The horror movies effectively center around the dark side of life, the forbidden, strange and alarming events. They are designed to invoke the hidden fears of the individuals, while captivating and entertaining at the same time in a cathartic experience. The Indian horror movies are generally Gothic in style, that is, they are usually set in spooky old mansions, fog-shrouded, dark, and shadowy locales. “They often feature scenes that startle the viewer through the means of macabre and the supernatural”.
1. The first real horror movie in the world of Indian cinema was Kamal Amrohi’s ‘Mahal’ in 1949. Mahal deals with the subject of reincarnation. This one probably scared the shit out of your daddy as well your dada. Even with minimalistic effects this film has continued to haunt audiences for decades. Proving it to be a major box office hit.
2. Kohraa (1964), this horror movie was an adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s 1938 novel Rebecca and was later adapted on screen by Alfred Hitchcock’s Academy Award-winning film with the same name. Many believe that the then Indian adaptation was better than Hitchcock’s. Watch this movie for its famous climax scene.
3. Ramsay brothers were uncrowned kings of hindi horror movies by giving one blockbuster after another, like ‘Purana Mandir’, ‘Dak Bangla’ and of course their best ‘Veerana’ (1985). It’s a story about an evil witch, who is being captured by the Thakur brothers after being seduced. The witch is killed by hanging in public but, a black magician preserved her body. Eventually the spirit possessed the body of Thakur’s niece, the femme fatale soon embarks upon a fatal rampage.
4. From the black and white ages with movies such as ‘Bees Saal Baad’ and ‘Madhumati’, which have a lot of scary innuendos punched into the primarily romantic plot settings.
5. ‘Raat’ came in 90s and Ram Gopal Verma set out to make the mother of all horror flicks. The movie has some scary moments, like the scene where the two arms pierce the wall and strangles the protagonist. Great acting, good plot and a thrilling end makes this one a treat.
6. With increasing exposure to Hollywood classics in the horror world, raised the expectations of the audience. The Indian cinema was presented with another horror flick by Vikram Bhatt after a decade of the last horror treat with ‘Raaz’. Where a married couple makes a last attempt to save their marriage and visits a fog shrouded, shadowy, spooky farm house and is greeted by evil spirit, trying to kill them. Again, the music and good acting save the movie from being lost in oblivion. Bipasha Basu was nominated in the best actress category in the film fare award.
7. Then came another macabre flick from Ram Gopal Verma, ‘Bhoot’. Here a couple buys a flat in surprisingly cheap rate in a prime location, unknowingly it being a haunted flat, where the mother committed suicide after murdering her son. And the saga continues.
8. One of the recent movie ‘1920’ abounds in every cliché, expected of a horror film but what sets it apart from the others is the sheer artistic finesse with which the frames have been done, chills guaranteed! 13 B (2009)comes packed to the rafters with spine-tingling chills and scares. It doesn’t completely depend on a spooky background score or weird camera angles to deliver the chills. With a strong script and an ensemble cast the job to perfection is done.
9. Another creepy film churned out by Ram Gopal Varma’s Factory, ‘Phoonk’ deals with the practice of black magic. RGV had so much faith in his film that he promised to offer Rs 5 lakhs to anyone who would watch the film alone in the theatre and not run out scared.
10. Alone (2015) movie was another horror flick starring Karan Singh Grover and Bipasha Basu. This is latest one to bring out goosebumps to you. A story of two conjoined twins and one man in their life. This movie made Bipasha and Karan together for lifetime as well.
Wrapping it up, Clive Barker very well describe the making of horror movies, when he says, “Some people think that horror films are some sort of second class film making and only way to bypass that thinking is being proud of the fact that we do it.” It is fact that the creepiness and fear invocation can only work with proper execution. With numerous horror movies from different languages only a few survive to achieve a milestone.