The Best Horror Movies to Watch During the Winter

People generally associate horror movies with the Halloween season, but there’s another time of year that holds a special place within the genre: winter. Winter can be the most brutal season of them all, so it fits perfectly into the horror ethos. Several great horror films perfectly capture the bleakness of the season. Here are the best of them.

A scene from The Shining, one of the greatest horror movies | Photo by Warner Brothers/Getty Images

‘The Shining’

Stanley Kubrick’s classic adaptation of Stephen King‘s novel The Shining is one of the most beloved movies of all time. The film has inspired numerous different interpretations, but on a very basic level it captures the dark side of winter. The film centers on  a man named Jack Torrance who gets a job taking care of an old hotel in Colorado when it is closed for the season.

He brings his wife Wendy and his young son Danny along with him. His isolation combined with his frustrations regarding his family and his career cause him to go insane – or is he insane? Much of the film’s climax takes place during a snowstorm and  Kubrick captures the helplessness of the situation as well as the beauty of the snow.

‘The Thing’

John Carpenter is the director of the film ‘The Thing’, 1982. (Photo bdy Universal/Michael Ochs Archive/Getty Images)

John Carpenter’s The Thing is probably the best film ever made that is set in the Arctic, not that that’s saying much. The film is about a group of Arctic researchers who come across the remains of an alien craft. They realize that they are under attack from an extraterrestrial creature that can shift its form into anything it wants.

A mathematician on the crew realizes that if they are unable to stop the creature from reaching civilization, it could destroy the entire Earth within several months. The film’s Arctic landscape only adds to the tension; if our heroes aren’t destroyed by the shape-shifting creature, they might be destroyed by the harsh weather outside. Few horror movies capture paranoia as well as this one.

‘The Abominable Snowman’

A poster for The Abominable Snowman | LMPC via Getty Images

If there is one monster associated with winter, it’s the yeti a.k.a. the Abominable Snowman. Although the Abominable Snowman is mostly remembered through the popular Christmas special, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, he has been the antagonist in a number of King Kong-style horror movies over the years. This film stars the inimitable Peter Cushing as a scientist on a botanical expedition to the Himalayas with his wife. Because this is a horror movie, he is threatened by a horrible monster, namely the Abominable Snowman. The film has some has some interesting sequences and makes interesting use of its landscapes, however, there is still not a definitive horror film about the Abominable Snowman.

’30 Days of Night’

Based off the popular comic series of the same name, 30 Days of Night has an awesome premise and intermittently interesting execution. Vampires can’t go out during the day, so the vampires in this film decide to descend on an Alaskan town during the 30-day period when the town is in abject darkness. The film has some of the most brutal and disgusting vampires in all of cinema – they make Count Orlok look like Strawberry Shortcake. This horror film captures how dangerous winters must have been in an earlier era.