Cosmic horror might be your favorite genre that you didn't even know existed. While certainly a niche filmmaking style, it includes some the most revered mind-melting movies of all time. Many of these titles are derived at least in part by the work of H.P. Lovecraft. Some films, like 2019's Color Out of Space starring Nic Cage, is a faithful adaptation of the short story with the same name. Others, like The Thing, simply draw much of it's inspiration from the author. The head-popping films of David Cronenberg perhaps best exemplify the cosmic horror genre, including Videodrome and Scanners. Lesser known cult classics like In the Mouth of Madness and The Endless take viewers into temporal loops and plots that loop within themselves. In short, if you want films that warp reality and question humankinds place within the universe, then look no further than cosmic horror movies.
Whether you're already a cosmic horror buff or a new viewer looking for a watchlist, check out this interdimensional list! Vote up your favorites and come back as new ones get added.
- 1132 VOTESPhoto: The Thing / Universal Pictures
As with many of the most memorable cosmic horror films, The Thing launched to abysmal reviews and a poor showing at the box office (competing against E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial didn't help). In the decades since it's release, though, it's been heralded by many as one of the best films to ever come out of the genre, with specific praise given to it's innovative and grotesque creature design. The plot focuses on a team of researchers on an expedition in Antarctica who encounter "the thing" - a parasitic monster that copies and then replaces the form of it's victims. While much of the horror comes from Rob Bottin's creature effects, the psychological horror of knowing that any member of the crew could in fact be "the thing" is where the real danger lies.
- 2125 VOTES
A good chunk of the entries on this list come from Lovecraftian films of the 80's and 90's, but The Void proved that the genre wasn't dead in 2016. This film, partially crowdfunded from Indegogo, follows a group of people who are terrorized by hooded cultists and grotesque creatures in a hospital. This throwback tale features face flaying, people transforming into tentacled beasts, and the plot of a crazed doctor attempting to defy death with severe consequences.
- 3148 VOTESPhoto: Annihilation / Paramount Pictures
2018's Annihilation uses the comic horror genre not only to explore humanity's significance (or insignificance), but to deeply dive into the well (or hole in a lighthouse, perhaps) of what composes our fragile human psyche. While entering The Shimmer, a group of scientists and researchers find themselves facing their darkest inner demons, only to eventually encounter themselves in doppelgänger form. Annihilation forces it's characters inward, revealing themes of depression, self-doubt, and remorse.
- 445 VOTES
From the creators of Re-animator, From Beyond features a pair of scientists attempting to stimulate the pineal gland with a device called the Resonator. Unfortunately, their experiments have the unforeseen consequence of transporting them to an alternate dimension full of demented creatures. Worse yet, the lead scientist returns from a trip to the other side having become a monster himself. In the spirit of many cosmic horrors, From Beyond twists reality and reshapes the physical and psychologically state of man.