I had a lot of fun speaking to the audiences at the Black Museum earlier this month, so with paranormal investigation in mind, my Five this time around is on spiritual horror films.
It’s the subgenre of horror I like most. I’m not cool with torture porn, as Roger Ebert said of the film Wolf Creek, nor do I like anything to do with inbreeds. No, my horror of choice is the variety that plays with ghosts, poltergeist or demons.
What I personally like about spiritual horror films are the themes of denial, isolation, vulnerability and the classic battle between good and evil.
So, without further here are the Five Spiritual Horror Films that I think everyone should see.
||Movie: The Changeling
Director: Peter Medak
Cast: George C. Scott, Trish Van Devere, Melvyn Douglas, John Colicos, Jean Marsh, Helen Burns and Madeleine Sherwood
Release: March 28, 1980
Why: Imagine George C. Scott playing a haunted man who investigates the happenings leading up to the death of Joseph — the very ghost that haunts him.
Director: Tobe Hooper
Cast: JoBeth Williams, Craig T. Nelson, Beatrice Straight and Zelda Rubinstein
Release: June 4, 1982
Why: This film forever turned children off of clowns for the rest of their lives and possibly deep into their adulthood.
||Movie: The Exorcist
Director: William Friedkin
Cast: Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, Lee J. Cobb, Kitty Winn, Jack MacGowran, Jason Miller and Linda Blair
Release: Dec. 26, 1973 (wide release)
Why: No other horror film holds up to modern cinema than The Exorcist. Outside of the cheesy visage of Pazuzu, this film has everything need to watch a family fall apart at the seams.
||Movie: The Conjuring
Director: James Wan
Cast: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Ron Livingston and Lili Taylor
Release: June 8, 2013
Why: As a kid, I grew up reading about the exploits of Ed and Lorraine Warren. Sometimes I get the feeling that Lorraine is releasing the information to their studies so that the couple can remain immortal through film. Regardless, I love this film.
||Movie: The Others
Director: Alejandro Amenábar
Cast: Nicole Kidman, Fionnula Flanagan, Christopher Eccleston, Elaine Cassidy, Eric Sykes, Alakina Mann and James Bentley
Release: Aug. 10, 2001
Why: Done in a style fitting of Victorian England, Kidman puts her best foot forward as one of classic female protagonist practising the denial mantra.