A lot can be said about the horror genre, from it being a low-budget affair with some truly terrible films to it including some of the best examples of cinema the world has to offer. Horror certainly isn’t for everyone, after all, some people don’t like being scared, or don’t enjoy the sight of blood, even on television. But for those that love horror, here are five ageless horrors that’ll never get old…
Director Alfred Hitchcock is a master of cinema and is considered one of the best at creating a sense of dread and tension in otherwise simple scenes. Psycho is a masterclass in many things, but dread and tension are two of the main facets of this film that’ll stick out to you on every watch.
Opening the film following a young woman who’s stolen a lot of money and is now on the run, the audience is tricked into thinking she’s the main protagonist, before pulling the rug from beneath our feet with that shower scene, which some sixty-plus years later, is still referenced and parodied in many of today’s horrors.
Many horror films will throw in a small twist or otherwise eerie scene right before the credits roll, and Hitchcock’s version of this in Psycho will chill you to the bone. As the film comes to a close, the film centers on Norman Bates, before he looks directly at the camera and as an extension us, the audience, slipping into his mother’s persona with a terrifying smirk creeping across his face.
The Exorcist (1973)
A mother believes her daughter has been possessed and asks her local priest for help, who in turn brings in an exorcist. What follows is a rollercoaster of scares, body horror, levitation, and an impressive amount of vomit.
The ageless horror will be getting a rebooted sequel next year, helmed by the same creative behind the recent Halloween trilogy, and even bringing back some of the original cast. Whether it can capture the same magic the first had is another matter, as it isn’t particularly easy as proven by the sub-standard sequels that followed the original.
An ageless horror sparking a franchise that just came to an ‘end’ this year with Halloween Ends, the original Halloween is a completely different beast to what we’ve been treated to in recent times. The more recent films are more stylistic, gory, and action-filled, whilst the original could be described as a slow burner that makes us wait for the payoff. Don’t get me wrong, the original is a classic, hence its inclusion here, and arguably far better than the majority of the future entries into the franchise, but it is a different type of horror compared to what we have now.
Even so, it is fantastic. The sense of inevitability and foreboding as we see Michael stalking Laurie, cutting through the innocent people between her and him in an attempt to get what he wants… her. This is a revenge fantasy that stretches over multiple films, and with each attempt at getting her brings another more convoluted way Michael survives. The original keeps it simple in that regard. Walk. Kill people. Hunt Laurie. Attack Laurie. Die. If you ignore the rest of the films, it’s a fantastic sole-standing horror.
Famously the chest-bursting scene during the film where John Hurt’s character dies, unleashing a fresh hell of alien life on the unsuspecting crew of the space ship was kept a secret from the rest of the cast, so the reactions you see on screen are genuine, as they weren’t expecting it.
This is a microcosm of what Alien was and to this day still is, with the whole film going from one unexpected story beat to the next. The film was so bad upon release that people vomited and left the cinema early, unable to deal with the scares in front of them. Whilst that may seem odd nowadays, we’re all spoiled with trailers, spoilers, and more about the latest films, and even as a child I knew about Alien and the chest-bursting before I’d seen it. The film is fantastic in every sense, from the way it looks and sounds, to the design of the Xenomorph and more.
The Shining (1980)
Stanley Kubrick is a filmmaker of his time that perhaps wouldn’t have fared so well today, with famously problematic methods for drawing the best performances from his actors. That said, there’s no taking away from the fantastic experience that watching The Shining is.
Another ageless horror that is still talked about to this day, and constantly parodied all-over-the place in a multitude of different mediums, the film follows Jack Nicholson as he takes his family to an isolated hotel with an incredibly violent past. Weird goings on occur of course, and between hallucinations, things moving and more, the patriarch of the family begins to lose his mind, eventually going after the ones he loves the most.
Unlike many of the horror films produced and released today, it’s fair to say many of these listed here will still be talked about for decades to come, making them some of the best ageless horrors that’ll never get old.