by Jody B. Movie
These aren’t my choices for the best horror movies ever (although some that I do consider the best are included); they’re the movies that I go back to again and again, like a pair of comfy blood-soaked slippers, and never seem to tire of watching. Here, I try to explain why…
10. Grave Encounters
This is not a great movie. I bought it at a bargain price and on a first watch thought I’d totally wasted 10 bucks on another fofoo (found footage) movie that I was either going to pass on to a friend or leave to gather dust on my DVD shelf. But later that same day, I found myself watching it again, and again the next day. The acting’s okay, the story’s unoriginal; the only thing I can put it down to is the setting. Call me crazy but I love movies set in abandoned insane asylums. It has some good scares and manages to make a bath tub spooky. And I have to admit, I cared about the characters. The crew of the reality spooks show won me over.
9. Dawn of the Dead
I’m going out on a limb here. Much as I love the original Romero classic, it’s the remake directed by Zac Snyder that I go back to again and again. Forgive me. Same scenario as the original: a bunch of people, in danger of being snacked on by friends and neighbours, take refuge in a shopping mall. But this one has Canadian indie goddess Sarah Polley, Ving Rhames and a bunch of other above-average actors.
Fairly under-appreciated in its day, Slither’s main appeal for me is that it stars Nathan Fillion, king of the uber-dry quip, and the great Michael Rooker, who manages to elevate anything he appears in. Call it an homage if you want, but the smart, funny script gives Slither its own style and makes it a re-watch of the highest calibre.
7. The Mist
The pairing of author Stephen King and director Frank Darabont is a match made in horror movie heaven. Darabont gives the audience a very faithful retelling of the King novella: a story of small-town residents stuck inside a grocery store, forced to defend themselves against terrifying creatures from another dimension. It’s popcorn horror at its entertaining best, but also manages to say something about mob mentality and what makes us “civilised”.
6. Evil Dead 2
Evil Dead 2 was definitely a “gateway” movie for me. High on the gore factor, but done so hilariously, it’s the movie where I learnt not to watch the gooey stuff between my fingers because I was holding my stomach from laughing so much. Bruce Campbell as Ash delivers the still-quotable one-liners in between the dismemberment and chaos, and Sam Raimi’s oft-replicated low-ground shots are still as thrilling now as they were when I laughed and gagged my way through the movie first time around.
5. Sean of the Dead
Edgar Wright’s loving take on the zombie movie never grows tired for me. With enough blood and intestines to satisfy the biggest gore-hound, it also has a touching story of mateship and sacrifice at its core. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are totally convincing as friends who face the zombie apocalypse and learn some of life’s important lessons as they shoot and hack their way through the undead.
4. Lake Mungo
The story of Alice Palmer’s drowning death is told through a combination of documentary-style interviews and found footage. The performances in Lake Mungo, particulary from Rosie Traynor and David Pledger as Alice’s grieving parents, totally immersed me in the Palmer family’s feelings of loss. The sense of grief combined with what Alice’s brother captures on camera after her death has created a true Australian horror gem.
3. The Thing
Isolated location: check. Scary-arse creature from outer space: check. A bunch of guys thrown together under the most stressful circumstances, who don’t really trust each other, and can’t tell which one of them is the creature until it starts ripping them apart, but then they do a test to try and identify which of them is the thing, but it’s still really hard to kill it: check. Kurt Russell with a cool beard: check.
2. The Blair Witch Project
Famous at the time of its release for its successful use of viral marketing, the movie itself holds up all these years down the track and never stops creeping me out, no matter how many times I watch it. It wasn’t the first fofoo film, and it probably won’t be the last, but it’s the one that’s left the most lasting impression on me. Now, whenever I meet someone named Joshua, I want to scream, “Tell me where you are, Josh” and extract one of their teeth.
1. Session 9
Director Brad Anderson filmed in and around the Danvers State Mental Hospital, using it to its creepiest advantage. A sense of foreboding is created, even in the daytime scenes, and the tension slowly rises as an asbestos clear-up crew is eaten away by mistrust and paranoia. Atmospheric, spine-tingling and mesmerising – even David Caruso is good!