40 Terrifying Horror Movies That Aren’t Paranormal - LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY (2024)

Table of Contents
Summary 40 The Menu (2022) A Horror Movie About The Elite 39 Diabolique (1955) A Horror Of Marital Infidelity 38 Peeping Tom (1960) A Serial Killer Records His Victim’s Final Expressions 37 Bodies Bodies Bodies (2022) A New Slant On Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None 36 The Night Of The Hunter (1955) A Southern Gothic Horror Movie 35 The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) An Iconic Slasher 34 Halloween (1978) The Start Of A Harrowing Franchise 33 The Cell (2000) A Twisted Film Grounded In Reality 32 The Silence Of The Lambs (1991) The Best Picture Winning Thriller 31 Seven (1995) Detectives Hunt A Serial Killer Murdering Based On The Seven Deadly Sins 30 Midsommar (2019) A Grieving Woman Accompanies Her Boyfriend To A Swedish Festival That Spirals Into A Nightmare 29 X (2022) A Group Of Adult Filmmakers Become Targeted By A Murderous Older Couple 28 Saw (2004) Two Men Are Locked In A Basem*nt By A sad*stic Puppet Master 27 Jacob’s Ladder (1990) A War Veteran Struggle With Nightmarish Visions 26 Psycho (1960) A Woman Makes The Deadly Mistake Of Stopping At A Small Roadside Motel 25 Hush (2016) A Deaf Woman Is Terrorized By A Masked Intruder 24 The Invisible Man (2020) A Woman Becomes Convinced Her Seemingly Dead Ex Is Stalking Her 23 I Saw The Devil (2010) A Man Seeks Brutal Vengeance On His Fiancée’s Murderer 22 Green Room (2015) A Punk Rock Band Becomes Targeted By Neo-Nazis 21 Scream (1996) A Masked Killer Targets A Group Of High School Teens

40 Terrifying Horror Movies That Aren’t Paranormal - LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY (1)

Summary

  • Non-demonic horror movies can be just as terrifying as supernatural ones, focusing on grounded stories for unsettling scares.
  • Sometimes, human beings can be the scariest villains, showcasing the evil and terror they are capable of in non-supernatural horror.
  • Movies inspired by true events can remind us that real-life horror is just as chilling as fiction, offering a different kind of fear.

While the supernatural and otherworldly horror elements can no doubt be effective in movies like The Exorcist and It Follows, non-demonic horror movies that rely on more grounded stories can be equally terrifying. Horror movies with supernatural and paranormal elements can, in fact, be less genuinely frightening because the audience is aware that these supernatural threats are not real. Removing these elements can create horror movies with more plausible fears, adding a more unsettling feel for the viewer.

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Monsters, zombies, and ghouls make for memorable horror movie villains, but sometimes, the scariest thing imaginable is another human being and the evil they are capable of. This phenomenon is especially true when these non-supernatural horror movies are inspired by true events, even if it is a loose interpretation, reminding the audience that such things really can happen. For those looking to escape the typical demonic threats of the genre, these horror movies offer something frighteningly more real.

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40 Terrifying Horror Movies That Aren’t Paranormal - LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY (2) Related 15 Best Horror Movies Of All Time, Ranked

What are the best horror movies of all time? Every fan has their opinion, but these movies have stood the test of time to become certifiable icons.

40 The Menu (2022)

A Horror Movie About The Elite

40 Terrifying Horror Movies That Aren’t Paranormal - LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY (3) The Menu Where to Watch

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A darkly comedic horror-thriller, The Menu focuses on a group of diners invited to a high-end restaurant on a private island by one of the world’s greatest chefs. Shortly after arriving on the island, Margot Mills begins to realize something is strange beyond the perceived pompous nature of the menu. Her suspicions are confirmed when the night turns deadly as the restaurant staff begins to descend into a cult-like madness.

