To celebrate the spookiest day of the year, we reached out to handful of some of our favourite artists to ask them about the scary movies that they’ve never been able to shake.
If you’re still at a loose end for tonight, why not clear a bit of room behind the sofa and pop one of these flicks on? You’ll be sleeping with the lights on.
Frankie (Discwoman)Scream (1996)
I actually hate horror movies and hate feeling scared, which should be fine to say but people seem to be shocked when I say I don’t like them.
Part of the reason why I can’t be bothered now is because I was kind of a horror movie junkie as child and would watch the most disturbing cinema. I would say the film that has the most nostalgic value for me is Scream, which may be an uncreative choice but I remember being drawn in by the premise, basically: “Let’s kill off the white American picket fence people!”
It introduced me to satire. Whilst this movie is fucking creepy in terms of assault etc., it simultaneously felt like a fuck you to American norms in Hollywood, killing off Drew Barrymore – the blonde American sweetheart – in the first scene was revolutionary.
I watched it at a sleepover at my house when I was, like, ten. We were really in to horror movie marathons – Candyman, It, Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street – all the classics!
I really don’t know why we did this at such a young age, but just to destroy the theory that watching hyper-violence as a kid means you’ll do violent things: this is complete bullshit as the folks I watched this with now make crafts and work for the UN, amongst other things.
I think Scream taught me that you can literally make fun out of anything. It’s a horror movie that teaches you to laugh at yourself. It’s about disrupting American norms. However I don’t want to glorify this movie as it sexualises violence against women – often films that disrupt social norms also end up reaffirming them and this is one of those. It was a breakthrough piece but also can’t be considered a great movie due to its dependence on sexual violence, which is present in a lot of horror movies.
Joe (IDLES)The Blair Witch Project (1999)
My favourite horror movie is The Blair Witch Project. It was the first time I felt true empathy for the victims as the hand-held cameras felt so claustrophobic and their predicament so real.
I felt trapped in the cinema and I remember it sat with me for days. It was also the first website I ever went on. It took five minutes to load and I remember sitting patiently in the school library with my friend as we argued as to whether it was real or not. I think its verisimilitude is something that I strive for with my art. It’s one of the only horror films I’ve enjoyed because I prefer realism. I don’t like to escape with my art I like to believe it and live it. I want our audiences to believe our songs and feel trapped with me.
Blanck MassHellraiser (1987)
Hellraiser is my favourite horror movie. The symbolism, the bleakness, the uncompromising disregard for another’s life. It’s almost more depressing than it is scary.
The first time I saw it I must have been about eight years old. I was visiting my dad in Cambridge and he let us watch it one night whilst I was there. We hired out the video on Friday night, watched it on the Saturday night and went out to return it on Sunday. All was well.
Come Monday morning my stepmother was ready to do her morning workout. She opened the case to her Mr Motivator workout video only to find Clive Barker’s Hellraiser. Of course, the Mr Motivator workout video had gone back to the video store in place of Hellraiser. To this day I can’t decide which scenario is more terrifying.
I can’t say that the film itself had any impact on my music, but drama and narrative are two very important aspects in my work and horror movie soundtracks are often great examples of this.
Rina SawayamaRing (1998)
The Ring (the OG Japanese version) was the first horror movie I watched. I was, like, seven and I related to Sadako, she’s sad and never washes her hair.
I think it taught me never to trust Hollywood remakes of Asian classics. On a creative note I really want to recreate the TV scene in a music video – I tried to in a previous video but didn’t have the budget to make it look good.
Yxng BaneInsidious: Chapter 2 (2013)
Insidious 2! Oh my gosh, it’s the scariest film I’ve ever seen.
I went to watch it with my best mates and as soon as we left the cinema, we got into the car and saw a fox walk across the road. You know one of those foxes that oozes confidence? It was looking at me dead in the eyes as it was walking across the street and then our phone rang and we all just screamed. Someone was having a laugh with us that night.
I wouldn’t say I’m a massive horror fan – it reminded me to stick to action and comedies. Give me Goodfellas any day.
Zola JesusMartyrs (2008)
Though it’s impossible to choose, I’ll go with the French movie Martyrs (the original, not the remake), because it’s just so unique. It’s not so much about the traditional horror aspects that I love, but the philosophical undertones, which makes it so great.
I watched it for the first time several years ago, around when it came out. I was going on a horror binge, but this movie just stuck out. I became obsessed with it.
Seeing a cinematic interpretation of transcendence through martyrdom was pretty novel for me, and it brought so much clarity to my own philosophical ideas about what it means to feel and lean into pain. It resonated with me on so many levels. While I was making Okovi I was watching this film often, to remind myself of the power one can garner through pain.
SmokepurppA Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
A Nightmare on Elm Street! The first one. The concept was super crazy and the cinematography was fire.
I remember seeing it as a kid. I just remember that it was scary as fuck but the way it was shot was so raw, like I couldn’t stop watching. I’m not really sure [how it’s impacted me as an artist] but Freddy was mad persistent [laughs] so I guess he taught me to go hard and never give up!