If you’re wondering what turns a horror movie boring, the answer lies in the clichés. The repeated use of zombies, vampires, ghosts and paranormal activities has left little room for the shock factor. Even demons, witches and the theme of a seance gone wrong seems overused. So, where does it leave the hardcore horror freaks who are always in search of something new?
Fortunately, there are filmmakers who have not shied away from experimenting with the least expected ideas for a spine-chilling plot. And we are talking beyond clowns and possession! We have compiled a list of themes that are totally out of the box, unexpected and creepy to the core. And all of it comes as a package of goodness for true fans of the horror genre.
Warning: Spoilers Ahead!
1. Buildings with a Mind of Their Own
And we don’t mean haunted ones! The insane idea that some houses, hotels or hotel rooms may or may not want to entertain guests/ residents is creepy to the core. The fact that there is seemingly no explanation for such a phenomenon makes it all the more dangerous.
The Shining (1980): A genius adaptation of a genius novel by Stephen King, The Shining leaves you wide-eyed and desperate for answers. It is this ambiguous quality that enhances the appeal of this masterpiece. The crux of the story is a strange hotel in the middle of nowhere that needs a caretaker during the cold months. But there is one problem, the hotel likes to play with the mind of every caretaker! If jump scares are too mundane for you, Jack Nicholson’s epic performance and expressions will keep you restless for weeks.
The Amityville Horror (2005): This is another screen adaptation of a book based on real events and also, a remake of the 1979 film of the same name. The highlight of the plot is a beautiful villa in Long Island. Only problem? The villa prefers its solitude over human company and would do anything (read mass murder and mind control!) to get rid of the new residents!
1408 (2007): Based on a short story by Stephen King again, 1408 is about one particular hotel room that you shouldn’t dare to check in to! And it is not haunted by spirits of the dead. It’s just that the room likes to play games with your mind and trap you in a time loop for eternity.
There’s something exquisitely dreadful about scary little kids! May be it is something to do with the idea that they are too innocent to be harmful. But time and again, Hollywood has spun a terrifying tale with the spookiest kids at the core. Examples include:
Orphan (2009): Technically, the 9-year old girl in this film wasn’t really 9 years old but a 30 something serial killer suffering from psychological and genetic disorders! And this was revealed only in the film’s last act.
The Omen (2006): A remake of the 1976 film of the same name, The Omen has used the theme of spooky children in the most chilling manner. The innocent face of little Damien may be sweet at first but everything changes as the plot progresses. His blank expressions, unblinking stares and mannerisms never fail to unsettle you. The fact that he is not possessed and is just being himself makes it all the more terrifying.
Village of the Damned (1960): There is an entire group of spooky kids in this sci-fi meets horror story and they can’t be killed because they are two steps ahead of everyone. These white-haired children of uncertain paternity seem to have very sinister intentions and equally sinister powers that include telepathy and mind control.
3. Inexplicable Beings
We all have heard tall tales about the Bogeyman at some point in our lives and we all know that it’s just something made up by mean elders to frighten kids into obedience. In Hollywood, not so. There are several films that have explored this theme of a strange presence that haunts children and even messes with their brains.
Sinister (2012): A crime writer moves into a new house with his family to investigate the mysterious serial killings in that neighborhood. He realizes something is beyond normal when all the evidence points at a non-human entity’s involvement in the murders. It’s not long before his family becomes the next victims of this bogeyman who is lovingly referred to as Mr. Boogey by the writer’s own children!
The Babadook (2014): The “all-enveloping, shape-shifting, black” entity called the Babadook was never explained. It just existed in a grief-stricken home, making life miserable for the two residents. There was no back story or motive that could explain this creature. It used children’s books to introduce itself and three knocks to announce its arrival!
4. Questionable Humanity!
The real fun in horror movies lies in not knowing who to trust! You know the film is a classic when you begin questioning whether the main characters are humans or spirits or something else altogether!
The Others (2001): Starring Nicole Kidman in the lead, this is an award-winning classic. When a family being afraid of unseen forces turns out to be ghosts themselves, you can feel your world turning upside down! Now, that’s a climax you’d never see coming.
The Skeleton Key (2005): This one will leave you gaping as you finally realize what was happening throughout the film. Based on the witch legends and hoodoo practices in New Orleans folklore, the story doesn’t drop a hint regarding who to trust or what to expect until the end.
The Sixth Sense (1999): The Sixth Sense remained the highest grossing horror movie of all time until It broke the record in 2017! The plot revolves around the bond between a child psychiatrist and his patient who has the ability to see ghosts. A classic film appreciated at all levels, its big reveal is a shocker not just for the audience but for Bruce Willis’s character too!
5. Dolls and Dummies
Horror movies like the Child’s Play franchise and Puppet Master became popular with the use of dolls, puppets and dummies as sinister forces. However, this theme got a fantastic upgrade with The Conjuring universe! The series is based on the real-life cases of two paranormal experts Ed and Lorraine Warren. Though it can boast of many hair-raising elements, the demonic doll named Annabelle steals the show.
Annabelle, the doll was first introduced in The Conjuring (2013). The prequels Annabelle (2014) and Annabelle: Creation (2017) gave further insights into the doll’s origin and history. All of these films are among the scariest Hollywood releases.
The Conjuring Universe continued to introduce several other ghastly creatures like the notorious house of Amityville, the Enfield Poltergeist and the ghoulish nun Valak. The latter is getting its own movie- The Nun, promising a detailed background story of this malevolent creature. A spin-off of the 2016 film, The Nun answers many questions that have sprouted over the course of all the previous story lines. The film is set for a September release this year.
Which horror theme do you find the creepiest? Tell us in the comments section below. And don’t forget to book your movie tickets on Paytm.