Horror movies nowadays have sort of a reputation about them. Several of them are gut-spilling gorefests that get their scares from shock value more than substance. As hard as that truth may be, it's definitely unfair to label the whole genre that way. In fact, there are some horror movies that deliver their scares without a drop of blood.
Guts and gore are one way to get scares, but elements like suspense, ambiance, and storytelling can be just as effective as a Tarantino-sized bucket of blood. We feel that certain viewers may have become too dependent on the gross factor, so today we bring you ten scary movies with little to no bloodshed.
10 The Woman in Black
This story has been in the world for decades as a novel, a stage play, and now as a movie featuring Daniel Radcliffe. This chilling tale involves the murder of children, a vengeful spirit, and a haunted house that brings back flashbacks from The Haunting. Yes, there are dead children, but hardly any blood is seen.
Like most ghost stories, the scares lie in the narrative and in the mood. We see Arthur Kipps investigating the horrifying and haunted happenings at the Eel Marsh House. Strange phenomena surrounding the titular Woman in Black creep in and make for one chilling experience.
9 The Others
If you want a horror flick with an ending that will hit you like a freight train, look no further than The Others. It's a curious and unique take on the haunted house motif that will keep you guessing and wondering exactly what is real. It's a story Rod Serling could be proud of and has no shortage of scares.
There are deaths, but nothing extreme. There are a few jump scares, but nothing with various hues of scarlet. There are, of course, ghosts, but they're not what you think. Without going into spoilers, we suggest just paying attention to the point of view to get the bigger picture.
8 Something Wicked This Way Comes
Not only was it written by the master of sci-fi, Ray Bradbury, but it was released by Walt Disney Pictures. Aside from getting turned into members of Mr. Dark's freakshow, no-one even gets hurt in this movie, but the tension and writing are some of the spookiest we've seen from Disney. Who said there were no scary movies for kids?
With a chilling narrative written by Bradbury and an infectious and insidious performance by Jonathan Pryce as Mr. Dark, the film absolutely oozes that eerie Halloween feeling whenever we put it on our screens. Though not nearly as scary as the book, it's still definitely worthy of a case of the shivers.
Like most haunted house movies, the scares come from the spirits, manifestations, or other signs of ghostly activity. With Insidious, James Wan takes the haunted house scenario and turns it into something much more sinister. With demons, ghosts, and jump scares aplenty, there's just no room for much guts and gore.
It's not a haunted house, it's a haunted body that serves as the catalyst for this freaky film. If you're looking for a seriously unsettling film, venture into the Further with this terrifying yet bloodless take on a horror movie staple. "Insidious" barely scratches the surface here.
6 The Wicker Man
Just because it's old, doesn't mean it isn't scary. Before it was a cruddy, meme-worthy Nicholas Cage flick, The Wicker Man was considered by many to be the perfect horror film. So much so that Christopher Lee reportedly did the film free of charge to see that it got made.
With weird witchcraft rituals, hidden hostiles, and one iconic ending, The Wicker Man is easily worth a second look. We're willing to admit it's an acquired taste, but not without its disturbing scares, as well as a riveting folk soundtrack.
Aside from one grizzly squirt of Hershey's syrup down the bathtub drain, there is very little gore and blood in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho. The violence and scares are all accomplished with sound, angles, and just clever film-making from the legendary director. Even today, it's regarded as horror movie royalty, serving as the inspiration for modern slasher films.
Hitchcock had to fight tooth and nail to get this film made, especially since the censors were breathing down his neck. With only one blatant kill in the entire movie, it's hard to believe this film has the reputation it does.
Horror comes home for the holidays in this nightmare before Christmas. In Krampus, the titular yuletide demon shows a bickering dysfunctional family the true spirit of the holiday by unleashing a legion of festive fiends to pick them off one by one. Though a few characters get seriously injured, there is little blood and no one even dies.
The scares come from the Christmas-inspired monsters, evil toys, and Krampus himself. With twisted elves, sinister snowmen, and one seriously jacked up Jack-in-the-box, Krampus's army of Christmas cronies are more than enough nightmare fuel, no matter if you're naughty or nice.
As shocking as it may sound, the original Halloween has very little in ways of guts and gore. Yes, people are killed in charmingly violent ways, but there's probably barely a coke can's worth of blood in the entire production. This would change in some of the later films in the series, but for a slasher movie, it has very little bloodshed.
Think about it. The tale of Michael Myers is about as basic as slasher flicks go, but every slasher flick needs a body count. Carpenter definitely took a note or two from Hitchcock in his film-making, and it pays off.
Easily one of the scariest kids movies ever made, Neil Gaiman's Coraline proves that you don't need blood, guts, or even death to make a movie scary. In this twisted fairytale, nobody dies, nobody gets hurt, and there's even a happy ending before the credits roll, but we still get nightmares from the horror of the Beldam.
It might have a colorful exterior, but no amount of stop-motion magic will make this movie anything less than scary. It's a great film, but definitely needs more than a PG rating. If you're looking for a way to introduce your kid to the horror genre, this is a good way to do it.
1 The Babadook
If Dr. Seuss wrote a horror book, it would be The Babadook. This freaky flick from the Land Down Under is many things. Chilling, unsettling, skin-crawling, uncomfortable, and terrifying, for instance. However, there isn't a single ounce of gore, not one dismembered corpse, and once again, the main characters do not die.
The Babadook is a more personal type of horror flick, using elements like grief, stress, anxiety, and atmosphere to get a more intimate sort of scare. Pair that with some scary effects, some expressionism-inspired visuals, and one scary pop-up book and you've got a recipe for terror.