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.
We’re big fans of Rob Zombie’s horror and exploitation films, and House of 1000 Corpses is OTT and ultra disturbing – bringing us the cult characters of Captain Spaulding (Sid Haig), Baby (Sheri Moon Zombie) and Otis (Bill Moseley).
Four young people stumble across Captain Spaulding’s bizarre ‘Museum of Monsters & Mayhem’ when researching a book about strange roadside attractions. They learn about the legend of Dr Satan, a master surgeon with questionable ethics, and then get captured by the Firefly family from hell who start to torture and kill the group. Potential final girl Denise (Erin Daniels) is left alone in an underground lair…and guess who it belongs to…
The Exorcist is truly one of the most terrifying films of all time, and there’s many scenes in this classic horror that will chill you down to the bone – head spinning, spider walking, pea soup vomiting, crucifix…ya know. For us, Father Merrin (Max von Sydow) and Father Karras (Jason Miller) trying to cast the demon out of young Regan (Linda Blair) – ‘The Power of Christ Compels You!’ – as she levitates towards the ceiling is pretty much out there. They then see a haunting glimpse of the true demon. You’ll need a stiff drink after this one.
Part 2 of Dario Argento’s Three Mothers trilogy, Inferno has some standout, influential scenes and is bathed in the usual colours of red, blue and black that are staple in his seminal films. There’s also the trademark ‘complex mystery, bathed in blood’ as a brother – Mark (Leigh McCloskey) – searches for his sister, Rose (Irene Miracle), who has vanished from her apartment in New York City. There’s witchcraft..there’s a spooky building…beautifully staged brutal murders…and a marvellous cat.
One of the biggest jumps is in a wonderful underwater sequence where Rose discovers a water-filled ballroom in her building – of course – and accidentally drops her keys into it, so she has to swim down…whilst a body floats up.
One, two, Freddy’s coming for you…Wes Craven’s horror tour de force introduced the world to icon Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) and also caused a generation of kids to have insomnia. Watching it back now, it’s still blinkin’ scary and one of the spookiest bits is when our lead Nancy (Heather Langenkamp) falls asleep at school and is tempted out of the classroom by her dead friend Tina (Amanda Wyss), who is talking to her from inside a bloody body bag. Horrid.
Time for some hot chocolate…not tired…at all. Must…stay…awake…
By the time we reach the infamous dinner party sequence in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, we’re terrorised already. And then this happens. It’s savage, it’s horrible, it’s OTT and it’s bloody, bloody brilliant. Final girl Sally (the best Scream Queen ever, Marilyn Burns – rest in peace) is subjected to the Come Dine With Me from hell as she gets to know Leatherface (Gunnar Hansen) and his family a little better. This includes a comatose and pretty dead looking Grandpa (John Dugan) sucking her cut finger, then in a horrific moment of black humour failing to bludgeon her. You want to stop watching…but you can’t. It’s beyond scary.
One of the most disturbing and frightening prolonged ends to a film, Sgt. Howie’s (Edward Woodward) demise in The Wicker Man…in a wicker man…is not for the faint-hearted. We spend the duration of the film with him as he explores the mysteries and strange folk of Summerisle and then they go and do that to him. He calls for ‘Christ!’ and ‘Lord!’ before he burns, but there is no escape. The animals burning and shrieking around him add to the horror. And the folks of Summerisle watch him with glee, and sing, and sing. Gulp.
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.
One of the most infamous haunted houses, 112 Ocean Avenue, Amityville, has many terrors inside in this classic 1979 horror. There’s a secret spooky room in the basement, red eyes peeking through a window, blood seeping out of the walls and windows slamming down on their own. One of the scariest scenes is when Father Delaney (Rod Steiger) visits to bless the house and is swarmed by some horrible flies. And then that voice from hell tells him to ‘GETTTTT OUTTTTTTTT’. Yikes.