The Horror Aesthetics of It All

Another day, another idea that has been sitting on the white board of ideas for weeks.

This week, I wanted it to be a little bit easier and simpler. And focus on something that I think we all take note of and that is… aesthetics. We live and operate in a world where we encounter either aesthetically appealing or bizarre visuals whether on our phones or in person, etc. And I thought about it from a horror standpoint.

There are simply horror movies that use aesthetics to its advantage, almost like becoming its own character within. Next week, I’ll discuss the opposite end of of the spectrum with a more “gritty” aesthetic.

No spoilers but these are just a handful of movies that I could think of that heavily has an aesthetic behind it, visually. Whether you think these movies are good or bad or just okay, that is up to you but we’re focusing on elsewhere.

Let’s get to it!


The Cell (2000) – It gives a surrealist painting vibe. There are scenes where I can see someone like Dali having some influence in it.

Suspiria (1977, 2018) – Even though the original has a bit of grit in its appearance, the bright colors is what gives it aesthetic. As for the remake, I call it stylized. suspiria_5

Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) – The sets, the costumes, the environment itself is the aesthetic, the focal point, and the characters and script are the second. I think Coppola also says something similar to this in the behind the scenes features.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) – Compared to the original, the “grittiness” of this remake is too glossy, too stylized.

The Love Witch (2016) – A literal walking film of beautiful sets, colors, costumes, lighting, the main actress.

Midsommar (2019) – It’s a day horror movie with the climatic large flower costume that’s beautiful, bright, spring.

Us (2019) – Red jumpsuits gloss.

Skinamarink (2022) – This movie can go either way in my opinion. The analog horror nature is purposely mixed with aesthetic and gritty (all used with filter).

Profondo Rosso aka Deep Red (1975) – RED, RED, RED. The brightest of red. The weirdest of reds.

Coraline (2009) – I chose this over The Nightmare Before Christmas or like James and the Giant Peach because despite it being very spooky and dark, it’s FILLED with bright colors (blues, yellows, greens). coraline_4

Blood and Black Lace (1964) – For a 60s horror film, it looks unlike anything I’ve ever seen. The use of color (telephone, jacket, lipstick, lighting) and having it be important is a game changer.

American Psycho (2000) – Preppy, clean gloss.

Repo the Genetic Opera (2008) – Very glossy, blurry, sheen element to the movie. Great use of colors, bright colors and even the darkest of colors are bright.

Now when I use the word stylized, it really means not traditional or on a deeper note for me, the overall look of the movie carries its own weight. It’s a movie where I go “oh it looks pretty” when it’s a horror movie which I don’t say often but when I do, it’s because I’m looking at it from a visual and artistic eye. Basically could I take this entire movie and turn it into an exhibit and most of these, I can.

What movies would you add in or take away?

Leave a comment below and remember to return next Wednesday when I talk about the opposite of having an aesthetics and I thought of SO MANY.

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