As an avid fan, I can’t really stand the idea of somebody not liking horror movies as much as I do. Thankfully, the genre has burst into the mainstream largely due to the efforts of companies releasing huge franchises like ‘Insidious’ ‘The Purge’ and the upcoming ‘Halloween’ movie. So it seems like, at least on paper, the average movie goer is becoming more open to horror.
That said – for all of you out there who want to get your partner, friend, mom/dad or cats and dogs into the genre – you are going to need some pretty solid movies to kick off a potential addiction to the mad and macabre! Below we will look at a few movies that, in my opinion, may help do just that (or at least cultivate an unhealthy interest in the genre – hey, we all have to start somewhere!).
The following suggestions are in no particular order and are by no means an exhaustive list, just a few quick simple suggestions. ENJOY!
5. THE MUMMY (1999)
After an adventuring American stumbles across the tomb of an ancient mummy, he is recruited to return to the cursed place in order to help a team recover a lost artifact. But they get more than they bargained for when they awaken the creature and unleash a plague upon the world.
Now, I know many readers will give me crap over this movie, but give me a chance to explain. First of all, THE MUMMY is not to be compared to the original whatsoever and really has to be looked at as its own beast. The special effects are not to be underestimated and, even though the movie was made in 1999, if at all possible watch this on Blu-ray as the re-creation of the glorious Egyptian ruins etc are another high point of the movie. Imhotep is, in my opinion, one of the most terrifying villains in recent memory and is brought to life superbly by Arnold Vosloo.
That isn’t all, though. Fans who say that this movie isn’t true horror or provides little to no scares might be forgetting the monstrous zombies, the nightmarish flying locusts, and the fallen skies. Sure, it’s tough to take the movie seriously at times, but you have to praise director Stephen Sommers and the cast for pulling off such a rollercoaster ride from start to finish.
Overall THE MUMMY is a great watch for someone with a mild interest in the genre who could possibly ease into it. It provides a few genuine chills, some hilarious dialogue and fantastic action scenes with amazing FX throughout. All this is neatly packaged together and doesn’t feel super cliche. A must watch for newcomers.
4. SCREAM (1996)
A year after the murder of her mother, a teenage girl is terrorized by a killer who targets his victims using horror films as part of a deadly game.
Regarded by many (including this writer) as one of the few movies that forever changed slasher flicks, SCREAM is the work of a true Master of Horror… Wes Craven. Having previously created icons like Freddy Krueger, Craven struck gold with another horror icon, the sinister and violent Ghostface.
To say this movie is self-aware is to summarize its central premise, as the film uses genre cliches for the cast to discuss as if they were in a horror movie…. This brainy approach will certainly appeal to those who think all horror movies are dumb, all the while giving them kill scenes that are tense and violent. The film kicks off with an incredible scene which really sets the bar for the rest of the movie.
If you watch SCREAM and enjoy it, I encourage you to bust out the popcorn for a series marathon. Aither way, it’s a must-see for any aspiring fan (and even some of the seasoned vets). Bottom line: a true horror masterpiece.
3. THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT (1999)
Three film students vanish after traveling into a Maryland forest to film a documentary on the local Blair Witch legend, leaving only their footage behind.
These days I feel that movies, especially horror movies, can be made more for the makers and less for the audience. THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT turns that idea completely on its head and gives you an entire different look/feel for the genre. This isn’t the stereotypical creature feature; the fear of the unknown is this movies strongest trait. Before I saw this movie I never really realised how terrifying the idea of not knowing what is out there could be. My imagination ran wild with what ifs and terrified me more than most movie monsters ever did!
Another component of the film is the characters’ slow decent into madness as their spirits are broken and their hope dwindles. The performances are incredibly believable and the entire plot and backstory of the Blair Witch is certainly unique and believable, adding immeasurably to the creepy factor.
2. TRICK R TREAT (2007)
Five interwoven tales that occur on Halloween night: an everyday high school principal has a secret life as a serial killer; a college virgin might have just met Mr. Right; a group of teenagers pull a mean prank; a woman who loathes the night has to contend with her holiday-obsessed husband; and a mean old man meets his match with a demonic, supernatural trick-or-treater.
Just when it looked like the horror anthology was dead, along comes director/writer Michael Dougherty’s TRICK R’ TREAT to re-establish it as a pinnacle of contemporary filmmaking. This movie is 100% rewatchability every single Halloween without fail.
I can’t think of a movie that encapsulates the look and feel of the season quite like this: from kids trick or treating to the suburban streets covered in decorations, Dougherty captures the mood and tone of Halloween. The stories intertwine for a clever and satisfying payoff, making this an instant cult classic which is set for a new installment soon.
1. DEAD SILENCE (2007)
Before you watch this movie, ask yourself this whether you have nightmares easily. If your answer is in the affirmative, then maybe you should rethink watching this movie. You may find yourself spending many nights awake with vivid images from the film burned into your mind.
The story is intriguing, the atmosphere is heavy, and coloured by the creepy music of Saw’s Charlie Clouser. I was surprised with the amount of gore in DEAD SILENCE, as ghost story-type films tend to prefer atmospherics but it works well here. The use of silence to signal the presence of evil was a fantastic little addition.
The movie has plenty of horror scares: open-caskets, waked out bodies, wide-eyed dolls, cackling old women mixed with thunder and lightning. Mary Shaw in my opinion is one of the best and scariest under appreciated horror icons in modern day horror and I wish they would re-visit this franchise and expand on the universe.
I hope this helps you introduce somebody new to the genre we all love and care about so much. If you do watch any of these recommendations, please let me know what you thought.