Posted in Films

31 Horror Films To Get You In The Halloween Spirit

Happy October! Spooky season is officially upon us… the best season if you ask me.

I am a HUGE horror movie and general all round Halloween fan, so what better way to get the month started than with 31 movies to binge all the way up to the big day itself?

In no particular order:

1. Halloween (1978)

An all round CLASSIC! You can’t not watch this in the run up to Halloween… if you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t seen it before then here’s a mini summary. After brutally murdering his sister at just 6 years old, Michael Myers is locked away. But on October 30, 1978, while being transferred for a court date, the now 21-year-old Michael Myers steals a car and escapes. He returns to his quiet hometown where he looks for his next victims.

2. Mirrors (2008)

Ok this film really stuck with me when I first saw it and I couldn’t look at my reflection for weeks! I often think that I don’t get scared by horrors but it’s only later on, when I’m alone with my thoughts, that I realise actually maybe I was a little spooked!

Check out the trailer:

3. The Purge (2013)

I’m going to put my hands up here and admit that I’ve never actually seen any of the films in this franchise… BUT we all know the premise, don’t we?! Is there anything that can get you ready for Halloween more than a film about a dystopian future, with an annual day where no crime is illegal?

My question has always been, what on earth would happen if this was real?

4. Scream (1996)

A classic slasher and whodunit movie… A series of murders at a high school have everyone suspecting each other. Who did you think it was when you first watched?

5. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

You might have noticed already, but a lot of the films on this list are classics… but to be fair, they’re classics for a reason!

A group of friends is attacked one by one by the chainsaw-wielding Leatherface and they must do everything they can to escape!

6. A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984)

“Whatever you do… don’t fall asleep!”

7. Friday The 13th (1980)

In this classic, camp counselors are stalked and murdered while trying to reopen a summer camp that was the site of a child’s drowning.

8. Saw (2004)

I have to say this is probably the film that made me fall in love with horror. I know that might seem strange when there are so many other absolute classics, but this film really stands out to me… all the gore, the story itself and the plot twist of all plot twists!

9. The Ring (2002)

Another film that stands out for me and my discovery of horror… I recently watched this back and realised how simple it was but I honestly think that’s what made it so scary!

10. The Grudge (2004)

Clearly the early 2000s were good for horror films!

11. The Hills Have Eyes (2006)

This is one of those films that I still actually haven’t got round to seeing even after all these years and even though I have the DVD, but SO many people tell me how disturbing it is that I had to still include it.

12. The Shining (1980)

It’s just not Halloween without a Stephen King film fest is it… spoiler alert, there are many more of his stories in this list!

13. House Of Wax (2005)

This was another early 2000s film that sold me on the horror genre. There is something SO creepy about the plot to this one!

14. The Woman In Black (2012)

How this film was only rated a 15 in the UK I’ll never know! By 2012, my horror love affair had evolved and I certainly wouldn’t say that I scare easily but Christ this one got to me… I knew one of the kids in it too, which is pretty cool!

15. Insidious (2010)

There was something really different about this film when it came out. I’m not one for overly supernatural films normally but this one is simply gripping.

16. Carrie (1976)

Another Stephen King classic, enough said!

17. The Exorcist (1973)

Ok I’ll be the first to agree that to the modern audience, this film really isn’t scary… BUT you have to appreciate how terrifying it would have been when it was released in the 70s, which is why it’s still such a classic today.

18. Final Destination (2000)

I’m not exactly the biggest fan of this series, I’ll tell you that now. However, if the first film had been a stand alone then maybe it wouldn’t be so bad… it’s definitely something of a modern day classic though!

19. The Conjuring (2013)

Again, I’m not the worlds biggest fan of this film and the subsequent countless spin offs… but as modern horrors go, it’s not terrible and it does have a few good scares! As I said, I’m not one for overly supernatural films, which I find a lot of films this side of 2010 are all about – it’s still a great run up to Halloween film!

20. IT (2017)

Yep, I’m including the most recent film and not the original, please don’t hate me… I just absolutely adored this film!

21. The Amityville Horror (1979)

If you’re debating the original or the remake, I beg of you watch the original. It’s so gritty and makes for a much scarier watch… the remake is a lot more over the top and less believable. Yes I know I seem like a hypocrite considering I just opted for the IT remake over the original but that’s just different!

22. Sinister (2012)

Ok this film, for reasons I still don’t really understand, scared me way more than it should have. As I said previously, by 2012, horror films genuinely did not scare me… but when I saw this one at the cinema, I literally wanted to walk out because I was so scared! Something really got to me… I’ve watched it since and it wasn’t as bad as I remember so perhaps I was just feeling extra sensitive the first time but yea… a must watch!

