You know the feeling, you’re sitting at home all alone on a Saturday night, and you want to turn your brain off with some mindless entertainment.
You’re not in the mood to be terrified into catatonia, so you find yourself wondering, “what are some scary movies I can watch alone tonight?”
What follows is a list of some scarier than usual titles that will keep you on edge as you go through them on your own.
1) The Shining (1980)
Perhaps one of Jack Nicholson’s best performances, The Shining, is a masterful horror movie. Delve into one of Stephen King’s most terrifying novels to date, brought to life with gorgeous cinematography and expert storytelling.
What makes The Shining even more terrifying is that it was inspired by King’s own personal experiences as a writer and his time spent living in hotels while working on novels. This classic is a must-watch for any horror fan; you may never look at room 237 quite the same way again after watching Danny stalking through its halls.
2) The Thing (1982)
The Thing is a science fiction/horror movie set in Antarctica, where a group of American researchers discovers an alien life form buried deep under the ice. The Thing infiltrates their research station, taking the appearance of those it infects; it can then replicate itself from the body parts of its victims.
Those trapped in the compound have no way of knowing who may be real and who may be a mimic. Their paranoia increases as they struggle with whether or not they can trust anyone at all. By 1981, writer Bill Lancaster had completed The Thing From Another World, which he later retitled The Thing.
3) Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989)
This 1988 Japanese cyberpunk body horror film is one of my all-time favorites. A good choice for The Grudge or Rec fans, Tetsuo follows a man (played by Takeshi Kitano) whose body is taken over by an evil, sentient piece of scrap metal.
This movie will scare you so much that you might find yourself looking around corners or avoiding public bathrooms for a couple days after watching it! It’s pretty violent—some images may be burned into your retinas forever—but if you like your horror gritty and real, then definitely give Tetsuo: The Iron Man a try.
4) Black Christmas (1974)
Black Christmas is a film that fits in with many psychological thrillers and is pretty on-par with Silence of The Lambs. It’s a fun watch for Halloween that doesn’t necessarily involve ghosts, ghouls, or other supernatural things. However, it has an extremely tense storyline that is still gripping to watch today.
It involves a group of girls being stalked by an unknown person while they spend Christmas break at their sorority house. There are numerous suspects and tons of twists throughout the movie that make it interesting to watch repeatedly — even if you know what exactly is going to happen next!
5) The Descent (2005)
Don’t look past The Descent if you’re looking for a quality scare. It might be thirteen years old, but it’s still terrifying and will definitely keep you up at night. This is a great movie to watch alone if you want to get in touch with your anxieties.
The atmosphere is an integral part of what makes The Descent so scary, even though there aren’t any jump scares or gore—just lots of creepy sounds and enough tension to drive anyone crazy.
If you make it all the way through, expect your blood pressure to rise significantly and sweat to start dripping down your forehead by end credits. If that doesn’t sound like fun, then skip this one.
6) Lake Mungo (2008)
This Australian film is a drama-mystery about a young girl who drowns and her family’s struggle to deal with her death. The film is told from multiple points of view, including that of two police detectives and Toni Collette’s character Alice, who was present at her daughter’s drowning but cannot remember any details about it.
Lake Mungo is far from your typical horror movie; there are no scares or jumps (unless you’re an easily spooked cat). It offers viewers something different: a story that asks questions about life after death and what happens when we can’t find answers. If you’re looking for something chilling but not overtly frightening, give Lake Mungo a watch.
7) Mulholland Drive (2001)
Is there anything scarier than a director who completely loses his mind? (If so, I’d like to see it.) This eerie, perplexing trip into David Lynch’s brain is as baffling and haunting as it is unnerving.
The plot doesn’t matter—it serves only as a vague platform for Lynch to unleash his imagination in a series of dreams within dreams. If you want to make your stomach drop while simultaneously questioning what you just watched (and whether you should ever watch again), Mulholland Drive is a great place to start.
Your reward: an ending that will leave you thinking about ambiguity and existential dread long after The End flashes on the screen.
8) Dead Ringers (1988)
David Cronenberg’s eerie thriller is best known for Jeremy Irons’ performance as identical twin gynecologists. Their relationship is competitive and dangerous, but also—as we learn late in the film—consensual and sexual.
Even if you haven’t seen Dead Ringers, you might recognize it from its iconic twins’ scene. This scene occurs when Nathan (Irons) proposes a particularly violent form of sex to Beverly (Geneviève Bujold), after which he asks her: Who was that? She doesn’t answer because she isn’t sure who she just had sex with: Her husband or his brother? Later, their physical similarities are contrasted with their differences.
9) Eyes Without a Face (1960)
Released in 1960, Georges Franju’s Eyes Without a Face is a French-Italian horror film that tells the story of a disfigured doctor who kidnaps young women and tries to graft their faces onto his daughter’s disfigured face. His daughter, named Christiane, is brought home after an accident where she was burned on her face and nearly blinded.
Her father decides to find her a new face and starts kidnapping young girls for her transplant. This movie isn’t for everyone, but it does have some standout performances from Pierre Brasseur and Alida Valli.
10) Come and See (1985)
Come and See is a 1985 Soviet war drama film directed by Elem Klimov. The screenplay was written by Ales Adamovich and Elem Klimov based on the 1978 book I Am from the Fiery Village, which described atrocities committed by German forces in Belarus during World War II.
Set in 1943, when Belarus was occupied by Nazi Germany, Come and See chronicles the life of a young boy who is forced to join a local Communist resistance movement to survive in Belorussia.
Many people consider Come and See to be one of the scariest movies ever made, in large part because it’s based on real-life events (the film was inspired by testimonies of Nazi collaborators).
The movie combines realistic war scenes with surreal imagery, making for an unsettling viewing experience.