“Your mother's in here, Karras. Would you like to leave a message? I'll see that she gets it.”
― Pazuzu, 'The Exorcist' (1973)
After combing through movie lists from IMDB to Reddit, I think I've created the most complete collection of horror movies that climb inside your skull and mess with your brains.
Some people claim that the benchmark of true psychological horror is that the truly petrifying aspect is what isn't shown, not necessarily what is. But I've also included horror films that rely on the wholesale disintegration of the human psyche, and films where characters begin to lose faith in what is strictly real.
Beginner's Guide: Psychological Horror, via Film Inquiry:
What Exactly Is a "Psychological" Horror Film?, via PopMatters:
Why 'The Shining' is the Best Psychological Horror Film Ever, via The Tangential:
Why We Crave Horror Movies (PDF), via Stephen King:
Common Themes in Psychological Thrillers, via The Artifice:
Death, Grief & Why Horror Films Matter, via Talkhouse:
The Psychology of 'Annihilation', via Storytellers:
Psychological Thriller ‘Oculus’ Challenges Perceptions Of Horror Genre, via The Heights:
Psychological Horror in the Films of David Lynch, via film-o-holic:
“Now you're looking for the secret. But you won't find it because of course, you're not really looking. You don't really want to work it out. You want to be fooled.”
― John Cutter, 'The Prestige' (2006)
Great films with poignant, memorable, Shyamalanesque, or downright traumatic endings.
When Movie Twists Fail, via Georg Rockall-Schmidt:
What a Twist: Double Consciousness and M. Night Shyamalan, via Back Row:
6 Huge Movie Plot Twists That Caused Even Bigger Plot Holes, via Cracked:
'mother!’s Ending: What Does It All Mean?, via Vanity Fair:
Why 'The Sixth Sense' Ending Has Never Been Matched, via Esquire:
And the Award for the Grossest Twist Ending of the Year Goes To…, via The Mary Sue:
You've seen The Exorcist, The Amityville Horror, The Blob. But are you familiar with The Exorcist III, Amityville II: The Possession or The Blob remake? Or minor masterpieces like Incubus, The Black Pit of Dr. M or Ichi The Killer? Fright film fans need look no further that this indispensable guide from the experts at Rue Morgue, the world's leading horror in culture and entertainment magazine. Concisely written with a view to expanding the horror film lover's palette, 200 ALTERNATIVE HORROR FILMS YOU NEED TO SEE outlines those cinematic gems you ay have missed - classic and contemporary, mainstream and obscure, home-made and foreign... and those films that simply need to make your viewing list. Featuring interviews with Guillermo del Toro, Tobe Hooper, Gaspar Noe, Roger Corman, Fred Dekker, Larry Cohen, Stuart Gordon, Ed Sanchez and more. Plus the top gore films, slashers, vampire flicks, foreign zombie movies, family fright fests and tons more!