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[Article] – 10 Horror Films To Watch With The Lights On This Halloween

 

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Posted October 30, 2017 by

 
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I love horror films. There’s nothing quite like a jump scare or the anticipation of seeing a ghost to get the heart and adrenaline pumping. I often struggle to find a really good horror film to watch, unfortunately, but one could put that down to my exacting standards more than anything else.

For instance, I really don’t enjoy films with too much gore, so the torture porn films such as the Hostel and Saw franchises never really caught my fancy. I do love films that make me think and if a horror film keeps me up at night, well, that’s a job well done.

Below are my top ten favourite horror films and I’ve also included a list of honourable mentions for you to check out:

The Omen

One of the first horror films that led to a restless night. The Omen (1976) was deceptively terrifying. Mysterious happenings occur around ambassador Robert Thorn (Gregory Peck) after the birth of his son, Damien, but what is the connection? The scares come thick and fast and the body count is quite high; no wonder young me was terrified. The Omen was the precursor for a lot of antichrist horror films but none quite managed to accomplish what this film did. Nor have any managed to instil in me a life-long fear of the name Damien. Shudder.

The Shining

No horror film list is complete without this classic Stephen King adaptation by Stanley Kubrick. The Shining is terrifying not only because of its supernatural elements but also because of its portrayal of protagonist Jack Torrance’s slow descent into insanity. There are some hauntingly beautiful scenes in this film interspersed with absolutely terrifying ones. I’m never going to be able to walk down a hotel hallway without imagining a pair of not-so-angelic twins standing at the end of it.

Event Horizon

This film has got to be the most terrifying film I have ever seen. It terrifies me no matter how many times I’ve seen it, not just because of the scares, of which there are plenty, but because of the possibility of even more terrifying things. The best part of Event Horizon is how it fires up one’s imagination. As horrifying as the visuals are, they are nothing compared to what your mind conjures up to fill in the gaps. Hence, the sleepless nights following the film. I have yet to find a space-based horror film quite like this one.

The Others

When I sat down to watch this film, I assumed I would be in for a straight-forward horror film. There are a number of jump scares but my enduring love for The Others comes from its incredible strong story. There’s a family at the centre of this story that’s far more compelling than the ghosts their house appears to be haunted by. Led by a powerful performance by Nicole Kidman, who had yet to win an Oscar at the time, The Others is quietly terrifying, perfectly eerie and stays with you long after the credits have rolled.

28 Days Later

I’ll say this first, I hate zombie films. I have yet to find the fascination with flesh-eating dead creatures, unless the film is delving into the effects of losing someone to zombification. But, 28 Days Later is not your average zombie film. The film starts off simply enough – we follow protagonist Jim (Cillian Murphy) as he wakes up from a coma to find the world almost devoid of human life. He manages to find non-zombie allies but it isn’t long before he and his companions realise that zombies aren’t as much of a threat as real people are. Absolutely terrifying!

The Ring

I’m never going to trust an unmarked videotape thanks to this film. Naomi Watts essentially became Hollywood’s scream queen with this franchise and you’ll be screaming as well while you watch it. The Ring is terrifying from start to finish and Samara has got to be one of the world’s most terrifying horror film villains. But the strength of The Ring is that it deals with people’s fears and how, when push comes to shove, you will doom others to save the ones you love. Of course, I’m talking about the American remake here; if you’re feeling particularly brave, check out the original Japanese film, Ringu. If you dare.

The Grudge

Another Japanese remake that made an insomniac of me. I had the lights on for a week because of this film. The Grudge is probably even more terrifying than The Ring because the scares in The Grudge are so unexpected. No one is safe from the film’s antagonist, Kayako, a woman consumed by love for a man she can’t have, who ends up being killed in a murder-suicide by her husband. Kayako is just so vengeful, you can’t blame her ghost for its actions but man, is she scary. Again, the Japanese original is not for the faint of heart, so tread carefully.

Insidious

Insidious is very much a horror film in two parts. The first half essentially follows musician Renai (Rose Byrne) as she tries to deal with life following her son Dalton’s sudden descent into an unexplained coma, and the mysterious phenomena surrounding him. The second half shifts the focus to Josh (Patrick Wilson), Renai’s teacher husband, as he enters a supernatural realm to save Dalton. Director James Wan skilfully ties the two halves together, upping the scares until you practically can’t breathe. And, of course, that ending!

The Woman in Black

A horror film with heart and a fantastic, simple story. Yes, The Woman in Black is scary but this film will also evoke so much emotion in the viewer, that the scares become incidental. Also, the titular woman in black is probably one of the most complex horror villains out there. Led by a brilliantly understated performance by Daniel Radcliffe, who plays young father Arthur Kipps as he tries to sort through the property of a recently deceased recluse but soon finds himself haunted by a presence in the house. The story is compelling and the mystery is more than enough to keep you intrigued, even without the ghostly elements.

Get Out

Not your regular horror film but one that is so relevant to our times. Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) is all set to meet his girlfriend’s family. When he arrives, however, he realises he’s the only non-white person there. It isn’t long before Chris feels that something isn’t quite right but when he tries to escape, matters only get worse. Definitely more on the psychological horror scale than a straight-up supernatural film, Get Out also delves into the issues plaguing race-relations in 2017 USA. It’s a chilling story that will leave you thinking about it for a long, long time.

 

And, if that list doesn’t quite whet your appetite for the ghostly and ghoulish, here are some honourable mentions:

  • Psycho – A Hitchcock classic so brilliantly directed, it holds up over 50 years later.
  • Jaws – Monster horror films owe a great deal to Steven Spielberg’s Jaws. A classic that still has one biting their nails.
  • Alien – Body horror. Space. A badass female hero. We have needed more of this since the ‘80s!
  • Sunshine – I would still argue that the final act could have been tighter but it’s a gorgeous sci-fi horror film with brilliant performances by Cillian Murphy, Michelle Yeoh and Chris Evans.
  • The Conjuring – Not as accomplished as Insidious but wildly terrifying just when the audience gets comfortable. Don’t look up.

So, there you have it. My favourite horror films of all time, and a little bit extra. Which horror films have kept you up at night? Leave your comments below.

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Louis Skye
@LouisSkye77
bloggingatwarp10.blogspot.com
Freelance Contributor

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