Northern Ireland has always been haunted by tales of ghosts, banshees, witches and wicked stories of the supernatural.
We are a land of superstitious folk, “Don’t step on a crack or you’ll break your mum’s back!”. Wave or salute the magpie and you’ll have good luck for the rest of the day, a broken mirror, “that’s seven years bad luck!” or perhaps the eeriest of superstitions dating back to the Celtic years was that on Halloween night the local fairies would bring the souls of those who had passed to the Gates of Hell and if you misbehaved on Halloween night the ghosts of the past would turn up to your house and cause all sorts of mischief and mayhem.
Pagan beliefs and superstitions are still a core part of our Northern Irish heritage and tradition.
Northern Ireland is not just home to spooky superstitions, it’s also a place of many haunted locations such as derelict buildings, troublesome hotels, chilling beaches, eerie graveyards and mysterious forests.
The Grey Lady of The Dark Hedges at Stranocum is said to wander from her resting place and walk the famous Game of Thrones filming location and is said to vanish when she reaches the last tree on the road.
In Limavady watch out for The Highway Man on the Windyhill Road, the road is said to be haunted by the ghost of a highway man who murdered anyone who dared to venture down the road. Locals are still terrified to drive the road at night in fear of encountering the ghostly presence.
Northern Ireland certainly has its share of wicked tales from beyond the grave and it’s no surprise that local and international filmmakers want to film their latest horror films here. Our eerie locations and stories provide the perfect backdrop for a grisly tale.
This Halloween we’re celebrating Northern Ireland’s most spooky films, let’s see what sinister films made the cut:
1. Shrooms, 2007
Written by Belfast Playwright Pearse Elliott and directed by Paddy Breathnach, Shrooms tells the story of a group of American friends who venture into the woods (Rossmore forest park in County Monaghan) in search of magic mushrooms. Gathered around a crackling campfire telling scary stories the group suddenly realise that the lines between reality and fiction are blurred and the forest suddenly becomes a creepy and dangerous place to spend the weekend.
Shrooms is available to buy or rent on Amazon.
Watch the trailer here >> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qDhRhmrC80g
2. Dracula Untold, 2014
Dracula Untold directed by Gary Shore tells the tale as old as time of Bram Stoker’s Dracula but with a unique twist. This version of events focuses on the origin story of how Dracula became the bloodthirsty monster so many of us are petrified off. Many of the film’s locations were set in Northern Ireland like Roe Valley Country Park.
Dracula Untold is available for FREE for Amazon Prime customers or available to rent or buy.
Watch the trailer here >> https://www.imdb.com/video/vi1558818585?ref_=tt_pv_vi_aiv_1
3. The Devil’s Doorway, 2018
Directed by Aislinn Clarke and starring Belfast actor Lalor Roddy, The Devil’s Doorway depicts the tale of Father Thomas Riley and Father John Thornton, two Irish priests who were sent from the Vatican to investigate a mysterious event in an irish home for, “fallen women” and things soon take a turn for the worse.
You can watch The Devil’s Doorway for free on All 4 >> https://www.channel4.com/programmes/the-devils-doorway
Watch the trailer here >> https://www.imdb.com/video/vi620477209?ref_=tt_pv_vi_aiv_1
4. The Butchering, 2015
Formerly known as Braxton, The Butchering directed by Belfast’s Leo McGuigan, tells the story of Tommy Miller. A young teenager tormented by bullies who then turns his anger into vengeance and wreaks havoc on the small town of Braxton butchering everyone that stands in his way. The Butchering was filmed across several Northern Irish locations so be careful next time you’re out and about or you might fall victim to Tommy Miller’s fearful wrath.
The Butchering is available to rent or buy on Amazon.
Watch the trailer here >> https://www.imdb.com/video/vi63814169?playlistId=tt4015930&ref_=tt_ov_vi
5. Hostage To The Devil, 2016
Directed by Belfast’s Marty Stalker and starring Malachi Martin, Hostage To The Devil is a documentary based on the real life events of Father Malachi Martin an Irish Jesuit, who dedicated his life to performing exorcisms and battling the devil, both personally and trying to save the souls of innocent people.
Hostage To The Devil is available to buy or rent on Amazon.
6. The Hungry Grass, 1981
Thanks to Northern Ireland Screen’s digital archive and the British Film Institute and Mrs Lindy Reid, I came across this spooky short film, The Hungry Grass. Giving testament to the fact that Northern Ireland folks have had a weird affinity with the occult over the years, The Hungry Grass follows an American visitor who wants to learn more about the Irish Famine. Set in an ominous graveyard the visitor slowly realises that he is not alone. If you are a fan of Stephen King then I would recommend watching this offbeat short horror.
For more horror shorts Northern Ireland Screen has a plethora of films just waiting to be explored, (only click this link if you dare!) >> https://digitalfilmarchive.net/media/the-hungry-grass-1901
Written by Chloe Langton