23. Pet Sematary (1989)

Something I haven’t mentioned is that a lot of the classic horrors, I first watched during Halloween sleep overs with school friends. Every year on Halloween, we’d dress up in our best scary costumes, order takeaways and stay up all night watching horror films! Pet Sematary was from one of those nights and brings back many fond memories… despite the disturbing story line.

24. Wolf Creek (2005)

I was obsessed with this film when it first came out, I think because it’s quite gritty and simple, rather than all about the theatrics and special effects!

25. I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)

The title of this film gives me chills for some reason, I must have a guilty conscience! This is another one from the sleepover days and even now, that raincoat is definitely the creepiest horror film outfit in my opinion.

26. The Silence Of The Lambs (1991)

A classic performance by Anthony Hopkins and just all round horror movie gem!

27. Don’t Breathe (2016)

There aren’t many modern day horror films that really mess with my head but oh my, this film… It’s so tense, you might literally not breath whilst watching.

28. The Evil Dead (1981)

A group of teenagers staying in a remote cabin… in the woods… what could possibly go wrong?!

29. Crimson Peak (2015)

I don’t think this is considered a horror, but it certainly isn’t a family fun fest either! There isn’t all the classic horror scares but it definitely eerie and it stuck with me for a while after.

30. The Others (2001)

I know a lot of people don’t consider this one scary and would even say they saw the twist coming… but I’ll tell you now, when I first saw it… my mind was blown!

31. Gerald’s Game (2017)

Of course I’m finishing this list off with another Stephen King adaptation! This film is a definite edge of your seat, “how on earth is this going to end” type of ride… it’s SO worth a watch this Halloween!

Of course, there are so many more films that could have been included! What’s your favourite horror film, or another film to get you in the mood for Halloween?

Posted in Films, Reviews

Film Review – Joker

Quick disclaimer: all views are my own, there’s no affiliate links and I haven’t received any kind of payment for this post. I also don’t really have any idea what I’m talking about in regards to films.

In general, I’m not a huge superhero/villain film fan. Contraversial, I know, I’m not even really sure why but I just don’t really like them as a whole. There are some exceptions of course, namely THAT Batman trilogy we all know and love. Each film just got better and better, and I don’t know a single person who can dispute the talent of the late Heath Ledger. His portrayal of the Joker was phenomenal and honestly I never believed anyone could play the role better, I didn’t even bother to watch Suicide Squad. However, when I saw the trailer for this years Joker starring Joaquin Phoenix, I could tell this wasn’t a performance to be missed.

The film has had quite mixed reviews and honestly it did leave me feeling a little mixed up too. Phoenix is utterly incredible, I could never say better than Ledger of course, but certainly up there. They’re both spectacular in different ways: Ledger felt very much like a comic book villain, although I should make it clear that I’ve never picked up a DC comic in my life and I’m purely basing this on portrayals in films. Phoenix’s Joker on the other hand, is like a real life psychopath. The acting was so beliveable in fact, that it was almost uncomfortable, like that really is him and there’s no acting – I think I’d actually be a little scared if I was to ever meet the actor (by any odd chance). When I say uncomfortable though, it’s certainly not in a bad way, but is is almost quite scary.

We start the film with Arthur Fleck, struggling to simply exist in a very cruel world and very much abandoned by society. It’s very easy to feel sorry for him as we learn more and more about the character and his upbringing. Failing as a clown and a stand up comedian, caring for his deluded mother who also abused him as a child, beaten up and just generally trod on by life. He’s understandably very hurt and angry at the world. That is, until he kills for the first time and starts to see his life a comedy, not a tragedy.

“Smile and put on a happy face.”

The film becomes more brutal at this point and it’s harder to relate to Arthur, as he soon becomes simply a cold-blooded murderer, rather than a helpless victim of society. I will try not to discuss any particular scenes and give things away, but as Arthur’s transformation to The Joker evolves, things become more chilling. It all starts with a colleague giving Arthur a gun for “protection” (as you do…). You can’t help but wonder, if people weren’t so flippant about guns, if Arthur hadn’t been given one in the first place, how might this story be different? The simple answer is there’s be no story at all… And so, the juxtaposition to some very real life issues begin. Although the film is honestly beautiful and excellent in more ways than one, you can understand the mixed reviews and emotions.

“They don’t give a shit about people like you, Arthur. And they don’t give a shit about people like either.”

