Have you ever felt left out because your friends want to hang out and watch scary movies, and you just can’t do it? Does the idea of watching anything remotely scary make your stomach do somersaults? Do you think about how hard it will be to go to bed after that because the images of the horrible things you just watched creep in?
You are definitely not alone. Although horror movies do incredibly well at the box office, many people just can’t bring themselves to watch one. So, today I’m here to assist you. Take heart Friends, we are about to come to your rescue!
25 Scary Movies for People Who Don’t Like Scary Movies
Halloween III: Season of the Witch
Following the massive success of Halloween and Halloween 2, John Carpenter, the Master of Horror, decided Halloween movies didn’t always need Michael Myers.
In fact, his idea was to make the Halloween franchise a series of anthology movies, each telling a different story.
The first of these was Halloween III: Season of the Witch. This movie follows two people as they uncover a plot by an evil mask maker to kill thousands of children.
The twisted plan involves using an ancient Celtic ritual powered by a chunk of a stolen boulder from Stonehenge to make the masks. Then, a television commercial for his Silver Shamrock masks will activate them.
It’s actually much better than it sounds, although modern audiences would find it quite dated. If it didn’t have “Halloween” in the title, more people may have wanted to see it. They wouldn’t have expected a Michael Myers slasher film.
It was an incredible flop, and the studio decided it DID need Michael Myers in all the Halloween movies. But if you choose this one, at least you can say you watched a Halloween movie!
Fade to Black
Eric Binford lives for the movies. And sometimes he kills for them too.” This was the tagline on the posters for the 1980 movie “Fade to Black.”
Binford, played by BAFTA award winner Dennis Christopher, is a troubled, bullied, and disturbed young man who becomes obsessed with movies as a way to escape a life he cannot otherwise live.
After fantasizing he is actually in the film “Kiss of Death,” he inadvertently helps cause the death of his aunt. This sends him spiraling into his Hollywood dreams as he seeks revenge on those he feels wronged him.
To do this, he bases his revenge methods on the scenes in the movies he watches. While Fade to Black is a bit dated, it is a great jumping-off point for those who are unsure about the horror genre!
Daniel Radcliffe made a lot of money from the Harry Potter franchise. He made and continues to make so much money that he can do whatever acting gigs he wants to, if he wants to.
This has led him to take on weird roles in very odd movies. I mean, he plays Al Yankovic in a movie literally called Weird. One of those strange roles was in the movie “Horns.”
Radcliffe plays a young man who people think is responsible for his girlfriend’s murder. One day he wakes up with a set of horns and evil-ish supernatural powers. He uses this new, dark gift to find her true killer.
As it isn’t technically “horror” but just has some horror elements, it’s a movie the skittish should definitely try to watch. It’s a really well-made, original film with great performances that’s well worth your time.
Back before Peter Jackson decided every movie he made had to be an epic masterpiece, he was making smaller horror movies like Dead Alive, Heavenly Creatures, and the next one on our list, The Frighteners.
Michael J. Fox plays a con man who can communicate with the dead, primarily two people who become his partners. He uses this gift, along with his two apparition friends, to “haunt” people’s houses.
He then comes in to “investigate” and takes care of them—for a price, of course.
The grift works pretty well until he crosses paths with a Grim Reaper, who can take the lives of the living as well as the afterlife from the dead.
All in all, this is a fun movie with its share of jump scares and tense moments. It would be a really good movie for someone wanting to test the waters of horror.
James Gunn wasn’t always directing blockbusters like Guardians of the Galaxy for Marvel or Suicide Squad for DC/Warner Bros.
He originally worked on a wide variety of projects, including writing the original live action Scooby-Doo movies, the screenplays for Thir13en Ghosts and Dawn of the Dead, and directing the movie Slither.
Slither is a tribute to old, drive-in, sci-fi B movies where a small town is invaded by aliens in the form of slugs with sights on world domination!
It can get a little graphic, as some of the scenes are kind of gross, but it never crosses the line into being gory. For those who don’t really like horror movies, it may be unnerving, but Slither is just crazy fun. Sure, it becomes very tense at times, but it’s always fun.
