11 (5) Great Art-Horror Films You Need to See

Both Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive and Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin are hypnotic, brooding art-horror masterstrokes by two great filmmakers at the top of their game. Whereas recent horror films like The Babadook, Oculus, and Proxy are noble enough attempts to inject some artistic integrity into tried and tired horror subgenres (haunted houses, scary mirrors, sinister support groups), Only Lovers Left Alive and Under the Skin are genuine art films. These two films are just the most recent in a very old tradition of synthesizing art-house ambition with genre-convention.

Here, we look back at some of the most stirring entries in the art-horror canon. (As always, this list is far from exhaustive.)

Nosferatu (1922)


F.W. Murnau’s seminal vampire film is still the epitome of the vampire film. It remains one of the scariest spectacles of visual storytelling ever committed to celluloid; the grainy, distorted look time has lent to the film actually intensifies the discomfort, with dropped frames and flickering imagery casting an impermeable shroud over Max Schrek’s nightmare man. Werner Herzog’s 1979 remake is also excellent.

Repulsion (1965)

Before Polanski gave us Rosemary’s Baby – one of the greatest films of any genre to ever grace the screen — he gave us this, a fleeting tale of one woman’s mental degradation. The young, mentally-ill woman’s deep-seeded fear of men manifests in a series of surreal visions, most notably a legion of arms sticking through the wall and reaching for the young girl. Repulsion’s legacy can be felt in Black Swan, Mulholland Drive, Antichrist, and Under the Skin.

Suspiria (1977)

Those unfortunate souls who have seen Dario Argento’s Dracula 3D,(OP - I liked it) or virtually anything Argento’s made in the last two decades, may not be able to understand why Argento is considered a master. One need only see Suspiria’s opening ten minutes to be converted, one of the most visually and aurally stunning films of the ’70s.

Eraserhead (1977)

The anxiety induced by David Lynch’s impregnable, feral debut — five years in the making — is ineffable. Only a clip will suffice.

The Shining (1980)

It’s easily the most widely seen and beloved film on this list. Kubrick traded in the alcoholism and child abuse subtexts of King’s novel (which isn’t bad by any means, though King’s anti-Kubrick infatuation may make you wish it were) for a labyrinthine jaunt into the corridors of the mind. The film refuses to be understood – Room 237 brilliantly captures the fanaticism and diverse analysis films of this caliber can engender. The more you watch, the less you know.


The other 6 @ the spooky source

ONTD, what's your favorite art horror film?
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