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Hayley’s Top 5 Feature Films of Celluloid Screams 2017

Posted in Horror Blog, Horror Festivals, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 6, 2017 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Celluloid Screams 2017 presented festival attendees with one of their strongest line-ups to date. With classic anniversary screenings of Suspiria (1977) and Hellreaiser (1987) and an Inside No. 9 showcase with both its creators, Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith present, the ninth edition of the festival proved fantastic. As well as familiar films for fans to rediscover on the big screen, Celluloid Screams also programmed a diverse selection of feature films from all over the world. The common thread between them all was that most of them contained a tongue-in-cheek flair to them, allowing the audience to experience laughs and scares and an equal amount of tension.

celluloid screams 2017

This list has sure been a tough one to compile as each film managed to bring its own identity to the table however these were the movies that struck a chord with me. So, without further ado, here are my top five feature films of Celluloid Screams 2017.

5. The Endless (2017)

  • Directed by Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson
  • USA

the endless

Celluloid Screams 2017 launched on a high note, which therefore set the tone for the remainder of the festival. Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson are staples of Celluloid having screened both their previous feature films, Resolution in 2012 and Spring in 2014, respectively. They have hit a hat-trick with their latest flick, The Endless. Moorhead and Benson not only write and direct but this time around they both star in the film. Their unique flair for filmmaking is present yet again as they stray away from convention bringing something surreal and intriguing to the table. In The Endless, Aaron and Justin play two brothers who happen to be former cult members. After ten years and undergoing deprogramming, the two are invited to revisit their old way of life when a mysterious videotape arrives on their doorstep. What follows is a mind-bending journey of intrigue that leads the viewer into unknown territory. Established fans will already know to expect the unexpected with their instantaneously captivating style of storytelling. The film looks beautiful which is aided by the picturesque cinematography, the open outdoors setting signifies the vastness of how the plot is essentially bigger than what is initially thought. Moorhead and Benson continue to grow within their craft, creating films that are not pigeonholed to one specific genre. The Endless is a mesmerizing film experience that is best going into without knowing too much. It will be exciting to see what these multi-talented filmmakers come up with next.

4. Creep 2 (2017)

  • Directed by Patrick Brice
  • USA

creep 2

Creep 2 is the highly anticipated sequel from director Patrick Brice. Mark Duplass makes a delicious return to his role as the batshit insane, serial killer that he made popular in the first one. This time around, he lures ambitious journalist, Sara (Desiree Akhavan) into his lair (home!). Disillusioned with his life as he approaches 40, he puts out an online ad for a videographer which draws in the disenfranchised young woman who is struggling to make a success of her obscure web series. Following an initial meeting with Aaron, the bizarre encounter provides her with enough scope for her next video. Feeling galvanized by the experience, will Sara bite off more than she can chew or will she hold her own against the unpredictable psychopath? Creep 2 is equally as superb as its predecessor, but manages to venture into even darker territory. It is nerve shredding from the outset while containing an unnerving sense of humour. Erratic and unpredictable just like its core antagonist; Creep 2 is a nail-biting, unique cinematic experience that works excellently among a festival audience. It is gasp-inducing madness and proves to be one of the most effective found footage entries within the genre right now. Between them, Brice and Duplass have created an exhilarating sequel which remains consistent to the original while challenging audience expectations which is highly ingenious to see.

3. M.F.A (2017)

  • Directed By Natalia Leite
  • USA

MFA

M.F.A is certainly a revelation in light of the recent Hollywood sexual assault scandal. This film is both timely and imperative as it fearlessly tackles a subject that still faces a taboo outlook surrounding it. Introverted art student, Noelle begins to embrace college life when she is invited to a party by a pretentious yet charming classmate named Luke. The party takes a harrowing turn when Luke shockingly rapes Noelle and plays it down in the aftermath. Traumatized and violated, Noelle reports her ordeal to the appropriate channels to no avail. She then decides to take matters into her own hands, heading down a dark route of revenge which heartbreakingly is all she has left. M.F.A is astonishingly brave as it highlights the ignorance and hypocrisy surrounding reported rape and the many women who face suffering in silence. The approach the film takes is bold without being exploitative or highly controversial but strongly gets its message across. Francesca Eastwood gives the performance of the year in a transformative role with layers of character development and a realistic arc, from her vulnerable beginnings to the astounding journey she takes. M.F.A is a prime example of the dynamicity of the genre and how it can successfully display a very real but disturbing issue and glare a light on that. It is wholly frustrating but will hopefully spark a conversation that society absolutely needs to have. Uncompromising, confrontational and powerful in its execution, M.F.A needs to be seen and spoken about.

