It's St. Patrick's Day. And while your festive spirits may be dampened, you can still make the most of this Irish celebration by watching our five favorite Irish horror exports.
Though today's usual shenanigans are off the table, with many of the most popular celebrations cancelled — including guzzling green beer, donning bad leprechaun costumes, eating fish and chips at the pub, or even indulging in some blackout day drunk festivities — there's one way to celebrate that was made for the age of social distancing: watching movies!
Now is a great time to snuggle up in your best (hopefully green) pjs and pop in some Irish horror gems.
My grandfather came off the boat, so it’s always fun to catch up with horror films that remind me of my ancestral roots, even if a resurrected clown isn’t technically a part of that lineage. But hey, it’s my list, so here are FIVE IRISH HORROR FILMS TO WATCH IN HONOR OF ST. PATTY’S DAY.
5. GRABBERS (Dir. John Wright)
Though very much a comedy, John Wright’s horror/comedy GRABBERS is a film that feels eerily relevant to what’s going on in the world today. Following a group of people trying to survive during an alien invasion by drinking themselves into oblivion, GRABBERS is a hilarious ride and the film’s plot of alcohol being the only way to stop the outbreak is quite entertaining to watch.
There’s a lot to love about this one, the performances are great, the fx work is impressive and hey, who doesn’t want to pretend that the we can defeat monsters and aliens by getting sloshed?!
Give this one a watch, it’s currently available to experience on IFC FILMS UNLIMITED.
4. A DARK SONG (Dir. Liam Gavin)
This one is intense and unexpected, and holy hell, do I love it. The film revolves around an angry, grieving mother who enlists an occultist to help perform a series of rituals, in hopes of invoking an angel (or is demon…) to bring her deceased child back. Like every other playing god-heavy film, things naturally go south, and as viewers, we’re given some of the most memorable sequences in recent memory. This look at pain and grief is a good one, and though those themes were more embraced in films like THE BABADOOK, A DARK SONG really does an excellent job of showing how the quest to fill in those holes that loss leaves you with can be painfully dangerous.
Director Gavin crafted such a unique and viscerally heavy film with this one and it’s impossible to forget, once you’ve watched it. With each ritual, we know things are beginning to get worse and worse and that culmination of bad ritualistic choices allows you to finally watch a film that causes you to sometimes scream at your screen, giving you such a magical time.
A DARK SONG is currently available to watch via IFC FILMS UNLIMITED.
3. STITCHES (Dir. Conor McMahon)
If there was ever a film that SHOULD have kickstarted a hefty amount of sequels, Conor McMahon’s STITCHES is that film. There’s enough comedic horror and gore to rival the best of Freddy and the wackiest of Chucky exploits. Led by a one-liner heavy Ross Noble, the film follows a prank gone wrong, one that ends with a group of bratty kids accidentally killing a really bad clown. Soon after, the clown is resurrected by a group of shamanistic fellow clowns, and revenge is front and center for the remainder of the film.
The kills are gory as all hell, and there’s such irreverence to the film that it's impossible not to fall in love with the A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET-level of jokes/one liners and practical effects-heavy sequences. Noble is brilliant as the titular character, and the playful approach helps STITCHES play confidently alongside great horror/comedies, such as SHAUN OF THE DEAD or TUCKER AND DALE.
STITCHES is currently available to watch via Vudu or iTunes.
2. THE HALLOW (Dir. Corin Hardy)
2015’s THE HALLOW quickly showed audiences how much of a force to be reckoned with filmmaker Corin Hardy was. A visionary director who plans so much of his films himself, Hardy crafted an entire book of art and drawings to prep for this tale, which tells the story of a conservationist who moves his wife and baby to a small remote Irish village, a decision that leads to everything from body horror to creatures, faeries and more. It’s no wonder the filmmaker was soon tapped to helm bigger horror films like THE NUN (and the failed production reboot of THE CROW), following this one.
THE HALLOW is a visual feast, a film that you simply cannot take your eyes off of. The tonal shift from being a relationship drama to a full on horror heavy, body horror gem of a film is a fun one to experience. It catches you off guard in the best of ways.
THE HALLOW is available to watch via IFC FILMS UNLIMITED.
1. CITADEL (Dir. Ciaran Foy)
Inspired by a real life attack that left director Foy afraid to leave his residence for a while, CITADEL is a great example of telling a very intense, well-crafted horror thriller, all within a single location. It follows a young man who is terrified to leave his apartment, after living through an attack that left his pregnant wife severely beaten and eventually taken off of life support. Having to come to terms with his agoraphobia to help save his infant daughter, the man is stalked by a group of ghoulish hooded thugs. It's a surreal, yet very relatable horror ride.
Foy’s knack for some of the most unique camera work since Sam Raimi’s THE EVIL DEAD is on full display in this on. And though his follow up, 2015’s SINISTER II, didn’t hit audiences as much as it should (it’s awesome), Foy’s expertly planned shots and great visual aesthetics are always a pleasure to see.
CITADEL is available to watch via Amazon Prime.
Written by Jerry Smith, Morbidly Beautiful