It probably hasn’t escaped your attention that it is Halloween this weekend. The holiday itself is rather unique as it allows participants to choose two different ways to celebrate and enjoy this feast of all things horrible.
You can go more colorful, more ‘child friendly’ and err towards the side of dark humor, or you can go full-throttle and scare yourself witless. For those of you opting for the latter, Halloween is the perfect excuse to lock yourself away in a dark room and watch some nerve-jangling movies.
But which movies are the best to turn the blood in your veins into ice? Which directors have opened that pitch-black window into your soul? Well, it’s your lucky day, as BaDoink is here to give you the lowdown on the easiest way to stop sleeping!
(Note: here be spoilers!)
Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Like Wrestlemania, Texas Chainsaw Massacre is one of the ‘grandaddies of them all’ when it comes to horror movies. Tobe Hooper’s 1974 classic is a terrifying, vicious and unforgiving ride that leaves many victims and countless unanswered questions. The film’s tagline of ‘Who will survive and what will be left of them?’ is one of cinema’s most famous rhetorical questions.
Although marketed as a true story, TCM is loosely based on the life of murderer and grave robber Ed Gein, who took a shine to the idea of wearing women’s clothing and skin (Gein was also the basis for Psycho’s Norman Bates).
It might seem a cliché now, but the old formula of ‘group of teens decides to explore weird looking house and area’ is used to its full potential here. From the very start, this film does its best to unsettle you. The self-harming, picture burning hitchhiker acts as an omen that our soon-to-be corpses fail to heed.
What follows is a true lesson in survival horror, fear and gory antics. Leatherface, our ‘hero’, shows a complete lack of mercy for his victims; smashing heads in with sledgehammers, slicing and dicing and making that really disturbing squealing noise when he runs. The final scene, Leatherface’s macabre sunset dance on a dusty trail with a buzzing chainsaw, is an enduring image and one that tells us that the horror is never truly over.
An absolute must-see for horror fans or anybody who just wants to feel scared.
A Serbian Film
If you like a bit of controversy, then this will be right up your street! Banned in most of Europe, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore and Brazil, Srđan Spasojević‘s debut feature is a tour de force of sex, violence, intrigue, disgust, surrealism and the notion that, no matter how disturbed this film’s world is, it doesn’t seem too far fetched to see it as our own.
A Serbian Film follows Miloš, a legendary and semi-retired porn star, who is tempted back into action to do one last job which quickly turns into an inescapable nightmare.
It transpires that Miloš’ ‘one last job’ will be the biggest of all: a porn movie with no set, no beginning, middle or end, an unclear cast of characters and a dark, satanic element that backs Miloš into a corner where he must kill, maim and rape to survive. Spasojević’s movie tests its viewer’s limits continuously and recklessly.
The ‘highlights’ of A Serbian Film include vicious sexual encounters, beheadings, sex with a newborn (yep) and, if you weren’t disgusted enough already, Miloš is tricked into raping his own son. Yes, you read that right.
Don’t believe us? Maybe you should watch it for yourself…
Some people will tell you that the era of ‘found footage’ is dead and gone, used up by Hollywood vultures that find a good thing and pick the carcass clean. Others will tell you that the days of ‘roided-up zombies, screeching and sprinting at you, are also finished.
If we can learn anything from [REC], it’s that we shouldn’t listen to other people. This 2007 Spanish effort combines the two elements to create a fast-paced, blood-dripping and frightening film.
When a Barcelona apartment block becomes the focus of some strange goings-on, residents are quarantined inside by authorities who offer no explanation or chance of rescue for our stranded apartment dwellers. Luckily for the viewer, it just so happens that a camera crew is filming the first fire crew called out to the building. Now we have a ringside seat to all of the action…
What occurs over the course of the movie is exhilarating and nerve-shredding. As more die and the net closes in tighter, the film races towards an ending that is confusing, malicious, loud and leaves you with one final scare. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!
We all know and love Bruce Campbell’s Ash, the smart-ass hero of Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead trilogy. His character has endured into four decades and will no doubt be around for a long time yet, but it’s easy to forget Ash’s humble beginnings in this 1981 shocker.
The Evil Dead became the focus of press attention upon release owing to the violence and intensity of the film. It was soon dubbed a ‘video nasty’ and faced bans and censorship across the board. What the Evil Dead lacks in budget and post-production finesse it more than makes up for with imagination, insanity and…well, the evil dead!
There are two key scenes to look out for here. The infamous pencil moment and this lovely little series of events below:
Videodrome is a slow burner, and the true fear behind the message does not make itself apparent for some time. Its story of a rogue television network that appears to be broadcasting torture and snuff footage from a mysterious location still carries the weight of relevance; reminding you of particularly strange websites you may have once encountered, or gives you some idea of what lurks in the Deep Web.
The film ramps up the nightmare very quickly once unveiled and Woods’ Max Renn soon falls down the rabbit hole, where the plot undergoes some dizzying twists and turns. There is plenty of gore here for the discerning viewer thanks to some fantastic use of FX trickery.
The real horror of Videodrome isn’t as in-your-face as the rest of this list, but it will make you dwell on how our reliance on tech and its pitfalls is close to blurring the line between dreams and reality.
For bonus points, it also stars the eternally beautiful Debbie Harry.
28 Days Later
The British have a fine fright tradition stretching back to the days of Hammer Horror, and their modern output has hit some exciting heights too. None more so than this hideous slice of post-apocalyptic zombie madness that combined rudimentary filming techniques with a very modern take on the genre.
The film finds Jim (Cillian Murphy) waking from a coma and plunged without warning or explanation into a deserted London filled out in pockets by hordes of ‘Rage’ infected people; struck down by a blood-borne virus that turns them into murderous monsters.
It’s full of jump scares, tension, opportunistic flashes of lightning and Brendan Gleeson, who never fails to shine (even in the pretty terrible Lake Placid). The film’s climax is a claustrophobic vortex which includes an absolutely excruciating eye-gouging scene.
Horror films are known for occasionally using their platform to make a societal or political statement, and while there may have been something buried underneath upon the film’s release, in the current Ebola fear climate, this Danny Boyle masterpiece may just offer some form of insight.
Watching Audition for the first time is like waiting to be punched in the face. You know something’s coming, you’re braced for impact but in the end, you have no idea how much damage is going to be caused.
Audition carries with it a sense of nagging unease. Asami, the sweet but obviously deadly temptress, is a riddle wrapped in an enigma. As the film unfolds, it’s only her would-be suitor, Shigeharu, who cannot see the massive gaping trap right in front of him.
The film continually surpasses itself in the depths it will plunge to in order to provoke a reaction. You will, for example, see a man missing several parts of his body greedily lap vomit from a dog bowl. It’s pretty tough stuff.
So there are our choices…but what films will YOU be watching? Are there any others you think deserve to be deemed the most shocking? Let us know!