Let’s be honest, dolls have always been creepy, and even the best attempts to make them more lifelike have left them in that uncomfortable Uncanny Valley. There’s just something unsettling about them that we couldn’t put our fingers on… until the supernatural slasher Child’s Play.
Some presents are bought with the best of intentions but can have the opposite effect, as young Andy’s mum finds out when she buys a much-wanted doll for his birthday, only to discover it harbours the soul of a serial killer! Weaponizing a symbol of childhood innocence was a terrifying stroke of genius, and Chucky’s twisted visage has remained a prominent pop culture figure even as we celebrate the film’s 30th Anniversary.
With our favourite time of year on the horizon and the kids out trick-or-treating, there’s no better time to grip on to our sofas in terror as we relish the best scares of years past. One fright won’t be enough for most scream junkies though, so we’ve put together a list of classic horrors to join Child’s Play in a Halloween marathon sure to leave you sleeping with the lights on!
The innocence of childhood has always been a great way to mask the terror hiding in plain sight. When a diplomat’s newborn son seemingly dies at birth, he agrees to a hospital chaplain’s plan to raise an orphaned baby as his own. A series of strange occurrences and tragedy however, lead him down a dark path towards the true, sinister parentage of his son.
One of the most shocking horror films of its time and ours, The Omen is legendary for disturbing set pieces from brutal decapitations, to an eerily cheerful suicide. You may never be able to trust children again, but The Omen will have your heart beating more than any early morning run, so why not stay up all night with this classic?
The Silence of the Lambs
Looking for a film that gets in your head and refuses to let go? There’s no cut juicier than The Silence of the Lambs. When the FBI are stumped in the pursuit of a macabre killer, a young trainee reluctantly turns to Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a profound mind kept behind bars due to his, shall we say, peculiar appetite.
What makes the film truly terrifying, isn’t the grisly murder spree but rather, the man enlisted to stop it. Sir Anthony Hopkins brings a calm yet sinister gravitas to Lecter, carefully weaving a web of mind games that leave you wondering whether the true prisoner isn’t the one behind bars. Gripping up until the very end, it’s no surprise that Silence of the Lambs won Oscars in all five top categories, including Best Picture and Best Actor!
As big film fans ourselves, we sometimes wish stories went in different directions, but not to the extent of chilling Stephen King adaptation Misery. Kathy Bates won an Oscar for her disturbing performance as a psychotic superfan, who abducts her favourite author, keeping him captive so he can end his popular series the way she wants. We can only hope that King didn’t write this one from personal experience…
What makes this would-be saviour so terrifying, is not only is she a wolf in sheep’s clothing, but she doesn’t realise she isn’t one of the flock! Her unpredictable duality makes a frightening foe for Stephen King’s most undeserving victim, as you can never be sure of what she’ll do next!
Misery brings a rare, engrossing intimacy to its layers of mental and physical cruelty, including a particularly toe-curling sledgehammer scene, that has stayed in our nightmares ever since.
No movie marathon is complete however, without a bit of Cronenberg or a dash of Jeff Goldblum, making the body horror maestro’s The Fly a must have for any scary movie night.
While testing a pair of matter transporters, a brilliant scientist accidentally combines his DNA with that of a wayward fly, sparking a gradual and gruesome transformation, as body and mind alike fall apart to become something neither man or animal. Considered one of the Cronenberg’s best, as the film’s famous tagline says: be afraid. Be very afraid.
Which classic horrors will be joining Child’s Play in your fright night marathon?