Not everyone enjoys going into darkened movie theaters to be scared senseless. Fortunately, though, there are plenty of horror flicks for people who don't like scary movies - movies that just might win over the most hardened, anti-horror zealot. Indeed, some of the best terrifying films focus less on blood, guts, and gore and more on storytelling and character development.
With these psychologically disturbing films, viewers are likely to identify with what's happening on the screen, no matter how eerie and unsettling. Redundant scary movie tropes are less important in psychological thrillers. You may be creeped out after watching one, but you won't have nightmares for weeks.
The Others is a grand, gothic horror movie with a twist. Set in a remote manor house in England's Channel Islands just after World War II, this 2001 film follows a mother (Nicole Kidman) and her two children, who are both allergic to sunlight. There is something simultaneously old-fashioned and undeniably fresh about The Others. It will both spook you and make you think.
Actors: Nicole Kidman, Christopher Eccleston, Michelle Fairley, Fionnula Flanagan, Keith Allen, + more
Initial Release: 2001
Directed by: Alejandro Amenábar
Jordan Peele's 2017 Academy Award-winning masterpiece is so much more than a horror movie. It's also a razor-sharp social commentary - a piercing, often funny, frequently powerful meditation on race in America. Get Out centers on Chris (Daniel Kaluuya), a black man who goes to visit his white girlfriend's family for the first time. From this seemingly mundane experience comes a story that is as enlightening as it is disturbing. This is the rare horror movie that has the power to change lives.
Actors: Daniel Kaluuya, Catherine Keener, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford, Caleb Landry Jones, + more
Directed by: Jordan Peele
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Roman Polanski's 1968 classic is legendary for a reason. Rosemary's Baby is an ingeniously executed horror movie that manages to avoid spilling even one drop of blood. Instead, it creates a long, slow burn. Viewers sympathize with a young pregnant woman (Mia Farrow) who suspects her new neighbors want to use her baby for sinister purposes. There are also rumors that a Rosemary's Baby curse follows those who made the movie, injecting a bit of real-life terror into an already disturbing film.
Actors: Mia Farrow, Tony Curtis, John Cassavetes, Charles Grodin, Ruth Gordon, + more
Initial Release: 1968
Directed by: Roman Polanski
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What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? has been overshadowed in recent years by behind-the-scenes drama. Bette Davis and Joan Crawford - the stars of this 1962, Robert Aldrich-directed thriller - were notorious rivals. They made filming a nightmare for one another. But beneath the Hollywood gossip is a spine-tingling story of two aging sisters, one of whom has become dangerously unhinged. It's campy, to be sure, but it's also a lot of fun, making it perfect for those in search of a different type of fright.
Actors: Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Robert Aldrich, Anna Lee, Dave Willock, + more
Initial Release: 1962
Directed by: Robert Aldrich
#36 on The Best Movies of the '60s