Wednesday, 24 September 2014

The New Horror Fan's Guide

It occurred to me when doing some reading over my old blog posts that I have almost always wrote for the seasoned fan. Those of you who can handle excessive gore, taboo story lines and extreme violence. Personally, that's where my heart lies so I thought what about those of you who are just edging into the genre?

There are a good number of sub genres within horror to suit everyone. Whether you like your villains supernatural or human, monster or man it's hard to know what you want to watch and exactly how much you want to see.


My favourite sub genre of horror and my personal gateway drug. I like my killers human. Monsters don't live under the bed in these movies, they live next door.

During the 80's there were strings of slashers with similar plots, Birthdays, Valentines Day even high school proms were not safe from a man wielding an axe or a very sharp knife and a whole generation of teens were terrified to go camping near lakes or in the woods. In my personal opinion, the 80's is a great place to start with slashers. Most of the greats came out at this time and as most of these are considered classics 30 years on they're easily available either on Bluray, DVD or on your video on demand services. The biggies include Friday 13th, Sleepaway Camp and my personal favourite Nightmare On Elm Street which proved even in your dreams you're not safe. Avoid films like Scream until you've seen plenty of the classics. Scream is an excellent film but a lot of it's comedy and moments of brilliance come from homages and outright mickey takes of classic slasher tropes and if these are new to you, not only won't you get the jokes, but you just won't enjoy the movie for what it is.


Haunting movies come in many forms and there's a vast amount to choose from. A good place to start is again going back in time. A classic and favourite of many a horror fan is The Exorcist. Hailed for terrifying even the most hardened horror fans it still stands up today. Personally, I don't find it *that* scary but for it's time it's pretty terrific! Other more modern hauntings you could check out are The Others, The Sixth Sense or Haunting In Connecticut. A good series to give a go is Paranormal Activity. It gets a lot of stick and quite often unfairly. Another great movie that is found footage is The Blair Witch Project.

If like me, you enjoy foreign cinema and don't mind subtitles, Asia has some of the best ghost stories. A few I highly recommend are The Ring, Ju-On and Shutter. All 3 have been remade, however unless you just cannot bare to watch a movie with subtitles or don't like dubbed I wouldn't recommend them over their superior Asian originals.


Another sub-genre I love is Vamps! There are literally thousands to choose from and you're not going to go too far wrong with many of the most popular. My personal favourite is The Lost Boys. It features excellent acting, a great storyline and the soundtrack is one of the best movie soundtracks to have ever existed! Other greats you should try are Fright Night (Both the original and the remake are pretty good but the remake is definitely inferior) and 30 Days Of Night! There are far too many to name all of the best but these are a good place to start and are different enough from each other so you don't feel like you're just watching the same movie. There are also some great vampire themed shows you might love. True Blood and Vampire diaries are both highly rated and enjoyable. Vampire diaries being more aimed at young adult viewers and True Blood being more "adult". My favourite vampire themed TV show is, and always will be Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

The touchy subject of Twilight... Yes it's a vampire movie. No I don't like it at all, but it isn't aimed at me however, if you enjoy teen drama as well as some vampire action it's worth a try, particularly for younger, female viewers.


Firstly, some housekeeping! If you ever find yourself on a horror community on a social networking site or dedicated website forum you will inevitably come across the argument of the differences between zombie and rage virus movies. It is a general understanding that zombies are the dead rising as undead beings while a rage virus is a disease or -as the name suggests- a virus spread between living humans altering the host and causing them to kill, bite or eat other none affected humans. It really doesn't matter all that much but it does cause some animosity sometimes.

Right, onto what you really care about. Firstly, if you want to start somewhere go for -again- classics! Night Of The Living Dead is the grand-daddy of all zombie movies. Romero's Living Dead series continued with other greats such as Dawn of The Dead and Day Of The Dead. Many many "Of the Dead" movies have followed by other creators but, in my opinion, Romero's are the best of the bunch! 28 Days Later and it's sequel 28 Months Later are amazing rage virus movies and both are part of my regular viewed Blurays. Others you may want to try are The Crazies (both original and remake are excellent). If you've been taking any notice of TV this past few years you'd have heard of The Walking Dead. This is THE zombie TV show. Horror fans and none horror fans both enjoy it equally and while it's more a survival show where the zombies are not the main part, especially in later seasons, it is definitely one to watch! AMC's greatest show (unless you want to bring Breaking Bad into the equation but we won't start that one right now)

A mention for the younger viewers out there, Warm Bodies is an excellent Zombie movie, similar to Twilight in theme and great fun. I really enjoyed it and would happily watch it again and again.


Not a genre I know in and out, it's not a genre I have enjoyed all that much, however there are some stand out movies that I recommend to everyone and anyone.

American Werewolf in London is a great one to start with. A timeless classic with some of the best effects for it's time. It also has a great subtext. Another I have always had fun watching was Dog Soldiers. Ginger Snaps was probably the first memorable horror I seen when I was a teen and I cannot recommend it enough. This is a great movie especially for young adult viewers. It has a wonderful sub-text aimed at the younger, female horror viewer.


So we all like to kick back and relax sometimes and sometimes relaxing requires a good laugh. Horror comedy is iffy but there are a few comedic horror movies that are simply hilarious!

Firstly, if you haven't seen Shaun of The Dead, DO IT! NOW! Seriously, this is one of the funniest movies I've ever seen and I enjoy it more and more each time. Mostly it is tame and generally not all that gory or scary however some scenes are so out of the blue gory! Definitely one to see. A recent favourite and sadly over looked comedy horror is Tucker and Dale Vs Evil. Again, hilarious! I don't want to spoil this one for
you, I believe it should be watched without any hint of it's story or content. It makes it all the more enjoyable. Tucker and Dale is another I enjoy more and more no matter how many times I've sat through it. Other comedies you could check out are the earlier movies in the Scary Movie franchise but some jokes and scenes are lifted directly from earlier classic or recent (to the time) movies so if you haven't seen them it can be a bit confusing. Another I've recently enjoyed, was A Haunted House. A spoof of the box office hit franchise, Paranormal Activity. If you enjoy some smut and a good fart joke, this is one for you.

So I think I've given you enough to be getting on with. These movies are mostly movies that I personally enjoy and it should be noted that taste is subjective and what I love, many others will hate. Saying that, I'm sure something in here will be for you. Also, feel free to leave your suggestions below! The thing I love about the horror community is we love to help each other discover gems and there will be a lot of movies I've not included here that I either didn't love, hadn't seen or just forgot about!

Peace out!