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**Fifth Anniversary Review** Hayley’s Top 10 Favourite Horror Death Scenes Of All Time

Posted in Anniversary Pieces, Ghostface Girls, Love Horror with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 18, 2016 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Five years ago I was a film and television student in my first year at University. I decided to start a blog as a side project separate from my studies. It began as a way to express my views on recent films both independent and mainstream that I’d seen from all genres. Naturally, the first review I ever wrote was of Scream 4 (2011) then eventually I made the site completely horror specific and Hayley’s Horror Reviews is what it is today. Several great opportunities have come my way since beginning the blog, including the chance to get to know and review the work of a number of talented filmmakers. I am now very lucky to be writing for the Horror Movie review site LoveHorror.co.uk and working alongside Caitlyn Downs (from Scared Sheepless) on our collaborative project Ghostface Girls where we provide festival video coverage and record podcasts. Our next event will be the UK’s Horror Con in July 2016!

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In previous years my anniversary reviews have covered My Top 10 Horror Films of all time (since 2011 it has more than likely altered!), Urban Legends on screen and behind the scenes, why we watch Horror Films and last year my favorite underrated slashers. This year I’m taking on a countdown of a subject I’m surprised I haven’t covered by now. It’s all about the visual effects as I reveal my personal favorite horror movie death scenes. Death scenes are at the core of horror movies, even if a film might be particularly badly executed sometimes the saving grace can be some good old splatter. On the opposite end of the spectrum sometimes it’s what you don’t see and what’s implied that can really get under the skin. There’s also nothing more heart-breaking for a horror fan than when one of your favorite characters is hacked to pieces leading to emotional trauma!

Here are my top Horror Movie death scenes of all time! Remember folks, as always its subjective.

There will be spoilers, so get that TV on if you haven’t seen any or some of these films and come back to this article.

**WARNING** This Article will include blood, guts, gore and strong language. Not for the faint-hearted! 

Comment below if you agree or disagree with my choices or tweet me on @Hayleyr1989.

10. Final Destination (2000): Terry Chaney is splattered by a bus!

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To kick things off is a death scene so quick and unexpected it’s pure brilliance! This moment marked the beginning of the darkly twisted sense of humour in the Final Destination franchise. Up until this point Alex Browning (Devon Sawa) and his friends have survived a harrowing plane crash and are grieving over the apparent “suicide” of best friend Tod (Chad Donella) whose brother died on Flight 180. Both scenes deliver a suspenseful build up with gruesome results. This moment however takes place in the middle of the day, Alex and love interest Clear Rivers (Ali Larter) are trying to figure out death’s design. Enter rival Carter (Kerr Smith) and girlfriend Terry (Amanda Detmer). Carter is convinced that Alex is to blame for the deaths of the plane victims as well as Tod but he soon gets more than he bargained for! While antagonizing Alex, his long-suffering girlfriend finally snaps. In an ironic speech, Terry speaks about never wasting another second of her life and states Carter should have better things to do than fight with Alex. She then utters the immortal lines of “you can just drop fucking dead!”. Backing into the road Terry is hit by an incoming bus and the remaining survivors recoil in horror as her blood splatters on their faces. It’s the twisted irony of this scene that makes it surprising and thrilling letting the audience know that anyone can go at any time by any means.

9. Zombie Flesh Eaters (AKA. Zombi 2) (1979): Eye Splinter Scene

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Even without context the eye splinter scene from Lucio Fulci’s notorious ‘video nasty’ Zombie Flesh Eaters is an iconic cinematic moment in horror. The scene is so sqiurmworthy as you (literally!) see it coming a mile off but it doesn’t let up on the suspense. Paola, the wife of Richard Johnson’s character Dr. David Menard is alone in the house when a zombie breaks in. Actress Olga Karlatos displays a genuine look of horror as her vulnerable character attempts to bombard the Zombie from entering the house. Unluckily for her she is dragged through the door and impaled right through the eye with a piece of splintered wood. Her eye is pierced right through in a masterful visual effect, we see the eye squelched and the object penetrate right through her skull!  The moment sets the tone for the carnage to come making it one of Italian Horror’s nastiest kills.

