There are all kinds of ways to frighten an audience, as the proud, diverse catalogue of horror movies demonstrates, but psychological horror is a particularly tricky technique to pull off. All of cinema is an exercise in empathy, but to drag an audience down into the pits of a disturbed mind requires vision, technical precision, and a willingness to put your viewer through absolute hell.
We’re taking a look back at some of my favorite psychological horror movies that really got inside my head and did some dirty work. These films aren’t necessarily about psychology, though many of them are by nature of they genre, they’re films that make you feel like you’re having a psychological episode — films that wring the phobias, anxieties, torment, and afflictions of their characters from the audience so that you’re transported into an experience of mental chaos.
So you won’t see titles like Silence of the Lambs or Les Diaboliques — they’re some of the best movies ever made in the psychological horror genre, but their effect is different. What you will find here are a whole bunch of mentally taxing freakout films that will prod at your psyche and put you through the ringer. It’s by no
This is obviously nowhere near a comprehensive list, it’s an assortment of my favorite (or perhaps most dreaded) movies that mangled my mind. Along the same train of thought as my list of visually stunning movies, sometimes I just like to celebrate a few faves without getting into qualifiers and rankings. Think of this as a starting ground, a conversation starter, and a few of my personal favorites, and be sure to keep that conversation going sound off in the comments with the movies that messed you up the most.