“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:
/u/StopReadinMyUsername on reddit combined the average ratings (Critic's & Users) from IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic and Letterboxd, and then weighted and tweaked the results with general film data from iCheckMovies and IMDb to reveal the 1001 Greatest Movies of All Time.
Original Edition (2003) + additions (2004-2018) in that order.
Based on http://1001films.wikia.com/wiki/The_List
2018 Edition Additions:
- The Handmaiden (2016)
- Dawson City: Frozen Time (2016)
- Lady Macbeth (2016)
- Lady Bird (2017)
- The Shape of Water (2017)
- Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)
- Call Me by Your Name (2017)
- Mother! (2017)
- Blade Runner 2049 (2017)
- Get Out (2017)
- Black Panther (2018)
All credits go to IMDb user: RDLongoria
"Few talk about the ’90s as a filmmaking renaissance on par with the late ’60s and early ’70s, but for many of the film critics at The A.V. Club, it was the decade when we were coming of age as cinephiles and writers, and we remember it with considerable affection. Those ’70s warhorses like Martin Scorsese and Robert Altman posted some of the strongest work of their careers, and an exciting new generation of filmmakers—Quentin Tarantino, Joel and Ethan Coen, Wong Kar-Wai, Olivier Assayas, David Fincher, and Wes Anderson among them—were staking out territory of their own. Presented over three days—with two 20-film lists, then a separate one for the top 10—our Top 50 survey was conducted in an effort to reflect group consensus and individual passion, with the disclaimer that all such lists have a degree of arbitrariness that can’t be avoided. (On Thursday, we’ll run a supplemental list of orphans, also-rans, and personal favorites that will undoubtedly be quirkier.) One more note before digging in: Filmmakers who had a particularly good decade were often divided against themselves in the voting. Which Coen brothers movie is the strongest? Which color from Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Three Colors trilogy shone the brightest? Peel slowly and see…"
The Top 50:
http://www.avclub.com/articles/the-best-films-of-the-90s-orphans-outliers-and-per,86534/ (added them after rank 50)