2. 68 Kill (2017)

  • Directed By Trent Haaga
  • USA

68 Kill

Annalynne McCord stars as the baddest bitch of them all in this fast-paced, high octane, comedic thriller. Soaked in exploitation, 68 Kill delivers the “perfect midnight movie” and then some. Perfectly placed in the 12am slot on the first night of the festival, 68 Kill fought any festival jet lag away as its thrilling nature keeps the audience engrossed from start to finish. Featuring a slew of reprehensible characters that will kill, maim and mangle to get their hands on cold hard cash, 68 Kill ensures edge of the seat action until those end credits roll. The cast gel exceptionally well together, with Matthew Gray Gubler’s sweet-natured Chip finding himself in a bizarre, unexpected situation, torn between two crazed beauties with more outrageousness to come. A surprise performance is delivered from Sheila Vand, from the mid-way point as a ruthless, gothic store clerk. 68 Kill is a movie Tarantino could be proud of and thematically it has all the ingredients in place to homage his brand of filmmaking. Tasteless, indulgent, unapologetically trashy and completely in your face, 68 Kill is one of 2017’s and Celluloid Screams most exciting offerings.

1. Better Watch Out (2017)

  • Directed by Chris Peckover
  • USA/Australia 

Better Watch out

Christmas has come early with this fantastic, festive fright flick. Better Watch Out encompasses all the components of the killer Christmas movie while embodying its own unique capability. This is a home invasion like no other that supplies nerve-shredding suspense with darkly thought out humour. The plot centers on hormonally-charged twelve-year-old Luke (Levi Miller), a regular Suburban kid who anticipates an evening alone with his babysitter, Ashley (Olivia DeJonge). Having already established a comfortable rapport with each other, Luke’s chances of finally confessing his feelings don’t go quite to plan when they are targeted by an unknown assailant, subsequently becoming embroiled in a twisted cat and mouse game with shocking consequences. Better Watch Out incorporates delightful twists and turns that will supply shocks and surprises for its audience. It is advisable to enter this film totally blind to experience the punch it packs! The bright, festive aesthetic the film displays provides a welcome contrast to the more darker themes. It’s a crowd-pleaser from start to finish with exceptional performances from its young cast. Much like Andrew Muschetti’s IT (2017), kid-cast led horror films are proving to be a hit right now and this is no exception. If you enjoyed Netflix favourite, The Babysitter (2017) then you’re going to love, Better Watch Out.

Well, there we have it, my top five personal outstanding feature films of Celluloid Screams 2017. Comment below if you agree or disagree with my choices and let me know which films hit the right note with you at the sensational Sheffield festival.

Hayley Alice Roberts

Hayley’s Horror Reviews

 

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Sights to Behold: Celluloid Screams 2017

Posted in Horror Attractions, Horror Festivals, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 14, 2017 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

On Friday the 20th October, the ninth edition of Sheffield Horror festival Celluloid Screams will commence, promising eager festival attendees that they have such sights to show us. The popular festival has one epic schedule planned featuring a range of classic horror, brand new releases and special events to keep bloodthirsty fans satisfied over the two and a half days.

celluloid screams 2017

I have consecutively attended the festival since 2011 and I’m beyond excited to see what 2017 has in store. Alongside my local horror festival Abertoir, Celluloid Screams is an event that I look forward to each year as it delivers a brilliantly arranged programme that is accessible for fans of a range of sub-genres. The welcoming, community atmosphere also plays a key role in why this festival remains one of the highlights of my year.

This year, the festival programmers led by Robert Nevitt have excelled themselves by providing us with so many exceptional films to look forward to. The proceedings kick off with festival favorites Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson’s, cult-focused thriller, The Endless, followed by the eagerly anticipated British haunt-fest, Borley Rectory featuring a Q&A with the film’s director Ashley Thorpe. Other highlights to look forward to over the spooktacular weekend include closing film, Better Watch Out, a festive Christmas chiller, the trope-defying Tragedy Girls, the long awaited sequel, Creep 2 and of course the mysterious secret film.

tragedy girls

The main attraction however will be a special showcase of the popular BBC anthology series, Inside No. 9. Both creators and stars, the immensely talented Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith will be in attendance to hand pick their favorite episodes and indulge their fans in a Q&A following the screening. With the impending revival of their warped, cult comedy, The League of Gentleman returning to television screens in the foreseeable, this event will prove to be a must-see.

inside-no-nine-main

suspiria

Celluloid Screams will be screening not just one but two iconic classics on the big screen. We will feast our eyeballs on the stunning 4K restoration of Dario Argento’s exquisite masterpiece, Suspiria (1977) as well as a special 30th anniversary screening of Clive Barker’s incredible, Hellraiser (1987) with actor Nicholas Vince (famed for playing the role of the Chatterer) and special effects supervisor, Geoff Portass in attendance, partaking in a Q&A session following the film.

hellraiser-chattering

With an array of films from all over the world, innovative short film screenings and a euro-horror celebrated art exhibition, it is fair to say that we are in for one hell of a weekend!

