Well it’s nearly Hallowe’en and it’s easily my most favourite time of the year. I’ve been watching lots of horror stuff and as per usual we have a pumpkin. We’ve called him Herman
This All Hallow’s Eve it looks like we’ll be going to the rockabilly night in McCraken’s and all week I’ll be glued to Dead Set, the wombie series on E4 set in the Big Brother house. To get my bloggy readers in the spirit, I’ve decided to post up a feature called the A-Z of Horror Films. If you think I’ve missed anything out then let me know
A to Z: Horror Films.
Welcome boils and ghouls to a very special edition of A to Z. This month we celebrate the impending arrival of All Hallow’s Eve with a chilling countdown of the best horror films from the last 50 odd years. So settle back, close the curtains and read our guide to having the ultimate fright night. It’s a real scream.
A is for AMITYVILE
-The Amityville Horror was a film allegedly based on true events in the 1970s. The plot is simple enough-a family move into an idyllic new home in the suburbs ready to make a fresh start. Little do they know however that the house was the scene of a horrific mass murder a few months beforehand and pretty soon they discover that not only is the place haunted, but not everything is as it seems.
B is for BLAIR WITCH
-Few films caught Joe Public’s imagination as much as the Blair Witch Project during the late 90s horror boom. Initially marketed as genuine footage, the film-makers’ turned their back on the blood and guts approach of their contemporaries and instead made a film about three people running around a forest avoiding a witch that probably didn’t exist. True horror fans lapped it up but the steak headed culchies didn’t understand what was going on and went back to watching the Simpsons. The last five minutes of the film still packs as much impact now as it did nearly ten years ago.
C is for CARRIE
-Carrie is one of Stephen King’s nastier novels and the film version does the bespectacled writer proud. It’s the tale of a geeky girl raised by her nutty religious zealot of a mum, who falls foul of the bullies at school. In fact it could almost be a film about a day in the life of a typical AU reader, apart from the final 15minutes where Carrie blows everyone up with her mind, of course.
D is for DRACULA.
–Created in 1887 by a drunken Irishman after too much pea soup, Count Dracula is the daddy of the horror genre. Whether it’s the super-creepy Bela Lugosi film made by Universal Studios in the 50s or it’s the wonderfully blood-thirsty series of movies made by Hammer in the 60s and 70s that tickles your fancy, Dracula has always been one horror icon that doesn’t suck. Plus, he’s bats. Awww…never mind…
E is for EXORCIST
-Forget the sequels, forget the prequels, forget the fact that before you saw the film you already knew what was going to happen. The Exorcist is still one of the most terrifying tales of all-time and is a masterpiece by anyone’s standards. The fact that it was banned for years because of its satanic references only makes it cooler. It looks like not only has the Devil got the best tunes, he’s got the best films as well.
F is for FRANKENSTEIN
Though some have come close to matching him, Peter Cushing’s portrayal as the man who played God has always been this writer’s favourite incarnation of Victor Frankenstein. The series of films from Hammer are diabolically good fun with Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed being a particular highlight. Never has a man with sewn-on limbs looked as good.
G is for GINGER SNAPS
-It’s a common enough story-girl gets treated like a weirdo at school, girl starts growing hair in weird places, girl develops a taste for human flesh. We’ve all been there, haven’t we?
H is for HALLOWEEN
-Boiler suit? Check. Big fucking knife? Check. A William Shatner mask with the eyes cut out? Double check. All you need are these three simple items and a room full of naked teens and if you’re 70s slasher Michael Myers, you’re happier than a pig in its own doo-doo.
I is for IT
-If you weren’t afraid of clowns beforehand, watching a smiley-faced Tim Curry gut people like a fish will make you piss your pants every time you see Ronald McDonald’s cheery mug. Believe that.
J is for JEEPERS CREEPERS
-Everyone’s favourite truck-driving living dead cannibal the Creeper might seem like a rip-off (no pun intended) of Marvel Comics character Terror, Inc, but for studio executives he’s box office gold. While the naughties has seemingly failed to produce any decent horror films, Jeepers Creepers is a welcome exception to the rule.
K is for KRONOS, VAMPIRE HUNTER.
-Before Blade, before Buffy, we had Kronos. Captain Kronos to be exact. Made by Hammer, Kronos was a dashing bloke with an eye for a large-chested lovely and a thirst for vampire hunting. Aided and abetted by his hunchback side-kick Dr Marcus, Captain Kronas, Vampire Hunter is a forgotten classic.
