Top 5 Home Invasion Horror Films, by Kate Voss
Halloween’s around the corner, and what better way to spend it than watching intruder horror flicks when you’re home alone? Home invasion films are exactly as the name implies: movies that feature a killer breaking into the protagonist’s home as a major plot device. Films like these are often hailed as the most frightening films in the horror genre, and for good reason. Here are our top five home invasion horror movie picks for a terrifying Halloween movie night:
5. When a Stranger Calls
First on our list is the 1979 horror classic When a Stranger Calls. Inspired by the urban legend “The Babysitter and the Man Upstairs,” it was a very financially successful film, grossing nearly $22 million at the box office, although it was met with mixed reception from critics. The story features Jill Johnson (played by Carol Kane), a teenager who is babysitting a wealthy doctor’s children when she receives anonymous calls from a man asking if she has checked on the children. The calls persist and are eventually revealed to be coming from inside the home. The film was remade in 2006 with Camilla Belle playing Jill.
4. Black Christmas
Next on our list is Black Christmas, a 1976 Canadian film that is considered to have helped make slasher films what they are today. Set in Quebec around Christmas time, the film focuses on a group of sorority sisters who are stalked and killed off one by one by a killer whose identity is never revealed. The screenplay, which was supposedly based on an actual string of murders in Quebec, emphasizes a creepy atmosphere over kill count to deliver the chills. Like When a Stranger Calls, Black Christmas also received a 2006 remake starring Katie Cassidy and Mary Elizabeth Winstead which will also have you reconsidering your current home security systems (hint, locks may not be enough!).
3. Funny Games
Next is 2007’s Funny Games by Michael Haneke, an English-language remake of his 1997 Austrian film of the same name. Haneke has stated that Funny Games is a criticism of how the media makes violence and cruelty seem amusing – and it shows in the film. Ann Farber (played by Naomi Watts), her husband George (Tim Roth), and their son and dog head to their lake house. Shortly after arriving, they are held hostage and tormented by two young psychopaths whose real motives are never made known.
2. Wait Until Dark
1968’s Wait Until Dark is an interesting selection in this list, as it’s not an actual horror film in terms of plot, but has some truly terrifying moments. It also features a disabled protagonist who manages to survive the situation she is thrust in. Susy Hendrix (Audrey Hepburn), a woman made blind by a car accident, is left alone in her apartment and is terrorized by three men who are in search of a cocaine-filled doll that her husband accidentally obtained. The most terrifying moment of the film is the climax, when the whole apartment is slowly plunged into darkness.
Finally, the number one spot on our list goes to John Carpenter’s classic 1978 film Halloween. Halloween is hailed as one of the most terrifying movies in existence, and it doesn’t rely on excessive violence or gore to provide that effect. The film features Michael Myers (Tony Moran), as one of the most iconic horror film antagonists, and is also Jamie Lee Curtis’s acting debut, where she plays the heroine, Laurie Strode. What makes the film so disturbing is Myers himself, his backstory and how the film makes clear in the beginning and throughout that Myers is a person worthy of being called “Evil Incarnate.”