Film Recs

Please be aware that very few of these are recommended for anyone under the age of 15. I have divided these up under three main headings: paranormal, creatures, and psychological/thriller. I have also included a separate heading for films which aren’t brilliant examples of the genre, but still have something to offer, and another two sections for documentaries and short films.

Films marked with a red star (*) are some of my personal favourites.

For those looking for non-fiction works, there is a list of documentaries of interest right at the end.

Click here to see playlists of horror films and documentaries.

Paranormal

  • Carrie (1976)
  • Last Shift (2014) – could have gone under “ghosts” or “demonic”.
  • The Museum Project (Freeze Frame Films, 2016) – not short enough to qualify for my short films list (it’s 40 mins) but I really enjoyed it.
  • Viy/Вий (1967)* – I struggled to put Viy into a category, but I wrote extensively about it here if you want to know more. It’s such a wonderful film.
  • Requiem (2018) (TV series)
  • Sometimes They Come Back (1991)

Ghosts:

  • The Enfield Haunting (2015) (TV series)
  • The Woman in Black (2012)
  • The Eye (2002) – Hong Kong, sometimes called Seeing Ghosts
  • Ringu (1998) – Japanese, known as Ring or The Ring in English
  • Ju-On: The Grudge (2002) – Japanese
  • Kuchisake-Onna (2007) – Japanese, known as Carved or The Slit-Mouthed Woman in English
  • The Living and the Dead (2016) (TV series)*
  • Crimson Peak (2015) – gothic romance
  • The Secret of Crickley Hall (2012) (TV series)
  • El Orfanato (2007) * – Spanish, The Orphanage in English
  • Ghostbusters (1984)* and Ghostbusters (2016)* – I know people complained about the remake but it’s hilarious and empowering.
  • El espinazo del diablo (2001) – Spanish, The Devil’s Backbone in English

Demonic:

  • The Omen (1976) *
  • Rosemary’s Baby (1968) *
  • The Exorcist (1973)
  • Drag Me To Hell (2009)
  • Don’t Knock Twice (2016) – this was a weird one and it almost made it onto the So Bad, They’re Good list, but actually it wasn’t bad at all. I liked that there was an undercurrent of tension between the mother and the daughter as well as all the supernatural shenanigans; the ending was also a genuine surprise.

Creatures

General (multiple monsters/one specific monster/one unspecified monster):

  • The Monster Squad (1987) – horror-comedy
  • Grimm (2011 – present) (TV series) – fantasy police procedural drama, with strong horror elements.
  • The Mummy (1999) *
  • The Tunnel (2011) – particularly worth watching as it was made with a budget of only $36,000 (Australian dollars) and it’s still brilliant.

Zombie

  • Train to Busan (2016)* – South Korean, 부산행/Busanhaeng

Werewolf:

  • Dog Soldiers (2002) *
  • Ginger Snaps (2000) *
  • Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning (2004)
  • The Company of Wolves (1984)*
  • The Howling (1981)
  • Romasanta (2004)
  • An American Werewolf in London (1981)
  • Howl (2015)  – fun fact: the director worked on the SFX for Dog Soldiers

Vampire:

  • The Lost Boys (1987) * – actually my favourite film of all time!
  • Salem’s Lot (1979)
  • Nosferatu (1922) – available on YouTube; the original and the best!
  • From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
  • Fright Night (1985)
  • Låt den rätte komma in (2008) – Swedish, Let The Right One In in English
  • What We Do In The Shadows (2014)

Witch:

  • The Witch (2015) *
  • The Craft (1996)

Earthly creatures:

  • Jaws (1975)
  • Arachnophobia (1990) – more of a thriller-comedy (a thrill-omedy)
  • Anaconda (1997)
  • The Grey (2011) – a survival thriller, but the mounting sense of dread in this film and its ambiguous ending are enough to give anyone chills.
  • Lake Placid (1999)
  • Cujo (1983)

Psychological/Thriller:

  • The Babadook (2014)
  • Get Out (2017) – I don’t want to spoil Get Out by writing too much about it, but it’s one of the most unsettling, uncomfortable films I’ve ever watched… and that’s the mark of a good psychological horror movie.
  • The Shining (1980) – could also arguably fit under “ghosts”
  • The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (1920) – available on YouTube
  • The Hannibal Lecter Tetralogy * –  The Silence of the Lambs (probably my second favourite film of all time) in particular is a masterclass in how to build tension and suspense. Red Dragon is also excellent; Hannibal and Hannibal Rising are just okay.
  • Hannibal (2013 – 2015) (TV series) *
  • Misery (1990)
  • The Loner (2008) – Korean, also known as Wetoli, Orphaned or Hikikomori (a Japanese phenomenon of extreme reclusive behaviour)
  • Welp (2014) – Belgian (Dutch language), Cub in English
  • Outpost 11 (2012) – unfairly maligned psychological horror with a healthy dose of steampunk.
  • Inside No. 9 (2014 – present) (TV series)* – more like dark comedy but, damn, some of the episodes are terrifying and there’s definitely an element of psychological horror to most episodes. The Harrowing (S1, Ep6) messed me up.
  • Ravenous (1999)* – this is the film I never knew I wanted: a Eurowestern/psychological thriller with an experimental soundtrack in which cannibalism functions as a metaphor for both colonialist greed and repressed homosexual desire. It’s a lot. It’s so much, but I love it.
  • Split (2016) – brilliant performance by James McAvoy (seriously, it’s worth watching just for him). Anya Taylor-Joy (of The Witch and The Miniaturist fame) plays the protagonist; I love her so that was a treat too.
  • I Am Legend (2007) – Will Smith’s best movie. And I’m not just saying that because of the dog.

