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Five arthouse horror movies to make you feel uncomfortable this Halloween

They might not be scary, but you will feel something.

Welcome to another installment of 31 Days of Halloween! This is our chance to set the mood for the spookiest and scariest month of the year as we focus our attention on horror and Halloween fun. For the month of October we’ll be sharing various pieces of underappreciated scary books, comics, movies, and television to help keep you terrified and entertained all the way up to Halloween.

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Horror seems to have a sub-genre for everything. There are slashers, home invasion. haunted house, and folk horror, just to name a few. Some are straightforward like city versus country horror, but others are very open-ended. Arthouse horror is a great example as it seems to be so many different things to different people. For our purposes, we will concentrate on movies that were more about production and psychological fear than straightforward scares. Here are some arthouse horror movies that may not scare you, but they will definitely make you feel uncomfortable.

A Wounded Fawn (2022)

a wounded fawn

This indie film literally takes place in the art world, but it there is much more to it. A Wounded Fawn takes elements of cabin in the woods horror, adds a little of the outrageousness of Evil Dead, includes a heavy dose of Greek mythology and throws it all together with an arthouse aesthetic that makes it one of the best horror movies of the year. Josh Ruben (Scare Me) plays against type and has never been better as a serial killer who gets more than he bargained for.

Carnival of Souls (1962)

Largely ignored at the time of its release. Carnival of Souls is now recognized as one of the greatest horror movies of all time. David Lynch and George A. Romero are just two of of the legendary directors influenced by it. There are undeniable moments of camp and just straight up bad filmmaking, but the use of lighting and sound to deliver scares is effective and beautiful. Fans of organ music have an arthouse horror movie that speaks to them.

Kill List (2011)

Filmmaker Ben Wheatley is a master at making mindfuck horror movies, with this one making a strong argument to be at the top of that list. On the surface, it does sounds like a run of the mill thriller. When a British soldier returns home from Kyiv, he joins an old friend in working as contract killers. His disturbed past surfaces as he spins out of control during jobs and ominous employers raise the stakes. As a thriller, it is a tense and gripping watch. It is when it morphs into a horror film that things become truly uncomfortable, culminating in a memorable ending.

Raw (2016)

Both of director Julia Ducournau’s films leave powerful lasting impressions. They are filled with strong characters and themes and are filled with graphic content. Raw is about a young vegetarian who has just started her first year at veterinary school. During a hazing ritual, she is forced to eat meat. She soon develops cravings for flesh. The final sequence will stay with you.

Shivers (1975)

Originally titled Orgy of the Blood Parasites, the least artsy entry of the bunch comes from body horror originator David Cronenberg. Shivers is about a doctor that has created a parasite that is a combination of a aphrodisiac and venereal disease. In true Cronenberg fashion, this leads to a film filled with sex and violence. The pool scene is a precursor for 1989’s Society. The movie was so derided at the time Cronenberg had trouble finding funding for future projects and was kicked out of his apartment due to a morality clause in the lease.

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