Dressed to kill

Ready for the close-up, ready for the kill – the cult horror films with the most alluring fashion

Fashion Top Ten
Dressed To Kill
Heathers, 1988

In the lead-up to Halloween, Dazed Digital is running a Dark Arts season inspired by our November Dark Arts issue. Among other things, we've walked the path of darkness via the Hollywood Walk of Death and talked to Chucky creator Don Mancini. Check our Dark Arts section for a journey to hell and back. 

With horror, appearance is everything – the gothic undertones, the trope of the misunderstood rebel and the reckless 'Devil may care' Bonnie and Clydes have made fashion and the horror film a perfect match. Without style, the quintessential femme fatale would lose her allure, the tall, dark, handsome stranger with even darker intentions would be powerless without that added charm to ensnare his victim. 

Here, Dazed takes a look at the ten most stylish (and chilling) films from the horror genre.

BATTLE ROYALE

Dressed To Kill
Battle Royale, 2000

A class of students are drugged during a school trip, and awake to find they have been entered into the annual ‘Battle Royale’ – they have three days to kill each until one remains. A darker, bloodier (and therefore, better) Hunger Games, it is regarded as one of Japan’s most famous films. The beige blazers worn with peter pan collars and scarlet ties riff on fashion’s obsession with the uniform, and as they become ever more blood-splattered, create an uncomfortable twist on innocence and sadism.

HEATHERS

Dressed To Kill
Heathers, 1988

Twee croquet two-pieces and scrunchies abound in this ultra-stylised 1988 black comedy. Clueless meets Mean Girls as Winona Ryder is seduced into murdering her toxic girl gang, "The Heathers" by rebel newcomer, Christian Slater. Between Slater's long black trench coat and Winona's culottes and monocle, the pair make for a sophisticated teen 'Bonnie and Clyde' as they challenge the status quo of high school cliques...by killing them all off.

THE LOST BOYS

Dressed To Kill
The Lost Boys, 1987

Kiefer Sutherland, in fangs and a battered leather jacket as David in The Lost Boys, was a teen vampire sex icon long before Twilight commandeered the genre as its own. Everything that was right (and therefore wrong) about eighties fashion can be found within The Lost Boys’ vampire gang, from Keifer’s blonde mullet and broad-shouldered overcoat to Jami Gertz’s broderie anglaise camisole and wild perm. 

Designers Laura and Kate Mulleavy of Rodarte, who grew up in Santa Cruz where Lost Boys was filmed, told Dazed how the film and its punk gangs was "a parody of how we grew up...Lost Boys was exactly like how it is!"

THE CROW

Dressed To Kill
The Crow, 1994

Things tragically took a horrorific turn in real life when Brandon Lee was accidentally killed on set during the filming of this 1994 grunge-horror classic. Lee stars as Eric Draven, a tortured soul brought back to life by a mysterious cemetry crow after he and his fiancee are viciously murdered by a gang of criminals on October 30th, traditionally known as "Devil's Night". Eric is unearthed from his grave a year after the crime and finds himself immune to death under the protective power of the crow and is now thirsty for vengeance. Decked out in full leathers and daubed in eery black makeup he seeks the gang members out one-by-one. Badass style brownie points also go to a young Bai Ling as the gang leader's lover and sidekick in twisted sexual depravity - her deep purple lipstick, crimped hair and gothic black outfits very nearly steal the show from Lee.

NATURAL BORN KILLERS

Dressed To Kill
Natural Born Killers, 1994

Along with True Romance's Alabama Worley, Mallory Knox of 1994's Natural Born Killers was a '90s femme fatale fashion icon. Wanted for countless murders alongside her husband, Mickey (played by Woody Harrelson), the psychotic duo are on the run for most of the film, which makes Mallory's extensive wardrobe of belly button skimming fringed tops, wigs and tinted glasses all the more impressive - not to mention Mickey's red mesh vest. 

THE BIRDS

Dressed To Kill
The Birds, 1963

Though admittedly lacking in gore, The Birds still packs a punch in cinematically scored suspense – and we couldn’t compile a fashion-in-horror list without one of Hitchcock’s ladies. Tippi Hedren’s pale green twinset and sweater in the final attack scenes, worn with a flick of peroxide blonde fringe, nod not so subtly to Grace Kelly – whom Hitchcock had originally wished to cast in the role.

CARRIE

Dressed To Kill
Carrie, 1976

Dazed's November issue cover girl, Chloe Grace Moretz is set to revive the satin prom slips in our wardrobes – pre-pig blood scene – as she stars in a remake of Carrie this October. The 1976 original saw Sissy Spacek as homely, timid schoolgirl Carrie whose dowdy dress-sense was distinctly overshadowed by the bell bottoms and barely-there '70s gym gear of the popular crowd. As Chloe takes on the role of the troubled teen, read our interview with her from the November issue. 

MYSTERIOUS SKIN

Dressed To Kill
Mysterious Skin, 2004

Joseph Gordon Levitt plays a sexually adventurous teenager in 1970’s Kansas struggling to forget a night from his past. Basketball raglans, well-worn sheepskins and double denim frame this dark adolescent tale. Michelle Trachtenberg’s experimental eye shadow brings light relief to this twisted thriller's concoction of alien abduction and sexual abuse.

THE CRAFT

Dressed To Kill
The Craft, 1996

The Craft’s 90’s grungy schoolgirl mixes with supernatural styling to create the definitive guide on how to accessorize your school uniform. Creating perfectly witchy guises with heavy eyeliner, copious rosary beads and thigh high socks. The teen girls act on their mysterious powers to their own gain, using black magic to source love, beauty, revenge and power. Ending in an almighty schoolgirl catfight, The Craft’s witches are some of horror’s greatest fashion idols.

THE EXORCIST

Dressed To Kill
The Exorcist, 1973

Considered as one of the most famous horror films, The Exorcist has terrified many. Forty years after the film was released, twelve year-old Regan’s costume remains one of cinema’s most recognised. Her vomit stained floral nightdress and lacerated face have been imitated by many. While the film has gone on to spur sequels and spin offs, the image of demon possessed Regan spinning her head 180 degrees still serves as the franchises most iconic image.

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