L is for LAST BROADCAST
-Pound for pound the Last Broadcast is one of the sickest films this writer has ever seen. The film is a documentary and focuses around its lead character David Leigh’s hunt for the so-called Jersey Devil. To tell you any more will ruin the movie so if you haven’t yet seen this 1998 gem, check it out now. Just don’t watch it alone.
M is for MAN-THING.
-When it was announced that Marvel Comics’ muck-based monster Man-Thing was to star in his own film, most people didn’t give a shit. Us eijits here at AU did however, and boy were we chuffed to finally see “Manny” in all his glory.
N is for NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD.
-“They’re coming to get you Barbara!” George Romero’s first and best zombie film Night of the Living Dead is great fun from beginning to end. It’s a shame he had to ruin his legacy with a clutch of below-par sequels, but for sheer terror, this black and white shocker is one for the ages.
O is for OMEN
-So, your mother was a jackal, your daddy is never around and you’ve got a dodgy 666 tattoo on your skull that you can’t remember getting. What’s worse is that you’ve got a phobia about going to mass. No wonder you’re fucked up and delight in killing others. Take a bow Damien Thorne, as your trilogy of films are probably the greatest ever made.
P is for PROM NIGHT.
-Scream Queen Jamie Lee Curtis’ second best role was playing Kim Hammond, a young lady going to her first High School Prom. As is always the way with films featuring a young Miss Curtis, much slashing, running and rumpo takes place and Prom Night is recommended for fans of Scream and Urban Legend. Keep an eye out for the remake coming out next year too.
Q is for THE QUATERMASS XPERIMENT.
-The Quatermass Xperiment was the first film made by the fledging Hammer Horror studios in 1955. This little black and white video nasty deals with mutants, murder and space aliens, has spawned a ton of sequels and inspired a young Stephen King along the way. All of which means of course that it’s only a matter of time before Hollywood gets their hands on it and produces a shite remake with Bernie Mac or some other tool in the lead role. Hooray for Hollywood.
R is for RASPUTIN.
-As mad monks go, Rasputin took the biscuit. Played by horror legend Christopher Lee, the film focuses on the seedier side of Russia’s nobleman with particular attention paid to his dabbles in the dark arts. Not even a poisoned Turkish delight could put this mother down.
S is for SCREAM.
-Before Scream came out director Wes Craven was a washed up has-been living off the cash cow that is Freddy Kruger. After Scream however, Wes Craven is now a washed up has-been living off the cash cow that is the slasher film. As Elton John once sang-“It’s the circle of life.”
T is for TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE.
-This low budget 70s shocker is sheer perfection from beginning to end and when it first came out it broke all the rules. Packed with grisly deaths and some truly terrifying moments, the film is a clever satire of the family values era of American politics, only in the case of Leatherface and his crazy kin-the family that slays together, stays together. If Leatherface ever asks you round for dinner-just say no kids.
U is for UNDERWORLD.
-What’s cooler than vampire and werewolf films? The answer is simple-it’s a vampire film starring werewolves with Kate Beckinsale in skin tight leather. Duh. Why didn’t we think of that first?
V is for VAMPIRE LOVERS.
-It would be rude of us to have a horror countdown and not feature the first lady of fear Ingrid Pitt. This particularly racy romp takes it’s inspiration from Sheridan Le Fenu’s novel Carmilla and Ms Pitt is perfect as the saucy but scary vamp. Also try to check out its sequel Twins of Evil for a barn storming performance from the late great Peter Cushing.
W is for WICKER MAN.
-34 years on from when it was first made, the Wicker Man still ranks as Christopher Lee’s favourite role and once you watch this iconic film you’ll see why. Without spoiling anything all we have to say is-“Oh Christ no!” The film brings a whole new meaning to the term “crispy bacon.” Watch it now.
X is for XTRO.
-Boasting the tagline “this alien is pure evil,” the reviews of the film should have read-“this film is pure shite.” Let’s leave it at that, shall we?
Y is for ….
-Why don’t they make any decent films beginning with the letter Y? Y’s loss is your gain however as we’ll use this space to recommend the Vincent Price masterpiece Witchfinder General, the up-coming vampire flick 30 days of Night and the Devil Rides Out instead.
Z is for ZOLTAN, HOUND OF DRACULA.
-What’s scarier than Count Dracula having a night out at the local blood bank? Count Dracula’s crazy-ass hound-that’s what! Scooby Doo he ain’t.