Fright night

Rebel Reel Cine Club curates: films that’ll make you scream, cackle and howl
By Barry Pierce | Film+TV | 26 October 2023

It is officially spooky season and what better way to get in the mood than a marathon of classic horror movies? Instead of scrolling endlessly through every streaming service, film curation aficionado Rebel Reel Cine Club is here with a hand-picked selection of the best horror films to binge over the Halloween season. Popcorn advised… and a spare pair of underwear.

(Be sure to check out Rebel Reel Cine Club’s screening of The Wicker Man this Saturday – info at the bottom of the article.)

Suspiria, dir. Dario Argento, 1977

“The music in Suspiria is really loud and that’s because Dario Argento played the music really loud when it was being filmed to disturb the actors (even though they were then dubbed).

The colours are so very technicolor, but then there’s a significant amount of red splashed everywhere. Mrs Worthington, don’t put your daughter on the stage (or in a ballet school in a gothic building in Berlin mysteriously in a woods in a storm mainly at night). You couldn’t say Black Swan wouldn’t exist without Suspiria, but it certainly ate some crumbs from it.”



Donnie Darko, dir. Richard Kelly, 2001

“How can the world’s least scary rabbit mask seem so sinister? Yes, its bared teeth are horrific, but it’s the scale on Frank’s face… It’s just a bit of a weird out-front mask… for an out-there horror film. Jake Gyllenhaal gives his best James Dean and is more Harmony Korine in style than Korine’s Gummo (more rabbit ears here). But it was Richard Kelly who directed something that’s small-town Lynchian and sci-fi-y time-travelling with mind-bending mind-fuckery. The soundtrack is spot on, too (who can forget Gary Jules’ version of Mad World, it’s just so sad).”



The Wicker Man, dir. Robin Hardy, 1973

““It’s time for you to keep your appointment with The Wicker Man…” – er, no thank you all the same Lord Summerisle, I think I’d prefer to go join the naked maypolers. Edward Woodward has never been better (even in The Equaliser, with its disturbing credit sequence of the woman alone on a subway platform whilst he wanders around slowly in his extra thick overcoat).

This is Folk Horror at its best, from Britt Eckland’s provocative dance to Christopher Lee’s stiff but sinister Lord Summerisle. Check out some more slightly weird animal and fish masks (see Donnie Darko), is there something sinister about prominent masks that stand off the wearer’s face?”

(Head to Rebel Reel Cine Club’s The Wicker Man screening this Saturday and immerse yourself in the cult – naked mapole antics not advised in this weather)



The Blair Witch Project, dir. Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez, 1999

“I had to watch this in a cinema in Paris a year after it came out (as I thought the subtitles would make it seem less real and scary). Possibly one of the greatest marketing campaigns – is it real, is it not? You could almost get motion sickness from how it’s shot (said lame critics). Truly brilliant and again – don’t go into the woods!”



The Lighthouse, dir. Robert Eggers, 2019


“Robert Pattinson’s moustache. Willem Dafoe’s beard. The drinking. The lyrical dialogue. The tension. The threatening nakedness. The lighthouse. The seabirds. The storm. The monochrome darkness. DON’T KILL SEABIRDS! And don’t get caught on a tiny island in a massive storm with a madman!”



The Devil Rides Out, dir. Terence Fisher, 1968

“One of Hammer films’ finest. Yes, there’s a high level of camp, but there’s also proper sinister occult stuff going on. And yes, there’s a giant spider (which inexplicably terrified one of Rebel Reel’s audience members). The Goat of Mendes is actually pretty scary, like The Wicker Man it’s something of a period piece.”



The Omen, dir. Richard Donner, 1976

“”The poster said – “You have been warned… if something frightening happens to you today. Think about it… it may be … The Omen …”

That pesky kid –  there’s something of the devil about him…”



Berberian Sound Studio, dir. Peter Strickland, 2012

“Toby Jones is brilliant in this, slowly unfolding as a Foley artist (someone who makes sounds for films). What kind of film is he making sounds for?… Oh… No… NOT THAT!”



Rebel Reel Cine Club is showing The Wicker Man at Westwell Winery on Saturday, 28th October with a DJ set before, pizza and the newly harvested crop of wine – buy tickets here.

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