Based on a story by Steven King and directed by John Carpenter, With these two credits on any project, you can bet the film will be terrifying.
This one is about a demon-possessed 1958 Plymouth Fury that develops a crush on its new owner and a mean jealous streak to go along with it.
Yes, it sounds ridiculous, and really, it is. But in Carpenter’s hands, it actually does work as a horror film! It has a few great jump scares and some pretty intense scenes of auto-on-human violence, but it won’t really scare you. Actually, the ridiculousness of it all makes it a better watch!
This is the End
Most of you have heard of This is the End, the very R-rated horror comedy written and directed by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg.
All of Hollywood’s young (at the time) A-Listers play ridiculous, terrible versions of themselves. The apocalypse occurs. They turn on each other as many of them get sucked into Hell in one of the best comedy-horror scenes ever.
While it is clearly a comedy, there are enough horror elements that it works at that level as well! Aside: I believe Emma Watson is a badass.
And if you need another reason to watch it, consider these three words: Pineapple Express Sequel!
Well, kind of. The only other thing I can say is, “Poor Channing Tatum.” He deserved so much better.
You’re Next is a horror movie that takes the “final girl” trope and turns it upside down. The wealthy but estranged Davison family comes together to celebrate their parents’ anniversary at their remote summer mansion.
When a group of crossbow-wielding, heavily armed strangers in animal masks invade the house, things get bad. But these intruders may have more to handle than they thought.
Seeing a character in a scary movie actually behave in a manner that makes sense is a fresh idea not often seen in the genre.
At no point will you be able to give the horror movie shoutout of “Oh, come on!” This movie won’t scare you as much as it will have you cheering at the end.
Tim Burton is an unpredictable director. He will direct a great movie and then a pretty bad one. Some of his movies are completely overrated, while others are quite underrated.
One of Burton’s better efforts, Sleepy Hollow takes the Washington Irving story of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman and turns it into a creepy adventure.
Starring the always strange Johnny Depp and everyone’s favorite dark, gothic girl, Christina Ricci, Sleepy Hollow creates an unnerving world where danger is suspected in every shadow and no one can be truly trusted.
Depp plays Crane, a teacher in the Irving story who becomes a detective in this version (because Burton never sticks to the source material) and is investigating deaths in the area.
Always fearful and timid, Crane must confront the legendary Headless Horseman to escape with his life. It’s not scary to watch, but it definitely has that creepy vibe one is looking for.
If you’ve never seen Creepshow or the Creepshow television series on Shudder, or if you’ve never read a Creepshow comic, it doesn’t matter.
This movie is just scary, campy fun. And I do mean campy. This is an anthology film made up of different stories presented like those found in a Creepshow comic.
There are five separate stories, each one a little campier and a little grosser than the one before. The Crate is one of the silliest, but also the most fun, of the segments.
As with quite a few movies on this list, Stephen King wrote the screenplay for this over-the-top fright fest, and he even does a little acting in “The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill!
One thing though, if you are afraid of cockroaches, this is NOT the movie for you. I mean watch it, sure, but stop after story number four.
Make a live-action, R-rated version of Five Nights at Freddie’s, add Nicolas Cage as the guy who has to stay in the building until dawn, and some kids who want to stop all animatronic malevolence, and you have one amazing scary movie.
This movie shouldn’t be any good. And some would argue it isn’t, although I have yet to actually meet that person. But this is one of those movies that is exactly what it is supposed to be and nothing more. And that’s all you can ask of a scary movie.
Side note: Nicolas Cage never speaks during the entire movie. Not one word. Ever. That performance alone makes Willy’s Wonderland worth watching!
This movie is scary and unnerving to be sure. In it, John Cusack plays a travel writer who investigates supposedly haunted destinations.
He heads to the Dolphin Hotel in NYC to debunk the legend of Room 1408 which is said to be one of the most paranormally charged hotel rooms in the world.
