That spooky time of year is rapidly approaching, so stock up now for your all-night Halloween movie marathon with JB Hi-Fi’s BUY 2 GET 1 FREE horror film range. We’ve handpicked 13 all-time classics of the genre to make your Halloween night a real treat…
AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON (1981)
A pivotal horror film of the ’80s, John Landis’s hairy and scary werewolf classic practically invented the term ‘horror-comedy”, reinvented lycanthrope lore, and revolutionised special makeup effects with Oscar-winning work by Rick Baker. Full of visceral violence, quintessentially British humour (and co-stars) and Creedence on the soundtrack, An American Werewolf in London remains a howlingly great time. Beware the moon.
THE BIRDS (1963)
Having scared audiences away from the shower with Psycho, Alfred Hitchcock served up an ornithophobe’s worst nightmare three years later, unleashing a flock of belligerent birds on a Californian coastal town. An antecedent to the nature-strikes-back genre popularised by Jaws, Hitch’s classic is a masterpiece of suspense guaranteed to ruffle your feathers.
Brian De Palma’s brilliant adaptation of Stephen King’s first novel is an affecting revenge tale involving a tormented teenager with telekinetic powers. Carrie launched the career of Sissy Spacek and established De Palma as a major Hollywood player. Kudos, too, to Piper Laurie as Carrie’s unhinged mama. It also features one of the best jump scares in horror film history.
Titans of terror Stephen King and George A. Romero joined forces for this anthology film that pays homage to the lurid horror comics of the 1950s. The best of the five stories on offer are ‘They’re Creeping Up on You’, in which a germophobe’s luxury penthouse is overrun by cockroaches; ‘Father’s Day’ – a tale of revenge from beyond the grave (with cake); and ‘The Crate’, involving a henpecked husband’s plot to feed his wife to a hungry creature.
THE EVIL DEAD (1981)
The ultimate cabin-in-the-woods horror movie, director Sam Raimi’s bloody cult classic was a rite-of-passage film for teens back in 1981. This jaw-dropping low budget shocker set a new benchmark for screen splatter, turned star Bruce Campbell into a cult icon, introduced Raimi as a talent to watch, and spawned two sequels and an equally outrageous television series.
THE EXORCIST (1973)
A sinister statue is unearthed in Northern Iraq. A Jesuit priest struggles with a crisis of faith. A 12-year-old girl is transformed into a snarling demon, spewing profanity and green vomit. William Friedkin’s 1973 masterpiece is the most frightening horror film ever to emerge from a major studio – and perhaps the greatest horror movie of all time – and has lost none of its power to shock and disturb some 47 years on. “The power of Christ compels you!”
FRIGHT NIGHT (1985)
When nervy teenager Charlie Brewster suspects his suave new neighbour is a vampire, he enlists the help of a has-been TV horror host (played by a perfectly cast Roddy McDowell) to stake the fiend. A tongue in cheek satire and a fangtastic horror film in its own right, Fright Night is an absolute gem of the genre, full of scares, laughs and ’80s kitsch.
One of the best horror films of the ’80s, author Clive Barker’s auspicious directorial debut deftly captured the nightmarish tone of his written work and introduced a new horror film icon – Pinhead. A diabolical puzzle box unleashes bloody mayhem when its previous owner escapes from Hell with its guardians, the Cenobites, in hot pursuit. Demons to some, angels to others, they’ll tear your soul apart!
The original and the best, this one needs no introduction, so we’ll let the trailer’s ominous voiceover do the talking: “There is a creature alive today who has survived millions of years of evolution, without change, without passion, and without logic. It lives to kill. A mindless eating machine. It will attack and devour anything. It is as if God created the Devil, and gave him… Jaws.”
THE SHINING (1980)
It may not be faithful to Stephen King’s novel, but this prestigious horror film from one of the world’s most celebrated filmmakers, Stanley Kubrick, is the very definition of sinister. Enter the haunted corridors of the Overlook Hotel, where ghosts from the past are revealed via the titular psychic gift of young Danny Torrance, while his father gradually transforms from family man to axe-wielding psychopath. “Here’s Johnny!”
Celebrated by horror enthusiasts for its lavish production design, stylised violence and sinister omnipresent score by prog-rockers Goblin, director Dario Argento’s horror masterpiece is the terrifying story of an American student (Jessica Harper) who discovers that her new German ballet school is actually a front for a witches’ coven. Prepare for an assault on the eyes and ears!
THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE (1974)
A summer road trip into the blistering Texas landscape turns into a nightmare for a group of youngsters when they stumble upon a charnel house of cannibal killers. Tobe Hooper’s horror classic left an indelible imprint on the genre. Low on gore despite the title, it’s what it does to your head that you’ll never forget; this is a film designed to drive you out of your mind.
THE WICKER MAN (1973)
Before Midsommer, there was The Wicker Man. Investigating the disappearance of a young girl on a remote Scottish island, a devoutly religious cop (Edward Woodward) is challenged by the pagan beliefs of the locals, led by the great Christopher Lee. Boasting an unsettling atmosphere that’s accentuated by some catchy folk songs, director Robin Hardy’s masterpiece is one of the all-time great British horror films.