The Beginner’s Guide to Psycho Thrillers

Posted by Simply HE on

From Gaslight to Psycho, and Rosemary’s Baby to Duel, which of these creepy movies will you be watching on All Hallow’s Eve?

 

These dark films aren’t about frights in the night or killers lurking in the words. Oh no, no, no, these terrifying classics, recent blockbusters and forgotten gems will shake you up and leave you enthralled and squirming in discomfort. Sinister schemers, unreliable heroes and hair-raising twists are what make this Halloween inspired collection stand out from the crowd. But don’t worry it’s all in the mind…

 

The Wicker Man

The Wicker Man on DVD, starring Edward Woodward and Christopher Lee

Christopher Lee stars an enigmatic cult leader living on an island off the coast of Scotland. Arriving amongst the heathens is a moralistic lawman – played by the great Edward Woodward – who grapples with earthy temptations on his quest for the truth. Eccentrically cheerful and wildly bizarre, the film’s shocking finale devastates to the core.

 

Gaslight

One of the greatest British psychological thrillers, this grim tale of murder, abuse and lust is set in Victorian London. Diana Wynyard stars as a newlywed socialite in this menacing melodrama, slowly being driven mad by suavely sinister husband Anton Walbrook. The couple have moved into the lavish home of a wealthy woman, murdered 20 years ago.

 

Duel

Stephen Spielberg’s nail-biting thriller launched his career as a film maker. First made for US TV when he was in his early twenties his film, which was shot over two weeks and barely features any dialogue, became such an enormous hit it was released in cinemas across Europe. Dennis Weaver stars as a businessman driving across the Californian desert highway who is terrorised by a juggernaut with an anonymous driver at the wheel. This is Jaws in desert – once you’ve seen it, you’ll never forget it!

 

Black Swan

Psychological thriller set in the punishing world of the New York Ballet as the company prepares for its production of Swan Lake. Natalie Portman won the coveted Best Actress Oscar for her performance as Nina, who will stop at nothing to win the coveted lead role of the Swan Queen. A rival unleashes Nina’s dark demons and threatens her sanity as the film hurtles towards an exhilarating, disturbing finale.

 

Psycho

Psycho directed by Alfred Hitchcock, on DVD

Alfred Hitchcock’s most famous film still has the power to shock after all these years. Anthony Perkins gave a landmark performance as the deeply disturbed Norman Bates, who wins our compassion before terrorizing us. Lead actress Janet Leigh is famously killed out in an iconic, unforgettable shower scene. Bernard Herrmann was responsible for the iconic score.

 

Rosemary’s Baby

Mia Farrow and John Cassavetes star in Roman Polanski’s acclaimed story of a young newlywed couple in New York, who are expecting a baby. First-time mother Rosemary experiences fear and confusion in their eerie new apartment building, populated with a host of eccentric characters who are a little too interested in her pregnancy. Her husband, an ambitious but unsuccessful actor, befriends their neighbours causing isolation and increasing paranoia to slowly erode Rosemary’s fragile psyche. The film initiated a wave of satanic horror that spread throughout 1970’s cinema.

 

The Exorcist

The Exorcist film on DVD

Linda Blair and Ellen Burstyn star in the Oscar-winning masterpiece about the evil that seeps into everyday lives, that horrified the world. Even today, over 40 after it’s original release in 1973, the films horrific imagery, such as watching the possessed little girl masturbating with a crucifix and shouting obscenities, continues to shock.

 

The Shining

The Shining, starring Jack Nicholson, on DVD

Heeeere’s Johnny! Stanley Kubrick directs this chilling adaptation of the Stephen King shocker, starring Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall as Jack and Wendy Torrance, and set in a remote mountain hotel, now closed for the winter months. Whilst caretaking the place, Jack becomes aware of evil spirits haunting the corridors. The unrelenting menace of Kubrick’s movie continues to haunt audiences decades later – and features one of the most terrifying moments in horror cinema.

  

Rear Window

Rear Window, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, starring James Stewart, Grace Kelly, on DVD

James Stewart plays a photojournalist with a broken leg and a high-society girlfriend, Grace Kelly, in Alfred Hitchcock’s voyeuristic masterpiece. Confined to his apartment, he passes the time by watching the world outside his window through his camera lens and becomes convinced that the man living opposite him (Raymond Burr) has murdered his wife. He sends his girlfriend to investigate.

 

Rope

Rope, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, starring James Stewart, on DVD

James Stewart stars again in another Alfred Hitchcock classic, based on the real-life Leopold and Loeb case. Two college students are out to prove they can commit the perfect crime. They organise a cocktail party in a swanky New York apartment for a celebrated criminologist and the relatives of their victim, whose body is hidden in a trunk from which they serve the drinks.

 

Misery

Kathy Bates deservedly won the Best Actress Oscar for her dark performance as celebrity novelist James Caan’s ‘Number One Fan’. Rob Reiner’s brilliant adaptation of the Stephen King chiller takes obsession to new heights. Rescued from a devastating car-crash in the middle of nowhere, our writer finds himself being nursed by a fan. Unfortunately her devotion takes a psychopathic turn when she discovers he’s killed of her favourite character in his latest book. Lauren Bacall co-stars.

 

Wait… there’s more!

 

Memento

Guy Pearce stars in Christopher Nolan’s dazzling, mind-bending and highly original film about memory loss.

 

Shutter Island

Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo and Ben Kingsley star in Martin Scorsese’s gripping psychological crime thriller.

 

Silence of the Lambs

Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins star in this shocking thriller, winner of the Best Film Oscar.

 

Taxi Driver

Martin Scorsese’s groundbreaking psychological drama, with Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster and Harvey Keitel.

 

The Talented Mr Ripley

Matt Damon, Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow star in this Oscar winning adaptation psychological thriller, adapted from the bestselling novel by Patricia Highsmith.

 

Browse our Spooktacular collection of DVDs to make you shiver

 


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