40 Horror Films Not for the Faint-Hearted
07th August, 2020
Netflix bloody-disgusting.com
Horror fans can rejoice! There are some incredibly great spine-chillers coming your way: A Quiet Place: PartII, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, and The Invisible Man. If you are a true-blue horror fan and wish to turn your Netflix and chill session into a horror marathon, we have exactly what you need. Not every horror movie can succeed in rattling a seasoned horror fan, but there are some movies that can spook you beyond comprehension. So, ready to test your nerves of steel? Take a look at the best horror movies and sleep with the lights on!
Midsommar en.wikipedia.org
If you think that Midsommar has anything to do with the cheery A Midsummer’s Night Dream, then you are in for a surprise. Ari Aster, a writer and director, who ensured that the viewers would lose sleep after watching Hereditary, is back to amaze and terrify the audience with his latest flick Midsommar. The movie revolves around a group of American graduates who are invited by a Swedish friend to a remote summer festival. What can go wrong, you ask? Well, they find themselves ensnared in a bizarre situation involving a pagan cult. Some vacation this is!
Us en.wikipedia.org
Do you want to know why the 2019 horror flick Us was so terrifying? Well, the director Jordan Peele asked the cast to watch 11 horror movies so they could have “a shared language.” The cast had to watch Jaws, Dead Again, The Shining, The Babadook, It Follows, A Tale of Two Sisters, The Birds, Funny Games, Martyrs, Let the Right One In, and The Sixth Sense. After being subjected to a grueling session of horror masterpieces, we all know how and why the lead actors could nail their roles!
Hereditary en.wikipedia.org
Can your nightmares come true? Hereditary surely takes you on a nightmarish journey with the story of a family that resorts to “unconventional methods” to deal with grief. This results in disastrous consequences (no surprises here). Since we are talking of catastrophic effects, one of the trailers of the movie was accidentally shown at the beginning of a family-friendly film, Peter Rabbit, in Innaloo, Australia. The kids were spooked beyond their senses and the screen was eventually turned off. Ari Aster, you cost the theater some serious money since they had to offer complimentary movie passes to the furious parents!
A Quiet Place www.imdb.com
A Quiet Place
Those of you who fell in love with Jim Halpert from The Office are in for a terrifying treat! Not only did John Krasinski direct A Quiet Place, but he also co-wrote this horror flick. And do you know who loves this film? None other than the master of horror Stephen King! Krasinski said that the single greatest compliment he received for the movie was King’s tweet: A Quiet Place is an extraordinary piece of work. Terrific acting, but the main thing is the SILENCE, and how it makes the camera’s eye open wide in a way few movies manage.”
It (2017) en.wikipedia.org
It (2017)
You know it’s going to be a hell of a ride when the King of Horror is at work. The movie It that hit the theaters in 2017 managed to re-instill in children and adults alike a fear of clowns. Bill Skarsgard was quite convincing as the gory clown Pennywise. He was so dedicated to getting the character right that he researched into the “psycho universe” to enhance his performance. He drew inspiration from The Shining, A Clockwork Orange, and The Silence of the Lambs. Now we know why Pennywise was so convincingly menacing: he found the right inspiration.
It Comes at Night www.imdb.com
It Comes at Night
It Comes at Night. Talk about getting the title right! In almost every scary movie, the night brings with it devastating secrets that wreak havoc in the main characters’ lives. Well, director Tery Edward Shult was quite secretive about “what comes at night” and he made the cast and crew of the movie to sign a non-disclosure agreement that forbade them from revealing what exactly “comes” at night. The movie does a splendid job of sending chills running down your spine. Think of an apocalypse. Now think of something worse than that!
Raw en.wikipedia.org
The movie title Raw is quite self-explanatory and there’s no doubt that it’s definitely gory. On the surface, the movie appears to be more of a violent horror movie with sexual undertones. However, to the skilled eye, the movie is anchored with an immersive atmosphere and has deep symbolism woven skillfully in it. Though it’s a horror movie, you can see the lead character’s progress. The director of this movie, Julia Ducocurnau, wanted actress Garance Marillier to work on her body and posture, and this is why you see a much more confident Justine emerge toward the end of the movie.
