I’ve never gone to film school, but I imagine there are two sides to gaining a cinematic education: Practical application (i.e. how to run the camera and stuff) and history (which would teach concepts like framing and lighting by example). Whatever actually happens in those particular halls, there seem to be only a few horror movies that have been given serious academic scrutiny.
There are literally volumes of texts about The Shining and The Exorcist, but what are some other films up-and-coming filmmakers should study? Our friends at WatchMojo have a few ideas, and they’ve put together one of their famous lists: Top 10 Horror Films that Should be Taught in Film School! For this list, they chose films based on their message, style, and cultural relevance.
Related Article: Another Top 10 Scariest Opening Scenes in Horror Movies
Have a watch and let us know what you think in the Comments section! Have you been to film school? Do you think these films should have been examined? What do you guys think are horror films most deserving of critical and literary analysis? Let’s discuss.
If you can’t stream, I’ve listed the 10 films, along with reviews, trailers, and synopses. Enjoy!
Official Synopsis: Horror movies that are effective in capturing the art of cinema and film as a whole, and would be worthy additions to any film school class. WatchMojo presents the top 10 movies that should be taught in film school. But what will take the top spot on our list? Rosemary’s Baby, The Haunting, or The Blair Witch Project? Watch to find out!
The Omen (1976, Directed by Richard Donner and Tom Jung)
Official Synopsis: American diplomat Robert (Gregory Peck) adopts Damien (Harvey Stephens) when his wife, Katherine (Lee Remick), delivers a stillborn child. After Damien’s first nanny hangs herself, Father Brennan (Patrick Troughton) warns Robert that Damien will kill Katherine’s unborn child. Shortly thereafter, Brennan dies and Katherine miscarries when Damien pushes her off a balcony. As more people around Damien die, Robert investigates Damien’s background and realizes his adopted son may be the Antichrist.
Get Out (2017, Directed by Jordan Peele)
Official Synopsis: Now that Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) and his girlfriend, Rose (Allison Williams), have reached the meet-the-parents milestone of dating, she invites him for a weekend getaway upstate with Missy and Dean. At first, Chris reads the family’s overly accommodating behavior as nervous attempts to deal with their daughter’s interracial relationship, but as the weekend progresses, a series of increasingly disturbing discoveries lead him to a truth that he could never have imagined.
Under the Skin (2013, Directed by Jonathan Glazer)
Official Synopsis: Disguising herself as a human female, an extraterrestrial (Scarlett Johansson) drives around Scotland and tries to lure unsuspecting men into her van.
The Babadook (2014, Directed by Jennifer Kent)
Official Synopsis: A troubled widow (Essie Davis) discovers that her son is telling the truth about a monster that entered their home through the pages of a children’s book.
The Cabin in the Woods (2011, Directed by Drew Goddard)
Official Synopsis: When five college friends (Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams) arrive at a remote forest cabin for a little vacation, little do they expect the horrors that await them. One by one, the youths fall victim to backwoods zombies, but there is another factor at play. Two scientists (Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford) are manipulating the ghoulish goings-on, but even as the body count rises, there is yet more at work than meets the eye.
It Follows (2015, Directed by David Robert Mitchell)
Official Synopsis: After carefree teenager, Jay (Maika Monroe), sleeps with her new boyfriend, Hugh (Jake Weary), for the first time, she learns that she is the latest recipient of a fatal curse that is passed from victim to victim via sexual intercourse. Death, Jay learns, will creep inexorably toward her as either a friend or a stranger. Jay’s friends don’t believe her seemingly paranoid ravings until they too begin to see the phantom assassins and band together to help her flee or defend herself.
The Witch (2016, Directed by Robert Eggers)
Official Synopsis: In 1630 New England, panic and despair envelops a farmer (Ralph Ineson), his wife (Kate Dickie) and four of their children when youngest son Samuel suddenly vanishes. The family blames Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy), the oldest daughter who was watching the boy at the time of his disappearance. With suspicion and paranoia mounting, twin siblings Mercy (Ellie Grainger) and Jonas (Lucas Dawson) suspect Thomasin of witchcraft, testing the clan’s faith, loyalty and love to one another.
Related Article: Star and Director of “The Witch” Reunite for “Nosferatu”
The Haunting (1963, Directed by Robert Wise)
Official Synopsis: Dr. John Markway, an anthropologist with an interest in psychic phenomena, takes two specially selected women to Hill House, a reportedly haunted mansion. Eleanor (Julie Harris), a lonely, eccentric woman with a supernatural event in her past, and the bold Theodora (Claire Bloom), who has ESP, join John and the mansion’s heir, cynical Luke (Russ Tamblyn). They are immediately overwhelmed by strange sounds and events, and Eleanor comes to believe the house is alive and speaking directly to her.
The Blair Witch Project (1999, Directed by Eduardo Sánchez and Daniel Myrick)
Official Synopsis: Found video footage tells the tale of three film students (Heather Donahue, Joshua Leonard, Michael C. Williams) who’ve traveled to a small town to collect documentary footage about the Blair Witch, a legendary local murderer. Over the course of several days, the students interview townspeople and gather clues to support the tale’s veracity. But the project takes a frightening turn when the students lose their way in the woods and begin hearing horrific noises.
Rosemary’s Baby (1968, Directed by Roman Polanski)
Official Synopsis: A young wife comes to believe that her offspring is not of this world. Waifish Rosemary Woodhouse (Mia Farrow) and her struggling actor husband Guy (John Cassavetes) move into a New York City apartment building with an ominous reputation and odd neighbors Roman and Minnie Castavet (Sidney Blackmer, Ruth Gordon). When Rosemary becomes pregnant she becomes increasingly isolated, and the diabolical truth is revealed only after Rosemary gives birth.