40 Non-Scary Horror Movies for Scaredy Cats

You may not like gore, but that doesn't mean you have to sit out spooky season.

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In theory, we love to get scared while watching a  classic horror movie . But in reality, we were the person who requested the lights stay on at slumber parties. Even as adults, after watching an especially creepy movie, we swear we sometimes see faces in dark corners and hear strange noises coming from empty rooms. Despite this, we're not destined to be left out of the Halloween horror movie craze altogether. For those who, like us, can only take so many James Wan movies ( Insidious, The Conjuring ) before we start to fear the day as much as the night, here’s a list of 35 not-too-scary horror movies. Some are straight-up horror-comedies—with no shortage of thrills. And all are mild enough that even a scaredy cat like me can sleep soundly after viewing.

Practical Magic (1998)

Two witch sisters like to avoid their magical family history at all costs. This includes falling in love. Why, you may ask? Because unfortunately for them, any fool that falls in love with them faces an untimely death. You would think this would stop them from dating, but one sister likes to walk on the wild side, no matter the cost.

Coraline (2009)

Being the new kid in town isn't going as well as 11-year-old Coraline thought it would go. Her parents are MIA, she has no real friends, and her new house is total boredom central. Desperate to find  anything  to do, she decides to snoop around her new digs, leading her to discover a trap door leading to the world of her wildest dreams. But like any good person knows, nothing comes for free, and Coraline needs to find out before it's too late.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

Most people's first thoughts when they find themselves stranded on the side of the road would be to  not  venture two or so miles down the road to a nearby creepy mansion. Goody-two-shoes married couple Brad (Barry Bostwick), and Janet (Susan Sarandon) think differently, leading them to Dr. Frank-N-Furter's (Tim Curry) humble adobe where a night beyond their imagination exists. Get ready to sing along...like a lot.

Hocus Pocus (1993)

Kids will be kids, they say, but uh, most children don't casually awake a trio of wicked nasty witches that were executed in the 17th century for being seriously evil. It's then up to the little guys and girls to get rid of the sinister sisters once and for all, or else they can say goodbye to life as they know it.

Jeepers Creepers 2 (2003)

The second installment in this franchise is easier to swallow than its predecessor. Maybe that's because we know what the flesh-eating monster looks like, or the idea of being trapped in a school bus with a bunch of your close friends doesn't seem that bad right now. Either way, this movie is more fun than freaky.

Little Shop of Horrors (1986)

Being a plant mom or dad to some is a gift. To others, it's a nightmare. In this case: it's the latter, especially when you're housing a giant plant whose diet consists of only human flesh. How quirky is that? (Also, there's  currently a remake  of this musical classic in the works set to star Chris Evans and Taron Egerton, so we're stoked.)

Jennifer's Body (2009)

Megan Fox playing a possessed high school cheerleader who has a taste for her male classmates, is exactly as fun as it sounds. Watch to see if her best friend, played by a glasses-wearing Amanda Seyfried, can stop her murder spree before Fox gets her claws into Seyfried's boyfriend.

Army of Darkness (1992)

The scares-to-silliness ratio skews heavy on the latter with this time-traveling sequel to  Evil Dead  (1 and 2). Bill Campbell's Ash is extra hammy as the obnoxious chainsaw-for-a-hand anti-hero battling demons while stuck in King Arthur’s court.

Beetlejuice (1988)

The production design and animation in this modern classic are some of director Tim Burton’s wackiest (watch for  the dinner party scene  alone). The gist: After their lame attempts fail to drive out the humans now living in their home, two mild-mannered ghosts enlist an annoying demon named Beetlejuice to finish the job.

Ben (1972)

A lonely boy befriends a rat named Ben, whose army of rodents protect the sweet kid from bullies. Then, they start to kill. If you get too creeped out, Michael Jackson’s sweet theme song for the movie will bring you back to your happy place.

Blade (1998)

The sexy vampires and their partying subculture give this movie lots of style and may leave you longing for the darkness rather than fearing it.

Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1992)

The movie that predates Sarah Michelle Gellar is still plenty badass. A self-centered cheerleader learns she’s part of an ancient order destined to rid the world of evil vampires. This movie made me want to be a cheerleader—as long as I could kill the undead as well.

The 'Burbs (1989)

When creepy new neighbors move in next door to Ray Peterson (played by Tom Hanks), he and his friends become obsessed with finding proof that the Klopeks are not only weirdos but murderers. The bored suburbanites hatch schemes and harass the poor family. Are the neighborhood vigilantes just mean-spirited busybodies aching for an adventure or is there really something nefarious going down?

Chopping Mall (1986)

Killer robots and an 80s shopping mall after-hours? Sold!

The Craft (1996)

Girl gets bullied. Girl gets back at bullies with witchcraft. Witchy friends turn on her and she shows them all who’s got the real power. This movie has made a bit of a resurgence in the last few years, thanks to our recent  cultural fondness for witches .

Fright Night (1985)

Not as serious or as dark as the Colin Farrell 2011 remake, this movie centers around a horror-obsessed teenager and a late-night television host who team up to defeat the charming vampire next door.

The Gate (1987)

Eighties movies are full of absentee parents, so it’s no wonder the two kids left alone in  The Gate  open a portal to a dark dimension and release a legion of small but terrifying creatures in their backyard. Those tiny dirtbags will haunt your dreams.

Ghostbusters (1984)

What seems like a Disney princess movie to some could be another’s fright fest. In this classic but controversial choice (for this list anyway), a motley crew slap modified vacuums on their backs and hoover up ghosts around a New York City suddenly plagued by paranormal activity.

Gremlins (1984)

Another classic, but this one is a non-controversial pick because those gremlins are menacing AF. When a teenage boy receives a strange creature for Christmas, his father warns him never to get it wet or feed it after midnight. You know what happens—he doesn’t listen to any of it and unleashes evil little monsters on the town.

Happy Death Day (2017)

In this slasher version of  Groundhog Day , a bitchy sorority girl relieves the same day of her life over and over, and it always ends the same way—with her dead. With every death (it's different every time), she not only gains a little more insight on who kills her and how she might put an end to the loop but also slowly evolves into a more empathetic version of herself. The feel-good ending and comedy temper the amount of blood.

The Innkeepers (2011)

During the final days of business for a once-grand New England inn, the boredom of the front desk staff turns into dread when old guests—alive and long-deceased—come back to visit. Morbidly curious about the hotel's tragic past, employees Luke (Pat Healy) and Claire (Sara Paxton) go ghost hunting with the help of a psychic played by Kelly McGillis ( Top Gun ). The movie is a slow burn but gets scary pretty fast at the end—you've been warned!

Lady In White (1988)

Along the lines of the popular horror theme of children see dead things,  Lady In White  centers around an awkward, bullied boy named Frankie (Lucas Haas) who befriends the ghost of a murdered girl. Set in a small town (another common horror trope) haunted by the suspicious deaths of 11 kids, Frankie vows to find the person responsible at whatever cost. Upstate New York in the 1960s and Haas's earnest depiction of Frankie create an air of nostalgia and sweetness that keeps this movie from being too scary.

The Monster Squad (1987)

This kids' picture features Dracula and a gang of other classic horror characters teaming up to take over the world. Fortunately, a group of scrappy outcasts foil their plans.  Mwahahahaha!

Night of the Comet (1984)

After an asteroid strikes Earth, the only folks alive or not turned into zombies in Los Angeles (and possibly the world) are two valley girls. In the end, they have to get to the mall  and  save humanity.

Night of the Creeps (1986)

Nineteen fifties sci-fi meets  Revenge of the Nerds  meets John Hughes. After two goofy fraternity pledges accidentally defrost the body of a teenager who was infected by an experimental brain-eating lifeform in the 1950s, Greek row is overwhelmed with zombies. And boobs. (It’s very 80s like that.)

A Quiet Place (2018)

In this thrilling movie starring Emily Blunt ( The Devil Wears Prada ) and her husband John Krasinski (from  The Office  and also the film's director), Earth has been overrun by bloodthirsty aliens who depend on their hyper-sensitive hearing to pinpoint their human prey. With two kids in tow and one on the way, the challenge of staying silent is amplified (pun intended).

The Return of the Living Dead (1985)

Despite its misleading title, this is  not  actually part of the same universe as  Night of the Living Dead  or  Dawn of the Dead  (those are legit scary). This relies more on zombie jump-scares and a colorful cast of characters. My favorites are the punk kids making out in the cemetery.

Shaun of the Dead (2004)

This horror-comedy has the gore of  The Walking Dead  without the endless brooding and plodding pace. The title character of Shaun is a pop-culture obsessed British slacker played by Simon Pegg (Scotty in the latest  Star Trek  reboot) who must awake from his video game-induced stupor to save his girlfriend and mates from the hordes of undead. Written and directed by Edgar Wright ( Baby Driver ), you'll scream with laughter.

The Sixth Sense (1999)

The thrill of this movie lies in what's implied not seen and on quick glimpses of restless spirits. The ominous tension of the film hinges on Haley Joel Osment's moving performance as a sweet, scared kid who is relentlessly harangued by dead people. Toni Collette ( Hereditary, Muriel's Wedding ) also gives a heartfelt performance as his loving but frustrated mother.

Slither (2006)

The feature debut of James Gunn (now better known for the  Guardians of the Galaxy  franchise) has slug-like creatures from outer space invading a small rural community. It’s funny and gross and will make you squirm with delight.

Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983)

A strange wind blows through town and with it a mysterious carnival. But the citizens of this idyllic hamlet harbor secret desires and the carnival barker, appropriately named Mr. Dark (played by Jonathan Pryce who was most recently seen on television as the High Sparrow in  Game of Thrones ), is just the man to draw them out. Two young boys are all that stand between him and the souls of his unsuspecting victims. Based on the fantasy novel by acclaimed author Ray Bradbury ( Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles ), there isn't any gore but the movie sets a tone of foreboding that can be hard to shake well after its over.

Tremors (1990)

There’s something about remote desert towns: The folks are always quirky and bad shit goes down. In this case, the creatures come up from underground and people start disappearing one by one. The weirdos are the best part of this and, frankly, every movie.

Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983)

A movie made up of four mini movies. My favorites are the two directed by Joe Dante ( Gremlins ) and George Miller (the  Mad Max  movies). Dante’s “It’s A Good Life” is visually arresting and the bratty kid at the center of it all is creepy in the way only kids can be. Miller’s take on the classic gremlin tale is truly horrifying. Tip: Don’t watch it on or before you board a plane.

The Watcher in the Woods (1980)

Probably the scariest movie on my list—and it’s rated PG and made by Disney! Ghost kids are always super scary and as a suburban kid, I know nothing good ever goes down in the woods. Plus, there’s chanting and British accents. The happy ending will help, but the image of the lost girl will stick with you. (Bonus:  They rebooted it  for Lifetime last year.)

What We Do in the Shadows (2015)

This cult mockumentary follows a group of centuries-old vampires maneuvering the mundane quotidien tasks of modern life as housemates. It's the classic fish-out-of-water story mixed with blood and Big Brother shenanigans. Directed and written by Taika Waititi who is now putting his own quirky spin on big-budget superhero movies ( Thor: Ragnarok ). Jemaine Clement ( Flight of the Conchords ) co-starred, co-directed and co-wrote the film with Waititi and, as always, gives a memorably offbeat performance—this time as a randy bloodsucker. The movie was such a hit that it spawned a television show.

Zombieland (2009)

Clever, fun, and (dare I say?) realistic. What would you do if zombies had taken over the planet? Find your people, look for cool places to hang out, eat what you want, and kill anything that got in your way, including *spoiler alert* Bill Murray.

Hubie Halloween (2020)

In this feel-good (but surprisingly, clever) Halloween flick, Adam Sandler plays the ever-endearing Hubie Dubois, a self-dubbed neighborhood watchman who takes it upon himself to look out for the citizens of his town, Salem, Massachusetts, on Halloween night.

Knives Out (2019)

Who dunnit!?! Bring on the Halloween murder mystery party! This campy murder mystery movie has all the trimmings of one in the classic genre, but a modern, fun twist. After Harlan Thrombey, a wealthy mystery writer, dies at his 85th birthday party, his greedy, dysfunctional family (made up by an all-star ensemble cast) tries to uncover what happened — while fighting for the family fortune.

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)

If you have a taste for nostalgia and not for scares, opt for this classic animated halloween special, which follows the Peanuts gang on their Halloween adventures.

Casper (1995)

They don't call him a friendly ghost for nothing: In this classic '90s movie, an adorable young Christina Ricci plays Kathleen "Kat" Harvey, a young girl who befriends Casper, a ghost of a 12-year-old boy who haunts her family's new manor.

Casper Meets Wendy (1998)

Well, while you're on a Casper kick... In this follow-up flick based on the Harvey Comics, Casper meets Wendy the Good Little Witch (played by a then 10-year-old Hilary Duff, in her breakout role). Though the movie was direct-to-video and received negative reviews at the time, it's a cute one to play on background at your Halloween bash.

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Bianca Rodriguez is the Fashion & Luxury Commerce Manager at Hearst Magazines, covering fashion, beauty, and more for  Cosmopolitan, Elle, Esquire, Harper’s BAZAAR,  and  Town & Country . She likes lounging about with a good book and thinks a closet without platform sneakers is a travesty.

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The 14 Best Non-Scary Halloween Movies

By Katey Rich , Hillary Busis , David Canfield , Rebecca Ford , Savannah Walsh , and Daniela Tijerina

The 14 Best NonScary Halloween Movies

For some people, the month of October would not be complete without gory horror classics . But for other moviegoers—kids, sure, but also those seeking coziness over thrills—non-scary Halloween movies are the best way to celebrate the season. We’ve gathered a group of films that aren’t entirely un-scary—what would a haunted house be without at least a few family-friendly ghouls?—but capture a certain supernatural, autumnal vibe without forcing anyone to sleep with the lights on.

The 14 Best NonScary Halloween Movies

The Addams Family

  • Release Year: 1991
  • Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
  • Noteworthy Cast: Anjelica Huston, Raul Julia, Christina Ricci, Christopher Lloyd

Wednesday Addams is having her pop-culture moment , of course, but it’s still hard to beat the black humor and inventiveness of her family’s original big-screen outing. The 1991 film (and its even funnier 1993 sequel) combines the expected macabre elements—eyeballs for dinner, electric chairs, Wednesday’s homicidal-maniac costume—with sheer silliness, from the convoluted con man plot to “ the Mamushka .” It’s a movie about lunatics that might even have the power to warm your heart—who doesn’t want a romance as vibrant as the one between Anjelica Huston ’s Morticia and Raul Julia’s Gomez? As Gomez might say, to live without The Addams Family, only that would be torture. —Katey Rich

The 14 Best NonScary Halloween Movies

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

  • Release Year: 1920
  • Director: Robert Wiene
  • Noteworthy Cast: Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt

This movie has a premise that is plenty scary—a hypnotist takes advantage of a sleepwalker to commit murders—but as a silent film that’s more than 100 years old, it’s probably vintage enough that you’ll avoid any real scares. But the Halloween vibes are impeccable, not only in the grisly story but in the extremely famous German expressionist production design, which inspired the looks of many of the other films you’ll find on this list. You could project it silently on the wall of your Halloween party to set the mood, but you might find yourself drawn in to watch the whole thing—there’s a reason its influence is still being felt today. —K.R.

The 14 Best NonScary Halloween Movies

  • Release Year: 1995
  • Director: Brad Silberling
  • Noteworthy Cast: Bill Pullman, Christina Ricci, Malachi Pearson, Devon Sawa

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Casper: He’s a friendly ghost! And though, if you think about them for even a moment, the implications of his existence are chilling—we learn partway through the movie that 12-year-old Casper (voiced by Malachi Pearson ) entered the afterlife after dying of an illness he caught after a long day of sledding, which is just unbearably sad— Brad Silberling ’s PG-rated comedy doesn’t dwell on them. The film itself is as featherlight as the title character’s translucent body, with an A-grade cast (a floppy-haired Bill Pullman; Christina Ricci, right before she became one of the era’s preeminent It girls; a cackling Cathy Moriarty as a dastardly proto-girlboss villain) that ably balances kid-friendly slapstick humor with perfectly calibrated ’90s schmaltz. And I do mean perfectly: This video of Ricci’s character meeting Casper in his human form, played by ultimate tween dreamboat Devon Sawa, has been viewed 8.1 million times . —Hillary Busis

The 14 Best NonScary Halloween Movies

  • Release Year: 2017
  • Director: Lee Unkrich
  • Noteworthy Cast: Anthony Gonzalez, Gael García Bernal, Benjamin Bratt

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: It’s always a good time to watch Coco . But perhaps no time is better than the lead-up to Halloween, which is also, of course, the lead-up to Día de Muertos, the Mexican holiday that gives the film its setting and plot. Come, let’s cheer on intrepid Miguel ( Anthony Gonzalez ) as he journeys through the marigold-paved Land of the Dead, attempting to right the betrayal that nearly tore his family apart. There are laughs; there’s Oscar-winning music; there’s Dante, a dumb dog who’s also a wise spirit guide (or alebrije, in Mexican lore). And there are, of course, also tears —the good, life-affirming kind. What more could you possibly want? —H.B.

The 14 Best NonScary Halloween Movies

  • Release Year: 2009
  • Director: Henry Selick
  • Noteworthy Cast: Dakota Fanning, Teri Hatcher, John Hodgman, Keith David

This film has delivered the only Oscar nomination in the career of Henry Selick, which is just as well—the stop-motion Coraline marks one of the iconic animator’s most gorgeous, warmly macabre works. Based on Neil Gaiman ’s novel, the film follows the eponymous 11-year-old girl (voiced by Dakota Fanning ) after she moves into a new apartment with her parents—and finds an idyllic alternate realm on the other side of its walls. Selick’s extraordinary sense of detail and wonder invites the audience into this intricate fantasy, just as it invites Coraline; the visuals then turn moody and sinister as the secret universe’s underbelly gradually reveals itself. Contrasting dreams with nightmares and escapism with emotional intensity, this is a movie that embraces the childlike pleasures of cinematic horror. — David Canfield

The 14 Best NonScary Halloween Movies

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

  • Release Year: 1982
  • Director: Steven Spielberg
  • Noteworthy Cast: Dee Wallace, Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore

In this heartwarming sci-fi film about a family that helps an alien find his way back home, Halloween plays a key role. In the Steven Spielberg classic, brothers Michael ( Robert Macnaughton ) and Elliott ( Henry Thomas ) go trick-or-treating with E.T. camouflaged as a ghost, only to sneak him out into the woods so he can phone home. The Halloween sequences are full of fun Easter eggs, like a Yoda costume as a shout-out to Spielberg’s good friend George Lucas and even a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Indiana Jones costume. The scene stirs up classic nostalgic feelings for the holiday full of magic and mischief, which is what Spielberg does best. —Rebecca Ford

The 14 Best NonScary Halloween Movies

Frankenweenie

  • Release Year: 1984 and 2012
  • Director: Tim Burton
  • Noteworthy Cast: Shelley Duvall, Catherine O’Hara, Martin Short

Take your pick of Frankenweenies, both of which are now easily viewed on Disney+, a fascinating turn of events for the original 1984 short that got director Tim Burton fired from a job at Disney. The 29-minute short is the scrappier, more inventive of the two, but the 2012 stop-motion animated remake may more easily translate to younger audiences. Either way, you get the classic Frankenstein tale updated to be about a boy and his dog—and in both versions, a happy ending. —K.R.

The 14 Best NonScary Halloween Movies

  • Release Year: 2015
  • Director: Rob Letterman
  • Noteworthy Cast: Jack Black, Dylan Minnette, Odeya Rush

If you’ve read even one of R.L. Stine ’s kiddie horror novels, you’ll know what to expect from the feature film version of Goosebumps: jump scares, puns, monsters that are both kooky and spooky. (Think vampiric poodles, which technically come from a Give Yourself Goosebumps book —but who’s counting?) The movie totally nails the tone, thanks largely to Jack Black, who’s pitch-perfect as our main character: a fictionalized Stine whose creepy creations come to life after he writes about them on his magic typewriter. Halloweeny hijinks, accompanied by a typically bouncy Danny Elfman score, ensue. Goosebumps is a great choice for a smart kid who wants to move beyond the animated antics of, say, a Hotel Transylvania, but isn’t quite ready for the likes of Caligari. —H.B.

