Dilara Findikoglu Picks Five Horror Films to Watch on Halloween

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Colour Me Blood Red, 1965(Film still)

As the designer presents her new collection on All Hallows’ Eve, she takes us through some of her lifelong favourite ‘splatter films’

London-based designer Dilara Findikoglu has made no secret of her fixation with the occult – “I’m fascinated by magic and alchemy,” she told Another Man’s Ted Stansfield – culminating in a Spring/Summer 2018 runway show at Holborn’s St Andrew Church which evoked its most potent symbolism: the eight-pointed star, all-seeing eye and pair of devil horns (the latter worn by RuPaul’s Drag Race alumni Violet Chachki). Sensationally, it incurred the wrath of US alt-right conspiracy theory website Infowars, which deemed it a “satanic orgy”. (“Obviously I like occult symbols, but I didn’t use them because I like doing satanic rituals!” she stressed). 

This afternoon sees Findikoglu return to metaphysical realms, hosting her new collection, May the Darkness Light the Way, at Dennis Severs’ House, a Georgian terrace in east London’s Spitalfields restored as if still occupied by a family of 18th-century Huguenot silk weavers. The day itself – which does not escape Findikoglu’s attention – is Halloween, the moment in the year where the spirits of the dead are said to wander the closest to the earth. “I wanted to show on Halloween as I am always thinking about crossing the lines between other worlds and different dimensions,” Findikoglu tells AnOther. “Halloween allows everyone to be a part of the paranormal.”

Unsuprisingly, Findikoglu is a lifelong fan of horror movies – 1980s ‘splatter film’ Cannibal Holocaust was her first as a teenager; an obsession with the blood-soaked work of Italian filmmaker Dario Argento followed. Here, ahead of a collection which promises to cross “boundaries between sin and innocence, natural and synthetic, modest and provocative, mind and matter”, the designer chooses five horror films to watch this Halloween. 

1. Colour Me Blood Red (1965), above

Part three of what has since been dubbed ‘The Blood Trilogy’, ‘splatter horror’ master Herschell Gordon Lewis’ 1965 film Colour Me Blood Red is built on a simple premise: a psychotic painter finds success with an unexpected new medium – blood. 

Dilara Findikoglu: “It’s about artists using people’s blood as red paint, and the name is really relevant to my brand.”

2. Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

Few horror films have garnered quite the acclaim of Roman Polanski’s 1960s psycho-horror Rosemary’s Baby, the allegorical tale of a pregnant woman increasingly certain she is the target of a satanic cult – only to find it is her husband who has dealt the ultimate betrayal. 

DF: “I love films that involve dolls and babies mixed with horror.”

3. Suspiria (1977)

Remembered for its expressionistic use of colour – particularly electric shades of red and pink, which recur throughout – Dario Argento’s Suspiria is the tale of an American dance student who transfers to a prestigious German academy, only to discover it’s a front for a particularly bloodthirsty witches’ coven. A unique aesthetic has seen it referenced by countless filmmakers – most recently director Luca Guadagnino, who reimagined the film in 1970s Berlin, casting Tilda Swinton in the role of mysterious academy director Madame Blanc.  

DF: “The red lighting and the set is incredible.” 

4. Sleepy Hollow (1999)

Tim Burton’s late-90s horror took viewers back to 1799, and the American hamlet of Sleepy Hollow, where a slew of murders – believed to have been committed by a headless horseman – are terrorising the community. Ichabod Crane, a detective from New York is sent to investigate, taking him all the way to the ‘Tree of the Dead’ – and a possible portal to the underworld.

DF: “One of my favourite directors is Tim Burton and the combination of a young Johnny Depp and Christina Ricci in the 18th century is amazing.”

5. Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)

An opulent imagining of the seminal novel, Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula may not be remembered as one of the legendary director’s triumphs, but the film delivers plenty of visual stimulation nonetheless – not least the costumes, designed by Eiko Ishioka, which revitalise the age-old tale. 

DF: “Dark Victorian times mixed with vampires – my dream world basically.”