It being All Hallow's Eve, I thought it would be fitting to add a few real chills. I also thought there might be a few of you out there who aren't spending the evening roaming about in the dark bothering strangers for sweets and might prefer to stay inside where it's safe (yeah, like that ever worked in any Freddie Kruger movies!) and the DVD has an 'off' button, should you need it.
Anyway, creepy though Freddie is, I'm not talking about horror movies or even vampire movies, but properly creepy movies. Those genuinely unsettling, creepy movies that really stay with you and give you the shivers when you turn off the lights, not the ones awash with blood – anyone can chuck fake blood!
When I was writing By Midnight and the new book in the Ravenwood series, Darkness Falls, I tried to fill the setting (Highgate Cemetery and the surrounding village) with long shadows and dark corners and that feeling that you don’t know what – or who – is going to jump out at you. So I thought I’d share a few of the films I watched to get me in the mood.
First, Invasion of the Bodysnatchers - the 70s version with Kiefer Sutherland’s dad Donald in a bad perm. Everyone in a small American town seems to be changing overnight and Don has no idea who to trust; the last scene just before the credits still makes the hairs stand up on my neck.
Next, the Blair Witch Project. Yes, I know it’s been lampooned to death, but I watched this alone in a pitch black movie theatre in LA the week it was released, not knowing a thing about it and I’m not ashamed to say it completely scared the pants off me (still does, if I’m honest).
Rosemary’s Baby is next, a brilliant piece of creepiness where Mia Farrow (with fab hair, by the way) suspects her neighbours and husband have sold their souls to the devil – it has another deeply unsettling last scene too.
And finally, The Innocents. A super-dark 1961 version of Henry James’ novel ‘Turn of the Screw’ about a young nanny driven mad by some of the creepiest children in the history of the cinema. Is she insane? Are the children evil? You’ll have to watch it to find out. But don’t watch it alone…