Slasher

I don’t like slashers (at all), but I do really like…

  • Halloween (1978)

So Bad, They’re Good:

Somewhat lacking on a technical level (either in terms of SFX, plot or acting), but strangely enjoyable/compelling anyway

  • Silver Bullet (1985) * – the scariest thing about it is Gary Busey attempting to act like a real human being.
  • Children of the Corn (1984) – I really like this film, but I can acknowledge that it’s not among the best of the Stephen King adaptations. It’s certainly not the worst, though.
  • Le Pacte des Loups (2001) – French, known as The Brotherhood of the Wolf in English. There are so many elements of it that would work on their own, but putting them all together resulted in a bizarre film that is difficult to take seriously.
  • The Village (2004) – a plot twist that comes right out of nowhere, strange tension-building techniques, peculiar acting choices.
  • Spirit Trap (2005) – worth watching for Billie Piper.
  • Boogeyman (2005) – generic and relies too much on jump-scares, but the acting isn’t totally atrocious and there are some genuinely scary scenes.
  • Sleepaway Camp (1983)
  • Witchboard (1986)
  • TerrorVision (1986)
  • Grim Prairie Tales (1990) – this film is SO much fun.
  • Mikey (1992) – besides Halloween, this is the only other slasher on the list. It’s definitely a video nasty and, although it isn’t technically banned, it was never released in the UK.

Short films

All of these are under 20 minutes.

  • Don’t Move, Bloody Cuts Films (2013) (Warning for gore)
  • Vicious, Oliver Park (2016)
  • The Backwater Gospel, Bo Mathorne and The Animation Workshop (2011)
  • The Offering, Bitter River Film & Media (2014)
  • Torture Porn, Brandon Christensen (2015) (Warning for graphic gore and scenes of torture)
  • La Boca del León, Geofilms Entertainment (2014)
  • Suckablood, Bloody Cuts Films (2012)
  • Prey, Bloody Cuts Films (2011)
  • The Wound, Bull Run Pictures (2013) (Warning for moderate gore and images of post-surgery wounds)
  • Rake, Gearmark.TV (2015)
  • Eviction, Unstable Ground Inc. (2014)
  • The Birch, CryptTV (2017) – CryptTV are fantastic filmmakers and they churn out incredible short horror pieces on the regular.
  • Project Hope, CryptTV (2017)
  • Unholy, CryptTV (2017)
  • Morgu, CryptTV (2017)
  • Vampire, CryptTV (2017)
  • A Little Off The Top, CryptTV & Adam O’Brien Pictures (2017) (Warning for brief but intense gore)
  • Cut, Fresh Frames GmbH & Peter Lemper (2013)
  • Him Indoors, James Pears & Kesslerboy Productions Ltd. (2012)

Documentaries:

Stand-alone/one-off documentaries have a hyperlink which will take you to YouTube. For documentary series, I’ve done my best to find out if they’re available on YouTube in their entirety.

  • See No Evil: The Moors Murders (2006) – dramatization of the Moors Murders, a series of child killings by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley.
  • Killer Legends (2014) – documentary exploring the origins of urban legends.
  • True Horror with Anthony Head (2004) (individual episodes available on YouTube, some missing)
  • The Pendle Witch Child (2011) – documentary about the Pendle Witch Trials in Lancashire.
  • Interview With A Cannibal: Armin Meiwes (2016)
  • Lost Tapes (2008 – 2010) (most episodes available on YouTube)
  • Most Haunted (2002 – present) (repeats on TV channel Really, most episodes available on YouTube)
  • Paranormal Survivor (2015 – present) (most episodes available on YouTube)
  • Paranormal Witness (2011 – 2016)
  • The Haunted (2009 – 2011) (most episodes available on YouTube)
  • A Haunting (2005 – 2007, revived series: 2012 – present) (most episodes available on YouTube)
  • Animal X (1997 – 2002) and Animal X: Natural Mystery Unit (2004) (full episodes available on YouTube)
  • Monster Quest (2007 – 2010) (full episodes available on YouTube)
  • Monsters and Mysteries in America (2013 – present) (full episodes available on YouTube)
  • Beasts of the Bayou (2014 – 2015)
  • Ancient Aliens (2009 – present) (new and repeated episodes on the History Channel)
  • Martina Cole’s Lady Killers (2008) – I found all six episodes on YouTube, but they appear under misleading or unrelated titles, so I’ve chosen to link them individually here for ease of access.
  • Never Sleep Again: The Making of A Nightmare On Elm Street (2010)
  •  Fear Itself (BBC, 2015)
  • Arthur C. Clarke’s World of Strange Powers (1985) (playlist here)

the-ring-gif

Advertisements