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Duran Duran pick the scariest movies to watch at Halloween – from Dracula to Silence of the Lambs

Duran Duran’s Nick Rhodes and John Taylor pick the most terrifying movies to trick or treat you

Duran Duran in spooky black and white for Halloween

Duran Duran go dark. Photo: Stephanie Pistel

This Samhain, when darkness falls across the land and the midnight hour is close at hand, Birmingham’s most glamorous sons want to dance you into the (devil’s) fire. Just in time for your spooky parties, Duran Duran are releasing an entire Halloween album to give you chills.

With covers of Billie Eilish’s Bury a Friend, Talking Heads’ Psycho Killer (featuring Victoria De Angelis of Måneskin), The Rolling StonesPaint It Black, Siouxsie and the Banshees’ Spellbound, Cerrone’s Supernature and The SpecialsGhost Town, plus a few of their own creepy additions, you should be sorted for a Transylvanian twist or two.

But what about those of us who want to get our creep on with a celluloid thrill?

When The Big Issue sat down with Duran Duran’s Nick Rhodes and John Taylor for next week’s cover feature (available from your local vendor from 30 October), we persuaded them to programme our seasonal screens too. Behold, if you dare, Duran Duran’s favourite scary films!

The best Halloween movies… picked by Duran Duran

Rosemary’s Baby

Dir: Roman Polanski

The only Halloween movie to get an emphatic thumbs up from both founding members of Duran Duran was based on Ira Levin’s 1967 Satanic novel of the same name. Roman Polanski’s take on Rosemary’s Baby, starring Mia Farrow, was released just a year later.

It’s both an occult thriller, and an astonishing effective representation of the horror of domestic abuse, coercive control and forced domesticity as (in the real world) women fought for liberation. It’s possibly the best cinematic representation of Joseph Heller’s iconic line from Catch-22, “Just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.”

Frank Sinatra famously served Farrow with divorce papers whilst she was on set.

Mia Farrow with cropped hair
Mia Farrow in Rosemary’s Baby. Photo: promotional still

“Do you know what I think is really one of the greatest horror movies ever made? For sure, it is Rosemary’s Baby. I mean that,” says Rhodes. “If anyone hasn’t seen it, it’s a masterpiece, really. Because it’s a psychological thriller as well as a horror movie. I love it.”

Taylor says he could have predicted his spooky bandmate and long-time friend would have chosen Polanski’s finest film. “I’m not really into the paranormal. I don’t actually believe in things outside the physical self,” he says. “But I really like Rosemary’s Baby. I used to like a good Satan. Like The Omen, The Exorcist. There was a there was a time when you could get away with that, wasn’t there?”

Keanu Reeves and Gary Oldman in Bram Stoker's Dracula
Keanu Reeves and Gary Oldman in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Photo: promotional still

Bram Stoker’s Dracula

Dir: Francis Ford Coppola

Elsewhere on these pages, I’ve argued this grand concoction of blood and romance is the most beautiful film ever committed to celluloid and the pinnacle of gothic filmmaking, so it’s no surprise to find it has a special place in Rhodes’ heart. “I suppose I’m the furthest out onto the goth side of the band,” he admits. “Gothic wear always makes life a little bit more pleasurable for me.”

Any Halloween movie night at the Rhodes household would have to include this 1992 classic. “I love the Francis Ford Coppola version of Dracula,” he says. “It’s exquisitely beautiful. And the performances! Well, Gary Oldman is so great in everything isn’t he? But, what a dream getting the Dracula role. Perfect.”

a close up of Anthony Hopkins being creepy as Hannibal Lecter
“He should get the Oscar” – Anthony Hopkins in The Silence of the Lambs. Photo: Youtube / MGM

The Silence of the Lambs

Dir: Jonathan Demme 

John Taylor was right there in the front row on opening night when how we see “fava beans and a nice Chianti” changed. “I had no idea what I was going to see,” he remembers.

Having been talked into coming along by “a couple of the guys from Spandau Ballet” who told him the film was “something about lambs” but had Jodie Foster in it, he was in for a shock. “That was a terrifying movie,” he says. “There was some gear changes in that film where you could feel the whole room gasp.”

On the walk back to their hotel, the Duran Duran bassist and Spandau agreed that Anthony Hopkins should get the Oscar [which he eventually did] for his blood-curdling performance as serial killer Hannibal Lecter.

“We were like, ‘He’s gonna be on the cover of People magazine.’ You just knew,” says Taylor. “I’m not into kitschy scary movies like Friday the 13th, you know, but that was proper scary.”

Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance menacing his wife Wendy (Shelley Duvall) through a door with an axe in one of Duran Duran's favourite horror films
“Here’s Johnny!” Photo: Warner Bros

The Shining

Dir: Stanley Kubrick

Horror maestro Stephen King may have hated Kubrick’s adaptation of his novel, but Nick Rhodes is on the side of most of the movie-going public. “I mean, I don’t think of it as a traditional horror movie by any means. But, boy, that’s a great movie,” he says.

Like many of the great scary films, The Shining is at risk of being reduced in the popular imagination to a few shocking scenes – chief among them the endlessly imitated moment Jack Nicholson axes his way through a door to mug, “Here’s Johnny!” An improvised reference to the introduction of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson that went over the heads of many international audiences, it’s now indelibly linked to Jack Torrance’s unravelling mental state.

“Stephen King,” says Rhodes, “is a master of that sort of psychological tension and madness.”

movie poster for Dracula: Prince of Darkness

Dracula: Prince of Darkness

Dir: Terence Fisher

Another pick from Duran Duran’s gothiest, but one he says the whole band can get behind. “We all love Siouxsie and the Banshees, and The Cure and Hammer Horror,” explains Rhodes. “That’s a middle ground and then you know, we go in different directions from there.”

Rhodes loves “virtually the entire Hammer catalogue”, but Christopher Lee’s 1966 outing as the Count gets his ultimate vote. The third entry in the UK studio’s Dracula series, it is notable for Lee never uttering a word as the titular vampire, bar a few hisses. “The reason was very simple,” Lee told the crowd at Shock It To Me!, San Francisco’s horror film festival, in 2008. “I read the script and saw the dialogue! I said to Hammer, if you think I’m going to say any of these lines, you’re very much mistaken.”

Duran Duran’s Halloween album Danse Macabre is released on 27 October via Tape Modern for BMG.

Read the full interview in The Big Issue, featuring an exclusive Duran Duran image on the cover, from Monday 30 October.

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