There is something perversely weird about horror movies, we love and hate them in equal measure. It’s a great way to cosy up to loved ones on the sofa, or to bite into a cushion as you peak over it with one eye!
Sure, there’s always “the one” that claims their heart rate doesn’t raise when they’re watching a horror movie but we know they’re full of it really!
With recent improvements in TV sizes and quality along with some amazing Dolby audio and home cinema kits like the Damson S-Series you can totally immerse your self in the horror on the screen all from the safety behind your own cushion.
As is inevitable at this time of year everyone is compiling lists of their own top 5 or 10 favourite must see scare flicks but we have thought outside the Blu-ray box with our own list.
**DISCLAIMER** The exorcist does not make our list. Why? Well, it’s a great film that was well ahead of its years when it was produced but it’s more comedy than horror. So you can stick your crucifix….
5 - HEREDITARY
Hereditary is director Ari Aster's very first feature film. Nothing like setting the bar high is there. It’s also bloody scary. This is the most recent film on our list and the first out of the 5 that we watched on the Damson S-Series. It was horrible. Not the experience, the film in general. A truly unsettling watch. The premise is relatively straightforward. Toni Colette is incredible as the Mother of a grieving family. It's not long until it takes a VERY dark turn. The sound engineering really ramps up the tension, to the point that by the gruelling third act it is almost unbearable. Watch Hereditary at your own risk. We would advise not watching it on your own unless you are looking to not sleep for a couple of days.
4 - THE DESCENT
There aren't many things scarier than being trapped in a small space, whether you are claustrophobic or not. Neil Marshall's The Descent feels horrible, horribly real when watching in normal surroundings, it’s elevated even further through the S-Series as the S-Cubes add powerful impact from behind you with their built in sub-woofers. Turn the lights off for good measure too. The jumps in this movie are something else, and the spectacular night-vision reveal scene is one of the best genuine scares you are ever likely to watch. The sound and atmosphere created to increase the tension, and just when it feels like you can't take any more frights, the film ends....although let's be honest, the ending of the UK version of The Descent is likely to leave you scrambling for alcohol to take your mind off it! A cult classic.
3 - BLAIR WITCH PROJECT
Such a clever movie and one of the very first “found footage” movies the Blair Witch Project was released in 1999, and is just as scary now as it was then. There were rumours flying around for ages that this wasn't a movie and was actually a documentary, and while that proved to be nothing more than great marketing, it makes it no less affecting. Part of the reason why this feels so creepy, is the actors did all the filming themselves. Sound plays almost as important a part as the grainy handheld footage, in reality, it was nothing special, but it is INCREDIBLY jumpy, due to the storyline bouncing from hushed whispers to blood-curdling screams. That final shot too...WOW!
2 - ALIEN
This movie will divide people’s opinion because it will feature in many “Top Sci-Fi" lists, that does not stop it scaring the pants off you though! Remember the line “In space, no one can hear you scream...." Equally, it will be pretty difficult to hear you scream if you’re watching this at home with the Damson-Series jacked up to the max One thing that is for certain, is that this is one of the creepiest movies ever made. Jerry Goldsmith and the National Philharmonic Orchestra constructed a score that starts off almost romantic and a little mysterious and ends up filling the watcher with suspense and fear. Don't be fooled, there is much more to this that the chest-bursting scene, although the rest of movies is as unlikely to put you off spaghetti & meatballs quite so effectively. The Alien sequels seemed to take the series into more of an action/sci-fi bracket, but the original is, easily, one of the scariest movies ever made.
1 - THE SHINING
Stanley Kubrick was famous for sticking with Mono soundtracks on all of his movie's, 200:1 A Space Odyssey excepted, so it's a bit of a surprise that he is notable for having fantastic audio in everything he does. Never is this more apparent, than in his masterpiece, The Shining. From the echo of the wooden floor as the tricycle is ridden through the hallway to the sound of Jack's typewriter. it is an absolute lesson in atmospheric sound to draw the viewer right into the experience and completely demonstrates how true the saying “audio is 50% of the movie experience”. The soundtrack gets more dramatic and tense as the film goes on, probably deliberately in line with Jack's deteriorating grasp on reality. This movie is poured over and dissected by film students around the world for good reason, although from our research they appear to totally overlook the audio engineering. Watching this in surround sound changes that as the audio is rendered all around you. Plus, it doesn’t matter what anyone says, the scene where Hallorann arrives at the hotel is one of the most tense, nail-biting, cushion peering sequences in the history of film. REDRUM!