The Best of Horror

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Hey, this is Lauren Beukes, best-selling novelist, and DaleHalvorsen aka award-winning cover designer Joey Hi-Fi. Along with artist Ryan Kelly, we're the co-creators of a brand new horror comic, Survivors' Club, our twisted love letter to scary movies. It's due out with vertigocomics in October 2015 - you can pre-order it right now. We thought it would be fun to talk up our favorite horror movies of all time (and damn, was that hard to narrow down) and how they influenced some of our creative choices in writing the comic. We'd love to hear about your favorite horror movies. You can also follow us on Twitter @laurenbeukes, @joeyhifi and @funrama.

Audition (1999)

I saw this in New York in 2000 with a group of new friends, including a Japanese stranger, who said, afterwards, very thoughtfully, "Yes, but you can't really cut through bone that easily with piano wire." Turns out she was an artist who had worked with marble, but it still chilled me right to the (non-piano-wire-cuttable) bone. When I showed it to Dale on DVD a couple of years later, he literally screamed and fell off the couch during the iconic bag scene. Takashi Miike's movie about a lonely man who auditions for a wife is a masterwork in dread and horrible subversions of your expectations, much like the work of another Japanese favorite, manga legend Junji Ito. It's something we try to aim for in writing Survivors' Club. And Audition is also where our Japanese character gets her name. Kiri-kiri-kiri.

Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IG_bMvPbaeE

Session 9 (2001)

A lesser movie about a creepy abandoned insane asylum and the asbestos-removal crew who are cutting corners would have devolved into a jump-scare gore fest in the first fifteen minutes. Session 9 takes its time to ramp up the tension to eleven on the I-can't-stand-it-anymore-o-meter as the crew fall out with each other and into their own personal horrors. There's a lovely riff on the Satanic Panic of the '80s (something we cover in Survivors' Club, too) as one of the crew discovers a series of interview tapes with a multiple personality that gets creepier and creepier. It's also one of the few movies I've seen which manages to shift the tone into even more horrifying territory in the last thirty seconds, a lot like the White Bear episode of Black Mirror. You can watch the trailer in the media above, and you should also check out the real-life Danvers Insane Asylum where the film was shot. http://www.danversstateinsaneasylum.com/

Pan's Labyrinth (2006)

I love Guillermo del Toro's range, that he can do unabashedly b-grade monster-robot mash in Pacific Rim but also much more nuanced horror in something like The Devil's Backbone. His dark Spanish civil war fairytale, Pan's Labyrinth, is just extraordinary. The monsters of his imagination are unlike anything I've seen before and utterly terrifying, and he gets to the heart of what fairytales are, the stories we tell ourselves in the dark to try to understand the world. That feeds directly into horror. www.youtube.com/watch?v=EqYiSlkvRuw

Honorable mentions: The Thing, Alien, Coraline, Shaun of the Dead, Rosemary's Baby

Would love to know what horror movies freaked you out the most - tell me in the comments below!


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