The 14 Best NonScary Halloween Movies

Hocus Pocus

  • Release Year: 1993
  • Director: Kenny Ortega
  • Noteworthy Cast: Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy, Vinessa Shaw

This cult classic turned bona fide juggernaut is full of contradictions. While ostensibly made for kids, it’s strangely adult in nature (try explaining to a 10-year-old why a virgin has to light the candle). It’s Halloween-centric, yet was somehow released theatrically in July. And despite its cultural significance, many have argued that love for the movie is born of nostalgia, not true appreciation. Thus, it’s hard to account for why, exactly, the lore around such a film endures. Perhaps it’s Bette Midler ’s expertly witchy performance of “I Put a Spell on You” or the emotional reunion between Thackery Binx and his younger sister, Emily. For me, it’s the strangely conceived cameo of real-life siblings Garry and Penny Marshall as a couple squabbling over the Sanderson sisters’ invasion of their home, if only to hear Penny ask, “Aren’t you broads a little bit old to be trick-or-treating?” It’s best not to question the magic of Hocus Pocus; let the spell wash over you instead. — Savannah Walsh

The 14 Best NonScary Halloween Movies

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

  • Release Year: 1966
  • Director: Bill Melendez
  • Noteworthy Cast: Peter Robbins, Sally Dryer

You used to have to wait all year for this “Peanuts” special to air on TV sometime before Halloween—but now you can watch it on Apple TV+ and capture the spooky-season energy whenever the mood strikes. It’s got all the small joys of Halloween, from pumpkin carving to trick-or-treating, translated through the inimitable “Peanuts” lens that pairs the shock of disappointment with moments of grace that (almost) make up for it. As the story goes, after the special first aired in 1966, children sympathized so much with Charlie’s striking out while trick-or-treating that they tried to mail him candy . —K.R.

The 14 Best NonScary Halloween Movies

  • Release Year: 2012
  • Director: Sam Fell and Chris Butler
  • Noteworthy Cast: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Anna Kendrick, Casey Affleck, Christopher Mintz-Plasse

Finding room for zombies, ghosts, and witches in a single film is no easy feat, much less combining it with a coming-of-age story and making room for the first-ever gay character in an animated feature film (take that, Disney ). Laika studios’ ParaNorman uses the ambitious stop-motion animation that has made the studio famous to tell the genuinely heartwarming story of Norman (voiced by future Oscar nominee Kodi Smit-McPhee ), a boy who can talk to ghosts. He and his friends (and frenemies) wind up on a quest to rid his town of a vengeful ghost who turns out, like Norman, to just be a little misunderstood. It’s sweet and funny and just the right amount of spooky. — K.R.

The 14 Best NonScary Halloween Movies

Practical Magic

  • Release Year: 1998
  • Director: Griffin Dunne
  • Noteworthy Cast: Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman, Stockard Channing, Dianne Wiest, Evan Rachel Wood

As descendants of a long line of witches in Massachusetts, Sally ( Sandra Bullock ) and Gillian ( Nicole Kidman ) are forced to reckon with a decades-long curse that, to put it mildly, makes them unlucky in love; “Any man who wins the heart of an Owens woman is bound to end up six feet under,” as their spell-casting aunt Frances (played by the enchanting Stockard Channing ) puts it. Together, for the first time in years, under the same haunted (and unbelievably cozy) roof, the Owens women band together to fight for love. It’s got all the makings of a classic Halloween movie (black cats! Potions! Witchcraft!) but with the beating heart of a feel-good movie (sisterhood! Romance! Nineties fashion!). —Daniela Tijerina

The 14 Best NonScary Halloween Movies

The Nightmare Before Christmas

  • Noteworthy Cast: Danny Elfman, Catherine O’Hara, Paul Reubens

This stop-motion musical masterpiece is an adaptation of a 1982 Tim Burton poem set in Halloweenland, a place inhabited by the spookiest and kookiest of monsters. The film follows Jack Skellington, the pumpkin king of Halloween Town, who discovers Christmas Town and attempts to bring some of that “Ho ho ho!” holiday cheer home with him. The Nightmare Before Christmas was nominated for the visual-effects Oscar (the first animated film ever nominated in the category), but its legacy has grown exponentially since then, with the film becoming a cult favorite among audiences young and old. —R.F.

The 14 Best NonScary Halloween Movies

Wolfwalkers

  • Release Year: 2020
  • Director: Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart
  • Noteworthy Cast: Honor Kneafsey, Sean Bean, Simon McBurney

Nominated for the best-animated-feature Oscar in 2021, the film from independent Irish studio Cartoon Saloon pairs lush autumnal visuals with the coming-of-age friendship between a girl born to wolf hunters and another girl whose family transforms into wolves by night. The inventive animation captures the contrast between the English settlers and wild woodland tribes of the story, and though werewolves have been used for horror so often in movies, these wolves are more, well, human. Perfect for the kids who may want to transform on Halloween night and never take the costume off. —K.R.

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Non-Gory Horror Movies like 'Paranormal Activity'

They’re still scary, though!

Whether it's Halloween, a rainy night, or you're just getting tired of rom-coms, horror is a genre that's always a solid choice for a movie night. The problem is, a lot of the most popular scary shows and movies are usually filled with blood and guts. If slashers aren't exactly your speed, don't worry. There are plenty of non-gory horror movies to choose from if you're in the mood for a scare but don't want to feel squeamish.

While traditionally, you might think horror is synonymous with gore, that's actually not the case. Some of the scariest films in the history of cinema are less bloody and more thought-provoking. Traditionally, this was because movies without too much blood could score ratings that were under "R" (which meant more viewers and more sales). Now, however, it's because film buffs realize it's not necessarily the blood that makes movies scary, it's the tales they tell.

If you're a fan of ghost stories, Paranormal Activity or The Conjuring will scratch that supernatural itch. If you want something sexier, watch It Follows or Gerald's Game for horror films that also make great date night watches. Perhaps you want to stick with classic horror. If so, The Birds and Psycho are films everyone needs to see at least once. Whatever your taste, there's a non-gory winner that will make even the most hard-to-please horror buff happy.

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The Woman in Black

Kick off your spooky movie night with The Woman in Black , which checks off all of the boxes: creepy kids, jump-scares, and Daniel Radcliffe. The Harry Potter alumn plays a widowed lawyer who learns about a vicious ghost wreaking havoc on a town he’s sent to for work.

Piling up a scary body count doesn’t have to be gory. In the buzzy horror flick Old , a mysterious beach has the power to kill by rapidly aging anyone who sets foot on it. Oh, and BTW it’s an M. Night Shyamalan movie, so get ready for a massive twist at the end.

Poltergeist

Poltergeist might have been made in the ‘80s, but after watching this classic flick, you’ll quickly see why this film is considered one of the greats (and why television static is so creepy). The story follows a family whose young daughter gets abducted by evil spirits, and you can watch the entire, three-film franchise on HBO for a movie marathon you won’t soon forget.

The Babadook

Getting over the death of a husband is hard, but for this single mother, the fact that her son is deathly afraid of a monster that may or may not be lurking around their house might be harder, as seen in The Babadook . If you're a fan of twists and turns and creepy children, this 2014 Sundance fave is for you.

Paranormal Activity

Chances are you've already seen Paranormal Activity , but when it comes to a non-gory horror movie, the franchise is hard to top. The original 2009 film made "shaky cam footage" all the rage, and considering it's about a young couple trying to catch footage of their haunting with a video camera, it's low-key relatable.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Despite its title, the original 1974 Texas Chainsaw Massacre was actually filmed to not be that violent . Director Tobe Hooper wanted to get a "PG" rating for his film, so he took it easy on the bloodshed (and despite there being some , you don't actually see any coming from someone's body). However, his plan didn't work and the MPAA gave the movie an "X" (though it was later downgraded to "R").

Either way, the flick scored an 89% on Rotten Tomatoes and most fans agree: It's the best of the franchise.

A witchy classic, The Craft is a must-watch for anyone who loves a good high school movie, especially with some supernatural revenge added. The story of four outcasts coming together to form a coven and awaken their magical powers is only briefly a little gory — it mostly doubles down on witchy vengeance and a scary turn of events.

After having sex with her boyfriend, a college student is followed by a killer entity. The only way to stop it is to pass it on to someone else (by, you know, hooking up). This fascinating take on sexuality and transmitted diseases against a backdrop of supernatural horror makes It Follows a must-watch.

What Lies Beneath

The scariest part of seeing a ghost might just be the fact that no one believes you, something Claire (Michelle Pfeiffer) experiences in What Lies Beneath . Whether the strange voices and premonitions she sees are related to her husband's (Harrison Ford) betrayal the year prior, you'll just have to watch to find out.

I don't know what's scarier, a tape that kills people seven days after they watch it or remembering what it was like to have to rewind a VHS. No, The Ring isn't known for its gore, but it will definitely make you want to sleep with the lights on (and the TV off ) after watching it.

Rosemary's Baby

If you have kids or are planning on it in the future, Roman Polanski’s 1968 classic will haunt you long after the credits roll. Following a pregnant woman who believes her baby is otherworldly (like, not in a good way), Rosemary's Baby is creepy and thought-provoking, which makes it one of those films that will stick with you for a long time.

The 2019 thriller about a lonely woman who befriends some teenagers will satisfy your craving for a psychological rush. Starring Octavia Spencer, Ma is a fun and chilling watch that will make you think twice about getting too friendly with strangers who let you drink in their basement.

Ornithophobia, or a fear of birds, is pretty common, but after seeing Alfred Hitchcock's 1963 classic, you'll never look at a pigeon the same way again. The Birds is about a series of horrific bird attacks on a town and how one couple tried to live through — and escape — the horror.

A Ghost Story

After a man is unexpectedly killed, his spirit haunts the house where he once lived. Unlike other films about hauntings, this one plays on the whole "person in a sheet" concept to create a truly spooky vibe. If you're looking for a deep and artsy film, watch A Ghost Story to find yourself both scared of and sad for spirits left behind.

Don’t let the Nightmare Before Christmas -style animation fool you; Coraline is just as terrifying for adults to watch as it is for children. The dark tale of a lonely girl who travels to a parallel dimension that’s much creepier than it initially appears is enough to give anyone nightmares. TBH, you’ll never look at buttons the same way ever again.

The Shining

Jack Nicholson's take as an unhinged hotel caretaker in The Shining is one of his most chilling roles ever. The movie is based on Stephen King's famous novel by the same name, and while you might want to cover your eyes once or twice (like the scene of the twins or with the elevator), for the most part, the scariness is cerebral. While the sequel, Doctor Sleep , is gorier, it's still worth a watch if you're feeling brave enough to stomach a little more blood.

Gerald's Game

Sex games gone wrong are nothing new, but when the result is so psychologically and physically twisted, it will make you triple-check that you have the key to those fuzzy handcuffs close by. Gerald's Game comes from the brilliant mind of Stephen King and will 100% make you avoid isolated cabins for a while.

Written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan, Signs is a 2002 sci-fi thriller that isn't as much outright scary as it is generally eerie. Starring Joaquin Phoenix, this is a great film for a night of thought-provoking chatting after the credits roll.

Sandra Oh got to become a scream queen in the spooky 2022 thriller Umma , about a woman haunted by the spirit of her abusive mother. The movie is full of scares, but nothing especially bloody. Instead, the dark creatures from Korean folklore instill a twisted horror alongside a meditation on the culture clash of immigrating to a foreign country.

The Blair Witch Project

Just because The Blair Witch Project had a tiny budget, it doesn't make the 1999 horror movie any less terrifying. When three film students head to a town to learn about an infamous murderer, things quickly go very wrong as they become part of their own documentary.

Funny Games

Funny Games actually has a funny history. The film was originally made in 1997, but director Michael Haneke wanted to redo it, so he re-filmed it shot-for-shot and re-released it in 2007. Basically, two guys take a family hostage and make them play twisted games just for the "fun" of it. If you're a fan of the 1971 classic A Clockwork Orange this flick will feel creepily familiar.

If you want something a little more realistic than ghosts or goblins, Contagio n , the 2011 film about a deadly virus, hits scarily close to home during times of the coronavirus pandemic. No, there's not a lot of blood or guts, but the freakily familiar vibes viewers in 2021 will pick up on is downright terrifying.

Meeting your SO's parents is scary on its own, but in this thriller, things get even stranger after the awkward introductions. Daniel Kaluuya and Allison Williams star as a new couple that's about to face weekend from hell in Jordan Peele's smash directorial debut, Get Out .

The Conjuring

The Conjuring is the first film in the popular series and follows demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren as they investigate some paranormal hauntings happening to a family. Since hauntings tend to be more creepy and less gory, you can dive into the entire Conjuring universe for some not-so-bloody scares.

Happy Death Day

Like a horror version of Groundhog’s Day , Happy Death Day follows a college student who keeps reliving the day of her murder. Although the slasher obviously features a ton of killings, none of them are actually that gory. Most of the deaths take place offscreen, with the focus more being on black comedy elements.

Unbreakable

The first film in M. Night Shyamalan's popular Eastrail 177 Trilogy, Unbreakable is about a man who inexplicably survives a train wreck. The entire trilogy has plenty of superhero elements for supernatural fans and will keep you on your toes with each new installment.

If you haven't seen the famous 1960 psychological thriller that sparked multiple films and the popular TV show Bates Motel , Psycho should be considered required viewing. While there's not tons of blood (and the blood you do see was actually just filmed with chocolate syrup ), the end twist and famous shower scene make it one of the best horror movies of all time.

The Invisible Man

What's scarier than being chased by someone you're incapable of seeing? Elisabeth Moss stars as Cecilia, a woman desperately trying to outrun and hide from her obsessive ex-boyfriend, Adrian ( The Haunting of Hill House 's Oliver Jackson-Cohen), who just so happens to have technology that allows him to camouflage into any setting. Come for the every-other-scene spooks, stay for Moss' unmatched performance.

The Invitation

The ending of this 2016 thriller will absolutely leave you sweating bullets. The Invitation follows a group of friends at a lavish L.A. dinner party who become stunned (and horrified) by the host's suggestion for a nightcap.

Starring Alison Brie and directed by her A-list husband, Dave Franco, The Rental tells the story of two couples whose Airbnb vacation goes horribly wrong. Not only do the guests suspect they're being spied on, but their relationships get put to the test as a result.

If you’re craving a twisted, surrealist mystery that’ll have you wondering what is real and what isn’t, Netflix’s Horse Girl is guaranteed to turn your world upside down. Alison Brie stars as an introverted woman who becomes convinced she was abducted by aliens after her life unravels in bizarre, unexplainable events.

Anya Taylor-Joy cut her teeth in The Witch . In it, she plays the mysterious and certainly sinister suspect behind a series of strange, otherworldly events that wreak havoc in her colony.

You'll want to lock your doors after watching this one. In The Gift , a couple named Simon (Jason Batemen) and Robyn (Rebecca Hall) are stalked and preyed upon by former high school classmate, Gordon (Joel Edgerton), who gets a little too close to home — literally.

This article was originally published on 10.24.20

spooky movies that arent scary

The 45 Best Halloween Movies For People Who Hate Horror Movies

Want to celebrate the spooky season without giving yourself a heart attack?

preview for 10 Horror Movies Based On Real Life

Why? Because we’ve been there. We understand the feeling of having a friend tell you a movie “isn’t that scary,” and then needing to keep the lights on at night for the next week after watching it. But now, we’re taking back Halloween —once and for all. After all, shouldn’t we be able to enjoy a holiday that is predominantly celebrated by children with some PG-rated fun? Whether you’re looking for a family favorite, or just some horror lite, we’ve got you covered. (Seriously, Coco won't hurt you! We think.) Don’t worry. The coast is clear.

Mom’s Got a Date with a Vampire

I’ll say it: My Mom’s Got a Date with a Vampire is the best Disney Channel Original (at least of the early aughts). The movie follows the grounded Hansen siblings ,who plan to sneak out of the house while their mom is on a date. But their night takes a turn when they suspect their mom's new boyfriend is a vampire.

Scary Movie

Despite the name Scary Movie, this flick isn't scary at all. This spoof is a comedic take on Wes Craven’s slasher, Scream . If you were nervous about watching that, start here—and see how you feel afterward.

If you’re a fan of R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps novels, odds are you’ll love this movie. The film adaptation is a fun play on the original series, in which a young man named Zach Cooper learns his neighbor, Hannah, is R.L. Stine’s daughter. When Zach accidentally unearths the monster from each book (it happens!), he’s tasked with sending them back where they belong.

Men in Black

Will Smith, aliens, and men fighting crime in well-tailored suits. What more do you need? If you haven’t seen Men in Black already, Halloween is the perfect time to catch up. It’s a classic for a reason.

Twilight may not seem like an obvious choice, but hear me out. It has vampires, werewolves, and a naive girl whose curiosity nearly destroys world peace. What’s spookier than that?

Alright, technically this is a November 1st movie. But considering its ties to the dead, Coco can still be enjoyed during the spooky time of year. Don’t forget to have tissues on hand for this two-time Oscar-winning animation.

AppleTV+ Disney+

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

Getting to see a baby-faced Drew Barrymore is enough of a reason to watch E.T. The petite, charming alien just wants to return home! Luckily for the extraterrestrial, it met a boy set on helping it find its way back.

Amazon AppleTV+ Peacock

Two words: Twin. Witches. The two sisters, played by Tia and Tamera Mowry, who were separated at birth reunite on their 21st birthday and discover who they truly are.

It’s hard to beat Clue when it comes to comedic whodunnit films, but Knives Out comes fairly close. And it has major fall vibes. Featuring a stacked cast including, Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, and Jamie Lee Curtis, the movie seeks to find out what happened to a wealthy novelist after dying at his 85th birthday party.

Amazon AppleTV+

Corpse Bride

Tim Burton works his stop-motion magic again with this early 2000s film. After Victor accidentally married a corpse bride, he is faced with a decision: should he stay or return to the woman he was originally supposed to marry?

Amazon AppleTV+ HBO Max

Neglected prodigy child Matilda is gifted beyond this world. She discovered her telekinetic abilities when her foster parents enrolled her in a school with a headmaster that has absolutely no chill. Her newfound talent became essential to her day-to-day survival.

Monster House

What do you do when the house across the street looks like it's living, breathing, and gobbling up your neighbors? Instead of staying as far away from it as possible, three kids get together to find out what’s going on inside.

Norman seems like a loner to the naked eye, but he isn’t always alone. He can speak to the dead, so he spends time with spirits. His gift became especially useful in helping save his town from a centuries-old curse.

Donnie Darko

A figure in a creepy bunny costume named Frank told Donnie, an unstable teenager, the world would end in 28 days. Things get.. weird.

Amazon AppleTV+ Hulu HBO Max

Scooby-Doo (2002)

In this live-action movie, the gang traveled to Spooky Island to investigate why spring breakers aren’t acting like themselves after arriving at their tropical destination.

Amazon AppleTV+ HBO Max Netflix

Teen Wolf (1985)

An all-American high school boy in the ‘80s notices some changes in his body. He grew (a lot of) hair in new places, then happened to unlock a whole new way of life after undergoing a transformation that runs in the family.

Admittedly, this movie is a tad scary, but not in a gory, violent way. A widow and her two children experienced odd encounters in their home. The mother became suspicious they might not be the only ones in the house. The Others is well-suited for those that are ready to experience a little more fright. Be warned, there are a few jump-scares.

The Haunted Mansion

Eddie Murphy stars as Jim Evers, a realtor closing in on what might be the biggest deal he has ever landed. Jim brought his family on a visit to a mansion he could be entrusted to sell, and they end up getting stuck at the haunted estate by a gnarly thunderstorm.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

High-schooler Buffy Summer's life is forever changed when a mysterious man by the name of Merrick tells her that she is “The Slayer” and destined to kill vampires.

High school isn’t going how Louise planned. As she’s on the verge of reaching her breaking point, she discovers she comes from a long line of witches.

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36 Light Horror Movies That Aren’t Too Scary

This list compiles horror movies that aren’t too scary and are beginner (or just scaredy cat) friendly.

spooky movies that arent scary

A sad truth is that not everyone is a horror movie fan. This can be hard for people who love horror because they want to share what they love with the people around them. Genre fans can be desensitized to the kinds of macabre content and gore others avoid, which makes it a constant struggle to select films that will please both horror fans and their skeptical friends and family.

This list seeks to solve that problem by compiling a large number of horror movies that are beginner (or just scaredy cat) friendly. The criteria used is that the films included should be horror movies though there are many films outside of the genre that would please both horror and non-horror fans (1998’s Practical Magic , cult classic Hocus Pocus and 1993’s Addams Family Values come to mind here along with psychological thrillers , murder mysteries , “scary” Disney movies and family horror movies that are intended for a younger audience). The second criterion is that the movies included in this list should be light on blood and graphic violence. Ghost and haunted house movies are a great place to look as they usually don’t have much, if any, gore. Lastly, the movies included in this list aren’t overly dark in subject matter. We’ve included a rating system (from “not scary” to “very scary”) and trigger warnings to call out any potential dealbreakers for hesitant viewers.

