Here’s my final list of current favourite horror films. I have succumbed slightly to some of the predictable choices, but in some cases you just can’t ignore the quality that is on show.
Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006)
This clever slasher went very much under radar on its initial release, and has found its audience in the years since. It tells the story of Leslie Vernon, a wannabe serial killer, who is followed around his own town by a bunch of film students; who he shows the ins and outs of being a killer.
Little do they know that Leslie is actually planning his own massacre FOR REAL!
Sometimes horror films are not given the credit they deserve for being self referential and clever, but here that argument cannot even be started. The film exists in a world where Freddy, Jason, Michael Myers etc. all exist and Leslie Vernon is trying to become ‘one of them’. A fantastic cameo from Robert Englund, who plays a similiar character to Dr. Loomis in Halloween, certainly spices things up.
Certainly one of the finest horror films of the past few years, hopefully the sequel isn’t too far away.
The Loved Ones (2009)
One of the most brutal films I have seen in a long while, and one that made me physically angry at the killer. It tells the story of Brent who turns down a girl’s invitation to the prom, and pays for it. He is kidnapped by Lola (the girl) and is tortured by her and her stir fry crazy dad. Basically we are voyeurs to Lola’s twisted ‘perfect prom’.
Never will you be gunning for a hero or heroine more in a film than this.
Trick ‘R’ Treat (2007)
The finest film about All Hallows Eve barring of course Carpenter’s Halloween, without doubt. Trick R Treat plays out like a modern day Creepshow, but really captures the spirit of what Halloween is all about it, and twists a little. We are treated (no pun, honest) to four seperate stories about the day, that are cleverly interwoven to create a really tight and compelling story.
The film had such a profound effect on me, I almost went as the character of Sam (pictured below) until I saw how much the costume cost.
It seemed only right to feature the masterpiece that is Halloween next. As I still tell anyone who will listen or by some strange set of events, never seen it; Halloween is the ultimate slasher.
It has all the components; a genuinely scary killer, the music, the cinematography, the Director and most importantly the story and cast. Lest we forget John Carpenter was a very young Director with just a couple of films under his belt, when he co-wrote this with the late Debra Hill. Their styles blend perfectly with Carpenter producing the Michael Myers related plot lines, whilst Hill worked on the character of Laurie Strode and her friends.
Donald Pleasance also shines as Dr. Loomis, with his prophetic statements of Myers as a devil incarnate scarily acurate come the intense finale. The chase scene between Myers (referred to as The Shape) and Laurie is certainly still one of the most intense in cinema history, as the music amplifies to a whole new level and makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up, I think the first time I saw it at the tender age of 6 I literally yelled at the screen for Laurie to get into the house.
Prom Night (1980)
Yet another slasher from the golden period of the early 80s, which features then ‘Scream Queen’ Jamie Lee Curtis. She was of course red hot in the horror genre at this point having done Halloween, Terror Train and The Fog, so why not star in a cheaply made exploitation of the film that started it all (Halloween).
That’s the thing about Prom Night, it doesn’t try to be anything it’s not, it’s quite simply a whodunnit set around Prom Night. Although the killer (who I never guessed by the way) does have carry a certain bit of aura, with his simple all black costume and balaclava. He or she is clearly no supernatural beast, but a killer set on a rampage for some reason.
There is also the sub plot of an escaped killer from a mental asylum (sound familiar) who is horrifically burned to deal with, plus a great cameo from a younger Leslie Nielson.
And as Randy shouted in the video store in Scream, ‘If they watched Prom Night they’d save time; there’s a formula to it a very simple formula, EVERYBODY’S A SUSPECT!’
That’s all for now, but check back for Part 4 soon!