So Hallowe’en is upon us and I thought I’d list a few of my favourite scary stories. I thought I’d go for a slightly alternative list. No point putting on all the usual suspects (The Exorcist, Halloween, The Shining, An American Werewolf in London, The Wicker Man, etc). My list isn’t massively obscure just a little different. Maybe there are some things on here you haven’t seen. There are suggestions from New Zealand, Australia, Spain, Sweden, the UK and the US. Black and white and colour.
Movies for Hallowe’en…
The Orphanage (2007) This is probably my favourite horror film. Not just on this list but possibly my favourite and my best ever. Though I’m flighty so I’ll say definitely in my top 3. It’s from Spain and has spooky kids and a scary old lady and a big crumbling house. There’s a mystery to be solved and a really unsettling kids game to be played. I loved it. Saw it in a cinema in London one afternoon. I was one of only three people in there and a mouse ran over my foot while I was watching. Think I might have tinkled myself a bit.
Let the Right One in (2008) Go for the original Swedish version. The American remake is not bad but the original is super creepy. More kids. They really are good ingredients for a horror movie.
10 Rillington Place (1971) The true story of serial killer John Christie. This one isn’t supernatural horror. Christie was all too real, but this is one of the most atmospheric and unsettling films ever. Directed by the brilliant Richard Fleischer and starring Richard Attenborough and John Hurt. My friends and I used to watch this as kids and it freaked us out.
The Haunting (1963) Make sure you get the black and white one starring Claire Bloom and not the awful remake starring Catherine Zeta Jones and Liam Neeson. This is one of the best haunted house movies ever. You see nothing and it’s all the scarier for it.
What We Do in the Shadows (2014) Something a little different now – a comedy mockumentary about vampires sharing a house in Wellington, New Zealand. It stars and is co-directed by Jermaine Clement from Flight of the Concords and is brilliantly funny.
The Cat and the Canary (1939) There are two horror comedies starring Bob Hope that I love and I couldn’t decide which to include so seeing how there are no rules here I’m going to include both. The first is about a bunch of people having to stay the night in a haunted house in order to collect an inheritance. To make matters worse there’s an escaped lunatic on the prowl. Bob Hope plays the go-to coward role he played in everything from the Road to films (Singapore/Zanzibar/Morocco/Utopia/Rio/Bali/Hong Kong) to The Paleface to My Favorite Spy and the next film on the list:
The Ghost Breakers (1940) Bob Hope is reunited with Paulette Goddard (his co-star in The Cat and the Canary) for more spooky hi-jinks. This film is very much of its time in that it features a “comedy black man”, which would never happen today but it also features the lines.
“Yeah, my middle name is Lawrence too. My folks had no imagination.”
The Boy (2016) This is a strange one to add on account of the fact it’s not out yet and I haven’t even seen it but the trailer creeped me out and I love that the kid/doll is called Brahms. Take a look…
Books for Hallowe’en…
So I think a little Edgar Allen Poe always goes down well at Halloween. There are so many great ones to choose from but I think my favourite is The Raven. Or The Tell-Tale Heart. But The Simpsons haven’t done their version of the latter as far as I know. Have they? They have done The Raven though… click here >
My other recommendation is from Joe Hill, son of Stephen King. Like father, like son and Hill has written some brilliant horror books, including Horns, which was made into a movie recently starring Daniel Radcliffe. Horns, the book, is okay but the one I loved was NOS-4R2. Don’t be put off by the slightly naff joke title. It is truly unsettling. And even better than reading it is listening to the unabridged audiobook. It’s narrated by Kate Mulgrew (Captain Janeway from Star Trek Voyager for anyone who cares) and she does such a great job that I was compelled to leave a glowing review on audible.co.uk. Just wait till you find out what scissors for the drifter means. I’ve got goosebumps just thinking about it.