Keep up to date via my Facebook page, Hayley’s Horror Reviews and twitter account @WelshDemoness throughout the festival for plenty of updates.

http://celluloidscreams.co.uk/

Hayley Alice Roberts

Hayley’s Horror Reviews.  

**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!

horror

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!

final destination

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!

burning

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!

dwightinbred

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

DerFan

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.

Hayley’s Top 5 Disturbing Moments in Horror!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 6, 2015 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Being a seasoned horror fan you think you’ve seen it all, therefore when you discover a film that unexpectedly gets under the skin, infiltrating the mind and completely disturbing you then you’ve found something truly effective. Being scared by a horror movie is completely subjective and mine may be a little more obscure than most. Here is my top 5 personal list of moments in movies (and one television show) that have utterly freaked me out since childhood and beyond.

WARNING: There will be spoilers.

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5. Trust (2010): Rape Scene plus End Credits.

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Positioned at number 5 due to being the most recent and inspiration for this list, Trust is directed by David Schwimmer, best known as Ross Gellar in hit sitcom Friends. Trust is a cautionary tale about the dangers of online relationships. The premise centres around naive fourteen year old girl, Annie (Liana Liberato) who develops an online relationship with a boy named ‘Charlie’. ‘Charlie’ turns out to be a man in his 30’s and lures Annie back to a seedy motel room where he goes on to rape and molest her. Its harrowing viewing as Annie pleads with him to stop and we hear everything while the camera fixates on the ugly, garish wall paper creating a somewhat nauseating feeling, we see that ‘Charlie’ has placed a camera discreetly in order to capture the ordeal. While not even a horror film and more of a crime drama, Trust is an eye-opening film experience that all should see, parents and children alike. It goes to a dark place with how much it portrays and the devastating effects on both Annie and her family. Without revealing too much the end credits provide some heartbreaking revelations with an unnerving final shot. The film led me to read about a found-footage horror with similar thematics titled Megan is Missing (2011). From what I’ve been told about the film its not very well made and there’s some brutal images associated with it related to fetish torture, however the final 22 minutes are gut punching and highly disturbing taking the online predator concept to all kinds of depraved levels. For at least the time being, Megan is Missing is a film I’ll avoid. Forget the boogeyman, this is realistic horror.

4. Pet Sematary (1989): Zelda.

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Forget Freddy and Jason, this creepy character from the film adaptation of Stephen King’s novel is one of the scariest elements of 80s horror. Within a flashback segment, we are told a traumatic childhood tale from Rachel Creed (Denise Crosby) of how her gravely ill sister Zelda was locked away until her final days. Zelda is skeletal and inhuman in appearance, the scene is both sad and frightening, especially viewing it at a young age as many of us did, my recollection being late night on Channel 5 watching it alone in the dark. We see a young Rachel reluctantly feed Zelda in disgust and choking noises are heard. She is played by a male actor Andrew Hubatsek who does an exceptional job at freaking the audience out with his portrayal. Hearing her call Rachel’s name sends chills down the spine. Rachel speaks of her hopes of Zelda’s death and her fears that she’ll be held responsible, an absolutely disturbing notion for a child to contend with. A later scene shows Zelda menacingly address the camera screaming at Rachel that she’ll “Never get out of bed again”. If you grew up in the 80s or 90s no doubt the idea of Zelda being at the end of your bed was a terrifying thought.

3. Frighteners (1997): If You Meet a Fairy…

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This one was discussed on the Ghostface Girls podcast episode of Childhood Horror and is pretty much an obscure choice. Not many will remember the seemingly forgotten CITV Horror anthology series, Frighteners. Apparently airing between 1996 and 1997 Frighteners showed four episodes in total, the final one being “If You Meet a Fairy…” I recall viewing it one afternoon after school, if memory serves me correct the episode was about a young girl in the Victorian era who discovers fairies at the bottom of the garden. At first the creatures are nice but soon turn sinister as they torment the girl and her family. Its explained on this old 2006 forum, Vault of Evil:

“During the 90’s i remeber seeing a episode from some horror anthology series which creeped the hell out of me as a kid. Ive looked high and low but i cant remeber what it was called and its driving me mad.

