The Vengeance Trilogy
An iconic trio that has stood the test of time; Old Boy
, Lady Vengeance
and Sympathy for Mr Vengeance
have remained some of the best mystery thrillers of our time. Directed by Park Chan-wook, these films are both gorgeous to watch and utterly unforgettable.
is a psychedelic revenge thriller that explores the world of cults, demonic biker gangs and all round human suffering.
Memories Of Murder
From the director of Parasite, one of Bong Joon-ho's earlier films
follows a murder investigation in Korea and the detectives on the case. This is based on a real case and is a must for gritty true crime fans.
Hansel and GretelA South Korean interpretation of the classic children's story;
Hansel and Gretel, directed by Yim Pal-Sung, follows a man who gets into a serious car accident, only to awake in the company of a strange group of children. They offer him refuge in their house but he soon realises they're not as friendly as they seem.
I Saw The Devil
This is, in my opinion, one of the greatest films of all time and a total emotional rollercoaster. Directed by Kim Jee-Woon, this revenge flick perfectly strikes the balance between crime thriller and psychological horror. I promise you, it really is one to experience. Without giving too much away, the film
follows a depraved killers journey as he is hunted down by the fiancé of his most recent victim.
SeveranceOne of the best shows to come out of 2022
from the mind of Ben Stiller. Severance follows the employees of the mysterious Lumen corporation, who have their consciousness severed into two halves - their work consciousness and their "outie" consciousness. This show is gorgeous throughout; from the surreal modern retro direction to the eerie score, I can't rate this show highly enough.
Speaking of the surreal, one of my favourite shows
is the critically acclaimed Mr Robot by Sam Esmail. A gifted but socially reclusive hacker finds a mentor in the anarchistic and mysterious Mr Robot. I've watched this in its entirety 3 times now and the final season still hits like a punch to the gut. It is beautifully directed and has an incredible cast, soundtrack and story.
Directed by Riley Stearns, Faults
tells the story of a disgraced author and former deprogrammer. He decides to accept one last job when he's approached by the desperate parents of a woman in a cult. This dark comedy thriller will be sure to subvert your expectations.
For fans of Mindhunter and True Detective, this gritty crime thriller on Apple TV
is a must watch. The limited series tells the true story of a convicted drug runner, who's tasked with getting a confession and burial sites from a suspected serial killer.
A Tale Of Two Sisters
Another from the mind of Kim Jee-woon,
this South Korean psychological horror follows a family in a house filled with secrets and ghosts. The art direction is gorgeous in this film and is a highly recommended watch for the halloween season.
Wicker Man (1973)
One of the most iconic British horror films of all time;
this film walked so Midsommar could run. A police sergeant travels to the isolated island of Summerisle to find a missing girl and soon discovers there's something a bit off about the locals. Be sure to watch the original 1973 version and not the awful American remake.
Speaking of folk horrors, Ari Asters Midsommar
has quickly become a standout of the genre. The film follows Dani, a woman who has endured unspeakable tragedy, travelling to a Swedish commune with her boyfriend and his cultural anthropologist friends.
This indie horror on Shudder
is a great addition to the folk horror genre. A mother travels with her daughter back to their ancestral home, a scene of past tragedies and family secrets.
Directed by Giallo master Dario Argento
, this film is rich with symbolism and beautifully detailed set designs. A ballet dancer travels from America to Germany to attend an internationally renowned school. But after a series of brutal murders, the macabre history and secrets of the school begin to unfold. This brings me to the next film...
I had serious reservations when I heard this film was being remade because the original is already one of my favourites, but Luca Guadagnino's love letter
to the classic is faultless. The plot diverges from the original significantly in the second act but the set up is essentially the same.
This limited series
by the creator of Gone Girl, centres around Camille, a troubled journalist returning to her home town of Wind Gap to investigate a series of child murders. This southern gothic noir has an incredible performance from Amy Adams, as well as a soundtrack laced with Led Zeppelin and The Acid.
Directed by Park Chan-wook,
the film centres around the return of Indias mysterious uncle Charlie, after the death of her beloved father Richard. Hostile family dynamics and buried secrets come to the surface in this beautifully directed psychological thriller.
David Finchers serial killer thriller
Seven was and still is one of the best of the genre. Starring Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt as homicide detectives investigating a series of brutal murders.
Another David Fincher classic
based on the Zodiac killer and their taunting of the police and several newspapers through 1969 to the late 1970s. The film centres around the emotional strain this unsolved case had on the people involved and explores potential suspects.
