It’s that time of year again when if you’re not going to a party dressed up all ghoulishly you’ve chosen instead to snuggle up under a duvet and settle in for a night of cinematic terror. Here are my top 5 frightful films…
- Psycho – 1960
This Hitchcock classic about an unsuspecting woman who stays overnight in Bates’ motel is a Halloween must see. What makes it particularly terrifying is the fact that the entire situation is very probable and could easily happen in real life. Although the original version is undoubtedly the best, the 1998 scene by scene re-make with Vince Vaughn isn’t bad either and is worth a watch.
- Sleepy Hollow – 1999
With Tim Burton as the director and Johnny Depp in the leading role, this tongue-and-cheek tale of a headless horseman can’t fail to disappoint. Although some would argue that it’s more of a comedy than a horror film, I think it strikes just the right balance between humour and terror. Even if it doesn’t scare you it will at least make you feel a bit uneasy, and don’t be surprised if you drop your popcorn at the jumpy parts.
- Jaws – 1975
This is the film that made everyone afraid to swim in the sea. Although you’re more likely to be run over by a car than attacked by a shark in real life, this Speilberg cinematic masterpiece is sure to give you chills if only for its ominous soundtrack. If you are suitably hooked, there’s also a second and a third sequel that you can get your teeth into.
- The Haunting in Connecticut – 2009
Although this isn’t an obvious choice, I feel that this film is very much underrated. Based on a true story, it charts the story of a family who are forced to move to be closer to the hospital when their son falls ill, only to find that their new house is haunted by evil spirits. I think this has all the marks of a true horror film in that it makes you jump and sometimes scream, but ultimately, however much you may want to, you can’t tear your eyes away from the screen.
- Pan’s Labryinth – 2006
This Spanish film originally entitled El laberinto del fauno is sure to give you goosebumps. When I first saw it, I definitely had the odd nightmare or two the following night. The story is set during the reign of Franco five years after the Spanish civil war, and effectively combines the real world with a mythical world dreamt up by a young girl called Ofelia. By the end you’ll surely be asking yourself who is more terrifying – the sadistic Captain Vidal or the fantastical monsters?