Get Out www.imdb.com
Get Out
Can you see the terror on Daniel Kaluuya’s face? This is the face of a person who is terrified for his life, and that’s exactly what Get Out is about. Jordan Peele made Kaluuya give five takes of a key scene where his character had to cry, and he nailed all the scenes so perfectly that a single tear came down at the exact same time for each take! The movie, though nerve-racking, impressed Chance the Rapper so much that he bought all of the movie tickets from certain Chicago movie theaters for people who wanted to see the movie.
Lights Out www.imdb.com
Lights Out
Could you sleep at night knowing that the moment the lights go off, the thing that’s lurking in the shadows will get to you? Lights Out, in addition to being a hair-raising movie, leaves a mark on the audience owing to some stellar performances. The fear feels real because Teresa Palmer hadn’t seen the design of Diana before filming; it was only when she filmed her first scene on a completely dark set did she face what would be her reel-life character’s nightmare. So, folks, the fear was authentic and that’s the emotion you’ll mimic while you're watching the movie.
The Wailing www.imdb.com
The Wailing
The Wailing is a heart-wrenching story of a father who’s fighting to save his daughter’s life. It’s a story of possession and exorcism in a small village, and it revolves around a cop trying to make sense of a series of mysterious and violent deaths. Director Hong-jin stated that this 156-minute long movie has its roots in the folk religions in Korea and Nepal and on the Catholic faith. You would definitely love this movie since Ari Aster, the director, who terrified the audience with Hereditary and Midsommar, considers The Wailing as his favorite horror movie of the decade.
Under the Shadow www.imdb.com
Under the Shadow
Let’s just say that international cinema is at it’s best! Not only is it exploring genres, but it is also experiencing great success while doing it. Under the Shadow is Babak Anvari’s directorial debut. This intimate yet mournful thriller is set in the 1980s Tehran against the backdrop of an ongoing war between Iran and Iraq. Politics and social mores are skillfully woven into the plot, and the story follows a woman and her daughter who are at a Djinn’s mercy. You witness an atmosphere of horror that ascends slowly and paints a macabre picture.
The VVitch nypost.com
The VVitch
The intrigue begins with the movie’s title itself: The VVitch. The movie’s plot revolves around a 17th-century Puritan family who are excommunicated from their village and are forced to move to the forest. Yikes! So, the moniker “VVitch” is how the word is written during the time this story takes place. The story’s premise is based on America’s first witch hysteria and is set exactly sixty-two years before the infamous “Salem Witch Trials” that took place in colonial Massachusetts. The film was so well-made that even the Master of Horror Stephen King admitted to being terrified after watching it.
The Babadook en.wikipedia.org
The Babadook
Speaking of monsters under the bed, what if your belief in them makes them come alive? Well, that’s how twisted The Babadook is. It revolves around a single mother coming to terms with the violent death of her husband, her son who dreams of a monster, and a sinister storybook. While the film explores the weird dynamics between the mother and her child, the director was skeptical about introducing the child actor Noah Wiseman to the themes of the movie. In fact, Kent was quoted saying “ I didn’t want to destroy a childhood to make this film.”
The Omen (1976) en.wikipedia.org
The Omen (1976)
Let’s just agree that The Omen (1976) is a masterpiece that amps up the atmosphere with the perfect combination of suspense and gore. The horror from the reel life seemed to have caught up with the cast and crew’s real life as well: Gregory Peck and David Seltzer had taken two separate planes to the UK and both planes got struck by lightning! Even Harvey Bernhard, who was in Rome, narrowly missed the lightning. Moreover, after Peck canceled another flight to Israel, the plane he would have chartered crashed, killing everyone on board! Talk about the antichrist’s jinx.
The Visit www.imdb.com
The Visit
Ever thought how a trip to one’s grandparents could turn into a horror show? Well, for Becca and Tyler it just got real. The Visit, written, co-produced, and directed by M.Night Shyamalan is considered by many as his comeback movie. In fact, this is his lowest budgeted studio feature film ever. This found-footage movie is a break from the kind of movies Shyamalan is known to make and is unpretentious, scary, and shockingly entertaining. Also, here’s some advice for the clueless: always check the basement!