Director Mark Mylod Release Date November 18, 2022 Cast Ralph Fiennes , Anya Taylor-Joy , Nicholas Hoult , Hong Chau , Janet McTeer , Reed Birney , Judith Light , John Leguizamo Runtime 106 minutes

The Menu was a surprising success story from 2022, a horror-comedy centered around the foodie community. The movie follows Margot Mills (Anya Taylor-Joy), an escort hired to accompany a wealthy foodie named Tyler (Nicholas Hoult) to an exclusive restaurant on a private island owned and operated by a celebrity chef named Julian Slowik (Ralph Fiennes). However, Margot soon learns that this private event is a planned dinner where everything is on the table, including the diners themselves.

The Menu
earned two Golden Globe nominations in the comedy bracket.

The movie is a morality tale where Chef Julian’s plan is not to “eat the rich” but to have the rich eat themselves. The movie presents a large dose of dark comedy, with Julian knowing Margot is not “one of them” and offering her a chance to escape. However, the horrors of what happens to the rest of the customers make this a disgusting yet brilliantly told social satire about the depths that some people will go to get what they believe they deserve in life.

39 Diabolique (1955)

A Horror Of Marital Infidelity

40 Terrifying Horror Movies That Aren’t Paranormal - LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY (4) Diabolique (1955)

Diabolique is a French psychological horror film directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot. The story revolves around two women, Christina, the wife of the cruel and abusive headmaster of a boarding school, and Nicole, a teacher who is also involved with him. The two women form an unlikely alliance to murder the cruel man, but their plan takes an unexpected turn, leading to a series of eerie and terrifying events.

Director Henri-Georges Clouzot Release Date January 29, 1955 Cast Véra Clouzot , Simone Signoret , Paul Meurisse , Charles Vanel , Jean Brochard Runtime 117 Minutes

Les Diaboliques (Diabolique in North America) is a French psychological horror movie about two women who plot to murder a man. Michael is a cruel man who runs a boarding school in Paris that is owned by his wife. However, he is also involved in an affair with a teacher at the school. However, Michael is cruel and mentally abuses his wife and physically beats the teacher he is sleeping with. Both women decide they would be better off without him and plan his murder.

What happens next is a story of twists and turns and betrayals, with an ending that is both shocking and unexpected. The movie adds in horror touches with an apparent haunting, although nothing is as it seems. The real villains here are not supernatural by any means; they are simply people setting out to do horrible things and finding that no one can get away with their sins in the end. The movie inspired Robert Bloch’s novel Psycho, which Alfred Hitchco*ck later adapted.

38 Peeping Tom (1960)

A Serial Killer Records His Victim’s Final Expressions

40 Terrifying Horror Movies That Aren’t Paranormal - LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY (5)

Peeping Tom DramaHorrorThriller Where to Watch

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Director Michael Powell Release Date May 16, 1960

Released in 1960, Peeping Tom is a British psychological horror thriller about a serial killer who murders women while using his camera to record and preserve their final reaction before they die. The killer then puts the footage together for his own snuff film, making him the Peeping Tom of the title. What really makes this movie frightening and disturbing is that the viewer follows the story from the point of view of the serial killer himself.

Later movies did this, with the Michael Rooker film, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer as a good example. However, this is the movie that really showed how effective the technique could be. It not only shows a serial killer obsessed with watching his own murders over and over again, but it forces the viewers to also share in this obsession, almost making the audience an accomplice in his sins. The movie has become a classic horror masterpiece, often compared with Alfred Hitchco*ck’s thrillers.

37 Bodies Bodies Bodies (2022)

A New Slant On Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None

40 Terrifying Horror Movies That Aren’t Paranormal - LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY (6) Bodies Bodies Bodies Where to Watch

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Bodies Bodies Bodies is a comedy/horror/thriller from 2 AM. When Bee (Maria Bakalova) travels to a hurricane party with her girlfriend Sophie (Amanda Stenberg), they find themselves surrounded by affluent 20-somethings with very different world views. When the party finally kicks off amidst the coming storm, the debauchery leads to a game of “Bodies Bodies Bodies.” However, when a power outage occurs during the game, and a murder occurs in its stead, the party takes a turn for the deadly.

