Who says horror movies need to be a gore-fest?
While many of the greatest horror movies of all time trade on their penchant for bloodshed, it would be wrong to assume that gore is a prerequisite to scaring you senseless.
We’ve profiled four of the most chilling films the genre has to offer that don’t resort to the usual scare tactics.
It Follows (2014)
It Follows is one of the most talked-about horror films from the last couple of years. Despite operating as a pastiche of classic slasher flicks such as A Nightmare on Elm Street, David Robert Mitchell’s indie-horror is predicated on the fact that a zombie-like state can be passed on by sexual contact from one person to the next. Once possessed, the killer starts walking towards its victim, with potentially terrifying consequences.
What makes it scary: The overwhelming fear that wherever you go, “it” will find you…
Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Rosemary’s Baby starts out as the story of a young married couple who move into a Gothic apartment building in New York. As the title suggests, Rosemary – a bright but naive housewife played by Mia Farrow – is expecting to become a mother soon. Meanwhile, her husband Guy (John Cassavetes) is a struggling actor. Things gradually take a sinister turn as a young woman who Rosemary meets in the launderette commits suicide, and other people take something of an overbearing interest in her health while Guy becomes increasingly distant. This makes her paranoid and causes her to suspect that the neighbours may have special plans for her child.
What makes it scary: This twist on the “boy who called wolf” shows that the devil is in the detail.
The Others (2001)
Nicole Kidman played the lead in Alejandro Amenábar’s expertly crafted tale of a woman waiting in a shuttered mansion for her husband to return from the war. Kidman won praise for her portrayal of a paranoid mother dealing with two sickly children. When her daughter begins to see ghosts, the audience starts to see them too, making it a disturbing watch. And the final twist at the end makes it all stand out.
What makes it scary: Refusing to adopt the obvious fright tricks, this deeply unsettling and eerie film will have you quivering.
The Wicker Man (1973)
This slow-burning chiller from 1973 directed by Robin Hardy is regarded by many as the greatest British horror film of all time. The 2006 remake, on the other hand, is most famous for Nicolas Cage hamming it up, with what many consider unintentional hilarious consequences:
The original version of The Wicker Man starred Edward Woodward as Sergeant Howie, a devout Christian, who is sent to the remote Hebridean island of Summerisle to investigate the disappearance of a young girl. Once there, he finds a community of people, led by horror film royalty Christopher Lee, who have surrendered to paganism.
What makes it scary: The folk soundtrack both represents the movement of the local inhabitants, as well as pushing the film into nightmare-like surrealism.