Fans who collaborated on this issue:

The face at your window. A stranger in the shadows. Nothing is as terrifying as people and their weird obsessions. Ghosts and monsters are great metaphors for all the parts of our darkest selves, but no supernatural creature can compete with a man with a knife and eyes full of rotten desire.   Movies can turn the most fantastic ideas into tangible reality. Since Universal's run of monster movies in the 1930s we've seen horror equated with the unreal. But monsters are distractions. The most chilling movies feature stories that could happen to any of us.

In the hands of the right filmmakers, literally anything can scare audiences. From the disembodied spirits of those long-dead to shape-shifting monstrosities, fear has taken many different forms on the big screen. This ever-expanding cornucopia of terrors has kept moviegoers up all night for nearly 100 years. Some monsters, however, will always be more terrifying than an otherworldly entity or a perfectly-timed jump scare. Contrary to expectations, these monsters are not fanged or winged; they're seemingly normal human beings. These familiar characters, thanks to their familiarity and relatability, are not only scary, but at times too terrifying for viewers. Here's a look at how the simplest horror monsters can still be the most effective.

As a true introvert, Burton is able to present us all with accurate depictions of the introvert lifestyle. He himself has lived the life of an outcast, and he reflects those pieces of himself onto his many iconic characters. In 2010, he told Independent: "If you've ever had that feeling of loneliness, of being an outsider, it never quite leaves you. You can be happy or successful or whatever, but that thing still stays within you." His feelings of being an outsider have been represented in many iconic characters in his movies. Take Alice from Alice in Wonderland, take Sweeney Todd, take Edward Scissorhands. All of these characters are forced to live in environments where they are labeled as outsiders. Though they come off as "dark" and "weird," they are just representations of one person who just doesn't fit in.

Read More →

A scary story is a rush of adrenalin. Fear is exciting, especially when we can experience it in the safety of a movie theater. It follows, then, that a film promising some sense of truth is even more scary — the “true story” angle helps us ignore those theater walls and become more deeply immersed in the horror. The best trick: this works even when the story isn’t true at all, as long as we believe it could be.   Like a jump scare or a cheap special effect, though, the “true story” claim can backfire. Even when a movie gives that terrifying experience of a great horror story, creating expectations of truth or reality elevates the expectations audiences carry into the theater. 

“Based on a true story” doesn’t always achieve its principal intention, and to the misfortune of the filmmakers, it can make an otherwise great horror film bite the dust. We turn our eyes to The Conjuring 2. The story continues the paranormal adventures of real-world figures Ed and Lorraine Warren, introduced in The Conjuring, as they investigate hauntings experienced by a London family. A carefully-crafted thrill ride through the famous Enfield Poltergeist case, the movie observes as two young daughters of the Hodgson family claim to experience possession and other paranormal activity. 

Read More →

We Need To Talk About Kevin, Lynne Ramsay’s soul-chilling 2011 indie starring Tilda Swinton and Ezra Miller, is one of the best horror films of the decade. Some don't even consider it horror, because the subject matter is not about ghosts, demons, or rampaging maniacs. It is a quietly intense examination of the complete destruction of a happy family in the most tragic way possible. Horror movies are a staple of world cinema. People are always intrigued with death and the dark side of life, so horror is big business. Many Hollywood horror films have lodged like thorns in public consciousness, from the demons of The Conjuring and Insidious franchises to enduring novel adaptations like The Shining and The Exorcist, the latter of which nearly every single demonic possession movie rips off.

But many of the best horror films require no special effects. You don't need shaking houses or elaborate torture traps to evoke deep dread. The independent film scene uses small budgets to make its horror, and those movies are often scarier and more upsetting than the multiplex hits, because they get at you with human psychology instead of CG demons; instead of destroying cities, indie horror monsters attack the most basic building block of society, the family, from outside and within. We've all seen families corrupted and falling apart because of people within that unit. Fear of that destruction is common, because the reality is also common. 

Read More →

Would you spend a few months of your life working in an abandoned mental hospital? I did, and it was one of the greatest jobs I ever had. Few horror films are made in a way that mirrors the story they want to tell — that’s probably for the best — but Session 9, directed by Brad Anderson, is a unique exception. In the movie, a small asbestos removal crew races through a week tearing hazardous materials out of an abandoned mental hospital in order to earn a fat bonus check, only to be torn apart by paranoia, jealousy, and violence. There was no murder on the set of Session 9, but the film was filmed in the same location where the action takes place: the husk of Danvers State Hospital north of Boston, a former psychiatric facility that had fallen into ruin after being abandoned in the 1980s. The place was plastered with real asbestos. 

There were other problems, too, like floors that barely existed, making much of the location impossible to traverse. But few buildings are so immediately photogenic and perfectly suited for a psychological thriller. My involvement started with a simple question. A colleague, Jay Heyman, called me at the end of one Boston summer with the best pitch I’d ever heard: “Want to make a movie in an abandoned mental hospital?” Jay and I knew each other well, having already done dozens of film and commercial jobs together. We’d come up at the same time as PAs and both gravitated to the art department: building and dressing sets, and doing props. Jay would be the prop master on this show and needed an assistant. 

Read More →
You‘re all set – we‘ll keep in touch!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form