The manager, played by Samuel L. Jackson, tries repeatedly to dissuade him from even entering the room, much less staying the night in it, but Cusack’s character goes for it anyway.
Horror ensues. There’s a lot of it. It keeps you off-kilter and your mind playing catch-up throughout, and it’s great.
This is definitely a movie that will creep you out completely, but it won’t stay with you or scare you for long. Unless you watch in a hotel room,
Fright Night (both)
In 1985, a cult classic was born. Fright Night was not a comedy. It was very much a campy, weird 80s horror movie. No slashers, no gore, no uber-violence; just a really good scary film about a kid who has a vampire named Jerry move in next door.
The kid recruits a washed-up old tv host who claims to have hunted supernatural creatures to expose the vampire to help save his family and friends.
In 2011, the movie was remade into a more serious, more traditional horror film. The setting is updated to Las Vegas, and the vampire is way more threatening, bringing the horror front and center.
This version of Jerry Dandridge, the vampire played by Colin Farrell, is far more threatening. The TV host was replaced by a Vegas showman, played by David Tennant, whose shows are based on the occult, while Anton Yelchin takes over as the boy next door.
I can understand those who prefer the original, either for personal memories or out of a sense of nostalgia, but in a lot of ways, the remake is much better.
Just not the CGI. That isn’t great.
Until The Fly was released, Jeff Goldblum was a little-known actor. This movie put him on the charts in a big way.
Goldblum played Seth Brundle, a scientist who believes he has unlocked the secrets of teleportation. When he decides to put his invention to the test, he has no idea that a simple housefly has made its way into the device with him.
As opposed to the original version of the movie, where a fly’s head and arm appear on an otherwise human body, the remake sees Brundle slowly and agonizingly turn into a fly in a body horror classic.
It is absolutely gross and very disconcerting, but it is also an incredibly well-made and effective movie.
Happy Death Day
Happy Death Day is really easy to explain. It’s essentially Groundhog Day, but if Bill Murray was stalked and murdered every day.
Tree is the name of the heroine; yes, that is her name. She wakes up on the morning of her birthday, ready for a day of celebration. At the end of the day, however, she gets murdered by a killer in a baby mask.
Then she wakes up.
It is again her birthday, she again gets stalked, and she again gets brutally murdered at the end of the day.
This happens over and over again, with each day getting her closer and closer to revealing her killer. Happy Death Day is a new twist on a familiar story that makes watching it a cool experience.
Attack the Block
A teenage street gang from a poor, rough area of London has to defend themselves and those who live in their neighborhood when some malevolent aliens attempt to take over.
Attack on the Block is one of the most overlooked movies of the 2010s; it’s well-written, has great direction, and features really solid performances from the cast.
This is more of a sci-fi action thriller than it is horror, but it has enough tension and jump scares to be high on a scary movie lover’s list of rewatchable films.
And if you became a fan of John Boyega through the Star Wars sequels, this is the film that launched him to stardom.
Have you ever seen the original Universal Pictures version of The Invisible Man? I get that it’s a classic and all that, but it doesn’t hold up at all.
For its time, I’m sure it was shocking and scary. But watching it today is like watching a Saturday Night Live sketch. Seriously… It’s hilarious.
In an effort to reboot their monster universe after the disaster that was The Mummy starring Tom Cruise, Universal Picture partnered with Jason Blum of Blumhouse and started working on rebooting the properties for a modern audience. The Invisible Man was the first film from the partnership.
It takes an old silly idea and turns it into a tense, frightening film that will absolutely creep you out while likely challenging your ethics.
What We Do in the Shadows
What would you get if you took The Office, replaced the staff with vampires, and put them in an old, decaying, creepy house instead of Dunder Mifflin’s?
What We Do in the Shadows, the movie Taika Waititi was desperate to make, does exactly that. The story follows that simple, basic idea to perfection.
While there are certainly horror elements, this film is essentially a comedy about four roommates learning to coexist in the modern world—and they’re vampires.
There are some legitimate scares to be had, but they are mostly played for laughs. The tone of the film is somewhat spooky, and there are scenes of violence one would expect from a movie about vampires.
