Submitted by FeatheredVentilator t3_10pgtol in movies

It isn’t a secret that horror movies don’t often get high praise from critics and that they rarely get considered for major industry awards beyond their niche (e.g., they almost never get nominated for Academy Awards). I was wondering what are some that have defied those conventions and what, in your opinion, were the reasons for that?



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TrickNatural t1_j6kd0on wrote

The Thing.
The Shining.
The exorcist.
Silence of the lambs.
And I dont care what anyone says, im gonna say Coraline as well.


Final-___X t1_j6kh49w wrote

The Silence of the Lambs is the prime example given it swept the awards at the academy:

Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Actress in a Leading Role, Best Director, Best Screenplay.


whitakerkmedia t1_j6kdjwc wrote

I think you pretty much nailed the Mt. Rushmore but I'd throw in Bride of Frankenstein as well.


IrishCheckingOutAus t1_j6kds2u wrote

This is the correct list. I’d add the Ari Aster movies to this and maybe Get Out as recent ones.


Dear-Bandicoot7087 t1_j6kfvnf wrote


Kathy Bates won an Oscar and Golden Globe for Best Actress.


FeatheredVentilator OP t1_j6kgmue wrote

One of the greatest screen performances ever!


Dear-Bandicoot7087 t1_j6kh5pt wrote

Yes, she was fantastic. Genuinely terrifying. She deserved all the awards. But her nominations and wins are notable bc back then it was extremely rare (almost unheard of) for a straight up Horror movie to be nominated for Oscars in the major categories.


SpecificForsaken t1_j6kc9ne wrote

One of the biggest would probably be The Shining, if not the biggest. I know there’s one I’m forgetting, but another would be (depending on your definition of horror) Se7en, but I’m not sure if it counts


Dove_of_Doom t1_j6kfohv wrote

Silence of the Lambs is such an acclaimed horror film that people will actually deny it's horror. Because everybody knows horror can't be Best Picture good.


FeatheredVentilator OP t1_j6kgcqj wrote

Touché! Part of its impact was indeed the fact that it shifted the expectations of audiences with regard to what “evil” in horror movies should be or what they should be afraid of. Up until then, it was mostly boogeymen, faceless monsters, and supernatural creatures. It paved the way for a new kind of horror villain.


[deleted] t1_j6kclty wrote

Poltergeist and Carrie too.


Old_Understanding325 t1_j6kfv8h wrote

The Omen


bigkinggorilla t1_j6lvych wrote

Not very scary nowadays as a pure horror movie but super effective as a thriller. That’s why it hooks up so well, they just made a film and told a story that was really good. Full stop.


smokewidget t1_j6kg15k wrote

While you’re right that horror movies don’t often get awards, the idea that they don’t often get good reviews from critics is completely off base. Just this year we’ve already had M3GAN, Skinamarink and Infinity Pool which were all very well received critically. The past few years we’ve had movies like The Witch, The Lighthouse, Midsommer, Hereditary, The Menu, Nope, Us, Get Out, The Babadook, The Blackcoats Daughter, Suspiria, Bones and All, Raw, Titane, Malignant, the Conjuring movies, The House of the Devil, X, Pearl, Mandy, Green Room, It Follows, Bone Tomahawk, Terrifier 2, The Innkeepers, Men, Resolution, The Endless, Crimson Peak, The Night House, The Ritual, I could honestly keep going.

That’s not even counting classic horror like The Thing and the Shining, which while at the time reviewed poorly, but are now counted amongst the greatest films ever made and other classics which received glowing reviews from the start like The Exorcist, Alien, Psycho, The Fly, Videodrome, They Live, Halloween, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Evil Dead 1 and 2, Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Return of the Living Dead, Re-Animator, Candyman, The Haunting, Child’s Play, Nightmare on Elm Street.

Horror has always been a genre that’s open to experimentation and boundary pushing which is something critics usually appreciate and while it is a very prolific genre with many cheap entries, it’s a very critically successful one.


FeatheredVentilator OP t1_j6ki9j6 wrote

You make a good point, but I still think the horror genre gets overlooked when great movies overall are being discussed. How often are horror movies included on lists of “greatest films of all time” compiled by critics or film institutes? How often do they receive awards given out by critics in main categories, not just in their respective genres? Those are few and far between.


