The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is difficult. Part of what makes the pandemic so difficult is the isolation. Interestingly, there are numerous horror movies about isolation.
For some, these trying times are the perfect time to sit down and watch movies they haven’t seen before. Luckily, there are many underappreciated horror movies out there that are ripe for discovery. Here’s a brief overview of great horror films about isolation.
‘The Masque of the Red Death’
“The Masque of the Red Death” is one of the Edgar Allan Poe’s greatest short stories. Fittingly, many critics cite Roger Corman’s 1964 film version of the story as one of the best Poe movies. The film features a wonderfully committed performance from the one and only Vincent Price.
The story of “The Masque of the Red Death” is the story of a quarantine. As a horrid disease called the Red Death ravages a medieval countryside, a group of wealthy people quarantine themselves in Prince Prospero’s castle. Given that Prince Prospero worships Satan, things get a little crazy. This horror film manages to expand on Poe’s story without feeling forced or padded.
Part of what makes Corman’s Masque so fun is its mix of styles. The film combines the aesthetics of European arthouse movies and campy B-movies and still feels cohesive. Few movies have both interesting existential monologues and goofy prayers to the devil. In addition, Masque boasts a completely unforgettable finale. To spoil it would be unthinkable.
Housebound is the perfect horror movie for a pandemic. Why? It goes without saying millions of people are housebound right now. On top of that, Housebound is one of the better horror comedies of the 2010s.
Housebound centers on Kylie Bucknell, a delinquent played by Morgana O’Reilly. When Kylie is placed under house arrest, it first seems the biggest obstacle in her life is her mother’s TV-watching schedule. Later, she and her mother believe that their house may be haunted.
Housebound feels like it was made for everyone who has ever watched a haunted house movie and wondered why the main characters didn’t just leave the house. For a horror-comedy, the plot of the film is pretty well-constructed. On top of that, its jokes boast the combination of absurdity and a rye attitude which characterizes New Zealander humor.
The Others is a Gothic horror movie which includes many similarities to Henry James’ classic novella The Turning of the Screw. Whereas James’ book was set in the Victorian era, The Others is set in the gloomy English countryside in the aftermath of World War II. Nicole Kidman plays Grace, a single mother whose job is to protect her two children from the outside world.
Her children each have a rare disease which means they can’t be exposed to sunlight. To make things worse, there seem to be ghosts haunting Grace’s house. This slow-burn horror film does a very good job capturing the difficulties of isolation. While self-quarantining isn’t fun, at least most of us don’t have to deal with ghosts in our homes!