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Halloween may not be widely celebrated here in Australia, but it doesn’t mean we Aussies don’t enjoy a good scare fest!
As a Horror/Sci-fi author, it’s no surprise that I love watching horror movies – in fact, throughout the month of October I set myself a goal to watch a horror movie a day in preparation for Halloween.
Understandably, you may not be so dedicated to horror movies, but if you’re looking for something to give you a bit of a fright and get you in the mood to celebrate All Hallow’s Eve, gather some fellow scaredy cats, get the popcorn on and settle in with one of these flicks.
You can choose to watch the 1990 version, which is four hours long, but if you are after a really scary experience then you need to get to the cinemas and watch the remake that has just been released. Starring Bill Skarsgard as a terrifying Pennywise the Dancing Clown, and Stranger Things’ Finn Wolfhard, the 2017 remake takes the first part of Stephen King’s terrifying novel and focuses on the horror inflicted on a group of seven children nicknamed “The Losers Club” by an evil clown that can turn itself into their worst fears.
The actors in this film do a stellar job – especially Skarsgard and his take on the terrifying entity that was brought to life by Tim Curry 27 years ago (yes, that is the same amount of time that Pennywise resurfaces in the movie). While the movie itself isn’t particularly gory and doesn’t rely too heavily on jump scares, the underlying tensions mounts in a way that you aren’t entirely sure what to expect and it makes the movie an extremely enjoyable and chilling watch.
And if you’re lucky enough like I was, you may even get someone dressed up as an evil clown scaring movie-goers in your cinemas.
When you think of quintessential horror movies The Exorcist will always spring to mind. The 1973 classic has been the subject of pop culture phenomenon for decades and it’s easy to see why because it’s still scary even by today’s gore and jump scare obsessed standards.
The Exorcist is a story about a 12-year-old girl who gets possessed by a demonic entity and so her mother calls on the help of two priests to exorcise her and save her soul, which amounts to a faith-testing showdown. The story itself is well honed to perfection and the acting is well established as one of the best talent showcase in horror history, but the real terror comes from what is hidden in the shadows – throughout the movie there are demonic icons and faces hidden in plain sight that your brain barely registers, but adds to the surmounting effects of the movie. Can you spot them?
A rush of hand-held style camera movies became extremely popular thanks to Paranormal Activity back in 2007, but Quarantine takes the cake when it comes to making the audience feel like they are right there amongst the action in a way that Paranormal Activity never does.
The 2008 movie is a re-envisioning of the Spanish film [Rec] which is just as equally terrifying and is centred around a television reporter and her cameraman who accompany firefighters into a building that gets quarantined by the Centre for Disease Control. They soon discover that a mysterious virus is contained in the apartment building with them and the tenants, and soon the virus begins to turn them into bloodthirsty zombie-like killers.
Quarantine is edge-of-your-seat terrifying and despite it being filmed with a handheld camera style, the footage is smooth and really brings you in as a character in the movie running for your life. It makes the movie scary as hell, and a top watch for Halloween.
Annabelle is an offshoot of the very popular and equally as terrifying The Conjuring, which is about real life paranormal investigators named Ed and Lorraine Warren. In their possession is a doll named Annabelle, which is possessed by a terrifying demonic entity, and the 2014 Annabelle movie follows the doll as it becomes the conduit to the damned.
Annabelle is the kind of movie that will have you jumping and spilling your bowl of popcorn everywhere. Like its Conjuring universe and even with its prequel, Annabelle is ripe with jump scares. You will be absolutely terrified and everything that goes “Boo!” and this movie screams “Boo!” a lot. If you’re in the mood to feel goosebumps on your skin, then this is the movie for you.
House of Wax
There is a certain formula that goes into making horror movies, and one plotline is always the classic “group of unwitting teens become the target of a deranged serial killer”. These movies work perfectly for slasher flicks such as Scream, Nightmare on Elm Street, and Friday the 13th (which are all great recommendations in themselves) but nothing seems to work the slasher stereotype more perfectly than the 2005 remake of House of Wax.
Starring some major eye candy in the form of One Tree Hill’s Chad Michael Murray, Supernatural’s Jared Padelecki, and The Girl Next Door herself Elisha Cuthbert, the group find themselves the target of a sadistic family who runs an off-the-map town’s wax museum. As members of the group start disappearing, they soon discover the shocking secret under the wax models.
There’s a reason the slasher plotline is a classic, and it’s because it works so well. You can see the terror coming from a mile away and there is something comforting within the horror movie world about that. The actors are all popular and recognisable within the movie, giving you a sense of familiarity.
Looking for a horror movie that is a little more light-hearted? You won’t be able to go past the new Netflix original Little Evil starring the hilariously charming Adam Scott (well-known for his role as Leslie Knope’s love interest in Parks and Recreation) and Lost’s Evangeline Lilly.
The comedy horror follows Gary as he moves in with his new wife Samantha, only to discover that her six-year-old son Lucas might be a vessel for the devil, thanks to Samantha’s mysterious past in a cult. Look, I’m not going to lie to you – Little Evil is not scary in any way, but the darker tones make it a great movie to watch when you just scared the bejeebers out of yourself and need something to watch before you go to bed. You won’t regret it.