8. I Spit on Your Grave (1978): Blood Bath

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The second video nasty on this list. I Spit on Your Grave is unapologetically exploitative cinema centering on the brutal, unrelenting rape of a young woman. Aspiring writer Jennifer (Camille Keating) retreats to the backwoods as she works on her novel, but she is horrifically brutalized and gang-raped by a group of local men. However, it wouldn’t be a rape-revenge film without a nasty dose of payback! After some time has passed Jennifer is back tougher and stronger than ever as she sets about to seek vengeance on her attackers. In one of the film’s most gruesome scenes Jennifer lures ring leader Johnny (Eron Tabor) into her car, inviting him around for some wet, and bubbly fun…or so he thinks! Jennifer hides a knife under the bath mat and as she begins to seduce Johnny when he least expects it she takes a knife to his most sensitive area!! It takes him a few moments to comprehend what’s happening while Jennifer leaves him there to bleed to death. She proceeds to lock him in the bath room and makes her way downstairs while Johnny yells that he can’t stop the bleeding. She drowns his screams out with a nice bit of classical music. The scene is particularly disturbing as Jennifer allows herself to be in a sexual situation with her rapist. Johnny completely goes along with it showing what a horrendous character he really is. It’s so well executed and unsettling, making ‘blood bath’ from I Spit on Your Grave one of cinemas best revenge death scenes of all time.

7. Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987): Welcome to Prime Time Bitch!

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There are many inventive death scenes in the most highly regarded Elm Street Sequel Dream Warriors but this one had to be selected as it captures Freddy Krueger’s (Robert Englund) darkly menacing, twisted sense of humor. While the Puppet Master moment and Needle fingers sequence are exceptionally creative and unique death scenes it’s difficult to overlook fame-seeking Jennifer’s (Penelope Sudrow) TV demise. This moment is fourth wall breaking and surreal as Freddy possesses the television, manifesting himself onto a late night talk show. The television turns static encouraging Jennifer to approach it. In a crazy visual effect mechanical arms emerge from the sides of the television, clutching Jennifer. Freddy materializes from the top of the television set sprouting antennas. He then smashes her skull through the television set uttering the iconic line “Welcome to prime time, bitch!”. The Elm Street franchise is known for its elaborate and creative death scenes that are more entertaining than a man in a mask just slashing with a knife. This scene is a solid example of how the franchise utilizes its special effects accompanied with quirky dialogue enhancing that when it comes down to Freddy Krueger anything is literally possible!

6. The Burning (1981): We’ve found our canoe!

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The Burning appeared on my list last year as one of my favorite underrated slasher films. It centers on a scorned caretaker who seeks revenge on the inhabitants of a summer camp where he suffered a horrific accident several years previous. It’s under the radar due to the success of Friday the 13th (1980) but then became infamous in the UK once it appeared on the Video Nasties list, and this death scene is the reason why! Tom Savini’s sensational gory FX during this scene cemented The Burning as being one of the first to receive it’s ‘video nasty’ reputation. A few of the camper’s head down the lake on a makeshift raft in order to fetch their canoe back. The typical teenagers argue while rowing but become excitable as they get nearer to the abandoned canoe. The scene is set up well using a sense of dread as they become closer and closer. No matter how many times you watch it and are aware what lies ahead it’s still shocking as the killer Cropsy (Lou David) appears from the canoe with his shears and the bloody massacre commences! This moment of the film features the image that appeared on the iconic cover art of Cropsy’s silhouette holding up the shears. It’s pretty harrowing as unlike the majority of slasher films the teenagers cast in the film genuinely look their age rather than having 25-year-old’s playing a 16-year-old’s. The fact that it takes place in broad daylight in an idyllic location makes this deadly moment even more horrific.

5. Hellraiser (1987): Jesus Wept

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This scene is one of my earliest, goriest cinematic memories and has made the list for being downright gruesome. At a young age this was one of the coolest death scenes in horror that I’d ever seen. It’s time for Uncle Frank (Sean Chapman) to get his just desserts at the hands of the Cenobites. Wearing the meat suit of his brother Larry (Andrew Robinson) he attempts to kill niece Kirsty (Ashley Laurence) in the attic but thankfully (as thankful as it gets in a horror movie situation!) Pinhead (Doug Bradley) and his demons appear ready to drag Frank’s damaged soul directly back to hell. Pinhead promised he had “such sights to show” us and this unrelentingly proved what the Cenobites were capable of. There’s an otherworldly presence to the scene with the bell chime ringing and the mist surrounding the attic. Hellraiser was famed for its dynamic make up effects, with Pinhead’s appearance making him an intriguing horror villain; but it’s Frank’s demise that is as grizzly and gory as it gets. As he raises a blade to Kirsty he is stopped in his tracks with a hook through the hand, chaining him to the Cenobites world forever. Hooks pierce his skin, tearing his face. As Kirsty recoils in sheer disgust Frank says “Jesus Wept” before being ripped apart, with blood and guts galore!