The one episode i can remeber goes like this. I think it was set during early 1900’s and was about a little girl finding a little fairy at the bottom of her garden. She takes it in and keeps it in her dolls house but then things take a sinister turn. Her little sister begins acting strangly and the fairy (which looks more and more evil) It begins folowing her to dinner and stabbing her ankle untill she tosses it some meat to eat. More and more of the evil creatures begin showing up and she resorts to locking them away in her celler and asking her cousins for help. When she shows them the captive fairies in the gloom they mistake them for small animals and let them out. Horrific screams echo through the house as we see the mother, youngest daughter and maid in the nursary. The maid hurries down the hall but sees something terrible offscreen and begins screaming at the unseen horde of giggling/screeching monsters. The mother hears the maids cries and looks at her child which suddenly has the distorted giggling face of one of the fairy/trolls. It then faded to black as the sound of her screams were slowly drowned out by the giggling voices of the fairies. This is the only episode i remeber and i have a nagging feeling that it was part of a kids TV show on CITV or CBBC. I doubt it however as the children were actually eaten alive by the troll/fairies but i cant help shake the feeling.”

It was definitely the fairies giggling and distorted face that I recall which bothered my seven year old former self. There’s barely any information about the anthology or this particular episode online, no youtube footage and no google images. Its as if its faded into obscurity like some sort of creepypasta Candle Cove style!

2. Resurrecting the Street Walker (2009): Snuff Murders.

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British horror Resurrecting the Street Walker was part of the Abertoir Festival line up back in 2009, the first full year I attended. It was a film I went into completely blind and one of my first experiences of a hard-hitting indie film through the festival circuit. Resurrecting the Street Walker is about an ambitious, low budget filmmaker that comes across an incomplete black and white underground film from the 1980’s. He gradually becomes fascinated with the idea of finishing the film which leads him into the mysterious and sickening world of snuff. The film is presented in a mockumentary style documenting the filmmaker’s downfall toward the dark side as he grows more and more obsessed with the ambiguous Street Walker, evoking the video nasties panic and fear over the existence of snuff films. The performance from James Powell as James Parker and direction were powerful and convincing enough to create an unnerving reaction as he is driven insane by the enigma of the snuff film that he goes to complete it by murdering innocent people, including a pregnant colleague, taking things to a whole other shocking level. Having the film shot in black and white contributed to Street Walker’s grim and gritty tone as it breaks the fourth wall creating something that cuts closely to the bone. The movie undoubtedly upset me with snuff being a disturbing topic and left me speechless as I left the cinema. Resurrecting the Street Walker is available on DVD with some positive reviews over on amazon however its not a film I’ve discussed much since amongst the horror community and seems to have faded into the background despite being utterly effective and quite a nasty, mean-spirited movie.

1. The Witches (1990): Stuck in the painting.

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Without a doubt The Witches is a strong contender for most frightening children’s film of all time. Its consistent sinister tone throughout is uncomfortable viewing incorporated with its nightmarish visuals. Its even uneasy re-watching as an adult. Years ago I would have said the moment where the Grand High Witch (the superb Anjelica Huston) reveals her true self by peeling off her own face to be the scariest or possibly the scene at the beginning where Luke (Jansen Fisher) is goaded to come down from his tree house by an evil witch with glowing purple eyes. Intense stuff! However the most nightmare-fuelled moment in Nicholas Roeg’s Children’s chiller is where a young girl is captured down an alley way by a witch in a traumatic flashback told by the Grandmother (Mai Zetterling). The next time the girl is seen she is trapped in a painting forever with no escape until eventually she fades away. Adapted from Roald Dahl’s novel of the same name, the moment is creative and frightening setting up a dark, twisted and threatening world for children’s imaginations. Its bold and daring in what it does. If you grew up in the 90s this film was responsible for numerous nightmares and was the first film that ever truly scared me. The strangest part was as I got older and began watching A Nightmare on Elm Street, Hellraiser etc. nothing came as close to the fright factor as The Witches, its an exceptionally chilling piece of children’s horror cinema.

Do you agree with the list? Comments & Feedback is appreciated, also tell me what have been your most disturbing on-screen moments in film and television.

Hayley Alice Roberts

Hayley’s Horror Reviews.

