Thank you to Kylie Klein Nixon for this most excellent spooky suggestion – The Autopsy of Jane Doe is a great contemporary horror flick with loads of jumps and scares. Father and son coroners Tommy (Brian Cox) and Austin (Emile Hirsch) are perplexed when a mystery female cadaver is brought into them, and then very strange things start to happen such as the radio turning over stations by itself and noises going bump in the night. They also have other bodies which have bells tied around their ankles – in the past, the bells were used to signal if the bodies were in a comatose state rather than actually dead – so when something starts tinkling in the dark corridor, coming towards them…yeah, you can guess what’s up with THAT.
Another of our favourite horror movies is John Carpenter’s seriously eerie Prince of Darkness. A priest (Donald Pleasence) invites a professor and his students into an abandoned church in Los Angeles to investigate a massive cylinder containing lots of mysterious green goop. EVIL goop. Local homeless people (including a great cameo by Alice Cooper) are acting very strange, creepy bugs are appearing everywhere and the group start to share the same recurring dream, where a shadowy and spooky figure appears at the entrance to the church.
There’s lots of jumpy and scary moments in Prince of Darkness, and Carpenter’s plodding score adds to the tension. The dream sequences though are the bits that really frighten us, and they’ve been sampled widely from DJ Shadow to Marilyn Manson.
‘This is not a dream…not a dream…we are transmitting from year one-nine-nine…’
An effective and original chiller, The Autopsy of Jane Doe is about a mystery body that turns up in a murder house and baffles father and son coroners Tommy (Brian Cox) and Austin (Emile Hirsch) as they struggle to determine the cause of death. When a violent storm starts and a radio takes on a life of its own, playing songs about the Devil, they realise that this may be an extraordinary corpse.
It’s got the gore of the autopsy – performed real-time – which reveals more and more strange horrors and clues about Jane’s demise. Add into that the sinister supernatural undertones and you’ll be jumping as to what’s coming next.
Cox is excellent as the main lead, and gels well with the innocent Hirsch. The last Act is slightly confusing – as to what Jane is and what her motivations are – but don’t let this distract from a great little horror film that is one to draw the curtains and turn off the lights to.
Kudos must also go to Olwen Kelly who plays the Jane Doe, when most of her performance is being laid out on a slab. Despite not doing very much indeed, she has a formidable presence throughout and is damnnnnnn scary.
GORE RATING: 5/5
Watch it for: When ‘Jane’s’ powers truly come to light. Breaking the lights
Watch out for: The ring of the toe bell
The second installment in The Omen series, we follow 12-year old Damien (a seriously spooky Jonathan Scott-Taylor) as he starts at military academy and realises his destiny. Damien is now living with adoptive parents – after both his parents were taken care of in The Omen – and as those close to him get to know what he’s all about (the 666 on his scalp is a big sign), they start being bumped off. There are also those who exist to protect him.
It’s a good watch and features some pretty gruesome Final Destination-like scenes – the journalist having her eyes pecked out by a raven is especially nasty, as well as the doctor who is chopped in half by a falling lift cable. Scott-Taylor is excellent as our chilling protagonist, who knows he’s a little different to other boys but comes of age with his powers.
Omen II sets us up nicely for Omen III: The Final Conflict (1981), and it’s a solid and classic horror franchise that’s still very eerie.
GORE RATING: 3/5
Watch it for: Scott-Taylor’s Damien. Creepy kid
Watch out for: Large trucks, if your eyes have been pecked out
If Martyrs is one of the most extreme horror movies ever, The Exorcist is one of the scariest. Linda Blair was 14 years old when she played Regan, the girl possessed by a demon, and her performance is extraordinary and ultra disturbing.
It’s got many legendary scenes, including the crucifix, spider walk and projectile vomiting and is absolutely terrifying. It’s also really well made and special kudos goes to Jason Miller as Father Damien Karras – he is fantastic.
YOUR MOTHER SUCKS…: It’s too rude to say
GORE RATING: 1/5
TOTAL HALLOWEEN VIEWING RATING: 10/10
Watch it for: It’s one of THE seminal horror movies
Watch out for: There’s so many scary bits. The final day of the exorcism is realllly heavy
Five strangers board an elevator which breaks down. One by one they’re murdered, but who’ll be next and – importantly – who did it? Devil is a terrific horror which keeps your attention peaked throughout, as the full terror of the stuck lift is revealed. Produced by M. Night Shymalan, it’s got prestigious backing has some authentic jumps and scares.
ANY ELEVATOR MUSIC?: Yes, there is some!
GORE RATING: 3/5
TOTAL HALLOWEEN VIEWING RATING: 7/10
Watch it for: A claustrophobic hellevator ride
Watch out for: The surprise killer. YIKES