Director Halina Reijn Release Date August 5, 2022 Cast Pete Davidson , Maria Bakalova , Rachel Sennott , Chase Sui Wonders , Amandla Stenberg , Lee Pace , Myha’la Herrold Runtime 95 minutes

Bodies Bodies Bodies is a 2022 horror comedy movie that wasn’t a massive success at the box office but one that has gone on to become a modern-day cult classic. The A24 horror film sees a group of friends head to a mansion for a hurricane party. While there, they decide to play a murder mystery game called “Bodies Bodies Bodies.” However, when one of the group is found dead, his throat slashed, they realize there is a killer among them and begin panicking as they try to survive the night.

Bodies Bodies Bodies
has a lot in common with the classic Agatha Christie mystery novel,
And Then There Were None
.

Bodies Bodies Bodies has a lot in common with the classic Agatha Christie mystery novel, And Then There Were None, but with a huge twist in the ending that turns everything on its head. However, it is the ending and the grotesque nature of some of the kills that make this movie different enough to stand on its own. While the story itself is one that has been told before, with young people dying at a secluded location, it remains an entertaining and fun thrill ride with a great young cast.

36 The Night Of The Hunter (1955)

A Southern Gothic Horror Movie

40 Terrifying Horror Movies That Aren’t Paranormal - LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY (7) The Night of the Hunter (1955)

Reverend Harry Powell, a sinister preacher, marries a gullible widow to find out where her late husband hid a large sum of stolen money. As Powell terrorizes her children to uncover the secret, they must use their wits to escape his malevolent grasp, leading to a suspenseful and chilling showdown.

Director Charles Laughton Release Date July 27, 1955 Cast Robert Mitchum , Shelley Winters , Lillian Gish , James Gleason , Evelyn Varden , Peter Graves , Don Beddoe , Gloria Castillo , Billy Chapin , Sally Jane Bruce Runtime 92 Minutes

The Night of the Hunter is a 1955 horror thriller by director Charles Laughton that follows a serial killer called Preacher Harry Powell (Robert Mitchum) as he terrorizes a small family in the search for hidden money from a bank robbery. He learned about the money from his old cellmate, who was the father of the small family, and Powell believes that can help him find the money that their father hid before his arrest. Shelley Winters stars as the kids’ mother.

The Library of Congress added
The Night of the Hunter
to the National Film Registry in 1992.

A Southern gothic horror movie, The Night of the Hunter sees Mitchum portray Harry Powell as a terrifying creation, with “Love” and “Hate” tattooed on his knuckles and bringing fear and terror to two young children in a horror movie that will stick with viewers for a long time. The movie was a critical failure when it was released and flopped at the box office. However, it has become regarded as one of the best classic horror thrillers ever made, and Harry is one of horror’s scariest villains in cinema.

35 The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

An Iconic Slasher

40 Terrifying Horror Movies That Aren’t Paranormal - LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY (8) The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) R

Five friends traveling through rural Texas encounter a family of cannibals led by the terrifying Leatherface. As they fall victim one by one to the gruesome horrors, they must fight for survival against relentless and unimaginable terror in a macabre and chilling fight for their lives.

Release Date October 11, 1974 Director Tobe Hooper Cast Marilyn Burns , Allen Danziger , Paul A. Partain , William Vail , Teri McMinn , Edwin Neal Runtime 83 minutes Expand

A disturbing horror masterpiece that also introduced one of the most iconic horror movie villains in Leatherface

Texas Chainsaw Massacre may take a loose approach to the true story of Ed Gein, but the results are a disturbing horror masterpiece that also introduced one of the most iconic horror movie villains in Leatherface. The movie follows a group of friends traveling through rural Texas who visit the wrong house and become terrorized by the manic killer. Director Tobe Hooper masterfully played on the public’s paranoia by suggesting that the events were based on an actual true story.

Despite its gruesome reputation, there is little gore and violence compared to modern horror movies, but it maintains its unsettling and almost surreal tone while keeping things in the human realm of something that could actually happen. The horror franchise is still going strong with the latest entry released in 2022, but the original has never been topped.