Kalelemonmesoftely t1_j6kig11 wrote

Speaking of which, I saw infinity pool last weekend. One of the weirder films I’ve seen.


quilsmehaissent t1_j6ke9kg wrote

I wouldn't say silence of the lambs is a horror movie

If every movie which is scary is a horror movie then the list is going to grow


pleasereadthanks t1_j6kgbzm wrote

Interestingly enough the book of Silence of the Lambs is largely credited for the death of the horror novel boom of the 70s and 80s, because now respectable people could read about horrific things under the guise of the "thriller" genre tag.


quilsmehaissent t1_j6lo6ci wrote

Thanks for info

I think classification evolved though


pleasereadthanks t1_j6loytf wrote

How so? Sorry, not sure if I get your point here


quilsmehaissent t1_j6p3afz wrote

I don't know about this thriller = sub horror genre

I think movies are often thrillers without having anything to do with horror


pleasereadthanks t1_j6p47v6 wrote


Of course there are things that are clearly thrillers and things that are clearly Horror. Always has been.

I'm talking about how marketing in the 90s, post Silence of the Lambs, used the thriller tag on certain novels and movies that probably would've been classified as horror previously, to make them appear more "classy" and appeal to a wider audience.

This is not a theory, it's what happened.


FeatheredVentilator OP t1_j6kfds8 wrote

I’d consider it a cross-genre horror, with elements of mystery, thriller, and suspense. Besides, it’s based on a novel that won the Bram Stoker Award given out by the Horror Writers Association.


quilsmehaissent t1_j6lob3i wrote

I understand you all but still think it opens to many doors if we fit this

Maybe I am wrong I am really tired though


Final-___X t1_j6kjm0b wrote

It does fit into psychological horror/thriller.


quilsmehaissent t1_j6lo1tx wrote

Maybe but horror here is HORROR

once again is silence of the lambs fits, then so many movies fit


BayleShira t1_j6kiisq wrote

I'm pretty much dying over Black cinema right now. Jordan Peele is a god in my eyes. He takes a genre that is so niche and creating these amazing, nuanced thought-pieces - without sacrificing script or content in any way. He's absolutely brilliant and I can't help but geek out over his work as a Horror fan but as a cinephile in general.

For reference, his works include Get Out, Us, Nope, Candyman, and Lovecraft Country.


Final-___X t1_j6kjbh1 wrote

In terms of being recognised by the academy for best picture, only six have been nominated:

The Exorcist, Jaws, The Silence of the Lambs, The Sixth Sense, Black Swan, Get Out.

The other 5 did win awards at the academy as well, though (rightfully so). Out of those six, The Silence of the Lambs was the only winner and dominated winning 5 Oscars in 1992. So that's the prime example.

Still is a pitch-perfect film. The origin of how Demme picked Goodbye Horses (a melancholic banger of a song) juxtaposed to how it was incorporated in the film where Ted Levine acts in one of many scenes that makes the skin crawl is pretty amazing.


PabloRothko t1_j6kovh7 wrote

28 days later is kind of a horror


_lord_ruin t1_j6lerjy wrote

Thing, shining, alien/aliens


Lemonwalker-420 t1_j6kfzua wrote

The Shining, even though I don't think of it as horror.


Howdyini t1_j6l1jz6 wrote

Night of the Hunter is the most obvious choice to me.


andro_7 t1_j6leakq wrote

The Innocents (1961)

I was expecting it to be kind of goofy but Jesus that was unsettling. Great plot, fantastic acting. Not about what it initially seemed to be about.

I later learned it was a popular movie at the time that was based on a popular book from the late 1800s.

I looked it up and it was nominated at Canne in 1962, and was nominated for a BAFTA.

I don't know why horror tends to be overlooked, and I'm sure there is a complex and historical answer.


OjibweNomad t1_j6ljqdp wrote

Young Frankenstein scared the hell outta me


Bottom-Shelf t1_j6lmzhs wrote

The Thing, The Exorcist, The Shining, and Hereditary


ZorroMeansFox t1_j6lq14p wrote

The Lighthouse and The Babadook. (90% and 98% Critical Acclaim respectively on RT.)


ZwischenzugZugzwang t1_j6ltpdc wrote

A ton of them. There's no shortage of well-reviewed horror movies (e.g., 2022 was a banner year - Barbarian, Bones and All, Terrifier 2), but there's a huge segment of the population that just feels this genre isn't for them.

My brother and I go to the movies together all the time, at least twice a month. We've been doing this the last several years. But I go to the movies at least weekly, and usually when I go without him it's to see horror movies. Occasionally I can convince him to give one a chance, but usually that only works if I can play it as a hybrid genre movie (e.g., sci-fi horror) or if he has some other affinity to the IP or the cast or something.

I ask him all the time why he won't join me for these kinds of movies. At first I thought it was the gore, so I offered to only invite him to more cerebral/psychological horror movies. He adamantly insists that's not the problem. Admittedly, at first I didn't really believe him (my bad - in retrospect he was being truthful) so I probed further. His response is always the same.

