I love Halloween! A bowl of sweets by the door, a carved pumpkin, a plastic skeleton dangling from the lights, the street full of teeny tiny witches buzzing on too much Haribo… good times. Okay, it isn’t classy, but it’s the best hellish fun. Once the ‘trick or treat’ visitors have gone home to bed, I like to settle down with a classic horror film, here are some of the best…
Whatever Happened to Baby Jane (1962). Bette Davis and Joan Crawford were coaxed out of retirement to make this twisted gothic tale of an aging child star and her crippled sister. The stars were, in real life, at each others’ throats throughout filming, so the physical swipes and rough treatment we see in the film was (by all accounts) for real. Bette created her own ghoulish make up for the role, a horribly unflattering slash of dark lipstick that spawned a zillion drag queen take downs.
Psychomania (1973). A motorcycle gang take turns to commit suicide in order to return from the grave as The Living Dead. Classic British horror, filmed in the countryside local to Shepperton Studios with an atmospheric stone circle to add to the gothic air. Very much of its time with a curiously dated quality that adds to its charm.
Harold and Maude (1971). Not a horror exactly but a dark romantic comedy. Harold (20) and Maude (79) share a peculiarly joyful romance, joined in their mutual appreciation of funerals, cemeteries and driving around in a hearse. Deliciously dark yet strangely life affirming.
Wicker Man (1973). Edward Woodward investigates the case of a missing schoolgirl on a remote Scottish island. Christopher Lee is Lord Summerisle leading the islanders in pagan celebrations to ensure bountiful harvests. I defy you not to shiver as the islanders gather around the burning wicker man to sing together at the film’s close. Bleak British horror at its most sinister.
The Uninvited (1944). Serious gooseflesh here. A black and white classic, filmed in America but set in Cornwall and featuring a veritable tick box list of spooky goings in including a big house with inexplicably draughty stairs and a chilly artist’s studio, séances, a sanatorium, and a spirit that wants to draw you towards the cliffs… Oh, and Edith Head designed the costumes.
Dawn of the Dead (1978). George A. Romero is the king of zombie films and this is probably the best of them. Inadvertently funny in places, but still tension filled. That piped muzak in Dawn of the Dead always runs through my mind whenever I set foot in one of those huge, awful shopping malls. Full of identikit shops selling all the same stuff to people who all look the same. Urgh! That is really terrifying, I think you’ll agree? Instead, I am going to buy retro dresses online, perusing the virtual shelves of delectable vintage-inspired clothing with my feet up and a bowl of Halloween candy within reach.
With the work of Mr Romero in mind I may go for the dreadfully gorgeous Night of the Living Dead 50s style pencil dress; total flesh-eating glamour. Staying Alive, a halterneck zombie pencil dress adorned with decaying zombie heads is another perfect number for Halloween. Both dresses are made using high quality cotton and are designed to be a good close fit (so check the sizing information carefully when you order). What more do you need? Well, our Seize the Night Skull Ring and Rockabilly Style Skull Earrings will add the finishing touches to your fiendish look. Happy Halloween!