Art horror or arthouse horror (sometimes called elevated horror)[1][2][3] is a sub-genre of both horror films and art-films. It explores and experiments with the artistic uses of horror.


Art-horror films tend to rely on atmosphere building, psychological character development, cinematic style and philosophical themes for effect – rather than straightforward scares.[4][2]

Art-horror films have been described as "a fascinating byproduct of the collision of art and commerce, of genre convention and personal vision".[4] Historically, the genre was loosely related to J-horror and Italian Giallo.[4] In the 2000s, a movement of transgressive films in France known as "New French Extremity" has been described as an arthouse horror film movement.[5]

Although commentators have suggested some horror films have exemplified qualities applicable to "art horror" for many decades, the term became more widely used during the 2010s, with independent film company A24 credited with popularising the genre.[2][3][6] The term "elevated horror" was first used in the early 2010s, and subsequently has been the subject of criticism and debate among film critics as it became more widely used.[7][8][9]

In his book Art-Horror (2023) Adrian Gmelch identifies 4 aspects that can be an orientation for the definition of art-horror (no claim to present a universal definition): (1) Film historical and artistic imprinting, (2) horror as a message vehicle, (3) recurring motifs and stylistic elements as well as (4) unique visual identity and aesthetics.[10]

Notable art horror films

20th century

21st century

Notable directors

See also


  1. ^ a b c "5 'Elevated' Horrors Every Film Buff Needs To See". British Vogue. 2021-05-01. Retrieved 2021-12-16.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "How A24 Horror Movies & Arthouse Horror Became Popular In The 2010s". ScreenRant. 2021-01-15. Retrieved 2021-12-16.
  3. ^ a b "This Was the Decade Horror Got "Elevated"". Vanity Fair. 2019-12-17. Retrieved 2021-12-16.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Under the Skin, Only Lovers Left Alive, and a Brief History of the Art-Horror Film". Vulture. Retrieved 2020-06-29.
  5. ^ a b c d e f West, Alexandra (2016-05-20). Films of the New French Extremity: Visceral Horror and National Identity. McFarland. ISBN 978-1-4766-6348-7.
  6. ^ Best Horror Movies – 100 Scary Movies To Watch Now, Ranked By... Time Out
  7. ^ Ehrlich, David (2019-03-25). "The Evils of 'Elevated Horror' — IndieWire Critics Survey". IndieWire. Retrieved 2021-12-20.
  8. ^ a b Barber, Nicholas. "Is horror the most disrespected genre?". Retrieved 2021-12-22.
  9. ^ Why Elevated Horror Is an Unnecessary and Elitist Term – Horror Obsessive
  10. ^ a b c d Gmelch, Adrian (2023-04-25). Art-Horror: The Films of Ari Aster and Robert Eggers. Create Space. ISBN 979-8364720719.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w Scott-Travis, Shane. "The 25 Most Artistic Horror Movies of All Time". Taste of Cinema – Movie Reviews and Classic Movie Lists. Retrieved 2021-12-16.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u The Criterion Channel's October 2023 Lineup|Current|The Criterion Collection
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Bibbiani, William (2019-04-26). "Arthouse of Horrors: The Scariest Movies on The Criterion Channel!". Bloody Disgusting!. Retrieved 2021-12-16.
  14. ^ a b c d e f "The Art-Horror Film: Genius or Pretentious?". Horror Movies. 2021-04-22. Retrieved 2021-12-16.
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Art-House Horror - The Criterion Channel
  16. ^ a b c "Art House Films Are Changing Horror". Horror. Retrieved 2021-12-16.
  17. ^ "Ganja and Hess". Austin Film Society. Retrieved 2021-12-16.
  18. ^ Nero, Dom (2018-10-10). "'Opening Night' Is the Ultimate Arthouse Horror Film". Esquire. Retrieved 2021-12-16.
  19. ^ The Driller Killer – Movie Reviews and Movie Ratings – TV Guide
  20. ^ The Driller Killer – Enzian Theater
  21. ^ 11 Art-House Horror Movie To Watch This Halloween Instead Of The Typical Slashers – HuffPost
  22. ^ "The 10 Best Arthouse Horror Films to Stream". The Manual. 2021-10-03. Retrieved 2021-12-20.
  23. ^ Cut by Cut: Parallel Editing in The Hunger (1983) – Horror Movie Reviews – Horror Movieroom
  24. ^ THE HUNGER (1983) – Horror Cult Films