4. Inbred (2011): Dwight’s Dirrrrty Death!

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Over the past five years Inbred has become one of my favorite horror films. One of the several reasons is due to its creatively nasty death scenes. It stands out in what it does, with strong character development allowing the audience to empathize with its protagonists, as well as a twisted sense of tongue in cheek humor that equally puts us on the side of the villains. It’s somewhat of a black comedy but goes right for the jugular with a set of cruel and mean spirited methods of bumping off its victims. The warped villagers of Mortlake attend a show put on by local landlord Jim (Seamus O’Neill). Having already killed off one of the young lads involving vegetables and a horse, this time the Inbred’s capture Dwight (Chris Waller), the remaining protector of the group. Sacrificing himself for the safety of his care worker and fellow youth offenders, Dwight is subjected to a rather dirrrrrrty demise! Tied to a chair and forced to wear a wig, he is cruelly tormented by a man resembling a droog from A Clockwork Orange (1971) who proceeds to empty a hosepipe of shit down Dwight’s throat until he explodes all over the unusual members of the audience! It needs to be seen to be believed but commended for its use of old school FX over CGI giving us an old school backwoods bloodbath!

3. Der Fan (AKA. Trance) (1982): Killer Obsession

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Der Fan is a film I’ve mentioned a bunch of times on the site. An undiscovered gem that screened at Celluloid Screams in 2013, Der Fan enters unexpected territory with an unforgettable and bizarrely crafted death scene. A German Exploitation film, it pushed the boundaries with its female lead being played by a 16-year-old. Household name Desiree Nobuch of Radio Luxenburg fame played psycho fan Simone and did full frontal nudity in the film as well as acted out a scene of murder and cannibalism which certainly would not be done in cinema today! Simone sleeps with R (Bodo Steiger), a Gary Numan inspired pop star who she’s absolutely obsessed with. When reality bites and Simone becomes another used fan girl to R what happens next is completely out of the left field. In my original review I described it as one of the most “chilling and extreme” deaths in cinema. It’s lengthy, horrific, controversial and unsettling leaving the viewer feeling grubby once the credits roll, making it feel like a completely different film from the one that started. This is one I won’t spoil for you however if you’ve already had the experience of watching this underrated exploitation check out my original review.

2.Scream 2 (1997): Randy Meeks Death Scene

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Master team Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson taught us no one was safe in their iconic slasher-revival Scream. When Drew Barrymoore is killed off in the opening moments of a film it’s guaranteed that anything can happen! Scream 2 is the strongest sequel in the franchise as it raised the stakes. There are so many excellent set pieces in the entire film from the cinema slashing’s at the beginning to Sarah Michelle Gellar’s brutal demise being stabbed in the back and thrown out of a window; however, the death that really cuts close to the bone is that of Jamie Kennedy’s popular character Randy Meeks. Self-confessed “movie buff” Randy survived Billy Loomis (Skeet Ulrich) and Stu Macher’s (Matthew Lillard) reign of terror in the first installment closely following the horror movie survival rules. But even he knows that he could be disposable as a new Ghostface stalks the campus of Windsor College. Randy’s death scene is well executed and unexpected. The most shocking aspect is that unlike the previous deaths this one takes place in broad daylight. He is pulled into Gale’s (Courtney Cox) news van and stabbed repeatedly. It’s horrific as it goes unnoticed by crowds of people on the campus. The camera focuses on the van’s wing mirror as Randy is brutally killed, a group of students unknowingly walk by with a boom box drowning out his screams of pain! His bloodied face is then revealed. It’s tragic and heart-breaking as he never does get the girl and is a missing presence from the dynamics of the core characters. It’s certain that it’s Mrs Loomis (Laurie Metcalf) who murders Randy as she viciously attacks him for speaking “poorly” of her delightful son Billy in an act of revenge. The most ironic element of Randy’s death is because he knows the rules of a horror movie inside and out the killer cleverly catches him at the most unexpected moment and doesn’t wait until dark. Craven and Williamson kept the franchise fresh with surprises like this!

