Leaving aside the countless list of straight up zombie movies out there kicked off typically by a man-made virus gone awry or toxic gas seeping out of a accidentally cracked steel drum a potential infectious outbreak is becoming more and more of a real world threat and not just stuff of science fiction. Inspired by John Carpenters 'The Thing' new sci-fi thriller 'Helix,' starring Billy Campbell and Jeri Ryan, revolves around a team of scientists in the Arctic who are faced with a disease outbreak. It arrives on DVD here in the UK on 30 June and to accompany the release we thought we'd take some time out to reminisce about contagious movies of yesteryear.
28 Days Later (2002)
Danny Boyle's game changing genre effort is often considered a zombie movie. But we're not using the 'Z' word here and aside from numerous nods to the work of Romero this movie for all intents and purposes in an infection movie. And it's one heck of an infection that's got the British public literally rage-induced. Noted for featuring the iconic scenes of lead star Cillian Murphy walking aimlessly through an abandoned London backdrop as well as an impressive sequel released 5 years later this is one of the more memorable British horror offerings of the past 12 years.
Cabin Fever (2002)
Whatever twisted thought that crosses the mind of horror hero Eli Roth often ends up on screen sickening audiences everywhere with a mix of shock, gore and torturous terror. 2002's 'Cabin Fever' deals with a flesh-eating virus that literally eats away at a small group of irritating and sex-starved teens who decide to spend their spring break in a remote cabin in the woods. The twist being that the gang aren't terrorised by ghouls, possessed trees or evil dwelling in the woods but instead find themselves fighting off a sick blood infection that rips the skin literally from your body. The most surprising gross out sequence being probably the stomach churning finger-bang scene. Kids eh!
The Thing (1982)
Horror maestro John Carpenter takes us on an early 80's Antarctic thrill ride with his incredibly terrifying (albeit loose) remake of 1951's 'The Thing from Another World.' Noted as one of this reviewers favourite all-time horror movies 'The Thing' finds a small group of researchers fending off a parasitic extraterrestrial lifeform that gets its kicks from assimilating and imitating those around it in order to hide in plain sight. It is of course one of those last great horrors that replied purely on traditional special FX as opposed to CGI, which made the latter prequel all that more unbearable. ‘The Thing’ has great style, great directing, excellent performances all bringing together shocks, paranoia and plenty of fleshy mess to enjoy on repeat.
The Crazies (2010)
Based on Night of the Living Romero's classic 70's viral venture of the same name the population of Ogden Marsh in Iowa falls prey to the deadly Trixie virus. Unfairly labeled as the "friendliest place on Earth" the small American town soon begin contracting and passing on the waterborne virus which initially on the surface appears to be nothing more than a common cold but in truth is more deadly than anticipated. Mostly for the family members of the diseased who become first for bloodshed on the list of kill 'to-do's for the newly infected. Local Sheriff Timothy Olyphant and co. do their best to get out of Dodge taking out as many of the "crazies" as they can.
We finally touch upon the hugely successful Spanish horror franchise '[REC]'. The only found footage entry on our list which manages to utilise the restrictions of the sub-genre to perfection, rarely giving a chance to relax and never comprising its ability to scare. Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza's impressive effort finds a TV reporter and her cameraman trapped inside a now quarantined building along with a number of residents and a couple of unsuspecting firefighters. One by one the group become infected by the mysterious virus which leads its victims into experiencing more of that internal rage we've already seen in movies such as '28 Days Later' and 'The Crazies'. And what makes this project even more interesting is that the film even evolves initially from a simple 'infection' movie into a demonic possession movie by the time it reaches its action packed follow-up '[REC] 2'. The success of '[REC]' meant that it not only spawned two sequels (with a third on the way) but also managed a US remake under the title 'Quarantine', which also incidentally got sequelised.
Season one of 'Helix' arrives on DVD here in the UK from 30 June and you can win your very own copy by entering our official 'Helix' Season One DVD Giveaway here.