I love to make lists. When I go shopping, when I’m planning a party, or detailing out a new novel, lists are important to me. So of course, I have a list of my favorite horror movies. I like different genres of horror, not just simply the gory stuff although it is fun to watch. No, there are great categories of horror that must be viewed and dissected, analyzed on just why a particular film is a good or great horror flick. Categories can include foreign, campy, serial killers, “satanic”/demonic, splatter, slasher, zombie and shock. A lot of people think, “Seen one horror movie, seen them all”, but of course this is not true! If you see one comedic movie, have you really seen them all? They keep making sequels and you keep watching, so obviously not. Horror is almost the black sheep of the movie industry, but it’s been proven that it’s a good way for new actors and actresses to get their foot in the door. Watch some old horror flicks, you’ll see some familiar faces guaranteed. Don’t worry, there will be more on that later.
So back to the favorites. I will have to start with the movie that began my obsession for me, the one that stirred my desire for more, more, more……Audition. Not too many people know this movie, but oh Miike Takashi, let me count the ways that I love you. From the start, I was drawn in to a story of a widower looking for love again and taking the unconventional way of finding a new wife by holding an audition. Despite warning from his friend, our widower pursues a young former ballerina, pretty, sweet, seemingly innocent. Of course she isnt, of course she’s a psychopathic killer with a black garbage bag in her apartment that moves. There comes a point in the movie where you have to ask, “Is that a tongue on the floor?” Creepy. For a first foray into foreign, dark films, start with this one.
I won’t make this a long list, there are way too many movies that I would recommend for a beginner fan, but let me list at least four more that should get you going. If you’re too nervous to jump right in there and watch something completely off the wall like Insidious or Saw, you can never really go wrong with a campy flick like Army of Darkness or The Stuff. One of my camp favorites is House. Just enough make you jump moments with dashes of funny mixed in. A divorced horror writer moves into his aunt’s old house after she commits suicide and starts seeing odd and weird things happening within. As the movie goes on, you find out that the house has apparently taken the writer’s son who was presumed missing, then dead. It’s almost a horror feel-good movie with a happy ending, so beginners won’t have to worry about nightmares late at night.
Another one of my favorites is Art of the Devil II. Another foreign film, Thai, and there are 3 in the series, but the second is the best in my humble opinion. While the first and third in the series do give more of a backstory, the second is where a lot of the blood is. Again, not to give the whole story away, but there is a particularly nasty scene with a young paralyzed teenage boy and a blowtorch. Not for the squeamish, so you have been warned.
For a more current favorite, Paranormal Activity is one for the ghost hunters and lovers of things that go bump in the night. It is the story of a young couple who is suddenly haunted by a spirit who manifests more and more as the movie progresses. Apparently this spirit had known the young woman since childhood. The movie is quite creepy due to self-filming of the male character, never really knowing what’s around the corner or coming down the hall. For now, I’ll only speak on the first Paranormal Activity as there are three, the last two meant to give more of a backstory. I’ll have to give more of a critique on the others at a later date.
For a last favorite, It would be fair to give a nod to a concept that could be true. I don’t mean Texas Chainsaw or Ed Gein, but a very scary possibility. The Serpent and the Rainbow is one of those movies that make you wonder about how real magic can be. Magic is a wonderful thing in the right hands, but in the wrong ones, it can be destructive and devastating. This movie can show at least the possibility of magic going wrong and stepping into something people tried to warn you about. It’s not gory or a slasher type horror, it’s more psychological and sometimes that’s the scariest part.