Halloween Month: Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988)

Posted in Halloween Month, Love Horror with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 8, 2014 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Hellbound: Hellraiser II, was the second instalment in Clive Barker’s imaginative Hellraiser franchise. This sequel is highly regarded among fans and considered the strongest film within the series due to Barker’s unique vision and the return of most of the original cast; including Ashley Laurence as final girl Kirsty Cotton, Clare Higgins as the wicked Julia,  Doug Bradley as the iconic Pinhead and Nicholas Vince and Simon Bamford as the cenobites the Chatterer and Butterball. Author/Actress and woman of horror Barbie Wilde took on the role of the female cenobite which cemented her as an icon within the genre. Barker came up with the hellish story while Peter Atkins wrote the screenplay and Tony Randel, noted for his experience on the first film directed. In fact, this sequel had already received the green light while the original was still in its production stages. New World Cinema certainly capitalized on the fact Hellraiser was emerging at the height of horror during the 1980’s which saw the creation of some of the most memorable monsters that still hold impact today, with Pinhead and his group of diabolical demons as no exceptions.

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Following the nightmarish events of the first instalment, poor Kirsty Cotton is institutionalized, but something is still not right. At the hospital, Kirsty is treated by the enigmatic psychiatrist Dr. Channard (Kenneth Cranham) who unbeknown to her has been searching for the gateway to hell for years. Kirsty still remains in hope of saving her father from the dark underworld, however encounters more than she bargained for when Channard summons evil stepmother Julia from the confines of hell and she encounters the cruel cenobites all over again. This time round Kirsty is accompanied by a mute young girl named Tiffany (Imogen Boorman) who has a talent for solving puzzles. Channard uses Tiffany’s skills to his advantage as he instructs her to solve the Lament Configuration and open the portal to hell.

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Hellbound is an extension of the original story and picks up where the first one left off. The sequel was an opportunity for Barker and his team to explore the characters in greater depth and to emphasize to the audience that all along the cenobites were once human too and became the demons we all recognize due to indulging in the unruliest of pleasures. Barker intended this underlying plot point to coincide with Frank and Julia’s story from Hellraiser as well as his inventive novel The Hellbound Heart. The initial plan was to transform Julia into the iconic villain of the series. In the novel and 1987  film, Pinhead is not a primary character and has a short screen time however when anybody thinks of Hellraiser the image of the demonic monster with spikes through his head comes to mind. This was due to Pinhead becoming more popular with the viewers than was planned therefore centralizing him in future films within the series. Even though Julia is a pivotal character to the films, in terms of merchandising and promotion for the Hellraiser brand, her presence is understated. Actress Claire Higgins also expressed interest in seeking out different roles away from the genre despite relishing in her time playing evil Julia, therefore the creators were free to go on and capitalize on brand Pinhead.

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What makes Hellbound a strong sequel is its storytelling and exploration of the established characters. Kirsty is emotionally broken from her horrific experience as well as the unjustified death of her father Larry (Andrew Robinson). She is however extremely headstrong and determined, proving to be an active final girl who takes matters into her own hands and seeks out to defeat the monsters herself. This came at a time when roles for women in post-modern genre films were becoming more interesting. It became the final girl’s job to fight, not wait around to be saved or more than likely killed! Kirsty embodies the traits of a courageous role model similarly to Nancy (Heather Langenkamp) in the Elm Street films of the same era. Higgins’s character Julia could be described in the same vein but on a completely opposite spectrum. Julia is also determined but driven by her own selfish interests. The tension between Kirsty and her former step-mother/enemy is ramped up even more this time as neither one wants the other to scupper their individual agendas. This time round Julia comes across as much more self-assured as she is no longer bound to do the evil bidding for ex-lover Frank and quite satisfyingly has her revenge.

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An interesting aspect that was touched upon in the film was Pinhead’s origins. In some of the opening moments we see a human Captain Spencer (Doug Bradley) opening the Lament Configuration then in a painful sequence see him transform into the recognizable demon, there’s skin tearing, slashing and impalement to transform Bradley’s character into Pinhead. Its certainly a gut-punch of an opening moment. There had been plans to expand on this further however unfortunately due to budget restraints had to be dropped from the script at the pre-production stages. Luckily for fans this backstory was not wasted and played in integral part in the following third instalment Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth (1992) which unlike Hellbound is more of a mixed bag but does well with exploring Pinhead’s human history.

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The film that unfolded on screen was actually slightly different to what was originally intended. The inclusion of Kirsty’s father Larry Cotton (Andrew Robinson) had to be changed following the actor’s decision to not reprise the role. Scripts had to be hurriedly re-written to accommodate the changes. Despite the well-crafted storytelling surrounding the remaining characters and hints towards Pinhead’s past, the gap Robinson’s character left brought in criticism that the film was a structural mess which will be discussed further in the article.

