“We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far.”
― H.P. Lovecraft.
Is our limited perception of time, space and reality just a thin layer of pretense protecting us from the incomprehensible, evil and/or uncaring horrors that rule the universe?
When someone dares ponder the vast gulf of nonexistence before his/her lifespan (never mind its quickly-approaching resumption), he/she is, in a fundamental way, not terribly unlike a helpless newborn who dies within moments of its birth.
Our existence awakens to an incomprehensible, chaotic reality — bright and loud and terrifying. And then, all too soon, it is gone forever. In our brief moment of conscious being, we witness fear, corruption, violence, and the pervasive instability of all systems — a general sense that we are, at all times and places, thoroughly insignificant and desperately unsafe.
And while there are beautiful things here for some of us — love, comfort, the company of friends — we often fear that those good things exist only to mock our brief and meaningless existence. That, in the end, we are all destined to face ultimate, inescapable forgetting.
And then, beyond all of that, there is the possibility of monsters. Monsters so enormous and inherently beyond our limited perception that one glance at them would tear our consciousness from the moorings of sanity and reduce our physical being to its component atoms.
This list of films exists for those who enjoy gazing, slack-jawed and mind-boggled, into the dangerous unknowable.
10 Visually Stunning Cosmic Horror Films, via Scene360:
‘Starfish’ Plays Like an Eclectic Mixtape of Cosmic Horror, via Bloody Disgusting:
When The Abyss Looks Back: Contemplating 'The Void', via Everything is Scary:
10 Mind-Bending Cosmic Horror Films, via FilmSchoolRejects:
Showing The Incomprehensible: 'Annihilation's Influences, via Thomas Flight:
“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: