Fall gets most of the attention when it comes to horror movies. It’s the season we most attribute to the horror genre, and spooky stuff in general. But winter is another fantastic season for horror, and has provided us with some great settings in the past.
With that said, here’s a look at my top 3 winter horror movies.
3. Bram Stoker’s Dracula
People don’t usually remember this as a winter horror movie. Some even forget it’s a horror movie because it’s become such a classic all around film. But winter provides a beautiful setting for this unforgettable blockbuster. The snowfall in some scenes make already foreboding atmosphere even more eerie.
The movie boasts an all star cast, and it’s one of Gary Oldman’s best performances ever, which is saying something considering his catalog of work.
Fun Fact: Depending on your feelings about religion, Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder might technically be married. They cast a real Romanian priest to film their wedding scene to make it more authentic. While they were acting, the priest went through the same motions he would have gone through had it been an actual wedding. It’s something Keanu and Winona still joke about to this day.
2. The Thing
No list of winter horror could be complete without this absolute gem. The blistering cold almost provides a 2nd antagonist in it’s Antarctic setting. This movie has become the blueprint for so many that have come after it. It’s even been said that this movie is scarier now than it was when it originally came out in 1982. Even John Carpenter calls it his personal favorite of all of his work. Pretty big nod coming from him.
Little factiod, Norwegian speaking viewers knew the direction the movie was going before anyone else. The opening scene sees a man flying a helicopter chasing down a sled dog (that we later learn is really the Thing). He is shot in what seems to be self defense as he was screaming in a foreign language while pointing a weapon. But he wasn’t threatening them, he was trying to warn them. His words are intentionally not subtitled, but Norwegian audiences heard him say, “That’s not a dog! It’s some sort of thing pretending to be a dog!”
1. The Shining
Come on, you all knew this had to be number one. Stanley Kubrick’s classic has stood the test of time in a big way. The cold and snow take a front seat in creating the isolation that would eventually drive Jack Torrance mad, along with a little supernatural help, of course. It also is the means of his ultimate demise as his madness drives him to chase his son down to being lost in a wintery maze, freezing him to death in one of the most unintentionally funny horror villain deaths of all time.
However, I do tend to view this movie differently these days after the knowledge of how Kubrick treated actress, Shelley Duvall. He legitimately tormented her on set 24/7 with the purpose of making his film feel more authentic. He would force her to repeat scenes over 100 times, driving her into madness. So every erratic reaction, feeling of distress, and full on terror that you see from Duvall in this film, is real. She actually never fully recovered from it.
Not something that would fly in today’s world, and quite frankly, isn’t cool for that time either.
So there you have it. Three of my favorite winter horror movies.
What are yours? I certainly have an honorable mentions list a mile long for this, so chances are I’ll agree with you.