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!



This Week I Have Been Mostly

this week i have been mostlyThis isn’t a real post – merely a checking in since not a huge amount has been happening here. This last couple of weeks I have been head down and getting over a cold, working hard and prepping for my upcoming holiday.

  • It appears it’s autumn already and the rain keeps coming. I’m currently wearing a thick jumper and fuzzy socks whilst the rain hits the windows.
  • Over the last week I’ve met up with my Book Club friends to finalise preparations for Ibiza.
  • Gary and I went to London for a day trip with Amy and her boyfriend Chris.
  • Today we attended a birthday party for Gary’s aunt and a retirement gathering for my Mum.
  • I was sad to hear of Wes Craven’s passing this morning. We’ve been watching Scream the TV series and I understand that the final episode, next to air, will have some kind of dedication to him.
  • We completed re-watching the whole series of Dexter and are now searching for our next tv show. Any suggestions?

My next blog will be post-ibiza. I can’t wait to tell you all about it!

Something For The “Weekend”

I had two days off work together this week. For those who are Monday-Friday kinda peeps it’ll be nothing unusual, but when you work in retail a weekend isn’t a weekend. You rarely get that Friday feeling, and two days off together are part of a holiday schedule, not a regular working week.

So I decided to spend it well and other than chores and housework I decided to be really really lazy. In fact between Tuesday and Wednesday I watched 7 movies as well as doing the other stuff I needed to do.

Gary and I have been re watching movies we particularly love, of late. We have recently seen Lost in Translation and Empire Records and it’s really gotten us back in the movie watching swing of things.

On Tuesday afternoon Gary and I went to Yoo Hing, a Japanese/Chinese supermarket. I bough mochi which I had been wanting to try for a while. I’ve tried the green tea flavour I bought, so far. Oddly they tasted like dates. I don’t know how to explain it! I still have sesame flavour to try. I also got some Lipton ice tea powder which will come in super handy in the summer. I got a jelly drink and a pearl milk tea can which I can’t wait to try. That evening we managed to watch 3 movies. We saw Scream 4, Almost Famous (one of my favourite movies of all time!) and a new one to us called Lovely Molly. Lovely Molly was made by one of the people who made The Blair Witch Project and runs in a similar vein. It’s messed up and has hand held camera and naughtiness and drug taking and evil stuff – but it was rather good!

So on Wednesday, after having seen Scream 4 the previous day, I watched Scream 2 and 3. Then I watched The Devil’s Advocate which came out in 2007 and has Keanu Reeves and Al Pacino in it. I don’t usually like Keanu Reeves’ acting but he wasn’t bad in this. Charlize Theron was epic as ever and Al Pacino is Al Pacino. Such a great actor – such a frightening actor when he needs to be. If you’re happy with messed up movies then I’d recommend watching it. Lastly I watched The Texas Killing Fields. I had no idea what it was about but thought I’d give it a go. A very gritty movie based on true events.

I also started reading my next book this week. I downloaded The Life of Pi for 20p onto my Kindle last week and so have started reading that. I’m about 60 pages in and I’m not gripped yet. I’m going to persevere though! All I know about the story is what I have seen from the clips of the movie on The Oscars. So I’m awaiting a tiger, a boat and some sea. So far I’ve encountered a tiger. Let’s see! (Ooh that rhymed!)

So, I think that was a “weekend” well spent! I have a tough week ahead of me now and then I have a week off with G Man. A fitting reward I think 🙂

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Scream if you wanna go faster

In 1996 a movie was released that changed the face of teen horror movies for that generation. A movie that was so outside of the box it caused Mother’s outrage and teens to fake IDs all over the world.

I saw Scream for the first time at a friend’s house. The smell of oven pizza and popcorn still strong in the air we sat in the dark with a rental video of the movie and her new widescreen tv. I was 16, she was 17 (wait that’s a different movie…) the movie was an 18. I felt like I was breaking the rules. Until then I had only watched Hammer horrors and John Carpenter movies, and I knew this movie was going to change things for me. The fact that it was the first blockbuster teen-aimed movie to actually show a knife being put into another person was bold. What was also bold was that the movie’s biggest star at the time, Drew Barrymore, was killed off in the first 10 minutes. The original movie posters had her most prominent and in the centre of everyone else – but she was no more than a bit part.

Somehow Wes Craven made such an atmosphere and original movie, whilst playing on all the clichés that horror movies had created over the years. One big movie satire that in turn made the best kind of movie. With a nice twist at the end.

The movie’s real star was Neve Campbell, who until then was most known for her role in the full-of-angst Party Of Five. In this film she played the chaste virgin who’s Mum was murdered a year before. She plays the victim very well. Though half way through the movie she loses her virginity and therefore forgoes the protection of her virginity and all bets are off as to whether she’ll live or die (By the way, does it bother anyone else when someone sleeps in another woman’s bed and then uses the other woman’s hair brush?) The movie was also Matthew Lillard’s big break and later he starred in similar movies like Dead Man’s Curve (1998). It was the film set where Courtney Cox and David Arquette met, and it was the movie that I screamed NO! at the TV when Fonzie was killed 😦

Scream definitely paved the way for a new generation of teen based horror movies. Obviously Scream 2 and 3 but also films like I Know What You Did Last Summer and Urban Legend. You just have to look at their copycat movie posters to know that. Scream 2 was just as good if not better than the first. It managed to keep that same atmosphere that the first created, but build on the first movie and not just recreate it. It progressed the story.  I saw this movie for the first time at another friend’s sleep over. I was so knackered though that I fell asleep quite near the start and woke up at some point to find a scary face at the window on the tv screen. Not the kind of movie that will give you pleasant dreams. I have, of course, seen it many times since without falling asleep!

The start of Scream 2 was just as groundbreaking for me as the first. It had attitude and a twist – but it also gave me an insight into how movies are watched in America. I’d never seen anything but a cinema screen full of people sat quietly and not interfering with the other patrons. But in Scream 2 everyone’s dressed up, shouting at the screen and really getting involved. Unheard of here.  One thing I’ve always wondered though. In the first movie Drew Barrymore’s character Casey dies as does her killer, so how does the writer of Stab get her death scenes so darn accurate in his movie? I mean, there was no living witness to the events…..

Anyway, this is all leading up to Scream 4 which is due out next month, and stars Campbell, Cox and Arquette as well as some newbies who are way too young to have seen the first movie when it came out (MAN I feel old…) Now I’m going to give it a chance, and I must say I’m pretty excited. But I’m hoping it’s not another Halloween H20 situation which looks good on paper, but just plays to the current generation’s movie style. I know they’re going to play on the snuff movie idea and there’ll probably be a few iPhones popping up just to prove how much time has moved on since the first film, but I hope it sticks to its guns and shows us something groundbreaking again.

I hope it creates that creepy angsty atmosphere that the first two did. And it’s gotta have Nick Cave’s Red Right Hand in there somewhere just for continuity. I just hope that it stays true to the previous 2 (maybe 3 if that one’s worth mentioning) and I hope it evokes memories of oven pizzas and microwave popcorn. Let’s see….. Oh and the killer’s likely to be the guy with the creepy eyes….. I’m just sayin’