1. LET THE RIGHT ONE IN (2008).
Oscar, an overlooked and bullied boy, finds love and revenge through Eli, a beautiful but peculiar girl who turns out to be a vampire. And who said the Swedish film industry can’t rub shoulders with the rest of the world? I haven’t had much experience with Swedish films, let alone Swedish horror films. However, this masterful as well as suspenseful take on a vampire film has everything – gore, lust, a creepy desolate terrain and a childhood romance like no other.
A young couple move into a new apartment, only to be surrounded by peculiar neighbours and occurrences. When the wife becomes mysteriously pregnant, paranoia over the safety of her unborn child begins controlling her life. Without giving too much away, and putting aside Polanski’s fugitive ways, this film unequivocally places him in the elite of Hollywood. He is a true cineaste, who never fails to leave you with a sickening, disturbed, bleak look on life. A must-see.
A mysterious and vengeful spirit marks and pursues anybody who dares enter the house in which it resides. If for no other reason, watch this film just to see how the Japanese attempt the horror genre. It is frightening, to say the least. The scene with the stairs (see picture) had me nearly s**t myself.
A woman brings her family back to her childhood home, where she opens an orphanage for handicapped children. Before long, her son starts to communicate with an invisible new friend. Give me Guillermo Del Toro, a missing kid, an unsettling mask, an old haunting orphanage, a shoreline and a cave, any day. These are the ingredients for a neck-breaker of a horror film. Suspense as it should be.
An unfaithful wife encounters the zombie of her dead lover, who’s being chased by demons after he escaped from their sado-masochistic Hell. I quite simply have to add this film because it is absurd. It is beyond belief that Clive Barker wasn’t committed to a hospital after this was released. If you aren’t left with a chill after seeing Hellraiser, maybe you should be in that same hospital. The cenobites will scare the living s**t out of you.
A police sergeant is called to an island village in search of a missing girl, whom the locals claim never existed. Stranger still, however, are the rituals that take place there. I’m not much of a fan of British films, but I’m certainly proud of this film. When depicting horror, we don’t need monsters, gore, beasts, bloodshed, brain matter and a host of other obvious techniques to have people queasy; we just need Christopher Lee, a Scottish isle and a bunch of absolute oddballs to freak us out. I felt uneasy more than anything, trying to figure out everybody’s agenda. A real gem.
A young FBI cadet must confide in an incarcerated and manipulative killer to receive his help on catching another serial killer who skins his victims. Who in 1991 was going to get close to Anthony Hopkins in the running for the Best Actor Oscar? The answer is nobody. Recently been included into the National Registry, this is one of the best films ever made, in my opinion. The casting is exceptionally thought-out; the characters are compelling and formidable; the general atmosphere is harrowing. A masterpiece!
Survivors of undead serial killer Freddy Krueger – who stalks his victims in their dreams – learn to take control of their own dreams in order to fight back. My personal favourite horror badass of all-time, Freddy Krueger makes Mike Myers and Jason seem as scary as Bebop and Rocksteady. When you’re a kid watching this, it’s knowing that you can’t fall asleep to alleviate yourself of the worry – that is where Freddy gets you. What a predicament!
An insurance investigator begins discovering that the impact a horror writer’s books have on his fans is more than inspirational. I would best describe this rare gem as a mix between David Lynch, in his ability to have you feel more lost than when you first started viewing, and the ever-brilliant John Carpenter, whose film it is, in his ability to plaster the screen with the most gruesome, ghastly, slimiest looking beings you have ever seen. This is a real head f**k!
A family is haunted by the tragedies of deaths within the family. This is another belter from one of my favourite Asian directors, Jee-woon Kim, whose track record of films proves he can quite literally tackle any genre (Western, Gangster, Comedy, Serial Killer, Horror). This is an awkward, gritty affair straight out of South Korea, which comprises all the elements of a real spine-tingler. You have the mysterious, suspicious step-mother; the clueless away-from-home-a-lot, businessman father; the spooky, creepy, don’t-know-what-the-hell-they’re-up-to sisters, as well as the old, rickety house. A fantastic film from a fantastic director.