Creepy Catalog has a list that compiles the scariest movies of all time , this is meant to be an inverse version of that list. These are light horror movies that can be enjoyed by any adult and are a good introduction to horror for squeamish viewers. If you are looking for a horror movie that isn’t too scary, here are the best options:

Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

spooky movies that arent scary

How scary is it? Scary

Trigger warning: Sexual assault

A psychological horror movie starring Mia Farrow as Rosemary, a young wife living in Manhattan. Rosemary and her aspiring actor husband Guy (John Cassavetes) have just moved into a new apartment building and she begins to suspect that their overly helpful neighbors (Ruth Gordon and Sidney Blackmer) have a sinister hidden motive. While Rosemary’s Baby is a scary horror movie, most of the horror is implied and happens off-screen making this a good horror movie for beginners.

The Changeling (1980)

spooky movies that arent scary

How scary is it? Pretty scary

Trigger warning: Brief violence against a child

A supernatural horror movie about a widower (George C. Scott) who moves into a historic mansion following the sudden death of his wife and daughter. He soon discovers that the house is haunted and begins to investigate the home’s history, hoping to put the spirit at rest. The Changeling is frightening movie that scares veteran horror viewers, but because it lacks blood and gore is still a potential fit for scaredy cats.

An American Werewolf in London (1981)

spooky movies that arent scary

How scary is it? Scary if you watch when the moon is full

Trigger warning: Nudity, gore

A comedy horror movie following American backpackers David Kessler (David Naughton) and Jack Goodman (Griffin Dunne) who are attacked by a werewolf while traversing the moors in Yorkshire under a full moon. Locals deny the existence of a werewolf but an undead Jack warns David that he is now a werewolf and will transform at the next full moon. This movie does have some blood and gore as people are attacked by werewolves but the comedy and supernatural elements keep it from being too scary.

The Lost Boys (1987)

spooky movies that arent scary

How scary is it? Not scary

Trigger warning: Light violence and gore

A supernatural horror movie following brothers Michael (Jason Patric) and Sam (Corey Haim), who move to Santa Carla, California following their mother’s divorce. They soon discover that the town is overrun by vampires. The Lost Boys is a fantastic 80s movie and a cult classic. Movie fans of all sensibilities will enjoy rooting for the Emerson family as they battle against vampires played by Edward Herrmann, Kiefer Sutherland and Alex Winter.

The Monster Squad (1987)

spooky movies that arent scary

A horror comedy about characters from Universal Monsters movies who run afoul of a group of pre-teen Universal Monsters fans who call themselves The Monster Squad. Armed with legendary vampire hunter Dr. Abraham Van Helsing’s diary, The Monster Squad seek to destroy a powerful amulet before Dracula, The Mummy, Gill-Man and The Wolf Man can use it to take over the world. This is a cult classic beloved by children of the 80s and appropriate for even the least brave adult viewers.

Tremors (1990)

spooky movies that arent scary

How scary is it? A little scary

Trigger warning: Light gore

A monster comedy horror movie following underachieving best friends Valentine “Val” McKee (Kevin Bacon) and Earl Bassett (Fred Ward) in the isolated rural town of Perfection, Nevada. When they discover giant underground worms are terrorizing the town, Val and Earl lead their friends and neighbors in a daring fight for survival. Tremors is a fun worm slasher movie that won’t scare anyone too much (though you might take up pole-vaulting as a safety precaution). Bonus: there are seven Tremors movies so the original can be viewed as part of an extended movie marathon.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)

spooky movies that arent scary

Trigger warning: None

A comedy horror movie following a shallow Los Angeles high school cheerleader, Buffy (Kristy Swanson), who is informed that she is The Chosen One, a Slayer whose destiny is to kill vampires. Buffy initially rejects her role but comes to accept and embrace her duty while falling for outsider Pike (Luke Perry). Although Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a great movie, writer Joss Whedon was unhappy with how it differed from his script. He later created the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series in his own vision.

The Craft (1996)

An example of a moving streaming on Paramount+

Trigger warning: Light violence and gore, depictions of self-harm, attempted sexual assault, creepy snakes/insects

A teen supernatural horror movie following Sarah Bailey (Robin Tunney) as she relocates from San Francisco to Los Angeles. At her new school, she befriends three outcasts who are rumored to be witches (Fairuza Balk, Neve Campbell, Rachel True) and the foursome form a powerful coven. Abuse of power and a rift in their friendship leads to the film’s third act, but it’s creepier than it is frightening.

Ginger Snaps (2000)

spooky movies that arent scary

Trigger warning: Depictions of self-harm, some violence and gore, dog death ☹️

A supernatural horror movie about two morbid sisters, Brigitte (Emily Perkins) and Ginger (Katharine Isabelle) Fitzgerald. The girls are desperate to leave their suburban town of Bailey Downs (or die) by the time they turn 16. Instead, Ginger is bitten by a werewolf when she starts her first period and begins a horrifying transformation. While Ginger Snaps is macabre and contains violent werewolf-related scenes, it is not scary and is an interesting and enjoyable movie for a wide audience.

What Lies Beneath (2000)

spooky movies that arent scary

Trigger warning: A few great jump scares

A psychological horror movie about empty nesters Claire (Michelle Pfeiffer) and Norman (Harrison Ford) Spencer, who live in a lake house in Vermont. Claire becomes obsessed with their new neighbor Mary, who she believes may have been killed by her abusive husband. A ghostly presence seems to confirm that Mary’s spirit is asking Claire for help, but as Claire digs deeper she uncovers a forgotten secret from the couple’s past. There’s no gore in this pg-13 horror movie but it is pleasantly scary and a very good murder mystery .

The Others (2001)

spooky movies that arent scary

How scary is it? Very scary

Trigger warning: Jump scares

A gothic supernatural horror movie set on the island of Jersey in the immediate aftermath of WW2. Grace Stewart (Nicole Kidman) lives in a remote country house with her two children, Anne (Alakina Mann) and Nicholas (James Bentley). Grace trains her new servants to keep the home darkened as the children have a serious sensitivity to light and maintains the manor with her strict Catholic values, refusing both the servants and her children’s contention that the house is haunted. Although The Others is a very scary ghost movie , there is no blood or gore at all and the scares mostly come from the viewers imagination.

Signs (2002)

spooky movies that arent scary

Trigger warning: A very emotional car accident scene, dog death, violence against aliens

A sci-fi horror movie following an Episcopal priest (Mel Gibson) who has recently lost his faith after the tragic death of his wife. Living on a farm with his brother (Joaquin Phoenix) and his kids (Rory Culkin and Abigail Breslin), the family discovers crop circles in their field and subsequently learns of a global alien invasion from the news. All of M. Night Shyamalan’s films are a good compromise for horror fans and scaredy cats as they are light on violence and gore and heavy on implied horror. Signs is scary, but it is also a poignant film about faith and the unknown.

The Skeleton Key (2005)

spooky movies that arent scary

Trigger warning: Some violence

A Southern Gothic horror movie starring Kate Hudson as Caroline, a New Orleans hospice nurse who is looking for a change and takes a home care position in the rural Terrebonne Parish. She works for the elderly Violet Devereaux whose husband Ben was recently partially paralyzed by a stroke. In the Devereaux’s plantation home, Caroline discovers hoodoo paraphernalia and realizes Violet is hiding a sinister secret. The Skeleton Key is a scary movie with an awesome twist-ending that has some violent scenes but little blood or gore, it is a great horror movie for beginners.

Coraline (2009)

spooky movies that arent scary

An animated dark fantasy horror movie about a little girl named Coraline (voiced by Dakota Fanning) who has recently moved across the country and is ignored by her parents. She finds a secret door that leads to an alternate universe where her parents dote on her. Soon, however, Coraline realizes that her Other Mother is evil and seeks to trap Coraline in the Other World. Coraline is rated PG and is probably the scariest animated PG ever made, which still isn’t very scary. It’s safe for everyone except young children to watch.

The Cloverfield Franchise (2008-2018)

spooky movies that arent scary

Trigger warning: Some violence and gore

The Cloverfield franchise is made up of found footage monster movie Cloverfield (2008), sci-fi horror thriller 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016) and sci-fi horror The Cloverfield Paradox (2018). These three movies are pretty different but are connected by a mostly undiscussed meta story of a monster/alien invasion. We know the meta story exists because all the films are called Cloverfield and because if you play  The Cloverfield Paradox  (2018) at the same time as  Cloverfield  (2008), the particle accelerator fires in  The Cloverfield Paradox at the exact moment the monster appears in  Cloverfield . Nevertheless, these are good horror movies that are scary but not too scary and light on blood.

Fright Night (2011)

spooky movies that arent scary

Trigger warning: A little vampire gore

A supernatural horror comedy that is a remake of the 1985 film of the same name (both are great movies). Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin) is a teenager living in a Las Vegas suburb with his mother (Toni Collette). His vampire-obsessed best friend Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) is convinced that Charley’s new neighbor (Colin Farrell) is a vampire. Charley only starts to believe him after Ed goes missing and he seeks the counsel of a famous vampire expert Peter Vincent (David Tennant) for help. Fright Night is a fun watch for horror fans as it explores vampire lore and pokes fun at genre tropes but it’s also light enough to watch with someone who is easily scared.

The Innkeepers (2011)

spooky movies that arent scary

Trigger warning: Light ghost violence

A supernatural horror movie written and directed by Ti West. Claire (Sara Paxton) and Luke (Pat Healy) are the only employees left during the last week of operations for Yankee Pedlar Inn before it closes down. The coworkers are amateur paranormal investigators who plan to use the week to capture evidence that the historic hotel is haunted, while also attending to the hotel’s few guests. The Innkeepers is a top tier suspense film that leaves a lot up to the viewer’s imagination.

It Follows (2014)

spooky movies that arent scary

Trigger warning: Sexual violence, nudity, some violence and gore

A horror movie based around a supernatural entity that relentlessly pursues people who refuse to pass on a curse spread by sex. College student Jay (Maika Monroe) is informed about this curse after sleeping with her new boyfriend Hugh, who then abandons her. As the entity begins to stalk Jay, her sister Kelly (Lili Sepe) and friends Paul (Keir Gilchrist) and Yara (Olivia Luccardi) are determined to help her. There are some gruesome shots of the entity’s victims in It Follows but it is not a gory movie overall.

What We Do in the Shadows (2014)

spooky movies that arent scary

A found footage horror comedy that is on the surface a documentary about a group of vampires sharing a flat in Wellington, New Zealand. However, the film’s subjects are totally oblivious and a lot of comedy is created by putting the stereotypical vampires into typical roommate conflict scenarios. The franchise has since expanded to include two television shows: Wellington Paranormal and What We Do in the Shadows . A sequel film, We’re Wolves (lol) is in pre-production.

The Visit (2015)

spooky movies that arent scary

Trigger warning: Dead bodies are briefly shown

A found footage horror movie following siblings Becca (Olivia DeJonge) and Tyler (Ed Oxenbould) as they visit their estranged grandparents, Nana (Deanna Dunagan) and Pop Pop (Peter McRobbie), for the first time. The horror in The Visit comes from the creepy old people and an enduring sense of “something is not right”, but there is little blood or gore in this movie. Comic relief in the form of Tyler’s beat boxing/musical stylings also helps keep The Visit from becoming too terrifying for beginner horror viewers.

Better Watch Out (2016)

spooky movies that arent scary

Trigger warning: A little violence and (mostly offscreen) gore

A babysitter horror movie starring Olivia DeJonge as teenage babysitter Ashley and Levi Miller as her 12-year-old charge, Luke. On a winter night before Christmas Ashley is watching Luke when the house comes under attack from a home invader . The film’s big twist makes the whole scenario either more or less frightening, depending on how the viewer sees it. Either way, this is a fun horror movie that is lighter on scares and beginner friendly.

Get Out (2017)

spooky movies that arent scary

Trigger warning: Some blood and violence

A psychological horror movie written and directed by Jordan Peele in his revered directorial debut. Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) and Rose (Allison Williams), an interracial couple, travel to Upstate New York to visit Rose’s family for the first time. While Chris notices that Rose’s family and friends seem strange, he is polite and just tries to make it through the trip. Unfortunately, Rose’s family has other ideas. There are scary and violent scenes in Get Out but they aren’t overly graphic and Lil Rel Howery brings comic relief that prevents it from being too scary for most viewers.

Happy Death Day (2017) + Happy Death Day 2U (2019)

spooky movies that arent scary

This duo of black comedy slasher movies follows college student Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe) who is murdered on her birthday. A time loop allows Tree to wake in the morning to relive her death day all over again. She enlists the help of fellow student Carter (Israel Broussard) to help her discover the identity of her murderer and end the time loop. The sequel expands the story into a multiverse and both make a great double feature.

It Comes at Night (2017)

spooky movies that arent scary

Trigger warning: Gun violence, a dog death

A psychological horror movie that takes place in the aftermath of an extremely contagious pandemic that has disrupted life as we know it . Paul (Joel Edgerton) and Sarah (Carmen Ejogo) live isolated in a cabin in the woods with their teenage son Travis (Kelvin Harrison Jr.). The family scavenges by day and spend the nights locked in their home. When they meet another family in the woods, paranoia about contagion threatens to destroy everything they have built. The ending of It Comes at Night is controversial among horror fans , but in a way that lends itself to being a good horror movie for people who are scared easily.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017)

spooky movies that arent scary

How scary is it? More creepy than scary

Trigger warning: Some blood and gun violence

A psychological horror thriller movie inspired by the Greek tragedy  Iphigenia in Aulis  by Euripides. A cardiac surgeon, Steven (Colin Farrell), has an undefined relationship with a 16-year-old boy named Martin (Barry Keoghan). One day Steven’s son wakes up and realizes he cannot move his legs. Shortly afterward his daughter also becomes paralyzed. Steven is given a choice to select one family member to kill or risk each of them dying from the mysterious illness. The Killing of a Sacred Deer is pretty disturbing and creepy but shouldn’t be too much for viewers who are easily scared.

A Quiet Place (2018) + A Quiet Place II (2020)

spooky movies that arent scary

Trigger warning: Some blood and gore

This post-apocalyptic horror franchise follows the Abbott family surviving an invasion by aliens with hypersensitive hearing on their family farm. The family lives in silence, using American Sign Language (which they learned because daughter Regan, played by Millicent Simmonds, is deaf) to communicate. The scares in the original come from encounters with the aliens and from matriarch Evelyn’s (Emily Blunt) desperate silent delivery of a child while alone with an alien in the family’s farmhouse. In the sequel, the Abbott family evades the aliens and searches for community to help them endure life after the collapse of society. A third installment, A Quiet Place: Day One is expected to release in 2024.

Villains (2019)

spooky movies that arent scary

A fun black comedy horror movie starring Bill Skarsgård and Maika Monroe as young lovers who rob a gas station to fund their move to Florida. When their car runs out of gas, the couple decides to break into a nearby house in search of gas or a car to steal but instead discover a little girl is being held hostage in the basement. The home’s owners (Jeffrey Donovan and Kyra Sedgwick) appear and the audience realizes the titular “villains” aren’t the likable outlaws we’ve been following up to this point. Sweet, funny and thrilling, Villains is a great horror movie for scaredy cats.

spooky movies that arent scary

Trigger warning: A small amount of blood

A psychological horror thriller that is unofficially inspired by the case of Dee Dee and Gypsy Rose Blanchard . Chloe (Kiera Allen) is a disabled teenager who is homeschooled by her overprotective mother Diane (Sarah Paulson). The two live in isolation, allowing Diane near limitless control over Chloe’s life. When Chloe begins to suspect that she might not be as disabled as Diane claims, there are few avenues available for escape. Run is a great horror movie that is only lightly scary.

Freaky (2020)

spooky movies that arent scary

Trigger warning : Violence and gore

A comedy slasher movie that is a horror twist on Freaky Friday . A bullied teenage girl, Millie (Kathryn Newton), is attacked by a local serial killer the Blissfield Butcher (Vince Vaughn) and due to his weapon being an ancient dagger with magical powers, the two swap bodies. As Millie, the Blissfield Butcher kills her tormenters in creative ways. In the Butcher’s body, the real Millie realizes she must swap back to her body by midnight or be trapped in a middle aged serial killer’s body. Because many of the kills in Freaky are played for laughs or are framed in a way where the audience roots for the killer, it’s not too scary and is good for people who prefer lighter horror.

The Black Phone (2021)

spooky movies that arent scary

Trigger warning: Child abuse, violence, some blood

A supernatural horror movie set in 1978 when a child murderer nicknamed the “Grabber” (Ethan Hawke) is abducting children from a Denver suburb. A young boy named Finney Blake (Mason Thames) is kidnapped by the Grabber and wakes up locked in a basement. In the basement is a supposedly disconnected black rotary phone that allows Finney to connect with the Grabber’s previous victims, who help him survive. Meanwhile Finney’s sister Gwen (Madeleine McGraw) has psychic dreams about the Grabber and tries to convince the police to take her seriously. The Black Phone is a scary horror movie with dark themes (child abduction and murder at the hands of the Grabber and the Blake children’s abuse by their father) but because it doesn’t go hard on gore and has light-hearted characters, it is an intermediate horror movie.

The Menu (2022)

spooky movies that arent scary

Trigger warning: Violence, a little blood and gore, depictions of self-harm

A comedy horror movie that pokes fun at snobby “foodie” culture . Tyler (Nicholas Hoult) and Margot (Anya Taylor-Joy) attend an exclusive dinner on a private island prepared by celebrity chef Julian Slowik (Ralph Fiennes). As the meal progresses, Chef Slowik becomes more unhinged and a sinister motive is revealed to his guests. The Menu is light on horror and feels more like a darkly funny satire than a horror movie. It is a good horror movie for scaredy cats.

M3GAN (2023)

spooky movies that arent scary

Trigger warning: Violence and gore, malevolent AI , creepy doll dancing

A sci-fi horror movie following roboticist Gemma (Allison Williams) who takes custody of her 8-year-old niece, Cady (Violet McGraw), after the tragic death of Cady’s parents. Unsure how to connect with her niece as Gemma has no children of her own, she completes her designs for M3GAN, or “Model 3 Generative Android”, a child-sized doll operated by artificial intelligence and brings it home for Cady to test. Cady and M3GAN bond so well that M3GAN begins to override her controls in order to better “protect” Cady. While M3GAN is a pretty creepy doll , the movie is really fun and not overly scary. You can also choose between the PG-13 or the unrated version of M3GAN , this guide will help you decide which version is for you .

Further reading:

  • 50+ Must Watch Classic Halloween Movies
  • 30+ Psychological Thriller Movies
  • 17+ Family Horror Movies
  • The Best PG-13 Horror Movies

Meet The Author

Chrissy Stockton

Chrissy is the co-founder of Creepy Catalog. She has over 10 years of experience writing about horror, a degree in philosophy and Reiki level II certification.

Chrissy Stockton

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31 Non-Scary Movies To Put You In The Halloween Mood

Kooky movies > spooky movies.

caitlinjames

Community Contributor

BuzzFeed Community Team

If you prefer your Halloween to be more kooky than spooky , read on for a list of movies to get you through the whole month of October.

1. edward scissorhands (1990).

An outcast with scissors for hands, Edward struggles to fit into the suburbia around him. Enchanting and haunting, this Tim Burton film is the perfect way to kick off the spooky season.

2. Beetlejuice (1988)

The recently deceased Barbara and Adam Maitland enlist the help of a disgraced demon in scaring a family out of their house.

3. The Addams Family (1991)

They’re creepy and they’re kooky, they’re– you know the rest. This spooky family grapples with the emergence of a long lost relative while a pesky real estate agent tries to take away their fortune.

4. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

When a young couple’s car breaks down, they’re thrust into the wacky world of a mad scientist. This cult classic combines the sci-fi and horror genres with singing, dancing, and a whole lot of time-warping.

5. Labyrinth (1986)

Sarah must make her way through an intricate maze to rescue her baby brother from the Goblin King. Not so much spooky as it is bizarre, Labyrinth has it all: a talking worm, creatures that only speak in riddles , and David Bowie .

6. Chopper Chicks in Zombietown (1989)

A biker gang of badass women must save a small town from zombies all while smashing the townsfolk’s conservative ideas of how women should behave.

7. The Haunted Mansion (2003)

As silly as it is spooky, Eddie Murphy stars as the father of a family who all get trapped in a haunted house.

8. Vamps (2012)

Stacy and Goody are two best friends living in New York – and they’re vampires. A rom-com from the makers of Clueless , Vamps stars Alicia Silverstone and Krysten Ritter.

9. Scooby-Doo (2002)

In this live-action comedy, Scooby, Shaggy and the gang get back together to solve a monster-sized mystery on Spooky Island.

