My Love of the Scary Movie and my Top 10!

It’s coming on Halloween, and if you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you’ll already know I’ve been sharing some of my old OLD posts on a few of my favourite scary movies. And if you’ve followed me for a while, you’ll have seen some of my random mentions of scary films as and when I watch them.

To get in the mood, a few weeks back we watched a movie called Trick ‘r Treat. I had never heard of it, but it was featuring as a scare zone at Orlando’s Universal Halloween Horror Nights, and the character Sam looked kinda cute for a scary sack headed ghoul, so we found it and watched it. For a movie that was released straight to DVD 2 years after it was finished, I was actually really impressed. It was scary enough, enjoyable and had a nice comic-book feel to it. I’d recommend it if you haven’t heard of it.

But I thought I’d share some of my favourites, whether they’ve been mentioned previously or not. And by favourites, I mean the ones that stuck with me, and I would watch more than once. Here’s my top 10 in order!

10: The Shining

the shining movie poster

I’ve seen this film so many times, that I wouldn’t even call it a horror film now. It’s just a work of art. Scary, violent, messed up it is, but it’s visually incredible and Jack Nicholson is epic. I tried to read the book, but just like Joey, I put it in the metaphorical freezer years ago and never took it back out. Maybe I’ll go back to it one day. If you haven’t seen this, and you like scary films, this Halloween make it a must-see.

9: The Gallows

The Gallows movie poster

This movie surprised me. As a big fan of found footage films, I was really surprised by how good this was. The scares were effective and there were enough twists and turns to keep me interested.

8: The Fog

The Fog Movie Poster

As a child growing up with a massive Hammer Horror fan (my Dad) I was exposed to some very bad, and then some very good scary films. John Carpenter’s The Fog (not the remake please) was one of them and I’m not ashamed to admit that the end brought me out in a cold sweat on more than one occasion. What I love about John Carpenter’s films was not just the ability to make a fricking fantastic horror film, but also how he composed and used the music almost as a character in itself. I just have to think about his films to hear the score in my mind. Having stood on the very shore that inspired this story, on a dark misty night not too long ago, I can honestly say this film is one that stays with you.

7: Halloween

halloween movie poster

Another John Carpenter film, you can have Halloween films without Halloween itself, and it’s sequel (we don’t need to talk about the other sequels really) Adequately frightening and creepy, this is the paradigm of films about Halloween and is a great place to start if you’re wanting a classic scary movie fest this October 31st.

6: It Follows

This movie has such a retro feel, so much so that you’re never really sure when it’s set, but can only assume it’s present day based on some of the technology used. The music, costumes and sets are so ‘of an era’ – and this isn’t even mentioning the storyline. You can read my full review here, if you’d like to know more.

5: Ghost Watch

cover of video Ghostwatch

Not strictly a film, but it’s made the list anyway. This BBC drama caused such a kerfuffle it was actually banned. Due to its style of filming and use of well-known presenters at the time, people actually thought this was a real event. Based on the Enfield Haunting (which was the inspiration for The Conjuring 2) Ghost Watch has inspired so many films after it (The Blair Witch Project to name one), is used as a case study in film schools and still has a cult following. I can honestly say it’s one of the scariest things I’ve ever seen, and the effects and technology used in it are so impressive for its time. Watch it, then research it to find out why it caused so much drama.

4: Grave Encounters

Grave Encounters movie poster

I really bloody loved these films. There’s only two but I secrectly hope there’s a third. Again this is found footage, but it really pulls inspiration from other places (but not in a copycat type way) and offers scares and weirdness in a way I just liked. Read my full review here.

3: The Blair Witch Project

The blair witch project poster

You may have seen my recent review of this film and it’s sequel (I’m going to just forget that The Blair Witch Project: Book of Shadows ever happened) so you can head there for a full review. But this movie marked a change in scary films. Using found footage, which was never mainstream before, and also the brand new power of the internet, they created a cult following even before release. And the film didn’t disappoint. To this day I still get chills watching the last shot of The Blair Witch Project.

2: Paranormal Activity

Paranormal Activity Poster

If you read my blog regularly, you’ll know I’m a fan of these films. I don’t understand why people trash them. Yes, the last one was VERY bad, but when you’ve invested in the others you kind of have to include it. The first one was epic and covered found-footage ground in a way that had never been done before. Some of the effects in the first 3 were pretty epic – gobsmacking in fact. Even the spin-off movie ‘The Marked Ones’ was REALLY good and towards the end literally made me gasp in the cinema when I realised what was happening. I guess I know the films really well, and I was pretty much the only one who realised what was going on, BUT still. I honestly think they’re worth the investment in time. And they made it to my number 2!

1: Scream

scream movie poster

This film was made for my generation, it was the first 18 film I ever watched and will always hold a special place in my heart. Unfortunately, parody films have pretty much ruined if for any generation afterwards, so there’s that. But I’m a staunch fan and will always be! I wrote a review of the first 3 films ahead of the 4th being released, back in 2011 which you can find here if you’d like to read it.

And that’s my top 10! Of course I have many many more I’d love to include, and I hope I find more in the years to come, which knock others off the list. But until then, if you’re looking for some scary film recommendations I’d go with this list!

Let me know if you have others in your top 10 or if you watch any of these on my recommendation, let me know what you think! Just don’t have nightmares!

 

 

Unfriended

If you read my blog regularly, you’ll know I’m a fan of scary movies, and most recently found footage movies. I saw the trailer for Unfriended not so long ago. I think it was called something else at the time – it seems to have gone through a few title changes before its release. Either way it looked intriguing. I’m not sure whether I realised the format it would take at that time, but after seeing the final cut I was not disappointed.

