“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:
The Top 10 Greatest Psychological Horror Movies, via WatchMojo:
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:
This idea began, as all great ideas do these days, as a discussion over the Twitter wires. At first the question was this: "What is the best horror film of the last ten years?"
I received dozens of great responses, but was distracted by an entertainingly civil argument with several people over whether or not Guillermo del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth qualifies as a horror film. (I say it does, which is kind of a spoiler. Let's just say Pan's Labyrinth made my Top 10.) So with the assistance of the Twitter gallery (and the inestimable help of my pal @williambgoss), I offer a completely subjective (yet hopefully intelligent) list.
All credits go to IMDb user: RDLongoria