10. Sleepy Hollow (1999)

Certified spooky alumni Johnny Depp and Christina Ricci star in this adaptation of Washington Irving’s 1800s tale. A New York police officer is sent to the small town of Sleepy Hollow to investigate the murders of townsfolk by a headless horseman.

11. Casper (1995)

Paranormal expert Dr. Harvey is hired to exorcise ghosts from an old mansion, but things change when his daughter befriends one of its ghosts. This is a fun family classic.

12. Gremlins (1984)

Billy’s new pet seems cute, until he discovers it has spawned an army of mischievous monsters who cause carnage across the town. This iconic '80s film also doubles as a Christmas movie.

13. Practical Magic (1998)

Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman star as witch sisters fighting a family curse: any man they fall in love with faces an untimely death.

14. Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)

This is Francis Ford Coppola’s take on the classic horror tale of Dracula. From Transylvania to London, Dracula wreaks havoc on those around him, cursed by the loss of his true love.

15. The Witches of Eastwick (1987)

The lives of three single women are forever changed when they meet a handsome stranger. With Cher, Michelle Pfeiffer, Susan Sarandon, and Jack Nicholson, this film explores the link between women’s empowerment and witchcraft.

16. The Corpse Bride (2005)

When Victor accidentally marries a corpse bride and gets stuck in the underworld, he must choose between his new life or return to the land of the living.

17. The Goonies (1985)

After Mikey and his friends find an old map in his family’s attic, they embark on an adventure to find hidden pirate treasure. When they stumble upon the hideout of a criminal gang, their adventure becomes a race to find the long-lost loot (and to their freedom).

18. Dark Shadows (2012)

A vampire who has been locked away for decades emerges to fight the witch who cursed him.

19. Bad Channels (1992)

Aliens take over the radio station of a small town, using the rock-and-roll radio frequencies to abduct local women. After no one else believes the aliens are real, it’s up to the station’s delinquent disc jockey, Dangerous Dan O’Dare, to fight off the extraterrestrial intruders.

20. Coraline (2009)

Fed up with being ignored by her parents, Coraline discovers an alternate world that seems better than reality. She soon discovers the troubling truth and must try to escape before being trapped forever.

21. The Lost Boys (1987)

When brothers Sam and Michael move to Santa Carla, they discover the beachside town has been overrun by a gang of vampire bikers. Sam must find and kill the gang’s leader to stop his older brother from being turned into a vampire.

22. ParaNorman (2012)

This animated adventure follows 11-year-old Norman, a quirky kid who can see the dead. He uses his abilities to help save his town from the everlasting curse of a witch.

23. The Dead Don’t Die (2019)

Adam Driver and Bill Murray lead an all-star cast in this horror-comedy about zombies invading a small town. It also features social commentary to boot.

24. Monster House (2006)

After three kids investigate a strange house in their neighbourhood, they discover that the house itself is a living, breathing monster – with a sad secret.

25. Hotel Transylvania (2011)

In this star-studded animated flick, Dracula runs a hotel for monsters that is off-limits to humans – until a backpacker arrives and shows the monsters that they have more in common with humans than they thought.

26. What We Do in the Shadows (2014)

From one of the makers of Flight of the Conchords , this critically acclaimed mockumentary follows three vampires as they navigate modern life in New Zealand.

27. Frankenweenie (2012)

After his beloved pet dog dies, Viktor attempts to bring it back to life. Sadly, monstrous consequences spread across the whole town.

28. Elvira: Mistress of the Dark (1988)

After moving to a New England town, the enigmatic Elvira is charged with witchcraft by the conservative townsfolk. The town’s teens must band together to save Elvira before she’s burned at the stake.

29. The Craft (1996)

Teenage girls practicing witchcraft soon discover the negative effects of their spells. A rollercoaster ride from start to finish, this movie features a standout performance from spooky queen Fairuza Balk.

30. Hocus Pocus (1993)

Set in Salem, this film follows the exploits of the 300-year-old Sanderson Sisters (witches) who have come back to cast spells over the town and steal the souls of the children who try to stop them.

31. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

This is the ultimate Halloween movie. After growing tired of the same old routine in his home of Halloweentown, the Pumpkin King Jack Skellington decides to spread some Christmas cheer. After his plans go awry, Jack must find a way to repair not only the holidays, but himself.

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spooky movies that arent scary

52 Non-Scary Halloween Movies Perfect for Getting You in the Trick-or-Treating Mood

Grab your popcorn, it’s time for a movie marathon!

41 best not scary halloween movies to watch in 2022

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Whether you’re looking for a dose of nostalgia with classic Disney Halloween films , or something more humorous than horrifying like a bewitching rom-com , we’ve found all the best Halloween movies for people who hate scary flicks — or for those nights when you’re just not in the mood to scream. So without further ado, check out these 52 non-scary Halloween movies that will get you ready to trick-or-treat, without scaring you half to death.

The School for Good and Evil (2022)

the school for good and evil

Based on the 2013 novel of the same name, The School for Good and Evil follows best friends Sophie and Agatha, who attend a magical school for fairy tale heroes and villains, but unexpectedly find themselves on opposing sides of the legendary institution.

Scooby-Doo (2002)

scooby doo

The Mystery Inc. gang comes back together when Scooby-Doo, Fred, Daphne, Velma, and Shaggy are summoned to Spooky Island and investigate a string of eerie instances.

The Curse of Bridge Hollow (2022)

the curse of bridge hollow

A teenage girl must unite with the most unlikely ally — her father — after she unknowingly unlocks an ancient spirit that causes decorations to come alive and wreak havoc on Halloween.

Watch Now on Netflix

E.T. The Extra Terrestrial (1982)

et the extra terrestrial

Fascinated by California's bright city lights, an alien makes an unlikely friend during a surprise visit to earth.

Watch Now on Prime Video

Bewitched (2005)

dress shirt, shirt, collar, tie, dress, publication, space, suit trousers, blond, book cover,

An actor who is set to star in a remake of the beloved sitcom Bewitched believes that his new co-star is in actual witch and tries to figure out the truth.

Watch Now on Prime Video Watch Now on Hulu

Coco (2017)

coco movie poster   best pixar movies

Although technically not Halloween, this sweet Pixar film takes place during Dia De Los Muertos and follows a young boy Miguel who hopes to become a musician against his family's wishes.

Watch Now on Prime Video Watch Now on Disney+

Casper (1995)

casper

A young girl befriends a lonely ghost after moving into the very house that he haunts.

Casper Meets Wendy (1998)

casper meets wendy

Casper and Wendy are such an iconic duo. When the two meet each other while vacationing with their respective families, they become instant besties and team up to take down the evil warlock.

Buy Now on Amazon Prime

Hocus Pocus (1993)

musical, movie, poster, album cover, fun, photography, musical theatre,

Three-hundred years after being hung at the Salem Witch Trails, the Sanderson sisters return when three kids accidentally resurrect them. Laugh along as the three kids try to stop these witchy sisters from taking over Salem and and killing children in order to stay immortal.

Hocus Pocus 2 (2022)

hocus pocus 2

Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy reprise their roles as Winifred, Sarah, and Mary Sanderson, who are (re)resurrected and ready to wreak havoc on the town of Salem after a new group of high schoolers light the Black Flame Candle.

Watch Now on Disney+

Goosebumps (2015)

goosebumps

A young teenager tries to get R.L. Stein's help when his famous Goosebumps books start coming to life.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

the rocky horror picture show

Rocky Horror is the ultimate cult classic Halloween flick that you'll want to watch every single year after your first watch. While it might not be super scary, its songs are so catchy that you'll find yourself doing the "Time Warp" for the rest of spooky season.

The Witches (2020)

the witches

A young boy uncovers a group of diabolical witches who plan to turn children into mice when he goes to live with his aunt after the death of his parents.

Knives Out (2019)

41 best not scary halloween movies to watch in 2022

Knives Out is the ultimate murder-mystery flick for your movie night. After a wealthy crime novelist is found dead in his home following his 85th birthday party, a skilled detective investigates the entirety of the man's eccentric family.

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (2022)

glass onion a knives out mystery

Loved the twists and turns of the first Knives Out movie? Make it a double feature with its sequel, starring an entirely new cast of characters (apart from Detective Benoit Blanc, of course) in a new seaside setting.

Jennifer’s Body (2009)

jennifer's body

This horror-comedy, which depicts a high school student whose been possessed by a flesh-eating demon, definitely has some scarier moments — but you probably won’t have to sleep with the lights on.

The Addams Family (2019)

the addams family

This animated remake follows the spookiest family on their journey after an angry mob disapproves of Gomez and Morticia's wedding ceremony.

Halloweentown (1998)

trick-or-treat, Movie, Poster, Sky, Album cover, Pumpkin, Fictional character, Fiction,

Obviously Halloweentown is on this list — it's the ideal non-scary Halloween movie. Plus, there are so many sequels, which makes it perfect for a movie marathon.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001)

harry potter and the sorcerer's stone

Of course, we can't have a list of magical and whimsical Halloween movies and not include Harry Potter . Revisit the enchantment of the first film, as Harry receives his letter to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and begins his journey alongside his pals, Ron and Hermione. Need more magic? Make a weekend of it and watch all eight films, plus the 20th anniversary reunion special , on HBO Max.

Watch Now on Prime Video Watch Now on Max

Double, Double, Toil and Trouble (1993)

double, double toil and trouble

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen starred as twin sisters who are fighting to save their family's farm.

Headshot of Carolyn Twersky

Carolyn Twersky is an associate editor for Seventeen covering celebrities, entertainment, politics, trends, and health. On her off time, she's probably watching Ru Paul's Drag Race, traversing NYC for the best donuts, or, most likely, enjoying time in her favorite place in the world: her bed. 

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Tamara Fuentes is the current Entertainment Editor at Cosmopolitan , where she covers TV, movies, books, celebrities, and more. She can often be found in front of a screen fangirling about something new. Before joining Cosmopolitan , she was the entertainment editor over at Seventeen . She is also a member of the Television Critics Association and the Latino Entertainment Journalists Association. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram . 

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Leah Campano is an Associate Editor at Seventeen, where she covers pop culture, entertainment news, health, and politics. On the weekends, you can probably find her watching marathons of vintage Real Housewives episodes or searching for New York City’s best almond croissants. 

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The Most Horrifying Non-Horror Movies Ever Made

Ann Casano

No doubt, any great horror film will make the spectator scream in terror, white-knuckle their armrest, and feel like they’re having a heart attack. However, there are a slew of horrifying films that aren't in the horror genre, to say nothing of more explicitly horror-adjacent efforts. These movies that traumatize don’t need to rely on gimmicks like an invincible slasher or a haunted house that terrorizes its inhabitants. For these 14 scary non-horror movies, there is no monster hiding underneath the bed, and the boogeyman is real.

What makes several of the films on this list especially terrifying is that they actually happened in real life. Is there any greater horror than the events depicted in Schindler’s List ? Would a genre horror film like Halloween make one question humanity like 12 Years a Slave ?

These movies force the spectator to examine issues of race, psychological torment, and the depths of the human spirit. They delve into the deepest pits of the soul and force us to question our own morality. Most of these movies are not for sleepy Sunday afternoons, and most are too disturbing to watch more than once , but certainly important enough to screen when the time is right.

Make your voice heard; vote up the scariest films that aren't horror movies. And when you're done, be sure to check out our ist of horror movies that aren't as scary as people think.

Seven

After you've seen Seven , the opening of a box will forever be no simple task. David Fincher's 1995 stylish neo-noir tells the sordid tale of a serial killer who bases his victims off of the seven deadly sins.

Fincher creates a hellish unnamed city in which it it never stops raining, and the streets always seem dirty and dank. Each crime scene is carefully crafted to take the spectator inside the psychotic mind of the aptly named John Doe. The film's twist ending still packs a walloping punch, no matter how many times you've screamed in mock horror, "What's in the box?" 

  • # 1 of 248 on The 200+ Best Psychological Thrillers Of All Time
  • # 125 of 772 on The Most Rewatchable Movies
  • # 29 of 127 on The 100+ Grossest Movies Ever

Schindler's List

Schindler's List

Steven Spielberg's Academy Award winning 1993 drama takes the spectator back to one of the darkest times in world history. Shown in black and white, Schindler's List has an almost documentary feel, delivering many of the most dreadful horrors of the Holocaust via handheld cameras.

In a movie filled with scenes that will forever remind us how easily humanity can be erased by evil, one sequence in particular stands out. Due to the arrival of more Jews to the Plaszow Camp, Amon Goeth must weed the sick from the healthy in order to make room. Every prisoner is stripped naked and forced to run around to determine whether they will live or die. Some prisoners even cut themselves, using the blood to create a rosier picture of good health. 

Schindler's List is one of the most important films of the past 100 years, but, despite its artistic excellence, it's not a picture that many people can watch more than once. It's only more heartbreaking to realize that these events actually happened and people were actually this cruel.

  • Dig Deeper... Movies That Won Best Picture at the Oscars and Golden Globes
  • # 6 of 258 on The 200+ Best War Movies Of All Time
  • # 2 of 95 on The Very Best Oscar-Winning Movies For Best Picture

Buried

Buried  tells the story of Paul Conroy, a US contractor working in Iraq who is kidnapped and buried alive. With nothing to save him other than a lighter and a cell phone,  Buried is a horrifying movie that make its audience feel as though they are choking for air alongside the protagonist.

If a spectator was not claustrophobic heading into the cinema, they definitely were after watching Paul struggle helplessly in his confined space for an hour and a half.

  • # 177 of 248 on The 200+ Best Psychological Thrillers Of All Time
  • # 3 of 14 on The Most Upsetting Horror Movie Endings Of All Time
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Requiem For A Dream

Requiem For A Dream

Perhaps no film captures what it means to be a hardcore drug addict better than Darren Aronofsky’s sophomore indie, Requiem for a Dream . The director’s hip montage editing style brings audiences into the world of heroin and speed addiction. Aronofsky pulls no punches, showing audiences rock bottom – the point of absolutely no return for four addicts who would otherwise probably be decent human beings.

Requiem for a Dream is beyond disturbing. It can make you run out of the room crying, begging for the images to leave your head – but they won't... not anytime soon anyway.

  • # 58 of 248 on The 200+ Best Psychological Thrillers Of All Time
  • # 13 of 133 on The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made
  • # 106 of 185 on Movies With The Best Soundtracks

Zero Day

Of all the films made surrounding mass school shootings, Benjamin Coccio's 2003 faux-documentary Zero Day may be the most disturbing. In Zero Day , two students make a year-long plan to shoot up their high school, but even though audiences are being told what is going to happen, it somehow doesn't seem like the boys will actually go through with it in the end. 

However, when the reprieve does not come, the boy's pointless killing spree is terrifying. Knowing that this kind of horror actually happens in real life only makes Zero Day  more dizzying to watch.

Room

In Room , a young woman and her son are being held captive by a violent psychopath in a small shed. The five-year-old son, a product of rape, knows only the sheltered life of the shed, or "room," as Ma calls it. The small space is his whole world, as the young boy doesn't even know that he's a prisoner.

Room is essentially two horrifying films. The first half deals with Ma and Jack's claustrophobic life inside the shed – culminating in the audience's realization that their captor rapes Ma every night while Jack listens. 

But then there is the second half, Ma and Jack's life after the escape. After being held captive for years, the elements of the real world seem just as psychologically terrifying to them as their life inside the shed.

  • # 13 of 58 on The Best A24 Movies Of All Time
  • # 75 of 128 on The 100+ Grossest Movies Ever
  • # 37 of 133 on The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made

Irréversible

Irréversible

Irréversible was specifically designed to make audiences panic. Gaspar Noé's 2002 graphic revenge drama literally made viewers sick . The director used a 27 hertz bass frequency during the first 30 minutes of the movie, a frequency that cannot be heard by the human ear, but has the ability to induce panic, anxiety, extreme sorrow, and heart palpitations.

Several audience members reportedly left the theater  during the film's opening scenes because they felt sick and disoriented. And the film already features a beyond-disturbing, nine-minute rape scene that is nauseating enough without the low-frequency bass designed to induce panic.  

Film critic Roger Ebert described the feature as , "a movie so violent and cruel that most people will find it unwatchable."

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American History X

American History X

Tony Kaye's extremely controversial 1998 drama,  American History X , reminds audiences just how hateful and violent people can be. Kaye pulls no punches, showing the spectator what it's like to be a Neo-Nazi in Venice Beach, California. These mostly young, white men wear their hate on their sleeves and are willing to do anything to anyone who threatens their dangerous dogmatic ideologies.

At its core, AHX is a family drama, centered around two brothers. The older sibling Derek (expertly played by Ed Norton, who earned an Oscar nod) goes to jail for the crimes showcased in the film's notorious curb-stomping scene. It's a violent, highly graphic scene juxtaposed with brilliant black and white and poetic slow-motion.

It is difficult to look away from but equally hard to watch. There is no redemption in a film like American History X . Just when we think that Derek has earned it, Kaye makes the film's protagonist pay double for every one of his past sins.

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Happiness

Writer/director Todd Solondz portrays the middle-class suburban life of three sisters and their families in the 1998 dramedy Happiness . Almost every character is a vile human being in their own way, and the scary part is each of them reeks of familiarity.

In the film, Dylan Baker plays Bill, a loving father and husband – a standup suburban dad. That is... until the audience discovers he is a pedophile. The most disturbing part of Happiness  is Solondz's constant challenge to the viewer, attempting to make Bill sympathetic. The spectator is almost rooting for him not get caught.

Happiness was an extremely controversial film that was denied entry into the Sundance Film Festival. Roger Ebert wrote about the film's combination of tragic irony :

Happiness is about its unhappy characters, in a way that helps us see them a little more clearly, to feel sorry for them, and at the same time to see how closely tragedy and farce come together in the messiness of sexuality. Does "Happiness" exploit its controversial subjects? Finally, no: It sees them as symptoms of desperation and sadness. It is more exploitative to create a child molester as a convenient villain, as many movies do; by disregarding his humanity and seeing him as an object, such movies do the same thing that a molester does.
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12 Years A Slave

12 Years A Slave

12 Years a Slave  tells the story of a Black man who is born free in New York but is kidnapped and forced into slavery for over a decade. Director Steve McQueen depicts the protagonist's struggle with an unapologetic eye. This is a true story adapted from Solomon Northup's memoir, and McQueen made sure that he told Solomon's story, no matter how hard it is to watch.

One scene in particular is especially excruciating, a sequence in which Solomon is forced to whip his own friend. It's simply heartbreaking to watch, as it pulls at every ounce of human emotion that exists within a person. How many scary monsters can do that?

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127 Hours

127 Hours  is especially terrifying because it actually happened. Hiker Aron Ralston gets his arm stuck in a boulder, and, in an act of both desperation and survival, cuts off his arm with a pocket knife in order to break free.

Reports came in from around that world of audience members vomiting, passing out, and having seizures in the theaters during the particularly graphic self-surgery scene. Wrap contributor John Foote wrote of the amputation scene, "I cannot remember a reaction to a film like this in a very long time, perhaps not since The Exorcist sent audiences scurrying for the doors."

  • Dig Deeper... The True Story Of '127 Hours' Where A Man Cut Off His Own Arm To Survive
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Trainspotting

Trainspotting

Danny Boyle's 1996 drama draws the spectator into the horrific world of heroin culture in Scotland. As a story about addiction, the highs of  Trainspotting are euphoric and the lows are a nightmare. Heroin is not a recreational drug one uses to take the edge off at the end the day; it is an all-consuming, seemingly unwinnable battle against the chase for the next high.

Boyle's film is unapologetically disturbing, but perhaps no scene produces more horror than the death of Allison and Sick Boy's infant daughter.

  • # 527 of 696 on The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films
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The Passion Of The Christ

The Passion Of The Christ

Mel Gibson's extremely controversial depiction of the last 12 hours of the life Jesus was so graphic that it sent many spectators racing for the door. Acclaimed film critic Robert Ebert  wrote of the 2004 picture, "The movie is 126 minutes long, and I would guess that at least 100 of those minutes, maybe more, are concerned specifically and graphically with the details of the torture and death of Jesus. This is the most violent film I have ever seen."

If running for the door isn't bad enough, the drama may have also been responsible for the death of one Kansas woman. Despite the fact the woman had no known health conditions, she reportedly suffered a fatal heart attack while watching the extremely graphic crucifixion scene.  

  • Dig Deeper... Behind The Scenes, 'The Passion Of The Christ' Was Complicated And Horrifying
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Whiplash

There is a difference between being a tough teacher and harassment. Fletcher (J.K. Simmons) is an instructor at a prestigious music school who wants his students to be the best, and will stop at nothing to push them to what he believes is their full potential. In the case Andrew, a talented young drummer as played by Miles Teller, "stopping at nothing" means playing until his hands bleed. 

