Be Afraid A short list of must-see horror films from Twyla artist Oliver Leach.
In honor of Halloween, we asked Twyla artist and horror connoisseur, Oliver Leach, to supply us with a list of his favorite scary movies. Oliver gave us eight freaky films to explore and walks us through why he loves each one. This is way beyond Freddy Krueger. Read on and watch if you dare.
Demons 1 & 2
Bava’s masterpieces, these two Italian nightmares are best watched together. The first is about a theater full of reprobates who become infected by horrible flesh rending monsters that leak out of the screen and infect them one by one. In the second film, the source of the infection is (brilliantly) the prior film playing on television. Some of the underlying themes of infectious/dangerous media that played out in Cronenberg’s Videodrome and The Ring series are coupled with Italian grindhouse insanity and a killer set of soundtracks. Essential films.
One of the best from the flood of Japanese horror that unfortunately has gotten mostly overlooked; this film is very upsetting. The story feels like something out of an old Republic serial; a renegade mesmerist is hypnotizing people into murdering themselves in horrible, public ways. It is surprising and effective.
David Lynch’s films have for the most part erred on the side of the upsetting, but Lost Highway is the only one I would feel comfortable calling a horror film. A nightmare of sexual guilt and murder, featuring an actual murderer (Robert Blake).
An old man spots white goo bubbling out of a hole in the ground. Naturally he dips his finger in it and takes a taste. It is the best thing he has ever tasted and he has to have more. Supermarket shelves fill up with it. Restaurants serve nothing but it. People kill for it. Their bodies cave in on themselves and the white goo pours out of their mouth. Larry Cohen’s consumerist nightmare absolutely needs to be seen.
This is the last film I recall seeing that legitimately creeped me out. A densely layered found-footage horror film about a multi-generational curse leaking its way up through time. Ghosts in the woods. Psychic children seeing demons faces when they close their eyes. Spectral fetuses crawling out of the ground.
Britain’s paranormal version of the War of the Worlds radio hoax, Ghostwatch is corny as hell, but amazing. It is a fictionalized and poorly acted “live investigation” of a London area haunted house (similar to the “actual” Enfield Poltergeist event) featuring veteran presenter Michael Parkinson and, bizarrely, Craig Charles. It is tonally strange and not necessarily that frightening but people were terrified. It was banned from British television until fairly recently. Definitely worth a look.
One of the great American horror films and the one best movies based on the work of HP Lovecraft, easily. Perverse physicists create a device allowing the human body to perceive and interact with things outside of our dimension. These things, however, can perceive us as well. The physicists’ bodies change in horrible ways, causing witnesses sanity to be questioned. One of the best endings to any horror film.
Another Italian film and my favorite of Dario Argento’s “giallo’s” (lurid murder mysteries). A fairly straightforward 1970’s murder mystery in abstract, it distinguishes itself through its perfect musical score, bizarrely textured tension and violence that still feels extreme.