"I just don't like the idea that they're trying to make me scared. I don't like feeling scared" he says.

I try to explain how it's all about being exhilarated more than scared, how it's thrilling to try to guess what happens next, and ultimately ask him if he truly never gets morbidly curious about fucked up subjects like the things often depicted in horror movies. His answer? No, he genuinely just doesn't get morbidly curious like that. I've kind of poked him on this a few times (again, mea culpa, I should have just took him at his word the first time) and he seems sincere.

So yea, all this is to say I think there's a huge subset of the population for whom horror is off limits. They might acknowledge it's well made, they might have zero moral objections to it, but it's just not for them. They won't watch a horror film unless they have some incentive to (e.g., their little brother drags them to the movies or something). Ultimately, these people don't necessarily dislike the concept of horror movies, but they just have zero attraction to them.

I suspect that a high enough percentage of the Academy is this way to effectively prevent horror movies from becoming serious awards contenders.

On one hand I hope that changes because I like the genre, but on the other hand I don't begrudge people like my brother who avoid it just because it doesn't do anything for them.


Zachmorris4186 t1_j6mngow wrote

Why did terrifier 2 get so much publicity? Theres zero story and its low budget as hell.


RRC_driver t1_j6n8cnd wrote

I have the perception that 'horror' films tend to rely on jump scares. Which doesn't interest me.

But I love Silence of the lambs.


ZwischenzugZugzwang t1_j6nf1dv wrote

I'd encourage you to expand your horizons. There's plenty of horror films that don't rely on jump scares, it's just that there's a handful of very high profile franchises that do (e.g., conjuring, Annabelle).


RRC_driver t1_j6nfp7v wrote

That's the problem.

I'd describe silence of the lambs as a psychological thriller, more than horror.

I see Aliens as sci-fi

I see predator as an action movie.

Horror is not a label that attracts me, though all of those could be described as Horror.


ZwischenzugZugzwang t1_j6ng26z wrote

Yea you're like my brother. Everytime he enjoys a horror movie he decides it's because it wasn't a bona fide horror movie. I think some of the movies you're talking about are undeniably horror movies though, even if they're something else too.


RRC_driver t1_j6nhls0 wrote

Exactly. It's the problem with the 'horror' genre.

Depends on how you describe it.

There's not much difference between predator, Alien and Halloween.

A group of people being killed one by one, by a monster.


[deleted] t1_j6p5r0r wrote

Maybe your brother just thinks that thrillers are better at horrifying, than real horror movies. Not that hard to imagine.

Predator isn't a thriller either though, it's clearly an action movie. And if you put Predator in as horror, you might as well throw everything in that basket.


agentspliff604 t1_j6ltsxf wrote


Amazing dialog a Between characters as the movie gets going. Super under rated.


112oceanave t1_j6lv0xn wrote

I agree with silence of the lambs


RockyStonejaw t1_j6mpqqv wrote

The Exorcist is one of the best movies ever made, regardless of genre…


not_cinderella t1_j6kdr63 wrote

Scream is probably the only slasher besides Psycho and Halloween genuinely liked by fans and critics alike.


bobbruno t1_j6kmfhz wrote

I'm surprised no one listed Copolla's Dracula or Brannagh's Frankenstein, Murneau's Nosferatu (well, all German horror from that period) and so many other classic monster films.

And then there's Rosemary's baby.


JoeNScott t1_j6kunxc wrote

Nightmare On Elm Street has a 7.4 on imdb, i.e. non-horror fans like it.


AlanMorlock t1_j6kv6cd wrote

Recently, Get Out made the Sight and Sound list, no to mention it's screenplay Oscar. Titane won the Palm D'or at Cannes.


DaikaijuSokogeki01 t1_j6l0c91 wrote

Haven't seen Don't Look Now mentioned yet. Although I personally barely count it as a horror film, it has often been listed as among one of the best films ever made. It hit 127th on Sight & Sound's 2012 poll for example.


11ForeverAlone11 t1_j6lf5i4 wrote

Mandy (amazing director/cinematography/soundtrack combined with sort of a comeback role for Nic Cage)


SpiderDeUZ t1_j6lkykv wrote

Scream and Blair Witch. They may not have won awards but damned if they didn't influence horror movies for decades.


theyusedthelamppost t1_j6kd0yf wrote

I don't like horror movies, but Sixth Sense is unquestionably a great movie


[deleted] t1_j6p6p7f wrote

Goddamn this thread is for thrillers, what Die Hard was for christmas movies. Way too many people here are throwing thrillers in, when they're NOT horror movies.