34 Halloween (1978)

The Start Of A Harrowing Franchise

40 Terrifying Horror Movies That Aren’t Paranormal - LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY (9) Halloween (1978) R Where to Watch

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Halloween is a horror film released in 1978 that centers on the fictional town of Haddonfield, Illinois, as a masked serial killer terrorizes it. Over a decade after the brutal murder of Judith Myers by her brother, Michael, Michael escapes from the local Sanitarium to continue his silent killing spree- with teenage Laurie Strode being his new potential victim.

Release Date October 27, 1978 Director John Carpenter Cast Donald Pleasence , Jamie Lee Curtis , Tony Moran , Nancy Kyes , P.J. Soles , Kyle Richards , Charles Cyphers Runtime 91 Minutes

While Michael Myers is perhaps supernatural in some of the Halloween sequels, he is just a flesh and blood man in John Carpenter’s original slasher. That makes it all the more effective when he is described as the embodiment of evil. Halloween follows the evolution of Myers from his first kill and then when he returns to his childhood home in Haddonfield to wreak new deadly havoc on a group of unsuspecting teens on Halloween night.

From the opening moments where the killer is revealed to be a young child to seeing Michael as a grown adult, emotionless as he stalks his victims in his signature mask, he cements himself as a horror icon. Part of the reason he is so popular decades later is because he is a man yet has the coldness and merciless approach of a beast.

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33 The Cell (2000)

A Twisted Film Grounded In Reality

40 Terrifying Horror Movies That Aren’t Paranormal - LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY (11) The Cell (2000) R Where to Watch

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Psychologist Catherine Deane uses experimental technology to enter the mind of a comatose serial killer to find his latest victim. Inside his twisted subconscious, she faces horrifying visions and his darkest secrets. As time runs out, Catherine must navigate his nightmarish psyche to save the girl and herself.

Director Tarsem Singh Release Date August 18, 2000 Cast Jennifer Lopez , Vince Vaughn , Vincent D’Onofrio , Marianne Jean-Baptiste , Jake Weber , Dylan Baker Runtime 107 Minutes

The Cell
focuses on the story of a child psychologist who deep-dives into the mind of a terrifying serial killer

There’s plenty of nightmarish and ghoulish imagery in The Cell to fool unknowing audiences into thinking it’s another Nightmare On Elm Street clone, but such is not the case. The Cell focuses on the story of a child psychologist who deep-dives into the mind of a terrifying serial killer in order to learn the location of his latest victim. However, she is put in danger when the killer begins to take control of his mind with her trapped inside.

The movie serves almost like a horror movie version of Christopher Nolan’s Inception, and while the setting of the movie is grounded, entering into the dreamscape of a sad*stic killer brings the audience into a mind-bending warping of reality that features daring and provocative visuals that make the movie worthwhile on their own. Vincent D’Onofrio is particularly memorable as the complex killer at the center of the thriller.

32 The Silence Of The Lambs (1991)

The Best Picture Winning Thriller

40 Terrifying Horror Movies That Aren’t Paranormal - LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY (12) Silence of the Lambs R

The Silence of the Lambs follows FBI trainee Clarice Sterling (Jodie Foster) as she hunts a serial killer known as Buffalo Bill (Ted Levine). To find the killer, she must place her trust in the notoriously dangerous but brilliant cannibal, Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins). With Buffalo Bill’s latest victim the daughter of a U.S. Senator, the pressure is on Sterling to catch the criminal before he can bring his twisted scheme to fruition.

Release Date February 14, 1991 Director jonathan demme Cast Scott Glenn , Jodie Foster , Anthony Hopkins , Ted Levine , Anthony Heald Runtime 118 minutes

Adapted from the novel by Thomas Harris, The Silence of the Lambs is a gripping police procedural that also serves as a bone-chilling horror movie. The movie stars Jodie Foster as young FBI trainee Clarice Starling who seeks help from imprisoned murderer Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) in the investigation to capture a sad*stic killer known as Buffalo Bill.

The Silence of the Lambs is inspired by several real murderers, serving as a frightening reminder that such crimes happen in the real world. Hopkins’ performance as Hannibal is unforgettable, making Hannibal seem animalistic at times, but also infusing him with a sense of charm and culture that humanizes him. It is one of the rare horror movies to get Oscar love as it won Best Picture along with Foster and Hopkins also winning for their memorable performances.

