Snowmageddon 2016, or whatever you’d like the call it, has inspired this gal to compile a list that evokes all the whimsy of the season. I feel winter is a straight up snowy, magical wonder wrapped tightly in a snuggly blankie burrito. Until you have to drive in it. So, don’t!
I’ve put together compilation of some of my go to non-holiday wintery horror movies from newest to oldest which will be sure to keep you off the road and chill you to the bone!
So, grab your thermos and long johns, let’s get spooked already!
Frozen chronicles the story of three friends stuck on a chairlift at a ski resort over a long weekend while an impending winter storm encroaches on them by the minute. Literally, that one sentence is the majority summation of the movie.
It’s a simple concept, reminiscent of old school Twilight Zone plotting, but with a contemporary flair. Frozen will make your skin crawl and your body cringe, all while making you cover your eyes at a very real story anyone could see themselves in.
A pretty mild box office success, director Adam Green delivers some wonderful literal and figurative chills with Frozen. I saw a screener of this before it was even released and I recall being genuinely wowed by it. I was then surprised by how little the horror community cared about it upon it’s official release. It raked in roughly 3.1 million at the box office, but I suppose those were confused movie goers anticipating the Disney powerhouse of the same name; she said jokingly. It’s literally the only way I can justify the money raked in versus people who have seen and appreciated it.
Personally, I highly recommend watching Frozen cuddled up under a blanket with someone you love. Or hate. Whatever, just watch it with your eyeballs.
Troll Hunter (2010)
A group of student filmmakers set out to make a documentary about a bear poacher… who turns out to be something else entirely. Watching this Norwegian film for the first time is such a treat, so if you haven’t yet, “treat yo-self.” Trollhunter is like a modern day fairytale. It’s gruesome, grim, beautiful, and inspiring.
However, on June 10, 2011, the first day Trollhunter was released in the U.S., it was announced the rights had been purchased to remake it in English. I actually sighed while writing that. I will never, ever understand why an essentially perfect film needs to be remade for American moviegoers. We aren’t afraid of subtitles and hearing the movie in its native language lends that much more of an authentic vibe to the film. It’s a slap in the face to the original and its audience. (Puts down metaphorical megaphone.)
Trollhunter is kind of the perfect late night movie watching experience. It has notes of the Descent amidst mythical folk tale themes. That being said, at over 100 minutes, it is a little mentally exhausting… in a good way. So, flip your coffeemaker on and get the popcorn ready!
Dead Snow (2009)
Another Norwegian film aptly makes this wintery list, as it should. If you haven’t seen Dead Snow already, we need to have a talk. Just kidding, we don’t. You’re your own human and I’m sure you’ve been very busy. Regardless, Dead Snow is the ultimate mix of scary, gory, and hysterical.
A group of spunky medical students take a trip to a snow entrenched mountain for a vacation wrought with sports, relaxation, and body touchin’. When one of them stumbles upon a box of treasure, a boatload of Nazi Zombies emerge to reclaim what’s rightfully theirs. It’s a solid piece of entertainment and I recommend it, as well as the sequel, Dead Snow: Red VS. Dead, to anyone with a humorous bone in their body.
Let the Right One In (2008)
I was about two years out of high school when I first saw Let the Right One In (on a tube tv no less) and I remember being utterly floored by this Swedish masterpiece. The pace is slower, but lends to the authenticity of it as a whole. Let the Right One In is the kind of movie that makes you want to be a kid again, even if your best friend is kind of a walking nightmare. It’s unclear when it takes place, could be set in modern day or 1983 just the same which is a genius tactic to keep you wondering throughout.
A twelve year old boy named Oskar befriends an equally young looking girl named Eli. They become fast friends who protect each other at all costs. Unaware of Eli’s status as one of the bloodthirsty undead, Oskar develops a crush on his new friend. Occasionally showing her true (and seriously terrifying) face, Eli is a complex character who you can’t help but empathize with while simultaneously holding her at an arm’s length. The book, which the screenplay was based off of, goes into Eli’s unclear history and delves into frightening and heart wrenching detail.
If you enjoyed the original movie, or it’s American remake titled Let Me In, pick up the 2004 novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist and get ready to feel real, real icky.
30 Days of Night (2007)
Honest to god, I avoided 30 Days of Night at all costs for as long as I could. It seemed beyond far fetched and starred post-teenage heartthrob Josh Hartnett. If you recall, American horror in the 2000s was spotty at best. Big box studios were churning out scary movies to reel in box office dough and I was all, “Psh, pass, now let me get back to my Giallo.”
One wintery day, I had pretty much run the gamut of the horror section at Blockbuster (omginorite? Hashtag retro!) and begrudgingly brought home 30 Days of Night. I went into it with a grimace on my face, but by the finale welcomed the end credits with wide eyed surprise. It was ACTUALLY a good movie.
Why had I fought it for so long? Was it because I was sick as hell of vampires? Sure was. Was it because Josh Hartnett’s face just makes me inherently mad? You betcha.
But, Jesus H. Christ 30 Days of Night is riveting, endlessly hopeless feeling, and downright magnificent. The vampires almost look related which is both creepy and clever as all get out. Not to mention, Josh Harnett is ::gulp:: real, real good in a horror setting. Up until then, I had only ever seen him in my guilty, laughable pleasure, The Faculty. I love when movies prove me wrong and, my god, 30 Days of Night did just that.
The Thing (1982)
Oh, you know, just the old school “group of scientists befriend a crazy, alien dog” premise. The Thing, along with the next movie on this list, are probably the most synonymous with being the ultimate winter movies. The Thing, directed by the worship-worthy John Carpenter, is a must for any fan looking to buckle down in a snowstorm. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever watched it without snow on the ground!
Important to note, Tobe Hooper was initially slated to direct this project, but after John Carpenter had shown off his capable chops with Halloween (1978), Carpenter booked the film and ran with it.
Sure is fun to imagine what The Thing would have looked like had Hooper worked the film!
The Shining (1980)
Nothing says “cuddle up in front of a cozy fire,” quite like The Shining! Not necessarily a flop at the box office, but not a blockbuster either, The Shining took its relative time in planting itself in its now film classic status. It seems the further away we get from its release, the more coveted and appreciated it is!
The Shining, as a project and while in production, is silly with trivia.
While Jack Nicholson was a front runner for the role of Jack from the get go, Stephen King wanted someone more relatable to star in it. Ya know, like Robert De Niro or Robin Williams. I’m not even kidding, that’s who King wanted. Additionally, another juicy tidbit of info, the lounge set burned down during production due to the mass amounts of heat from numerous lighting rigs.
And did you know that The Shining currently holds the world record for most takes of a single scene? 127 retakes for a singular scene with Shelley Duvall. Poor Shelley.
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I hope this list has inspired you to delve into the snowy magic held within these seven movies. I wish you an endless supply of fuzzy blankies and tiny marshmallows in the hottest of cocoas!
Now, go forth and relish in your god given right to binge watch until you pass out, god damnit.