Damien Chazelle's Whiplash is hard to watch at times. Fletcher uses his position of authority to torture his students in the guise of achievement. Nothing less than perfection is acceptable, but perfection is impossible for a dictator like Fletcher.

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Lists for fans addicted to horror films (and shows) and all the jump-scarin', blood-splatterin', "b*tch, get out the house!" adrenaline that goes with them.

The Most Claustrophobic Horror Movies

10 Great Halloween Movies That Aren't Horror Movies

Just because Halloween is a spooky holiday, it doesn't mean you have to watch movies that will scare you.

With Halloween only being a month away, it's time to get into the spirit and there's no better way to do that then watching your favorite Halloween movies. When most people think of Halloween movies, they think they have to watch scary horror movies that will keep them up all night. But just because Halloween is a spooky holiday, it doesn't mean you have to watch movies that will scare you.

Related: How Much Money Was Jamie Lee Curtis Paid To Star In Halloween?

There are many Halloween movies that aren't in the horror genre. While some of them might still be a little creepy , they are not scary at all and they are actually pretty adorable. They might even make you laugh too. Here are 10 Halloween movies that you can watch if you don't want to be scared by horror movies.

10 ‘Halloweentown’ (1998)

Pretty much every 90s kid knows what Halloweentown is. It has a simple plot where a teenage girl discovers she’s a witch and has to help her grandma save Halloweentown. But the plot plays out in a cute and entertaining way that makes you want to keep watching it. According to Insider , “This Disney Channel original movie was so successful that there are several sequels, so you can have an entire nostalgic binge with Halloweentown , Halloweentown II: Kalabar's Revenge , Halloweentown High , and Return to Halloweentown ."

9 ‘The Haunted Mansion’ (2003)

Based on the theme park ride of the same name, The Haunted Mansion is a classic Disney movie that every fan should watch around Halloween. According to IMDb , the movie is about “A realtor and his wife and children are summoned to a mansion, which they soon discover is haunted, and while they attempt to escape, he learns an important lesson about the family he has neglected.” It has some scenes that are a little scary and creepy, but it’s mostly a comedy movie and it has amazing visual effects that will make you think ghosts really do exist.

8 ‘Corpse Bride’ (2005)

Corpse Bride is a stop-motion animated movie that combines the perfect amount of sweetness and creepiness into one. “Burton brought in his frequent collaborator Johnny Depp to voice Victor, a nervous young man about to be married who accidentally weds a deceased woman that rises from the grave. This film is the perfect Tim Burton take on a romantic comedy. It maintains his usual creepy tone while also telling a sweet and funny story with some fun twists and turns along the way,” according to ScreenRant . It’s basically a love story for the dead and is perfect for couples to watch on Halloween.

7 ‘Practical Magic’ (1998)

Practical Magic is a must-see for any witches fan. “This 1998 rom-com stars Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman as sisters and witches who are doomed to live by the Owens family curse: That any man who falls in love with either of them will die. Fortunately, nothing seriously scary happens in this romantic throwback,” according to Insider . Although it’s not a scary movie, it’s more for older viewers since it’s rated PG-13 and has some violent scenes in it.

Related: Stephen King Is Literally Terrified Of This Horror Film

6 ‘The Addams Family’ (2019)

The Addams Family franchise is one of the best Halloween movie franchises of all time. The franchise began in 1991 with the live-action Addams Family and every movie in the series follows a “weird” family who loves all things dark and scary. There are four movies in the franchise (the fifth one is coming out next month) and the last one was an animated version of the Addams family. “The film follows the titular family of ghoulish characters who embrace the macabre and are horrified by anything sweet or gentle. While the new film might not be as entertaining as the live-action versions, the voice cast that includes Oscar Isaac and Charlize Theron should provide some fun for fans of the franchise,” according to ScreenRant . You can celebrate Halloween this year by watching all four of the movie series before watching the new one on October 1st.

5 ‘Beetlejuice’ (1988)

Beetlejuice is probably Tim Burton’s best live-action film and has become a Halloween classic that you can watch on TV every year. There are some scenes that are kind of creepy, but it’s not scary at all. According to Insider , “This bizarre comedy-fantasy flick stars Michael Keaton in the titular role as a demon tasked with haunting a family until they move out of their home. Sure, the premise sounds spooky, but the film is actually pretty hilarious and kid-friendly.”

4 ‘Monster House’ (2006)

Monster House is a Halloween movie that’s perfect for animation fans. It was produced by the same people who made Polar Express and has a similar style, but is a lot creepier than the holiday classic. “ Monster House is set on the days leading up to Halloween and follows a young boy with suspicions about his grumpy neighbor across the street. He soon finds out that the man's creepy old house is in fact a living monster. The film is a fun and thrilling adventure with a compelling story and inventive sequences,” according to ScreenRant . It has an awesome cast that features Steve Buscemi, Mitchel Musso, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Kevin James, Nick Cannon, Jason Lee, and Jon Heder, and is great for any age.

Related: Paul Rudd & Other A-List Actors Who Got Their Start In Horror Movies

3 ‘Coraline’ (2009)

Coraline is a creepy stop-motion animation that will twist your mind and is a lot of fun to watch around Halloween. Since its dark style is similar to Tim Burton’s style, people often think that he created it, but it was actually Henry Selick who created it. “The story follows the titular young girl who finds herself in an idyllic alternate reality where her life is perfect. However, things soon become darker than they first seemed. The film is a bizarre and thrilling exploration of this strange world that just gets more compelling the more it is explored,” according to ScreenRant . This is also another Halloween movie that’s perfect for animation fans and viewers of any age.

2 ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ (1993)

Just like Coraline , Henry Selick made this amazing holiday masterpiece too. The Nightmare Before Christmas is one of the most iconic animations ever created and the holidays wouldn’t be the same without it. “The stop-motion animated film is the story of Jack Skellington, the king of HalloweenTown, who grows tired of his repetitive existence and decides to embrace Christmas,” according to ScreenRant . Some fans have argued whether it’s more about Halloween or Christmas, but since it includes both holidays, you can watch it the whole holiday season.

1 ‘Hocus Pocus’ (1993)

Hocus Pocus came out the same year as The Nightmare Before Christmas and Halloween wouldn’t be the same without this popular classic either. It’s so popular that it’s usually on TV back to back for hours on Halloween. According to IMDb , the movie is about “A curious youngster moves to Salem, where he struggles to fit in before awakening a trio of diabolical witches that were executed in the 17th century.” Some of it is dark since the witches kill kids to become younger again, but it’s not scary at all and is a movie that fans of all ages love. It’s even better to watch as an adult since you understand more of the jokes in it.

Next: 5 Horror Movies That Revolutionized The Genre (& 5 That Ripped Them Off)

Den of Geek

The Stephen King Movies That Aren’t Trying to Scare You

Even with Stephen King’s huge footprint in horror, some of his least scary works have found their way to the screen as well.

spooky movies that arent scary

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Stephen King Non-Scary Movies

Stephen King is inarguably one of the most adapted authors in the world (we didn’t nail down the exact count, but he’s up there with Shakespeare, Dickens, Poe, and others). The reigning overlord of the horror genre has seen his work translated to film and TV (miniseries, limited series, TV movies, etc.) almost continually since his first novel, Carrie , was adapted in 1976. While he’s had his ups and downs in terms of success in those venues, it’s almost a certainty that the King adaptations will continue as the author himself keeps working well into his sixth decade as a published writer.

Naturally, most of the adaptations of King’s work focus on his horror or horror-adjacent output: just about everything from 1,000-page behemoths like the post-apocalyptic The Stand to 10-page short stories like the single-setting monster tale “The Boogeyman” have found their way to the screen. But while filmmakers and creators gravitate toward the King material that they think will scare audiences – after all, that’s his brand – some of the master’s more atypical yarns have gotten out there as well.

King has never denied being a horror writer, but he’s written other types of stories too, and ironically, some of his least scary tales have become the basis for some of the author’s most successful adaptations. There aren’t many of these movies (and yes, it’s pretty much exclusively been movies), and not all of them are knockouts either, but there is a small list of King-based films that – even if they are dark in nature or have a supernatural element – don’t really set out to scare you.

Stand by Me (1986)

Stephen King’s classic novella “The Body” was first published in Different Seasons , a now-legendary collection of stories meant to show a (mostly) non-supernatural horror side to King’s writing. Three of the four tales in the book went on to become movies, with “The Body” the first to arrive on the screen as Rob Reiner’s Stand by Me . The story is a poignant coming-of-age tale about four young boys who hike along a railroad track on a mission to see the dead body of another boy killed by a passing train.

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The story is a meditation on youth, growing up, and memory, reminiscent in some ways of Ray Bradbury’s work, and Reiner captures the tone of King’s novella in what is now considered one of the best adaptations of the author’s work (the cast includes a young River Phoenix, Wil Wheaton, Jerry O’Connell, and Corey Feldman). While there are macabre moments – including the boys’ passage through a leech-filled pond and their discovery of the body itself – Stand by Me is not frightening at all, but remains a moving tribute to the fleeting innocence of childhood.

The Running Man (1987)

The Running Man was one of four early novels that King wrote under the pseudonym Richard Bachman, and it’s a short, terribly grim tale of a man named Ben Richards who participates in a grisly game show on a state-run TV network in a future dystopian America. In addition to being one of King’s earliest published novels, The Running Man is also one of his first infrequent forays into pure speculative fiction, and while it’s violent and offers a depressing view of our future, it’s not much like his horror output.

The 1987 film adaptation (directed by Paul Michael Glaser, better known as Starsky on the ‘70s TV cop show Starsky & Hutch ) kept the basic premise of King’s story but heavily altered much of it, turning it into more of a satire, while also ramping up the action content and losing King’s bleak climax. The film also replaced the skinny, physically depleted Richards of the novel with a heroic Arnold Schwarzenegger, then in the midst of his ‘80s action phase (had original star Christopher Reeve stuck around , the movie would have hewed closer to King’s darker narrative). The Running Man is action-packed and entertaining, but a far cry from the book – which is supposedly being remade by Edgar Wright .

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

The second Different Seasons novella to get a feature film adaptation (the controversial “Apt Pupil” was the third and, to date, last), “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption” was faithfully transferred to the screen in 1994 by future The Walking Dead series creator Frank Darabont. Despite positive reviews, top stars like Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins, and a deliberate attempt to downplay the King connection – plus an eventual seven Oscar nominations, including Best Picture – The Shawshank Redemption was a box office bust upon release, not even earning back its $25 million budget.

But a second life on home video and cable TV began to turn the tide, and The Shawshank Redemption is now considered not just one of the best King adaptations ever, but a beloved film classic in its own right. And that’s how it should be: the movie is a beautifully acted, moving, and superbly told tale of both one man’s (Robbins) refusal to give up on himself as he spends a potential life sentence in prison, as well as the friendship he forms behind bars with another lifer (Freeman) who finds his own hope restored by their bond. It’s dark and harrowing in spots, with murder, savage violence, and rape all factoring into the story, but it’s not scary at all – and it remains a crowning achievement in the King filmography.

Dolores Claiborne (1995)

Based on one of King’s most experimental novels – which formed a loose “women’s stories” triptych with the books Gerald’s Game and Rose Madder (which has yet to be adapted) – Dolores Claiborne stars Kathy Bates in the title role as an older woman and resident of a small island off the coast of Maine who works as a housekeeper for a wealthy widow. When Dolores is suspected of murdering the widow for her fortune, the suspicious death of Dolores’ own husband years earlier is dredged up, forcing Dolores to reveal everything about her past, her marriage, and why she is estranged from her daughter.

Director Taylor Hackford’s film naturally jettisons the format of the novel – which is written as one long, uninterrupted monologue by Dolores – and beefs up the role of her daughter (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and the detective (Christopher Plummer) on the case, while also severing the tenuous connection to Gerald’s Game . Decidedly non-supernatural, Dolores Claiborne was somewhat overlooked at the time of its release but has proven to be a sturdy, compelling character study and psychological drama, anchored by fantastic performances from Bates and Leigh.

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The Green Mile (1999)

Frank Darabont once joked that he occupied the smallest cinematic subgenre ever – period Stephen King stories set in prisons – but let’s face it, he knocked it out of the park both times. Unlike Darabont’s The Shawshank Redemption , however, The Green Mile was a box office hit out of the box, earning $286 million worldwide on its way to four Oscar nominations, including Best Picture. While not quite as beloved as its predecessor, this three-hour epic has largely held up over the years as well, thanks once again to Darabont’s faithful rendering and an extraordinary cast.

The Green Mile may pile on the melodrama a bit thick in its second half, and the story’s central “magical Negro” trope has not aged well, but the story is still undeniably compelling and the cast, led by Tom Hanks, David Morse, James Cromwell, and Michael Clarke Duncan as John Coffey — the Black man falsely accused of murdering two little girls who is blessed with a mystical power – makes it all work. The Green Mile is also one of just two movies on this list that features a supernatural component, but it’s not a horror tale in any sense – unless you count just how brutal our capital punishment system was and is.

Hearts in Atlantis (2001)

Pretty much forgotten today, this movie is confusingly named after a 1999 collection by King but is largely based on a story within that collection called “Low Men in Yellow Coats.” To make matters even more perplexing, the novella itself is heavily connected to King’s The Dark Tower saga , although all references are removed from the movie. The name of the movie also makes no sense, given that it was the title of a different novella in the collection that has nothing to do with the movie.

In other words, this is an attempt to make a movie out of an existing King book while all but discarding the book’s overall structure, themes, and meaning. While the film (directed by Scott Hicks and adapted by legendary screenwriter William Goldman) is boosted by the reliable presence of Anthony Hopkins as the enigmatic, psychically gifted Ted Brautigan and features a striking big screen debut for the late Anton Yelchin, it’s otherwise a bland thriller that makes no impact without its literary context.

Dolan’s Cadillac (2009)

Based on a 1985 novella (nowadays found in King’s 1993 collection, Nightmares and Dreamscapes ), Dolan’s Cadillac was originally released direct to video in 2009 and seems available only today on YouTube and Google Play as a rental or purchase. Directed by Jeff Beesley (a Canadian filmmaker who has stuck largely to Christmas TV movies in the years since), the film stars Wes Bentley as Tom Robinson, a teacher who runs afoul of a mobster named Jimmy Dolan (Christian Slater in a role originally meant for Sylvester Stallone). When Dolan murders Robinson’s wife, the latter plans an elaborate revenge that ends with Dolan being buried alive in the title vehicle.

Reviews of the film on IMDb and elsewhere cite Bentley and Slater for providing solid performances, and the film itself for a few passages of decent suspense, but stretching King’s novella to film length seems to have otherwise turned it into a routine revenge thriller with the protagonist deploying an unusual method for extracting his vengeance.

A Good Marriage (2014)

Another King-based feature film that more or less vanished upon release (it’s available now on Peacock, Tubi, and other services), A Good Marriage is based on a King novella from the 2010 collection Full Dark, No Stars . It’s a dark story indeed, in which a woman discovers that her husband of 27 years, with whom she has raised a family and shared a generally happy relationship, is a vicious serial killer. King says in the afterword to the collection that the story was loosely inspired by the real-life “BTK Killer,” Dennis Rader , whose own wife allegedly did not know about his crimes despite being married for more than 30 years.

Joan Allen and Anthony LaPaglia star as the couple, Darcy and Bob Anderson, in the film, which also features Avatar and Don’t Breathe villain Stephen Lang as a cop who has been investigating Bob’s killings for years. Directed by Peter Askin, with a screenplay by King himself, A Good Marriage is very faithful to the original text but proceeds in such plodding, pedestrian fashion that the film fails to come alive on screen or even evoke any response to its macabre premise. Scary it is not – and perhaps not on purpose.

Don Kaye

Don Kaye | @donkaye

Don Kaye is an entertainment journalist by trade and geek by natural design. Born in New York City, currently ensconced in Los Angeles, his earliest childhood memory is…

15 Non-Horror Movies That Are too Scary to Rewatch

Not exactly designed as horror experiences, the following films are so scary that they're difficult to watch more than once.

Truth can be stranger than fiction. But it can also be scarier. Real life and real-life events can often induce the fear a horror movie is more likely to cause. And while films are the perfect excuse and resource for escapism, they can also provide something else that's not exactly entertainment. We're talking about reflections of reality that don't have the safe word of fiction and simply deliver an adapted version of the horrifying truth. The endings are anything but happy .

But while these films tend to be disturbing, they're not always hard to watch. We've become accustomed to their existence, and we even know when to press "stop" or cover our eyes in order to avoid something traumatic. That is, if you get to watch them more than once. In the case of the following films, you probably won't. These are non-horror films so frightening they've caused people to leave the theater, feel disgusted, or simply reject the opportunity to watch them. In these cases, they don't even have to be based on true events to be horrific. They just have to show you an undoctored version of something possible, a grim version of fantasy, or they have to recount a real-life event in the format of film.

These are the single most scary non-horror films to ever exist, which you will probably only watch once. If you dare.

15 Schindler's List (1993)

Schindlers list.

In Steven Spielberg's masterpiece, Schindler's List , the Nazis have occupied parts of Europe and started what's known as the Holocaust. Concentration camps, where Jews are subjected to labor, torture, and death, are common. Only one member of the Nazi Party thinks differently. Oskar Schindler owns a factory, and he uses a hiring process to save as many victims as possible, making him one of the most important people in the Jewish community to this day.

A Horrific Glimpse Into War That No One Will Ever Forget

An emotionally devastating film that was irreversibly imprinted on people's minds, Schindler's List is a remarkable depiction of war and the horrors that ensue with power. The director made sure to make a realistic and gripping film featuring the truthful aspects of conflict and not necessarily battlefield violence. Instead, he goes for another version of violence. A psychological one that resonates through a horrific portrayal of malice. This is a film that should make deniers take back their words. To this day, it's a film that's so horrifying that people have trouble rewatching it. That is, if they dare at all to rewatch it.

Rent on Prime Video

14 Nocturnal Animals (2016)

Nocturnal animals.

Tom Ford's thriller Nocturnal Animals tells the story of Susan Morrow, a wealthy art dealer who's trying to leave her past behind. However, when her ex-husband Edward comes knocking and asks Susan to read a manuscript, she realizes the past is back to haunt her. How? In the form of a horrific horror book that Edward seems to have written for her, and to let her know a couple of things. This is a very underrated film that everyone should watch at some point, featuring great performances by Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson.

A Trip Inside the Twisted Mind of a Hurt Man

The film is told mostly from the perspective of Edward's interpretation. But such interpretation is reflected in the book, which features eerily similar characters to those in reality. The thing is, what they go through is a jarring experience of sadistic violence and nihilism that could only come from the mind of a scorned man. One would say that it's better if Edward reflected repressed desires in a story he writes, but the effect this has on Susan is nonetheless a very terrorizing one. Aaron Taylor-Johnson's Ray is the main reason why people find it very hard to watch this again. That man is the best representation of evil in recent years.

Rent on Apple TV

13 Testament (1983)

In Testament , a small American town is shaken by the launch of a nuclear bomb. It doesn't exactly fall near, but the effects and fallout don't take long to appear. The film is told from the perspective of Carol, a mother whose husband never returns after the morning the bomb hits, and who is forced to care for her children as they slowly start suffering from the aftermath. It stars Jane Alexander in an Academy Award-nominated performance.

The Aftermath of War Becomes Much too Real

When it comes to films about the threat of nuclear war , most are told from the perspective of military leaders trying to prevent conflict. However, in Testament, there are no uniforms, banners, or broadcasts. This is the portrayal of a family that's unaware of the consequences of war, as everything that happens isn't exactly what the books tell. The film's very hard to watch because it isn't hopeful at all: It is simply an account of a mother unsuccessfully trying to save herself and her children. Testament is realistic and raw, and it has no limits when showing the effects of nuclear warfare. Just a quick note: It isn't a graphic film at all.

12 The NeverEnding Story (1984)

The neverending story.

The NeverEnding Story tells the story of what happens when Bastian Bux is given a sort of magical book. After hiding in a bookstore when chased by bullies, the bookseller gives Bastian a book titled The Neverending Story . Naturally, Bastian hides in his school attic to read it. Then the film turns over to what happens in the story he's reading: a magical journey by Atreyu, a young warrior, who must save the kingdom of Fantasia from a devouring force called The Nothing. At its time, it was an extraordinary fantasy film. Luckily, it's a film that hasn't been remade , but let's not give them any ideas.