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As well as incorporating an engaging and visionary piece of storytelling, its the make up department that must be applauded for their work on the film in bringing the demonic cenobites to life with mesmerizing visual detail. Simon Bamford who played Butterball had dialogue written for his character, however due to having to wear fake teeth as part of his costume, it made it difficult to speak therefore his lines which are said to be “perhaps we prefer you” and “impossible” were instead given to the female cenobite. In an interview with Barbie Wilde earlier this year for the Love Horror site, she discussed how applying the make up took around 4 hours while the costume took thirty minutes to put on. After waiting for a number of hours before shooting their scenes, Barbie described that once herself and her fellow cenobites emerged onto the set, accompanied with dry ice and wind machines, the scene was set for when Tiffany solves the Lament Configuration. Barbie stated that even though it was a film set the atmosphere was “magical” and that is certainly how Hellraiser II feels when watching it on screen, it transports the viewer into another dimension and invests us in this horrifying yet extraordinary world. For cast and crew to achieve this effect on its audience is exceptional.

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An air of mystery surrounds a supposed deleted scene. On the original VHS cover of Hellbound, an image on the back cropped up of Pinhead and the Female Cenobite donning surgical clothing however it was never featured in the final cut. Fans remained curious about what this scene added to the beloved film and came up with a rumour of a ‘famous deleted surgery scene’. Doug Bradley eventually confirmed that the scene was incomplete as on the day of filming the effects unfortunately did not work, resulting in an abandonment of the sequence.

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When Hellbound was released in December 1988 critics were less than impressed with their second outing into hell. Roger Ebert among others criticized it for its disorganized story construction but as previously stated this was problematic due to quick re-writes following Andrew Robinson’s departure as Larry Cotton. “But this movie violates more rules than the First Rule of Repetition. It also violates a basic convention of story construction, which suggests that we should get at least a vague idea of where the story began and where it might be headed” were Ebert’s thoughts.

The film was commended by other critics for its well-crafted set design and special effects on such a low budget. Fans demonstrated disappointment at the fact that the film saw Channard easily defeat the cenobites resulting in screenwriter Peter Atkins obtaining hate mail! Atkins justified his decision by conveying to the audience that it must be understood that the cenobites were once human however to defuse the fans outrage he ensured them that in full demon mode Pinhead could easily defeat Channard.

With strict guidelines via the BBFC during the decade, Hellraiser II didn’t escape the cutting room floor in both the theatrical release and VHS version. The run-time has fluctuated between 89 minutes to 99 minutes depending on cuts. During Julia’s resurrection scene, a maggot slicing moment occurs, emerging as  the biggest casualty losing 55 seconds of screen time. Every gory scene was trimmed down, including the opening flashback to part one of Frank’s demise. Finally in 2004 an uncut version the film was distributed onto DVD thanks to Anchor Bay.

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Following Hellbound: Hellraiser II, seven more sequels emerged, mostly direct-to-video. Doug Bradley continued to reprise his iconic role in all but the controversial Hellraiser: Revelations (2011).

The Hellraiser and Hellbound: Hellraiser II legacy continues in an upcoming and eagerly-anticipated documentary, Leviathan: The Story of Hellraiser and Hellbound: Hellraiser II, following a successfully funded Kickstarter campaign. Directed by K. John McDonagh, the documentary features interviews with cast and crew that were involved in both productions.

From the Facebook Page:

 “Following the story of the films from their inception through production to release and the their subsequent lives and growing fan base, we aim to show fans and those less familiar with the films both the technical skills, the creative idea, the symbolism and the legacy of these movies.”

Its essential to take a trip to Hell this Halloween with one of Horror’s most inventive sequels and one of my personal favourites or it’ll tear your soul apart!

Hayley Alice Roberts.

Hayley’s Horror Reviews.

 

Love Horror: Interview with a Cenobite.

Posted in Love Horror with tags , , , , , , on June 30, 2014 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

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Since beginning my work in genre film reviewing I’ve had plenty of great experiences and opportunities. However this comes as one of my most proudest moments. Earlier this year I became a contributing writer on a fangtastic horror website, Love Horror. I recently conducted my first interview for the site, an offer I grabbed straight away. Since a young age I have adored the first two Hellraiser films, the dark imagery presented in Clive Barker’s innovative,  horror films are some of my earliest memories of becoming a fan of the genre, therefore it was such an honour to have the opportunity to interview one of the franchise’s icons, Barbie Wilde (who played the female Cenobite in part II). Barbie Wilde has had a varied and interesting career in horror, and I would like to thank her for taking her time to talk with me about her memories of Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988), the controversy surrounding her novel The Venus Complex, her contribution to the Women in Horror Calendar (UK) and her upcoming project with Venomous Little Man Productions.

