Uninspired AskMe Title
May 17, 2010 9:33 PM   Subscribe

We really want some good scary movies to watch.

We're looking to kick back with a few creepy movies. Good spooky haunted house-type stuff that we might have overlooked on the shelves. Along the lines of Session 9, Blair Witch, The Ring, Paranormal Activity, Pontypool (not haunted house but had a great feel to it), so on and so forth. Bonus points if it isn't subtitled (though that won't disqualify great movies) and is relatively recent (The Shining and The Haunting are great but haven't aged well). Yes we've seen Let The Right One In :P

Splatter and pure horror we're less interested in but we'd still love suggestions. We'll likely have seen a great many responses but there's so much out there that you never know.
posted by turgid dahlia to Media & Arts (69 answers total) 79 users marked this as a favorite
Marble Hornets. I still keep seeing the Slender Man.
posted by painquale at 9:41 PM on May 17, 2010

Candyman was actually a quality horror film that could have been amazing, had the ending been handled better. Descent made me want to turn off the movie, even though I was watching it in the middle of the afternoon (then again, their are evidently two versions. One has the incredibly dark ending I saw, the other apparently sets up the sequel).

Juon was a fantastic film, though subtitled. For some reason, though, The Grudge (the American remake), even with a scaled down story was scarrier to me. If you like the Ring, you'll probably like Juon/The Grudge.
posted by Ghidorah at 9:44 PM on May 17, 2010

Wolf Creek is great.
posted by surenoproblem at 9:45 PM on May 17, 2010

The Donald Sutherland version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Holy hell, that's a scary movie.
posted by holterbarbour at 9:46 PM on May 17, 2010

Three... Extremes was pretty horrifying. And I thought Cube was terrifying when I saw it, but haven't re-watched it. I haven't seen it since I was a kid but Jacob's Ladder was really creepy at the time.
posted by jardinier at 9:48 PM on May 17, 2010

What Lies Beneath was surprisingly good, all with the throwaway BOO! and with the tension building and even the plot. It came out 10 years ago now, but I remember seeing it in the theater and being a little disappointed with the SFX even then.

Can I recommend Dellamorte Dellamore in another one of your movie questions?
posted by carsonb at 9:51 PM on May 17, 2010

I would strongly recommend the classics The Changeling with George C. Scott (along with it's wikipedia entry, fascinating stuff), and Disney's Watcher in the Woods. Both are great at drawing you into the plot.
posted by circular at 9:55 PM on May 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

Seconding House (Hausu) as the best film I've seen this year, though not really 'scary.' Check out the fourfour write-up, but beware, spoilers... (just look at the GIFs)
posted by jardinier at 9:57 PM on May 17, 2010

A.O. Scott of the New York Times recently cited The Descent as one of the under-rated horror movies of recent years, and I'd have to agree.
posted by dbarefoot at 9:57 PM on May 17, 2010 [4 favorites]

The Innocents
Don't Look Now
The Tenant
The Descent
The Ninth Gate (jaunty tone, not to be taken seriously)
The Killing Room (very solid B-movie)
The Sentinel (cheesy, but contains at least one epic-level scare)

Also, the last hour of Ingmar Bergman's The Serpent's Egg is quite good. The first hour is blah, but that last hour...
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:02 PM on May 17, 2010 [2 favorites]

Oh, also, Uzumaki (aka Spiral).
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:02 PM on May 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

El Orfanato

Not gorey or bloody, just creepy to the bone.
posted by karminai at 10:11 PM on May 17, 2010 [3 favorites]

I saw And Soon The Darkness on the telly a couple years after its 1970 release, and still remember being thoroughly creeped out. I can't think of much other nastiness that's stood the test of time so well.