I’ll go back to the point I made of Arthur being abandoned by society here. The character is in desperate need of help with his mental health, however the funding stops so his counselling and medication simply stop too without a second thought. Sound familiar to any kind of stories we hear, almost daily? Maybe it’s just me that thinks it’s a bit of a touchy subject.

“Everybody is awful these days. It’s enough to make anyone crazy.”

As the film draws to an end, Gotham has descended in to chaos. The Joker has become something of a vigilante and the city has become overrun with people in clown masks. Riots ensue and again it’s rather unsettlingly familiar. I’m not going to delve in to any modern politics or anything, seeing as honestly I don’t know enough and at the end of the day, this is actually just a film. Perhaps I’ve just been reading too many fancy critic’s reviews and now I’m overthinking it.

“I had a bad day.”

Arthur has been chewed up, until he’s no longer himself anymore, then spat back out again. He’s now simply… The Joker, homicidal maniac and ultimate villian.

This film is not like any other origin story you may have seen, and apart from the very small links to the DC universe, this could be another one of those “based on true event” types. The Wayne family do feature heavily and have their own important role, but you could be forgiven for thinking that has nothing to do with the Batman story that’s to come, and is just the name of a family. It depends on how you watch it in my opinion.

All in all, the film is beautifully made, incredibly bold, just as it is dark and intense. It’s certainly not to be missed, based on Phoenix’s performance alone, and I’m sure there are many Oscars to be had.

Posted in Films, Reviews

Film Review – IT: Chapter Two

I will start by saying that I am in no way, shape or form, a film critic, and I also generally like most films. Horror is definitely my favourite genre though and I’m certainly more critical or horror films, because let’s face it – modern horrors are not always that great. That being said, I could not have been more excited for ‘IT’ in 2017 and I was not disappointed.

I loved ‘IT’ so much, that I saw it three times at the cinema. To me, the whole thing was perfection.

The last time that I went to see it at the cinema, the experience was tainted by a couple sat next to me. They were on their phones the entire time and talking loudly the whole way through about how crap they thought the film was. They were both incredibly arrogant and were just “those types” of people, who had nothing good to say and were die hard fans of the original ‘IT’ and Tim Curry’s portrayal of Pennywise. I will say, I have not seen this version. I just never got round to it, and that’s all there is to say about that.

The couple complained that the 2017 version wasn’t at all scary and that any of the “scare” scenes were just stupid. I was getting more and more annoyed throughout the film as I felt they missed the point. You know when you really love something and someone else complains about it, it’s like a personal insult right?!

The final straw was when the film ended and the words came up: “Chapter One”. So, you know there’s going to be a sequel. The couple groaned loudly as if a sequel was unnecessary. Now, bare in mind that I haven’t read much more than the first few chapters of the book so far, but even still I knew that a sequel made sense! I brushed off their stupidity and eagerly awaited Chapter Two.

Oh and I was NOT disappointed.

If you love a Stephen King adaptation, you will not be disappointed either. Every member of the cast is brilliant, the adult versions of the characters were spot on to the kids. As for the actors playing the kids… where do they get their talent?! Don’t be fooled in to thinking that the film is JUST about the adults. There is a lot of flashbacks, as the “Losers” try to remember what really happened in Derry 27 years ago, so it does all make for a very long film. However, it is all seamlessly tied together.

The star cast member to me, of course, is Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise. I am not afraid of clowns and while I also wouldn’t say the film “scared” me, his perfomance is haunting. There is in one particular scene in Chapter Two, at the fairground, that literally made me wince and I really felt the fear of a child being preyed on by ‘IT’.

That’s the thing, I can understand that the scares are a bit goofy, especially in the first film, but isn’t it the point that ‘IT’ is trying to scare children? So it’s not going to be scary to an adult! However, now that we are back in Derry 27 years later, this film is much darker and bloodier, and definitely a bit weirder as we learn more about the origins of ‘IT’.

The film certainly takes a bit of an odd twist towards the end, and I’m sure this is where they could have cut some time. I hadn’t actually checked the run-time beforehand so the length was a little surprising, and I would say this is probably the downside of the film – I found myself wondering when and how it would all finish. Make sure you grab a snack before you go and see it!

The film does eventually end though and after all the trauma that the characters have been through, it finishes with a heartwarming farewell. No spoilers though, you need to go and see it for yourself!

I’m going to rate the film a 4/5 for now, but I may change my mind after a second watch! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go and finish the book – I’m ready to get even more disturbed!