Fantasy Gets Scary. Too Scary

But The NeverEnding Story was also a very scary film. The Nothing, as a concept, is terrifying. It's a shapeless force of nature with the capacity to exterminate worlds. Additionally, children at the time were treated to a heartbreaking death scene that still makes many people cry, even adults. Oh yes, a wolf-like creature named Gmork also hunts Atreyu, and the young warrior is forced to face the Southern Oracle, which is a set of two statues that shoot laser beams out of their eyes and have the capacity to liquefy everyone who doubts themselves as they pass. How can we not be traumatized after watching that?

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11 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

2001: a space odyssey.

Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey is a 1968 film that dared to step into the future while also having a poignant take on where we're going as a species. After the discovery of an alien monolith in a very unlikely place, humans take on a galactic endeavor to explore outer space. The problem is that, as helpful as machines are in the future, they're also sentient enough to make harsh decisions and submit us to a journey of existentialism.

The Horrific Void of Space

Still the greatest sci-fi movie ever made, 2001: A Space Odyssey is, more than anything, a beautiful film. The special effects, the innovative styles, the realism. But it's also out of bounds when it comes to the limits of its genre. It's what Kubrick did with all of his films: make viewers feel like they were in the hands of a guy who had the ability to see the dark side of everything. In 2001: A Space Odyssey , it's all about the unknown and the menacing and beautiful void of space. It's rewatchable for obvious reasons, but this doesn't mean you will always have a pleasant experience that won't hit a nerve.

10 Come and See (1985)

Elem Klimov's Come and See tells the story of two mischievous boys who do something they're not supposed to while their village is occupied by Germans in 1943. Flyora is seen by Germans digging up a rifle, and the next day he's forcibly enlisted by German forces to fight against his own people. The chaos ensues right after, and Flyora becomes witness to the wrath of violent conflict. The film spent eight years in some sort of development hell as Soviet authorities declined every attempt at production. But in 1985, the project saw the light, and it provided a harrowing take on the war genre.

Harrowing Work of Art

This Soviet anti-war film is called one of the greatest films of all time. It opened a window to a side of war that had never seen before, at least not that directly. Come and See isn't graphically violent like more modern war films are. Instead, it goes for a ruminative and psychologically sharp report about the insides of conflict when seen through the eyes of children whose malice is still a myth. Even if Flyora seems to root for the "good guys," war shouldn't be logical in the eyes of the innocent. The nightmarish and almost surreal portrayal of terror makes it a hard-to-watch movie, and as artistically relevant as it is, chances are you'll see it once, and you won't have to ever see it again because it will definitely stay with you.

9 Mulholland Drive (2001)

Mulholland drive.

David Lynch's mystery film Mulholland Drive is your average Lynchian adventure, where making sense of everything is... pointless. In the film, Betty Elms is dreaming the Hollywood dream. She's an aspiring actress who wishes to make it big in Tinseltown when she meets another woman. Ruta is amnesiac after a car crash. However, the duo set out to find out more about Rita's past life. Yes, it sounds like an average film, but we'll stop you right there: it is anything but usual. Or normal.

Another Nightmare Come True

Lynch's filmography is full of mysteries, and that's a severe understatement. Mulholland Drive is a brilliant film , but explaining it means arriving at a dead-end street without many answers. These are experiences that are supposed to be digested without preamble or preparation. Rewatching it seems necessary, but it's because of the clues you may have missed the first time. However, it's so unsettling, scary, and disorienting that many decide otherwise.

Stream on Showtime

8 The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017)

The killing of a sacred deer.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer tells the story of Steven Murphy, a surgeon who forms a weird relationship with a teenager called Martin. Martin gets enamored with Steve's family, but it doesn't work the other way around. Martin only lives with his mother, and Steve rejects the advances the woman makes. Martin's obsession with Steven's family gets stronger, to the point of physically causing something in the Murphys. The film won a Best Screenplay Award at Cannes in 2017.

The Mind Becomes too Powerful

The Yorgos Lanthimos thriller may be confused with a horror film. But it's exactly how it works. It's a film so terrifying and unnerving that it seems natural to associate it with a supernatural approach that involves the Murphys getting horribly attacked by a very sick individual. This surreal experience will leave some shaking and others with plenty of questions . However, seeing it again for the sake of having fun? Probably not. The stellar cast includes Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, and Barry Keoghan.

Stream on Netflix

7 We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011)

We need to talk about kevin.

We Need to Talk About Kevin tells the story of Eva Khatchadourian, a mother who is completely estranged from her family. She's also the pariah of the small town. Through a series of flashbacks, we learn that Eva was a wife and mother, always on the lookout for Kevin, one of her children. Kevin has always shown a complete disregard for her, and the film narrates what Kevin's fate was and why he's no longer with his mother. We won't spoil much else.

A Mother's Worst Fear

A horrific experience to say the least, We Need to Talk About Kevin is a psychological drama that makes us navigate a chilling possibility: perhaps Kevin is evil after all, and all attempts at bringing him into the realm of normalcy are pointless. Finding out about his limits is a journey Lynne Ramsay has cleverly designed for the viewer, who keeps repeating, "Oh, he won't do that," and then Kevin does it. And smiles while he does it. The connection between the past and Eva's current trauma is a powerful cinematic moment that no one will ever forget.

Stream on Prime Video

6 Threads (1984)

Before Threads aired on the BBC on September 23, 1984, a news anchor stated the following: "What would happen if Britain came under a nuclear attack? How would ordinary people survive the impact of the blast and the conditions that scientists say would result from a nuclear exchange?" And then he goes on to say the obvious: " Threads is a drama, and all characters are fictional." This was the announcement before a television broadcast that would air at that time and impact viewers across the country.

What If...?

One of the best made-for-TV movies to ever be released, Threads is an ultra-realistic depiction of what would happen if Britain had suffered a nuclear attack. The film's well-known for its gritty portrayal of a crisis without any limits to what could be shown, even on television. It's an experience so nightmarish that it will probably traumatize you the first (and only) time you see it. Don't watch this if you're feeling down.

Stream on Tubi

5 Requiem for a Dream (2000)

Requiem for a dream.

Darren Aronofsky's Hollywood breakout film, Requiem for a Dream , tells the story of four individuals whose lives are drastically marked by heavy drug use. Even though their stories are somehow intertwined, each of them takes their own path down a spiral of deterioration that will end in their bodies fading away from anything you would consider normal. Ellen Burstyn, who plays one of the drug addicts, Sara Goldfarb, was nominated for an Academy Award for her role in the film.

Inside Several Broken Minds

Without a doubt, it is a masterpiece of modern cinema. Requiem for a Dream is a gripping drama, but it's not for the reasons you would expect. Aronofsky's psychological attack on the senses is a collection of interpretations of how some substances reorder the brain. It feels disorienting at times, aggressive at others, and downright petrifying at others. If you feel like rewatching it, think of that extremely unsettling third act.

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4 Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father (2008)

Dear zachary: a letter to a son about his father.

Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father is a 2008 documentary by Kurt Kuenne. Kuenne's film is a compelling account of what happened to his close friend Andrew Bagby when he met a woman called Shirley Jane Turner. Bagby and Turner had a young boy called Zachary, and Kuenne made the film as a gift to him because Andrew died and Zachary would never get to know his dad.

The Limits of Human Evil

Those of you who have seen it know there's a twist. And ironically, it may be the one thing that will never allow you to get close to the possibility of watching this film again. It's a jarring design of a film that will leave you speechless when you find out what happens at the end of the story. We'll just call it pure human evil (it also provides a great view into the issue of mental health). This is one of the best and most disturbing true crime documentaries ever made.

3 Irréversible (2002)

Irreversible.

Gaspar Noé's Irréversible is a horrific journey through the streets of Paris as two friends try to avenge an attack suffered by a woman they both love. The film's told in reverse order, and it starts with a sequence in which Pierre fatally beats a man to death, suspecting he's the culprit. Then we find out about the horrific act that led him and Marcus on a rampage of justice.

Scary is an Understatement

Not even redesigning the film to be shown in chronological order makes it an easier film to watch. Irréversible is that monster that crawls out of your bed to bend your mind by subjecting you to the most horrendous forms of graphic violence. There are two scenes in this film that you will probably never watch again. And as crucial as they are in a narrative sense, they are extremely hard-to-watch horrific pieces of horror trapped in a drama thriller that most people only saw once. You've been warned.

Stream on AMC+

2 Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)

Indiana jones & the temple of doom.

In the second film of the Indiana Jones franchise, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom , Indy barely escapes an attack and lands in an Indian village. There he finds out the children have been taken, as well as magic rocks. This puts Indy and company on the path for their next adventure: Head over to Pankot Palace and try to save the children and get the stones back to their right place.

Far from a Family-Friendly Fantasy Adventure

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is probably the greatest argument for why Indiana Jones could be seen as a horror franchise . The film's extremely violent and unsettling, and it shows child slavery in all its glory. Even Spielberg felt the final product was too dark. While the franchise is pretty rewatchable, you may want to skip this one if you're not into horror, scary imagery, and heart extractions.

Stream on Disney+

1 The Act of Killing (2012)

The act of killing.

Joshua Oppenheimer's The Act of Killing takes us to North Sumatra, where the director has found prominent participants in the mass killings of the 1960s in Indonesia. Through an artistic recreation technique, he asks his subjects to be open about what they did and participate in reenactments of the horrendous acts where approximately one million alleged communists were killed. The film isn't exactly a true crime documentary, but it's very disturbing nonetheless.

A Man is Broken by Memory

One of the film's subjects, Anwar Congo, is vocally proud of the things he did. He claims enough deaths so that viewers quickly learn to despise him and the things he did. However, Oppenheimer draws a conclusion that will make Congo face the consequences. It's a complete shift from what we have seen so far: a detailed account of pure death at the hands of murderers who are still seen as heroes where they live. The Act of Killing is an experience you will probably have to go through once. But twice?

Stream on Freevee

If you're in the mood for more "normal" films that aren't exactly horror, but are too close to it, here's a video about films that in some way or another, become horror movies when you least expect it:

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Watership Down.

The fear within: 10 of the best scary films that aren’t horror movies

From Watership Down to Eraserhead, these movies aren’t technically in the horror genre but are guaranteed to give you goosebumps

Not all scary movies are horror films: here’s a selection that can give you goosebumps without resorting to gut-churning terror. David Lynch’s 1977 feature film debut was an uncategorisably bizarre freakshow about a man with very tall hair, a woman with giant hamster cheeks, and a grotesque baby. Supposedly a fable about Lynch’s fear of fatherhood, it is both brilliantly, hermetically weird and frightening as hell. Available on DVD

The Amazing Mr Blunden

A creepy kid-oriented bone-chiller. Adapted from Antonia Barber’s novel The Ghosts, this mystery film was Lionel Jeffries’ 1972 follow-up to The Railway Children, to which it bears similarities – the Edwardian setting and brother-sister protagonists, who go back and forth in time to help two ghost children against their murderous guardians. BFI Player (£)

We Need to Talk About Kevin.

We Need to Talk About Kevin

Although the subject is horrible – a school shooting, and the teenager responsible for it – this isn’t a horror film in any traditional sense. Arguably director Lynne Ramsay’s masterpiece, the 2011 film focuses on the debilitating estrangement between new mother Tilda Swinton and her deeply worrying son, played as a teen by Ezra Miller. Digital platforms (£)

Much of contemporary Korean cinema treads a fine line between ultraviolent thriller and formal horror territory; this emotionally perverse and stylish 2003 film by Park Chan-wook pointed the way. A man is caged in a locked room for 15 years, then released, and tries to hunt down whoever is responsible. Now TV and digital platforms (£)

Barton Fink

The Coens have always had one toe in the horror camp (Fargo, Blood Simple). Barton Fink from 1991, though, is their most sustained exercise in creepiness: John Turturro is the playwright holed up in a hotel trying to write a film script, and John Goodman the over-friendly guy in the next room. Digital platforms (£)

Watership Down

The British answer to Bambi emotionally scarred a generation of schoolkids. A 1978 animation based on Richard Adams’s bunny-oriented epic, with John Hurt, Hannah Gordon and Zero Mostel (!) among the voice cast, it included apocalyptic visions, hawk attacks and fights with a neofascist warren. Sky Store (£)

Ivor Novello and June Tripp in The Lodger.

The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog

Alfred Hitchcock was not known as the master of suspense for nothing. In this 1927 silent film – a rip-off of the Jack the Ripper story – Ivor Novello plays a mysterious gent occupying a rented room who may be the mass killer of chorus girls stalking London. Hitchcock lays the foggy atmospherics on thick. Amazon Prime Video (£)

Spirited Away

Hayao Miyazaki’s beautifully rendered 2001 Japanese animation was a real breakthrough – an international arthouse hit on its own mysterious terms. A Lewis-Carroll-esque tale about a girl whose family turn into pigs after they visit a haunted bathhouse, it is both wonderfully moving and ineffably creepy, with one of modern cinema’s most alarming-looking creations: the lonely spirit No-Face. Netflix

Ryan Gosling in Only God Forgives.

Only God Forgives

Peak arthouse nastiness in Nicolas Winding Refn’s 2013 thriller, which combines intense cruelty, gruesome savagery and dreamy aesthetics. Ryan Gosling is the mother-dominated Muay Thai fighter (and what a mother: a blond-wigged, southern-fried Kristin Scott Thomas), ordered to take out super-brutal local cop Chang in revenge for his brother’s death. Digital platforms (£)

The Vanishing

I remember staggering out of this when it was released in 1988, sideswiped by its shattering final scene. No spoilers here, but this Dutch-produced study of a man spending years searching for his girlfriend after she disappears is really something else. Not to be confused with the unforgivable remake, with Jeff Bridges and Kiefer Sutherland. Digital platforms (£)

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Screen Rant

10 scary horror movies that aren't too gory.

For those who enjoy frightful nights and thrilling screams without the gore, there are many quality horror films to satiate your appetite.

For fans of horror but not blood and guts, there are plenty of scary movies that aren't too gory. Horror often embraces disturbing visuals designed to unsettle audiences, but that's not for everyone, and fortunately for them, that's not all that the genre has to offer. Horror doesn't need to be shocking to be unnerving. Sometimes all it takes is a bit of creativity.

Many great horror movies rely on suspense rather than gore . They excel at building a sense of unease without resorting to gruesome special effects, making them perfect for those who prefer a more psychological approach to horror. From classics like Rosemary’s Baby to modern gems like Get Out , these movies demonstrate that a well-crafted plot with a masterful use of tension can be just as terrifying.

15 Best Horror Movies Of All Time, Ranked

10 poltergeist (1982).

While blood and bodily fluids don’t make an appearance in Poltergeist , it does follow the formula of a classic haunting film. Poltergeist is a simple, classic tale of a house that is haunted by ghosts after it was built on top of an old burial ground. After strange and supernatural things begin to happen, the family is able to communicate with the spirits through their TV. However, things take a sinister turn when the youngest of the family goes missing, and the family turns to a psychic in order to get her back. This is one of the great gore-less horror movies guaranteed to give people chills.

9 The Sixth Sense (1999)

The Sixth Sense is the perfect movie for anyone who wants to get into a spooky mood without needing to ever turn away from the TV. Its plot involves a young boy who can see dead people all around him, concluding with one of the most famously shocking twists of all time. The Sixth Sense remains M. Night Shyamalan's best movie, and it has aged incredibly well. Bruce Willis and Haley Joel Osment deliver powerhouse performances, bringing not only the scares but also a lot of depth. While The Sixth Sense has many scary scenes , it is also a heartfelt drama, which is a nice change for a horror movie.

The Only 6 Horror Movies Nominated For Best Picture At The Oscars

8 it follows (2014).

It Follows comes across as a run-of-the-mill teenage horror movie with a silly premise. However, it packs a much scarier punch. The movie is about a young woman who sleeps with her boyfriend, after which it is revealed to her that there is something that is now following her with the intention of killing her. It can appear as pretty much anyone, but she will know that they are “ it. ” She can either run from it forever or pass it to someone else by sleeping with them. It Follows ' story is an interesting metaphor for the dangers of spreading STIs, and it is also quite a scary watch.

It Follows Ending, Explained

7 paranormal activity (2007).

Found footage films had quite a moment in the 2000s, and Paranormal Activity was one of the most popular at the time. The Paranormal Activity franchise doesn't rely on gore in order to scare its audience. Instead, they go the "based on real events" route, terrifying viewers with the question " Did this really happen ?” The first movie follows a couple who moves into a new home and in the process of enjoying what should be an exciting new chapter in their lives, an evil presence terrorizes their peace and turns their sanctuary into a nightmare. The entire Paranormal Activity franchise is also safe for those not interested in gore.

6 The Orphanage (2007)

The Orphanage is a horror thriller that, like many films that avoid gore, relies more on spiritual aspects. This dark film follows a woman who had grown up in an orphanage. She convinces her husband to buy the building that once housed it and turn it into a children’s hospital. While there, her adopted son goes missing, and she confides in the spirits to help her find out what has happened to him. What The Orphanage lacks in gore, it makes up for it in major creepiness.

5 The Others (2001)

Nicole Kidman delivers a genius performance in this non-bloody horror film. The Others follows a mother named Grace who moves into a new home with her children. When a disease suddenly starts to affect them, her daughter begins to claim that she is seeing spirits, and eventually, Grace starts believing that something paranormal might be going on. With one of the most unsettling movie endings , still shocking decades later, The Others brings on the scares without the excessive gore.

12 Best Nicole Kidman Movies, Ranked

4 the babadook (2014).

The Babadook is among the best horror movies about grief , offering a unique blend of the peculiar and poignant. Maintaining a consistent energy of eeriness, the film focuses on Amelia, a woman dealing with her husband's death while also trying to care for her son. After he begins to have growing fears of a monster in his presence, Amelia not only needs to confront her grief but also this being that appears to not just be in her son’s imagination. The Babadook is undeniably unsettling, demanding a significant level of focus in order to experience its full impact.

3 Get Out (2017)

Jordan Peele's Get Out is not completely without gore, but it is not a gory film. While there is one violent scene depicting surgery, the blood and guts are not gratuitous as in most horror movies. Get Out is a film that breathed new life into the horror genre during a time when people needed a change. It tells the story of Chris and Rose, who travel to Rose's family home in order for Chris to become acquainted with her parents. Once he arrives, he discovers some dark family secrets, and chaos ensues.

Get Out Ending & Twists Explained

2 rosemary's baby (1968).

Rosemary's Baby is regarded as a horror classic. This disturbing film is created to unnerve and scare all at the same time. The plot involves Rosemary and her husband Guy moving to New York City after finding out they're expecting a child. She begins to unravel and become more frantic as her pregnancy progresses. With odd neighbors and strange occurrences in her pregnancy, Rosemary is faced with a horrifying discovery once her child is born, making this one of the best horror movies about motherhood.

1 The Ring (2002)

The Ring is based on the Japanese horror film Ringu , and while remakes are often disappointing, this one is among the scariest movies to come out in the 21st century, earning a deserved spot in pop culture. This is not due to gratuitous shock value. It is the menacing and frantic escalation of the film's plot that really brings the fear. The Ring tells of an urban legend about a haunted videotape that summons a frightening spirit in a seven-day time frame. The movie has spawned some sequels, but nothing compares to the original.

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The Best Spooky/Horror movies

Watch strictly in the dark. Do not spoil the terror. This list of movies does not include the sub-genres of Horror i.e. Slasher and Gore.

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1. Alone (I) (2007)

105 min | Drama, Horror, Thriller

Deceased Siamese twin returns to haunt surviving sister

Directors: Banjong Pisanthanakun , Parkpoom Wongpoom | Stars: Marsha Wattanapanich , Vittaya Wasukraipaisan , Rachanu Boonchuduang , Hatairat Egereff

Votes: 5,706

2. Coming Soon (2008)

95 min | Horror, Thriller

What kind of scenes in a horror film scares you the most? When a ghost appears totally unexpectedly? When the main character does not see the ghost sneaking up behind him? When at the very ... See full summary  »

Director: Sophon Sakdaphisit | Stars: Vorakarn Rojjanavatchra , Chantavit Dhanasevi , Sarinrat Thomas , Thanatorn Oudsahakul

Votes: 3,087

3. Unholy Women (2006)

107 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

When Val is released from prison, she's determined to make a new life for herself. But the criminal underworld won't let her go that easily, and her former boss won't stop until she's paid her debt - with blood.

Directors: Keita Amemiya , Takuji Suzuki , Keisuke Toyoshima | Stars: Noriko Nakagoshi , Yûko Kobayashi , Riko Suzuki , Miharu Morina

“ Only the 1st segment of the three.. 'Rattle Rattle' ”

4. The Ring (2002)

PG-13 | 115 min | Horror, Mystery

A journalist must investigate a mysterious videotape which seems to cause the death of anyone one week to the day after they view it.