If you’re yet to watch this movie, I’d suggest not reading this blog yet. Maybe come back afterwards.

Have they all gone?…. Right I’ll begin.

The whole movie is viewed from the desktop of a Mac – the whole thing. Windows, screens, tabs, apps – that’s all you see. The story focusses on a circle of friends who lost one of their group a year earlier when she took her own life. This event was spurred on by a video of her, drunk and not in control of her own body, at a party. The video brought on a lot of hateful messages from her peers and she couldn’t take it. So back at present day, this group of friends are having a Skype chat and there’s an intruder on the call – just a blue silhouette avatar. And then the girl whose computer your viewing, Blaire, starts getting messages from the dead girl’s Facebook account. Creepiness ensues.

There are some great intense and very creepy moments in this movie. There are also some gratuitously gory moments, but these are fleeting, effective and then they’re gone. At just 83 minutes, you can see how they may need to create a super intense atmosphere, but in this format it works. There are some funny bits, some sexy bits and some downright scary bits. There’s a lot of product placement but then I guess there had to be. And if you’re not familiar with the workings if a Mac then you might see this as an educational experience too! Apparently the whole film was shot in one cut – if this is true (and it’s certainly possible) then that’s very impressive. I guess all of the desktop graphics will have been tweaked in post production.

I can’t wait to watch this movie again. It fits right in with Paranormal Activity and Grave Encounters on my shelf of scary movies that work. It was bang up to date, not over the top and didn’t come over as stupid. It was as clever as it needed to be, and was enough to make the girls sat in front of me in the theatre get up and leave just as the intensity ramped up.

I went in with no preconceptions and I hope you can do that to, should you choose to watch this. It doesn’t leave you thinking about it or wondering how ‘this’ happened or why ‘that’ happened. It is what it is. And I really liked that about it.

This Week I Have Been Mostly…

this week i have been mostly

It’s amazing how you can feel as if you aren’t doing an awful lot just because it’s less than you normally do, but on reflection you realise you’ve done a great deal of stuff.

The week after Disneyland was tough, mainly because I wanted to be back at Disney but mainly because I was feeling so exhausted. But I still managed to get some stuff done. Here’s what I’ve been up to:

  • On Tuesday I went to Rock Choir with my Mum as a full member for the first time. I really enjoyed singing and learning the parts to the song we’re singing. There’s a lot of concerts coming up too and I’m looking forward to getting back on the stage. It’s been quite some time since I performed with a choir and I’m interested to see if it feels the same as it used to.
  • We’ve been to the gym a few times. I ran for the first time in a while on Wednesday and enjoyed it, but my fitness levels have dropped. I need to get back to it with the old running.
  • Thursday was Body Attack at the gym, and it kicked my butt. I realise now it’s because I’m very run down and have come down with a sinus cold which is spreading to my chest. Fun! I’m shattered. This morning I woke up with one completely bloodshot eye that was glazed and I couldn’t open it all the way, and yesterday I took a two-hour nap in the middle of the day. Very unlike me!
  • Friday my friend Tash came over and we had a good catch up and natter. It’s been a while since I’ve seen the girls but we have a special occasion coming up and a gathering planned, which we’re all looking forward to.
  • The weekend was a mix of being very busy and very lazy (well I mean that nap I was talking about). On Saturday Gary and I met his Sister and our Niece for lunch and a catch up. It had been a long time since I’d seen them so it was nice to catch up. We did the normal chores and watched some tv too.
  • I finished re reading Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn which I think is my favourite of her three novels, with Gone Girl a close second. I can’t wait to see the Gone Girl movie, and I believe they’ve made a movie of her other novel Dark Places which will be out soon too. She’s done rather well hasn’t she?
  • I’m very much looking forward to receiving my gold iPhone 6 soon. I’m getting tired of having to charge my phone 4 times a day and not being able to lock it.

I’m really looking forward next weekend because the NFL Street Party is back on the streets of London and we had to miss it last year, so this year we’re rocking up. I’m looking forward to seeing some cheerleaders cheering and enjoying the atmosphere. I’m not an American Football fan but I’m a party fan!

I also know it’s getting closer to Halloween since the hits on my blog for Grave Encounters have been through the roof, so hello to anyone who has found me that way! I re watched the film a couple of weeks ago and it’s still great. I recommend it if you like scary found footage films.

 

Grave Encounters

By now you should all know I love my scary movies. A while back Gary and I watched a movie called Grave Encounters.

grave-encounters-Smaller

The idea behind it was that this team were making a ghost hunting series (like Most Haunted) and visited an old asylum. They were locked in by the janitor who said he would return at 6am. The ‘real’ footage you see is unedited (other than for time) and includes evidence that the team were faking their usual shows and didn’t believe any of it was real. Of course they’d be proven otherwise. The film started off cheesy and slow, but gradually became more intelligent, jumpy and pretty impressive. It also gave big nods towards one of my favourite reads from last year, House of Leaves.

We were so impressed with this movie that we thought it was worth watching the sequel!

A film student who reviewed the original movie on his blog was sent a cryptic message from someone indicating that the footage was real and not a fake, as had been promoted by the production company. Being persuaded by lots of evidence introduced to him by his mystery source, he grabs some friends and locates the asylum himself so he can make up his own mind. Craziness ensues. The second movie was almost as good as the first. Some of the effects were a little crummy, but I guess you can expect that. I liked how this wasn’t just a sequel but a great continuation of the first movie and it rounded things off well. Again, nods to House of Leaves to the extent that I might try re-reading the 709 page tome.

Both films are worth a watch, but make sure you watch them in order (and have a cushion handy just in case you like to have something to hide behind!)
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