The best, most terrifying horror movies to give you nightmares this Halloween
Halloween is upon us, and the ghoulish of us have already planned to squat over the weekend and get scared inches away from our lives.
Of course, what is blood-curdling terrifying for one person hardly registers for another. The Exorcist, for example, may leave devout Catholics shaking in the aisles, while others find themselves laughing at the various shocking things Linda Blair’s character finds herself doing, especially since the key scenes were (almost literally) usurped to death.
With that in mind, we asked News weekThe Cultural Writers of to highlight some of their essential horror films that they find themselves returning to Halloween after Halloween – the ones they love most, which scare them the most, or that evil combination of the two. horror fans are looking for.
The Descent (2005)
The word “claustrophobic” is used liberally to describe any horror movie that has a dull, enclosed frame, but it’s actually guaranteed with Lowering. Centered on a thrill-seeking group of adrenaline junkies who go caving in an unexplored cave system, Neil Marshall’s film is unbearably suffocating.
What works so well – aside from the terrific performance and the neat storyline – is that the environment here feels so grounded and real. You never feel like you’re watching a soundstage, despite the fact that you are exactly (each scene being made up of the same handful of rocks rearranged in different layouts). It’s excruciatingly cramped and what little lighting you have is provided by dim headlamps.
As the characters find themselves stuck in tight spaces, lose their bearings, and suffer terrible injuries, it’s hard to imagine a more agonizing scenario. And then, halfway through, you find out that there is a way to make things even worse, because it turns out that there is something overarching lurking in the dark. Of the, Lowering turns into a completely different kind of horror movie, but one that’s no less terrifying.
The novelty of the images found was long gone by the late 2000s, and there were very few examples of a well-done subgenre at the time.
The Spanish Zombie Movie REC managed to stand out by cleverly using the format to immerse yourself in the narrative, rather than as a crutch or a budget-saving technique. Unlike many Witch Blair imitations, REC feels totally authentic, with naturalistic performances and sets that have been planned in great detail but look entirely spontaneous.
Sure, REC has also reached the peak of the zombie craze, which gives it yet another reason to feel a little stale. Still, rest assured that, if you’re exhausted by dragging corpses infected with rage, this film does something unique with the premise, especially when it comes to its utterly eerie, night-vision-filtered ending.
Apart from the works of David Lynch, Suspiria is probably the closest a movie has ever managed to successfully distill the essence of a nightmare. The story operates on a surrealist dream logic, the geography is disorienting, the expressive use of color is utterly unreal, and the rhythmic vocals on the soundtrack make you feel like you’re in a state of feverish madness.
The whole vibe of Dario Argento’s film is particularly unsettling (even in the “safe” downtime) and that’s ignoring the blood-curdling footage and graphic death scenes. On that note, the sight of the reanimated corpse of a ballet dancer emerging from pitch darkness – covered head to toe in bloody lacerations and chuckling maniacally as she walks towards the camera – is up there. with the scariest moments in all of cinema.
Luca Guadagnino’s 2018 remake has its own merits, but in terms of sheer terror, the original Suspiria still reigns (mother) supreme.
– Harrison Abbott
Night of dread (1985)
Night of dread (1985) written and directed by Tom Holland, tells the story of Charlie Brewster, a clumsy teenager who discovers that his neighbor Jerry Danridge, played by Chris Sarandon, is a bloodsucking demon.
Sadly, since Charlie is a fantasy-prone horror fan, and Danridge has a powerful, beautiful, and charming figure (which Charlie is not), no one believes him. Not his girlfriend, Amy, his best friend “Evil” Ed, or the horror host, Peter Vincent – played by Roddy McDowell, giving a performance of a lifetime.
Beginning as “Back Window with a Vampire”, the story turns into a battle for the very souls of its protagonists. Fright Night wears its love of classic horror on its sleeve, giving the mainstream vampire lore truly monstrous faces, awesome creature work, and gruesome practical effects.
And if he reveals his fears with humor and a knowing wink, the Night of dread does not recall the horror. Danridge’s visit to Charlie’s bedroom and Vincent’s battle with a vampire beastman that ends in a surprising amount of pathos are particularly effective.
Make no mistake, this is Vincent’s film.
The scene in which he finds out Brewster is right about Danridge is masterfully acted out, and his journey from a failed horror host to a confident vampire slayer is formidable.
Ultimately Night of dread is a slice of ’80s gold that reminds us that horror must be scary, horrible and, above all, fun.
– Robert Lea
In space no one can hear you screaming and with Extraterrestrial, no horror can compare to the Chestburster scene.
The 1979 Ridley Scott Classic Extraterrestrial is iconic for many reasons and one of them is that it is a perfect sci-fi horror movie in one.
Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley isn’t just any Screaming Queen, she’s the last surviving member of the Nostromo in a movie so perfectly paced that every jumpscare is effective even after years of watching.
The combination of Jerry Goldsmith’s haunting score with the otherworldly aesthetic and unsettling biomechanical surrealism of HR Giger makes this one of the best horror films of all time.
And while the film is much more than John Hurt’s horrific chest moment, it should be celebrated for setting the standard for dread and bloodshed for the genre for years to come.
Not to mention, the Xenomorph is the most terrifying monster of all time.
Kill List (2011)
Ben Wheatley’s debut movie is probably not often chosen as the scariest horror movie, but it’s the one that sticks to your mind a whole decade after seeing it for the first time.
The popular horror follows hitmen Jay (Niel Maskell) and Gal (Michael Smiley), who are tasked with killing three people by a shady customer. As they complete their goal, they begin to witness strange events that culminate in a rather disturbing climax featuring human sacrifice. The most disturbing image comes when Jay and Gal are chased through an underground tunnel by naked cultists who all wear animal heads.
The camera zooms in on the duo’s faces as they are plunged into darkness, with their pursuers entering the frame in terrifying numbers. It’s an image that sinks into your brain and never goes away, and will give you nightmares for days afterward.
Hearing is the kind of horror movie where someone can spoil the plot and yet it can still chill you deep inside. Takeshi Miike’s masterpiece “J-horror” plunges you into a false sense of security in its first act, when it looks like a quirky romantic comedy about a man auditioning for a girlfriend.
What sort of maniac would answer such a call? That’s the question that was answered in the second half, in the most gruesome way possible (hint: it involves needles and piano wire.)
Even knowing that the first half gives you a false sense of security, you still feel rocked every time, only for the movie to shock you yet again with how gnarly it gets and how quickly it gets there. Also, unlike many other Japanese horror films of the time, we didn’t have the indignity of an American remake.
Despite only being two films in her career, director Julia Ducournau has already become the best master of body horror we’ve had since David Cronenburg.
His two films Raw and Titanium are like metal spikes directly into the central nervous system. The latter has the most gruesome moments (you’ll never look at a sink the same again), but the former is the most horrific experience overall, in which a young girl discovers a taste for cannibalism while at the same time attending a veterinary school.
Maybe not to watch while you eat your Halloween comedy, there is stuff in it. Raw which could turn the strongest stomach upside down and make the most committed carnivore vegetarian.
While not technically a horror movie, Michael Haneke’s Love is the most terrifying film of the 21st century.
You know that classic horror trope of a foreign body entering a person, eating them from the inside out, and turning them into someone you don’t recognize? This is what Love is all about, except this time the force is not supernatural or extraterrestrial. It’s dementia, which turns a lively, outgoing woman into a tragic envelope for two heartbreaking hours.
Sure, demons, zombies, and vampires can be scary, but ultimately you can rationalize that they’re not real. Love does not offer you such an escape route. All it does is show how much more horrible real life can be than anything movies can offer.