In celebration of the DVD release of Exit Humanity (review here), the Civil War-themed zombie romp, we thought it would be a fine time to take a look back at some of the greatest zombie hordes throughout the history of the sub-genre.
As always, let’s start with some honorable mentions. The fact it’s Peter Jackson directed, and one of the goriest films of all time, means Dead Alive (aka Braindead) and its infected mob is certainly worthy of an honorable mention here. Also one of the unheralded all-time classics… and perhaps the zombie film with the greatest title ever…Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things, directed by Bob Clark and featuring zombie Orville Dunworth and his undead friends, gets another nod. Also a big honorable mention to the underrated 2009 French film The Horde, which featured a very impressive group of hungry undead.
Now let’s get to the meat of the story *rimshot* …
“The Walking Dead” (2010 to present)
Inspired by the awesome comic, AMC’s “The Walking Dead” has absolutely taken the world by storm. Destroying cable viewing records, “The Walking Dead” has gone from a six-episode experiment to one of the most popular shows on television. And much of it has to do with the amazing story behind our beloved survivors, but as much as we love the drama, the zombies regularly manage to steal the show.
With some of the most impressive make-up you’ll ever see, applied by some of the best artists in the business, the zombies in “The Walking Dead” are absolutely amazing. As for specific memorable hordes from the show, Sophia’s group emerging from Herschel’s barn was certainly one, as was the horde that followed the helicopter, and then ultimately Rick’s gunshot, to invade the farm and move our heroes on down the road at the end of Season 2. But the most iconic shot of the zombies thus far had to be the massive group that surrounded Rick in the tank at the end of the first episode of the show. As the group of undead got bigger and bigger around the stalled tank and Rick’s fallen horse, viewers got a clear picture as to just what a horrific situation the survivors were in.
Dead Snow (2009)
Perhaps the sleekest looking zombie horde award should go to the group from Dead Snow, the 2009 Norwegian zombie film featuring a group of Nazi zombies. Nazi zombies…now there is a butt-load of trouble.
Writer/director of Dead Snow Tommy Wirkolav, in search of something even more evil than a zombie, came up with the idea of Nazi zombies. Well, to be honest, he didn’t actually create the idea of Nazi zombies (that was taken care of 25 years ago with the film Shock Waves), but they were damn impressive looking.
28 Days Later (2002)
Danny Boyle’s film makes this list for one huge reason. And yes, you’re going to tell me the creatures in this film were not true undead, but rather infected by…I know, I know. But they’re damn close enough to be called zombies. And what did 28 Days Later introduce to the zombie world? Speed. Goddamn fast zombies!
Yes, the godfather of the modern zombie, George Romero, is adamant that zombies do not run. He’s got a great quote that goes something like: “Try running when you have the flu…you think you’re gonna run when you’re dead?” But adapting these zombie-like creatures to be fast as hell makes them that much scarier. The 2004 Dawn of the Dead remake followed suit with the speedy zombies (which must have really frosted Romero’s ass), leading to an entire new sub-genre within the zombie sub-genre itself. Fast zombies. Consider the bar raised.
Also known as Zombi 2 (Romero’s Dawn of the Dead was entitled Zombi in Italy, and this Italian film, directed by Lucio Fulci, was a sequel in title only; the films were completely unrelated). This zombie horde knew how to throw down, and the film contains some quite memorable and horrific scenes. (We don’t need to remind you of the Zombie vs. Shark encounter, I’m sure…or the impaled eyeball…yikes!)
The Zombie horde was incredibly ugly (with the iconic worm-eyed zombie leading the way) and incredibly violent, initially leading to all kinds of bannings, “X” ratings and other efforts to keep audiences from this masterpiece of the macabre. In the end the public’s insatiable bloodthirstiness won out, and Zombie is now deeply entrenched in the history books as one of the most impressive undead offerings to date.
Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” Video (1983)
How can you leave the most popular zombie video of all time off this list? “Thriller” is the definition of iconic, and that horde had some moves! The “Thriller” video sold 9 million units and became the first music video ever inducted into the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress for being “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant.”
And what a pedigree this 13-minute short film has. (And don’t think any differently; that’s exactly what “Thriller” is. It’s not a music video; it’s a short film). It was directed by John Landis, who certainly knew a little something about werewolves. Zombies were just the next logical step. Legendary F/X artist Rick Baker assisted with the make-up, and the voice-over was done by horror hall of famer Vincent Price. The zombies looked incredible and were easily the most viewed gang of undead of all time. “Thriller” was nothing short of historic.
