Graveyard Shift
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Horror-Adjacent Movies To Watch When You Run Out Of Horror Movies

April 7, 2020 1.1k votes 212 voters 11.3k views12 items

List RulesVote up the movies that have the most horror appeal.

Horror fans watch a lot of movies. In an era with seemingly everything available to us at all times, there's plenty to choose from - but that means you can easily tear through your personal horror watchlist and find yourself hankering for something a little... different. Thankfully, there are more than enough horror-adjacent films to choose from as well - in other words, creepy, non-horror movies that will help you get your fix.

Whether you prefer slashers or psychological thrill rides, there's a non-horror movie out there for you. Many of these films teetering on the edge of horror are made by filmmakers who have horror experience, or otherwise have the ability to create terrifying experiences without officially dipping into the tropes horror fans might expect.

Some of these films are dramas, some are technically for children, and a few of them fall in between the cracks of genre designation. What they all have in common is, in one way or another, they will freak you out.

  • Of all the freaky non-horror movies on this list, this may be the most harrowing - at least for its intendended adolescent audience. When a boy vacations at a seaside hotel in England, he finds himself in the middle of a witch convention that's being attended by the Grand High Witch, a child-eating monster who looks like Freddy Krueger's evil sister. 

    The Witches doesn't approach the cusp of horror just because children are put in perilous situations - it's also the makeup and effects that do the trick. If the film's director, Nicolas Roeg, had cranked up the terror just a bit and cut the childlike wonder, this would be a straight up horror film.

    • Actors: Rowan Atkinson, Anjelica Huston, Brenda Blethyn, Jim Carter, Bill Paterson
    • Released: 1990
    • Directed by: Nicolas Roeg
    Just scary enough?

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  • Terry Gilliam's time travel/pandemic mind-bleep of a movie is not quite horror, but something even more nightmarish than most horror films. Brad Pitt goes full nutso as the leader of a domestic terrorist group that unleashes a lethal disease across the world, and Bruce Willis uses his talents as an everyman to make the audience think he can actually stop this mess.

    All of Gilliam's films have some kind of horrific element, and his work can be genuinely upsetting. A double feature of 12 Monkeys and Tideland will definitely leave you freaked out for the rest of your night.

    • Actors: Brad Pitt, Bruce Willis, Christopher Plummer, Madeleine Stowe, Christopher Meloni
    • Released: 1995
    • Directed by: Terry Gilliam
    Just scary enough?
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  • The Crow has everything you expect from a slasher movie: a creature returning from the grave to seek vengeance on a group of friends, permanent midnight, weird magic, and plenty of violence. Still, it's more of an action movie than anything else. This is the kind of movie that feels like watching a Friday the 13th type, but with an emphasis on the slayer's feelings.

    The '90s goth aesthetic of The Crow definitely adds to its spooky vibe, and while it's definitely influenced by horror movies and ghost stories, it's not too scary. It'll give you that creepy fix you need without scaring the living daylights out of you.

    • Actors: Bai Ling, Brandon Lee, Tony Todd, Ernie Hudson, Jon Polito
    • Released: 1994
    • Directed by: Alex Proyas
    Just scary enough?

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  • Rear Window shows why Alfred Hitchcock is the master of suspense. You may know the story: A photographer with a broken leg is stuck in his apartment and spies on his neighbors. When he thinks he sees one neighbor off his wife, he starts snooping until he gets into real trouble. 

    This is the apex of the movie formula in which you know the protagonist is right, but there's no hard evidence. Hitchcock deftly weaves together a simple cat-and-mouse story that takes place in one apartment building (and a courtyard), and leaves you breathless no matter how many times you've seen it. 

    The film culminates in a legitimately tense sequence that's been copied in horror movies since the '70s. It's definitely a must-see for horror fans who want to take a break from the harder stuff.

    • Actors: Grace Kelly, James Stewart, Alfred Hitchcock, Gig Young, Raymond Burr
    • Released: 1954
    • Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock
    Just scary enough?

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