For all of the lovers out there of jump scares, blood and guts, mind-bending thrills, and shocking twists—this one’s for you. Horror movies may not be for the faint of heart, but if you do identify as a fan of the fear then you’re aware of the wide range of memorable experiences films in the horror genre can offer.
From the gory glory in many low-budget films to the truly shiver-inducing, nightmare-producing terror flicks, VALLEY is here with a list that covers plenty of categories that will be sure to add an element of fright to any summer sleepover, campout, or late night when you just can’t fall asleep.
For fans of the classics…
Some of the best horror movies are from decades ago, and might not fall into today’s standard for a “horror movie.” Yes, there are movies like The Exorcist, Rosemary’s Baby, The Omen, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, Halloween, etc. who do follow the typical horror formula of demons, gore, murderers, and more. But while these movies offer plenty of jumps and thrills, VALLEY recommends four classic movies that offer a unique scary movie experience:
Rear Window (1954) and Vertigo (1958) are older films directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Don’t let the years they were released scare you off, though (pun intended). These are two films that embody suspense and intrigue, and will keep you guessing at what’s to come throughout the entire movie. Rear Window focuses on a man confined to his home because of a broken leg who witnesses what he believes to be a murder through the rear window facing his neighbor’s home. Vertigo is about a man who suffers from, you guessed it, vertigo and is drawn into the mysterious life of a woman he is hired to follow. VALLEY won’t say anymore—go watch them for yourself!
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) is a pretty strange film with stunning visuals and nail-biting suspense to match. Stanley Kubrick, the director, excellently combines film experimentation with a mysterious plot that will suck audiences in and perhaps leave you with more questions than answers. Alien (1979) is another film that takes place in space and is one of the most suspenseful and action-packed horror movies of all time. It’s a classic, must-see.
For those who know how to pronounce “M. Night Shyamalan” …
Night Shyamalan is an accomplished screenwriter, director, producer, and creator of many horror movie favorites. He also films and bases many of his movies in good ol’ Pennsylvania! Shyamalan is known for his original plots that stray away from the previously stated typical horror movie formula, and his endings are sure to shock.
The Sixth Sense is one of the most well-known, about a boy who can see dead people. The Village focuses on a blind girl who lives in an old-fashioned town surrounded by a forest where dangerous creatures lurk. Devil is about people who get trapped on an elevator and, as they die one by one, they realize that the presence of the devil is among them. The Visit centers on a brother and sister sent to stay with their not-quite-right grandparents for a week. And Split, Shyamalan’s most recent film, is about a man with multiple personalities who kidnaps and victimizes teen girls. Make sure to give these films a shot if you are looking for a movie that’s both intriguing and thrilling!
For those with really strong stomachs…
While some horror films channel psychological fears, others take a different approach. Some scary movies decide to target the audience’s gag reflexes rather than their minds, and the results are some truly bloody, gruesome, and often downright disgusting scenes. If you can handle the gore without your dinner coming back up, here are some suggestions for you.
Saw is the embodiment of gruesome. The franchise is infamous for the morbid traps that the characters must solve in order to stay alive, and some of these traps are so gross they can really make you question who came up with the idea. Read more about the craziest Saw traps here.
Would You Rather is about a group of people who are invited to a wealthy man’s house to compete for money. But some aspects of this competition are truly sadistic – and might force you to look away. Stitches is a horror movie that’s less on the serious side (you can find it after scrolling through Netflix for a while), but that doesn’t mean it disappoints on the gore. Some of the deaths in this movie are executed in ways that will surely make your stomach churn.
The ABC’s of Death is another depths-of-Netflix find, and Valley can only recommend this movie with a warning: do not watch if you are not prepared for one of the weirdest film-viewing experiences of your life. The premise behind the movie is that 26 directors from all over the world received a letter of the alphabet and had to create a short death scene based on a word that starts with their respective letter. Some of these directors push the envelope further than Valley has ever seen before, resulting in the most disgusting, strange, inappropriate, and physically uncomfortable scenes ever.
Finally, the classic gross horror movie is The Human Centipede. Just a tip: only watch this movie if you are truly committed. I think we all know it’s not a movie that you can watch casually and have a restful sleep afterwards.
For fans of twists, turns, and shocking endings…
If you’re the kind of movie viewer who loves an exhilarating plot and the suspense of not knowing how a movie will end until the final moments, here are some suggestions for you.
The Uninvited is a scary film throughout with shocking moments and an unsettling storyline, but a crazy revelation in the final moments is definitely its most redeeming quality. Orphan, a movie about an adopted daughter terrorizing a family, has a similarly stunning revelation at the end. The Invitation, a movie about a dinner party that slowly gets worse and worse, wraps up its already eerie plot with a final scene that feels like a punch in the gut.
Sinister and Joy Ride are two horror movies that are sure to get viewers’ blood pumping and adrenaline rushing. Every time you think something has been solved and all is good again – another creepy wrench is thrown into the plot. Sinister is about a family’s haunting after they discover a videotape showing the previous families’ murders in the house they just moved to. Joy Ride focuses on two men who get themselves into trouble with an angry trucker when they mess with a truck radio they came upon.
The Cabin in the Woods and this year’s Get Out are two of the highest-rated horror movies out there right now, and that’s probably because they boast creative plots never before seen in a scary film. Both combine suspense and terror with comedy, a combination that might not seem natural but works successfully in both cases. The Cabin in the Woods is a typical horror movie on the outside; including a group of teens staying in a haunted cabin, but the inner workings of the film make it unlike any other. Get Out sets viewers on edge with its creepy setting, characters, and circumstances. A man visits his girlfriend’s abnormal family, but the quality of the film goes one step further with relevant commentary on modern-day racism. This a top VALLEY recommendation.
Are some of your favorite horror movies not on this list? Tweet us which ones we missed @ValleyMag!