11 creepy and unsettling films that aren’t traditional horror movies

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It’s Halloween, and to celebrate the occasion we’ve put together a list of films that aren’t necessarily horror movies, but are creepy nonetheless.

The end of October brings a demand for some scary movies, and oftentimes, we head to the horror shelf of our collections/streamings services. But here’s a bunch of films that might just get under your skin, some more well known than others. And not all of them are intended as traditional horrors…

The Black Cauldron

The story of Disney’s mid-1980s animated opus The Black Cauldron could fill and has filled several articles alone. It was the film that ran out of control, and almost led to the entire shutting down of Walt Disney Animation Studios, It was the end of several eras, came in over budget, and it’s terrifying within minutes.

It’s very much the product of a studio that was evidently in flux, but when you think of Disney animated movies, happy singalongs and talking animals tend to be the expected norm. Here though, Disney told a very dark, very unforgiving story, that audiences ran away from, and those who sat through it a young age needed to prebook therapy sessions.

It’s a film that Disney has never built a theme park ride around, and I’m going out on a limb and suggesting it won’t do so in the future. It’s a fascinating, disturbing slice of apparently family cinema too. Cheer the kids up this Halloween, and double bill it with Watership Down.

Indiana Jones & The Temple Of Doom

Absolutely a horror film. Made at a point when both Steven Spielberg and George Lucas were at a low point in their lives, they channeled their miserableness into Indiana Jones & The Temple Of Doom, that arrived with a PG certificate and left with a large queue for the toilet.

Honestly, who passed this? Love the film, but the whole thing feels like a Trojan horse to sneak in a high budget horror film into a big Hollywood sequel. Best watched accompanied by chilled monkey brains…

Harrison Ford and Kate Capshaw in Indiana Jones & The Temple Of Doom

Superman III

Genre is something that Superman III isn’t really concerned with. The first two Christopher Reeve-headlined movies set the template for the modern superhero film, and lots have tried to follow it. No film since, however, has tried to follow the template of Superman III.

On the one hand, and less of interest to this article, is the comedy elements. Love the comedy elements, but we can talk about those another time. Instead, what I’m going to chat about is Annie Ross’ Vera.

Superman III: Annie Ross as Vera

Even before she steps into an enormous computer to try and predate RoboCop fairly late in the movie, she’s unnerving. When she steps out of that machine? Well, she’s a childhood brain shredder. I remember staring in abject horror, and being grateful the whole movie wasn’t about her. Modern me, however, accepts that it’s the spin-off the world will always lack…

Postman Pat: The Movie

There are a couple of scary things about the animated Postman Pat film. The snarky line would be to question how, with such a legacy of bad letter delivering to lean on, the film ended up so weak. But more compellingly, why did they make a film aimed at under 10s, that was so terrifying for under 10s?

Bizarrely, what should have been an amiable tale ended up as a low-rent Terminator rip-off, as the PatBot 3000 – I sat through this, I’m not making it up – runs riot, and gets in the way of getting people their junk mail on time. It is not a good film, but for its target audience, it turned into a bloody scary one as well.

A cat with laser eyes in Postman Pat The Movie


Directed by Frank Marshall – better known, it should be said, as a producer than for his work in the big chair – this spider-centric, jump-scare heavy, John Goodman-starring 1990 film is terrifying if you are averse to eight-legged creatures. In fact, it could possibly lay claim to being the scariest PG-rated movie of all time. 

Crimson Peak

Guillermo del Toro’s love letter to all things gothic landed very quietly in cinemas in 2015. As much a tragic romance as a horror film, it nonetheless features elaborately designed, creepy ghosts and a wonderfully eerie haunted house setting. It’s a bonus if you love old, gothic horror as Mia Wasikowska spends her time wandering around dark hallways in a long nightgown and equipped with an old candelabra. Jessica Chastain and Tom Hiddleston also give impeccable performances in this haunting and beautiful gothic film.

Mia Wasikowska in Crimson Peak

The Frighteners

This one’s a supernatural horror/comedy by director Peter Jackson. When it was released in 1996 it was in competition with Independence Day and struggled to gain much attention, which is a real shame considering how quirky and unique it is. Michael J. Fox plays a holistic detective who claims he can communicate with the dead. His abilities come in handy when a ghost seems able to harm the living and goes on a killing spree. The Frighteners is as much funny as it is frightening, and boasts an excellent score from none other than Danny Elfman.

Near Dark

You may think you’ve seen every possible variation of the vampire film, but Kathryn Bigelow’s cult classic Near Dark puts an interesting spin on the genre. An amalgamation of the vampire film and the Western, this movie is full of impressive performances from the likes of Lance Henriksen and Adrian Pasdar, as well as a real firecracker performance from the late Bill Paxton, as a group of nomadic vampires traversing the Southern states of America. 

Night Of The Comet

This horror B-Movie from 1984 is an incredibly fun (and very 80s) take on the zombie film. When a comet passes dangerously close to Earth, the majority of the human population is turned to dust, or worse, zombies. Sisters Reggie (Catherine Mary Stewart) and Sam (Kelli Maroney, who also stars in Chopping Mall) survive its effects and try to survive in the post-apocalyptic world. This fun and lighthearted zombie film also stars Robert Beltran, who Star Trek fans may recognise as Commander Chakotay from Star Trek: Voyager. 

Night Of The Comet


Another underrated B-Movie offering. Popcorn is a rather meta take on the B-Movie narrative, as it’s a slasher that takes place at a theatre that’s showing a night of B-Movies. This is a real treat as not only do you get the over-the-top violence and tongue-in-cheek drama, there’s also plenty of comedy to be found in the various fake B-Movies shown throughout the film – which are shot with a surprising amount of attention to detail. It’s a fun and smart movie that pokes fun at the B-Movies it’s emulating while also mixing in some typical slasher violence. 

Hocus Pocus

Disney’s 1993 Halloween film is the epitome of a cult classic. Believe it or not, it was (strangely) released in cinemas in the Summer, despite being a very season-specific movie. Naturally, it was a box office flop. However, the completely bonkers performances of Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker as three child-devouring witches make this an unforgettable adventure. It’s also the only Disney film that seems oddly preoccupied with whether its main characters are virgins (which, in hindsight, is creepy in its own right).

And one TV option…

Not Going Out

The successful sitcom Not Going Out, penned primarily by and starring Lee Mack, isn’t the most obvious choice for this list. But early in its run – and I believe it’s the episode called Camping – it pops its characters in a car in the middle of some spooky woods. And sure, it’s funny, but bloody hell it’s creepy…

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