Tim’s Top 6 Horror Films for Halloween!

Here at the Retro Domination HQ, its not all about games, we like scary stuff too!

So as opposed to going through the standard lists of Scary games, i thought id like to share some of my favorite scary movies of all time.

Now a couple of these aren’t “Retro” per-se, but heck,  they’re still worth a watch regardless, as our motto goes, “anything else that’s fricken awesome.”

So grab some popcorn and prepare your safeplace behind the couch, cos here’s my,

TOP 6 SCARY MOVIES!

6- The Ring (US Version)

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Originally based of the Japanese classic scarefest, Ringu, the US remake, (nearly scene for scene, mind you) is one of the most unsettling films i have ever seen.

Although the premise is cheesy as a packet  of Twisties, the visuals and sound are second to none when it comes to leaving an impact on the hapless viewer.

The story goes, there’s this video tape, on which is a series of abstract visuals, from spinning chairs, ladders, maggots, close up shots of mouths, mirrors and finishes with a shot of a well in the woods. OK, pretty tame, but here’s the catch, upon viewing this video, you receive a phone call….

When answered a voice whispers “….7…Days…”

7 days later the viewer dies.

Naomi Watts plays the mother of a young boy who discovers this video, and realises all the abstract imagery in the video are actually clues to unraveling the mystery, problem is she has only 7 days to find out the truth…or face …well…you’ll see.

I remember seeing this with my girlfriend at the cinemas and was so spooked i ended up staying at her place as i didn’t want to drive home, let alone be near any television sets or video players!

The shrill sounds of the soundtrack really set a morbid and unnerving atmosphere, and you have the warbling churning sounds of that tape stuck in your head for hours after the film, making mid evening trips to the toilet a thing you want to avoid, unless the house is fully lit!

The imagery, as mentioned earlier, is stunning and downright skin crawling, the films climax and the central character are such a simple idea, but damn….its done so well, its chilling to the core. Even now, i have goose bumps typing this.

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5- Re animator

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Mid 80’s horror was amazing, we were well into the slasher genre sparked by John Carpenters Halloween film, and Freddy Krueger and Jason Vorhees were household names.

Along comes Re animator, which i tip as being one of the most underrated horror flicks of the 80’s. Based on H.P. Lovecraft’s story “Herbert West- Re animator”, it follows the exploits of Herbert, who has concocted a serum that will bring the dead back to life, but unfortunately, the results are pretty catastrophic. You see, the problem is they come back to life full of rage and uncontrollable with a thirst for destruction!

Pairing classy gore effects and some very, very black humor, Re animator fits well along side such greats as Peter Jackson’s Brain Dead/Dead Alive and Bad Taste.

Standout is Herbert himself, who comes across as a deranged Dr Frankenstein, with such intent and drive to make this serum work, that even the local cat isn’t safe from testing!

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4- Dead Snow

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This Norwegian Film from a few years back, follows the standard horror/slasher film cliches, but pulls it off beautifully with a tongue in cheek nod towards other classic zombie flicks.

A group of teens head off on a snowboarding trip in the remote areas of Norway, but as per usual, a strange man warns them of the stories of World War 2, when the most evil Nazi Regiment terrorized the land, hellbent on finding treasures for their Fuehrer, and leaving none alive in their path. Until the locals overcame them and they were buried there. But legend has it they stir occasionally to seek revenge, and their treasure.

So, whats new? Well the inclusion of Nazi Zombies really. All in uniform under control of their Commander.

Despite its serious opening, the film takes a turn for the slapstick, and that’s where the brilliance of the film lies. Chainsaws, machine guns, snow mobiles and self amputation are what follows in the bloody finale. The main cast play the roles fantastically, embracing the over the top feel of the movie, and running away with it.

Another for the Peter Jackson fans.

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3- Nosferatu

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A silent film from Germany, Nosferatu is the retelling of the story of Count Dracula, (name change due to Bram Stokers Daughter still holding rights to the Dracula name).

Although the original prints are grainy and old, to be expected from a film from the early 1900’s, it adds to the overall dark and archaic feel of the film.

I wont bore you with the plot, as i’m sure anyone bothering to read this knows the tale of the Count.

But what sets this apart from the myriad of other Dracula films? The lead villain, Nosferatu.

Played almost too convincingly, Max Schreck stands out as one of the creepiest and downright frightening vampires ever. Whereas Dracula in other films was depicted as a suave and even debonair man of mystery, Nosferatu’s appearance is the polar opposite, almost bat like with his two middle fangs, wild eyes, and long bony fingers.

Despite its lack of voice acting, depending on the version you watch, the music helps set the scene with its high shrills and moody pieces.

Not one for everyone, but still highly recommended.

On a sidenote, it was remade in the 70’s starring Klaus Kinski as the vampire and is a stirring tribute to the original.

Also too the film, Shadow of the Vampire, is a black comedy of sorts, telling the tale of the hardships thel director making the original film. This time around Nosferatu is played astoundingly well by Willem Dafoe.

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2-Frankenstein

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The golden age of horror brought to you by Universal Studios! Frankenstein, now seen these days as a pop culture icon, scared the bejesus out of cinema goers back in the day.

Following the exploits of Dr Frankenstein and his mission to construct his own man and bring it to life. But thanks to the bumbling hunchback assistant, things go pear shaped very quickly. What was supposed to be a man has turned out to be a monster (albeit a misunderstood one).

Even today, the subject matter is pretty morbid, and some scenes are unnerving to this day. Dimly lit graveyards, grave robbery, the mad scientists laboratory, it really set the pace for future horror films to come.

Frankenstein’s Monster is played by the brilliant Boris Karloff, who underwent hours and hours of makeup to become the monster. The film was a smash hit, and it helped launch Mr Karloff to fame.

Although an oldie, Frankenstein stands out as a pioneering film that would inspire many films, even to this day.

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1-Night of the Living Dead

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Wow, the first installment of George Romero’s Zombie Trilogy. Night of the living Dead (NOTLD), was a genre defining classic that didn’t pull any punches, and left audiences shocked, but yet, wanting more.

Any fan of The Walking Dead can be thankful for Mr Romero’s brutal storytelling, terrific pacing and assistance in starting another wave of Zombie movies.

The story goes that the dead have started to walk the earth devouring all in their path, there’s no explanation for it, its just happening, and we have to deal with it. The film progresses to a farm house where several people bar themselves in and try to survive the zombie hoard.

The brilliance of this film is the relationships between the survivors locked within the house. Who will lead? Who’s trustworthy? Who’s telling the truth? The chemistry between the actors is amazing and helps add to the tension.

For a film in the late 60s, this certainly went hard  in the gore department. Limbs torn off, intestines out, zombies feverishly tearing flesh from bone, it was easily one of the most disturbing films i saw as a youngster, and still is to this day.

From its memorable beginning to its shocking ending , NOTLD is a classic zombie flick , without it, The Walking Dead wouldnt even exist. Brilliant Mr Romero!

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So that’s it, while there’s so many dozens of films i could have mentioned, these 6 were e ones that stuck in my head.

Have a happy Halloween, and ill “Spook” to you soon! (Oh dear….terrible pun..- ED)