There couldn’t be anything else. This is our scariest moment in horror, when supposedly out for the count Michael Myers (Nick Castle) – the ultimate Boogeyman – wakes up behind unsuspecting Final Girl Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis). It’s the ultimate jump, a masterpiece by John Carpenter of scary things happening just out of your main gaze, a classic of evil never being dead/the persistent threat never-ending, and a seminal slasher.
When little Carol Anne Freeling (Heather O’Rourke) utters those infamous horror movie words – ‘They’re Here’ – this is the reason why static has haunted us for 30+ years and we still have issues with a blank TV screen. Kids in horror flicks are inherently scary too so Poltergeist has the perfect combination for Halloween viewing. There’s also the myth around the ‘Curse of Poltergeist’, with the tragic deaths of many of the movie franchise stars – including Heather O’Rourke, at just 12 years old.
One of our biggest fears in humanity is change that is out of our control, and Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later deals with that on a massive scale for lead Jim (Cillian Murphy) as he wakes from a coma in a deserted St Thomas’ Hospital, London. As he leaves the hospital, he finds the streets of London empty – something so sinister, something portraying a disaster of epic proportions. It really is very unsettling. You’re put slap bang in Jim’s shoes as you know how you would feel in his situation.
One of the greatest chillers of all time, we all know about THAT famous shower scene. The part that really scares us is when Lila Crane (Vera Miles) – the sister of missing Marion (Janet Leigh), the motel shower victim – discovers what really happened to Norman Bates’ (Anthony Perkins) mother. She may be sitting in a chair, but as she’s turned around she’s revealed to be a mummified corpse…and then Norman bursts into the room with a knife, dressed as his mother. Yikes!
Director Tom Six is a very bad man. A very bad man indeed. The Human Centipede (First Sequence) is quite the mouthful to get through and completely revolting but also a brilliant watch. There’s some moments of sheer black comedy but when the scary Dr Heiter (Dieter Laser) reveals his gross-out plans for his human centipede to his three helpless victims, it’s a scene of absolute horror and very frightening. When you see it for the first time, it really is something else. My sweet three dog.
Oh God. In Omen II, devilish Damien (Jonathan Scott-Taylor) is 12 years old and still as nasty as ever. One of the most scary and horrific scenes comes to poor journalist Joan Hart (Elizabeth Shepherd) who suspects Damien could well be, y’know, the bloomin’ Antichrist. She gets attacked by a raven, has her eyes pecked out and is then run over by a truck. Sad face for Joan.
Scary children, a scary lady in the woods, a scary…goat – The Witch is one of the best contemporary horror films for some time and will definitely give you the creeps. A Puritan family are banished from a plantation in 17th century New England. They set up a farm, complete with the goat from hell, and one day their newborn baby/sibling disappears. A bad thing in the woods likes to do bad things to babies. Unfortunately peril also comes to the other children, including Caleb (Harvey Scrimshaw) who falls prey to some ‘orrid witchcraft. It’s an outstanding performance from this young actor and absolutely terrifying.
And this is where it starts. We lost George A. Romero this year – the father of the zombie movie – and boy will he be missed. This is the seminal opening of the highly influential, game-changing and much copied Night of the Living Dead and it never stops being scary – siblings Barbra (Judith O’Dea) and Johnny (Russell Streiner) are on their annual visit to their father’s grave. A strange man appears. There were zombie films before but this is where the modern zombie flick truly begins.
John Carpenter’s The Thing is completely terrifying, with body horror to the max. Kurt Russell’s R.J. MacReady leads the men stuck at an Antarctic research station whilst they struggle to survive ‘The Thing’ – an alien lifeform that takes control of its host and resembles them. So you never know who the alien could be and that’s where the jumps lie – who is going to be next? One of the most tense and scary scenes is where R.J makes the surviving men test their blood to see who is human…and ‘The Thing’ shows its true, bloody colours. Yuck.