Whether it’s the gore, obscenity, or disturbing content that makes you turn away in abject terror, not everyone is a fan of the horror genre - myself included… or so I thought. It took over two decades of being married to somebody who throws horror movies my way at every opportunity, but I’ve finally concluded, over time, that it has nothing to do with me being a fan or not. I’m just incredibly picky about what kind of horror I like. So, on this page, I’ll be encouraging you to seek out the movies from the darker side of cinema that are found on cobwebbed shelves marked “Suspense”, “Psychological Thrillers”, and “Gritty”. These hidden gems are well executed pieces of great storytelling that will transcend those labels, and you just might forget you’re watching a horror movie. Because you don't necessarily have to be a horror fan to be a fan of these movies.

Come, I invite you to dip your horror-curious toe into the cold dark lake of the not-quite-but-technically horror movies that I’ll be gathering, as we move along on our journey into "Horror Curiosa".


By Cale Patterson aka Married2Horror

Written & Directed by Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Miguel Sánchez

Cast: Heather Donahue, Michael C. Williams, Joshua Leonard 

Since discovering video games at a young age, I learned to discern reality from make believe fairly quickly, thanks in part to my difficult upbringing. Now knowing this about me, you can imagine the distress I was caused when my cousin C J wanted me to join him and his buddy Tolya in a theater, to watch... (insert ominous music) The Blair Witch Project. This was at the height of the “based on a true story” craze, with all of its fledgling internet shenanigans and whispered lore of unnatural things, mind you.

Three fellow film students head into the wilderness of Maryland to investigate the legend of The Blair Witch. Armed only with camping gear and their hand-held cameras, they hope to create a documentary with their findings, and oh do they find things! Thankfully not gore though, so rest assured. But make no mistake, The Blair Witch Project is most definitely horror, and I place it on the “watch if you made it past Signs” end of the genre. Directed by duo Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez. One of the first of its kind, found footage films has a gritty realism that helps portray a sense of "not scripted, not fiction".

Meanwhile, in a theater a long, long time ago, my cousin and his friend decided they needed to space themselves away from each other and from me. So, really, I watched this unsettling guerilla-style movie all by myself, nobody within five seats of me and questioning whether or not the things I’ve seen would ever be scrubbed from the databanks of my mind. Uncool, Cuzzo!

Cut to today: Although it was disturbing at the time and made me feel dirty with fright, because of the supernatural hype (I love rhyme time! Hehehe), looking back I realize I actually enjoyed that moment. So go watch this movie and test your mettle, but in a comfortable and safe space, preferably with snacks and possibly company.

But not my cousin C J…

Or his buddy, Tolya.

The Blair Witch Project

1999 * 81 Min * Rated R

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Lake Placid

1999 * 82 Min * Rated R


By Cale Patterson aka Married2Horror

Directed by Steve Miner   Written by David E. Kelley

Cast: Bridget Fonda, Bill Pullman, Oliver Platt, Betty White

I remember watching Lake Placid, just not the when, the where, or the with whom parts. And, after some deliberation with the hubby, we narrowed down the time frame to “Pre-Ricky Era”.


Me too!

Apparently, I’ve watched some horror movies before my marriage to my “all about the horror genre” partner. A few of them, to be exact. A fact that still shocks my Ricky. In fact, he gets visibly irate whenever my cousin and I reminisce about seeing John Carpenter’s Halloween. By "reminisce", I mean making heavy breathing noises and laughing maniacally. Those were some hella fun bonding times for us and I refuse to apologize for it!

But I digress…

The Plot: During a routine beaver nest wellness check at a lake in Maine, a scuba diving Fish and Game Officer is attacked by a massive unknown creature. This event sets the stage for our colorful collection of characters to figure out what the creature is and, hopefully, how to stop it.

Although it’s firmly in the “killer animal” category, which is absolutely horror, Lake Placid boasts some delightfully dark humor with wee hits of adventure. The bigger than life characters take themselves seriously, believing every bit of their world. The chemistry and relationships they have with one another are both comical and endearing, giving levity to tense situations that fall just on the right side of “not campy”. This movie works wonderfully as introductory horror, since the gore is more gag-like than gratuitous, and intense events are spaced out. The practical creature effects by award winning Stan Winston Studios are superb and they are still unrivaled in my humble opinion. Everyone brings their A-game with performances deserving of accolades, but my favorite standout character by far is the quirky Mrs. Bickerman, and you’ll get why, once you watch this movie.