Director: Gore Verbinski | Stars: Naomi Watts , Martin Henderson , Brian Cox , David Dorfman

Votes: 370,810 | Gross: $129.13M

Watch 'The Ring 2' for twists and more jumpscares

5. Insidious (I) (2010)

PG-13 | 103 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

A family looks to prevent evil spirits from trapping their comatose child in a realm called The Further.

Director: James Wan | Stars: Patrick Wilson , Rose Byrne , Ty Simpkins , Lin Shaye

Votes: 335,093 | Gross: $54.01M

6. Sinister (I) (2012)

R | 110 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

A controversial true crime writer finds a box of super 8 home movies in his new home, revealing that the murder case he is currently researching could be the work of an unknown serial killer whose legacy dates back to the 1960s.

Director: Scott Derrickson | Stars: Ethan Hawke , Juliet Rylance , James Ransone , Fred Thompson

Votes: 275,555 | Gross: $48.09M

7. Shutter (II) (2004)

Not Rated | 97 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

A young photographer and his girlfriend discover mysterious shadows in their photographs after a tragic accident. They soon learn that you can not escape your past.

Directors: Banjong Pisanthanakun , Parkpoom Wongpoom | Stars: Ananda Everingham , Natthaweeranuch Thongmee , Achita Sikamana , Unnop Chanpaibool

Votes: 48,536

8. Mama (I) (2013)

PG-13 | 100 min | Fantasy, Horror, Thriller

After a young couple take in their two nieces, they suspect that a supernatural spirit named Mama has latched onto their family.

Director: Andy Muschietti | Stars: Jessica Chastain , Nikolaj Coster-Waldau , Megan Charpentier , Isabelle Nélisse

Votes: 189,899 | Gross: $71.63M

9. The Conjuring (2013)

R | 112 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

Paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren work to help a family terrorized by a dark presence in their farmhouse.

Director: James Wan | Stars: Patrick Wilson , Vera Farmiga , Ron Livingston , Lili Taylor

Votes: 547,023 | Gross: $137.40M

10. Noroi (2005)

Not Rated | 115 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

A documentary filmmaker explores seemingly unrelated paranormal incidents connected by the legend of an ancient demon called the "kagutaba."

Director: Kôji Shiraishi | Stars: Jin Muraki , Rio Kanno , Tomono Kuga , Marika Matsumoto

Votes: 14,960

11. The Fourth Kind (2009)

PG-13 | 98 min | Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi

A thriller involving an ongoing unsolved mystery in Alaska, where one town has seen an extraordinary number of unexplained disappearances during the past 40 years and there are accusations of a federal cover up.

Director: Olatunde Osunsanmi | Stars: Milla Jovovich , Elias Koteas , Will Patton , Hakeem Kae-Kazim

Votes: 81,165 | Gross: $25.46M

12. Witch Board: Bunshinsaba (2004)

R | 120 min | Horror, Thriller

A high school girl moves from Seoul to a small remote village, where she is constantly harassed and bullied by the jealous common village girls. In a desperate bid to get back at her classmates, she tries to conjure a ghost to haunt them.

Director: Byeong-ki Ahn | Stars: Kim Gyu-ri , Se-eun Lee , Lee Yu-ri , Seong-min Choi

Votes: 1,554

13. Possessed (2009)

106 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

After Hee-jin's younger sister So-jin, who is possessed by a spirit,disappears,the neighbors die one by one and a secret underlying their deaths is revealed.

Director: Lee Yong-ju | Stars: Shim Eun-kyung , Shin Eun-kyung , Moon Hee-kyung , Bo-yeon Kim

Votes: 1,076

14. Stay Alive (2006)

PG-13 | 85 min | Fantasy, Horror, Mystery

For a group of teens, the answer to the mysterious death of their old friend lies within the world of an online video game based on the true story of an ancient noblewoman known as the Blood Countess.

Director: William Brent Bell | Stars: Jon Foster , Samaire Armstrong , Frankie Muniz , Jimmi Simpson

Votes: 33,731 | Gross: $23.09M

15. A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)

R | 114 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

After spending time in a mental hospital, a girl is reunited with her sister and returns home, only to see some truly strange events start to happen.

Director: Jee-woon Kim | Stars: Lim Soo-jung , Yum Jung-ah , Kim Kap-su , Moon Geun-young

Votes: 67,490

16. The Uninvited (2009)

PG-13 | 87 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

Anna returns home after a stint in a mental hospital, but her recovery is jeopardized by her father's new girlfriend and ghastly visions of her dead mother.

Directors: Charles Guard , Thomas Guard | Stars: Emily Browning , Arielle Kebbel , Elizabeth Banks , David Strathairn

Votes: 84,421 | Gross: $28.57M

17. Orphan (2009)

R | 123 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

A husband and wife who recently lost their baby adopt a 9-year-old girl who is not nearly as innocent as she appears.

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra | Stars: Vera Farmiga , Peter Sarsgaard , Isabelle Fuhrman , CCH Pounder

Votes: 248,340 | Gross: $41.60M

18. Dark Skies (2013)

PG-13 | 97 min | Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller

As the Barrett family's peaceful suburban life is rocked by an escalating series of disturbing events, they come to learn that a terrifying and deadly force is after them, one which may have arrived from beyond the stars.

Director: Scott Stewart | Stars: Keri Russell , Jake Brennan , Josh Hamilton , Dakota Goyo

Votes: 79,186 | Gross: $17.41M

19. The Screen at Kamchanod (2007)

Not Rated | 90 min | Drama, Horror, Thriller

In 1987, four movie screeners stumbled upon a chilling event as they were hired to screen a movie in the forest of Kamchanod, Udon Thani Province. The screeners were wondering why they had ... See full summary  »

Director: Songsak Mongkolthong | Stars: Achita Pramoj Na Ayudhya , Pakkaramai Potranan , Namo Tongkumnerd

20. The Other Side of the Door (2016)

R | 96 min | Horror, Thriller

After her young son is killed in a tragic accident, a woman learns of a ritual which will bring him back to say goodbye, but when she disobeys a sacred warning, she upsets the balance between life and death.

Director: Johannes Roberts | Stars: Sarah Wayne Callies , Jeremy Sisto , Sofia Rosinsky , Logan Creran

Votes: 19,078 | Gross: $2.99M

21. I Remember You (2017)

Not Rated | 105 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

A story about a young man and two women who move into a small abandoned town in Iceland to renovate an old house. Little do they know the town has a dark history.

Director: Óskar Thór Axelsson | Stars: Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson , Thorvaldur Kristjansson , Sara Dögg Ásgeirsdóttir , Ágústa Eva Erlendsdóttir

Votes: 5,261

22. Satan's Slaves (2017)

Not Rated | 107 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

After dying from a strange illness that she suffered for 3 years, a mother returns home to pick up her children.

Director: Joko Anwar | Stars: Tara Basro , Bront Palarae , Dimas Aditya , Endy Arfian

Votes: 10,869

23. Don't Knock Twice (2016)

R | 93 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

A mother desperate to reconnect with her troubled daughter becomes embroiled in the urban legend of a demonic witch.

Director: Caradog W. James | Stars: Katee Sackhoff , Lucy Boynton , Richard Mylan , Nick Moran

Votes: 14,768

24. Hell House LLC (2015)

Not Rated | 93 min | Horror, Mystery

Five years after an unexplained malfunction causes the death of 15 tour-goers and staff on the opening night of a Halloween haunted house tour, a documentary crew travels back to the scene of the tragedy to find out what really happened.

Director: Stephen Cognetti | Stars: Gore Abrams , Alice Bahlke , Danny Bellini , Theodore Bouloukos

Votes: 23,303

25. Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum (2018)

Not Rated | 95 min | Horror

The crew of a horror web series travels to an abandoned asylum for a live broadcast. It soon encounters much more than expected as it moves deeper inside the nightmarish old building.

Director: Jung Bum-shik | Stars: Wi Ha-joon , Yoo Je-Yoon , Park Ji-ah , Park Ji-hyun

Votes: 14,525 | Gross: $0.12M

26. Silk (2006)

Not Rated | 108 min | Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi

In Taipei, the crippled scientist Hashimoto uses his invention of "Menger Sponge" to capture the energy of the spirit of a child in an old building. He invites the specialist in reading ... See full summary  »

Director: Chao-Bin Su | Stars: Chang Chen , Yôsuke Eguchi , Karena Kar-Yan Lam , Barbie Hsu

Votes: 3,466

27. Dead Silence (2007)

R | 89 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

After his wife meets a grisly end, Jamie Ashen returns to his hometown of Ravens Fair to find answers. His investigation leads him to the ghost of a ventriloquist named Mary Shaw who seems to have ties to his entire family tree

Director: James Wan | Stars: Ryan Kwanten , Amber Valletta , Donnie Wahlberg , Michael Fairman

Votes: 100,810 | Gross: $16.81M

28. Deliver Us from Evil (I) (2014)

R | 118 min | Crime, Fantasy, Horror

New York police officer Ralph Sarchie investigates a series of crimes. He joins forces with an unconventional priest, schooled in the rites of exorcism, to combat the possessions that are terrorizing their city.

Director: Scott Derrickson | Stars: Eric Bana , Edgar Ramírez , Olivia Munn , Chris Coy

Votes: 84,578 | Gross: $30.58M

29. Last Shift (I) (2014)

R | 88 min | Horror, Mystery

A rookie cop is tasked with taking the last shift at a police station before it is permanently closed, but it turns into a living nightmare.

Director: Anthony DiBlasi | Stars: Juliana Harkavy , Joshua Mikel , Hank Stone , J. LaRose

Votes: 23,099

30. Black Mountain Side (2014)

Not Rated | 99 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

At a cold, desolate, northmost outpost in Canada, an archaeological discovery is made. A specialist arrives Nov. 1. Strange things happen. All contact with the outside world is down.

Director: Nick Szostakiwskyj | Stars: Shane Twerdun , Michael Dickson , Carl Toftfelt , Marc Anthony Williams

Votes: 6,070

31. The Tag-Along (2015)

93 min | Horror, Thriller

A story about a video of a group of people going hiking and a mysterious little girl in a red dress following them.

Director: Wei-Hao Cheng | Stars: Wei-Ning Hsu , River Huang , Yin-Shang Liu , Po-Chou Chang

Votes: 2,034

32. Lights Out (II) (2016)

PG-13 | 81 min | Horror, Mystery

Rebecca must unlock the terror behind her little brother's experiences that once tested her sanity, bringing her face to face with a supernatural spirit attached to their mother.

Director: David F. Sandberg | Stars: Teresa Palmer , Gabriel Bateman , Maria Bello , Billy Burke

Votes: 140,505 | Gross: $67.27M

33. Banshee Chapter (2013)

R | 87 min | Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi

Journalist Anne Roland explores the disturbing links behind her friend's sudden disappearance, an ominous government research chemical, and a disturbing radio broadcast of unknown origin.

Director: Blair Erickson | Stars: Katia Winter , Ted Levine , Michael McMillian , Corey Moosa

Votes: 10,717

34. The Conjuring 2 (2016)

R | 134 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

Ed and Lorraine Warren travel to North London to help a single mother raising four children alone in a house plagued by a supernatural spirit.

Director: James Wan | Stars: Vera Farmiga , Patrick Wilson , Madison Wolfe , Frances O'Connor

Votes: 295,922 | Gross: $102.47M

35. Ouija (II) (2014)

PG-13 | 89 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

A group of friends must confront their most terrifying fears when they awaken the dark powers of an ancient spirit board.

Director: Stiles White | Stars: Olivia Cooke , Ana Coto , Daren Kagasoff , Bianca A. Santos

Votes: 56,453 | Gross: $50.86M

36. Devil's Pass (2013)

R | 100 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

A group of students go to the location of the infamous Dyatlov pass incident to make a documentary, but things take a turn for the worse as the secret of what happened there is revealed.

Director: Renny Harlin | Stars: Holly Goss , Matt Stokoe , Luke Albright , Ryan Hawley

Votes: 27,163

37. As Above, So Below (2014)

R | 93 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

When a team of explorers venture into the catacombs that lie beneath the streets of Paris, they uncover the dark secret that lies within this city of the dead.

Director: John Erick Dowdle | Stars: Perdita Weeks , Ben Feldman , Edwin Hodge , François Civil

Votes: 108,967 | Gross: $21.20M

38. The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)

R | 86 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

A father and son, both coroners, are pulled into a complex mystery while attempting to identify the body of a young woman, who was apparently harboring dark secrets.

Director: André Øvredal | Stars: Brian Cox , Emile Hirsch , Ophelia Lovibond , Michael McElhatton

Votes: 135,427 | Gross: $0.01M

39. The Rite (2011)

PG-13 | 114 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

American seminary student Michael Kovak travels to Italy to take an exorcism course.

Director: Mikael Håfström | Stars: Colin O'Donoghue , Anthony Hopkins , Ciarán Hinds , Alice Braga

Votes: 102,143 | Gross: $33.05M

40. 1408 (2007)

PG-13 | 104 min | Fantasy, Horror, Mystery

A man who specialises in debunking paranormal occurrences checks into the fabled room 1408 in the Dolphin Hotel. Soon after settling in, he confronts genuine terror.

Director: Mikael Håfström | Stars: John Cusack , Samuel L. Jackson , Mary McCormack , Tony Shalhoub

Votes: 290,776 | Gross: $71.99M

41. The Canal (2014)

Not Rated | 92 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

A film archivist finds his sanity crumbling after he is given an old 16mm film reel with footage from a horrific murder that occurred in the early 1900's.

Director: Ivan Kavanagh | Stars: Rupert Evans , Antonia Campbell-Hughes , Hannah Hoekstra , Kelly Byrne

Votes: 14,775

42. The Babadook (2014)

Not Rated | 94 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

A single mother and her child fall into a deep well of paranoia when an eerie children's book titled "Mister Babadook" manifests in their home.

Director: Jennifer Kent | Stars: Essie Davis , Noah Wiseman , Daniel Henshall , Hayley McElhinney

Votes: 243,737 | Gross: $0.92M

43. The Witch (2015)

R | 92 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

A family in 1630s New England is torn apart by the forces of witchcraft, black magic and possession.

Director: Robert Eggers | Stars: Anya Taylor-Joy , Ralph Ineson , Kate Dickie , Julian Richings

Votes: 293,868 | Gross: $25.14M

44. Annabelle: Creation (2017)

R | 109 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

Twelve years after the tragic death of their little girl, a doll-maker and his wife welcome a nun and several girls from a shuttered orphanage into their home, where they become the target of the doll-maker's possessed creation, Annabelle.

Director: David F. Sandberg | Stars: Anthony LaPaglia , Samara Lee , Miranda Otto , Brad Greenquist

Votes: 148,801 | Gross: $102.09M

45. Resolution (III) (2012)

Not Rated | 93 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

A man imprisons his estranged junkie friend in an isolated cabin in the boonies of San Diego to force him through a week of sobriety, but the events of that week are being mysteriously manipulated.

Directors: Justin Benson , Aaron Moorhead | Stars: Peter Cilella , Vinny Curran , Emily Montague , Kurt David Anderson

Votes: 19,226

46. Hereditary (2018)

R | 127 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

A grieving family is haunted by tragic and disturbing occurrences.

Director: Ari Aster | Stars: Toni Collette , Milly Shapiro , Gabriel Byrne , Alex Wolff

Votes: 367,381 | Gross: $44.07M

47. The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)

PG-13 | 119 min | Drama, Horror, Thriller

A lawyer takes on a negligent homicide case involving a priest who performed an exorcism on a young girl.

Director: Scott Derrickson | Stars: Laura Linney , Tom Wilkinson , Shohreh Aghdashloo , Campbell Scott

Votes: 138,815 | Gross: $75.07M

49. Three... Extremes (2004)

R | 125 min | Horror

An Asian cross-cultural trilogy of horror films from accomplished indie directors.

Directors: Fruit Chan , Park Chan-wook , Takashi Miike | Stars: Bai Ling , Lee Byung-hun , Kyoko Hasegawa , Pauline Lau

Votes: 20,730 | Gross: $0.08M

50. The Visit (I) (2015)

PG-13 | 94 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

Two siblings become increasingly frightened by their grandparents' disturbing behavior while visiting them on vacation.

Director: M. Night Shyamalan | Stars: Olivia DeJonge , Ed Oxenbould , Deanna Dunagan , Peter McRobbie

Votes: 148,010 | Gross: $65.21M

51. Reincarnation (2005)

R | 96 min | Horror, Mystery

A Japanese actress begins having strange visions and experiences after landing a role in a horror film about a real-life murder spree that took place over forty years ago.

Director: Takashi Shimizu | Stars: Yûka , Karina , Kippei Shîna , Tetta Sugimoto

Votes: 6,731

52. Chernobyl Diaries (2012)

Six tourists hire an extreme tour guide who takes them to the abandoned city Pripyat, the former home to the workers of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor. During their exploration, they soon discover they are not alone.

Director: Bradley Parker | Stars: Jesse McCartney , Jonathan Sadowski , Olivia Taylor Dudley , Nathan Phillips

Votes: 68,308 | Gross: $18.12M

53. Muoi: The Legend of a Portrait (2007)

Not Rated | 93 min | Drama, History, Horror

"Muoi" charts the path of a Korean writer who travels to Vietnam in search of stories for her second novel. There she learns about a mystery centered around a century-old vengeful spirit.

Director: Tae-kyeong Kim | Stars: So-hee Hong , Hong-Anh , An Jo , Yong-tae Kim

Votes: 1,087

54. Dark Circles (2013)

R | 87 min | Horror

Alex and Penny are sick of the hectic city life and decide a move out to the country to raise their newborn child. But they don't expect the horrors threatening their relationship and family.

Director: Paul Soter | Stars: Brett Beoubay , Jamie Bernstein , Ashley Braud , Philippe Brenninkmeyer

Votes: 4,352

55. The Awakening (I) (2011)

R | 102 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

In 1921, England is overwhelmed by the loss and grief of World War I. Hoax exposer Florence Cathcart visits a boarding school to explain sightings of a child ghost. Everything she believes unravels as the 'missing' begin to show themselves.

Director: Nick Murphy | Stars: Rebecca Hall , Dominic West , Imelda Staunton , Lucy Cohu

Votes: 68,547

56. The Tunnel (I) (2011)

Not Rated | 94 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

An investigation into a government cover-up leads to a network of abandoned train tunnels deep beneath the heart of Sydney. As a journalist and her crew hunt for the story it quickly becomes clear the story is hunting them.

Director: Carlo Ledesma | Stars: Bel Deliá , Andy Rodoreda , Steve Davis , Luke Arnold

Votes: 22,261

57. 1920 (2008)

Unrated | 143 min | Horror, Mystery, Romance

After forsaking his family and religion, a husband finds his wife is demoniacally possessed.

Directors: Uday Inamati , Vikram Bhatt | Stars: Rakhi Sawant , Bob Brahmbhatt , Rajneesh Duggal , Adah Sharma

Votes: 3,988

58. Unfriended (2014)

R | 83 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

A group of online chatroom friends find themselves haunted by a mysterious, supernatural force using the account of their dead friend.

Director: Levan Gabriadze | Stars: Heather Sossaman , Matthew Bohrer , Courtney Halverson , Shelley Hennig

Votes: 80,700 | Gross: $32.48M

59. The Taking of Deborah Logan (2014)

R | 90 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

An elderly woman battling Alzheimer's disease agrees to let a film crew document her condition, but what they discover is something far more sinister going on.

Director: Adam Robitel | Stars: Jill Larson , Anne Ramsay , Michelle Ang , Brett Gentile

Votes: 38,911

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Early Mickey Mouse to star in at least 2 horror flicks, now that Disney copyright is over

January 3, 2024 / 6:33 AM EST / AP

Los Angeles — The earliest iteration of Mickey Mouse is on a rampage, barely two days in the public domain.

Slashed free of Disney's copyright as of Monday, the iconic character from "Steamboat Willie" is already the focus of two horror films. On Monday, just hours after the 1928 short entered the public domain, a trailer for "Mickey's Mouse Trap" dropped on YouTube. Another yet-to-be-titled film was announced Tuesday.

Mickey Mouse Horror Movies

"Steamboat Willie" featured early versions of both Mickey and Minnie Mouse. Directed by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks, it was the third cartoon featuring the duo they made but the first to be released. In it, a more menacing Mickey, bearing more resemblance to rat than mouse, captains a boat and makes musical instruments out of other animals.

It's perhaps fitting, then, that the first projects announced are seemingly low-budget and campy slasher movies - and not unprecedented. Winnie the Pooh - sans red shirt - entered the public domain in 2022 ; scarcely a year later, he was notching up a heavy body count in the microbudget "Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey."