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31 Seven (1995)

Detectives Hunt A Serial Killer Murdering Based On The Seven Deadly Sins

40 Terrifying Horror Movies That Aren’t Paranormal - LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY (14) Se7en R Where to Watch

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David Fincher’s crime thriller Se7en follows the seasoned Detective William Somerset after he is assigned a new partner, the young and idealistic David Mills (Brad Pitt). The two find themselves investigating a deranged killer staging murders inspired by each of the seven deadly sins. On the hunt for the twisted John Doe (Kevin Spacey) before he can kill again, the two detectives soon discover that they’re much deeper into the case than they realized.

Release Date September 22, 1995 Director David Fincher Cast Brad Pitt , gwyneth paltrow , John C. McGinley , Morgan Freeman , Kevin Spacey Runtime 127 minutes

David Fincher’s dark and morbid Se7en follows the story of two detectives on the case of a serial killer who dispatches his victims in metaphorical fashion as per the seven deadly Biblical sins. Each murder is more grotesque than the last, which can test the fortitude of even hardened horror buffs. Fincher builds an engrossing crime story and traps the audience inside it, following the detectives as they remain one step behind the killer.

The grim and cynical tone permeates the movie, blending it between a police procedural and a psychological horror movie. Yet with the gruesomeness of the murderers, the reveal of the killer and his reasons make it all the more unsettling for how human he seems. The Se7en ending is so shocking and twisted that it remains one of the most notorious in horror film history.

30 Midsommar (2019)

A Grieving Woman Accompanies Her Boyfriend To A Swedish Festival That Spirals Into A Nightmare

40 Terrifying Horror Movies That Aren’t Paranormal - LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY (15) Midsommar R Where to Watch

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Ari Aster’s Midsommar follows a group of American college students who travel to a friend’s isolated rural hometown in Sweden to experience their renowned midsummer festival. What starts out as idyllic quickly becomes a disconcertingly violent pagan ritual, with the friends engaged in a ruthless competition that will test more than just their friendship. Florence Pugh stars alongside Jack Reynor, Will Poulter, and William Jackson Harper.

Release Date July 3, 2019 Director Ari Aster Cast Julia Ragnarsson , Rebecka Johnston , Henrik Norlén , William Jackson Harper , Gunnel Fred , Anna Åström , will poulter , Archie Madekwe , Louise Peterhoff , Björn Andrésen , Isabelle Grill , Jack Reynor , Florence Pugh , Liv Mjönes Runtime 147 minutes Expand

Florence Pugh gives a breakout performance in the lead role, receiving several acting nominations

Some movies use the absence of supernatural or paranormal elements to examine the terror that can come from people who believe in a higher power. Ari Aster’s Midsommar takes place at a Swedish festival where a group of American tourists experience an annual event that quickly turns disturbing. Florence Pugh gives a breakout performance in the lead role, receiving several acting nominations, while also cementing Aster as a new horror master when paired with his supernatural debut Hereditary.

The movie’s bright and colorful setting is juxtaposed with the building sense of dread throughout while also serving as a powerful and disturbing story about grief and toxic relationships. While the practices of the central cult are clearly built for a horror story, there is something grounded and unsettling about these people celebrating the carnage they put in motion.

29 X (2022)

A Group Of Adult Filmmakers Become Targeted By A Murderous Older Couple

40 Terrifying Horror Movies That Aren’t Paranormal - LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY (16) X (2022) R Where to Watch

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Director Ti West presents X, a horror slasher film set in 1979 in rural Texas that follows a group of amateur filmmakers attempting to shoot a p*rnographic film. When the group gets further along in the film, and the elderly homeowners take notice, they slowly realize they’ve drawn their formerly gracious hosts’ ire – and jealously.

Release Date March 18, 2022 Director Ti West Cast Martin Henderson , Mia Goth , Jenna Ortega , Stephen Ure , Scott Mescudi , Brittany Snow , Owen Campbell Runtime 105 minutes

X is a throwback horror movie that uses a simple premise, a memorable villain and a lot of memorable kills to great effect. The movie takes place in the 1970s, following a crew of filmmakers who rent a barn to shoot a p*rn movie only to be targeted by the old couple living on the property. The movie features a standout ensemble cast including dual roles for Mia Goth as the young final girl and the murderous old woman.