  1. I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997): Death of the Beauty Queen 

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What sets I Know What You Did Last Summer apart from its slasher counterparts is the well written and well-acted main characters. Sarah Michelle Gellar gives a tragic performance as Helen Shivers, the former Beauty Queen who loses her future after being involved in a hit and run and an ill thought out cover-up. After she witnesses the murder of her boyfriend Barry (Ryan Phillippe) at the hands of the psychotic fisherman; the police do next to nothing to help her. Helen’s death scene is harrowing as she almost makes it to safety. There’s a slow-paced build-up of tension from escaping a crashed police car to running for her life and hiding out in her sister’s store; Helen fights for survival. Her death isn’t shown explicitly but is incredibly effective and atmospheric set to a chilling score composed by John Debney. Helen falls from the stores window but then finds an alleyway leading to the 4th July Summer parade. Fireworks blast into the air and there’s a sense of relief; albeit momentarily, Helen then approaches the parade but becomes distracted and looks behind her. She is then face to face with the evil fisherman and slashed with his sharp hook amongst a stack of tires. There’s quick cuts, flashing lights and the sound of screams but one thing is certain, the true heroine of the film has met her demise. Helen’s body is later discovered by traumatized best friend Julie (Jennifer Love Hewitt) on the fisherman’s boat officially confirming there is no return for her within future films in the series. It’s Gellar’s helpless performance as the doomed young woman that hits hard with emotional impact. As sad as the scene is it’s essential to the progression of the film as many fans agree if Julie had been the one to meet her maker it wouldn’t have achieved the same upsetting impact. Helen’s death goes to show that you don’t need to go gory to execute an effective and gut-wrenching death scene.

As always thank you for reading and supporting Hayley’s Horror Reviews.

….

Hayley Alice Roberts.

Women In Horror Month: Final Girls and Psychotic Women. (15-13)

Posted in Women in Horror Recognition Month with tags , , , on February 4, 2014 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

It’s February and that means one thing in the horror community, it’s time to celebrate Women in Horror Month. This gore-geous event showcases the talents of all the ghoulish girls that have made their mark on the genre. However the annual event that is entering it’s fifth year now in 2014 scratches the surface a little deeper than simply fangirling horror’s hottest talent. Women in Horror month is in place to support and highlight the misrepresentations of females in cinema’s bloodiest genre. It’s about equal opportunities and despite facing unfair and harsh criticism mainly from people who don’t believe this event deserves to exist which I don’t plan to delve into, the cause isn’t in place to alienate men in the slightest, it’s here to honor all kinds of female contributions from directors, writers, actresses, presenters, reviewers and festival organizers. That’s not to exclude any male contributions either. If a film was written by a woman but directed by a man or vice versa that maintains inclusion. Women in Horror Month is not the overpowering feminist protest that some people seem to misinterpret it as or one that ignores racial minorities.

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For Hayley’s Horror Reviews, Women in Horror month remains a very special event. Instead of divulging into any particular political or heated debate about the subject, I see it as simply a celebration of my own identity and how I fit into the horror community as a whole. Being a horror fan is one of the greatest elements of my life and its constantly a privilege to be able to share my views with others who maintain a common interest and to gain new insights from supporting others work. Women in Horror Month is a time to reflect on all the hard-working women who keep horror bursting with blood throughout the year.

A calendar was also created this year by production designer Melanie Light in order to raise money for the rape crisis charity and S.O.P.H.I.E which is a fantastic gesture and part of a wonderful cause. The calendar is available to be purchased here: http://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/158679453/calendar-for-2014-women-in-horror-bios

To mark the fifth annual Women in Horror Recognition month, I have complied a list of fifteen of the most psychotic and heroic film characters to ever splatter onto cinema screens. These are characters who I have either identified with over the years or have such a memorable screen presence that they have a repeated watch-ability factor. These fiendish females are influential on the genre and will remain inbuilt in fans brains for many, many years to come! Over the next month I will be bringing you three characters every few days who represent an integral part of me and horror as a whole.

