Sure, Halloween is supposed to be a scary day but if you’re really superstitions, today is the worst of them all.
Friday the 13th has many connections that all lean towards the negative, or death – if you avoid black cats, broken mirrors and walking underneath ladders.
While the day is considered unlucky, its connection with cinematic scares started in 1980 with the release of Friday the 13th, a film that defined the slasher genre and also created one of the first horror franchises. I
f you want to celebrate the day, from the safety of your couch, here are the most unmissable horror films to enjoy:
Friday the 13th (the original)
You have to start with this classic slasher about a group of unsuspecting camp counsellors hacked to death in a frighteningly fun way. It defined the slasher genre of the ’80s. The film also follows the classic slasher paradigms, bad guys die first, and the innocent girl gets spared (or does she?).
In 2014, the horror genre was flipped on its head with the release of this Australian horror about grief. It’s a metaphor-rich, but scary as hell film about a mother dealing with the loss of her husband. It’s one of the best modern horror films.
This Japanese psychological horror film delivers stomach-churning scares thanks to its slow-burning plot where a single man uses video-dating to start a relationship with a woman with a very, erm, unsettling past. It is a masterful suspense film, that really locks you in once the story gets going.
This classic film about demonic possession has been named the scariest movie of all time. Although it has aged a little (we’ve just gotten used to really good CGI), it remains an incredible film that fills you with more and more than a little dread as the story progresses.
The Hills Have Eyes (2006 remake)
It probably won’t feature on many similar lists but thanks to its gore-porn angle, this is one hell of a ride when an unsuspecting family gets slowly picked off one by one by a group of mutants in the middle of the dessert. Expect gallons of blood, body parts flying at you and a very unhappy ending.
This isn’t your typical horror film. In fact, this is the Shakespeare of horror thanks to its period-drama take on superstition during 1630 America. Although it is not about gore or jump-scares, it’s the idea of self-fulfilling prophesy (and Satan) that delivers the uneasiness you will feel.
And you thought child-friendly horror does not exist? Well, it does thanks to this wonderful animation flick about a house transforming into a monster. Parents and kids can enjoy light scares, but also relish in a very heartfelt ending. It’s on Netflix.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Original)
Let’s just put it this way: this film was banned. Yes, it was considered that immoral. When a group of friends calls for help on a desolate farm, they get more than they bargained for when when they meet Leatherface.
Part horror, part psychological mind-job, Rosemary’s Baby is one of Roman Polanski’s best and most tense affairs. The plot revolves around the titular Rosemary Woodhouse, who moves into an apartment building with a rather dark past. It’s not long before she begins to suspect her new neighbours have ulterior motives under their polite veneers. Is she paranoid? Or is something more sinister going on? This is a film that is short on jump scares, but you’ll still be digging your nails into the armrests.
Something on a comment both on perceived adolescent promiscuity and the challenges of growing up, It Follows is an interesting twist on teenage horror. Rather than chasing kids with a slasher, this film’s plot revolves around sexually transmitted haunting, in which a terrifying ghost pursues the last sexual partner the carrier had sex with. While this may sound like a condemnation on teenage exploration, the films boast layers that ask questions about release, paranoia and the fact that nothing lasts forever.
Although its predecessor Alien should also be on this list, Aliens is one of the rare times in cinema history when a sequel is better than the original. Set in deep space with an alien with acid spit hunting down military men, it is an incredibly addictive horror-suspense film.
Based on a Steven King novel, The Shining is one of Stanley Kubrick’s best films. When a novelist named Jack moves into a hotel as caretaker with his small family, he’s rather dismissive of and the building’s rather nasty history. However, as isolation and paranoia set in, it becomes clear that some intangible evil is at work in the hotel and is turning Jack from a ‘dull boy’ into something far more sinister… and dangerous.
The less one knows about the Human Centipede going in, the better, but we should warn prospective viewers that this film goes beyond the realm of ‘scary’ and descends in to a place we’d call ‘sick’. As one critic on the AV Club put it, this is ‘two girls, one cup’ the film.