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".

SIGNS

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.

Signs

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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