Return of the Living Dead (1985)
“More brains!. Return of the Living Dead had perhaps the most star-studded zombie horde ever! Undead legends Tarman and Half-Corpse crawled right out of Return of the Living Dead and into our nightmares. Additionally, one of the most overlooked zombies ever, the little person zombie (a personal favorite), is in there as well, shuffling amongst the horde.
Return of the Living Dead marked the first instance where zombies were looking for braaaaains, instead of just any living body part they could get their hands on. Not that they were overly fussy, but they did prefer grey matter. Again we have incredible special effects, but in Return of the Living Dead everything was enhanced by a great sense of humor. Return of the Living Dead is a treasure to the horror genre.
Night of the Living Dead (1968), Dawn of the Dead (1978), Day of the Dead (1985)
The three greatest zombie films of all time? Yes, arguably. George A. Romero at his finest, directing the films that would introduce the unsuspecting viewing audience to a world of reanimated, undead creatures whose only goal was to eat living humans. Inspired by Richard Matheson’s 1954 vampire novel I Am Legend, Romero single-handedly created a brand new monster.
And each of these three films are amazing in their own way. Night of the Living Dead is absolutely iconic. It started everything and spawned an entire sub-genre of horror that is flourishing like no other today. In Dawn of the Dead Romero was able to expand the production, resulting in a bigger and better story and many, many more ghouls to go around. And in Day of the Dead the humor and F/X took center stage. Howard Sherman’s portrayal of the zombie Bub was immensely funny and entertaining, and the F/X, most notably the mass zombie kills at the end of the film, were amazing with Tom Savini and Greg Nicotero doing the heavy lifting.
The zombie sub-genre of horror is basically still very young. If you consider Night of the Living Dead the birth of the modern zombie, then you’re talking about a creature that’s not even 45 years old yet. However, the zombie has come a long way in that time. Here’s hoping that Exit Humanity can follow in the footsteps of some of the great zombie hordes of the past.
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Ash vs. Everyone: Eight of the Most Exciting Evil Dead/Army of Darkness Crossover Comics
To the excitement of fans everywhere, long before he even returned in the exceptional “Ash vs. Evil Dead” TV series, Ash Williams found a second life in comic books. His comic history began with the Army of Darkness adaptation by Dark Horse, painted by John Bolton and overseen by Sam Raimi. But it really took off in 2005, when Dynamite obtained the Army of Darkness license and published their first sequel miniseries, Ashes 2 Ashes, about Ash accidentally transporting himself back to the day before he went to the cabin and then trying to stop himself from ever reading the book.
Since then, there have been several more miniseries as well as a few ongoing titles and, well, a whole lot of crossovers. In the 10+ years since Ash firmly planted his feet in comics, he’s teamed up with—or more often, butted heads with—just about everyone. From some of the most classic heroes in comics to some of the biggest horror movie icons, to other Sam Raimi creations and even other characters Bruce Campbell has played.
Narrowing down the most memorable crossovers can be difficult, of course. But the best of them tend to be the ones that actually challenge and sometimes even question Ash as a character. They’re not just about fighting someone he’s never fought before. One of the most appealing things about Ash is that you can put him in just about any situation.
He’s always going to be Ash. He’s always going to think he’s the toughest, even the smartest guy in the room, he’s always going to have that ego trip that will leave every character around him rolling their eyes. He’s always going to sarcastically comment on what he sees. These crossovers, if anything, prove what a successful character he is by showing how well he can be placed into virtually any scenario.
Having said that, most of the following crossovers are absolutely big, dumb fun. And a few of them are genuinely exciting, innovative takes on both the character and the mythology… that also happen to be big, dumb fun.
Marvel Zombies vs. Army of Darkness
OK, so Ash finds himself in the Marvel Universe, which is a great concept in and of itself. But it’s not the main Marvel Universe, as it turns out, it’s the Marvel Zombies Universe. Created by Mark Millar in the pages of Ultimate Fantastic Four, this is a world ravaged by a zombie plague that affected its superheroes, causing them to cannibalize one another. This is obviously a Marvel timeline that’s much more Ash’s speed and so he attempts to help the survivors with the aid of the classic chainsaw/boomstick combo.