I recommend you show it as the second film in a double session opened by Bad Taste.
posted by flabdablet at 10:13 PM on May 17, 2010

The Orphanage (El orfanato) is great, relatively recent, haunted house film, but it is subtitled. It's a less scary than creepy, "gets under your skin" kind of film that sticks with you.
posted by Diagonalize at 10:18 PM on May 17, 2010

Damn, preview fail.
posted by Diagonalize at 10:18 PM on May 17, 2010

After you watch The Human Centipede and you'll never, ever want to watch another horror movie again.
posted by at the crossroads at 10:19 PM on May 17, 2010

Seconding Jacob's Ladder. The move has aged well, in part because it always was a period piece-- don't worry, it just takes place in the seventies, there are no olde time accents. (A tiny bit of gore, lots of creep, and on the surreal side-- not as surreal as Lost Highway, but in general, if you don't like Lynch, you're at a lot of risk of disliking this movie.)

Sounds like you don't mind subtitles even though you wouldn't prefer them. Noroi (sometimes, in English, The Curse) is an excellent film in the pseudo-documentary vein. Last I checked, you could even watch it on youtube (gotta love Japanese IP laws). If you liked The Ring and you liked Blair Witch, I highly recommend this film.

Although there are good reasons it doesn't fit your criteria (subtitles, splatter) I feel that I have to recommend Suicide Club (also known as Suicide Circle; forget it's original Japanese title). I mentioned the gore, but it's really mostly incidental to this film, which is a Japanese creep-fest. This film is much more surreal than Jacob's Ladder, and if you didn't like Mulholland Drive (another film I highly recommend) then there are good reasons to avoid this one as well.

Drag Me To Hell is a completely different kind of good movie. It is not surreal at all. It has some gross-out scenes, but they focus less on gore than on other, umm, fluids. Perfect drive-in movie: entertaining without being insulting. (First horror flick by Raimi since Evil Dead 2, another great one, as you probably know, but somewhat out of date.)
posted by nathan v at 10:23 PM on May 17, 2010 [2 favorites]

I haven't seen it for at least 10 years or so, but I really was deliciously spooked by Exorcist III. There's one scene in particular -- don't worry, no spoilers -- that is positively brilliant.
posted by scody at 10:24 PM on May 17, 2010

wicker man (ca. 1974)
storm of the century (ca. 1999; a s. king story)
posted by yazi at 10:43 PM on May 17, 2010

I've heard good things about the recent HOUSE OF THE DEVIL (its at the top of my Netflix queue)
posted by cinemafiend at 10:50 PM on May 17, 2010

Also, I liked THEM (ILS) quite a lot... its subtitled though..
posted by cinemafiend at 10:54 PM on May 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

Mostly oldies, because it's really a shame if you haven't seen them (or seen them again recently):
Rosemary's Baby
Don't Look Now
A Tale of Two Sisters
The Mist
The Vanishing (the original)
Let's Scare Jessica to Death

And nthing Jacob's Ladder
posted by Paris Elk at 11:01 PM on May 17, 2010 [2 favorites]

Too bad you want recent or I'd recommend "Suspiria" Ah, the days of good old CREEPY SHUDDERY horror seem to be past, and it's all suspense or splatter nowadays.
posted by Rich Smorgasbord at 11:16 PM on May 17, 2010

The Eye. The 2002 Korean one, not the 2008 remake. Blind girl gets cornea transplant...

(Someone mentioned Candyman upthread. The Philip Glass score is one of the creepiest things I've heard, and I won't listen to it at night.)
posted by shinyshiny at 11:30 PM on May 17, 2010

A Tale of Two Sisters had two scenes of exquisite creepiness.

I also recommend Pulse (Jap version, not terrible western remake) and Takeshi Miike's Audition.

If you've not seen it, the original Exorcist really is a great film.
posted by smoke at 11:53 PM on May 17, 2010

Oooo, also somewhat under-rated I thought was Brit film The Bunker (about... a haunted bunker), and David Twohy's Below (submarine ghosts in WWII).
posted by smoke at 11:54 PM on May 17, 2010

My go-to answer for these questions is The Mothman Prophecies. If you liked Blair Witch, The Ring, etc., you'll love this.

