears that the guy has asked his girlfriend to marry him, but she has rejected. They receive a knock at their door in the early hours and answer to a woman, standing in the dark, asking questions. She leaves and the couple continue on with their evening however the door knocking continues and then things take a terrifying turn for the worse. It appears three mask-wearing people are at different entrances to the home and are out to kill the couple, only after they have subjected them to a cat-and-mouse style violent struggle first. This is very reminiscent to the real-life Manson Family Murders that happened in the sixties. It was this combination of both mental and physical torture that was carried out on the victims, such as movie actress Sharon Tate (who was eight months pregnant at the time of her murder).
When you watch this at home, make sure to do it on a large t.v with the lights off and the sound up loud to get the best at-home theatre feel. The scares work the best that way!
3. Halloween H2O -
Now, this may be a controversial pick as a lot of people rate this as their least favourite of the Halloween franchise. I do love the original but I feel horror movies from back in the seventies don't fit into the same sort of genre that my usual horror movies do, if that makes sense. You should probably watch the original movie, so you can appreciate the lead up to this but you will understand the storyline regardless;
"On Halloween in 1963, Michael Myers murdered his sister, Judith. In 1978, he broke out to kill his other sister, Laurie Strode. He killed all of her friends, but she escaped. A few years later, she faked her death so he couldn't find her. But now, in 1998, Michael has returned and found all the papers he needs to find her. He tracks her down to a private school where she has gone under a new name with her son, John. And now, Laurie must do what she should have done a long time ago and finally decided to hunt down the evil one last time."
This movie is intense in places; there is a scene at a highway rest stop bathroom with a mother and her young child that is particularly unnerving. The overall feel of this movie is that you are rooting for Laurie to finally step up and confront her deranged brother. The character Michael Meyers has become a cult icon in the horror scene and I think he is one of the best fictional "villains" ever created. What scares me about this is that something like this can happen, and already has. Unlike movies with ghosts and poltergeists, having an actual walking, talking human who has a killer instinct is terrifying. You only need to look up real-life serial killers and the stories behind them to know this to be true.
4. Insidious -
This movie did very well at the box office when it was released and scared the shit out of me! - to be blunt. In a contrast to serial killers who are human, having the "villain" as something that you cannot see or that is dead or even inhuman is frightening. It's like, at least with a human you know that they can be beaten (or shot!) somehow, yet with an unknown entity you're kind of at a loss. This film is about a family in desperate need to help their son, Dalton, who has an accident in the family's roof space and falls into a coma. The doctors are baffled at his case and the family decide to bring him home to care for him. It isn't long until strange things start to happen around the house, mainly to the mother, and the severity of these takes hold. The family decided to pack up and move, like most people would, until they realise that this 'haunting' has somehow followed them. What ensues is a very disturbing turn of events that need expert help, who, goes on to tell the couple that it is not the house that's haunted, it's their son!
If you like jumpy, scary movies then this is for you. If you like to go home and not sleep - for fear - after watching a scary movie, then this is for you. If you like shocking endings to horror film, then this is for you. Enjoy.
5. What Lies Beneath -
Starring Meg Ryan and Harrison Ford as a married couple, this film sets the scene as the wife of a psychiatrist who starts to see weird goings on in her home. She's convinced she sees a dead girl in her bathtub and tries to convince her straight-laced husband. He just assumes she's crazy and tells her to get help. Then a friend suggests trying to contact this strange ghost girl and out comes the Ouija board and we all know what's going to happen then.
This movie is very scary at places, with the occasional jumps thrown in for good measure, and has a great story to tell. The ending is fantastic with a big twist which nobody sees coming. Highly recommend.
6. The Uninvited -
This is the US version of the South Korean horror flick, A Table of Four. In the US adaptation a story is told of two sisters and life after the accidental death of their mother. The youngest sister has just left a psychiatric facility and has come home hoping to reconnect with her father and sister, only problem is, her dad has started a relationship with the women who was previously nursing her sick mother. This causes both sisters to doubt the events surrounding the death of their mother and fully believe their father's girlfriend is responsible. All they have to do is prove it. Events take a more sinister turn when the young sister starts to have nightmares and visions that include her mother, and, with her soon-to-be stepmom acting very hostile, the situation turns deadly. I've watched this movie a ton of times and I find the story behind it so interesting. It's also very psychologically scary in parts so I doubt you could watch it on your own. Another big, surprise twist at the end of this movie makes it in a complete league of it's own for greatness.
7. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) -
This was another film I watched as a youngster and scared myself so much I had nightmares for months. The original version of this is so well acted it deserves to be a cult favourite for horror. The story is of a group of friends who are travelling across Texas to visit their grandfather's grave and his old house. The opening scene is how the grave has been desecrated and is very disturbing to say the least. The group then pick up a hitch-hicker who is pretty much crazy and starts self mutilating in the back of the van - so they ditch him - then finally move onto the house, where things take a sinister turn. What starts as an ongoing struggle not to be killed by a chainsaw wielding maniac and his cannibal, redneck family, ends with you rooting for the victims to "keep on running". The best scene in this movie is when Leatherface is chasing one of the girls into the woods and neither will give up. The look in her face, the desperation and will inside her to live is brilliantly played out, as is the rest of the cast. It is scary and disturbing and the remakes today do not do the original justice. You just know this was a movie that was banned in a lot of States in US when it was first released.
8. The Ring -
Based on the Japanese cult movie, Ringu, this is one of the most popular horror films of the last decade to come out. The story follows a young journalist who goes on a dark adventure to find out the meanings behind a strange videotape which appears to show a woman committing suicide. The tape in question seems to somehow cause the death of anyone who watches it exactly one week later, they get an eerie phone call directly after viewing said tape with a voice saying, "Seven Days". The phone call alone is scary to me, so as you can imagine I was pretty freaked out by the rest of it. The journalist, Rachel, has watched the tape and is originally dubious that she will fall victim to this urban legend. That is, until she discovers more about the events surrounding the tape and the subjects of it; then what ensues is a desperate attempt to somehow break the curse and save her life and that of her young son. The cinematography of this is outstanding, mostly a grey and dull blue lighting throughout which fits perfectly with the sombre attitude of the movie. The legendary scene in this is when the little girl, Samara, crawls out from inside the television screen and kills her victim. This scene stayed true to the original and is very well done and unique.