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By Cale Patterson aka Married2Horror

Directed by Kurtis David Harder.  Written by Tesh Guttikonda

Cast: Emily Tennant, Rory J. Saper, Sara Canning

Since Ricky and I work together and from home, sometimes he’ll play movies in the background. This would be fine except it has a counterproductive effect on me, making for an interesting work day. I have the sneaking suspicion that he’s aware and happy nonetheless. But there was that one time…

Which leads me to how we ended up watching Influencer.

Saddened because her boyfriend bailed on their trip at the last minute, a young American woman and beauty product influencer named Madison visits Thailand alone. After being in the country for nearly a week and stuck in work mode, she meets another young lady who decides to show her how to properly enjoy and appreciate what this “magical” place has to offer.

For those who may not be “in the know”, a social media influencer is somebody who the consumer masses can look to for advice, reviews, entertainment, etc. and it’s used here as the premise for Madison becoming this story’s prey. There were times where I felt like I was holding my breath because the anticipation was palpable. I’ll admit it can feel like a slow burn, but upon repeat viewings, I noticed the pacing is actually fairly quick. The performances were top notch, these fresh faced (unknown to me) actors had me hook, line, and sinker. From an eerie stare to awkward moments, the entire film has a tight, edge of your seat, “I have a mystery to solve” feeling and the ending, oh that ending! The score was excellent also, and we downloaded a few of the songs. It helps that I habitually walk into Ricky’s “background” movies with no expectations and this one delivered sinister and intense suspense vibes. Such a rare treat!


2022 * 92 Min * Rated UR

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By Cale Patterson aka Married2Horror

Directed by M. Night Shyamalan. Written by M. Night Shyamalan.

Cast: Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix, Rory Culkin

Refusing to go on this exploration of the horror genre by myself, I was able to persuade my friend Chris McD and her boys, Sean (13) and Erick (9) to join me for some sporadic horror movie nights. I was excited about curating “entry level” scariness, kind of like what my husband, Ricky does for me... when Chris weaved a tale in which GREMLINS broke her capacity for horror. Furthermore, she’s passed this preference down to her children and I knew I had my work cut out for me. Months later, after multiple discussions with hubby and Niobi (our 13yo) about the McDs and possible horror movie firsts, my mind wandered to M. Night Shyamalan’s SIGNS. A family dealing with grief in a Midwest farming community is confronted with strange otherworldly occurrences, while hearing news reports of the same from around the globe. I felt the small, but effective hits of terror set amongst tragedy, faith, and the fantastical made for a great “gateway horror” experience, and I was right - even though Niobi, who was also watching for the first time, said, “It was pretty good, but not my cup of tea because it didn’t come off as horror-y enough, ya know?” (Sigh. Kids!) There were unparalleled performances and unnerving moments; the pantry scene which, in hindsight, was aesthetically reminiscent of GREMLINS (Whoops sorry Chris!), had the McDs clutching one another. I thoroughly enjoyed my re-watch and was proud of them as they followed this family’s harrowing emotional, sketchy horror journey.


2002 * 106 Min * Rated PG-13

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Shaun of the Dead

By Cale Patterson aka Married2Horror

Directed by Edgar Wright. Written by Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright.

Cast: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Kate Ashfield, Bill Nighy, Penelope Wilton, Lucy Davis and Dylan William Moran.

My husband and I disagree about whether Shaun Of The Dead is horror with comedy elements or comedy with horror elements. Either way, it deserves a spot on this page. Hailing all the way from the UK, it has a special place in my heart since it was a date night theater watch. Normally I would have an adult beverage beforehand, because you know… horror. But I was talked out of it and quickly realized it wasn’t needed, thankfully. Shaun is a man nearing his thirties, barely surviving his everyday life as a son, stepson, boyfriend, and best friend, when a zombie… er… undead apocalypse hits. The makeup effects in this were so good that Simon Pegg, who plays our hero Shaun, had a real-life freakout moment while filming a scene where he’s surrounded by a mob of zombies. The gore is tame by zombie apocalypse standards. The multiple layers of surprise emotional beats make this movie “a slice of fried gold” that any horror newbie could, well, survive.

Shaun Of The Dead

2004 * 99 Min * Rated R

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