TOP 5 MOVIES CONTAINING A HOME INVASION
#1 HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER (1986)
It says a lot about how powerful and disturbing this movie is that it gets number one spot, even though the home invasion scene lasts for less than five minutes, by far the shortest on the list. But it’s probably the purest distillation of the horrific nature of the crime put on film. We never actually see Henry and Otis commit the crime first-hand; we only see it after the fact, when the two deviant psychopaths watch the filmed footage of the home invasion on the TV in the privacy of their own home. It’s one of the hardest scenes to watch, and is a horribly memorable part in a brilliantly unsettling film.
#2 HIGH TENSION (2003)
One of the films that ushered in the New Wave of French Horror, this is a frighteningly effective horror movie, even if the denouement left a lot of people angry and feeling cheated (me included). Still, there’s no denying the film is well-made, with the home invasion segment one of the film’s highlights. It’s a terrifying sequence, one of the best home invasions ever filmed, full of nerve-wracking suspense, shocking violence and a palpable sense of dread.
#3 IN COLD BLOOD (1967)
Filmed in stark black and white, this is possibly the most beautiful and poetic true crime film ever made. The recreation of the Clutter family’s murder is chilling; a nightmarish sequence imbued with shadows and sudden bursts of light. That it was filmed in the actual house the crimes took place gives it an air of realism and makes it all the more unsettling. Once seen, it’s never forgotten.
#4 A CLOCKWORK ORANGE (1971)
One of the most infamous home invasion scenes in cinema history, this is Kubrick at his stylish, violent, blackly comedic best. At turns uncomfortable, profane, and even amusing, there’s never been a home invasion quite like the one perpetrated by Alex DeLarge and his droogs.
#5 THE MANSON FAMILY (2004)
Sure, this movie is deeply flawed. The acting is amateurish, the dialogue clunky and its tone is all over the place. But, I had to include a Manson movie on this list, as the crimes committed by the Mason family affected me deeply when I first read about them as a young teenager, and are likely responsible for my fear/fascination of all things home invasion. And though my favourite dramatisation of the case is the 1976 telemovie, Helter Skelter, the two home invasions in The Manson Family are by far the most disturbingly realised recreation of the murders to date. They are brutal in their ferocity and detail. You not only see but feel every knife stab and gunshot. Those scenes are chilling and hard to watch.
Straw Dogs, Nightmare, When a Stranger Calls, Visiting Hours, Are You in the House Alone?
If you’re interested in picking up McBean’s new novel, The Invasion, you can order it right here. The novel was released by Sinister Grin Press.