Sunday 22 July 2018

Ireland's Best (and Worst) Horror Movies

As Halloween approaches Kirsty Blake Knox looks at some of Ireland's best -- and worst -- contributions to the horror film genre

Whatever way you look at it, some truly frightful movies have come out of this country.

Here are some of the fangtastic and box office horrors...

Dementia 13 is -- with justice -- considered to be one of the great Francis Ford Coppola's lesser-known works.

Fresh out of film school, Coppola spent nine days at Ardmore studios shooting a drama that was loosely inspired by there work of Alfred Hitchcock.

The film focused on a eccentric family living in an old castle.

On a romantic boat trip, John and Louise Haloran get into a domestic. John has a fatal heart attack and Louise does what any rational wife would do in the circumstances: she throws him overboard.

Suspicions about his fate arise, but Louise takes care of prying relatives and police men by slaughtering them with an axe.

Dementia 13.jpg

Neil Jordan's High Spirits is a bit like Ireland's answer to Ghostbusters. But without any of the wit or Bill Murray's deadpan delivery.

Peter O'Toole hopes to save his ancestral seat by pretending it's haunted, only for real spectres to emerge from the woodwork and mingle with his American visitors.

It may have received scathing reviews, but it's worth watching for Liam Neeson's performance -- which is eerily compelling.

In the last few years there has been a real resurgence in Irish horror films -- both good and bad.

Conor McMahon is carving out a name for himself as one of Ireland's leading horror directors. His first film in this genre was Dead Meat; the story of a BSE-infected cow who escapes slaughter, and runs around Leitrim biting people and turning them into flesh-eating zombies.

He also directed creepy slasher Stitches starring comedian Ross Noble. The film was described as being a cross between Nightmare On Elm Street and The Inbetweeners.

The 2005 film Isolation is another bovine-based horror film. (What have these guys got against cows?)

Set on a remote farm, it tells the story of genetic experiments gone wrong. A cash-strapped farmer agrees to be part of an experiment to increase the fertility of his livestock, but it creates murderous mutant bovine foetuses.

It's sort of an Irish Alien, only with heifers instead of monsters from outer space.

Samantha Mumba was the star of 2005 horror schlock horror Boy Eats Girl. The movie had an impressive cast, and was directed by Deirdre O'Kane's talented husband Stephen Bradley, but failed to deliver any real bite.


In 2007, the trippy horror film Shrooms hit Irish theatre screens.

A group of American students visit Ireland, heading to the hills to road test magic mushrooms.

It sounds like a great idea but -- surprise, surprise -- when one of these crazy kids goes missing, it isn't such a fun trip. The movie, didn't receive great reviews and flopped at the box office.


The 2011 film Wake Wood is deeply depressing and a little bit deadly. The parents of a girl who was killed by a savage dog are granted the opportunity to spend three days with their deceased -- but revived -- daughter.

The pagan pact goes horribly wrong when they refuse to return their child to the underworld.

Eva Birthistle and Aidan Gillen star as the extremely attractive couple in this macabre, but somewhat predictable tale.

Aidan Gillen

Grabbers is filled with islanders, bloodsucking aliens and upstanding members of An Garda Siochana getting badly pissed.

A small island off the west coast is invaded by bloodsucking alien. It should be a case for concern. But those quick witted inhabitants/alcoholics soon discover that getting drunk is the only way to survive.

Released last year, Love/Hate star Ruth Bradley won an IFTA for her role in the movie, but otherwise this flick was another damp squib.



The Eclipse is one of the most sophisticated horror films to come out of Ireland.

Directed by Conor MacPhearson, the supernatural drama was filmed in west Cork and screened at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2010.

This is beautifully shot, but, perhaps, a little confusing, and with no bloody slasher scenes is a bit of an anti-climax.

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