Horror films are rarely referred to as works of art. They are overlooked by critics, rarely recognized for awards or recognition, and the general public often views horror movies as a sort of sub-par entertainment only enjoyed by those with a pension for violence and gore. One sub-genre of horror, sometimes referred to as art-house, challenges these negative stereotypes. Using a fresh approach to the genre, these kinds of movies turn horror into thoughtful and artistic masterpieces.
The following 13 films are some of the best art-house horror out there:
13. Eraserhead (1977):
Eraserhead is David Lynch’s 1977 surrealist work of art and easily one of the strangest movies of all time. The movie was shot in black and white and set in what can best be described as an industrial wasteland devoid of all things good and colorful. It tells the story of a worn down man left to care for his deformed infant son, who spends the bulk of the film in a constant state of distress, while his overburdened caretaker experiences hallucinations/visions while being visited by a lady that appears in his apartment’s radiator. While not terrifying in the traditional sense of the word “horror,” the movie has a way of evoking feelings of dread and terror. A definite must see for anyone who has a passion for the more “artsy” brand of the genre.
12. Kwaidan (1963):
This 1963 anthology horror film was directed by Misaki Kobayashi. Based on a collection on Japanese folk tales, Kwaidan isn’t going to be the movie that impresses you with the type of jump scares that you’ve come to expect from most supernatural horror films. Instead, in true art-house fashion, this film will impress you with its beautiful imagery. While the folk stories on display in this film may very well be common knowledge in Japan, here in America they are unheard of, which can definitely leave the viewer a bit confused at times. Imagine how confused the Japanese might have been watching Urban Legend… sometimes things just get lost in translation. That being said, this movie is certainly worth checking out if you are in the mood for going to an art gallery but just don’t feel like leaving your couch.
11. Only Lovers Left Alive (2013):
Written and directed by Jim Jarmusch, this 2013 vampire film almost didn’t make this list, but I cannot blame the film just because this genre is overdone.. .and in horrible ways at that. This film tells the story of two married vampires who, each in their own ways, have tired of the vampire lifestyle. Feeding on blood bank blood to avoid contaminants, the two spend the movie doing things like contemplating suicide, finding out who really wrote all of Shakespeare’s works, and pondering the meaning of life. With an epic soundtrack and an 85% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, this film may seem like standard vampire fare but really ends up being so much more.