This miniseries features several insane, delightful moments like Ash fighting an undead Howard the Duck, unsuccessfully hitting on Dazzler, using the Necronomicon to purposefully raise an army of Deadites to combat the unending hordes of hungry dead heroes, and Dr. Doom opening the doors of his castle as a safe haven to survivors, only for Ash to realize that this safe haven excludes the sick or the elderly.
Darkman vs. Army of Darkness
The idea of putting Darkman and Ash together is all kinds of genius. First and foremost, they’re obviously two Sam Raimi creations—both of them the heroes of cinematic trilogies, even—but they’re also polar opposite characters. Darkman is obviously dark. He was affected by his trauma in a serious way, defined by it, whereas Ash has spent his entire life avoiding his trauma.
The crossover also sees Peyton Westlake’s long-lost love Julie (who he’s been spying on since the event of Darkman III) being turned into a Deadite, referred to by other Deadites as “The Queen of Darkness.” As death isn’t quite as permanent in the Evil Dead universe, the comic takes advantage of this to bring back Darkman franchise villain, Durant.
Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash: Nightmare Warriors
The second Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash crossover miniseries deserves a mention of its own because of how genuinely insane it is. Whereas the first comic was a sincere combination of the three characters, based off of the actual treatment for the film had it been able to move forward, Nightmare Warriors is entirely its own beast. The story not only unites Ash with nearly every survivor of the Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street series, but involves Freddy becoming a cosmic entity with unlimited power and Jason returning to human form with luxurious hair as a reward for leading a Deadite invasion on Washington, DC.
Baby Jacob from Dream Child and Baby Stephanie from Jason Goes to Hell (both now teenagers) hook up, and Freddy’s Dead protagonist Maggie, as well as Stephanie, wind up joining their respective family businesses and going evil to the point of basically being sexy female versions of Freddy and Jason. It’s not better than the first miniseries by any stretch, but it’s so ungodly bizarre that it absolutely warrants a look.
Army of Darkness: Ash vs. The Classic Monsters
Imagine The Monster Squad with one manchild instead of a group of children. That’s the beauty of Ash vs. The Classic Monsters. As a fan of all of these characters, especially one who considers the modern icons as a part of a longer legacy dating back to the Universal days, it’s great to see Ash interact with these old-school monsters.
Much like The Monster Squad, Dracula serves as the primarily villain for this storyline. Werewolves, mummies, vampires and Frankenstein’s Monster all turn in appearances as well. On top of that, Evil Ash makes a return appearance, teaming up with Dracula and the others to try and take Ash down. It weaves Evil Dead into so many other landscape horror mythologies in a neat way.
Army of Darkness/Xena: Warrior Princess: Why Not?
This crossover manages to top Darkman vs. Army of Darkness by not only having two Sam Raimi helmed properties collide, but throwing two Bruce Campbell characters into the mix as well. Campbell, of course, played Autoclys on the show and you better believe the four-issue comic series has a field day with that. The plot, however, is the real kicker here as it might be the strangest set-up of any of the Evil Dead/Army of Darkness crossovers.
The Wise Man from Army of Darkness flings himself into the present to warn Ash that one of the Mini-Ashes from the windmill sequence of that film got ahold of the Necronomicon and transported himself into the distant past of Xena where he has used Ash’s crafty modern engineering skills for evil, creating all kinds of ridiculous weapons. The crossover was so successful that it spawned two sequels, the most recent of which was released in 2016.
Army of Darkness vs. Re-Animator
Evil Dead and Re-Animator are perfectly matched for a crossover. They’re both cult classic franchises of similar stature. They’re also both extremely similar franchises as well, both in terms of tone and style as well as the tongue-in-cheek, often outrageous amounts of gore. Seeing Combs’ interpretation of Herbert West, as well as Ash as we know him and love him interacting is awesome. They’re two completely different characters in just about every way.
The neat thing that this crossover does, though, is that it uses West and Re-Animator to introduce the larger H.P. Lovecraft mythology as well. It’s a nice nod, because the name of the Necronomicon hails from Lovecraft’s stories, so West seeking the book to unlock bigger mysteries of life and death is perfectly fitting. It’s super cheesy, but in a way that feels completely appropriate and delightful.
Army of Darkness vs. Hack/Slash
Hack/Slash is a wonderful comic so deep-rooted in ‘80s horror lore that it has crossed over with the likes of Child’s Play, Vampirella, Re-Animator and Hatchet. But when it comes to Ash, Cassie Hack and her partner Vlad are butting heads with another likeminded hero. The fact that Cassie is young and attractive and Ash is Ash makes for a great personality clash, because she is exactly the kind of person who would not put up with any of his obnoxious flirtation or advances.
