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I love horror movies in their many shapes and forms. Give me a nice bloodbath in a film like Saw and I’ll be happy. But I also enjoy some mind-bending psychological horror that makes it hard to fall asleep at night.
Today, we’re going to look at the latter. These horror movies are designed to scare you, of that there is no doubt. But what they aren’t designed to do is disgust you. Rather than making you uncomfortable with scenes of dismemberment, these moves nestle themselves deep into the trenches of your psyche, all while keeping things mostly free of blood.
The Blair Witch Project essentially launched an entire subgenre of horror films known as found footage. The movie is absolutely terrifying, and the interesting concept of the characters actually being the ones to film the scenes made it feel more real and intense. And while the movie keeps you on the edge of your seat the whole time, there’s almost no blood or gore, making it a perfect film for the squeamish.
Paranormal Activity is one of the films that followed in The Blair Witch’s footsteps. It took the popularity of the found footage subgenre and mixed it with the haunted house style of horror to create something else entirely. While the sequels leave a bit to be desired, the original is a fantastic movie that features almost no actual violence.
3. It Follows
It Follows is one of the most intense and gripping horror movies released in the last few years. The main character is being followed throughout the film by an unknown entity that never moves faster than a walk. It’s super tense, but there’s no violence in the movie. It’s all about the uncomfortable feeling of being followed, and it’s incredibly effective.
4. The Ring
The Ring is an absolute classic. Based on the Japanese film Ringu, the western adaptation features some of the same intense chills as the original. So many parts of this movie will make you feel uncomfortable, but you don’t need to worry about gore. There are a couple of scenes with blood, including some bloody noses, but none that will gross you out.
Body Snatchers is an old-school horror movie that was originally made in 1956 and then remade in 1978. Either version of the film, which is about aliens who take over human bodies, is safe for the gore-averse. There are small scenes with blood including a bloody nose and someone being stabbed with a dart, but they’re quick and minor.
6. The Bababook
This movie will most definitely leave you breathless as you see the terrifying Bababook creeping around throughout the film. A character suffers from a broken nose, which creates a little blood, but it’s very minor. There’s a dream sequence with a bit of blood, but again, it’s nothing too extreme.
Here was have another classic movie that does a great job of scaring you without being gross. There’s a scene in Rosemary’s Baby in which we see a dead body on the ground after an apparent suicide, but it’s quite tame. Outside of that, the movie features nothing but emotionally intense horror that’s sure to frighten.
Insidious is one of the scariest movies on the list, but it’s really not gory at all. There’s a scene where a dead body is shown, but you don’t see the violence that caused the death. There are some bloody handprints shown, but again, the lack of violence should make it tolerable.
Horror Can Be Scary Without Blood
Blood can certainly add to the intense effect of a horror movie, but it’s not necessary! With a bit of subtlety, a horror movie can get its point across without needing to make viewers sick to their stomachs.
If you want to venture further into the world of scary movies, we recommend checking out Shudder—a streaming service that specializes in horror. Start with the best horror flicks to watch on Shudder!