**WARNING: There will be Spoilers**

15. Simone, Der Fan (1982).

  • Played By Desiree Nosbuch
  • Written and Directed By Eckhart Schmidt

der fan Der Fan is a recent viewing for me, after being screened at 2013’s Celluloid Screams festival. Obsessed new-wave pop fan Simone is one of the most chilling genre females ever created. The real shock factor is that the audience doesn’t even see it coming! Prior to the unsettling climax, Der Fan incorporates a seedy, low-budget, cult feel featuring amusing British dubbing and comes across as the ideal film to watch as part of a like-minded audience. No one can be prepared for the cruel and calculated twist in Simone’s personality as she goes beyond expectation. What seems like a stroppy teenage girl with delusions about meeting her favorite pop star R (a Gary Numan inspired pop/synth star) escalates into something far more sinister when she finally meets her idol and the reality proves to be far removed from her fantasy. Following the cruel rejection inflicted by R, Simone goes on to murder him. But it’s the way she disposes of his body is the most disturbing aspect. In a slow-paced scene we are treated to every grueling detail of Simone’s actions as she carves up and serves up her dead lover, consuming each last piece of his deceased human flesh. Not to leave any waste behind she grinds his bones and scatters his final remains at the pop studio. It’s unsettling to think that a major pop star at the peak of his fame just vanished and only one psychotic little girl holds the answers to the truth! Back in the 80s, Der Fan sparked up a fair bit of controversy surrounding its young actress Desiree Nosbuch who was already a household name in Germany and had been since the age of twelve through her work on Radio Luxemburg. At sixteen, acting out scenes with graphic nudity and disturbing violence, Nosbuch’s performance would not be accepted in cinema today for such a young actress. Either way the naive innocence her character projects adds a great depth to Simone earning her a place as cinema’s most unhinged females.

14.Clear Rivers, Final Destination (2000).

  • Played By Ali Larter
  • Directed By James Wong
  • Written By James Wong, Glen Morgan and Jeffrey Reddick

FD1stills-0016  The Final Destination films are the franchise that teaches fans that death can’t be cheated. The original installment from 2000 set the stage for a formula that has been replicated four more times since. But let’s face it the later sequels are enjoyable enough just to see what creatively gory death scenes they’ll come up with next, but that wasn’t the case when James Wong’s groundbreaking teen slasher was initially released. Final Destination not only took a stab at challenging the hooded killer concept it displayed a great deal of depth with a cleverly constructed plot and characters an audience were able to connect with. Clear Rivers most certainly fits into this idea and is arguably the best character to emerge from the franchise.  While introverted and mysterious when we first meet her, Clear displays the makings of a post-modern final girl when she trusts the instincts of her class mate and eventual love interest Alex (Devon Sawa) and makes the smart decision to vacate the aircraft that is set to crash and burn. When the duo discover that death’s design is still at play she fearlessly stands by Alex while facing the inevitable. Determined to live another day, Clear does was it takes to save herself and the remaining survivors. The original ending for the film differentiated in tone from the finale that was ultimately chosen for the final cut. The alternate ending that’s available as a DVD special feature sees Alex sacrifice himself leaving Clear and friend/antagonist Carter (Kerr Smith) alive. Clear discovers she’s pregnant with Alex’s child which determines the concept of new life cheating death. This ending suggests that the gift of motherhood is more powerful over death’s plan meaning Clear all along had the ability to save the lives of others. Whereas it can be argued that any of the female characters could have achieved this through pregnancy, Clear was the one who stayed alive the longest. A subversion is also in place as its usually the blonde cheerleader that would find herself in this position not the quiet, reserved girl however it doesn’t devalue her character as being irresponsible.  The equality between Clear and Alex in thwarting the grim reaper represents a strong bond between male and female characters in horror. The original ending which sees Cater killed by an incoming sign meant that Clear returned for the sequel Final Destination 2 (2002) in order to use her experience to help a whole new group of survivors. Clear originally locks herself away in a padded cell to avoid death’s grip but when it counts she dies a hero in a hospital explosion, signifying her original death that would have occurred in the first film. Clear Rivers is a strong-willed, fearless and well-written horror movie heroine of the early noughties.

13. Baby Jane Hudson, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane (1962).

  • Played By Bette Davis
  • Directed By Robert Aldrich
  • Written By Lukas Heller