  25. ^ 10 of the Best Asian Arthouse Horror Movies For a Visually Terrifying Halloween|Collider
  26. ^ The strange, surprising legacy of Jacob’s Ladder — Little White Lies
  27. ^ Pulling Focus: Safe (1995) — Taste of Cinema
  28. ^ Chapman, Paul (9 August 2018). "Satoshi Kon's Psychological Thriller "Perfect Blue" Heads to U.S. Theaters". Crunchyroll. Archived from the original on April 6, 2019. Retrieved 20 May 2019.
  29. ^ Scary Stories for the Thinking Man – The Austin Chronicle
  30. ^ a b The 10 Best Arthouse Horror Films to Stream | The Manual
  31. ^ "Let The Right One In". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2022-02-20.
  32. ^ a b "5 Artsy Horror Movies That Are Overhyped (& 5 That Are Actually Brilliant)". ScreenRant. 2021-02-06. Retrieved 2021-12-16.
  33. ^ "Art Horror Series". Austin Film Society. Retrieved 2021-12-16.
  34. ^ a b Trippy horror/fantasy Beyond the Black Rainbow gets DVD/Blu-ray release date – JoBlo
  35. ^ a b c d Hadsell, Brian (2018-06-16). "'Hereditary'—Like: The 5 Best Recent Arthouse Horror Movies". TVOvermind. Retrieved 2021-12-16.
  36. ^ Howell, Amanda (2017), Ryan, Mark David; Goldsmith, Ben (eds.), "Haunted Art House: The Babadook and International Art Cinema Horror", Australian Screen in the 2000s, Cham: Springer International Publishing, pp. 119–139, doi:10.1007/978-3-319-48299-6_6, ISBN 978-3-319-48298-9, retrieved 2022-02-20
  37. ^ 'It Follows' Box Office: How Indie Horror Film Became Cult Sensation – Deadline
  38. ^ DeHart, Jonathan (June 6, 2016). "Godzilla Resurgence: Japan Reboots Its Most Iconic Monster". The Diplomat. Retrieved October 8, 2016.
  39. ^ a b "'Titane' director on the queer body horror film seducing critics, bewildering audiences". NBC News. Retrieved 2021-12-20.
  40. ^ "NisiOisin's Kizumonogatari Light Novel Gets Anime (Updated)". Anime News Network. July 28, 2010. Retrieved February 27, 2016.
  41. ^ Mendelson, Scott. "Jordan Peele Talks 'Get Out' And His Love For Horror Movies". Retrieved February 10, 2017.
  42. ^ Shawhan, Jason. "One Cut of the Dead Makes Played-Out Elements Fresh". Nashville Scene. Retrieved 2022-02-25.
  43. ^ Wilkinson, Alissa (2018-06-01). "Hereditary is the terrifying arthouse horror film of the year". Vox. Retrieved 2021-12-16.
  44. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (March 26, 2013). "Paramount, Scott Rudin land 'Annihilation', First Installment of Southern Reach Trilogy". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 11, 2022.
  45. ^ "The horror? How Suspiria leads the way for arthouse scares". the Guardian. 2018-10-24. Retrieved 2021-12-20.
  46. ^ Roxborough, Scott (2018-11-02). "AFM: The Horror Genre Emerges as Indie Industry's Unlikely Savior". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2021-12-20.
  47. ^ a b Producer, MICKAYLA MILLER | Website. "From 'Midsommar' to 'The Possessor': 10 modern arthouse horror movies to watch before Halloween [column]". LancasterOnline. Retrieved 2021-12-16.
  48. ^ Frater, Patrick (2020-11-04). "Malaysia Sends Art House Horror Film 'Soul' to the Oscars". Variety. Retrieved 2021-11-22.
  49. ^ Hannon, Melissa (2021-07-30). "REVIEW: 'FRIEND OF THE WORLD' (2020) IS A BIZARRE APOCALYPTIC FILM". Horror Geek Life. Retrieved 2022-03-09.
  50. ^ Greenwood, Douglas (2021-03-03). "10 exciting arthouse movies coming in 2021". i-D. Retrieved 2021-12-20.
  51. ^ "New A24 Horror Movie Lamb Could be the Craziest Film of the Fall". July 28, 2021.
  52. ^ "Sex Drive: 'Titane' and the Meaning of Horror". December 30, 2021.
  53. ^ "Yup, "Nope" or Maybe: Takeaways From Jordan Peele's New Horror Film". July 25, 2022.
  54. ^ "Artistic horror movie 'Men' tackles man-ipulated 'women'". July 27, 2022.
  55. ^ "Indonesia Picks Upmarket Horror Film 'Impetigore' for Oscars Contention". Retrieved 2021-11-22.
  56. ^ Kuipers, Richard (2012-10-15). "Modus Anomali". Variety. Retrieved 2021-12-16.
  57. ^ "12 Arthouse Horror Directors Who Are Reinventing The Genre". Retrieved 2021-12-16.
  58. ^ Abel Ferrara interview: Driller Killer, Bad Lieutenant, Body Snatchers|Den of Geek
  59. ^ Catherall, Holly (2022-02-21). "How Jordan Peele Changed the Horror Genre". Retrieved 2022-10-13.
  60. ^ Evangelista, Chris (2020-10-01). "Criterion Channel '70s Horror Trailer". Retrieved 2021-12-16.
  61. ^ Antichrist|Austin Film Society

Further reading