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Most Atmospherically Creepy Films

Updated on October 1, 2013

Some people love gore. Some love monsters, or aliens. But what really gets me is a good ghostly chill up the spine, and that’s what I’m aiming for with this list. The following are the most beautifully creepy films I’ve seen.

And I’ve seen a lot . . .

Depp's Ichabod Crane and his steampunk gadgetry.
Depp's Ichabod Crane and his steampunk gadgetry.

Sleepy Hollow

There is no movie with more atmosphere than this Tim Burton film. It takes the already eerie children’s story by Washington Irving and transforms it into perhaps the most beautifully crafted example of the horror genre, complete with a sociapathic Christopher Walken who has sharpened his teeth into fangs. The soft lighting and monochromatic nature of the film lends to its supernatural and surrealistic feel.

Now imagine yourself in rural upstate New York, at night, in a fog that never lifts . . .

The horrifying Tree of the Dead.
The horrifying Tree of the Dead.
Kidman's pale children have never seen the sun.
Kidman's pale children have never seen the sun.

The Others

Easily one of the best ghost stories I’ve ever seen, this movie takes the high road when it comes to horror. A war widow and her children live alone in a huge, isolated house. The children have an allergy to light, leaving almost the entire movie entrenched in darkness and candlelight. And so we have all of the ingredients for a story that one could ever ask for: big old house, darkness, weak, flickering lighting . . . You get the picture. Throw in the fact that the acting is top-notch and the story well-written, and you have an absolute must for fans of all things spooky.

The Omen

Most classic horror movies are fun because they’re cheesy and campy. Not so with The Omen – this Richard Donner (The Goonies) film is a classic for more legitimate reasons. This riveting mystery centers around a changeling child that brings on increasingly sinister occurrences.

There are so many striking images come to mind – the hanging scene, the jackal's skeleton, the lightning rod. The story and the overall feel of this film will keep your eyes glued to the screen.

View the trailer below!

The Village

This film by M. Night Shyamalan was not well-received, for reasons I cannot fathom. The story is intriguing, the set beautiful, and the overall atmosphere is unnerving and delightfully creepy, all without any real gore. Extra credit for using a blind character alone in the forest in such a way that the viewer will begin to fear the unseen right along with her. Brilliant.

Rosemary's Baby

Another good classic, directed by Roman Polanski. This one takes some patience, but the build-up is worth it when things start getting freaky. You will begin to wonder if Mia Farrow is actually going mad, or if something truly dark and fearful is closing in upon her. Overall, this is a unique and carefully crafted movie.

Silent Hill

Some may question me on this one – after all, it’s based on a video game. But watching this movie was such a nightmarish experience . . . I can’t think of anything quite like it. The use of timing here is quite clever. The world dissolves into a pit of horror on regular intervals, and as each glimpse of hell passes you realize that you've been holding your breath.

Definitely a little gorier than the others, so be aware.

Lost Highway

So strange!! But then, it is a David Lynch film. Watching this is like walking through a Salvador Dali painting, with an added dollop of menace. A man is accused of murdering his wife and placed on death row. This man is Bill Pullman . . . but then one morning he’s not Bill Pullman, he’s a completely different actor. Replete with unexplained images, multiple identity shifts, murder, porn, and a hideously creepy pale man (right), this movie experience is a waking dream.


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    • profile image

      deadbydawn 5 years ago

      All good choices. But I think Don't look now should be on this list.

    • SouthernHoney profile image

      SouthernHoney 6 years ago from Woodinville, WA

      Thanks for the feedback bethperry! Purgatory is the perfect word for Lost Highway. His movies only make sense to me when I consider them as dreams, at which point they’re perfectly reasonable . . . :)

    • bethperry profile image

      Beth Perry 6 years ago from Tennesee

      SouthernHoney, great list here! I've not had a chance to see Silent Hill yet but if it's anything like the game, it is bound to be eerie as heck! About Lost Highway- did you wonder, like me, if the driver was in purgatory? I agree, it was unsettling indeed.

      Voted up and nice to meet you here at Hubpages.

    • SouthernHoney profile image

      SouthernHoney 6 years ago from Woodinville, WA

      Haha I know what you mean, I've watched movies at night and completely regretted it when it was time for bed :)

    • precy anza profile image

      precy anza 6 years ago from USA

      Interesting! I do like watching creepy films, on daytime thou as the movie gets me. And when I watched such films at night, for somehow I bring them on my sleep having nightmares. Still, I watch some on daytime specially with the family ^-^'