In the trailer for "Mickey's Mouse Trap," directed by Jamie Bailey, what appears to be a human in a comically small Mickey mask terrorizes a group of young people at an arcade.

mickey-mouse-horror-movie-2024.jpg

"A place for fun. A place for friends. A place for hunting," text flashed during the trailer reads. "The mouse is out."

"We just wanted to have fun with it all. I mean it's 'Steamboat Willie''s Mickey Mouse murdering people," director Jamie Bailey said in a statement cited by trade publications. "It's ridiculous. We ran with it and had fun doing it and I think it shows."

No release date has been set.

The second movie is from director Steven LaMorte, who previously directed a horror parody of "The Grinch," which isn't in the public domain (the movie is thus called "The Mean One").

"A late-night boat ride turns into a desperate fight for survival in New York City when a mischievous mouse becomes a monstrous reality," is the logline for the untitled film, per a post on LaMorte's Instagram.

" 'Steamboat Willie' has brought joy to generations, but beneath that cheerful exterior lies a potential for pure, unhinged terror," LaMorte said in a release cited by trade publications. The movie has yet to begin production.

With the expiration of the 95-year copyright, the public is allowed to use only the initial versions of Mickey and Minnie - not the more familiar character designs.

"We will, of course, continue to protect our rights in the more modern versions of Mickey Mouse and other works that remain subject to copyright," Disney said in a statement ahead of the characters entering the public domain.

LaMorte told Variety that the producers of his film are working with a legal team so as not to run afoul of Disney, and will call their raging rodent Steamboat Willie instead of Mickey Mouse.

"We are doing our due diligence to make sure there's no question or confusion of what we're up to," he said.

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spooky movies that arent scary

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The 10 Scariest Horror Movies Ever

We asked, you voted. from demonic possessions and cursed tvs to haunted hotels and killer clowns, here are movies that scared rt users the most..

spooky movies that arent scary

TAGGED AS: Horror

If you were poking around RT a week and a half or so ago, you might have come across a little poll we were taking on the site to try and determine the Scariest Movie Ever . Based on other lists and suggestions from the RT staff, we pulled together 40 of the scariest movies ever made and asked you to vote for the one that terrified you the most. As it happens, a British broadband service comparison website decided to conduct a science experiment to determine the same thing, and their results were… surprising, to say the least. Did Rotten Tomatoes readers agree with the findings? Read on to find out what our fans determined were the 10 Scariest Horror Movies Ever.

1. The Exorcist (1973)

You may not agree that  The Exorcist is the scariest movie ever, but it probably also isn’t much of a surprise to see it at the top of our list — with a whopping 19% of all the votes cast. William Friedkin’s adaptation of the eponymous novel about a demon-possessed child and the attempts to banish said demon became the highest-grossing R-rated horror film ever and the first to be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars (it earned nine other nominations and took home two trophies). But outside of its critical and commercial bona fides, the film is well-known for the mass hysteria it inspired across the country, from protests over its controversial subject matter to widespread reports of nausea and fainting in the audience. Its dramatic pacing and somewhat dated effects may seem quaint compared to some contemporary horror, but there’s no denying the power the film continues to have over those who see it for the first time.

2.  Hereditary (2018)

Writer-director Ari Aster made a huge splash with his feature directorial debut, a dark family drama about the nature of grief couched within a supernatural horror film. Toni Collette earned a spot in the pantheon of great Oscar snubs with her slowly-ratcheted-up-to-11 performance as bedeviled mother Annie, but the movie’s biggest shock came courtesy of… Well, we won’t spoil that here. Suffice it to say  Hereditary struck such a nerve with moviegoers that it instantly turned Aster into a director to watch and shot up to second place on our list.

3.  The Conjuring (2013)

James Wan has staked out a place among the modern masters of horror, directing films like  Saw ,  Dead Silence ,  Insidious , and this inspired-by-true-events chiller based on the experiences of real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. The Warrens, best known for their work on the strange case that inspired the  Amityville Horror movies (which played a part in The Conjuring 2 ), were portrayed by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga, who grounded the effective jump scares and freak-out moments with a believable world-weariness. Together, Wan and his co-leads found fresh terror in familiar genre tropes, and the end result is a sprawling cinematic universe that only continues to grow.

4.  The Shining (1980)

Literally dozens of Stephen King’s novels and stories have been adapted for the big screen, and several of those films are considered classics today, like  Carrie ,  Misery , and  Pet Sematary (and that doesn’t even account for non-horror stuff like  The Shawshank Redemption and  Stand By Me ). But the mother of them all is easily Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of  The Shining . A marvel of set and production design and a genuinely unnerving take on the traditional haunted house story,  The Shining features a host of memorable images and an iconic Jack Nicholson performance. The film’s relatively few jump scares are still absolutely chilling, but its true power lies in the way it crawls under your skin and makes you experience Jack Torrance’s slow descent into madness. It’s rightfully considered one of the greatest horror films ever made, and it ranked fourth in our poll.

5.  The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

While the top four movies on this list collectively garnered 42% of the total votes counted, they were followed by six films that all earned around 3% of the vote each. In other words, these last six films were separated by no more than 60 votes. The first of them is this low-budget slasher directed and co-written by Tobe Hooper, very loosely inspired by the crimes of Ed Gein.  Texas Chainsaw’ s grimy aesthetic helped lend it an air of authenticity, which made it all the more frightening (“This could  actually happen , you guys!”), and the massive, menacing presence of Gunnar Hansen’s Leatherface paved the way for other brutes like Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees. Multiple attempts have been made to breathe new life into the franchise, but none have equaled the original in sheer, over-the-top, power tool-inspired terror.

6.  The Ring (2002)

It’s always a tricky proposition to take something that works well for one culture and try to translate that formula successfully for another, but Gore Verbinski managed that with  The Ring . A remake of Japanese director Hideo Nakata’s acclaimed thriller about a cursed videotape, Verbinski’s take kept the original film’s striking visual imagery — the  ghost of a young girl in a white dress with long black hair covering her face — and found that it scared the hell out of audiences no matter where they were from. While the film wasn’t as well-regarded as its predecessor, it features a committed performance from a then up-and-coming Naomi Watts, and for many, it served as an introduction to East Asian horror cinema.

7.  Halloween (1978)

Coming in at the seventh spot on our list is the film that introduced the world to all-time scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis and put John Carpenter on the map.  Halloween is frequently cited as one of the earliest examples of the slasher genre as we know it today, and while it may not feature the same kind of realistic gore we’ve come to expect of films in that category, it packs a lot of tension and some inventive thrills in a relatively small-scale package. The film’s legacy is also fairly untouchable: Michael Myers’ mask has become the stuff of legend, and the giant, unstoppable killer and the “final girl” have become ingrained in the horror lexicon. There’s a reason the franchise is still going after more than 40 years.

8.  Sinister (2012)

For those who didn’t read the “scientific study” mentioned at the top, we’ve finally come to the film it crowned the scariest. Before he joined the MCU with 2016’s  Doctor Strange , director Scott Derrickson had racked up a few horror films, a couple of which earned cult followings. One of them was this small-scale haunted house/possession story about a true-crime writer (Ethan Hawke) who moves his wife and kids into a house where a family was murdered, only to discover the new place might already have a rather evil tenant. Writer C. Robert Cargill was reportedly inspired to pen the script based on a nightmare he had after watching  The Ring , and the story does share a minor similarity with that film, what with the creepy snuff film angle. But for many who saw it, the dramatic reveals and creepy set pieces far outweighed any recycled genre tropes that might have been present. Plus, there’s at least one report out there that says it’s the scariest movie ever made, so that has to count for something.

9.  Insidious (2010)

James Wan has already appeared higher on this list, but before he and Patrick Wilson made The Conjuring , they worked together on this supernatural thriller about a young boy who falls into a coma and begins to channel a malevolent spirit. The bare bones of the story weren’t the most groundbreaking, but frequent Wan collaborator Leigh Whannell infused it with a compelling enough mythology that it spawned four more installments. Wan also stated that Insidious was meant to be something of a corrective to the outright violence of  Saw , which compelled him to craft something on a more spiritual level, and the end result is an effective chiller featuring what is frequently regarded as one of the best jump scares ever put on screen.

10.  IT (2017)

The fear of clowns is a very real thing, even if it’s become so commonplace to announce it that it feels disingenuous. If you needed any further evidence, we direct you to the box office haul of 2017’s  IT , based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, which went on to beat  The Exorcist’ s 44-year record as the highest-grossing horror film ever. Oh, and of course, its 10th-place finish on this list. Andy Muschietti’s big-budget adaptation drew on nostalgia to tell its story of children scarred by trauma, while Bill Skarsgard’s take on Pennywise the evil, shapeshifting clown was bizarre and unsettling in all the right ways. Add a healthy dose of jump scares, a handful of impressive set pieces, and some top-notch CGI, and you’ve got a recipe for a horror film that’s both fun and full of scares.

Thumbnail image by ©FilmDistrict courtesy Everett Collection

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15 Best Paranormal Movies That Will Haunt You in Your Sleep

Not for the faint of heart!

Horror stands as one of cinema's oldest and most ambitious genres, and it has cultivated a passionate fan following off the back of its ability to leave viewers a terrified, trembling mess. One of its most viscerally horrifying subgenres comes in the form of paranormal movies, with films focusing on unnatural beings like ghosts, spirits, and demons which invade our nightmares and pique our superstitions and fears.

With impeccable special effects, agonizingly suspenseful storytelling, and an ingrained sense of terror that forces us to keep watching no matter how much we want to look away, great paranormal horror films have served as one of the genre's defining pillars for decades . From timeless classics from over 50 years ago to modern masterworks that reinvent the terror for new generations, it was much more than mere jump scares that made these films the iconic hits that they are today.

15 'The Others' (2001)

Directed by alejandro amenábar.

A twisty, winding psychological horror, The Others excelled as a subversive haunted house horror movie that coasted on Nicole Kidman ’s compelling central performance. Taking place in 1945, it follows a devoted Catholic who moves to the English coast with her two young children who suffer from a rare photosensitivity disease while waiting for word on her husband in the war. As odd occurrences start to transpire around the house, Grace (Kidman) starts to believe something paranormal could be at work.

With an elegance that isn’t necessarily characteristic of horror, not to mention an intelligent and engrossing screenplay to boot, The Others excelled with its narrative nous alone. However, with The Others also boasting a magnetic, atmospheric chill that can have an immersive effect , it is shocking as it is tight and tidy to be an impressive and underrated horror flick.

Rent on Amazon Prime

14 'Suspiria' (1977)

Directed by dario argento.

One of the greatest horror movies of the 1970s which distinguished itself with a rich sense of style, Suspiria has become a true classic of the genre. It follows Suzy Bannion ( Jessica Harper ), an aspiring ballerina from America who travels to Germany to attend a prestigious dance academy, where her stay becomes plagued as a mysterious and malevolent entity haunts the establishment, sparking an idea that a supernatural conspiracy could be at play.

While the film has some genuinely unnerving scenes, what truly made it stick in the viewers’ minds was its breathtaking visual display, with Dario Argento using color to striking effect , creating a surreal atmosphere of gripping intensity. The end result is a strangely beautiful horror film that excels as an aesthetically entrancing masterpiece with a solid horror story to boot.

Watch on Tubi

13 'Poltergeist' (1982)

Directed by tobe hooper.

Poltergeist made television a thing to be feared. When the youngest of the Freeling family, Carol Anne ( Heather O'Rourke ) begins chatting with the static on the TV, there is something wrong. Eventually, the rest of the house becomes a horror show as well and it is overrun by malevolent ghosts who want to abduct Carol Anne.

Released in 1982, Poltergeist has become a timeless horror classic with its consistently terrifying tone which remains just as scary today as it was the day it was released. In addition to being a terrific paranormal horror film, Poltergeist is also one of the all-time great haunted house movies , one that not only gave viewers nightmares, but left them in a cold sweat when their television sets went to static as well.

Poltergeist

Rent on Apple TV

12 'Smile' (2022)

Directed by parker finn.

The directorial debut of Parker Finn , adapting his 2020 short film Laura Hasn't Slept into a feature-length horror hit, Smile proved to be incredibly effective as an unnerving, creepy demon possession flick. It follows Rose ( Sosie Bacon ), a psychiatrist who believes she is being haunted by a supernatural threat after she witnesses the bizarre and harrowing suicide of one of her patients.

Smile 's use of jump scares, mounting suspense, and eerily off-putting performances offered more than enough horror to keep audiences awake at night for fear of what they would see in their dreams. As a fresh entry into the world of horror cinema, Smile was a landmark box office success, making well over $200 million worldwide, and has a sequel scheduled to be released in October .

Watch on Amazon Prime

11 'Last Night in Soho' (2021)

Directed by edgar wright.

While it isn't classified as a horror film, Edgar Wright 's ghost story draws clear inspiration from the genre while creeping under audiences' skin with much more than just evil spirits. Last Night in Soho follows Eloise ( Thomasin McKenzie ) a clairvoyant girl who moves to London to attend a fashion course at an illustrious arts school where her connection to the area's ugly past threatens to drive her mad as she begins experiencing the life of an aspiring singer who had her room in the 1960s.

While the film's ghoulish, faceless ghosts can certainly garner a fright, it's Last Night in Soho 's thematic focus on misogyny and abuse that made it particularly striking . It also didn't hurt that the film had a spectacular soundtrack of '60s hits , flaunted Wright's trademark dedication to style, and served as a wonderful testament to classic horror which fans could both adore and fear.

Last Night in Soho

10 'talk to me' (2023), directed by danny and michael phillipou.

The modern age of horror cinema has seen a number of stunning instant classics arise, but few have had such immediate success as Talk to Me . Following a group of friends as they conjure spirits with an embalmed hand for thrills, its sudden shift to paranormal terror has entrenched it among the best and most popular horror movies to be made in recent years.

The debut film of Michael and Danny Philippou , it hearkens back to classic horror movies from decades past while being imbued with some new ideas that make it completely of its time. Further enhanced by its aspirational dramatic heft, Talk to Me is a deeply unsettling film capable of rattling even the most hardened horror fans and is destined to become one of the best paranormal horror movies, if not of all time, then of its era at the very least.

Rent on Amazon

9 'Paranormal Activity' (2007)

Directed by oren peli.

An ingenious mix of simple yet suspenseful narrative, low-budget innovation, and the haunting, invasive feeling exuded from its home-camera gimmick, Paranormal Activity is a true masterpiece of found footage horror . As one of the 21st century's earlier horror hits, it focuses on a young couple who move into a new house where a series of strange happenings inspire Micah ( Micah Sloat ) to set up cameras to document what is occurring.

Steadily building the tension as the weird events that occur become increasingly hostile, much of the film's agonizing torment actually stemmed from the lingering moments where nothing was happening. A stressful, heart-stopping horror film, Paranormal Activity remains an acclaimed hit of the genre and one of the most intense and terrifying paranormal horror films of all time.

Paranormal Activity

Watch on Max

8 'The Ring' (2002)

Directed by gore verbinski.

An American adaptation of the 1998 Japanese horror film Ringu , The Ring fast became a horror hit in the early 2000s. It follows Rachel ( Naomi Watts ), a journalist covering the death of four teenage girls who investigates a cursed videotape that kills people seven days after they watch it, and must find answers to save herself after she views it out of curiosity.

Fascinatingly, the film went into production without a finished script, but it found momentum in Gore Verbinski's arresting atmospheric suspense and Watts' outstanding central performance . The Ring tapped into the internet phenomenon of chain mail horror years before it bled into the mainstream consciousness, becoming a superstitious, paranormal hit of urban legend terror and nightmarish visual terror.

7 'Rosemary's Baby' (1968)

Directed by roman polanski.

A true timeless classic of horror cinema which was famous for its terrifying, psychological impact which saw it linger in the mind long after the credits have rolled, Rosemary's Baby mixes demonic horror with family drama to horrifying effect . It focuses on Rosemary Woodhouse ( Mia Farrow ), the wife of a stage actor who moves into an apartment building with her husband where strange occurrences plague her as she falls pregnant, leading her to grow suspicious of her neighbors.

With a violent and overbearing satanism an underlying threat throughout Rosemary's Baby , it gradually builds a sickening dread as the sinister plot of the complex’s tenants unfolds. Powered by Farrow’s phenomenal central performance, Rosemary’s Baby doesn’t just thrive as one of the scariest paranormal movies of all time, but as a great example of female-led cinema as well.

Rosemary's Baby

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6 'The Conjuring' (2013)

Directed by james wan.

Throughout the 2010s, the horror genre had a massive resurgence, with more genre films becoming mainstream hits the longer the decade went on. One of the great, early major success stories for 2010s horror was 2013's The Conjuring which follows a family who move into a haunted house and turn to demonologists Ed ( Patrick Wilson ) and Lorraine Warren ( Vera Farmiga ) to investigate the curse's origin.

A suitably terrifying picture, The Conjuring is a flawless example of haunted house horror and proved to be such a hit with fans that it spawned a successful extended franchise. Further adding to the nightmarish horror of the demonic evil and the visual frights, The Conjuring was reportedly based on true events that the real-life Warrens investigated in the 1970s.

The Conjuring

5 'the babadook' (2014), directed by jennifer kent.

A cult hit of an Australian horror movie that has gradually built up its audience as the years have gone on, The Babadook served as the directorial debut of Jennifer Kent . Following a widowed single mother as her son begins to act strange and speaks of a monster coming to get him, it focuses on an ominous picture book called "Mister Babadook" and the monstrous evil that comes to life from within it.

The film won international praise not only for its horror mastery, but also for its depiction of grief and loss which gave it a heart-wrenching story of family woe as its core. As for its terrifying magnificence though, Kent masterfully manufactured a truly shaking horror film without having to rely on jump scares or copious gore to leave audiences dreading the titular villain long after the movie had finished.

The Babadook

Watch on Hulu

4 'The Blair Witch Project' (1999)

Directed by eduardo sánchez and daniel myrick.

Still standing as the magnum opus of the found-footage subgenre over two decades after its release, The Blair Witch Project remains one of the most viscerally terrifying movies ever made. It follows three film students who seek to make a documentary about the legend of the Blair Witch, and venture into the supposedly haunted woods to find out more about the myth only to find themselves lost and being stalked by a wicked and malevolent force.

The low-budget documentary approach gave The Blair Witch Project a jarring, grounded realism which elevated the horror by only giving audiences a very narrow viewpoint of what was unfolding. It allowed the imagination to run wild with all manner of dreadful thoughts, and also led to a very real sense of motion sickness which made many patrons in theaters physically ill .

The Blair Witch Project

3 'hereditary' (2018), directed by ari aster.

A groundbreaking debut from modern horror maestro Ari Aster , Hereditary became an instant classic with a startling reputation as being one of the greatest and scariest movies ever made . The famed horror flick follows a grieving family mourning the loss of an elderly relative who begins to fear they are being haunted by a demonic entity as they discover more of their disturbing ancestry amid a series of worrying occurrences.

The narrative takes some deeply disturbing turns to build an unbearable sense of dread which serves as an embodiment of nightmarish terror. Hereditary 's commentary on loss, guilt, and family is brilliant, not only in its depth but also in how it works into the horror , further enhancing it as the story unfolds right up until its scarring ending which has undoubtedly led to nightmares for millions of viewers around the world and marked Hereditary as one of the best supernatural horror movies ever made.

2 The Shining (1980)

Directed by stanley kubrick.

As one of the most renowned horror movies of all time, The Shining has endured for decades as a genre-defining masterpiece capable of generating an immense and weighted sense of dread that hangs heavy over the audience. From acclaimed filmmaker Stanley Kubrick , it follows a young family who relocates to the remote Overlook Hotel to serve as the resort’s winter caretakers where the patriarch begins to go mad as the hotel’s violent intent unravels.

With a runtime of 146 minutes, the film utilizes an agonizingly slow pace to draw out every ounce of dread and eerie suspense. It may not be the most immediately terrifying movie, but The Shining does prove to be an exhausting, lingering nightmare that can haunt viewers long after the credits roll .

The Shining

1 'the exorcist' (1973), directed by william friedkin.

When young Regan ( Linda Blair ) becomes possessed by a demon, her family calls for an exorcism to vanquish the evil. As Regan's condition worsens, she wreaks havoc on her household as she battles the demon for power over her very being, all while two Catholic priests work tirelessly to exorcise the demon from her body.

The Exorcist broke barriers for the genre, becoming an instant and lasting phenomenon that incited widespread fanfare and spectacle while also inspiring derision and even legends of a cursed production. Despite all the hysteria surrounding the film though, the one thing about The Exorcist that has endured is its masterful execution of paranormal horror, something that has made the movie the scariest film of all time in the eyes of many who have seen it.

The Exorcist

NEXT: The Most Bizarre and Grotesque Body Horror Movies

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