STELLAR's resident horror expert shares her top picks.
There’s nothing I truly enjoy more than feeling my whole body tense up during a movie. Hand splayed over my face, not knowing if I’ll be able to look away or not, heart pounding so hard I think it may end up in my popcorn.
Horror is my jam. But specific horror. I’m not a huge fan of in your face gore where blood hits the screen, and repeated torture that is used to repulse you. Horror today is capable of anything. From jumpy, shock inducing scares to psychological chills, there is something for everyone in this genre.
It’s often overlooked by critics and awards alike as it really is a love/hate genre that most certainly does not please the masses. But that’s the way good horror should be. Divisive. Heavy. Leaving you thinking.
So here are my best picks, old school and fresh, that that hopefully will leave you gasping for air, finished off with a sleepless night.
All. Time. Classic. Stephen King’s iconic story was brought to the big screen with the help of the expressions of Jack Nicholson. The eery backdrop of the Overlook Hotel in crisp snowy Colorado lends the perfect setting for Nicholson’s character to discover the hotel’s dark secrets along with his son’s psychic premonitions. The silence throughout this film as Jack deals with his writers block provides heavy breathing for the viewer throughout. You may not be able to go to a hotel for some time after watching this.
This newbie has flipped the new era of horror on its head. This horror comes from a very real place – at the centre it’s about a family dealing with loss and grief. The dark and slow family drama eventually goes off the rails and bring you along for one of the the most horrific rides of your life. As much as this movie twists and turns and gives you multiple scares, the true fear and ongoing anxiety comes from the grief suffered after losing a loved one. You will still be thinking about it days on.
The true classic from Hitchcock was a surprise for me. Black and white, old sets, rolling backgrounds as the car stands still. All of this usually makes me roll my eyes and immediately have no faith in the movie truly making me scared. But Psycho achieves just that despite all this. Bates Motel paved the way for old, nearly abandoned hotel settings in horror films. While it doesn’t provide the ultimate horror inducing experience, what’s creepier than Norman Bates’ taxidermy collection and ~ interesting~ relationship with his mother?
A lesser known horror, It Follows is a trance like film that brings on an original premise: A girl who receives a curse which is passed on by having sex. This indie cult classic is insanely refreshing, not only in the horror genre, but for movie buffs all around. It doesn’t do any grand gestures or cheap scares but delivers an instinctively terrifying heart-stopper. The best part of the movie? The pulsating, synth-heavy soundtrack that takes this movie to the next level.
This Australian flick follows the life of a single mother and her son who fears a monster he sees lurking in their house after reading a children’s book. What comes is a well-crafted, slowly building horror that on the surface seems like another monster story but in truth, the real tale is a deeply scary telling of a relationship between a mother and her son.
Not one of the scariest picks, but this psychological thriller from the spectacular Jordan Peele could not be left off the list. The smart and intoxicating story places a black man in a white nightmare. Visually, this film is impeccably made with an intelligent, thought-provoking script that is both scary and satirical. It’s a must watch – and as many horrors are overlooked by the Academy, this movie won Best Original Screenplay at this years Oscars.
An ominous and quiet film that fills every inch of your body with an uncomfortable dread. When Rosemary (Mia Farrow) becomes pregnant she becomes increasingly isolated, and the diabolical truth is revealed only after Rosemary gives birth. This movie truly chills you to the bone and brings you into an eerie and terrifying world that is suffocatingly scary.