While the ages of the killers is certainly unique, the movie feels like an elevated grindhouse slasher movie with the characters being killed off in brutal ways but through practical means. The movie is a tight and slick horror gem with a fun tone. It also spawned an unexpected horror movie franchise with the prequel Pearl and the 2024 sequel MaXXXine.

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28 Saw (2004)

Two Men Are Locked In A Basem*nt By A sad*stic Puppet Master

40 Terrifying Horror Movies That Aren’t Paranormal - LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY (18) Saw R Where to Watch

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Saw is a horror film directed by James Wan. The story follows two men who awaken in a dilapidated bathroom, chained at opposite ends, and discover they are pawns in a deadly game orchestrated by a serial killer known as Jigsaw. As they struggle to survive, they learn the harsh consequences of their past actions. The film features complex puzzles and a dark atmosphere, contributing to its critical and commercial success.

Release Date October 1, 2004 Director James Wan Cast Cary Elwes , Leigh Whannell , Danny Glover , Monica Potter , Ken Leung Runtime 103 Minutes

The Saw franchise has grown into a long-running horror franchise of its own, which is impressive given the low-budget roots of the first installment. It centers around a serial killer with a justice complex who dispatches his sinning victims using a variety of traps they must figure out if they wish to save their own lives. At the center of the first movie, two men wake up in a basem*nt, challenged to play a game to save their lives by the serial killer known as Jigsaw.

The traps in question provide a lot of the real terror as people are put through unbelievable pain and given a horrific life-or-death decision to make. The first movie is not nearly as gruesome as what comes later in the series, but the twist ending and the compelling ethos of Jigsaw made it stand out among other low-budget horror movies.

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27 Jacob’s Ladder (1990)

A War Veteran Struggle With Nightmarish Visions

40 Terrifying Horror Movies That Aren’t Paranormal - LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY (19) Jacob’s Ladder R

Jacob’s Ladder is a horror mystery centering on a mourning father and scarred Vietnam War vet named Jacob that is dealing with dissociation. After his child dies, Jacob struggles to separate reality from his delusions. Jacob’s Ladder stars Tim Robbins alongsideElizabeth Peña, Danny Aiello, Matt Craven, and Jason Alexander.

Release Date November 2, 1990 Director Adrian Lyne Cast Ving Rhames , Danny Aiello , Matt Craven , Eriq La Salle , Tim Robbins , Elizabeth Peña , Pruitt Taylor Vince , Jason Alexander Runtime 113 minutes

This classic horror film starring Tim Robbins is so iconic that it even served as direct inspiration for the Silent Hill horror video game series. The use of disturbing imagery and hallucinations helps sell the horror aspect without the need to dive into the paranormal. The story centers around a Vietnam vet plagued by nightmarish visions. As he attempts to uncover the reason behind his trauma, he goes down a rabbit hole of government conspiracy theories and odd time shifts which take the viewer along for the ride.

It is a hard journey to take with the character, but the chilling sequences mixed with heavy themes make it an earlier example of the so-called “Elevated Horror” subgenre. The movie can feel surreal at times, but it simply reflects the torture the main character is experiencing and makes for a more visceral horror movie.

26 Psycho (1960)

A Woman Makes The Deadly Mistake Of Stopping At A Small Roadside Motel

40 Terrifying Horror Movies That Aren’t Paranormal - LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY (20) Psycho R Where to Watch

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In this now-iconic Alfred Hitchco*ck thriller, a secretary embezzles forty thousand dollars from her employer’s client, goes on the run, and checks into a remote motel. The place is run by a young man under the domination of his mother — and he soon turns out to be far more threatening than he appeared at first.

Release Date September 8, 1960 Director Alfred Hitchco*ck Cast Janet Leigh , Martin Balsam , Anthony Perkins , John Gavin , Vera Miles Runtime 109 minutes

Though the gore and scares may be tame by today’s standards, Psycho still holds up decades later as a gripping and unforgettable horror movie experience. The story kicks off with a young woman on the run who stops at a vacant motel where she meets the creepy owner Norman Bates. From there, the story goes in unexpected directions that helped cement its horror movie classic status.

