Stream and scream with these 13 scary flicks
Looking for a monstrously good time this Halloween but don't want to leave the house? Well, what better way to celebrate this positively ghoulish time of year than to cosy up on the couch (or behind it) and have your own horror movie marathon?
This year has seen SVOD kick off in Australia in a massive way, meaning that we have more horror movies to stream than ever before.
Here are our recommendations for the top ten horror movies currently streaming on Australian SVOD services.
Of course we have to start by picking the definitive movie to watch this time of year, John Carpenter's Halloween. Though it didn't create the American slasher sub-genre (that honour goes to Bob Clark's holiday horror, Black Christmas), Halloween was the first hugely successful movie of its kind, spawning several sequels and countless imitators. The film sees escaped mental patient Michael Myers stalk and kill a number of babysitting teens on Halloween night. Will fresh-faced teen Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) be able to survive this night of terror?
One of the more popular horror movies of recent times, It Follows sees a young girl (Maika Monroe) terrorised by a sexually-transmitted demon. This terrifying apparition looks different every time and will chase you relentlessly until you either pass it on by sleeping with someone else, or die horribly after it catches you. Oh, and if the person you pass it on to dies, it will come right back after you again. To make matters worse, it can only be seen by the people that have been 'infected', so your friends won't be able to help as much as they'd like to. With a stylish atmosphere and a truly great synth score, It Follows is definitely worth your time this Halloween.
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
One of the most notorious horror movies of all time, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre has garnered a well-deserved reputation as one of the best examples of pure horror ever committed to celluloid. It's been named one of the 250 best films of all time by the British Film Institute's Sight & Sound magazine, and a print of the film is even part of New York City's Museum of Modern Art's permanent collection. This drive-in classic sees a group of youngsters terrorised by a family of redneck cannibals, in particular, by a heavyset, chainsaw-wielding madman known as Leatherface. The fact that this film was shot on a shoestring budget with (mostly) first-time actors just makes the whole thing feel more terrifyingly real.
Evil Dead II
The sequel to the classic splatter flick The Evil Dead, Evil Dead II take the series in an even wilder direction than before by bringing comedy into mix. Director Sam Raimi (the Spider-Man trilogy) is a master of slapstick horror, and in that regard, Evil Dead II might be his crowning achievement. Ash (Bruce Campbell) must once again do battle with demonic spirits, only this time he'll also have to fight his own possessed hand! Hope he has a chainsaw handy… Our advice is to watch Evil Dead II this Halloween and then follow it up with the new Ash vs Evil Dead TV series, streaming exclusively on Stan from October 31.
Though the 'torture porn' horror sub-genre pretty much grinded to a halt after one-too-many terrible Saw sequels, one particular film from the scene will never lose its ability to shock, disgust and affect its viewers deeply. Martyrs is a French film about the lengths people will go to in order to find answers about the afterlife. Can someone be ruthlessly tortured until they reach a transcendent state between this life and the next? That's an answer our heroines Anna (Morjana Alaoui) and Lucie (Mylène Jampanoï) aren't keen to find out (not that they'll have a choice in the matter). An incredibly powerful and horrific movie that keeps its surprises coming all the way throughout, Martyrs deserves a spot in the pantheon of truly great horror films. Be warned, this film is extremely graphic.
The Loved Ones
Feeling sort of like Pretty in Pink meets Hostel, this Aussie shocker sees Lola (Robin McLeavy) kidnap her high school crush Brent (Xavier Samuel) after he turns her down for the school formal. Now, Lola's holding a formal of her own and Brent is the guest of honour. If only she could get it into his head that they're meant to be together… Maybe a power-drill will help with that? Incredibly intense and terrifically acted, The Loved Ones will make you think twice about saying 'no' the next time you're asked out on a date.
