10 of the best horror films on the web
Horror fans may pine for the days when the latest cult shocker would turn up on the shelves of the local video rental store, but the interweb has made it easy to dial up scares on demand.
Whether it's obscure classics or the latest slasher you're after, there's plenty to chill the blood on the vast expanse online. We've picked out ten of the best horror movies with frights, laughs and gore aplenty inside. Just don't have nightmares, eh?
Poor Carrie White never stood a chance, really. A timid wallflower with no idea of the facts of life, thanks to her Bible-bashing lunatic of a mother, she's a natural target for her high school's clique of mean girls. Unfortunately for all concerned, she also has the power of telekinesis; and she's all set to bring the house down at the school prom.
Brian De Palma's high-school horror shuns conventional monsters in favour of something more subtle; it's the banal, casual cruelty of teenagers that drives Carrie to murderous revenge.
In Scream, Nightmare on Elm Street director Wes Craven riffs on the horror movie tropes that he himself helped define: the masked killer here sticks slavishly to the rules set by older scary films. What could easily have turned out as a schlocky parody actually works as both a tension-packed slasher movie and an amusing meta-comment on the genre, helped in part by a strong cast (the most famous member of which is bumped off in the first ten minutes) and a solid script.
From Dusk Till Dawn
Robert Rodriguez mashes up genres with gleeful abandon in this comedy-horror-thriller-actioner. A pair of bank-robber brothers take a family hostage and go on the run in Mexico, in what seems almost like a pastiche of the Tarantino knock-offs that cluttered up cinemas in the 90s (it even has Tarantino playing one of the brothers). But things take a turn for the strange when they hole up at the Titty Twister bar, as ancient evils are unleashed, and… well, to say any more would spoil the surprise.
A (very) loose adaptation an HP Lovecraft’s short story, Re-Animator swaps out the author’s unfathomable horrors for visceral schlock and slapstick. Jeffrey Combs is the titular scientist, injecting corpses with glowing green stuff that brings them back to life; but the stifling bureaucrats of Miskatonic Medical School refuse to recognise his genius, damn it. Knowingly mining the mad-scientist genre, Re-Animator has no pretensions towards originality; instead, director Stuart Gordon is more interested in seeing how far he can push the boundaries of taste and decency, culminating in an infamous scene where a severed head, um, gives head.
Part of the wave of 1980s horror-comedy movies that begat An American Werewolf in London and Evil Dead 2, Re-Animator similarly revels in its gruesome practical effects work. Heads are squashed, brains violated and eyes popped with glee – but it's so over-the-top it's chucklesome rather than chilling.
US Ambassador Robert Thorn (Gregory Peck) agrees to adopt a child to spare his wife (Lee Remick) the pain of knowing that their son died stillborn – but there’s something a little off about young Damien Thorn. Maybe it’s the massive Rottweiler that follows him around, or the way that animals flee from him, or the peculiar nanny who turns up out of nowhere like a chilling Mary Poppins. Or the way anyone who tries to warn Robert about the child’s demonic nature falls foul of a terrible accident.
Ah yes, those accidents. Time has not been kind to The Omen’s once-iconic death scenes; these days, the slow build-ups to the assorted decapitations and impalements are uncannily reminiscent of Casualty. Or, with all the 70s haircuts, those public information films where little Timmy tries to retrieve his ball from the substation.
Still, by grounding its scares in reality rather than unearthly spooks, The Omen brings the horror home; it’s as much a story about how the arrival of a child disrupts families as it is about supernatural scares.