Film Lists

Halloween: essential movies for the spookiest night of the year

Halloween. A night of trick or treaters, people in costumes, parties, buckets of candy (or chocolate, as we call it here in Blighty), pumpkins and, if legends be true, a night when the dead walk the earth among the living.

It’s also a night which has given birth to tons of movies celebrating the chilling occasion, but instead of just listing John Carpenter’s Halloween and its franchise, we present some more contemporary cinematic suggestions, designed to give you some serious nightmares…

Drag Me To Hell (2009)

The daddy of schlocky horror returned from making superhero movies to his roots. Sam Raimi tells the story of Christine, who picks the worst day to grow a backbone and ends up cursed by a gypsy to spend an eternity in Hell.

With a time limit of three days hanging over her, Christine desperately tries to break the spell before her soul is damned. Drag Me To Hell features many of Raimi’s hallmarks; a likable hero, gross out gore and strange comedy moments – dancing possessed goat, anyone?

The Descent (2005)

Sheer nerve shredding dread awaits the minute a group of friends when they enter a cave on an adventure holiday.You know something is coming, but you do not know what or when. Arguably the sister to 2002’s Dog Soldiers, Neil Marshall’s The Descent starts with a shocking car crash, and then, nothing happens, which only adds to the tension.

When the crawlers finally shows up, seen through the night vision of a camcorder, it is non stop blood bath. But The Descent is about so much more than a story about monsters. With themes of madness, the cruelty of man, and female monstrosity there is so much to take away from this claustrophobic flick.

Paranormal Activity (2007)

Not so much the story of a haunted house, but rather the story of a haunted person. Utilising the found footage trope, Katie and her boyfriend Micha record the strange goings on in their home. Static shots of empty rooms and lack of music will have your eyes searching the frame for abnormal shadows and closing doors. By far the best out of the series, it tries its hardest to accurately portray what someone would do if they were being haunted.

Minimal backstory is required to enjoy this low budget chillfest. One of the better found footage horrors – which was done to death (pun intended) after the runaway success of 1999’s The Blair Witch Project, it effectively adds to the suspense as you wait for the next scare.

Saw (2004)

While the Saw film series became more about the shocks and the scale and scope of the death traps, the original still remains pretty innovate. Jigsaw is not a serial killer , rather he gives his victims the tools for either their own salvation or destruction and lets them decide which, if only they are able to prove that they really want to live. Jigsaw gets his name from the small piece of flesh he removes from his victims post mortem to show they are lacking the will to survive.

The first mostly revolves around two men shackled in a room with a dead body. At the time, the ending proved a massive twist while opening the door for the numerous sequels that followed.

The Conjuring II (2016)

While the Warren’s involvement in the real life case, known as the Enfield Haunting, was much more limited than what Hollywood choose to show, the film provides much more superior scares than the first film, which itself is a solid modern horror. A single mother finds her young daughter tormented by the ghost of the former resident of her home and struggles to find logic in an illogical situation.

The biggest scare involves a nun and a basement, so brace yourself for another spin off after the two Annabelle movies.

What is your favourite modern chiller? What will you be watching on Halloween night? Let us know.

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