The Devil's Rejects
A divisive director with a love it or hate it-style, Rob Zombie hit the nail right on the head (or is it hand?) with his second movie, The Devil's Rejects. The sequel to his debut, House of 1000 Corpses, this 70s-set road movie sees serial killing family members Otis (Bill Moseley), Baby (Sheri Moon-Zombie) and Captain Spaulding (Sid Haig) on the run from a Sheriff (William Forsythe) that's hell-bent on avenging his brother. How many more bodies will pile up before he reaches them? Sick, twisted and surprisingly funny, The Devil's Rejects is a stylish flick with an awesome period-specific soundtrack that will make you feel like taking a shower after you watch it.
This Spanish-language found footage movie was remade by Hollywood as Quarantine a few years back, but forget that terrible film – REC wipes the (blood-splattered) floor with it. A news crew is filming a fluff piece about a bunch of firefighters when all hell breaks loose (literally) and they all become trapped in an apartment building during an infectious outbreak. Now, they must contend with extremely aggressive zombie-like creatures who want nothing more than to rip our heroes apart. Though the found footage construct has been done to death, REC is an exceptionally scary flick that's enhanced by this approach. Quite frankly, this film (particularly its supremely creepy ending) will scare the pants off you.
Though it was remade a couple years back, the original Carrie, directed by Brian De Palma, is a horror masterpiece that has the distinction of being the first movie adapted from one of Stephen King's novels. Thanks to a religiously domineering mother (Piper Laurie), Carrie (Sissy Spacek) is a social outcast at school. Relentlessly tormented at home and at school, Carrie starts developing telekinetic powers as a means of defence. Things start looking up for Carrie when the most popular guy in school (William Katt) asks Carrie to go to the prom with him. However, her classmates have planned a prank on her on prom night that is sure to have explosive consequences. Featuring a young John Travolta in his first film role, Carrie is one of the best horror movies ever made.
A movie that has likely made countless tourists hesitant to travel across the Outback, Wolf Creek became a global sensation when it released back in 2005, with its memorably-ocker killer Mick Taylor (John Jarratt) gaining immediate admittance to the horror villain 'hall of fame' thanks to his bloodlust and his sick sense of humour. Loosely based on the Ivan Milat killings and the Bradley John Murdoch murder of English tourist Peter Falconio, Wolf Creek is a nail-bitingly intense horror film that some people may find hard to stomach.
Friday the 13th
Though the original Halloween kicked off the slasher movie craze, Sean S. Cunningham's Friday the 13th set the gory standard for what was to be expected from the teen slasher genre in the early 80s. With some truly inventive gore effects from 'Wizard of Gore' Tom Savini, a heaping helping of sex and nudity, a nerve-jangling score, and an early appearance by Kevin Bacon, this 'whodunnit' mystery (Jason wasn't the killer in the original) is required viewing for any self-respecting horror fan.
Author Stephen King may hate director Stanley Kubrick's take on his novel, The Shining, but to everyone else, it's one of the best horror films ever made. Writer Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) gets a job minding the isolated Overlook Hotel during its off-season. Figuring he can get some writing done while he's there, he brings his wife, Wendy (Shelley Duvall) and kid, Danny (Danny Lloyd), along to keep him company. Unfortunately for them, an evil spiritual presence convinces Jack that he needs to murder both of them shortly after they arrive – all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, after all. A deeply layered film (people have spent decades trying to analyse what they think are its hidden themes), The Shining needs to be experienced for Jack Nicholson's performance first and foremost – the rest is just the icing on the cake.
A seriously dark and twisted tale, Hellraiser is horror author/director Clive Barker's magnum opus. It's the film that introduced horror movie fans to a sadomasochistic underworld where demons called Cenobites spend eternity torturing souls and trying to reach Earth's reality through the puzzle box known as The Lament Configuration. One of those souls escapes their grasp, returning to Earth to force his ex-lover to rebuild his body through human sacrifices. Naturally, the Cenobites will not stand for this. Though the franchise eventually became terrible due to its many inferior sequels, the original Hellraiser remains as shocking and grotesque as ever.