I initially started this list to coincide with the recent Halloween festivities; however circumstances beyond my control unfortunately prevented this from happening. This much delayed Top 5 Horror Films is a little late to the party but by no means redundant. Obviously this is a very personal list and whilst I deeply admire such classic horrors such as Rosemary’s Baby, The Shinning and The Exorcist and have a soft spot for less known but still incredibly enjoyable films like Rabies, The Innocents, Session 9 and Devil’s Backbone they sadly failed to make the final cut.
Please feel free to comment and any further suggestions are duly welcome
Eyes without a Face
Franju’s Eyes Without a Face is a mesmerising and unnerving tale about a brilliant surgeon (Dr Genessier), who kidnaps young women in order to steal their facial features to repair his beloved daughters face – desecrated after a car crash. Despite it being her father performing these horrific acts, it’s actually his ethereal daughter who provokes the most unsettling reaction. The way she glides from room to room with her expressionless face is far more disturbing than the non-consensual cosmetic surgery, creating a sterile, languid but totally gripping gothic horror
Whilst the premise for [Rec] (documenting a zombie virus outbreak) and its ‘found footage’ approach where both nothing new, directors Balaguero and Plaza managed to create a film which felt as unique, as it was horrifying. A disturbingly realistic horror, the genuine threat which seems to emanate from the screen induces a dangerous unhealthy adrenaline rush. With an abundance of energy and an amalgamation of the best techniques of all the most loved horror films [Rec] is not just an accomplished pastiche but one of the greatest Zombie films ever made
Ohbayashi’s 1977 surreal horror House pushed the boundaries of how terror was depicted through a mixture of highly stylish filming techniques. This ‘haunted house’ story is equal parts high-school comedy, J-horror and madcap fantasy that’s clearly influenced by the possessed, demonic animals of Japanese folklore (namely the countries malevolent view of felines – apparent in the film’s incredibly sinister white cat Snowy). Filmed through a haze of over saturated colours and featuring some incredibly quirky set pieces (sound tracked by an equally peculiar score), House is one of the strangest and fascinating horror films you’ll ever see.
A psychological horror hidden behind a sci-fi facade, Alien is perhaps the greatest monster movie ever made. Combining the suffocating claustrophobic setting of Das Boot with H.R Giger’s grotesque, strangely phallic, acid bleeding creature, Alien successfully transfers the most effective elements of horror into deep space with relative ease.
A widower agrees to screen girls at a special audition. They’re deceived into thinking their auditioning for a role in a new film; however it’s actually a cunning ploy to find our lonely protagonist a new wife. What at first looks to be an unconventional romance film soon blossoms into one of the most disturbing domestic horrors ever made. Indeed the less you know about Audition the more affecting its disturbing final act becomes. Often described as a ‘gearshift’ movie, Takashi Miike’s film has a deceptively restrained opening (admittedly with some subtly unnerving clues as to how things will transpire) before descending into a disturbingly sinister movie about the maddening affects of passion and affection.