It's about a newspaper reporter (Richard Gere) investigating a rural West Virginia town that's being stalked by a mysterious manifestation dubbed the Mothman. It's a monstrous, terrifying, godlike presence that warns of imminent disaster with cryptic messages and warps time, space, and reality to creepy effect. You never actually see the thing directly, and there's no gore and few if any shock scenes, but the atmosphere of the movie is so intensely eerie that it worms its way into your brain. The fact that it's based on a true story sure doesn't help.

See this clip for a good sampling of the film's style, pacing, music, and general atmosphere.
posted by Rhaomi at 11:59 PM on May 17, 2010

Seconding Audition as a well done and suspenseful film.
Aside: I was under the impression that Audition was a romantic comedy when I first picked it up. This might have added to the overall creepiness of my experience with this film. I kept expecting the usual romcom tropes and getting...well, you'll see.

I remember the Japanese version of Dark Water being pretty good as well. Its themes are very similar to those of the Ring.
posted by millions of peaches at 2:06 AM on May 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

Nthing The Orphanage - deeply creepy.
posted by Paragon at 2:52 AM on May 18, 2010

I came in to recommend The Orphanage as well.
posted by Frasermoo at 4:30 AM on May 18, 2010

Good spooky haunted house-type stuff that we might have overlooked on the shelves.

Stir of Echoes is an underrated creepy horror movie.

(I'd also whole-heartedly second Devil's Backbone and The Serpent and The Rainbow.)

I also enjoyed The Last Winter but I also do not pretend for a moment that it is a good film.
posted by slimepuppy at 4:58 AM on May 18, 2010

REC (the original version of the very bad movie Quarantine), and its sequel REC 2. Subtitled, yes, but still a very effective horror movie.
Also, Martyrs...very creepy.
posted by cozenedindigo at 5:53 AM on May 18, 2010

Videodrome - a modern horror classic
Dead Ringers - creepy as hell
posted by dbiedny at 6:14 AM on May 18, 2010

With the full knowledge that you are less interested in this sort of thing, I cannot recommend the original Black Christmas highly enough. It has an aura of creepiness that its ten thousand knock-offs almost universally lack.

It is the prototype of what horror movies were in the eighties and nineties and about a dozen things that you associate with Friday the 13th and Hallowe'en and things of that ilk -- the series of gruesome killings, the unseen killer being presented with a handheld camera POV shot, even the "we traced the calls and they're coming from inside the house" stinger -- all come from this single source, a 1974 tax-shelter movie shot in Toronto. And unlike so many of the generic slasher movies that followed it, it remains disquieting: every slasher movie killer quickly fell into one of two categories -- your silent, implacable Jason Vorrheeses and Michael Myerses and your wisecracking, prancing Freddy Krugers. The bad guy here is vocal and actually seems, you know, insane and disturbing.

It was remade in 2006 for reasons unclear: I have never seen the remake but it seemed to me even when it was announced that either the new version would have to be faithful to the original (in which case it would come across as a generic slasher movie) or it would have to open it up and discuss the origin story of the killer, invent more impressive ways to dispatch their cast than suffocation and stabbing, blah-di-blah, (in which case, why call it a remake). Thus the people behind the remake had not so much the question of whether to keep some of qualities of the original but rather in which direction to cast them aside.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:19 AM on May 18, 2010

The Legend of Lucy Keyes is supposed to be along these lines. I've been wanting to see it for a while now, but haven't had the chance yet.
posted by Ouisch at 6:22 AM on May 18, 2010

Event Horizon is one truly creepy movie - some great acting, excellent visuals, and a constant, creeping sense of dread. Some gore, but it's not the focus, and used judiciously to ram home a greater horror.

Delicatessen is another must-see - a quirky and lovable movie with some truly terrifying moments and a classic horror premise.

