When it comes to the horror genre, there are some films that are so scary, so disturbing, or possibly just so bad that you know that you will only ever be able to watch them once. And when it comes to horror films, many people think that the fear factor or jump scares will be decreased with repeat watches.
However there are without question some horror films that have great rewatch value. Whether it is a film that merits a watch every year due to its entertainment value or a film that inspires multiple watches to decipher its clues and mysteries – many horror films can be watched again and again.
10. Scream (1996)
Prior to the release of Scream, the horror genre was suffering from a decline in interest and popularity. Then Scream, which was inspired by the true life story of the Gainesville Ripper, came along and its subsequent success reignited audiences’ interest in and appetite for horror. This was because Scream was seen to be very unique upon its release. It featured characters that openly referenced real world horror films, were aware of horror film clichés and it both embraced and mocked the horror genre.
Directed by Wes Craven and written by Kevin Williamson, Scream grossed $173 million against its $15 million budget. It also spawned three sequels. Although the sequels decreased in revenue and popularity, the Scream franchise is often cited as one of horror fans’ favourites. But the original film will always be the best film of the franchise and can be watched time and again.
Trivia: Scream was originally rated NC-17 by the MPAA nine times. Bob Weinstein, producer of the film, explained to the MPAA that they should consider the film as a comedy film rather than a horror. This changed the MPAA’s view and the film’s rating was changed to an ‘R.’
9. An American Werewolf in London (1981)
Thanks to a great mix of humour and scares, An American Werewolf in London is a highly rewatchable horror film. The film is often cited as an important film in the comedy-horror genre and paved the way for ever growing interest in the sub-genre. An American Werewolf in London was also an important film in terms of its innovative makeup effects. It even went on to win the Academy Award for Best Makeup, the first film to do so as the award was created in 1981.
Written and directed by John Landis, he was inspired to write the script for the film after an experience that he had whilst he was shooting Kelly’s Heroes in the countryside of Yugoslavia. Whilst driving along a country road, he saw a gypsy funeral taking place where the body was being buried in a deep grave wrapped in garlic so that it would not rise from the dead. This gave Landis an idea for a man who is confronted with the undead and what he would do.
Trivia: Every song used on the film’s soundtrack features the word ‘moon’ in the title.
8. The Orphanage (2007)
This Spanish fairy-tale horror film was the debut feature of filmmaker JA Bayona. It uses conventional horror settings and ideas to make an astonishingly creepy and effective horror film that lingers with audiences long after the credits have rolled. So effective are its scares and its impact, that it can be revisited multiple times and still make you jump.
The film, which was written by Sergio G Sanchez, premiered at Cannes Film Festival where it received a ten minute standing ovation. It went on to score the biggest box office opening for a film in Spain, beating out competition that year from films such as Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End and Shrek the Third. It also outgrossed the massively successful Pan’s Labyrinth.
Trivia: Laura is shown a photograph in which she identifies one of the orphaned children as being named Guillermo. This is a nod to Guillermo Del Toro who was the producer of the film. During the scene where the window smashes behind Laura to reveal the names of the old orphans and dolls, you can also see Del Toro’s name.
7. Trick ‘r’ Treat (2007)
Treat is an anthology horror film which is comprised of four Halloween related stories – ‘The Principal,’ ‘The School Bus Massacre,’ ‘Surprise Party,’ and ‘Meet Sam.’ The films are linked together by the presence of Sam who is a mysterious child trick or treater who appears whenever a character breaks Halloween traditions. The film was written and directed by Michael Dougherty who made a short film in 1996 called ‘Season’s Greetings’ which is a precursor to Trick ‘r’ Treat.
Trick ‘r’ Treat was well received with overwhelmingly positive reviews and has amassed a cult following since its release. It is a horror film that fans can revisit every Halloween and so has great re-watch value.
Trivia: Trick ‘r’ Treat was originally set to be released theatrically in October 2007, but a month before it was released it was announced that the film had been pushed back. Trick ‘r’ Treat then sat untouched for two years, whilst distributors Warner Brothers decided what to do with it.
Warner Brothers contemplated a theatrical release, but in the end decided against it which director Michael Dougherty thought may be down to the content of the film. He said, “I think they got a little cold feet and buyer’s remorse for various reasons. The big one being the number of kids that we kill in the film.” Instead Dougherty took the film on the road, screening it and showing it at various festivals. The film was then released direct to DVD in 2009.
6. IT (2017)
When unadjusted for inflation, IT is the highest grossing horror film of all time, grossing over $700 million at the box office. IT was also well received critically, including by author Stephen King who wrote the novel for which the film is based on. The film was written by Chase Palmer, Seth Grahame-Smith and Cary Fukunaga and was directed by Andy Muschietti.
IT combines horror with a coming of age story, thus appealing to a broad audience. The horror element plays on some of the most common fears amongst people and then ramps up the tension, putting young characters in the firing line. In a recent survey, audiences admitted to having rewatched IT several times, an impressive fact considering the film’s recent release date. With this in mind, IT looks set to be a film that appeals to audiences to watch again and again.
Trivia: Muschietti kept actor Bill Skarsgard, who plays Pennywise, separate from the child actors until they had to shoot scenes together. On the day of their first scene together, production staff warned the kids to be prepared for how scary Bill looked. But they brushed it off; claiming that they knew Bill was only acting and wearing a costume. However when it came to filming the scene, the kids were genuinely terrified.