But even despite that, they’re incredibly similar characters. Both of them have alienated themselves from their trauma, put up an isolationist wall, even though they deal with their lack of dealing with their problems in very separate ways. The crossover is great because it’s fun and really well-paced, but it also genuinely reveals things about both characters by pitting them against one another. Definitely one of the best.
Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash
This is the big one. Easily the most famous Evil Dead crossover, it has the added bonus of at least at one point being considered as a feature film. Obviously it didn’t pan out, but we’ve still got the crossover based on Jeff Katz’ treatment for what the film could have been. It’s Freddy, Jason and Ash as we know them and love them. It’s a direct sequel to Freddy vs. Jason. It deals, like “Ash vs. Evil Dead,” with Ash being older than the last time we saw him.
On top of that, though, it also gives fans the snowy Friday the 13th they’ve always wanted to see, as the comic is set at Crystal Lake in the dead of winter. In fact, it’s set around the Christmas season, which makes for a few great gags and even gives the whole thing a bigger “event” kind of feel. There’s also a great climactic showdown between the three title characters on the icy lake.
10 Terrifying Moments from Kids’ Movies That Haunted Our Childhoods
When the trailer for Solo: A Star Wars Story dropped a couple weeks ago, I watched it with a tinge of dread. See, Han Solo traumatized me as a child. I was 7-years-old when I saw The Empire Strikes Back in theaters, and the scene where Harrison Ford gets tortured at Cloud City gave me my first bona fide panic attack. It was dark, intense, and completely out of left field in an otherwise fantastic franchise where no one ever bleeds (or screams).
I might be the only one who had such an adverse reaction to Solo’s torture (which happens, primarily, off-screen), but those of us who came of age in the 1980s can probably relate to encountering terrifying moments in otherwise kid-friendly films. For the most part, these were the days before PG-13, meaning there was a ton of leeway for movies that fell in between the extremes of Cinderella and The Shining.
In retrospect, 1980s kids were subjected to a litany of scares that would be considered highly inappropriate by today’s standards—perhaps explaining our generations’ intense love of horror! Return with me now to those terrifying days of yesteryear with 10 terrifying moments from kids’ movies that haunted our childhoods!
The Tunnel of Terror in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)
The only film on this list that wasn’t produced and released in the 1980s (and the only one I didn’t see in theaters) is nonetheless one every child of the era has seen: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory from 1971. I remember my parents telling me that I was in for a treat when they sat me down in front of the TV at the tender age of 6.
I was already unnerved by the tall man in the trench coat and the bizarre antics of Gene Wilder’s Wonka, but that boat-ride scene completely destroyed my childhood. It wasn’t even the chicken decapitation or the centipedes that rattled me; it was Wonka’s unhinged shrieking! To this day, the scene gives me the willies (pun intended!); Wilder truly channels the dangerous intensity of a lunatic.
Gmork attacks Atreyu in The NeverEnding Story (1984)
The NeverEnding Story was an exciting alternative in the Disney-dominated landscape of kids’ movies in the 1980s—exciting and dark! But a kid trapped in an attic, a horse drowning in a swamp, a nihilistic turtle, and a devastating void all paled in comparison to Atreyu’s confrontation with the insidious Gmork.
Those green eyes staring out from the cave froze my blood. The fact that it could speak made it infinitely more terrifying; this wasn’t some primal beast, this agent of The Great Nothing was a cunning and merciless villain. The matter-of-fact way it informed Atreyu that he would be his last “victim” was beyond bleak. When the monster attacked as thunder roared and lightning struck, I screamed.
Though many aspects of The NeverEnding Story show their age, this moment remains, objectively, as scary as any horror movie werewolf attack.
The Wheelers Descend in Return to Oz (1985)
When Dorothy (played by Judy Garland) first arrived in Oz back in 1939, she was greeted by a community of cheerful Munchkins. When Dorothy (reprised by Fairuza Balk) returned to Oz in 1985, her reception was much colder.
The eerie silence of a seemingly abandoned wasteland was broken by an assault by Wheelers: colorful, mechanically enhanced cousins of the Wicked Witch’s flying monkeys. As adults, we can laugh at the impracticality of villains who can’t even maneuver stairs, but we weren’t laughing as kids, I can promise you that!