Click Here to check out this wonderfully, in-depth interview:

http://lovehorror.co.uk/interview-with-a-cenobite-barbie-wilde

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Hayley Alice Roberts

Hayley’s Horror Reviews.

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

Posted in Anniversary Pieces with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 17, 2012 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

I can’t believe its been one whole year since I began this blog as a side project for myself. It began as an outlet to speak my mind about the movies I love and that have influenced me. I appreciate the support I have been given so much and I no longer write for just myself, I write for you guys too. Thank you to everyone who has subscribed to me and long may these reviews continue. So what better way to mark the first year than by returning to my favourite genre: HORROR! This list isn’t set in stone and is just my personal opinion, these are mainly films that I grew up with and have influenced me into becoming a fully fledged fan of horror films. So let’s bring on the terror!

10. “I Know What You Did Last Summer” (1997)

  • Directed by Jim Gillespie
  • Screenplay by Kevin Williamson, Written by Lois Duncan (novel)

“I know what you did last summer” (1997) was one of the first post-“Scream” slashers that emerged in the late 90’s. Loosely adapted from Lois Duncan’s novel of the same name, “IKWYDLS” tells the tale of four teenagers Julie (Jennifer Love Hewitt), Ray (Freddie Prinze Jr.), Barry (Ryan Phillipe) and Helen (Sarah Michelle Gellar) as they celebrate graduating high school with their lives all heading towards promising futures. That night the teens are involved in a terrible accident, they run over a man of unknown identity. In a state of panic rather than notifying the police they dump the body into the murky waters of the ocean in an attempt to keep their secret dead and buried! One year later someone knows what they did, how? well that’s the mystery, it all begins with a threatening letter and ends in a fight for survival as the teens get bumped off one by one! In terms of following in the footsteps of the success of “Scream”, “IKWYDLS” is one of the better offers. The film uses suspense very well, especially during Helen’s chase scene, it shocks in all the right places and keeps the audience guessing until the very end! The performances are strong as the actors play the distressed teenagers straight. The strongest aspect of the film is while “Scream” critiqued the genre, “IKWYDLS” demonstrated that slasher films could become a more sophisticated medium by eliminating the self-awareness of the conventions the former put in place. In terms of the killer, Ben Willis is pretty average, he’s not as memorable or in the same league as say Freddy or Jason, but admitably he does use some creative stalker tactics on his victims including cutting off Helen’s long blonde hair as she sleeps and placing a body full of maggots in the back of the car! Disbelief has to be suspended in these instances, however they are fun to watch. “I know what you did last summer” is a decent offer in terms of  90’s slashers, Kevin Williamson adapted the screenplay well through fitting the story into the then-modern time period as opposed to the 70’s depicted in the book. It is much simpler to separate both texts and view them as different stories completely as the book doesn’t use the horror edge the film did. “I Know what you did last summer” is placed at #10 for being nostalgic, well-acted and suspenseful!

9. “Halloween” (1978)

  • Directed by John Carpenter
  • Written by John Carpenter and Debra Hill

Genre fans will not be surprised to see this movie featured on the list! “Halloween” begins in 1958 in small-town Haddonfield when a young Michael Myers butchers his older sister and her boyfriend to death on Halloween night! Michael is taken to a metal hospital under the watch of Dr. Sam Loomis. Roll on 20 years and the lunatic has escaped in order to return home to his bloodshed and cause more carnage! Michael begins to stalk Laurie Strode (“Scream Queen” Jamie Lee Curtis) for reasons that are mysterious to the audience (it is however later revealed in the sequel!). Laurie suffers a terrifying ordeal as Michael knocks off her friends one by one in order to get to her! The climax of this film is one of the best in horror history, using maximum suspense as Michael showdowns with Laurie! The strongest aspect of this film is that it doesn’t rely on gore to scare. Its far more disturbing leaving the result of the kills up to the audience’s imagination. The camera work is phenomenal using POV shots from Michael as an effective scare tactic! Michael is one of the most interesting killer’s to date, director John Carpenter even stated that “To make Myers frightening, I had him walk like a man not a monster”, its an enigma as to whether Myers is a supernatural being and is left ambiguous, which makes him all the more chilling especially the concept that he is possibly human and someone who could be identified with. The lack of exposition makes the notion of him far more frightening, this is where Rob Zombie’s re-imagining remake got it so wrong! His motive is never truly understood nor how he’s managed to survive so many times! With Michael being an influential horror villain, Laurie Strode is one of the most influential “Final Girls” that has emerged from genre. She is resourceful and does not succumb to social norms or peer pressure that ultimately destroy her friends, she is most definitely a clean-cut teen role model meaning she can act as a strong opposition to the film’s killer by unknowingly defying the horror conventions of the time. The theme is simplistic yet adds a sense of haunting and has become one of the film’s distinct qualities, giving a sense of pace and suspense. “Halloween” is a film that needs to be seen by all, it is clever in everything it conveys and with little gore exposure it still manages to startle and frighten to this day!