The Conjuring (2013) medium.com
The Conjuring (2013)
Welcome to the Conjuring Universe where you’ll see haunted houses, vicious spirits, and creepy dolls come alive. Wait, there’s more—it’s based on true stories of Ed and Lorraine Warren, who were world-renowned paranormal investigators. Do you wish to gauge the scare quotient and see if you can sleep at night? Well, after the movie was shown in the Philippines, some cinemas hired Catholic priests to bless the viewers before showing it. This was deemed necessary as several moviegoers reported a “negative presence” after watching the movie. Yikes!
The Conjuring 2 en.wikipedia.org
The Conjuring 2
The Conjuring 2 is the sequel to The Conjuring and the third installment in The Conjuring Universe and continues to scare everyone senseless. Given the “negative presence” that viewers experienced during the screening of the first installment, a priest was brought in on the first day of shooting to bless the set. You will get an insight into what horrors are going to follow the mother and the children right at the beginning of the movie when the children come back from school.
Oculus en.wikipedia.org
After you watch Oculus, you are going to ditch the mirror for a few days, especially the antique-looking ones. Not only does the movie succeed in jolting the audience, but it also succeeds in getting under your skin. You’ll find a lot of jump scares but the tried-and-tested method along with the state of dread that grows heavier with every twist is enough to give you sleepless nights. The movie arrived in 2013 and would have hit the theaters sooner as a “found footage” movie. However, the director refused the idea and stuck to the conventional horror movie genre.
Insidious (2011) consumedbyfilm.com
Insidious (2011)
What happens when the directors who gave us Saw team up with the writer/director of Paranormal Activity? Well, you get a spine-chilling masterpiece that will have equally hair-raising sequels. Insidious went on to become one of the best horror movies of all time and was shot in just three weeks! Moreover, in 2015, there was an Insidious-themed maze at Universal Studios, Orlando, for the annual event of Halloween Horror Nights, making it one of the most memorable Halloween events ever!
Paranormal Activity(2007) en.wikipedia.org
Paranormal Activity(2007)
Believe it or not, a software developer is responsible for creating this low-budget “found footage” film that surpassed the popularity of The Blair Witch Project, a similar low-budget horror masterpiece. Oren Peli’s Paranormal Activity which premiered at Los Angeles Screamfest in 2007 won numerous accolades and this includes Katie Featherson winning an award for the Best Actress! The film did so well and managed to instill fear in anyone who saw it, including the esteemed director Steven Spielberg. He thought that the DVD of the film he brought was haunted.
It Follows www.imdb.com
It Follows
The film’s title, It Follows, is enough to make you jittery. The movie feels surreal since the entire concept is derived from a recurring nightmare that the director David Robert Mitchell used to have. In his dreams, Mitchell was stalked by a predator that continually walked slowly towards him. The monster that appears in this movie, who relentless yet slow, pursues the lead character and is an entity with no definite form! This is similar in principle to the creature that wreaked havoc in one of Mitchell’s favorite movies The Thing.
The Strangers en.wikipedia.org
The Strangers
Director Bryan Bertino claimed that The Strangers, which was originally titled Faces, is partially based on an incident he experienced as a child. One evening, a stranger came to his house, asked for someone who wasn’t there, and left immediately. Bertino, later, learned that other homes in his neighborhood were broken into! The movie wages a psychological war and leaves you plagued with fear, despair, and shock. These are not the best emotions you’ll experience, but it’s something you’ll experience after watching a well-made horror film.
Trick 'r Treat www.imdb.com
Trick 'r Treat
Trick ‘r Treat leaves you with mixed feelings about Halloween. The premise of the movie revolves around five interwoven stories that occur on Halloween itself. Since you shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that each of the five stories is connected, you’ll see characters from each story in the background of these movies even if they are not essentially a part of it. This worked wonderfully in establishing the chronology of the movie. Despite limited public screening, the movie was reviewed extensively by journalists and bloggers, and the reviews were almost unanimously positive.
Suspiria (2018) www.imdb.com
Suspiria (2018)
Gory. This is the word that will pop up in your head when you watch Suspiria. The movie is set in divided Berlin and has six acts and an epilogue. You have a naive American girl, played by Dakota Johnson, join the prestigious Helena Markos Dance Academy and you think “what could go wrong?” Before you know it, the director Luca Guadagnino has you dragged into this dark fairy tale that involves a lot of bone-cracking, blood-letting, and skin-slicing going.