While the hall of heads, an unintentionally terrifying Jack Pumpkinhead, and a truly demonic Gnome King are perhaps the scariest moments of Return to Oz, the sudden and unexpected arrival of the Wheelers was a truly devastating moment. It obliterated all our happy memories of Oz in an instant, transforming the land of enchantment into a labyrinth of evil.
Large Marge Tells her Tale in Pee-wee’s Big Adventure (1985)
Many of the films on this list are dark from start to finish, containing multiple terrifying moments. But part of what makes the tale of Large Marge so impactful is that it appears in an otherwise completely lighthearted film. Sure, man-child Pee-wee Herman has always been subversive in ways that only become apparent as we get older, but he never dabbled in ghost stories or jump scares.
Luckily, the scary face of Large Marge was as funny as it was shocking, so even though kids like me hit the ceiling, our fears quickly dissolved into fits of hysterical laughter. Today, I remember practically nothing about Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, but I’ll have fond memories of Large Marge until the day I die.
The Emperor Turns to Ash in The Dark Crystal (1982)
Over 35 years after it’s release, The Dark Crystal remains a unique and beautiful anomaly. Jim Henson’s G-rated Muppets were left in the workshop! This film was populated by fascinating and terrifying characters, conveying a tale that wasn’t dumbed down for its audience. These factors give the film profound resonance and contribute to its status as an enduring classic
Like the title warns, this film is dark. The Skeksis are demonic, Augrah is arresting, and the Garthim are pure nightmare fuel. The process of draining Pod People of the essence and the stabbing death of Kira are horrifying. But it was the death of the Skeksis Emperor that really hit me like a ton of bricks.
There was something metaphysically terrifying about this moment; not only is the idea of a creature crumbling into ash creepy as hell but the effect was gasp-inducing. As a child, it was something I’d never seen before, a concept I’d never imagined, and it floored me. Death had never been conveyed with such shocking profundity.
The Lab Rats are Injected in The Secret of NIMH (1982)
When I sat in the theater in 1982, I don’t think I realized that The Secret of NIMH wasn’t a Disney movie, but I realized soon enough Mickey and Minnie weren’t hangin’ with these rodents! The Great Owl was petrifying and the finale was as harrowing as anything my young psyche had yet experienced, but it was the flashback of experiments conducted on lab rats that stuck with me and haunted my childhood.
It wasn’t just the brilliant animation that powerfully conveyed the rats’ pain as syringes were plunged into their bellies, it was a brutal moment of education they don’t teach kids in school. It was my first introduction to the realities of animal experimentation, and the fact that grown-ups would perpetrate such atrocities felt like a betrayal
The Ending of Time Bandits (1981)
In retrospect, it was irresponsible for any of our parents to think that Time Bandits was a kids’ movie just because the main character was an 11-year-old boy. In 1981, the only other film Terry Gilliam had directed was Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Yes, Time Bandits is funny and exciting with motifs common to kid-friendly time-travel fiction, but the film is nearly hopelessly bleak from start to finish.
Kevin (played by Craig Warnock) is completely neglected by his parents and essentially kidnapped by a troop of interdimensional robbers. He’s made complicit in a series of crimes throughout many dangerous eras, forced to endure wars and even the sinking of the Titanic. Eventually, Kevin is dragged into a realm of ultimate darkness. Though triumphing over Evil personified, he’s abandoned by God before returning home—only to find his home engulfed in a blazing inferno.
Though rescued by firemen, Kevin’s parents didn’t even realize he was missing and are soon reduced to piles of ash by a stray bit of concentrated evil. The friendly firemen take little notice, leaving our young protagonist utterly alone.
Faces Melt in Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
A lot of my peers will count the human sacrifice scene from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom as one of the most terrifying moments of their childhood. Not me. After what I’d endured in Raiders of the Lost Ark, I was ready for anything.
Since it gets less attention than its predecessor (bonus fact: Temple of Doom is a prequel to Raiders of the Lost Ark), I think people forget just how scary Raiders really is. It’s worlds darker and grittier than Doom, which has a colorful, comic book pallet by comparison, not to mention a clear emphasis on comedy. The spiders, the snakes, the boobytraps: they all put monkey brains and extracted hearts to shame.
But the climax of Raiders of the Lost Ark is more intense than most horror movies, past and present. The face-melting evoked Cold War Era fears of nuclear annihilation and the idea of a vengeful God was devastating.
