13 Best Horror Movies Without Gore

Are you one of the chosen few who faints at the sight of blood, but still and loves horror movies? Or maybe just looking for some training wheels before moving up to splatterfests like Dead Alive and Cannibal Holocaust? Whatever your situation, there's a horror movie for you. There may be a lot of ways to be icky in horror—effluvium of every imaginable shade and consistency: blood, guts, bile, excrement, ectoplasm—but there are also an abundance of examples of the genre that don't need to rely on shredded bodies and spilled intestines. Here are thirteen suggestions, ranked roughly from least to most scary.

The Invisible Man

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Really, almost any of the Universal monster movies could be on this list. Even the more violent entries, like The Wolf Man and The Creature from the Black Lagoon are long on mood and short on actual bloodletting. If you're completely unfamiliar with the black-and-white classics, maybe start with Bride of Frankenstein. But it's The Invisible Man that proves just how much you can get away with not showing the scares. Starring Claude Rains (who you may know as the playing-all-sides policeman in Casablanca ) in his American movie debut, The Invisible Man is a ridiculously fun sci-fi horror movie, with special effects that feel like magic tricks, even today.

The Invisible Man is available to stream on Amazon or YouTube from $2.99.

Fiend Without a Face

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Not only is Fiend Without a Face free of blood and gore, it's a monster movie where you don't even have to see the monster! At least for a while. The reveal—they're flying brains that strangle people with their spinal cords—is unlikely to scare modern audiences, but Fiend Without a Face is still sci-fi horror pulp at its most entertaining and imaginative.

Fiend Without a Face is available to stream on Amazon or iTunes from $3.99.

Halloween III: Season of the Witch

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The other movies in the series may be about Michael Myers stabbing babysitters, but not Season of the Witch, released in 1982 as part of a well-intentioned but failed effort to transform Halloween into an annual anthology horror series. There's a lot of on-screen mayhem as Tom Atkins uncovers a conspiracy to use the powers of Stonehenge to turn kids into bugs with special-edition Halloween masks, but the movie is surprisingly bloodless, particularly when henchmen start getting torn apart, revealing the robot parts within. It's the Samurai Jack approach to violence.

Halloween III: Season of the Witch is available to stream on Amazon or iTunes from $2.99.

Of Unknown Origin

The premise of this 1983 horror movie is simple: Peter Weller (Robocop) vs. a very large rat. Like a creepy version of Mousehunt, Of Unknown Origin is a bizarre "animals attack" masterpiece, as a man tears his life and home apart, all to erase that one, last bugbear. Surprisingly tense, Of Unknown Origin is mostly free of violence (except for what happens to that poor cat).

Of Unknown Origin is available to stream on Amazon, YouTube and iTunes from $2.99.

Another Evil

Maybe the strangest ghost movie ever made, Another Evil inverts the typical formula by focusing on the damaged ghost hunter, Os, whose attempts to purge a family vacation home of its freaky spirits (one has weird tentacles instead of a mouth) go way too far. Played by Mark Proksch from The Office and Better Call Saul, Os describes the supernatural in ways both eccentric and genuinely spine-tingling.

Another Evil is available to stream on Shudder.

Village of the Damned

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Directed by a German director with the too-Halloweeny-for-his-own-good name Wolf Rilla, the original 1960 Village of the Damned is a masterpiece of big ideas on a small budget. It opens with an entire British village falling asleep simultaneously. Cross the perimeter, as one military man in a gas mask attempts, and you'll fall asleep too. Two months later, every woman in town is pregnant. They all give birth on the same day, to an army of creepy blondes with big heads and shining, silver eyes. Though the action stays confined to the village of Midwich, Village of the Damned builds to chilling proportions, as the telepathic terrors unveil their plans for our world.

Village of the Damned is available to stream on Amazon, YouTube and iTunes from $2.99.

The Uninvited

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If it weren't for The Haunting, 1944's The Uninvited would have a strong claim to being the best gothic horror movie yet made. It also happens to be one of the very first ghost horror movies. In The Uninvited, a brother and sister purchase the abandoned Windward House on England's rocky coast. Windward is more occupied than they had thought, most dramatized in what is still one of the most chilling seance scenes ever filmed.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) / Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

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While the first two versions of Invasion of the Body Snatchers are both excellent movies, you might want to pick the earlier one if body horror isn't your thing. The '78 adaptation isn't bloody, but it is very, very gooey. The pod people of the original look more like giant ears of corn. While both versions tell a similar story—aliens replace humans as part of a creeping invasion—the 70s version replaces the Red Scare hysteria of the first with New Age-y proselytizing, as the aliens (including Leonard Nimoy at his very slimiest!) promise poor Donald Sutherland release from "old concepts."

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) is available to stream on Amazon Prime.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) is available to stream on Amazon, YouTube and iTunes from $2.99.

Let's Scare Jessica to Death

"Dream-like" gets tossed around a lot describing horror movies, but it's rare for the description to fit one as well as it does Let's Scare Jessica to Death. Fresh out of a mental institution, Jessica stays with her husband a handful of other hippies in a rundown farmhouse. Are Jessica's friends tormenting her? Is her mental state degrading? Or, are the local legends about a drowned woman returning as a vampire true?

Let's Scare Jessica to Death is available to stream on Amazon, YouTube, Google Play and iTunes from $2.99.

The Wicker Man

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The ultimate in folk horror, The Wicker Man is stuffed with pagan creepiness. After a police officer visits a remote island in search of a lost girl he finds the locals surprisingly welcome, even Lord Summerisle (Christopher Lee at his most grand and eccentric). But is there welcoming, communal society masking occult dangers? Yes, the answer is yes.

The Wicker Man is available to stream on Shudder.

Lake Mungo

This Australian mockumentary about a drowned girl feels like the most terrifying Netflix docu-series imaginable, even before ghosts start invading the frame. But unlike most faux-documentaries, Lake Mungo feels hauntingly real, right up through the final twist.

Lake Mungo is available to stream on Amazon, YouTube and Google Play from $2.99.

The Haunting (1963)

The ultimate in implied horror, The Haunting wrings so much tension out of banging doors, scary messages scrawled on the walls and a rickety spiral staircase that it puts all other horror movies to shame. If a spike of cold dread doesn't shoot up your spine when Eleanor holds Theo's hand in the dark, then you may be dead already.

The Haunting is available to stream on Amazon and iTunes from $2.99.

Noroi: The Curse

There's a pinch of brutality and blood at the end of Noroi: The Curse , but this Japanese found-footage horror movie is terrifying in so many other ways. Untangling a web of demons, TV psychics, "ectoplasmic worms" and undead fetuses, Noroi is disorienting, upsetting and spectacularly, ingeniously intricate.

Noroi: The Curse is available to stream on Shudder.

13 Best Horror Movies Without Gore | Culture