Christine - Hey! A Stephen King horror movie that doesn't suck! How'd that ever happen? John Carpenter directed it, that's how. Special effects hold up extremely well.

Videodrome - Weird and unnerving.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:36 AM on May 18, 2010

Eraserhead. Unless you think you might be pregnant.
posted by nickjadlowe at 7:07 AM on May 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

Paperhouse. Ebert said "a film in which every image has been distilled to the point of almost frightening simplicity" and which creeped me out for years after I saw it.

Legion (also called Exorcist III, but seriously, don't let that scare you off. Although Blatty wrote the script, it's neither a sequel nor really an adaptation of his novel Legion.) Really amazing performance by George C. Scott as Detective Kinderman (who is the detective from the Exorcist) and the relationship between him and Ed Flanders who plays Father Dyer (who was Father Karas' friend in the Exorcist) is hilarious. The final show down gets a little silly (as often happens in horror movies), but until then, it's a character-driven, tense, creepy movie.

Both are 80's films, but Legion has definitely aged well. I haven't been able to bring myself to watch Paperhouse again.
posted by crush-onastick at 7:33 AM on May 18, 2010

Good spooky haunted house-type stuff that we might have overlooked on the shelves. Along the lines of Session 9, Blair Witch, The Ring, Paranormal Activity, Pontypool (not haunted house but had a great feel to it), so on and so forth.

They break your no subtitles preference, but if you like spooky atmospheric horror films there are a lot of great Asian ones. The Curse is like a better version of Blair Witch, and R-Point has a somewhat similar feel to Session 9. There's also some stuff that is completely out there, like Suicide Club which is kind of like a weird cross between Asian horror and a David Lynch film.
posted by burnmp3s at 7:34 AM on May 18, 2010

Joshua. SO intensely disturbing that my boyfriend spent the last half of the movie clutching one another and whimpering, "Noooo... oh, god, no... make it STOP!" Note: the creepiness factor is multiplied by 10,000 if you have children. ESPECIALLY if you have bratty-but-otherwise-delightful children whom you shooed off to bed earlier so you could watch "Joshua".
posted by julthumbscrew at 7:59 AM on May 18, 2010 [2 favorites]

I'm not a horror aficionado but I really liked 1408. Not sure how it stacks up against the other suggestions here. It's a very psychological/creepy movie, not a gory torture porn.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 8:05 AM on May 18, 2010

The Abandoned is extremely creepy for such a small and simple movie.
Into the Mirror is a perfect ghost story, and as befits such, was massacred by a remake with Kiefer Sutherland.
The Midnight Meat Train gets a bit silly when it comes to explaining things at the end, but otherwise is effing disturbing, particularly since Vinnie Jones is just wayyyy too earnest into the title's chores.

On the other hand, I can't resist mentioning Intermedio, which I recently endured. It's so bad, it's just atrociously bad. Up to and including Edward Furlong, who looks and sounds stoned out of his ass during all the proceedings in the most slimy and unfunny way.
posted by Iosephus at 8:06 AM on May 18, 2010

If you want a movie that really creeps up behind you and taps you on the shoulder when you don't expect it, check out Dead Of Night, the 50s british film - if you can find it.
posted by Pickman's Next Top Model at 8:08 AM on May 18, 2010

Cat People (1942) is a trashy, pulpy, film noir horror that's subtle by today's standards, Cat People is a trashy, sexy film that couldn't be more obvious, but gets into the "so bad it's good" realm.

Likewise, Bubba Hotep is hilarious, trashy and rather horrible at the same time.

Seriously creepy, especially if you've ever been a preteen girl: Ginger Snaps. There were two sequels, but the first is the best.
posted by bonehead at 8:33 AM on May 18, 2010

It's getting terrible reviews, but The Haunting of Winchester House scared the hell out of me a couple months ago.
posted by mygothlaundry at 10:31 AM on May 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

It's been many years since I've seen it so don't know if it's aged well but you might want to try Burnt Offerings. Scared the hell out of me as a kid.