The Perfection en.wikipedia.org
The Perfection
Allison Williams proves how well she could play the girl-next-door and mask her intentions in the movie Get Out, and she does it again. The Perfection is confusing. When the movie came out, the viewers were wrong-footed by both the movie’s twisted plot and its genre, which shifts between psychological thriller, body horror, and a drama pertaining to mental health. However, you wouldn’t have to debate about the effect it has on the viewers—it shocks, surprises, and somehow manages to justify the madness that takes place in the film.
The Prodigy en.wikipedia.org
The Prodigy
Here’s something you should know about The Prodigy: it will be your favorite bad-seed movie if you have the stomach for it. Nicholas McCarthy tricks the audience into believing that what they're about to witness is low-key horror; however, that's not the case. The Prodigy prods you to look past the knight in shining armor Arthur and the villain Edward and brings you to the heart of the movie, a mother who cannot give up on the belief that her child can still be saved, and a father who shuts down immediately in the light of his son’s behavior.
Annabelle Comes Home (2019) www.imdb.com
Annabelle Comes Home (2019)
Director James Wan lets the audience know that the Warrens are in for a treat after they take the Annabelle doll home. Annabelle Comes Home is dedicated to the real Lorraine Warren who passed away two months before the film was released in 2019. This movie is the sequel to Annabelle (2014) and Annabelle: Creation (2017), and the seventh installment in the “Conjuring Universe” franchise. You’ll feel dread creeping up on you even before the movie begins because the Annabelle doll is actually possessed, and the real Annabelle doll—a Raggedy Ann doll—is at the Warrens’ Occult Museum in Monroe, Connecticut.
Pet Sematary (2019) en.wikipedia.org
Pet Sematary (2019)
When you know a Stephen King novel is going to be adapted for the big screen, you know there’s going to be something more concrete than a few scares. Pet Sematary (2019) is based on Stephen King’s novel and was released during the Easter Season which is all about resurrection. The premise of the story remains the same as that of the earlier adaptation that hit the theaters in 1989, and it still carries the ominous message that “sometimes dead is better.”
Poltergeist (1982) www.imdb.com
Poltergeist (1982)
What’s your scare quotient? If you don’t know it already, Poltergeist (1982) will definitely help you in this endeavor. The best part of the movie is that it's consistently frightening! Poltergeist is what The Amityville Horror wanted to become. Filming Poltergeist was taxing on the lead actors as well. On one such occasion, the otherwise unperturbed Heather O’ Rourke broke down while shooting the scene where she has to hold on to the headboard while a wind machine blows toys into the closet behind her. Spielberg comforted the actress and said that she wouldn’t have to do the scene again.
In the Tall Grass en.wikipedia.org
In the Tall Grass
In the Tall Grass is based on a novella by Stephen King and Joe Hill. Joseph H.King uses his pen name, Joe Hill, and is quite a successful author himself. This film is deemed by critics as a fascinating tug of war between reality and fantastic elements. Once again you have Patrick Wilson as a part of a spine-chilling, mind-twisting tale. Wilson was roped in to play the part after James Marsden left it to star in Sonic the Hedgehog.
The Lighthouse www.imdb.com
The Lighthouse
Robert Pattinson just keeps getting better! Robert Eggers’s nightmarish film The Lighthouse has Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson playing two melancholic lighthouse-keepers, who tragically lose their sanity together. Not only is the story a whirlwind (you gotta pay attention), but it is also a treat to watch two talented actors butt heads and deliver complicated period dialogues with such finesse and mastery. Though the actors share a good relationship, they barely spoke a word to each other on the set since they were too exhausted to hang out as the shooting was physically demanding thanks to the miserable weather conditions.
Psycho (1960) reelgood.com
Psycho (1960)
A visible departure from his signature movie style, Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho managed to woo the audience and is hailed as one of the greatest films of all time. On the first day of the shooting, he made the cast and crew raise their right hands and promise not to divulge a word of the story. In fact, he even withheld the end of the script from the cast until the time came for them to shoot the particular scene. The movie ruffled a lot of feathers, and this even led to Walt Disney not allowing Hitchcock to shoot at Disneyland because "he made that disgusting movie, Psycho.”
