Guest Blog: Top 10 Horror Films That Aren’t Really Horror Films
Hey everyone. Today I have a guest post for ya from blogger, Edwin. He writes about TV, movies, and celebrities for the Celebutaunt blog on USDish. I always love the topic of films that really aren’t horror movies, yet which have the same kind of affect on us as “traditional” horror films. Enjoy!!
Top 10 Horror Movies (That Aren’t Really Horror Movies)
Call them “dark comedies,” “supernatural odysseys” or “sci-fi thrillers” – they’re the movies that are not-quite classified as horror, but still leave you with the heebie-jeebies.
If you expected “Pan’s Labyrinth” to be anything like Jim Henson’s fantastical fairytale featuring David Bowie in spandex, you were probably traumatised. Written and directed by Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, this 2006 film is more of a dark think piece than a true horror, featuring nightmarish animatronic and CGI characters contrasted with the real-life nightmares of war. With characters like the Faun who resembles an Avatar on acid and The Pale Man who eats children and wears his eyeballs on his palms, this movie should be avoided before bedtime.
It’s dark, it’s twisted, but instead of a horror – it’s all just a game. This 1997 film is an emotional rollercoaster filled with scary images (motionless clown doll in your driveway, anyone?) but it’s ultimately more of a psychological thriller. Starring Michael Douglas as a wealthy investment banker bored by life, this movie raises the question we’ve all had at some point: What do you buy for the person who has everything? The sketchy (and hopefully fictitious) company Consumer Recreation Services is willing to psychologically torment you in a tailor-made way, for a price. Even if it’s just in the movies, I’m not putting anything from this store on my wish list.
It’s not quite a horror movie, but the 2000 drama, “Requiem for a Dream” does portray the horrors of addiction and psychosis. Between a deluded wanna-be game show contestant, played by Ellen Burstyn, and a demented refrigerator that comes to life, this movie shows us how drugs can blur the line between fantasy and what ultimately becomes a very sad reality. Perhaps the scariest thing about this film is that it seems to be what kick-started Jared Leto’s emo-goth look. In his role as Harry the Heroin Addict, Leto was required to have a pale face/black hair combo, which he still sports to this day.
Directed by Neil Jordan, who also made “The Crying Game” and “Interview with a Vampire,” this 1997 dark comedy tackles the horrors of sexual abuse, suicide, and even scarier – Sinead O’Connor in the role of The Virgin Mary. The film is about the 12-year-old Irish “Butcher Boy,” Francie Brady, whose rough upbringing leads him down the wrong path. Though this film isn’t a horror, it’s often grouped in that genre due to its disturbing dream sequences coupled with sobering scenes of violence.
Given Steven Spielberg’s family-friendly repertoire (“E.T.,” “Indiana Jones,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”) it should come as no surprise that this 1993 film is classified sci-fi thriller instead of horror. The thing is, the dinosaurs do seem diabolical – from the way the raptors rap their toe-claws on the kitchen floor to the delightful cooing and chirping of the dilophosaurus before it spreads its frills and goes for the throat. Like a modern-day Frankenstein, “Jurassic Park” did its part to portray the horrors of Man-playing-God.
Like “Requiem for a Dream,” the horror inflections in this 1991 film are elicited by its portrayal of drug-induced hallucinations and paranoia. Directed by David Cronenberg, this film focuses on exterminator, William Lee, whose exposure to insecticide causes delusions of espionage. Robert Ebert actually described the film as too dark – saying he felt “repelled” by “so much dryness, death and despair….” It might have had something to do with the giant talking insects.
Guillermo del Toro’s 2004 superhero film is all about a demon with a heart of gold, aptly named Hellboy. Hellboy has had an unusual upbringing – literally. He was summoned from hell by the Nazis, raised by the U.S. Army, and granted “honorary human” status by the U.N. He battles freaky-looking paranormal creatures and also looks a lot like the demon in the 1985 fantasy film, “Legend,” which might be why this film is sometimes grouped in with horror flicks.
This 2012 film features Liam Neeson as a widowed Alaskan oil worker who’s tasked with killing wolves at his worksite to keep his coworkers safe. His knowledge of how “The Greys” operate comes in handy when his plane crashes and he finds himself stranded in their territory. The way the greys leap out from the dark at every turn is indicative of the origins of horror movies, as it gives an idea of how horrifying everyday survival must have been for our ancestors.
Like “The Grey,” the 2010 film, “The Trial,” also deals with the darkness of grieving the loss of a loved one. Matthew Modine plays a small-town defense attorney who’s pulled out of self-induced retirement and bereaving his deceased wife and children to save a young man from death row. Although the murder of a young woman provides the underlying plot thriller, the horror of the film lies in the main character’s brushes with suicide.
Because (or maybe in spite of) its childlike, carnival feel, the 2009 stop-motion movie, “Coraline” is classified as a dark fantasy, but still carries the feel of a horror film. Like “Pan’s Labyrinth,” the movie focuses on a diminutive dark-haired heroine who finds herself stuck between two worlds. From the director of “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” some of the scary imagery includes the ghost children that haunt Coraline and the “Other Mother” who wants to sew buttons over Coraline’s eyes.
Which one of these movies left you with the biggest case of the creeps?