"Come out, come out, wherever you are." - Jack Torrance, The Shining
Let's be honest - 2020 itself has been scarier than most horror films we can imagine, but that doesn't mean we're not dreaming about snuggling down with a duvet and a glass of wine as blood red as the horror action on screen - the countdown for Halloween is on.
Creature Features 👻
'Alligators are the new sharks!' From the moment FrightFest 2019 published those words on their site in advance of their big Friday night premiere, Crawl, we knew we were in for a treat, and never has an IMAX screen seen so much synchronised jumping. The concept of killer alligators terrorising a family in their crawl space - and gradually picking off anyone who comes to their aid - during a hurricane is a simple, yet incredibly fun one, and one that should definitely be viewed in a group setting on a big screen. And if alligators aren't your style, then there's always the Xenomorph in Alien.
Folk Horror 🥀
What is folk horror? Possibly the most difficult sub-genre to define, folk horror is all about the mood and the aesthetic of the piece. It could be as simple as a creepy rural location or a more blatant sacrificial ritual. According to Mark Gatiss in his documentary 'The History of Horror', folk horror is the "common obsession with the British landscape, its folklore, and superstitions."
Whether it's The Wicker Man, one of the original 'unholy trinity' of folk horror films, a historical psychological approach in Ben Wheatley's A Field in England, or the more modern take on the sub-genre, as an individual or group of urban outsider/s travel to a rural location outside of their comfort zone only to be met with opposition from the 'locals'. Examples could include Jordan Peele's Oscar-winning Get Out, and Ari Aster's latest meditation on grief - Midsommar. Even the deeply disturbing Don't Look Now could qualify as part haunting, part folk horror.
Beware Room 237 🗝
Everyone knows the phrase "Here's Johnny," alongside the image of Jack Nicholson staring through a hacked away bathroom door trying to reach a hysterical Shelley Duvall (who really was put through hell on the set of Kubrick's masterpiece), but did you know that writer Stephen King hated The Shining? So, when initial plans were made to adapt Doctor Sleep, the problem facing everyone involved was how to make a film King felt was a worthy adaptation of his novel, while still feeling like a natural successor to Kubrick's initial film about the Torrance family and their experiences in The Overlook. Enter Mike Flanagan, the director of under-seen horror films Oculus, Ouija: Origin of Evil, and the fantastic television series, The Haunting of Hill House - who was able to do the impossible, by keeping both estates happy while creating a suitably unsettling final product.
Whatever you choose, be it a traditional slasher, old (Scream) or new (Ready or Not), revisiting Train to Busan before the release of sequel Peninsula, scaring yourself silly with the iconic Mark Kermode favourite The Exorcist, or ghostly goings on in The Blair Witch Project - Have a very Happy Halloween! 🎃
Image copyright: Ready or Not © 2019 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved