10 British Horrors You Should Have in Your Collection

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I know there is a huge list of films made in the United Kingdom that you should own and probably already do if you are a horror fan, but I as I was bored I thought I’d come up with ten random films just to highlight some of the diverse choices that are available.  I’ve not listed them in any level of importance, so no worrying that I listed one before the other:

  • Lifeforce

A race of space vampires arrive in London from Haley’s comet and infect the city.  Need I say more? I could point out that Mathilda May is beautiful and most memorable vampires ever put on-screen, I could point out Patrick Stewart stars in it and that it’s directed by Tobe Hooper or I could just point out that there are not many films that feature a full-scale vampire plague set in London.  There are many other reasons to recommend this film but I’ll leave you to discover them yourself.

  • Death Line aka Raw Meat

Death Line also known as Raw Meat is a film that taps into a fear American Werewolf in London poked at too, as did Creep.  Subway systems in any country have that big dark hole where the trains rush through where there is an invisible world of tunnels.  Death Line proposes the idea of cannibals living in the tunnels, and late night workers and travellers are being dragged off to become lunch.  Donald Pleasance as the cocky Inspector Calhoun and Christopher Lee as a shady MI5 agent just add to the craziness of the movie.

  • Dog Soldiers

I could have listed American Werewolf in London here instead of Dog Soldiers but then I’d actually question you about why you don’t have that in your collection already? Dog Soldiers is a werewolf film that is more British than American Werewolf in London, it has soldiers and football in it for one thing.  Add Sean Pertwee to the mix and director Neil Marshall and you’ve got one of the best modern werewolf movies in a while.

  • Sightseers

I could have put Kill List here but Sightseers is a movie that needs just as much of a focus on it.  Murder, caravans, dog training and museums it’s the typical British holiday (maybe not the killing part).  Cleverly written and darkly funny I know it could be argued that this is not in fact a horror, but I’ve decided there is enough blood in it for me to be able to include it on this list.  If you don’t agree then get Kill List instead.

  • The Descent

This movie is important to British horror as it’s arguably the one that made us sit up and take notice to just how good Neil Marshall is at making horror films.  Marshall set up the characters perfectly for us to like them and care about them, and share in their secrets then he stuck them in underground caves and made them fight for their lives.  It’s dark, it had a perfect balance between drama and horror and it’s one that remains as watchable today as when it was first released.

  • 28 days Later

“They’re not zombies they aren’t dead” …so what, this is arguably one of the best zombie style films of recent history and yes, we can debate on whether the Rage infected people are zombies or not, or what an actual zombie is, or we can just enjoy a well-made horror film.  I know what my choice is and why I put it on this list.

  • Shaun of the Dead

Do I mention Shaun of the Dead because of The World’s End coming soon? Or because it’s the first part of the Cornetto Trilogy? No, I mention Shaun of the Dead because it’s a damn fine horror movie that was made by people who love zombie films.  It broke no rules, it made us laugh and most of all it’s one of the most fun films based on dead people you can probably find.

  • Brides of Dracula

I had to have some Hammer in this list and honestly I could fill this list with them.  What I chose to do though was to pick the Hammer film that can sometimes be overlooked.  When Hammer made a sequel to Dracula and left out Christopher Lee that was a huge risk and sometimes this does feel like the ignored Dracula movie.  Peter Cushing is excellent reprising his role as Van Helsing and David Peel is both seductive and intimidating as Baron Meinster, a true classic Hammer movie that should be loved more than it is.

  • Severance

Team building sucks, I’ve done these courses before and experiences just how much they sucked.  Imagine being one on one with Danny Dyer though? Surprisingly, not as bad as it would seem as he’s good in Severance.  Writer James Moran has had quite a good run lately with Cockneys vs. Zombies and Tower Block but it’s arguably his screenplay and Christopher Smith’s direction that makes this film work and strangely enough Danny Dyer’s comic acting that comes across as quite likeable.  My favourite scene will always be Andy Nyman and the swimming pool though, I won’t spoil it just watch it.

  • The Wicker Man

I would say that The Wicker Man is one of my favourite horror movies of all time.  The merging of music and Hammer-esque horror created a magic on-screen that has not been replicated, and that includes in a remake and sequel.  Edward Woodward gave a stand-out performance in scenes that people rarely forget, and we can’t forget Christopher Lee dancing around dressed as a woman now can we? With an appeal for missing footage now under-way there is also a rare chance we could get to see an uncut version of the film in the future, but it would seem there is only a very slim chance as the legendary additional footage is said to be buried under the M25 motorway.

So, do you agree that these are ten British films you should have in your collection? I know there are very many more that should be there too, and probably deserve a place on the list more but what I’ve done is tried to create a balance between classic horror and modern, to show how diverse the genre is in the United Kingdom.  I’d be interested to see if you have any more choices, or don’t agree with me…or even want to bitch that I’ve listed a movie that can’t be said to be a British film, it’s always interesting to get other people’s views on this.

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