For many of us, metal music and horror films go hand in hand. There’s a reason so many metal bands are inspired by horror imagery – watching horror films seems to conjure up a lot of similar emotions to listening to extreme metal – we’re delighted, sickened, and euphonic all at the same time.
I’ve been a horror fan since I was a wee lass. My sister and I had the entire Freddy Kreuger series taped from late-night TV. We used to have this tiny video store downtown that had an incredible horror section, and although Mother Metal wouldn’t let us get the horror films, Father Metal never paid much attention to what we actually got out, so we always tried to get him to take us to the store. I remember once going to a sleepover with a bunch of other girls and they had the film I Know What You Did Last Summer and all the girls were screaming, absolutely shrieking, in terror, and I was all, “THIS is such a cliche.”
I prefer films that are genuinely creepy over anything with excessive gore, but sometimes there’s just nothing like a good slasher flick. I am useless at movie trivia, and can’t remember the names or faces of actors, or even the titles of films I’ve loved. So I don’t write about films that often. But the cantankerous drummer husband and I have amassed a few horrors we’ve really enjoyed over the last couple of years, so I thought it might be fun for a change to talk about some of the films I’ve seen recently and also get some recommendations from you fine folk.
This German sci-fi horror has received some seriously bollocks reviews, but if you’re a fan of Pitch Black, which I am, you’re going to love this. I’m not a huge sci-fi fan, but horror films in space are the exception. Two crew members awake from hyper-sleep to an abandoned spaceship. They have no memory of who they are or their mission, but as they venture deep into the heart of the ship, it’s terrifying secrets are revealed.
2. The Woman in Black (2012)
Daniel Radcliffe, made famous for his role as boy-wizard Harry Potter (I did recognize him!), tackles his first role outside the franchise, and nearly succeeds in nailing it. He’s still a little too fresh-faced and youthful for the role of Arthur Kipps, the unfortunate lawyer who travels to a remote village to wrap up the affairs for the deseased Alice Drablow. Radcliffe’s performance isn’t what makes this film stand out – it’s the creepy atmosphere of Eel Marsh House, the Causeway, the silence of the villagers, and the screaming visage of the Woman in Black herself. The ending was a bit of a disappointment to me, as it seemed a bit overly sentimental, but I think this was a terrific film despite this.
3. Apollo 18 (2011)
More horror in space. This is filmed with “found camera footage”, so if you don’t like that technique, I’d stay away. Basically, imagine that, despite what we were told, the Apollo 18 mission really did go ahead … and decades later the footage from that mission has come to light. Again, a genuinely creepy made even better by the sparseness of the soundtrack and visceral human reactions. The utter remoteness of space is used to great effect to heighten the tension. I loved this film.
4. Another Earth (2011)
Not strictly a horror, but a dark, creepy sci fi film that leaves you with a kind of awful taste in your mouth. One day, out of the blue, another planet that looks just like earth appears in the sky. It has the same shaped continents and everything. Being curious, we make contact, and discover there is an exact replica of every person on earth up there. What are their lives like? What if you could go up there and meet yourself? What if you could start over again, what if you could be somewhere where you hadn’t made the same mistakes? What I love about this film is the way the science fiction element is just a device to tell a very human story. If you enjoyed Canadian horror like Ginger Snaps, the atmosphere on this is quite similar. The ending ramps up the creep factor by +10.
5. Insidious (2011)
The Lamberts are just a normal family, moving into a new house, struggling to unpack boxes and fit into their new life. Then a horrible accident in the attic leaves their son, Dalton in a strange state. Doctors are puzzled – he’s not in a coma. He just won’t wake up. But this is no ordinary haunted house story. What it is, is probably the best horror film I’ve seen in the last 10 years, if not ever.
6. Dead Birds (2005)
An underrated independent film set in the wild west. A group of outlaws are escaping the law after robbing a bank, and hide out in an old plantation house. Then something starts attacking the group. Super stylish filming and some deadly terrifying scenes make this a definite favorite. For me, the end of this film makes the movie.
7. Dod Sno
I’ve reviewed Dod Sno before, but it deserves another mention because it’s f**king fantastic. Norwegian teenagers chased through the mountains by Nazi zombies. Watch it in Norweigan with subtitles for some genuinely hilarious and horrific moments.
This stars Daniel Craig, as a NYC publishing bigwig who is giving it all up to be a writer in the sticks with his wife and two beautiful daughters. But they discover that a terrible crime was committed in their house, and then bad shit starts happening. Marton Csokas, the cop from SVU, plays the baddie, which is, quite frankly, disturbing enough. The story is a bit predictable, but stylishly shot and cleverly executed. I really enjoyed Dreamhouse.
If you’ve seen the WWI film Nightwatch about the army that finds an abandoned Nazi bunker, and there’s an incredible creepy scene with the barbed wire … well, Outpost is a little like that film, except much creepier, and even better. It’s WWII, and a group of mercenaries are trudging across Eastern Europe in that way only soldiers can trudge, and they discover a seemingly deserted Nazi bunker. And the rest … you’ll just have to watch it and see.
5 people are trapped in an elevator. The lights flicker, and one of them is dead. Who did it? Just saw this the other week and was very impressed. I thought the concept was quite new, and tapped into a lot of people’s fears about being trapped in an elevator. But, I thought it was strong enough without the connection to the devil in some kind of overt, corporeal form. The devil as a baddie is a bit tired. But, this is my only criticism of what is a strong, well-executed horror.
I am always looking for good horror film recommendations, especially if you know of something that’s a bit like something else on this list. Despite appearances, I don’t actually watch a lot of movies (I find it difficult to sit still for 2 hours), so don’t let the fact
(If you choose to buy one of these films through the Amazon links above, I will get a couple of cents, so cheers very much!)