8. “Nosferatu, Eine Symphonie Des Grauens” (1922)

  • Directed by F.W. Murnau
  • Screenplay by Henrik Galeen, Written by Bram Stoker (Novel)

“Nosferatu” is not only one of the best silent films but also one of the best vampire films in history, most definitely being responsible for laying the groundwork for the future of the majority of creature-of-the-night movies. “Nosferatu” is an adaptation of Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”.The appearance of the vampire is startling and the main contribution to the chilling and eerie atmosphere that the film evokes. In a time with no CGI and limited make-up effects the sheer brilliance of Count Orlock is amazing and terrifying, with his bony fingers, stretched and hunched body, skeletal frame and hypnotizing eyes, he comes across as ghoulish.  In comparison to the Dracula character in the films that followed, Count Orlock appears monstrous rather than human-like. The expressionist style is interesting in itself with the use of shadows to create atmosphere also adding to the creativity of the piece.  There’s just so much intrigue surrounding “Nosferatu” due to it being an unconventional film choice and because it is now ninety years old, it contrasts modern day films from the genre but still remains unsettling and creepy in a striking way, without being bloody or reliant on jump scares. It truly has stood the test of time as its very well achieved to have made a horror film that stands the test of time.

7. “Hellraiser” (1987)

  • Directed by Clive Barker
  • Screenplay by Clive Barker

“Hellraiser” will most definitely “tear your soul apart”. It pushes the viewer to the limits in a twisted tale of deceit, sadism and gore. When Frank Cotton uses a cube shaped puzzle in order to delve into extreme heights in his deviant behavior of sadist sexual pleasure, he literally unleashes hell on himself by calling on Pinhead (Doug Bradley) and his Cenobite followers that tear his soul and drag him into their labyrinthine domain, a place were pain and pleasure are inseparable! Several years later Frank’s brother Larry, his wife Julia and daughter Kristy move into the house where Frank vanished. Julia is harboring a secret, she was Frank’s lover! She is scheming to pull him out of hell placing her step-daughter Kristy in great danger through evoking fury in Pinhead! “Hellraiser” is visually interesting, the detail put into the portrayal of hell is remarkable and give a strong indication of how it could be imagined if it did exist! The cenobites are uniquely designed appearing as the nastiest creatures imaginable. The story is compelling, with interesting characters willing to go to extreme for their own selfish means! Julia could be considered the main villain of the piece and she does a great job in driving the audience against her leading them to empathize with Kristy, who carries the film well as the “final girl”. “Hellraiser” manages to achieve a strong balance of keeping the attention and interest of the audience through plenty of thrills and chills and with the amount of gore and torture present. It has several powerful components in place resulting in a well-crafted piece through its well thought out narrative with blood splatter thrown in for good measure!

6. “A Nightmare on Elm Street” (1984)

  • Directed by Wes Craven
  • Screenplay by Wes Craven

The movie that brought your worst nightmares into reality! Along with “Halloween” , “A Nightmare on Elm Street” (1984) is one of the most iconic and influential films of the genre. It manages to blur the lines between dreams and reality so well that it achieves a frightening effect, most notably the film’s first death featuring Tina, as she is slashed to death while her helpless boyfriend watches on. Freddy Kruger (played fantastically by Robert Englund) has a disturbing backstory, however its the little exposition that goes with it that makes it all the more unnerving. He is also a menacing villain as he plays it for laughs before slicing and dicing his victims with that iconic glove of knives! In the original, Freddy is not featured as heavily, creating the scary notion of what you can’t see can kill you! “Nightmare…” also makes an intelligent commentary on the state of the American family and the rebellion of youth, allowing the audience to read deeper into it. For a more in depth look at “A Nightmare on Elm Street” check out my earlier review from my special “Halloween Month” : https://mshayleyr1989.wordpress.com/2011/10/06/halloween-month-a-nightmare-on-elm-street-1984/ The concept is enough to cause many sleepless night’s making “A Nightmare on Elm Street” a worthy addition to this list.

Part 2 Coming soon….

Hayley Alice Roberts.