One of the great things about horror movies is that they offer a universal experience. No matter where you go in the world, the same things are considered scary, which is why great horror movies are made all over the world. Today we’re going to be focusing on ones made or produced in Ireland, so if you’re looking for a fright, try one of these out.
The Sleep of Death
The Sleep of Death was released in 1980 and was written and directed by Calvin Floyd. It’s often described as a Swedish-Irish film, thanks to the prevalence of Swedish cast members. The film is based on the 1872 novella The Room in the Dragon Volant and is sometimes called The Inn of the Flying Dragon, in reference to the title of the novella. The story follows a young Englishman called Colonel Gaillard, played by Per Oscarsson, who goes to France to pursue a woman, Countess St Alyre, played by Curd Jurgens. Once in France, Gaillard starts to experience supernatural events as a series of murders occur. It’s well worth a watch for its spooky storyline. If you enjoy this kinds of settings, why not try the immortal romance game? It’s a slot with a similar storyline with spooky elements about a man chasing the love of a woman.
While The Sleep of Death was a supernatural horror, Rawhead Rex is more of a fantasy horror film based on Clive Barker’s book of the same name. Barker was brought on to write the film with director George Pavlou and producers Don Hawkins and Kevin Attew. Released in 1986, the 90-minute movie follows the story of Howard Hallenbeck, played by David Dukes, who goes back to Ireland with his wife Elaine, played by Kelly Piper, to research significant religious artefacts. However, when a stone column is removed from the ground, it awakens an ancient creature called Rawhead, who wreaks havoc on the town.
A more modern film, Byzantium is a vampire film which debuted in 2012 at the Toronto Film Festival to positive reviews. The idea is based on the book, A Vampire Story by writer Moira Buffini. The film stars Gemma Arterton and Saoirse Ronan as Clara Webb and Eleanor Webb, a mother and daughter duo harbouring a dark secret. They seek shelter at a local resort in town, but as word starts to spread of their dark secret, their past catches up to them with deadly consequences.
A Dark Song
Released in 2016, A Dark Song is the feature-length directorial debut of Liam Gavin, who made the jump to horror movies after directing and writing a series of short films. The film follows Sophia Howard, played by Catherine Walker, who moves to rural Wales after her son’s death to convince Joseph Solomon, played by Steve Oram, to put her through a rite to summon her guardian angel in an effort to contact her son. However, things do not go smoothly for the pair, as it’s revealed that Sophia harbours a dark secret that she is reluctant to share.
The Hole in the Ground
The final and most recent film on our list is The Hole in the Ground, directed by Lee Cronin and released in 2019. Cronin also wrote the screenplay alongside Stephen Shields. The story is about a young woman called Sarah O’Neill, played by actress Seana Kerslake, and her son Chris, played by actor James Quinn Markey, as they move to the Irish countryside. Shortly after their arrival, Sarah spots a mysterious sinkhole in the forest. She starts to suspect her son’s increasingly disturbing behaviour may be linked to the sinkhole’s sudden appearance. After Chris goes missing and suddenly reappears, Sarah begins to have even more questions about what’s happening with her son and the sinkhole.
The fantastic range of films we’ve covered just goes to show how many great horror films there are. We’ve only just begun to scratch the surface of Irish horror films, not to mention all the fantastic horror films from other cultures that are available to watch! We’re truly living in the golden age of horror films.