Horror movies and Halloween go together like witches and broomsticks. It’s no wonder then that many of us choose to stay in on Halloween and settle down in front of a scary movie or two.
But how do you choose a good horror film at this time of year? Why do we want to scare ourselves silly watching them? And who can we turn to for advice on the subject?
You’ll be relieved to read that we have found the perfect person to answer these burning questions, film academic and seasoned horror film reviewer Hayley Roberts.
Check out the interview below.
Interview with Hayley Roberts
Have you always loved horror?
I grew up watching Are You Afraid of the Dark and Goosebumps and was drawn to darker kid’s films like Return to Oz and The Witches. Nicholas Roeg’s The Witches was actually the first film that terrified me. When I was around 11/12 I stayed up late to watch Scream one night. It was more of an endurance test but I was instantly compelled by the clever script and characters. That was when I truly fell in love with the genre.
So, What makes a good horror film?
A good horror film for me has to have strong storytelling and characters that I can invest in. It must have elements of suspense and intrigue. I also love plenty of gore. Gore is secondary to the story but depends if it works for a film. I enjoy seeing blood-splattered effects come to life on screen. The injection of dark humour is also an essential for me and an atmospheric score to really set the tone.
Some of these horror movies are terrifying! Why are so popular?
Horror movies hold a universal appeal. It’s such a diverse genre. When you take away the blood and gore and the jump scares, horror is acting as a metaphor for every day fears and anxieties, things that all of us can relate to. I think for a general movie going audience, horror movies are an endurance test and there is an enjoyment of getting scared for a couple of hours! There’s also the social element of going to see something terrifying with a group of friends.
Are there special considerations when choosing a film to watch at Halloween?
Definitely; I’m still trying to decide what I’ll be watching on the day this year. I normally watch up to three films that are entirely different from each other. Firstly I’ll go with something supernatural to guarantee a good scare, then something incredibly gory and funny, and finally a film that’s very close to my blood-drenched heart! Essentially one of my favourites.
What are your top 5 Halloween movies?
This is a tough one as I love so many horror movies…
Hellraiser or Hellraiser II, even though I wasn’t around back then the 80s is my favourite era for horror. I grew up with these films during my teens so they hold a lot of nostalgia for me. Clive Barker creates an extraordinary world with complex characters and mesmerizing visuals. Pinhead and the Cenobites were the most interesting looking monsters I’d ever seen.
Scream 2. I was pretty obsessed with this movie at a young age and it remains one of my all-time favourite sequels. It has a smart script written by the talented Kevin Williamson, its gripping and has believable performances, plus my favourite actress Sarah Michelle Gellar has a small role in it, cementing her Scream Queen status.
Inbred. This movie made me appreciate the genre at a time when too many generic films were coming out. It’s twisted, gory and a throwback to old school horror, with powerhouse performances from the entire cast. In fact, Inbred basically has everything that I described in question two about what makes a good horror film. Alex Chandon the director was my first on-camera interview and I got to work with two cast members Derek Melling and Mark Rathbone on their next horror film Ascension. I also interviewed another cast member Dominic Brunt for my horror site so it’s a pretty special film for me.
Halloween. Obvious choice but it’s a must-see during this season. I’m talking about the John Carpenter original not the Rob Zombie re-imagining. It made such an impact on the genre back in the late 70’s and has proved to be incredibly influential on all that has come after it. I love the complexity of questioning whether Michael Myers really is a man or monster, the concept really blurred the lines as whether he could be identified with or not. Having him as a child who killed adds in a whole other disturbing dimension. Jamie Lee Curtis was amazing as final girl Laurie and played a character that could be empathized with. It’s also the ideal film as it really puts you in the spirit of things at this time of year.
The Addams Family Values.
A childhood favourite. I actually watched this last year. The cast are fantastic especially Anjelica Huston and Raul Julia as Morticia and Gomez. It’s funny, spooky, gothic and just an enjoyable one to watch over Halloween.
How will you be spending your Halloween this year?
In the run-up to Halloween I’m going to be pretty busy attending the Celluloid Screams Horror Festival in Sheffield, filming coverage as part of my side project Ghostface Girls.
On Halloween itself, I’ll be celebrating with my boyfriend. We’re planning to go for dinner dressed as Morticia and Gomez then watch some movies, so it’ll be pretty low-key.
Then in mid-November I’ll be back doing coverage for the Abertoir Horror Festival in my home town.
I really do love this time of year.
So there you have it, everything you need to know to select your horror movies for Halloween this year.
You can find more of Hayleys work on her blog: http://mshayleyr1989.wordpress.com/, with the Ghostface Girls on MoviePilot: http://moviepilot.com/ghostfacegirls and on Love Horror: http://lovehorror.co.uk/author/welsh-demoness