10 Great Religious Horror Movies
The Exorcist (1973)
Linda Blair's Regan MacNeil is cute as all get out — when she's not spewing pea soup or telling people that their mothers are sucking you-know-what in you-know-where. Nearly four decades on, William Friedkin's hugely successful movie remains devilishly terrifying.
The Omen (1976)
The same year Johnny Rotten sang about being, ''an anti-Christ,'' Richard Donner's religio-thriller took the idea a tad more literally. Gregory Peck accidentally adopts Satan in this three sequel- (and one remake-) spawning blockbuster.
Rosemary's Baby (1968)
Are Mia Farrow's hormones driving her nuts? Or is she really pregnant with Satan's spawn? You'll have to watch Roman Polanski's chiller to find out (though its inclusion on this list is kind of a giveaway).
The less you know about Patrice Laugier's film before you see it, the better. And if you're squeamish you will probably not want to know anything about it at all. Suffice it to say, then, that Martyrs is very, very religious and very, very, very horrific.
The good news: religious possession has a biological cause and is thus theoretically curable. The bad news: it's DEFINITELY contagious. Actually, it's pretty much all bad news in this instant classic which was subsequently remade, and stripped of its religious plotline, as Quarantine.
In Bill Paxton's criminally underseen directorial debut, the actor plays a father of two who believes God wants him to go on a killing spree. The really horrific thing? He may be right.
The Wicker Man (1973)
Virgin-cop Edward Woodward must battle the sinister intentions of a pagan cult — not to mention the temptation of a naked Britt Ekland — in this heavenly horror classic. (Don't be tempted by the Nicolas Cage-starring remake, which is just god-awful.)
Prince of Darkness (1987)
Data investigation meets global damnation in John Carpenter's tale of an ancient cylinder of Satanic goo and the band of academics who examine it. You've just got to love a movie that stars Donald Pleasance and Alice Cooper (unless, of course, it's Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.)
The House of the Devil (2009)
Jocelin Donahue's impoverished student finds out why you should never accept a $400 babysitting gig from the creepiest man on planet earth — that would be Manhunter's Tom Noonan — in this note-perfect homage to '80s horror.
The Prophecy (1995)
Even playing God's messenger Gabriel, Christopher Walken can't help but be very Christopher Walken-y. In fact, he may be at his Christopher Walken-est in this slight but enjoyable tale of mayhem-causing angels.