There’s something about fashion that continues to scare people silly, and nowhere is this more obvious than in our favourite horror flicks. Clothing is a powerful tool for directors and actors alike and often the costumes are another character in their own right. It let’s us know who’s bad, who’s good or the real question on everyone’s minds going into a horror flick: who’s going to stab who? We’ve picked 7 of the most fashionable horror films to beg the question, is fashion the real monster?
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Catherine Deneuve + David Bowie. Be honest, can you think of a more elegant duo? They’re truly untouchable, (and by that we mean they’re waxen, hundred year old killers). While their relationship might not stand the test of time – throwback to when Catherine imprisons Bowie in an old coffin in her attic because he’s started ageing (boo hoo) – their incredible 80’s runway looks still give us chills. Think black leather jackets meets Saint Laurent designed pin-dotted skirt suits and fascinator veils plus gold statement jewellery. Top it all off with glamorous red lips, dark eye shadows and slick, sculpted coiffures and you’ve got cinema’s best-dressed vampires.
Roman Polanski is known for his meticulous attention to symbolic detail in his film, especially in his classic story featuring the spawn of Satan, from which Mia Farrow’s 60’s mod looks and Twiggy-inspired haircut have become iconic. Farrow sports short, round, shapeless patterned dresses in yellow, blue and white, and dowdy robes that make her look like a waifish little girl who definitely couldn’t pose a threat to any satanic cult. Not to mention all the gingham and soft colours only added to our shock levels at the end. Poor Rosemary really never stood a chance.
One of 2016’s most controversial art house films (yes, people really did stand up and leave at Cannes, cannibal supermodels aren’t for everyone). We were never quite sure about provocateur Nicolas Winding Refn’s love/hate relationship with the fashion industry but one thing’s for sure: the ensembles in his latest flick are killer. Refn worked with costume director Erin Benach to create editorial worthy looks with bold pieces from Armani, Giles and Saint Laurent that mesh perfectly with the film’s lighting and photography. The screen is a sea of metallic, shimmering, cobalt blues and pinks, just see that custom-made Giles gown, embellished with Swarovski crystals (of course).
If you’ve ever wondered about the powerful psychology of clothing, look no further than Edith Head’s (Hitchcock’s go to, 100% brilliant costume designer) styling of Kim Novak’s character Madeleine / Judy in cult classic Vertigo, and one of the most convincing portrayals of two different women. For Madeleine, the designer played on the heroine’s ghostly, mysterious (but always glam) vibes with pieces like that tailored, stark grey suit, the long white coat with the upturned collar, and dark, silk evening dresses. Judy on the other hand, was dressed in boldly coloured, patterned, form defining blouses and skirts with heavy make up to play her against her rival’s sophistication. Will we ever get over that perfect little chignon?
A secret coven of ballerina witches? What more could you ask for? Dario Argento’s much talked about Italian Giallo gore fest (who can forget Goblin’s chilling rock score?) is set against an atmospheric Art Deco backdrop. The school girl’s costumes are a nod to 70s fashion, they wear long, vivid dresses and pantsuits and wide collars, the material is often gauzy and soft, often billowing and loose and coupled with platform shoes. Contrast these looks with blood and screams and you’ve got something all-together grisly.
Oh Patrick Bateman in that charcoal, pinstripe double breasted suit! Bateman is possibley the most well dressed serial killer of all time. Appearance really is everything to Patrick (no really, he is 100% completely empty inside), and we get to hear about clothes a lot. Like a lot a lot. If you want to fit in with the other yuppie investment bankers you’ll need Oliver People’s Gregory Peck glasses, printed ties, crisp, button down oxford shirts and the all important Armani suit. Don’t forget that ever so perfectly embossed business card to really pull the look together.
Fashion sometimes gets overlooked in this classic (people tend to get distracted by Carrie’s telekinesis and matricide) but it’s really the heart of the story. Carrie’s abusive, ultra-religious mother dresses her in dowdy, unflattering clothing for the majority of the film, making her seriously ostracised by her peers – we’ve all been there. It’s only at the end of the film when Carrie dresses herself in the elegant, light pink evening gown made of crushed velvet with an empire waist line that she reclaims her power over the other the bullies and her abusive mother. Feeling empowered or freaked out? One thing’s certain, Carrie’s famous prom dress is probably still at the dry cleaners.