True Detective (Season 1)
Yes there are three seasons of True Detective but seasons two and three really struggled to recapture the magic that was season 1
Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson investigate a string of ritualistic murders in the Deep South, finding their lives absorbed by a mystery that spans over the course of 17 years. This moody love letter to classic noir thrillers is without a doubt one of the best seasons every created.
In this sci-fi thriller,
an astronaut discovers a stranger who looks just like him unconscious on the moons surface.
This mind bending sci fi series
explores the child disappearances and generational mystery that connects four families in a small town in Germany. Darks moody tone and existential themes make for a perfect autumn watch.
Ari Asters first film
Hereditary, follows a family who is haunted by generational trauma and perhaps even something more nefarious.
The 1967 cult classic
starring Mia Farrow tells the story of a young couple who move into an apartment building with some very strange inhabitants.
The Evil Dead Franchise
I personally feel as though The Evil Dead
franchise really hit it's stride from Evil Dead 2 onwards, because that film is when Sam Raimi fully leaned into the comedy horror aspects that made the film series so recognisable. That is probably a controversial take, but in terms of a fun watch, Evil Dead 2
, The Army Of Darkness
and the spin off series Ash Vs The Evil Dead
are up there with some of my favourites. I didn't hate the first Evil Dead
, but it's low budget ended up making what was supposed to be a serious horror film more of a B Movie comedy horror. The 2013 remake of the original film
took on some more serious themes in comparison to the original and as far as remakes go, I enjoyed it.
Another fun horror film is the supernatural comedy The Frighteners
, which stars Michael J Fox as a 'dial an exorcist' who comes across an entity that's above his pay grade.
The Creepshow Franchise
The 80's cult horror anthology, Creepshow, written by Stephen King and directed by George A Romero, recently came back in the form of a Shudder original series. If you need some light and fun horror this halloween, Creepshow
, Creepshow 2
and Creepshow The Series
are perfect for the job.
Another fun one from Shudder
follows a cancelled internet personality desperately attempting to reengage his following by spending the night in a haunted house. This hilarious and very 'Evil Dead 2' style comedy horror was a fun and unexpected watch.
Masters Of Horror
What happens when you get the most iconic horror directors of all time together for an anthology series? Masters Of Horror is the answer.
Carpenter (The Thing
) and Joe Dante (Gremlins
) are just a couple of big names on this often overlooked show.
Another often forgotten horror anthology series is the David Bowie hosted, 'The Hunger'
(yes you read that correctly!) If you love trashy 90's/00's horror like Tales From The Crypt, this is one for you.
This stand out of 2022
plays on so many classic horror tropes that you'll be rolling your eyes 10 mins in going "oh I know where this is going" and I promise you, you will not guess a single thing correctly. Go into this film blind without reading anything before hand and thank me later.
Chucky (The Series)
and it's many sequels are great comedy horror classics, but it's most recent reboot, the series Chucky
is by far one of my favourites. The story follows the tried and tested framework: boy finds posessed doll, boy and doll become friends, doll murders everything and everyone in sight.
This horror anthology series
has a bit of everything; a pirate radio station that lures away children, a mysterious alternate dimension house and a dream door of nightmares.
Broadcast Signal Intrusion
In this unsettling horror film
a vhs tape archivist come across a broadcast signal intrusion that he believes is tied to a number of unexplained disappearances. The ending of this had a mixed reception but the general concept and pacing of this I found really enjoyable.
The End Of The F***ing World
This British black comedy series
based on the comic of the same name, tells the story of two social outcasts on the run (one of whom believes they're a psychopathic murderer).
Gillian Anderson stars as a detective hunting down a vicious sexual sadist in the critically acclaimed The Fall.
Into The Dark
This little known horror anthology series Into The Dark
releases feature length episodes throughout the year. One of my favourites is The Body, a story about a killer who's forced to drag his latest victim around town. Absolutely no one bats an eyelid though because it's halloween and people just assume he's committed to his 'costume'.
Two Sentence Horror Stories
Another dumb and fun halloween watch is the horror anthology series Two Sentence Horror Stories
, inspired by the reddit short stories thread.
True crime thriller Mindhunter
follows the early days of the FBI's behaviour science unit. The teams interviews with killers were used to create the criminal profiling system that we still use today.
Based on the Stephen King trilogy
, Mr Mercedes tells the tale of cantankerous no bullshit detective Bill Hodges, as he tries to track down a technologically gifted and psychopathic murderer.
Death Becomes Her
If you like offbeat films like Beetlejuice
, you will love this one.
An ode to 80's sorority slashers
, Scream Queens is a hilarious comedy horror series that tells the story of Kappa Kappa Tau, a classic mean girl sorority that's been stalked by a crazed killer.
