Ten Horror Movies That Don't Need an R-Rating to Scare You - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies

Ten Horror Movies That Don’t Need an R-Rating to Scare You

Okay, so it isn't quite Tuesday yet, but just in time for Halloween here's a horror-themed top ten list!

While many horror fans might turn their noses up at the idea of a horror film with only a PG-13 rating, there are plenty of films that don't need excessive gore or sex to scare the bejezzus out of you. Come take a look at a few of my favorite scary movies that deliver scares without an R-rating.

It also doubles as a list of things that scare me, including dolls, large bodies of water and televisions!

Shadow of a Doubt- When Uncle Charlie's returns to his sleepy hometown, everyone is happy to see him. Everyone, except his young niece (also named Charlie) who begins to wonder if Uncle Charlie might be actually be a serial killer. Easily my favorite Hitchcock film, Shadow of a Doubt is a film about the dark secrets that lurk just behind the surface of small-town America.

It's incredibly tense watching Uncle Charlie play this game of cat-and-mouse with Young Charlie, trying to figure out just how much she suspects and how much she knows, while Young Charlie is torn by wanting to learn the truth, yet unwilling to face the facts that her uncle might very-well be a psychopath.

Uncles Charlie's speech about the uselessness of old, rich widows (from which the above picture is taken) is a particularly chilling moment in the film. Charlie's utter lack of compassion is something that will stay with you long after the film is over.

Jaws- Like so many other kids since it's release, Jaws made me terrified to even go near my local lake after I saw it. Yes, I knew sharks didn't live in fresh water. Yes, I knew that it was a man made lake and that there was barely anything living in it, let alone a shark. Despite knowing this, I still made a mad dash for shore when my father started humming the Jaws theme.

Roy Scheider and Richard Dreyfuss enlist shark-hunter Robert Shaw to hunt and kill a giant great white shark that is terrorizing a small beach community.

Have fun showing this to your kids this Halloween, then traumatize them for life by singing the theme song when they try to take a bath later that night. Dun-dun....

Gremlins- Horror/comedy about learning how to care for exotic pets and the dangers of not listening when old men warn you about curses. Sure, there's more laughs than scares to be found here, but there are some genuinely tense and creepy scenes (Pheobe Cates' speech still gives me the willies).

Also doubles as a great Christmas film!

Monster Squad- Dracula arrives in small-town American and assembles the classic movie monsters Wolfman, The Mummey, The Creature (from the Black Lagoon) and Frankenstein's Monster in order to rule the world. Only a rag-tag group of monster enthusiasts can stop his evil plans. Does a group of junior-high kids have what it takes to kill the World's most famous monsters?

Okay, so this is also more of a horror/comedy, but I don't care. Monster Squad was the defining film of my childhood. The other kids could have their Goonies because the Universal Monsters made way cooler villains than bank robbers any day of the week. Plus I learned a lot of life lessons from this film, such as what a "virgin" is and why Wolfman wears pants.

This film also gets bonus points for featuring quite possibly the most bad-ass rendition of Dracula ever to hit the screen.

Cat's Eye- Three horror stories that are linked together by a cat who is trying to save Drew Barrymore from a goblin. But despite the weird cat/goblin battle in the final story, the other two tales are remarkably un-supernatural, focusing rather on evils humans commit on each other. Cat's Eye has a campy charm to it, and much like Creepshow or Trick 'r Treat it feels like an homage to the classic Tales From the Crypt or Two-Fisted Tales horror comics.

The first story, wherein James Woods takes desperate measures to quit smoking, is worth the price of admission alone. It also does for "Twist and Shout" what Reservoir Dogs did for "Stuck in the Middle with You."

Tremors- Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward have to fight off a legion of giant, subterranean worms before they eat the entirety of their small, Western town. Will they escape? Will they find a way to kill the worms? Can they think of a better name for the monsters than "graboids?"

At least Jaws lived in the water. Tremors made me afraid to even walk through my backyard.

The Sixth Sense- Psychologist Bruce Willis helps a disturbed boy (Haley Joel Osment) who is haunted by angry ghosts. Willis refuses to believe the kid at first, but the more he tries to help Osment, the more he begins to notice strange events and ominous shadows in his own life.  Suspenseful, atmospheric and creepy, The Sixth Sense is still tense and engaging even once you know all the major twists.

Say what you will about Shyamalan's recent work, The Sixth Sense is still probably his greatest achievement. I absolutely love Osment in this one. A lot of other child actors in horror films I've seen over the years, when confronted with ghosts or demons, look more bored or confused than actually scared. Osment has the look of a kid who sees hell on a daily basis. Even if the ghosts never appeared on screen, his performance is suitably chilling enough to give you the willies.

The Ring- One of my favorite horror films of the last 10 years, The Ring is the story of a cursed videotape that kills it's viewers one week after watching it. Mother and reporter Naomi Watts has to figure out the meaning behind the tape and figure out how to stop it's curse before it kills her and her son.

The concept of a haunted VHS tape might sound pretty laughable, but The Ring presents itself with such an oppressive, creepy atmosphere that I was scared to even look at a T.V. for nearly a week after I first saw it. Yes, The Ring does for T.V.s what Jaws did for any large body of water. I'm sensing a theme here. Maybe I should have just called this list "Movies That Are Like Jaws."

The Ring also has the distinction of being one of the few good remakes of a Japanese horror film. Come to think of it, I think it might be the only good one. It's also one of the few horror films where the protagonists actually have the sense to turn on lights before entering a room.

The Orphanage- Laura buys the titular orphanage where she grew up and moves back there to care for her ill son. But when he vanishes, Laura begins to wonder if his “imaginary friends” might be something far more sinister. The Orphanage is a ghost story, but rather than throw a lot of goofy, CGI ghosts at the viewer it keeps the scares subtle and tense. Is there really a pack of ghosts who have kidnapped Laura's son, or is it some natural evil that has befallen her?

Also, look at that screenshot! The Orphanage doesn't just have creepy ghost-kids; it has creepy ghost-kids in creepy doll masks!

Insidious- You can check out the review by our own Andrew Hathaway here, but suffice to say I completely agree with him. As someone who didn't care for the Saw series or Paranormal Activity at all, I was completely surprised by Insidious. James Wan and Leigh Whannel has abandoned the goofy metal soundtrack and buckets of blood of the Saw series and created something a bit more subtle.

Insidious is the story of a young boy who falls into a mysterious coma after a run-in with a ghost. When the doctors can't find the cure with medicine, his family turns to a psychic who discovers that the boy is being attacked by a demon and only a reluctant member of the family (with a secret of their own) can save him.

Insidious relies more on creepy atmosphere than actual scares. There's one scene in particular where a ghost is hiding just off-center screen moments before he's introduced in the film properly. It's a cool moment that most people might miss, but even so it gives you the unsettling feeling that something is just wrong. Also, I absolutely love the demon in the film. There's something very "faerie tale-ish" about him and his little corner of hell that they explore.

Posted by Jacob

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  1. I was going to have a fit if you didn’t list the Ring, considering that this is you we’re talking about here.

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