The true story that inspired Psycho’ is embellished and changed significantly, but the movie is still eerie and unsettling because of how grounded in reality Alfred Hitchco*ck made it. From the infamous shower scene to the reveal at the end of the movie, Psycho was a shocking movie in its day and is now one of the most iconic horror movies of all time with the genre still drawing inspiration from it to this day.

Besides being an absolute classic, Psycho still stands out today as
one of the most terrifying black-and-white films
.

25 Hush (2016)

A Deaf Woman Is Terrorized By A Masked Intruder

Close

Hush R

Hush is a thriller directed by Mike Flanagan, starring Kate Siegel as Maddie Young, a deaf-mute author living in isolation. The film chronicles Maddie’s survival as she becomes the target of a masked intruder. With limited senses, Maddie must use her resourcefulness and intellect to outwit the assailant. The narrative provides a tense and gripping exploration of vulnerability and resilience in the face of imminent danger.

Director Mike Flanagan Release Date April 8, 2016 Cast John Gallagher Jr. , Kate Siegel , Michael Trucco , Samantha Sloyan , Emma Graves Runtime 1hr22

Mike Flanagan has pushed the paranormal to great effect in many of his horror projects, but he has also been very effective with a much simpler premise. Hush stars Kate Siegel, who co-wrote the movie alongside Flanagan, as a deaf woman named Maddie who has moved to an isolated home in the woods. While alone one night, she finds herself stalked by a masked man playing deadly mind games with her.

The home invasion movie has been a popular subgenre in horror for years and Hush gives the added element of suspense with Maddie’s perceived vulnerabilities. However, though Hush is an intense and nail-biting movie, part of the thrill is seeing Maddie’s intelligence and bravery in fighting back,making smart and understandable decisions in the real-world scenario. Interestingly, the story within the story of Hush grew into Flanagan’s later horror miniseries Midnight Mass.

24 The Invisible Man (2020)

A Woman Becomes Convinced Her Seemingly Dead Ex Is Stalking Her

40 Terrifying Horror Movies That Aren’t Paranormal - LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY (21) The Invisible Man R Where to Watch

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Inspired by H.G. Well’s novel of the same name, The Invisible Man is a modern retelling of the sci-fi horror classic. After narrowly escaping her abusive and powerful tech mogul boyfriend (Oliver Jackson-Cohen), Cecilia (Elisabeth Moss) is relieved to hear of his death. However, she soon becomes convinced that he’s watching her, and little by little, she comes to believe that he’s found a way to not only cheat death but the laws of reality, too.

Release Date February 28, 2020 Director Leigh Whannell Cast Zara Michaels , Storm Reid , Sam Smith , Oliver Jackson-Cohen , Anthony Brandon Wong , Aldis Hodge , Amali Golden , Harriet Dyer , Bianca Pomponio , Elisabeth Moss , Benedict Hardie Runtime 124 minutes

The Invisible Man character was always a part of the Universal Monsters movie universe but leaned more towards sci-fi than the supernatural. The 2020 reimagining of the horror story was even more sci-fi as it starred Elizabeth Banks as a woman who escapes an abusive relationship only to suspect her ex is stalking her using technology that makes him appear invisible.

Though the technology requires some stretching of the imagination, it is an interesting way to recontextualize the classic movie monster in a modern setting. The movie is a gripping and incredibly tense experience as every empty space on screen feels like it could have an unseen threat lurking and waiting to strike. Moss delivers a critically acclaimed performance as another inspiring female horror movie hero, winning awards from the Critics Choice Association and the Saturn Awards.

23 I Saw The Devil (2010)

A Man Seeks Brutal Vengeance On His Fiancée’s Murderer

40 Terrifying Horror Movies That Aren’t Paranormal - LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY (22) I Saw the Devil R Where to Watch

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I Saw The Devil is a South Korean thriller directed by Kim Jee-woon. The narrative follows a secret agent who embarks on a relentless and personal quest for vengeance after his fiancée is brutally murdered by a psychopathic serial killer. The film stars Lee Byung-hun and Choi Min-sik, and is renowned for its intense and gritty portrayal of the cat-and-mouse game between the two central characters.