babyjane  In an iconic performance Bette Davis mesmerized audiences and still does to this day with her portrayal of the unhinged faded actress Baby Jane Hudson. With a case of severe sibling rivalry, Baby Jane bitterly resents her sister Blanche (Joan Crawford) for outshining her when the sisters were both credible actresses. Once a successful child star, Blanche eventually upstaged her by starring in well-liked films, while Baby Jane accumulated a series of flops. Years later, Baby Jane “accidentally” runs her sister down while driving under the influence of alcohol. Flash forward to 1962 where Blanche is wheelchair bound and in the care of her psychotic sister who basically holds her hostage and controls her entire being. In what could be an analysis of psychosis and an insight into the brutal disappointing world of child stardom, Baby Jane is a tragic figure that struggles to keep a hold of her emotions as she is unable to come to terms with the fate she’s been dealt with. From being a huge star as a child with a number of adoring fans, her deviant behavior is explainable as Bette Davis’s phenomenal performance allows a sense of uncomfortable empathy with the her, depicting a woman faced with failure and projecting that jealousy onto the closest person to her. The film’s most memorable and unnerving scene is where Baby Jane disturbingly insists on singing a song from her childhood, “I’ve written a letter to Daddy”. In a childlike manner, there is something creepy about an insane older woman performing something of that nature, making it clear that she is unable to let go of the past however behaves as if her actions are normal.  The character has been parodied and referred to in popular culture on numerous occasions such as The Simpsons (1989-Present), Popular (1999-2001) and music videos from artists including Shakespeare’s Sister and Christina Aguleria. Whatever Happened to Baby Jane is also noted for being responsible for creating the sub-genre titled the “Psycho-biddy”, which was prominent during the 60’s and 70’s for themed films with a dangerous middle-aged woman at the forefront. Other names for the sub-genre include “Hag Horror” and “Older Woman in Peril”. Baby Jane has left a huge influential legacy on the genre and its clear to see why she certainly hasn’t been forgotten.

12-10 CoMiNg SoON…..!

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Hayley Alice Roberts.

First Anniversary Special: My Top 10 Favorite Horror Movies of ALL TIME: Part Two

Posted in Anniversary Pieces with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 20, 2012 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

5. “The Evil Dead” (1981)

  • Directed by Sam Raimi
  • Screenplay by Sam Raimi

Notorious and bloody disgusting! Sam Raimi’s “The Evil Dead” is fascinating on many levels. It invites the viewer to revel in it’s carnage and its twisted black humor. The fact that back in the 1980’s it was the Number #1 best selling video, then subsequently found itself banned only adds to the intrigue. When Ash (played by the epic Bruce Campbell) and his friends spend a vacation in a remote cabin in the woods they stumble upon a mysterious tape recorder featuring crucial information and a warning by the previous inhabitant. Before they know it demonic forces are awakened and all hell is unleashed in a blood-splattered, nightmarish adventure that encourages the audience to bask in the craziness. Ash is a great character to root for and also participate in yelling at when his actions don’t meet the obvious. As a film “The Evil Dead” has so many elements that satisfy the horror fan, the level of gore is immense, the characters are fun, the cinematography is interesting and the achieved product for the small budget it had is brilliant, it also has some pretty intense moments. “The Evil Dead” will remain a classic, its also pretty hilarious that it caused offence judging by how lenient studios are with horror films these days! However, it will always remain in my heart as my number one video nasty!

4. “Final Destination” (2000)

  • Directed by James Wong
  • Screenplay by James Wong and Glen Morgan

Before it became a franchise that churned out a million different ways to die, “Final Destination” (2000) was a creepy little film that warned when your number’s up, its really up! Alex Browning (Devon Sawa) along with his classmates board flight 180 to Paris. Prior to the plane taking off Alex gets a really bad feeling, the plane explodes killing everyone on board! Its only a dream, however he still causes a scene resulting in several people vacating the aircraft. To his horror flight 180 explodes before his eyes in a sick twist of fate. Now Alex and his friends are far from safe, something is killing them off in the order they were originally supposed to die and its up to Alex and his girlfriend Clear (Ali Larter) to put a stop to death’s design. “Final Destination” took the postmodern teen setting set up by the likes of “Scream” and tried something new and inventive that gave a chilling and suspenseful pay off! The characters are layered and worth rooting for as they make attempts to dodge death’s plan and survive! The romance between Alex and Clear emphasize this in terms of hope that they will make it. “Candyman” icon Tony Todd makes a surprise cameo as a sinister mortician warning Alex of the inevitable. The film had the perfect balance of bloodshed and emotion fitted together with a truly disturbing concept that anyone can die at any time! Well executed with memorable characters, “Final Destination” demonstrates that a horror film doesn’t need a machete-wielding psychopath in order to be scary!

