When it comes to the horror classics this Halloween, there’s one place to go: Sky Cinema. You won’t find a silent 1920s flick here, nor many foreign gems, but from Psycho to Don’t Look Now, there are scares aplenty.
Don’t have Sky? A NOW TV Sky Cinema Pass costs £9.99 a month and gives you access to all of the Sky Cinema catalogue, both live and on-demand – and, as such, you can expect the usual suspects, from critically-acclaimed genre stalwarts to a couple of modern gems.
From Janet Leigh’s memorable shower scream to Anthony Perkins’ twitchy motel owner, Alfred Hitchcock’s thriller about a woman on the run, who finds herself on the wrong side of a mummy’s boy, is a masterpiece of suspense.
The Thing (1982)
John Carpenter’s classic sees a remote Antarctic research station infiltrated by a shape-shifting alien. Who can be trusted? And who will make it out alive?
Remaking It might seem like a bad idea, but this update of the iconic, clown-starring horror is a classy horror picture with likeable characters and a nightmarish sense of adventure.
Back before they tried to give Riddick his own Chronicles, David Twohy’s stripped down sci-fi thriller was a fantastic B-movie beast. Vin Diesel’s gravelly voice, some smart CGI and top-notch creature design combine to make a surprising, fun 110 minutes that prove you don’t need money if you have ideas. Well, that and massive goggles to let you see in the dark.
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Wes Craven’s classic slasher gave us the iconic villain Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund), but beyond the nasty, inventive kills lies the inherently disturbing suggestion that even your bed isn’t a safe place.
The Addams Family
Just in time for Christmas comes this family flick, which sees the cartoon characters of old given a live-action make-over from director Barry Sonnenfeld. From Thing (here a desembodied hand) and Christopher Lloyd as Uncle Fester to Christina Ricci’s Wednesday Addams, this perfectly cast outing is creepy, kooky and altogether likeable.
What is Clover? In short, it’s a giant monster. Where is it from? No idea. What’s its motivation? Not a clue. All we know for sure is it’s big, mean, and it can decapitate the Statue of Liberty from 50 paces. Matt Reeves’ thoroughly modern monster movie captures the immediate terror of destruction from ground level. Come for the thrills and fascinating creature design. Stay for the subtle, smart framing, which prevents us seeing too much of what’s going on.
M. Night Shyamalan is back in business with this creepy psychological horror. It begins with the abduction of three teenage girls – BFFs Claire (Haley Lu Richardson) and Marcia (Jessica Sula), plus loner Casey (The Witch’s Anya Taylor-Joy). They wake up in the underground lair of one Kevin Crumb (James McAvoy), a man whose struggles with dissociative identity disorder are about to take a profoundly unsettling turn.
This trashy sci-fi about a ship that goes beyond the boundary of space and human sanity combines Sam Neill’s unnerving stare and some strange visuals to truly freaky effect.
Arguably the scariest movie ever made.
Friday the 13th
Crystal Lake’s history of murder doesn’t deter counsellors from setting up a summer camp in the woodsy area. So when a group of youngsters, led by Kevin Bacon, rock up to stay, it’s only a matter of time until a brutal killer begins to stalk them. Parts 1 to 8 are also available.
Richard Donner’s veritable classic finds an American politician suspecting that he and his wife have adopted the antichrist. A string of horrible deaths and accidents ensue, from an innovative use of a glass pane to a grisly interruption to a family party – and, most memorable of all, a in-spired cameo from Doctor Who himself, Patrick Troughton, as a priest who sees what’s going to happen. (The Omen II and III are also available.)
Cult of Chucky
30 years on from his first twisted appearance, the diminutive, red-haired devil doll is back out to play. Nica (Fiona Dourif), scarred by her encounter with Chucky that left her family dead, is in a mental asylum where she’s been led to believe that she, not the demonic doll, was responsible for the deaths. Her treatment takes a turn for the worse when her doctor (Michael Therriault) makes a Good Guy Chucky doll the focus of group therapy. Cue Chucky’s chums coming out to play. This confident seventh entry in the Chucky franchise is a rip-roaring piece of twisted fun.
A Cure for Wellness
An ambitious young executive (Dane DeHaan) is sent to retrieve his company’s CEO from an idyllic but mysterious “wellness centre” run by the sinister Dr Volmer (Jason Isaacs) at a remote location in the Swiss Alps. However, he soon suspects that the spa’s miraculous treatments are not what they seem.
Interview with the Vampire
Neil Jordan’s seminal vampire flick, based on Anne Rice’s novel, sees Louis (Brad Pitt) tell the story of how he got his fans to an eager biographer (Christian Slater, from the death of his family in the 18th century to his life-changing meeting with Lestat (Tom Cruise).
“I told you not to go in that house.” Those are the words of Rod Williams (Lil Rel Howery), best friend of Chris (Daniel Kaluuya), upon hearing that his trip to meet his girlfriend’s parents has gone awry. Why? Because Chris is black and his girlfriend, Rose (Allison Williams), is white. In 2017, you might not think that would be a problem, but Get Out is a biting commentary on racism in modern society, one that delivers its point with a whip-smart blend of thrilling horror and dark humour.
John Carpenter’s 1978 classic is the grandaddy of the slasher genre, as we follow Michael Myers, a murderer who escapes 15 years after his disturbing homicide to start seeking his next victims. From the music to the cast (led by Jamie Lee Curtis), this is a definitive frightfest that has little time for character and more time for pure tension.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula
Gary Oldman is enjoying himself enormously in Francis Ford Coppola’s take on Bram Stoker’s timeless horror tale.
Evil Dead II
Sam Raimi’s parody sequel is as much horror as comedy, as Bruce Campbell gamely returns to play Ash Williams again battling horrifying demons at a cabin in the woods.
Michael Keaton delivers a career-defining performance in Tim Burton’s 1988 comedy fantasy, which follows a couple haunting their former house (home to a new family, including Winona Ryder). Not bad for a turn lasting only 17 minutes.
Army of Darkness
Bruce Campbell’s back as Ash in Sam Raimi’s third Evil Dead flick, which sees Williams transported to 1300 A.D., where he must battle an army of the dead and retrieve the Necronomicon so he can return home.
When a trio of scientists (Harold Ramis, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray) lose their cushy positions at a university in New York, they come up with an unusual solution for their new career: become “ghostbusters” and wage a high-tech battle with the paranormal for money. A laugh-out-loud classic, with spooky effects and an impressively big finish.
Don’t Look Now
Nicolas Roeg’s remarkable horror, based on the story by Daphne du Maurier, follows a couple (Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland) trying to come to terms with the death of their daughter, as Sutherland’s husband is hired to restore a church in Italy. Full of grief and spooky atmosphere, you’ll never see Venice in the same way again.
Tobe Hooper’s 1980s classic follows the close-knit Freeling family, who find their house invaded by otherworldly forces, transforming it into a supernatural sideshow.
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