Horror without Gore – Kate’s Choices

There doesn’t have to be gore in a horror

Horror without Gore!?! How can this be possible? With the recent success of The Witch it’s worth noting that not all horror fans are also gore fans. In fact gore seems to go through phases of popularity. Whilst horror simply shifts from one method of terrifying the viewer (or reader) to the next.

There are a good few rules defining horror, but most rely on the same basic principles of creating a story arc to get into your head. Only when the director has managed that can they truly begin to give you the creeps and make you need a friend to go to the bathroom with you. Getting into your head doesn’t always require someone’s guts to be spilled across the screen. I’m not against gore films, so long as they have a good story line and the gore makes sense – and preferably doesn’t look like tomato soup (not the moment to declare you’re hungry on a date).

With the right camera angles, a few dark shadows, and various other tricks the movie can have you on edge and easily frightened by little noises. Noises that only yesterday you knew were the innocent rumblings of the boiler coming on, or the cat trying to climb the wooden banister, again.

So here’s my list of (mostly) horror without gore, don’t need a can of soup at the ready for snacks, movies. If you’ve seen others that have given you the heebie-jeebies with minimal gore let us know in the comments (and also whether we should or should not watch it alone!).

I’ve kept my selection of horror without gore movies to those I’ve watched, and that were released post 2000.

The Others (2001) – Friends needed for loo accompaniment = 1

Not a gory movie at all, but with some definite creepy bits and that house just suggests ghosts.

The Black Swan (2010) – Friends needed for loo accompaniment = 0

When I first put this on I didn’t realise it was a horror movie, I thought it was just going to be a nice retelling of the ballet usually seen on stage. I put it on during the day and had to question why my mum wanted this movie for her birthday. She’s always liked ballet. There are a couple of moments of self-harm, but this film is more of a psychological thriller and uses Nina’s decaying grasp on reality to get in your head as you get in hers.

The Ring (2002) – Friends needed for loo accompaniment = 2

There’s something about Japanese movies and their remakes…

Who knew watching a videotape could be so scary…wait, it’s not the one you put in the machine to watch the movie is it? Ha ha ha, we watch on dvd now, no way they can get us anymore.

Insidious (2010) – Friends needed for loo accompaniment = 3

Just loved this movie, there’s a creepy anticipatory factor to how it’s shot, from the very beginning, that almost has you on edge even when they’re just eating breakfast. You’re anticipating bad things before they happen, and yet they still come as somewhat of a shock. Of course, now there are three of them.

The Hole (2001) – Friends needed for loo accompaniment = may not be able to trust them

Seems like a pretty ordinary teen horror movie when it first starts, and whilst there are no real gory bits there are definitely gross bits with an unexpected twist that makes it even better.

The Skeleton Key (2005) – Friends needed for loo accompaniment = 1, possibly, if you know them well.

Another one I really liked, it was twisted enough that I didn’t even notice it wasn’t gory. The setting is great and the story keeps you really involved. A nice one to curl up in the dark at home and watch.


So what horror without gore movies have you seen?

A lot of movies when I searched came up pre 2000, and I think this is because we’re largely in a phase of blood and gore in movies and TV shows. It seems to be a lot more acceptable and expected. Perhaps The Witch heralds the beginning of a new phase…

horror without gore

Kate xxx

P.S.  Share your post-2000 favourite horror without gore movies in the comments.