3. “Scream” (1996)

  • Directed by Wes Craven
  • Screenplay by Kevin Williamson

Now for the film that redefined the horror genre. “Scream” (1996) has got it all, extreme suspense, witty dialogue, a sick and twisted killer with a sinister way of playing games with his victims before butchering them to a gruesome death, and the best characters that have emerged from the genre. “Scream” is clearly in place as a deconstruction of horror films with its postmodern angle and is always one step ahead of itself. The story is well developed moving into thriller territory. Following her mother’s murder a year previously, Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) attempts to adjust back into normality, until a masked killer strikes again causing mayhem for the small town of Woodsboro, Sidney and her friends including bumbling police officer Dewey (David Arquette), movie buff Randy (Jamie Kennedy) and headstrong news reporter Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox) must fight to stay alive while uncovering the mystery behind the grisly murders and disturbing phone calls! “Scream” cleverly challenges and exposes the rules of standard slasher films while subverting and conforming to them at the same time. There are plenty of nice homages to earlier slashers such as “Halloween” (1978) in place. Its self-referential style even sparked off a new sub-genre of its own. The refreshing part of the movie is finally having characters that are identifiable so that the audience care whether they live or die! Stylish and scary, “Scream” is the horror movie that never gets old and is responsible for making me the horror fan I am today!

2. The Wicker Man (1973)

  • Directed by Robin Hardy
  • Screenplay by Anthony Sheffar

“The Wicker Man” doesn’t use expected conventions in order to create scare tactics. The way the film works as a whole achieves a startling, thought-provoking effect as it uses the themes of Christianity vs. Paganism and questions morality. Sergeant Howie (Edward Woodward), a devout Christian begins investigating the disappearance of a young girl on a Scottish island. It begins innocently enough but soon turns into a profound nightmare, especially when it reaches its disturbing conclusion. “The Wicker Man” cleverly doesn’t appear like a traditional horror film on the surface, however it builds the intrigue and suspense as the film progresses. At first the genre is difficult to pin-point due to the fact much of it is shot in daylight and the majority of the score features lighthearted folk songs complimenting the air of mystery in the the tone . The portrayal of the occult is fascinating as the viewer can see both sides of the religious spectrum. Allegedly the film wanted to demonstrate an accurate portrayal of paganism and it is clear that the authenticity is present in Anthony Sheffar’s screenplay, he creates a disturbing sense to the community and the frightening notion of nowhere to run and no one to turn to! It’s the shocking climax of the film is what makes it truly horrific. It could be argued that “The Wicker Man” is a standalone film that hasn’t turned into a money-making franchise (excluding the remake!!!!), there has been nothing like it since. It relies on little effects to create something memorable and on the whole disturbing. A truly unique piece of the horror genre.

1. “An American Werewolf in London” (1981)

  • Directed by John Landis
  • Screenplay by John Landis

“Beware the moon!” is a warning that should not be ignored, the consequences could be deadly! “An American Werewolf in London” (1981) achieves so much that has never gone unrecognized. The narrative is simplistic but effective, it offers a twisted sense of humor and profound special effects that remain timeless. Two American tourists David (David Naughton) and Jack (Griffin Dunne) stop in the British countryside and stumble upon the appropriately named pub “The Slaughtered Lamb” . Following an encounter with some hostile locals, the two friends make their way to the moors where their attacked by a savage beast! Jack is killed and David wounded, but this is where the story really begins. David is taken to hospital in London where he begins to experience bizarre hallucinations, its not until he gets a visit from the decaying corpse of Jack that he soon learns he was bitten by a werewolf and will slowly transform into one! Not only that the only way he can be free of the curse is if he takes his own life! David takes shelter in a flat with his love interest, nurse Alex (Jenny Agutter), but before long he becomes his worst fear in the best werewolf transformation scene in cinematic history and my personal favorite sequence in any horror movie! The film focuses on an interesting mythology that compels the story, empathy is in place for David as he experiences the psychological effects of his changes. There are plenty of scenes played for laughs including David waking up in London Zoo and the seedy porn theater where he encounters a number of his mutilated victims. To compliment the hilarity “American Werewolf” has its fair share of unsettling moments such as the murder on the London tube, werewolf David attacks a business man who’s completely isolated in an environment that is known for its constant business, scary stuff! The soundtrack is also catchy and compliments the hybrid tone of the film perfectly, it also cleverly uses songs with the word “moon” in them. For all these reasons, “An American Werewolf in London” remains a cult film, fans of the genre view it numerous times and it never gets dull. Now remember, “Stay on the road, keep clear of the moors!”. 

Thanks for reading and thank you for the continuous support!

Hayley Alice Roberts