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Top 10 British Horror Movies


Written by Richard Bush We Brits are pretty good at the old horror thing. Welcome to WatchMojo UK and today we’ll be counting down the Top 10 British Horror Movies. For this list we are looking at the most iconic, influential and nightmare-inducing horror films that were either based in Britain, feature a predominantly British cast or were spearheaded by a British studio. Oh, and we’re excluding any spoof films like “Shaun of the Dead” as well. So grab a nearby pillow to hide behind and someone’s hand to squeeze - this is going to get scary. Special thanks to our users ninou78, Ashley Birks and mrstephen3490 for submitting the idea on our interactive suggestion tool: WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Top 10 British Horror Movies


We Brits are pretty good at the old horror thing. Welcome to WatchMojo UK and today we’ll be counting down the Top 10 British Horror Movies.

For this list we are looking at the most iconic, influential and nightmare-inducing horror films that were either based in Britain, feature a predominantly British cast or were spearheaded by a British studio. Oh, and we’re excluding any spoof films like “Shaun of the Dead” as well. So grab a nearby pillow to hide behind and someone’s hand to squeeze - this is going to get scary.

#10: “Eden Lake” (2008)


Lakeside breaks can be a tranquil experience - except when they’re not, of course, and you get terrorised by a group of evil kids. Looking for a little quiet time alone, travelling couple Steve and Jenny get neither as they end up on the wrong side of a group of violent youths. Going from juvenile bickering to graphic torture in no time, “Eden Lake” is a perfect example of superior writing over blockbuster budget, with a twisting and turning plot that unpredictably boils from start to finish.

#9: “Village of the Damned” (1960)


More insidious youngsters next, although these are a bit more reserved, on the surface anyway. When all the women in a village mysteriously fall pregnant and give birth to rapidly-growing blonde-haired children, something’s clearly not right. With haunting, glowing eyes and telekinetic powers, the emotionless kids begin to play puppetmaster to the local residents, forcing them to do things against their will. A great example of big trouble in a little town, and merging classic horror characteristics with sci-fi, the “Village of the Damned” is a framework often emulated, but never quite matched.

#8: “Peeping Tom” (1960)


If you’re after textbook tension, then “Peeping Tom” is as good as it gets. Following the disturbed journey of Mark Lewis, a wannabe documentary filmmaker with an affinity for stalking and murdering women, there’s enough long silences, distant stares and first person action to put any seasoned horror fan on the edge of their seat. It proves that tension alone can accomplish great things. And after watching it, you’ll be checking every unlit corner, open window and parked car when walking down the street.

#7: “The Haunting” (1963)


For all those jump scare nay sayers out there, “The Haunting” is a go-to example of how psychological terror can reign supreme. Based around a group of psychics who visit the dreaded and supposedly haunted Hill House, it’s a film that induces an unnerving type of tension that creeps up on you without you realising it. A gloomy score, eerie laughter hidden in the walls, dramatic zooms, it’s a horror how-to for atmospheric scares - and something that was remade in 1999 - much to the displeasure of pretty much everyone.

#6: “28 Days Later” (2002)


The zombie scene has been done to death, but 2002’s “28 Days Later” strips away it's Hollywood robes and delivers something unpolished, uncompromising and undead. Brilliantly directed by Danny Boyle, it plonks us in the hospital pumps of Jim, a coma patient who wakes up 28 days after a deadly virus ravages London. There’s moments where nothing really happens, but it’s that exact mundanity that makes this take on the zombie apocalypse realistic and horrifying. Forget elaborately holding up in a shopping mall, we’d take the safety of a flat any day.

#5: “Dracula” (1958)


Veteran villains like Frankenstein and the Wolfman have got extensive horror movie back catalogues, but it’s 1958’s “Dracula” starring Christopher Lee that gets our vote. Although packed full of popular vampire tropes, this is a film that manages to dodge any cheesiness typical of the time. Instead, it instills memorable moments of terror thanks to the imposing performance of Lee as the caped blood-sucker. A film that fuelled a series of Lee-led Dracula additions, it’s not just an iconic British horror film, it is one of cinema’s most significant films full stop.

#4: “The Descent” (2005)


This is one of those “surely that character can’t die” kind of films, with a gang of friends slowly being picked off by monsters while exploring some caves. Sure, there have been many similar films over the years, but “The Descent” gets the balance just right; not too many jump scares, or too much action, and plenty of eerie silences to leave you hanging. There's also strong performances from its all-female cast and an unnerving claustrophobia to its setting, thanks to its constantly changing labyrinth-like pathways.

#3: “Don't Look Now” (1973)


Accidental drowning, resurrection, the afterlife - just some of the themes of the Nicolas Roeg-directed masterpiece “Don’t Look Now”. Starring Donald Sutherland as John Baxter, a grieving father who begins to believe that his recently deceased daughter may still be alive, it’s an unrelenting thrill ride that entertains just as much as it saddens and petrifies. Together with its genius camerawork and chilling soundtrack, it has cemented its place among the select group of uber realistic horrors of British cinema. It is raw, emotional anguish at its best.

#2: “The Innocents” (1961)”


Picture the aforementioned “The Haunting” mixed with “Village of the Damned” and you get 1961’s “The Innocents”. Starring leading lady Deborah Kerr, a woman employed to teach two orphans at a creepy Victorian home, she soon finds herself paranoid that something supernatural is going on and that the kids have something to do with it. Frantically changing direction, it’s a perfect example of a gothic horror and how simple ingredients can result in genuine fear-inducing visuals. You’ll be hearing laughter in the night after watching this.

Before we reeval our top pick, here are a few honourable mentions.

“Repulsion” (1965)

“An American Werewolf in London” (1981)

“Hellraiser” (1987)

#1: “The Wicker Man” (1973)


Horror, psychological thriller, mystery - “The Wicker Man” is a shapeshifting classic revered everywhere for its contentious themes of religion and its twisting plot that sees a police officer swallowed up by a strange, close-knit society. Starring heavyweights Christopher Lee and Edward Woodward, it’s tough at times to understand exactly why it makes you feel uneasy, and that’s part of its terrifying charm. Disturbing mid-day rituals and freaky locals, it’s a film that has aged for the better - and we think it’s only going to get creepier as the years go on.
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