I made this list in 2013, prompted by The Best Friend @Joshua, who really enjoys a good scare, but not so much the squishy squish. I was prompted to make it part of Dollopween 2015 by several friends who have bailed on American Horror Story: Hotel, due to the extreme first episode.
So here are some deliciously frightening movies with little to no squishy squish. Boo. Wish you were here to watch them with me, honestly.
Added outstanding movies viewed since first listing.
- The Paranormal Activity series. Great atmosphere, very eerie.
- Paperhouse (1990). A British psychological thriller about a child’s feverish drawings coming to life, based on the book Marianne Dreams by Catherine Storr. The book is a little edgy and strange; the movie is the red curtain/black-checkered floor version of the book.
- Lady in White (1988). Excellent and highly underrated ghost story. My understanding is that this film is loosely based on a true story?
- The Changeling (1980). One of my very favorite scary movies. A tale of a haunted house starring George C. Scott. Warning: Car wreck at the beginning, filmed to make you believe you saw more than you actually did, so look away if need be.
- What Lies Beneath (2000). Wonderful menacing feel, Hitchcockian. Warning: Violence, but no blood.
- 1408 (2007). Stephen King movie that horrifies without being disgusting. It’s basically a two-person movie: Samuel L. Jackson as the don’t-go-in-there/I-told-you-so guy, and John Cusack that insists on going in there.
- Storm of the Century (1999). Stephen King miniseries set during a blizzard, playing on claustrophobia (and chionophobia).
- The Others (2001). Eerie, atmospheric. Incredible twist on the theme of Turn of the Screw.
- Dark Water. Either version—both the original (Honogurai mizu no soko kara (2002)) and the American remake (2005) are quite spooky.
- Rose Red (2002): As mentioned last night. (My only quibble is that I don’t like the actress cast as the unusual child, Annie, but I can live with that.)
- The Haunting (1963): How could I forget this one? it’s only based upon one of my favorite novels!
- Skeleton Key (2005): Are you sensing a theme here? I am partial to the horror subgenre that I call “demented domiciles”, houses or buildings that just Aren’t Right. Warning: lynching. This is a crackin’ good New Orleans spooky story. Plus: John Hurt! Gena Rowlands! Peter Sarsgaard!
- The Ward (2010): An underrated John Carpenter, about how sometimes, the ghosts are real, and sometimes, they might be inside our heads.
- The Ring (2002) was a suggestion from y’all, and I’ll go with that, with one caveat: During the actual viewing of the video, there is a scene involving a fingernail that I can’t even watch. (I would need to rewatch the original, Ringu (1998) before I could verify that it qualifies as okay for the squeamish. I can do that. 🙂 )
- added today It Follows (2014). Incredible, 1970’s vibe, combined with the feel of an Australian or English horror movie. Creeping, insidious, stays with you long after watching it.
- added today Frozen (2010). Wait, where are you going? No, nonono, not “Let It Go”. This horror movie, by Adam Green, is a glorious play on the subgenre of white people problems horror, the problems we have created from our recreation and conveniences.
- added today The Caller (2011). Newly divorced Mary finds a furnished apartment complete with an old Bakelite phone, which begins to receive phone calls. Slow and creeping, gets under your skin.
Any suggestions? Who has the popcorn?