Halloween movies to watch immediately... If you dare

26 October 2018 19:51

Some people spend all year waiting for Christmas, others pine for warmer weather throughout winter, but the DRUGSTORE CULTURE team really comes alive at Halloween – not least because it’s the season to watch horror movies. Here are some recommendations from our writers, for our readers, so that you too can spend the season scared:

Don’t Look Now (Nicolas Roeg, 1973) – Matthew d’Ancona

A movie about grief that becomes a movie about premonition, laced with a menace and sense of dread that is heightened by the Venetian labyrinth in which most of the action is set. John and Laura Baxter (Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie) are a couple mourning the loss of their daughter, Christine. They seek distraction in Venice where John is restoring an ancient church. There, they meet two elderly sisters, one of whom, Heather (Hilary Mason) is blind but claims to be psychic. It would be quite wrong to reveal what happens next. Suffice it to say that this film, based on a short story by Daphne du Maurier, retains all of its power on repeat viewings – even its edge-of-your-seat ending (one of the most shocking in cinema) still packs a horrific punch the tenth time you watch. You will never see a red coat the same way again.

REC (Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaz, 2007) – Matthew d’Ancona

One of the earliest and best found-footage films – a genre that has now been grievously debased – REC is truly scary in a way that its sequels and American remake failed conspicuously to replicate. Set in an apartment building in Barcelona, it tracks the doomed progress of a camera crew as they realise that a form of deadly infection has taken hold of the inhabitants. Quarantined by the authorities inside the block, they move from floor to floor, encountering ever greater horrors. But is it an outbreak of a biomedical kind, or something much eerier? The shock shots are terrific and the pacing unbearably tense. Guaranteed to give you nightmares.

REC (Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaz, 2007)

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (Ana Lily Amirpour, 2014) – Pamela Hutchinson

Who could resist a film billed as ‘the first Iranian vampire western’? In surely the coolest vampire movie ever made, Sheila Vand plays a shapeshifting, chador-wearing punk, who glides around town late at night on a skateboard, following the scent of blood. The steely monochrome photography places this eerie and immensely satisfying movie in a lineage that runs from the classics of silent cinema to the urban indie movies of Jim Jarmusch via David Lynch and film noir. Its pleasure is not just skin-deep, though. This film’s real bite is in the sly way it subverts all your expectations of horror, not least the idea of female victimhood evoked by the title.

Addams Family Values (Barry Sonnenfeld, 1993) – Kimberley Moore

Wednesday Addams is my idol. Anjelica Huston is a babe. Joan Cusack is lovably crazy. Morticia and Gomez are the ideal couple.

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (Ana Lily Amirpour, 2014)

Let The Right One In (Tomas Alfredson, 2009) – Kimberley Moore

This film tells the wonderfully horrific story of boy meets murderous girl – a completely relatable yet ridiculous relationship. She’s a friend any bullied young teen would dream of, a cool sidekick to tear your foes a new one… literally.

The Craft (Andrew Fleming, 1996) – Kimberley Moore

This film is every teenager’s dream… until one of them loses their hair. Angsty teens dressed as goths, who are power mad with magic. It’s a classic.

Night of the Demon (Jacques Tourneur, 1957) – James Oliver

Director Jacques Tourneur is best known for the ambiguous horror films he made with producer Val Lewton (Cat People [1942] and I Walked With A Zombie [1943] amongst them). But, heretical though it might sound, this supernatural thriller – written by Hitchcock scribe Charles Bennett and adapted from an M.R. James yarn – is better, as sceptic Dana Andrews faces up to the possibility that there’s a hell-hound on his tail and that none of his clever rationalism can save him. It builds to a brilliant climax and features the biggest, nastiest monster in movie history. ‘It’s in the trees! It’s coming!’

Let The Right One In (Tomas Alfredson, 2009)

The Exorcism of Emily Rose (Scott Derrickson, 2005) – Olive Pometsey

A film to ensure that you don’t get a good night’s sleep for at least a week, The Exorcism of Emily Rose follows the court case of a young girl who dies after a priest, Father Moore (Tom Wilkinson), attempts to free her from demonic possession. Told through flashbacks that eerily align with events in Moore’s and his lawyer Erin’s (Laura Linney) lives, Emily’s story will make you question your own beliefs – especially when you start waking up at 3:00am every night.

Scream Queens (Ryan Murphy, 2015) – Olive Pometsey

Although Scream Queens isn’t technically a film, ever since it aired three years ago, nothing else gets me in the festive spirit quite like hearing Chanel Oberlin (Emma Roberts) greet her sorority pledges with ‘Good evening, idiot hookers.’ Funny, gory and borderline offensive, with a costume department to die for, this television series is ideal binge-watch material for your Halloween, sorry, Chanel-O-ween countdown. Did I mention that Jamie Lee Curtis, Nick Jonas and Ariana Grande are also in it? Download now, thank us later.

Scream Queens (Ryan Murphy, 2015)

The Witches of Eastwick (George Miller, 1987) – Lucy Scholes

In George Miller’s The Witches of Eastwick – adapted from John Updike’s novel – Cher, Michelle Pfeiffer and Susan Sarandon play a coven of alluring witches whose collective wish for Mr. Right summons up Daryl Van Horne (Jack Nicholson at his most malevolently roguish since The Shining), an eligible bachelor-turned-architect of mayhem. Their picture-perfect New England town doesn’t know what’s hit it.

Practical Magic (Griffin Dunne, 1998) – Lucy Scholes

Griffin Dunne’s Practical Magic was a film ahead of its time. Marketed as a rom-com about two sisters (Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman) – practicing witches whose love lives suffer due to a curse that’s been passed down through generations of women in their family – it’s not only surprisingly dark, but also a heartening story of female empowerment and solidarity.

The Witches of Eastwick (George Miller, 1987)