Also try to find the original BBC version of the Woman in Black. Unfortunately the DVD is out of print but I was able to find it via a torrent site. Even though it was a made for TV movie, it was really well done and very spooky.
posted by gfrobe at 11:15 AM on May 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

Seconding the original The Vanishing. Very creepy suspense. It's one that sticks with you.

If you'll watch monster movies, The Host is remarkable. Apart from Let the Right One In, The Host is the best horror movie I've seen in the last few years.

Though these may not be exactly what the OP is looking for, mygothlaundry named two of my favorites. Ginger Snaps is good and funny. At least one of the sequels is also worth watching. Cat People was one of a dozen or so super-low-budget but surprisingly stylish horror movies produced by Val Lewton, the Orson Welles of B-movies. (I would not recommend the regrettable 1982 remake of Cat People however.)

Anyone who likes Cat People should watch Night of the Demon.
posted by paulg at 11:22 AM on May 18, 2010

Oops. I meant bonehead, not mygothlaundry. My apologies to you both.
posted by paulg at 11:24 AM on May 18, 2010

I remember watching Flatliners late at night with a friend of mine when it first came out 20 years ago, and it creeped me out for a couple of weeks afterwards. Of course, I was 12 then, but I still found it pretty creepy when I watched it again a few months ago.
posted by mysterpigg at 12:01 PM on May 18, 2010

Just saw Grace last night. Good atmosphere, unusual premise, some brave performances from the (mostly) female cast, and the most evil baby ever. (Don't think It's Alive - you'll be wrong.) And it's on Netflix Instant Play. What's not to like?
posted by Work to Live at 12:17 PM on May 18, 2010

Looking at the suggestions above, it's clear that people have very, very different opinions of what constitutes "scary" (some of these are flat-out comedies!)

I recommend looking at some horror blogs until you find one with similar tastes to your own. Start with HMAD, Horror Squad, Zombots, and Scare Sarah, and follow links from there. Most bloggers are happy to answer email.

Dissing The Shining because it "hasn't aged well"? I'm speechless.
posted by coolguymichael at 1:04 PM on May 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: painquale: Has any genius managed to staple Marble Hornets into a cohesive whole yet? Where might one so inclined go to find such a thing?

Ghidorah: Have seen Candyman, Descent and both versions of Juon. Good stuff.

surenoproblem: Greatly enjoyed Wolf Creek, and being Australian it freaked me out more than it might a foreigner because, yeah, I went to boarding school in Charters Towers which is a town in the desert populated almost entirely by hick psychopaths.

holterbarbour: Have always meant to watch the Sutherland version of Invasion... and I've had enough people tell me it's excellent to put it on the list. Thanks!

jardinier: Cube was a masterful film and, yes, very unsettling. Have added Three... Extremes to the list, thank you.

the duck by the oboe: I can see how The Devil's Backbone was designed to be creepy but unfortunately it left me cold for some reason. I think I may have been in an inappropriate mindset (i.e. blind drunk) at the time I watched it so I will give it another whirl.

carsonb: Yes What Lies Beneath was very well-done, and yes I've seen Cemetery Man and enjoyed it immensely :)

The World Famous: I watched this the other day with my girlfriend because it has Chris Isaak in it, who she believes she will marry one day. I dislike Lynch in general but admit to being a big fan of Lost Highway.

circular: Great suggestions, thank you.

uncanny hengeman & jardinier: Saw House on SBS ages ago and it's exactly not what I want, so thanks for nothing. (I kid of course, it's an awesome film.)

dbarefoot: I guess that must be an American thing because The Descent is very well known and was extremely well received here in Australia. But yes, it's exactly what I'm after. Naturally the sequel was a miscarriage.

