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50 Arthouse Horror Films to Put on to Make Your Friends Hate You

29. Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

Ah yes. Because what’s more fun on movie night with the bros than a two-hour-plus nightmare about a young woman being tricked into giving birth to the antichrist so that her husband can advance his middling acting career? Why, a film about pregnancy, sexual assault, and gaslighting… directed by THE Roman Polanski, of course.

28. Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992)

Speaking of icky things, let’s talk about Leland Palmer and his relationship to his daughter. “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me” does what Dale Cooper never could: It unravels the mystery of Laura Palmer’s murder in a fairly concise and understandable way. But that being said, it was directed by David Lynch, so maybe replace “fairly concise” with “unusual” and “understandable” with “David Bowie doing an unplaceable Southern accent.”

27. Crimes of the Future (2022)

I’m sorry. I’m really sorry. I’m so so sorry. But… this movie is incredibly hot. Especially the stomach-hole scene. That being said, this movie is also incredibly far up its own ass. The central conceit of this film is that it follows two performance artists. One who can grow bizarre new organs in his body and his partner who removes and displays them. But as the film progresses, it becomes a lot less about erotic organ removal and a lot more about how we’re all eating microplastics in almost every meal. Also, it should go without saying, this film has a plot that would make William S. Burroughs confused.

26. Titane (2021)

Possibly the best film of 2021, “Titane” is also the worst film to watch with other people. Here’s the summary in brief: After a traumatic brain injury as a child, a woman begins working as a model at car shows, and moonlighting as an Aileen Wuornos-esque serial killer, who eventually goes on the run, poses as a missing young boy and is adopted by firefighters. All the while she is pregnant with the child of… (checks notes) a car. Wait, what? (Checks notes again.) Uh… yeah. A car. This movie ends with her giving birth to a car child. Honestly, all that’s excusable, even fun at times. But there is a very graphic birth scene in here. And even worse, extended sequences of a very pregnant woman wrapping her belly to pose as a boy.

25. Censor (2021)

God, I love this movie. Prano Bailey-Bond’s “Censor” follows an uptight, morally rigid film censor in ’80s Britain at the height of the “video-nasty” era. The images are disturbingly layered with the ultra-violence of the films our heroine reviews ultimately leaking into her own world, as she searches for her missing sister. On paper, this actually could be kind of a fun watch with other people, especially if they’re genre buffs. But the movie goes down a path in its third act that begs the question: What if David Lynch directed “Hostel?”

24. A Field in England (2013)

Ben Wheatley is kind of a little fucking freak, isn’t he? Recently in his career, he’s calmed down, made more standard box-office genre fare, such as the remake of “Rebecca” for Netflix and… God help us all… “Meg 2: The Trench.” It’s odd to remember he started his career making esoteric, balls-to-the-wall folk-horror films like “Kill List” and this little gem, “A Field in England.” In “Field,” deserters from the English Civil War are kidnapped by an Irish alchemist, who forces them to help him dig for treasure while subjecting them to just an absolute ass-load of magic mushrooms. Sounds like my spring break to Bratislava, AMIRIGHTFELLAS?!

23. Kwaidan (1968)

“Kwaidan” is one of the most gorgeous films of any genre and a true testament to storytelling. This anthology film tells four classic Japanese folk tales about ghost armies gaslighting blind musicians and snow spirits making pacts with woodsmen. It’s a surreal, meditative, and sublimely textured testament to Japanese new-wave filmmaking. It also happens to be three hours long. Now, I personally don’t mind this, because, you know, I’m not a CHILD who still needs MOMMY to come and tuck him in at night. But that’s just me. If you think it’s better to sit on your little Muffet’s tuffet and watch nine hours of “Friends” reruns then by God, you be my guest.

22. Skinamarink (2022)

Speaking of slow-burns, let’s talk “Skinamarink,” the analog-horror sensation that swept the nation much to the frustration of the people who watch nothing but Marvel movies. Admittedly, it does take a leap into faith and a suspension of disbelief to sit for a hundred minutes, staring at corners of rooms and utter darkness saying to yourself… oh no, something’s moving. But ultimately I- OH JESUS CHRIST THE PHONE’S RINGING! WHY IS THAT TOY FUCKING PHONE RINGING? STOP IT!

21. The Blackcoat’s Daughter (2015)

Do you sometimes find yourself wishing “The Exorcist” was just… a little bit less? If so, then Oz Perkins’ debut directorial outing is for you. This film follows two girls snowbound at a boarding school over winter break. One is worrying about a pregnancy scare. The other is being gaslit by Satan. It’s not… the greatest movie that’s ever been made, by any means. But it tries in its way and accomplishes something unnerving. Unfortunately, you could not show this film to anyone you care about. While you’re sitting on the couch desperately trying to convince them to listen to Kiernan Shipka playing piano, they’ll be up, packing another bowl and telling all their friends never to hang with you again.

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