In films like Annihilation, the audience is left feeling utterly terrified. These 10 are likely to cause individuals to feel a genuine sense of fear.
Cosmic horror can be difficult to categorize. A large part of the reason is due to its deliberate focus on subjects that are intentionally strange and unbelievable. In many cases, it depicts aliens who try to terrify through confusion; they appear without any distinguishable features, and there is no obvious motive or explanation for their presence. It is the goal of cosmic horror to present a threat that is as old and enigmatic as the cosmos it seeks to depict. One that elicits a sense of existential dread in the audience.
Because of this, the films are typically polarizing, and this is why they are so popular (as some of the following ratings will prove). Cosmic horror can, on the other hand, yield truly creative, thought-provoking, and horrifying films.
1. Event Horizon (1997) – 27%
On a rescue mission to save the shipEvent Horizon, a crew of astronauts discovers that a hole in spacetime has opened up to allow the ship itself to be taken over by a hellish reality. Cosmic horror is known for its high-concept, genre-blending storytelling. Cult followings have sprung up around the film after its initial failure at the box office (there are numerous ways to interpret it as a cheap knock-off of Alien). The film’s spooky atmosphere grows stronger as the mystery unfolds, and Sam Neil’s excellent performance adds to the effect.
2. Uzumaki (2000) – 56%
Set in a Japanese village obsessed with spirals, Junji Ito’s Uzumaki is based on the manga by the famed horror writer. The film’s horrific and bizarre imagery is apparent from the start, with spirals appearing everywhere and some characters attempting to mould their bodies into spirals. As the mystery of the spiral continues to unearth terrible and ancient mysteries about the town, all of which make the spirals’ unexplained menace considerably more terrifying, the novel is heavily influenced by H.P. Lovecraft.
3. Prince of Darkness (1987) – 58%
He came up with this film because he was concerned that the genre of horror was becoming too stale. When it came to scaring people, Carpenter didn’t want to use a well-known monster or slasher villain. Both a priest and a quantum physics professor sense a supernatural and ominous presence. In the end, the protagonists are fighting nothing, for reality itself is under attack from an entity that takes the form of insects, computer programs, or even an ancient green ooze.
4. In the Mouth of Madness (1994) – 59%
Third of John Carpenter’s informal Apocalypse trilogy, this one also stars Sam Neil. The film pays homage to several of H.P. Lovecraft’s most important clichés, drawing heavily on the author’s work (who is widely regarded as the father of the horror genre). An insurance investigator, played by Sam Neil, has been placed in a mental institution.
Using flashbacks, the narrator tells his story, which includes murder, books that make the reader go insane, and an ancient race of monsters, and is supposed to make the listener go crazy as well.
5. Pulse (2001) – 74%
Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Pulse, which came out at the height of the J-Horror craze, is one of the most chilling depictions of lonesomeness ever made. The ghost of a lost soul, split apart by isolation, appears to exist on the internet and visits three independent characters. The mood of the film is depressing, as if the characters have been dropped into an unwelcoming world. Even as the ghost moves closer to the real world and tries to impose itself on the plot, things only get more frightening and gloomy.
6. The Void (2016) – 78%
The Voidis a fantastic homage to 1980s cinema. There is a pulpy beginning to the story, as a police officer is trapped in an abandoned hospital with a handful of physicians and patients when the building is besieged by cult members.
Tense action and horror ensue as the characters struggle to escape the hospital, only to discover that an unknown entity has taken up residence there with them. Incorporating cutting-edge digital effects with classic scare tactics, the result is a terrifying experience on a grander scale.
7. The Thing (1982) – 84%
One of John Carpenter’s best films, and one of the best horror films of all time. Set at a remote outpost in the Arctic, the crew is terrorized by a shape-shifting, extremely dangerous alien threat. A superb illustration of cosmic horror, the extraterrestrial has no discernible look. It’s a terrifying sight to behold. A dangerous blob or crew members impersonate the creature, leaving the viewers to wonder just who they’re viewing on television when it first appears. While the creature effects in this picture are some of the best ever, it also offers one of the most perfect endings in cinema history.
8. Color Out of Space (2019) – 86%
For a Nicholas Cage family drama like no other, this is one of the few successful direct adaptations of H.P. Lovecraft. When a mysterious meteor crashes into their rural home, the peaceful existence of the slightly eccentric Gardner family is upended. While no one was wounded in the collision, the meteor begins to emit a strange color that significantly alters the scene around them.. Cosmic horror can shock more with bright light than ordinary horror films do in utter darkness, and this film is a fantastic example of that.
9. Annihilation (2018) – 88%
The music in Annihilation is almost frightening enough on its own. Scientists are led through a mysterious veil of light by Natalie Portman and her colleagues. Almost everything that comes into contact with light is altered, whether for the better or worse.
Although the film’s purpose is to confuse the audience, it displays some of the oddest and most innovative filmmaking in recent memory. A body horror picture with a psychological twist is what this film is about in many aspects.
10. The Endless (2018) – 92%
This is a perfect illustration of the maxim “less is more” in action.
In spite of its cheap budget, The Endless has a creative script. A religious cult is revisited by two brothers who previously fled the cult to discover if it is as horrible as they remembered it to be. As the brothers begin to think that there is something lurking in the shadows beyond the camp, their ideal existence begins to change. The film does more than most big-budget films by relying solely on odd imagery and a tiny but effective usage of CGI. With its roots in the genre, it manages to maintain a distinct identity.