For many of us, “horror” and “beauty” may not go well at all within the same sentence, unless you are going for a full antithesis. Still, within the industry there are productions which mesmerize and fascinate through their atmosphere and even through certain of their characters, all the blood and the gore left aside. The fans of the genre can distinguish between the various degrees of ‘beauty’ and so we have a selection of the top titles in this range – some of the least known ones but never less worthy of mentioning.
Devil’s Backbone (2001)
We already know that Guillermo del Torro is good at making mythical and peculiar worlds come to life. This is the story of a boy and a haunted orphanage. The eerie images bring the breath of death closer and closer, as the creepy vintage décor and the unexpected horror elements.
Near Dark (1987)
Maybe not as popular as Dracula, this is a Western (!) vampire movie that’s focused on a pack of untamed creatures that roam the wide spaces of the desert. The environment is beautifully filmed and succeeds in making the viewer fear its vastness and what it may hide. This is quite a departure from the usual productions of this kind, but never less frightening.
The Descent (2005)
This is a movie which is in many ways like the vampires movies that rely on art. Its dreadful, hellish sets seem straight out of a Goya black painting. You have a group determined to explore an unmapped cave, where they get trapped in various horrifying spots. Not recommended to claustrophobic people! This underground inferno is carefully built and doesn’t seem to have much in common with anything seen before. The title is illustrative too – you feel like you’re descending into hell, one circle at a time.
The Cell (2000)
You can clearly see the intention here: we’re getting into the world of a serial killer through the creation of a dreamscape. Visually, it is exceptionally well crafted. Also, the rules of physics do not apply and, in general, nothing is like you’re used to see it. There is much more beauty in this criminal mind than you would expect, though. This dangerous beauty has its shocking moments but the viewer somehow becomes willing to explore it. Certain scenes are downright majestic.
Black Narcissus (1947)
For the decade we’re talking about, the effects of this movie are incredible. Not only that you have perspectives that leave you breathless, but the setting itself is one of a kind – a monastery in the Himalaya. You get a controversial topic too, as the story unfolds, involving the monastery’s nuns. Note that its maker, Michael Powell, was trained by Hitchcock himself.
This represents, in fact, the old glory of the horror film. This unconventional concept of beauty is closer to the roots of the genre and is many leaps away from the trending gory productions of recent years. The industry could learn to reintegrate it.