Dark comedy series Search Party
is about a group of narcissistic and vapid New Yorkers, who task themselves with solving the disappearance of an acquaintance from college.
This series follows a different case each season but the first season is by far the best
. A young mother violently stabs a beach goer to death, seemingly without provocation, motive or warning.
Tales From The Crypt
Wolf Creek (Series)
Although I've seen the Wolf Creek films, I personally never got that into them because I felt they were bordering on torture porn. That being said, the series version of Wolf Creek is another thing all together.
A young girl on holiday with her family, is left alone in the Australian outback when everyone is killed. What ensues is cat and mouse game between this final girl with nothing left to lose and a sadistic killer.
What We Do In The Shadows (Film and TV Series)
This mockumentary comedy horror film and the follow up tv series of the same name will forever be in my top 10. Hilarious and heartwarming, the story centres around a group of lovable arseholes who also happen to be ancient vampires.
Another Dario Argento classic,
an unassuming journalist finds himself tangled up in a murder investigation when he witnesses the killing of a psychic.
A Cure For Wellness
This film received mixed reviews
but I found that visually, it was a masterpiece and certainly one to experience, even if it's just once. A young executive is tasked with retrieving his CEO from a secretive wellness centre, located in the Swiss alps.
The Alien Franchise
Based on the Stephen King book of the same name;
Jack Nicholson, his wife and their gifted young son travel to an isolated hotel where jack will work as the winter caretaker. As the film goes on, the families mental health begins to deteriorate and it becomes clear to Danny that this isn't just any regular hotel.
The sequel to The Shining
follows Danny, the surviver of the first film trying to navigate life with the trauma of his childhood and his unwanted psychic gifts.
Body horror Videodrome
directed by David Cronenberg is about a sleazy CEO who stumbles across a pirate tv station broadcasting snuff films. As the film goes on, the lines between reality and nightmare begin to blur. Look out for Debbie Harry of Blondie, who stars as this films main femme fatale.
Happy Death Day
This horror comedy
follows a woman who is murdered by a masked killer, only to awake and find herself back at the start of the day she died. After several cycles of her being killed in creative ways (and being resurrected), she decides the only way to end her torment is to find her killer and stop them once and for all. It's sequel Happy Death Day 2 U
is also a fun recommended watch.
David Cronenbergs Dead Ringers
tells the story of womanising, erratic and co dependant identical twins, Elliot and Beverley Mantle, who work as successful fertility doctors.
This 90's classic
based on the Steven King novel
is one of Kathy Bates most memorable performances. In this horror thriller, she plays an unhinged fan that holds her favourite romance novelist hostage.
A kid suspects his handsome and charming next door neighbour is responsible for a string of disappearances and decides it's up to him to prove it. This fun horror is a must see
(just make sure you don't watch the remake because it was absolutely abysmal)
The Poltergeist Franchise
The original Poltergeist
has been subject to a lot of rumours over the years as many of its cast members died under strange or mysterious circumstances after the film ended. Many have speculated that the use of real dead bodies during filming cursed the film and those involved in its production. Whether you believe the lore or not, It only adds to this beloved horror that follows a family tormented by malevolent entities. Poltergeist 2
failed to recapture the magic of the first instalment but does go into the back story of the spirits who are following the family. And well, Poltergeist 3
is just silly fun. The franchise was rebooted in 2015
and was panned by critics, so if you're going to watch it, I recommend going with the originals.
Sci-fi horror The Platform
centres around a man who awakes to find himself in a cell, with a hole that reveals hundreds of other levels below (and people in a similar situation.) Every day a platform covered with food is lowered down between the levels and over time, the residents become increasingly hostile as they fight for scraps of food.
The Thing (1982)
John Carpenters sci-fi horror
follows a group of researchers isolated in the arctic. When a crazed man from a neighbouring base is found screaming and firing a gun, he’s presumed to have lost his mind and is shot in the opening of the film. The team however quickly realises he may have not been so crazy after all, when some of the research team begin to exhibit strange behaviour. This film was remade recently but I don't recommend it, the original 1982 version is famous for it's practical effects (and of course Kurt Russell)
Prince Of Darkness
Ready Or Not
A woman inherits her ancestral home
and travels with her friend to the secluded village where it's located, only to discover its residents have been trying to track her down for generations so they can kill her.
This supernatural horror
follows a woman who, years previously, angered a deity when she disturbed a sacred shrine. Now a mother, she's tormented by evil spirits and will do whatever it takes to protect her child.
Interview With A Vampire (1994)
Let The Right One In (2008)
This Swedish romantic horror
follows Oskar, a lonely boy who befriends the mysterious Eli. The remake of this is terrible so be sure to watch the original.
