7. My Bloody Valentine (1981)
Director: George Mihalka
Cast: Paul Kelman, Lori Hallier, Neil Affleck, Cynthia Dale, Terry Waterland
Tagline: “There’s more than one way to lose your heart…” and “Cross your heart… and hope to die.”
Buy: Pick it up on DVD for £4.99 from Amazon.co.uk
There’s no getting away from this 1981 cheese-fest. Produced in the wake of the other seasonal greats – Halloween and Friday The 13th – as part of the glut of calender-based b-pictures that includes in its ignoble ranks the brilliantly daft Silent Night, Deadly Night and April Fool’s Day, My Bloody Valentine is a largely predictable voyeuristic, teen-gutting plod through the usual cliches, albeit on Valentine’s Day and with some sort of mining disaster backstory.
Worth a watch because it was only finally released uncut in 2009 after 9 minutes were excised by the MPAA, and because the reboot is such a pickaxe-waggling 3D turd that you’re automatically more fondly disposed to it.
6. Sightseers (2012)
Director: Ben Wheatley
Cast: Alice Lowe, Steve Oram, Eileen Davis
Tagline: “Killers have never been this close knit”
Buy: You can pre-order Sightseers on DVD for £13.49 or Blu-ray for £16.09 on Amazon.co.uk
Sightseers shows that there’s nothing like going on an erotic odyssey in a carvan around Yorkshire’s most beautiful historic sites to help you commit to your partner. Shut-in Tina agrees to let Chris show her his world, but the trip quickly gains a body count. Tina realises that her feelings for Chris are more powerful than her concerns about his killing people. In fact, she decides it’s an activity that they can share.
Sightseers is hysterically funny and a timely reminder that it’s important to get involved in your partner’s interests if you want the relationship to last. Knitted erotic underwear is a bonus.
If you like your horror grim and gritty, V/H/S director Adam Wingard’s A Horrible Way to Die is an unsettling and superbly acted low-budget horror about the importance of knowing exactly who you’re living with.
Amy Seimetz plays Sarah, whose life has unravelled since she found out her boyfriend Garrick Turrell (AJ Bowen) is a serial killer. When Garrick escapes from prison and seems to be carving a bloody path back to her, Sarah lets down her defences and attempts to make a break for safety with her AA buddy Kevin (Joe Swanberg). OK, perhaps a little down-beat for Valentine’s Day…This can be our anti-Valentine’s.
4. May (2002)
Director: Lucky McKee
Cast: Angela Bettis, Jeremy Sisto, Anna Faris
Tagline: “If you can’t find a friend, make one.”
Buy: It’s shockingly out of print on Region 2 DVD :(
Lucky McKee’s debut is the touching story of social misfit May (Angela Bettis). The lonely vet’s assistant has her heart set on the handsome Adam (Jeremy Sisto), but when their relationship stumbles May finds herself in a downward spiral. Lost in a world so many pretty parts and no pretty wholes, May remembers both her skills with a sewing kit and her mother’s words: “If you can’t find a friend, make one.”
May is a wonderful and moving dark comedy that marked McKee as a talent to watch. Crucially, it never makes fun of its tragic heroine. Our sympathies are with May throughout the film, even when she breaks out the scissors. Angela Bettis’ performance is masterful.
3. [Rec] 3: Genesis (2012)
Director: Paco Plaza
Cast: Leticia Dolera, Diego Martín, Javier Botet, Àlex Monner
Tagline: “You may kiss the bride…”
Buy: Pick it up on DVD for £6.99 or Blu-ray for £11.75 from Amazon.co.uk
The surprisingly tender [Rec] 3: Genesis isn’t so much a continuation of the tense Spanish found footage franchise, but more of a sideways step into a slightly different world that owes more to the farcical nature of Zombieland or Shaun Of The Dead.
Newlyweds Koldo (Diego Martin) and Clara (Letitia Dolera) find their wedding reception interrupted by a sudden outbreak of flesh-tearing ghouls, separated from each other across the country hotel their wedding part had decamped to they set out to reunite or die trying… and the end result is a bittersweet mixture of Night Of The Living Dead and Romeo & Juliet.
2. The Bride Of Frankenstein (1935)
Director: James Whale
Cast: Boris Karloff, Elsa Lanchester, Colin Clive
Tagline: “The Monster demands a mate!”
Buy: Pick it up on Blu-ray for £10.69 from Amazon.co.uk
This timeless romance is one of the best examples of a sequel bettering its original. While the windmill may have burned, The Monster is still alive. Evil doctor Pretorius blackmails Henry Frankenstein into creating a bride for the creature. However, as we all know, the course of true love never did run smooth.
The Bride Of Frankenstein is a truly beautiful film and a landmark in cinema history. Whale and company understood that the tragedy of The Monster is his humanity, and Karloff plays it beautifully. Plus Elsa Lanchester’s Bride has been a Halloween costume inspiration for millions.
1. The Loved Ones (2009)
Director: Sean Byrne
Cast: Xavier Samuel, Robin McLeavy, John Brumpton
Tagline: “Prom night can be torture…”
Buy: Pick it up on DVD for £5.93 or Blu-ray for £7.29 from Amazon.co.uk
We’ve all been there. Socially awkward and unsure whether we’ll be able to ask out the boy of our dreams, surely it’s easier just to kidnap him and hold a terrifying prom night all of your very own? Your parents will be there, and you can torture him to your heart’s content! AHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAAAAARGH!
Rivalling the gristly Wolf Creek for the status of the greatest modern Australian horror movie, The Loved Ones is whip-smart horror subversion that’s both knuckle-whiteningly savage and brilliantly irreverent.