Stitcherbeast: A nice pile of excellent stuff there, thanks! Spiral is based on the novel written by the same guy who what wrote The Ring, yeah?

karminai & Diagonalize: Ahh, The Orphanage. A good film and some genuinely creepy and surprising snot shots but I think it could have been trimmed by around 30 minutes.

uncanny hengeman: I enjoyed Reanimator but, yeah, not quite what we're after right here ;)

flabdablet: And Soon The Darkness looks excellent, thank you! Bad Taste was silly :P

posted by turgid dahlia at 3:56 PM on May 18, 2010

Also try to find the original BBC version of the Woman in Black.

oooooo yes. This creeped the fuck out of me when it was on the ABC many moons ago.
posted by smoke at 3:58 PM on May 18, 2010

uncanny hengeman & jardinier: Saw House on SBS ages ago and it's exactly not what I want, so thanks for nothing. (I kid of course, it's an awesome film.)

In case it was unclear earlier - uncanny hengeman and jardinier are referring to two different movies named House. One is an American movie from the 80s, the other is a Japanese movie from the 70s. Both are awesome.

Spiral is based on the novel written by the same guy who what wrote The Ring, yeah?

Actually, no! The novel Spiral, by the guy who wrote The Ring, is a separate beast, unread by me. The other Spiral I was recommending is based off of a manga written by Junji Ito. I've read bits and pieces of that manga - it is most excellent.

Also, whoever recommended Dead of Night is totally right. I don't want to spoil one of the best moments, so I won't, but it comes out of nowhere and it feels like swallowing an entire ice cream cone.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:54 PM on May 18, 2010

Both are awesome.

Phew. It's nice to have one's opinions respected on this site. I also nticed that mistake but for some strange reason decided not to post a correcting comment.

And because AskMe is quite correctly not supposed to be bogged down with chat, allow me to finish this post by actually answering the question.

American Wherewolf in London.

In the same vein of comedy horror, but boy it scared the bejeesus out of me at the time.

Here's a film that never fails to entertain, year after year. It's almost a quarter of a century old but hasn't become dated and the special effects, which were astounding in its day, are still good. Director John Landis is so good at making entertaining movies. This is one of his best.

The appeal to this film is the combination of horror, suspense, action and humor.

posted by uncanny hengeman at 8:41 PM on May 18, 2010

Wherewolf? Jesus.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 8:42 PM on May 18, 2010

Response by poster: In case it was unclear earlier - uncanny hengeman and jardinier are referring to two different movies named House.

Oh right, yeah, I was thinking of the crazy Japanese one. House I certainly remember looking at in the video shop hundreds of years ago, with the skeleton hand pressing the doorbell. Something like that.
posted by turgid dahlia at 8:45 PM on May 18, 2010

Loved The Descent. And I have to throw in that Pandorum (yes the recent one with Dennis Quaid) was a complete mindfuck. Good substitute for drugs.
posted by KimikoPi at 10:10 PM on May 18, 2010

Wherewolf? Jesus.

Where? In London, dude -- it's right there in the title.

I can't believe I forgot Spoorloos, the original disturbing version of The Vanishing. Totally worth bending your no-subtitles rule. The American remake is dismal.

And I wasn't sure it had ever been released on DVD but apparently it has, so I will tell you the short Cutting Moments, which I saw at a film festival years ago, was the most disturbing thing I have ever seen. I reached the point where I felt queasy and would have left the theatre if it were not packed (I was in the middle of a row).
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:25 AM on May 19, 2010

nthing Audition.

Also: Threads. Will have you scared for weeks....but maybe not light-hearted enough.
posted by lalochezia at 9:25 AM on May 19, 2010

I thought Alien and Aliens were scary as hell. They don't take place in a haunted house, but rather in alien infested ships/settlements. And Sigorney Weaver is at her kick-ass best here.
posted by pushing paper and bottoming chairs at 7:29 PM on May 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: What are you on about I've never heard of any such films are they foreign?


Thanks for the great recommendations guys, with these and 'Alan Wake' I'm sure to be pooping my way merrily through the weekend.
posted by turgid dahlia at 10:07 PM on May 19, 2010

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