Release Date August 12, 2010 Director Kim Jee-woon Cast Lee Byung-hun , Choi Min-sik , Jeon Kuk-hwan , Cheon Ho-jin , Oh San-ha Runtime 144 Minutes

I Saw the Devil is a South Korean film that was released in 2010 and then saw an international release in 2011 after it premiered at Sundance Film Festival and award-winning run at several international festivals. In this thriller, Lee Byung-hun plays a man named Kim Soo-hyun, an NIS agent who recently lost his fiancée after she was brutally attacked by a serial killer.

Using his professional skills, he hunts down the killer, abducts him, tortures him, then releases him so he can do it again. The movie is another brutal entry into South Korea’s impressive horror movie industry while also being a thought-provoking story of revenge and what it costs. It is a movie that requires a grounded story as it explores the evil of humanity and challenges the audience’s desire to see vengeance carried out.

22 Green Room (2015)

A Punk Rock Band Becomes Targeted By Neo-Nazis

40 Terrifying Horror Movies That Aren’t Paranormal - LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY (23) Green Room 9.00 Where to Watch

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Green Room is a horror thriller that stars Patrick Stewart as a calculatingly devious club owner who is forced to deal with a group of punk rockers who witness a crime they shouldn’t have. Unable to find the breakaway success they hoped for, The Ain’t Rights end their tour at a strange, run-down club in the middle of the woods in Oregon. When the band bears witness to a crime in the club’s backroom, they find themselves prisoners to the club’s dangerous owner who intends to keep his business a secret – no matter who has to pay the price.

Release Date April 15, 2016 Director Jeremy Saulnier Cast Anton Yelchin , Imogen Poots , Patrick Stewart , Alia Shawkat , Callum Turner , Joe Cole Runtime 95 minutes

A24 horror movies have a reputation of being “elevated horror,” infusing scary stories with complex themes and messages. However, Green Room is a very striped-down horror movie and one of the studio’s best of the genre. The movie follows a punk rock group who reluctantly take a gig at a compound for a neo-Nazi party only for things to go wrong and they find themselves trapped.

The movie’s violence is incredibly blunt and brutal making the whole experience feel terrifyingly realistic. It is also very effective at allowing the audience to like these characters which makes the horror that follows all the more unsettling. As a bonus, it features a very effective villainous turn from Patrick Stewart as the head of the Nazi clan whose matter-of-fact methods add to the coldness of the movie’s tone.

21 Scream (1996)

A Masked Killer Targets A Group Of High School Teens

40 Terrifying Horror Movies That Aren’t Paranormal - LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY (24) Scream R Where to Watch

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Wes Craven flips the horror-slasher genre on its head with the 1996 release of Scream, the first in the long-running franchise. The residents of Woodsboro discover a series of murders are being committed by a dangerous ghost mask-wearing killer with an obsession for classic horror movies. To survive, a group of high school students, a reporter, and a town deputy will have to subvert horror expectations and stay one step ahead of the killer.

Release Date December 20, 1996 Director Wes Craven Cast Drew Barrymore , Kevin Patrick Walls , David Booth , Carla Hatley , Neve Campbell , Skeet Ulrich Runtime 111 minutes

Scream started an iconic franchise, spawning a total of four movies and one TV show. This movie has become iconic in the world of horror movies, having been parodied and serving as an inspiration for many horror movies since then. The movie is a combination of a typical slasher movie and a darkly comedic satire of the genre. It follows a masked killer named Ghostface who is terrorizing the fictional town of Woodsboro, California.

What makes the movie such an effective grounded horror movie is that the characters themselves are aware of horror movies and their “rules.” The movie’s commentary of the genre added an element that felt so fresh and original at the time while the characters and scares still hold up today. The whodunnit aspect is also a lot of fun leading to the memorable killer reveal.

Source: https://www.lsu.edu.vn
Category: Entertainment

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