Bram Stokers Dracula Francis Ford Coppola's vampire tale
has an A list cast and is without a doubt one of the best vampire films ever made. A solicitor visits Transylvania to meet with a wealthy client, only to find himself imprisoned and his life turned upside down.
A news crew follows a group of firefighters for a fluff piece, only to realise the apartment building they've been called to is now at the centre of an unknown outbreak and there's no way out. Rec 1
and Rec 2
are fantastic and the endings are totally unexpected. There's also a Rec 3 and Rec 4, but the first two are without a doubt the best of the franchise.
The House That Jack Built
This nasty slasher by controversial director Lars Von Trier
is about a psychotic and vicious serial killer. Jack thinks of himself not as a depraved lunatic, but as an artist and somewhat of a savant. The film explores his 'works of art' and what he considers his 'masterpiece'. This film at a point begins to feel like violence for violences sake, but the final act is the real masterpiece of this film and a satisfying conclusion at that.
Eli Roths History Of Horror
If you're like me and find yourself doing internet deep dives after watching any film, this is one for you
. Eli Roth (Director of Hostel
and Cabin Fever
), talks to writers, directors, actors and composers about their favourite horror films. Whatever I've missed off in this list, you'll find in this show.
And of course the household names...
There's some films I haven't bothered to talk about, because at this point in time everyone has seen them atleast once. But these franchises are always fun to rewatch and binge around halloween: Scream
, Nightmare on Elm Street
, Friday The 13th
, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
, Ringu (or the Ring)
, Psycho, The Twilight Zone, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, American Horror Story, Hellraiser & Night Of The Living Dead
BONUS ROUND - Video Games
The Bioshock Franchise
Everything about the first game is a dream come true
and I'm still shocked no one has turned this series into a film (though it’s rumoured Netflix are developing it as a series!). The first game tells the story of a man who's plane crashes in the middle of the ocean. As he looks around for safety, he spots a strange lighthouse that turns out to be a lift. And where does the lift lead? Rapture; a now dystopian hellscape fashioned after the lost city of Atlantis. The second
and especially the third instalment
to this sci fi survival franchise, are incredible and a must play. It’s rumoured a fourth Bioshock called ‘Isolation’ is being developed as I write this and the game will be set in 1960’s Antarctica.
The Outlast Franchise
With the MKUltra
inspired ‘Outlast Trials’
release just around the corner, it’s only right I mention this nerve frying horror series. The Merkoff Corporation have had their hands in just about everything: mind control, human experiments, torture, murder, CIA coverups...you name an atrocity, they’ve committed it. The first game
and it's DLC
takes place in an asylum where an investigative journalist is trying to collect evidence about the corporations activities. The second game follows a similar path
, journalist husband and wife duo track down a cult and well, it doesn't really end too well for them.
Dead Space Franchise
Another game that should have been turned into a film is Dead Space.
There are several instalments and spin offs of this game (including a highly anticipated remake coming next year
). It's worth experiencing them all in order because this game is extremely story rich and explores the insidious nature of religious fanaticism.
The game is set in the future when the earth has been ravaged for its natural resources. Isaac, a worker for a company that mines other planets, gets a distress signal from another ship that his girlfriend is working on. When they arrive to rescue the crew, they find everyone has mutated into horrifying creatures.
It's spiritual successor The Callisto Protocol
drops in December and is sure to tide fans over who have been eagerly awaiting a new instalment.
The Evil Within 1 & 2
Surrealist survival horror The Evil Within
and The Evil Within 2
is basically like walking through someone else's nightmare. Mind-bending environments and horribly distorted humanoid creatures will provide plenty of halloween scares and fun.
The Silent Hill Franchise
Hideo Kojima's series Silent Hill
has had various spin offs and even movies over the years.
Silent Hill is basically a creepy misty town that takes on different forms to different people - to some it's just a town, to others its hell.
There's a lot of debate about which game is the best, but my personal faves are 1 - 3. You can find a ranking here
but I definitely recommend experiencing them all at least once. A new game 'Silent Hills' was meant to be released however it’s since been cancelled (much to fans disappointment). You can watch its horribly creepy playable teaser here
The Resident Evil Franchise
Disclaimer: most of these films, games and series are certificate 15 or 18 and are not suitable for minors. The listed titles may include graphic depictions or distressing themes, such as; violence, gore, death, psychological, sexual or physical abuse/assault, addiction, self harm or suicide. Please check ratings and themes prior to viewing (if any of the above themes are triggering to your mental health). Wikipedia links are highlighted in bold and are included under each recommendation.