Fright Night: Top 5 Films to Watch this Halloween

It’s that time again… It’s the time of the year when ghosts, ghouls and long legged beasts come out to play, when the smell of pumpkins and candy fill the air along with the delighted screams of children – and those of us in touch with our inner children.

And most of all, for movie lovers, it’s the perfect excuse to huddle down in front of the screen of your choice and delve into the world of monsters and demons… There are, of course, many different “events” and screenings you can attend and Halloween parties by the quart in every neighborhood, but some of us prefer to be scared in the comfort of our own homes… For that group – we have a few blood curdling suggestions to light up your night…

1. ANNABELLE

And speaking of being scared in our own homes, behold the story of Annabelle. Mia and John Gordon are a loving couple getting ready to start a family when their lives are turned upside down by an innocent looking gift John buys for his wife – a vintage ventriloquists’ doll in a wedding dress. But very quickly the couple realizes that not all is well with the doll; Annabelle may just have a few “optional extras” they hadn’t quite bargained for… The trailer for this one holds a lot of promise Eeerie and atmospheric throughout, it uses horror tropes we all recognize (say, for example, the ghostly presence in the form of a young woman whose hair covers her face as was introduced to our cinemas with The Ring franchise) but they use them well. It’s definitely one the fans will enjoy. Oh and a bit of trivia for you boys and girls. Annabelle is actually based on a real case. The real Annabelle was a giant Raggedy Anne doll that was given to a young nursing student by her mother in the ‘70s. Not only that, the real Annabelle still exists, currently under lock and key, in the care of Lorraine Warren, famous paranormal investigator. (To read more about the real Annabelle, click here)

2.THE BABADOOK

Well this is definitely one worth checking out. The first feature from actress turned director Jennifer Kent has been making an impression with critics and festivals (such as Sundance) alike. It is the story of young single mother Esse and her son Robbie who are trying to come to terms with the violent death of the father of the family. Robbie’s over-active imagination has got him into trouble more than once but things take a sharp new turn when he finds a mysterious pop-up book called The Babadook. Suspecting nothing, the book gets read as a bedtime story, however once the book is read the Babadook enters the scene for real. And if it’s in a word or if it’s in a look, you can’t get rid of the Babadook… There are several interesting points here. First of all, we have a female horror hero portrayed by a female director – which is rare enough in itself. We have a bone-chilling and atmospheric horror story that borders on the modern gothic. And we have promises of serious psychological elements through the death of the father and the family’s already existing trauma… I’d say this was one for those who like a bit of a “bite” to their horror. Read our review here.

3.DRACULA UNTOLD

It would seem that we have not seen the end of the genre professing to tell the “backstory” of well-known fairy tales yet. It would, however, be rather appropriate to watch the story of the “real” Dracula on Halloween… In this film we meet the young and valiant prince Vlad Tepes before he became the terrifying monster… He is, however, in dire straits. His kingdom is threatened by marauding Turks and there doesn’t seem to be any way out… Until that is, Vlad is made an offer he can’t find it in his heart to refuse… He has the possibility of acceding supernatural powers and strength…However, this comes at a terrible cost… You only need to get half way through the trailer to realize this is not a bona fide “horror” film. It is more a fantasy- adventure with a historical twist to it. We do, however have all the ingredients to make it a good show. The visual effects seem quite stunning, Luke Evans is, at first glance, very striking as Dracula and the story is, after all, a classic tale that has been told since the time of (and in fact before) Dr Faust… For those who don’t want to be actually “scared witless” but want a bit of an adrenaline rush anyway…

4.LIFE AFTER BETH

Warm Bodies kick started the “zombie romantic comedies” as a genre a few years ago. It seems improbable but now we have yet another contender on our hands. Life After Beth is the story of Zach and Beth. Zach is devastated by Beth’s death but things take a turn for the slightly complicated when Beth mysteriously resurrects… She seems to be pretty much her old self except for one small quirk… She is now a bona fide zombie… And everyone around her – but most of all Zach – has to get used to this idea. This is definitely for those who want to “go light” this fright night. Beth does seriously try to consume humans all through the film but as far as the trailer goes, I would say this is a light-hearted knock-about comedy that provide a good laugh or two with a fantastic twist…

5.NIGHTCRAWLER

And lastly, a reminder that not all “monsters” necessarily need to be supernatural… Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Lou Bloom. Lou is desperate for work and pretty close to running out of options when coincidence brings him into contact with the crime journalism business. Realizing that he can make a very comfortable living following up on “sensational” news items such as accidents, murders and other tragedies and filming them for the news, Lou grabs his camera and gets to work. The world of crime, however, much like the world of media, is one of smoke and mirrors and you must tread very carefully if you don’t want to get tangled in your own web… The trailer promises high octane action, a couple of very good chase scenes and a stellar performance from Gyllenhaal as Lou as he slowly but surely slips over the edge towards insanity… It may not be monsters and demons, but it’s definitely one for those who enjoy taking a peak at the exquisite horrors of the human mind.

A native of Istanbul, Turkey, Sedef moved to London three years ago to get her MA in Film Studies and never quite got round to going back home. As she once worked in a DVD company and watched films for a living, she started a personal blog (essiespeaks.blogspot.com) as a short answer to being constantly asked “watched anything interesting recently?” and loved blogging so much she just kept typing . She is the biggest Tarantino fan she knows and would be unable to choose a single film of his as a favourite.