Disclaimer: old people aren’t actually creepy, at least not more than most other people. I really think that old people that are creepy always have been creepy. But they make for amazing horror movie antagonists because you think they are sweet or at least harmless and then they suddenly chain you to their ritualistic wheel of pain to sacrifice you to an elder god.
So, in the following I have a list of a few horror movies with and relating to old people that really scared or at least entertained me enough to recommend them. And yes, there might be spoilers ahead. I won’t necessarily explain the whole plot but the first third of the movie will be spoiled (how else can I suggest any movies for you?).
Alternative title: Too old to Rock ‘n’ Roll, too young to die, old enough to scare the crap out of you
The Visit (2016)
I am one of the few people who only liked one single Night Shyamalan movie before this one (“The 6th sense” is pretty creepy). I hate “Unbreakable” so much that it physically pains me that so many people love this movie to hell and back. I have no idea why. Shyamalan for me is too full of pathos, has a weird way of using a twist so it drains all the horror out of the plot and works with Christian themes like he’s secretly trying to convert you.
BUT “The Visit” is pretty awesome. It’s about two kids who spend their summer at their grandparent’s house because their single lady mom has found a dude and wants to bang him on a cruise ship. The usual. The early twist is, that the kids have never met their grandparents before. Their mom got into a fight with them and left her home in her late teens and it took her two kids and a sex cruise to make amends with them.
So the kids arrive in this rural fantasy of a farm house and meet their grandparents. And shit starts to happen.
The wonderful thing about this movie is the acting chops of the main characters (all of them) and the way how Shyamalan creates atmosphere and tension without much hooha. In the first half of the movie, seemingly scary scenes are scary because these are kids who deal with strange old people. Just like Stephen King’s horror short “Gramma”, age can be scary for a kid because it’s such an abstract and unreal thing.
So when the shit hits the fan, you’re already so tense that you enjoy the wild ride that’s to come.
First things first: yes, this movie stars Chandler Riggs, or “Caoaoaorl” from “The Walking Dead”. He is good enough an actor to pull off the character of good guy grandson getting into creepy trouble but I’ve seen better child actors (sorry, not sorry). Fortunately for him, this movie is overall lukewarm acting-wise. And it does look cheap, especially at the beginning, more like a made for tv movie. However! The story is pretty neat and there are some nice ideas in there to keep you interested. The weirdest part of this whole movie is Mark Duplass in it because this is not the kind of movie that should have Mark Duplass in it. But maybe that’s just me (I watched way too many movies with or by him).
If you would plan an “old people are scary”-movie-night, I would probably start with this one, to get in the groove.
“Mercy” is about a family with a somewhat dark past that centers around the matriarchal grandmother. When she starts to suffer from dementia, her family comes back to her old house (rural, of course) to help her and sort out whether to keep her company in the house or move her to a home. Guess what, there’s weird stuff going to happen.
The Taking of Deborah Logan (2014)
This movie is amazing. I am a sucker for these kind of movies and I for one am in for the found footage/mockumentary genre because smart movie makers use the shoddy camera quality to scare the shit out of people. There’s no need to make everything hyper realistic (and end up with weirdly fake looking 3D monsters) when you can work with shapes, hints and “Did I just see that”-visual tricks. After all, everybody loves that Bigfoot home video.
Anyways, so “The Taking of Deborah Logan” is about a documentary film team that wants to tell the story of Deborah and her daughter who live in a (guess what: rural) house together. Deborah suffers from Alzheimer and the film team wants to tell her story and how difficult the illness can be on the people who suffer from the illness but also family members. Of course, Debora starts to act a little too weird at some point.
I am truly and deeply in love with this movie because even though the story seems to be “been there done that” it will surprise you and it will provide some horrible imagery. This is a horror
blog post, so the horrible imagery is what you came for.
The acting of Jill Larson (Deborah) and Anne Ramsay (her daughter Sarah) is absolutely amazing. It is really refreshing that the movie gives these characters enough time to actually become real people (and not just stand in human like shapes before it gets creepy). You really feel for them and there are scenes that are absolutely beautiful even if we’re talking about a movie that has – SPOILER ALERT – a gigantic “can’t be unseen”-scene in it.
If your movie night needs a good final: this is it.
The Midnight Man (2017/2018)
Yes, the title is really bad and yes, Robert Englund outside of the Nightmare on Elmstreet-franchise is a harbinger of guilty pleasure b-movie fare. BUT! This is a good one (at least, if you don’t mix it up with the movie of the same name that was released in 2016).
“The Midnight Man” is about one of those creepy “don’t do it”-childhood games that some stupid teenagers find and play (why?) and then get into trouble. In this case, in the house of one of the teenager’s already slightly creepy grandmother, played by the woman of horror, Lin Shaye who you might know from “Insidious” but only barely.
Lin Shaye is a horror movie icon who is shamelessly underused in the “Insidious”-franchise and if you watch “The Midnight Man”, you’ll see how terrifying she can be. And I mean it. The movie itself is a little tupsy-turfy when it comes to quality. I was generally scared but some of the character motivations are very forced and dumb and some scenes (to be honest, those involving Englund) are tonally weird compared to the rest. But Lin Shaye is fantastic and for her performance alone, it’s worth the ride.
Along with her mother, a woman returns to her grandmother’s house since she seems to suffer from dementia. Three generations in the house share many memories but they soon discover that some memories can infect not only minds.
Relic is a very atmospheric, gorgeously shot and very sad movie about family, the sins of past generations and the grief of losing what was. It’s very scary and has some of my favourite horror movie themes (won’t tell, otherwise I spoil you). It’s one of the few horror movies this year that really made an impact.
The Blue Door (Short film, 2019)
I also want to include this little ditty which is a very well made short film (about 10 minutes) with a very nice, simple but terrifying idea. Let’s see how our heroine does on her day at work as a caretaker for the elderly …
More horror movie lists with varying quality can be found here, click, enjoy the selections and even find some horror-themed music playlists, booray!