Have you ever scanned through Netflix, looking at titles of terrifying movies, and passed right by them? Of course you have. With so many horror movies released every year, it’s easy to look over potentially great flicks. Plus, some frightening films get lost in the annals of history and are readily forgotten about. I’d like to suggest a few terrifying movies that you should take a second look at.
But, first, what exactly makes a movie terrifying, anyway? Is it the fear of the unknown? The thing that goes bump in the night? The next door neighbor who might be a serial killer? At the end of the day, everyone has different things that scares them, including me. Everyone has different tastes. Sometimes, one person’s tame movie is another’s nightmare hellscape. With that said, it’s likely some of these you’ve watched before and never want to watch again (for whatever reason). Allow me to change your mind with these terrifying movies you should revisit.
Return to Oz
Don’t roll your eyes, this movie scared me to death as a kid. The main villain Princess Mombi especially freaked me out, having the ability to detach and attach different heads onto her body, like something out of “Game of Thrones.” The scariest scene is when Dorothy’s walking through the chamber of severed, pale heads, and accidentally wakes one of them. Their malevolent eyes open as they scream her name, “DOOOOORTHHY GAYLE!”
Want to know about more movies that freaked us out as kids? You need to check out 25 Movies That Scared Us As Kids.
If you have a fear of snakes, avoid this movie at all costs. It’s about a 30-foot anaconda (hence the name) in the Amazon, stalking a group of explorers, and one crazed hunter, on a boat. This thing feeds on everything and I do mean everything. Not only that, it swallows people whole, digesting in the snakes stomach for months at a time. The suspense of how the snake slithers and stalks its prey will definitely get the hairs on your neck to stand at attention.
It’s sad to say, but I avoided senior citizens like the plague after watching this one. I knew their friendly demeanor hid a wicked agenda! Okay, I’m being a little silly, but “Rosemary’s Baby” still freaked me out. The most terrifying scene is when the sweet old ladies say ‘Hail Satan!”
This movie is actually one of my favorites. It tells the story of Jacob Singer, a Vietnam War veteran haunted by his time in the war. In one scene, Jacob is dragged through a hospital filled with blood-soaked floors and torsos with vibrating heads. It really gets into your psyche with the imagery, especially the demons that Jacob sees.
M. Night Shyamalan has given us some nail-biting movies from “The Sixth Sense” to “Devil.” In this film, a girl and her younger brother go for a visit to their grandparents home. The grandparents are a tad eccentric. Little by little, they make the children fear for their lives as they display more and more dangerous, erratic, and deadly behavior. The intensity and insanity of the grandparents is truly terrifying, especially when they play mind games with the grandchildren. I’m telling you, old people in horror movies are terrifying.
Cabin Fever is not that far fetched. The movie is about a group of teens who fall victim to a flesh-eating bacteria that is spreading throughout the town. If you haven’t seen it, be warned. It’s very graphic and not for those with a weak stomach. It shows flesh melting off the faces and other parts of the body. I suggest you don’t eat anything at least 2 hours before you watch this. Or, order an x-large pizza and have a party.
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me
If you were a teen in the ’90s, then you remember the show “Twin Peaks” and Laura Palmer. In “Fire Walk With Me,” we finally get the answer. David Lynch is the master of cerebral terro. In this, Lynch excels at shoving horrific and disturbing images into your already fragile skull. Things get seriously real when we see the killer of Laura Palmer and his possession.
I recently just saw this movie and it doesn’t surprise me that its produced by James Wan of “Insidious” and “The Conjuring.” It’s about a ghost systematically killing off people when they enter the dark. Here’s the catch: the ghost can only survive in the dark, but that doesn’t stop it from turning out the lights. Its got jump scares galore, but the director finds creative, fun, and effective ways to use them. Lights mysteriously going out is a tried and true horror trope but somehow, the filmmakers do a great job leveraging it to their advantage.
Arguably one of Mickey Rourke and Robert De Niro’s finest performances, “Angel Heart” is about a private eye named Harry Angel (Rourke) and a mysterious man named Lou Cyphre who hires the detective to track down a popular singer named Johnny Favorite. I don’t want to spoil the movie for you if you haven’t seen it, but trust me, the ending is terrifying.
This is by far one of the freakiest movies I’ve ever seen. Though its had a slew of sequels and spin-offs, the originally definitely deserves a revisit. It’s about a family whose son has the ability to astral project and ends up getting lost in a ghost-filled dimension called “The Further.” James Wan easily crafted a terrifying world of spirits and the supernatural that is sure to keep you up at night. Watch out for the Woman in Black.
I found this little, underrated gem on Netflix. It’s about a woman named Mary who gets a wrong number call from somebody in the past named Rose. The problem is that Rose is mentally unstable and after Mary’s rejection, she starts to alter her past to make her present a nightmare. When we finally meet Rose in the future, her intense, murderous smile is haunting.
If you want a movie with plenty of scares but also with an intricate plot, then watch this. First, the mental hospital setting put me ill at ease. But the vengeful ghost not giving you a moment’s rest ratcheted things up ten notches. On top of that, the way the ghost girl moved very slowly with her distorted body gave me a lump in my throat. All this equals me hiding under the covers. I still have trouble sleeping after this one.
Okay, here it is, the most terrifying movie you should revisit in my opinion. At 11 years old, I begged my mom to let me see this movie. Nobody does horror like Stephen King. “Pet Sematary” is the all-time freakiest movie ever. Exhibit A: Zelda, a young girl who died of spinal meningitis. She pops up in bed like a possessed rag-doll, and vengefully tells her sister she is coming to get her for letting her die. Good luck sleeping after this one.
Want to know more about horror movies? Then gird your loins, because you’ll want to read about the 25 Most Terrifying Horror Movies Villains.