Let the Right One In (2008) www.rogerebert.com
Let the Right One In (2008)
Let the Right One In is based on the author John Ajvide Lindqvist's novel. He was also the one who wrote the screenplay for the movie. This is one of those movies that has successfully attained the masterpiece status. The title of the film refers to the famous myth about vampires that they have to be invited in before they can enter someone’s home, and the strangest part of the movie is that the word “vampire’” is used only once in the entire 1 hour 19 minutes movie.
Rosemary's Baby www.vanityfair.com
Rosemary's Baby
There’s nothing cute and cuddly about the movie here. It’s as sinister as things can get. As the name suggests, the movie revolves around Rosemary (Mia Farrow) and her baby. Ira Levin, who authored the novel on which the film is based, admits that this film is “the single most faithful adaptation of a novel ever to come out of Hollywood.” The uncut version of the movie was over four hours long! Since the director Roman Polanski couldn't decide what to do with it, he let the editor Sam O’ Steen decide.
Carrie (1976) www.imdb.com
Carrie (1976)
Carrie is based on the character created by Stephen King and she's not who you would picture for a demon. She’s a shy, pretty, and complicated teenager, and she's gifted! All this seems like a story that would have a happy ending. However, throw in a few bullies, and a staunch religious mother, and there you go: your recipe for disaster is ready. Most of the cast members felt that they were shooting for a black comedy. Brian Palma had to tell Laurie to take her character of a fanatical mother seriously so that the movie won’t have comic undertones.
Green Room en.wikipedia.org
Green Room
Green Room is a horror-thriller movie and you know everything’s about to go awry when you see a punk rock band entering a neo-Nazi skinhead bar. This is where the entire movie is set. A lot of people were surprised to see Sir Patrick Stewart as a neo-Nazi skinhead. He said in an interview that once he finished reading the script, he was terrified and locked himself in his house, turned on the security system, and poured himself a scotch. He knew that playing Darcy Banker was a challenging role and that he had to do it.
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) www.imdb.com
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) was such a huge success that it saved New Line Cinema from bankruptcy! Johnny Depp made his debut with this movie and became a sensation overnight. The film features a character that describes a nightmare perfectly. The inspiration for this character was derived from several sources including the director Wes Craven’s childhood. The real-life Freddy Kruger was his schoolmate and he used to bully Craven for several years. Craven’s original script had described Kruger as more gruesome than he was portrayed in the movie.
The Blair Witch Project (1999) www.imdb.com
The Blair Witch Project (1999)
The Blair Witch Project (1999) is what revived the “found footage technique.” Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez developed the fictional legend of the Blair Witch in 1993, and when the movie premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 1999, they nailed it with their marketing campaign. They had listed the actors as “missing” or “deceased”, and that was more than enough to get everyone’s attention. The movie did so well that it landed a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for “Top Budget: Box Office Ratio” since the movie that cost $60,000 to make made $248 million!
The Shining en.wikipedia.org
The Shining
The Shining (1980) was based on Stephen King’s novel of the same name; however, it is more of Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece as it deviates from the novel. The movie sends chills down your spine and chronicles the journey of the Jack Torrance descent into madness. Jack Nicholson and his Shelley Duvall were left disgruntled since the viewers credited the director solely for the movie’s success. The actors, crew, and King’s underlying material weren’t taken into the equation. Nicholson and Duvall asserted that the film was the hardest of their careers; in fact, Duvall suffered from nervous exhaustion throughout the filming!
The Exorcist (1973) en.wikipedia.org
The Exorcist (1973)
The Exorcist (1973) needs no introduction. With stellar performances and nerve-racking scares, the movie went on to raise the standard for future horror films. When the movie was released in 24 theaters in the country and Canada, there was a major furor among the audience because they had to wait in long lines during harsh winter conditions. There were instances of fainting and vomiting during the screening of the movie. There were reports of heart attacks and miscarriages as well, and this led to a psychiatric journal publishing a paper on “cinematic neurosis” triggered by the movie.