The Death of Shoe in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988)
I wasn’t always the jaded gorehound I am today; I was young and sensitive once. And even though I was well into puberty by 1988 (or maybe because of it) I was especially traumatized by a moment in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. The hard-boiled plot loaded with barely veiled sexual innuendo was, for the most part, completely buried beneath a cacophony of cameos from just about every cartoon character ever penned.
But it wasn’t the fever-nightmare of Roger’s mania or even the emergence of Judge Doom’s true form that devastated me; it was the execution of poor Shoe, a paradigm of animated innocence unceremoniously dropped into a barrel of “dip” (a toxic concoction made from turpentine, acetone, and benzene).
Most kids in their early teens couldn’t stop thinking about Jessica Rabbit; I was haunted by the death of Shoe.
Supercomputer Makes a Human Cyborg in Superman III (1983)
There’s an evil streak that runs throughout Superman III, the third film to feature Christopher Reeves as the titular Man of Steel. While Superman II had its dark spots (specifically the devastation caused by Zod and his companions) there’s an undercurrent in Richard Lester’s follow-up that’s absolutely wicked—containing a scene that contributed to the destruction of my childhood.
A makeshift batch of Kryptonite turns Superman into an immoral, selfish thug before he participates in a troubling fight to the death with himself. But as unsettling as the concept of an evil Superman may be, the scene where the supercomputer turns Vera into a cyborg was some next level shit for 10-year-old me.
I re-watched the scene in preparation for this article and was shocked at its similarities to the moment in Hellraiser II when Dr. Channard is transformed into a Cenobite—especially the wires! No wonder it scared the hell out of me!
Five Chilling Period Haunted House Movies
One of the joys of horror is that it’s timeless. Urban legends featuring terrifying creatures have been the basis of countless stories, movies, games, and shows. The fear of the future is ever present in movies like The Cloverfield Paradox and Pulse while the past haunts us in The Witch, The Masque of Red Death, and Black Death. There isn’t a period of time that finds itself free from fear. At every turn in history, the fear of the unknown (as well as the known) has plagued the minds of populations, no matter where they are on this planet.
Tonight, advance screenings of The Lodgers begin across the country. In the Brian O’Malley-directed film, twin brother and sister Edward and Rachel are held to their ancestral home by strange and terrifying spirits. When Rachel falls in love and aims to break the rules she is strangled by, everything begins to fall apart. Set in early World War 1-era Ireland with much of the film taking place in the historic Loftus Hall, The Lodgers is a beautiful entry in period horror films.
If you go to one of the screenings we have lined up and find yourselves craving something similar, here are a few titles that may just scratch that itch!
Directed by Alejandro Amenábar, this phenomenal film follows Nicole Kidman and her two children as they await the return of their father (her husband) from World War II. Her children, who suffer from extreme photosensitivity, can only live in darkness, the blinds constantly drawn and the outside a potential death trap. When three caretakers arrive to help the family, strange occurrences begin happening and the family become convinced that they are being haunted.
The winner of a staggeringly high amount of awards from the Goya Awards, Saturn Awards, Online Film Critics, and more, The Others became a smash hit via strong word of mouth, resulting in phenomenal near-$210 million box office pull.
Following the story of Sarah Winchester, the heiress of the Winchester Rifle Company, and her mission to build a mansion that contains the ghosts of those killed by her company’s wares, Winchester may have received a tepid reception from critics and fans alike; but there is no denying that it absolutely bathes in its production design. You may not get the scares you’re after, but you’ll certainly get a visually captivating experience.
Voice From the Stone
A far more muted kind of horror film, Voice From the Stone delights in the texture of its location. The cracks in the walls, the way hands slide against a sculpture, the way the local flora sways in the breeze… All of this is coupled with a romance story set against the threat of jealousy from beyond the grave. Touching and emotional, Voice From the Stone is a beautiful kind of horror.
The Woman in Black
Perhaps most “horror” of films on this list, The Woman in Black is about as Gothic as one can get. Dark hallways, a foreboding landscape, and an ever-present threat of ghostly terror around every corner all make for a film that should not be watched in the dark…unless you want to be scared when you turn off the lights in your own home.
While marketed as a horror film, Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak is far more invested in its romance than the scares it has to offer. Yes, it’s full of ghosts and practical FX and takes place in a dilapidated English mansion, but the focus relies more heavily on the relationships in the film than the horrors lurking within the walls of Allerdale Hall. Visually beautiful – it’s a del Toro film, so who expects anything else? – and full of absolutely stunning production design, Crimson Peak was well-received and will make a wonderful double feature with The Lodgers.
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