In my books, it is considered absolutely criminal not to have a ghost- story telling session when you are sitting around a campfire. It is an unspoken ritual that has been passed on by generations of campers, hikers and the like! It would be a breach of faith not to practice it in all its horrifying goodness. So, before you go and improvise on some “born of the rumour-mill’ ghost stories (because let’s face it no ghost story ever told is a first encounter but one passed down through several different ears and mouths) you should consider lifting a few lessons in story-telling from these English horror movies …
10. Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
The story is loosely based on real life events. After reports of graves being vandalized of graves in rural Texas, Sally and her invalid brother Franklin, decide to drive up there to check on their grandfather’s grave. Three other friends join them. After finding the grave to be secure, the five friends take a trip to visit an old house belonging to a friend’s grandfather. On reaching the abandoned house they meet a family living around the area. What the friends don’t know is it’s a family of cannibals who make up for their lack in social skills by their knowledge of using power tools.
Reason to watch – For the morbid looking Leatherface and his proficiency in killing with power tools!
9. The Omen (1976)
The wife of a US Ambassador has a still born child. In order to protect the wife from the shock, the Ambassador (Robert Thorn) agrees when a priest suggests that he replace his stillborn baby with a healthy baby. The mother of this baby had died during childbirth. The Ambassador’s wife is not abreast of the events and blissfully unaware of the exchange; she brings up Damien believing it to be her own son. Cavalcades of vicious accidents occur on their return to London which leads Robert to investigate the origins of the child. The answers he finds aren’t pretty…
Reason to watch – For the harmless looking yet sinister Damien!
8. Poltergeist (1984)
Bizarre events hound a family in their home – Apparitions shoot from the television screen, things get hurled at residents of the house, trees come to life. The family brings in a team of parapsychologists to investigate when their youngest daughter is swallowed by a closet in her room. The investigators detect an intrusion by poltergeists, more specifically a spirit named ‘Beast’ that is hell bent on revenge!
Reason to watch – For Important Life lessons i.e. if it tries to kidnap your family, it most probably isn’t a friendly ghost.
7. Friday the 13th (1980)
An unknown killer haunts camp Crystal Lake that is infamous for mysterious deaths. A new group of campers means a new chapter in the series of gruesome murders. The film looks at the connection between the death of a child, Jason Voorhees at the camp Crystal Lake, and the current killing spree. Could it be the spirit of Jason returning for bloody vengeance..?
Reason to watch – To understand the reason for all the hype surrounding the hockey-mask wearing, machete yielding killer.
6. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
The film that established Zombie apocalypse as a genre in film-making! The brains of the dead get reanimated and they start coming back to life albeit as flesh-eating zombies. Speculation is rife that its an after-effect of radiation from NASA’s satellite. The contagion can spread if one gets bitten by a zombie resulting in that person turning into a zombie. A group of people stuck in a farmhouse try to find their way to a safe-haven, but they have to fight the hordes of zombies running a muck outside!
Reason to watch – For the gory scenes of zombies chomping down on humans!
5. Halloween (1978)
It is October 30, 1963; a 6 year old boy Michael Myers stabs his older teenage sister to death with a butcher knife. He is then sent to a psychiatric facility. Fifteen years later, he is about to be taken to a hearing to determine his incarceration. He escapes from the facility using the same car that was to take him to the hearing. The next day, which happens to be Halloween, a high school girl is stalked by a “boogeyman” wearing blue overalls and a white mask. Soon, a murderous rampage begins…
Reason to watch – For the savagery inflicted by the psychologically troubled Michael Myers on the residents of Haddonfield.
4. 28 Days Later
Animal rights activists free chimpanzees from a laboratory performing experiments on animals. They fail to factor in the fact that the chimpanzees have been injected with a virus that causes extreme rage. 28 days later, a bicycle courier-boy named Jim, wakes up from a coma only to find the hospital completely deserted. He exits the hospital to find more signs of strife and all of London is deserted. He meets Mark and Selena, who save him from ‘the infected’ and explain about the circumstances that led to collapse of society. As he begins to search for other survivors and other means to survive, he stumbles upon startling revelations…
Reason to watch –The film is a visual representation that guides you in Zombie Survival 101!
3. The Shining (1980)
The movie is based on a book from the table of Stephen King, the man who has given us some of the best horror, thriller, suspense novels, which never fail to send chills down our respective spines. The film revolves around a family and their psychic son and the strange things that happen to them when they end up boarded inside an isolated resort for the winter. The father takes up post as the caretaker for the winter. As the movie progresses, the stories of past deaths in the resort, coupled with ghost-sightings by the son, and the unbearable psychological stress of being completely cut-off from the world soon start affecting the father who turns into a raving lunatic out to kill his family.
Reason to watch – Jack Nicholson, who plays the wrath infested father to the letter!
2. The Exorcist (1973)
12 year old Regan, daughter of an actress gets possessed by a demon which refuses to leave her body. A striking change occurs in the girl’s behaviour and mannerism. At first doctors suspect a psychiatric illness, but when the girl starts using abusive language, gains abnormal strength and engages in horrifying antics that include her crawling down the stairs backwards, it becomes clear that the girl is being possessed by a demon. As the girl’s body starts depleting, two priests try to exorcise the demon…
Reason to watch – To seek answer to the question, Will the exorcism succeed?
1. Psycho (1960)
If it’s a movie by Alfred Hitchcock you know its going to end up giving you goose bumps and then some. Marion Crane, a worker at a realtor’s office is entrusted $40,000 by her employer. Seeing a chance to elope to a new place with her lover and start a new life, she absconds with the money. She sets off course to meet Sam, her lover, and explain the fresh turn in circumstances. On the way, however, she gets caught in a storm and decides to spend the night at The Bates Motel, which she encounters after she leaves the main highway. She meets the owner and caretaker – Norman Bates, who lives in a house not far from the motel and who, it appears, is dominated by his mother.
That night a figure of an old lady brutally murders Marion while she is in the shower. Back home, Marion’s sister and Sam worry about her sudden disappearance and start an investigation. All the clues lead back to The Bates Motel. As the water gets less murky, more killings ensue. What reasons force Norman Bates to protect his mentally ill mother who is on a killing spree?
Reason to watch – It’s Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece, need more reason?