However, this would be a good place for someone wanting to get into scary movies to start.
Shaun of the Dead
Shaun of the Dead is the first of Edgar Wright’s “Three Flavors Cornetto Trilogy,” which is a trilogy of genre films loosely based on the director’s life.
Hot Fuzz is about a demon-worshiping cult; At World’s End is a sci-fi horror movie about drinking; and Shaun of the Dead is about zombies.
Yes, it’s a comedy, and much of it is played for laughs, but there are some serious scares in there. And the tension builds no differently than it would in a serious horror film.
Since it is an Edgar Wright film, we also get jokes, fantastic character development, and truly intelligent humor masquerading as frat-boy toilet jokes. This is a film that everyone should see at least once. Even all you people who don’t like scary movies will like this one!
Cabin in the Woods
I’m not telling you anything about Cabin in the Woods because the less you know about it, the better the movie is. The best part of Cabin in the Woods is figuring everything out along with the characters.
This is the movie that gives you all of the standard characters and situations that are always found in these movies. The ones that make us roll our eyes and say, “Oh, come on, nobody would do that”? But then it explains why those cliches are important and why they actually do that!
You’ll have to just trust me that Cabin in the Woods, while gory and violent (the third act is just ridiculous), is the perfect scary movie if you don’t like scary movies.
Tucker & Dale vs. Evil
Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, turn horror movie tropes completely upside down. This is one of the best dark comedies of the last couple of decades. And I do mean it’s a comedy!
I can’t really tell you about the movie because, like Cabin in the Woods, knowing too much can ruin the viewing experience, but you’ll just have to trust me that it is completely worth it.
The kills in this Tucker & Dale are some of the most creative you’ll ever see. And you may actually feel a little bad that you are laughing so much at people being gruesomely stripped of their lives. But you will laugh.
Trick 'r Treat
Like Creepshow, Trick or Treat is an anthology movie. Unlike Creepshow, there is a thread flowing through the movie that ties the whole thing together. And if you’ve ever been to a Spirit Halloween Store, you’ve certainly seen the movie’s icon, Sam, the little pumpkin-headed trick-or-treater.
I won’t lie; for the uninitiated horror movie watcher, this one could get scary. But what makes it so good is that every story has a twist. Things in this movie are not always what they seem. Trick ‘r Treat is easily one of the most underrated horror flicks of all time.
Writer’s block and has no new ideas. The band decides they need a change of scenery, so they rent an old mansion with a creepy past in the Hollywood Hills.
Welcome to Studio 666!
The creative floodgates soon open, and Dave becomes obsessed with this new piece of music that won’t get out of his head and never seems to end.
This movie is about the Foo Fighters having a great time producing a horror movie, like a bunch of little kids playing pretend. Well, very adult, murderous pretend, but you get the idea.
A word of warning, though: because of the tragic passing of Taylor Hawkins, some scenes may be a little tough for fans to watch. Just sayin’.
Ready or Not
A woman gets married to the love of her life and meets the family she has just become a part of, only to find out that to be one of the family she has to play and win (or survive) a game chosen at random. She receives Hide and Seek, which should be simple enough, except that in this version, if you are discovered, you are murdered.
This is definitely a horror film, especially for those who never watch them. But the twist on the “final girl” trope is really well done and makes the viewer feel different than what you would expect. Somehow, you actually feel somewhat empowered!
When the announcement for Freaky was made, most people thought it would be incredibly dumb. Take the body switch element from Freaky Friday, and add a serial killer to the mix. It seems like a desperate Hollywood cash grab! But somehow it isn’t. Much of the credit for it being as good as it is goes to its stars, Kathryn Newton and Vince Vaughn.
Watching Newton do the whole serial killer shtick is great. Vaughn reminds us of why he was, at one time, one of the biggest names in comedy as he becomes friends with a high school girl. The whole thing is completely ridiculous and absurd, but it’s great! I’m sure Freaky would have been a huge hit at the box office if it hadn’t been released in the middle of the world’s lockdown.