When it comes to horror films you can go one of three ways: the truly terrifying fare that will seep into your nightmares, the campy B-movies that are endlessly fun, or the poetic emblems of cinematic horror.
If you're tired of the typical slasher and paranormal movies, and looking to watch something more artful this Halloween, here are the best art-house horror films worth a watch:
1. "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"
Robert Wiene's silent German horror film from 1920 used abstract set pieces and nightmarish imagery to create not only a truly scary movie, but a work of art. "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari," a part of the German Expressionist movement, has been dubbed by many critics as the first true horror film.
2. "Only Lovers Left Alive"
Jim Jarmusch's vampire romance was one of the most beautiful horror films to come out in years. More of a love letter to literary history than a typical horror movie, the 2013 film stars Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston as two centuries-old vampires living in the modern world. With its references to Shakespeare and Mary Shelley, and its lavish cinematography paired with measured pacing, Jarmusch's film will leave you craving more of its brilliance once it ends.
Masaki Kobayashi's 1964 horror anthology is based on four Japanese folk tales about hauntings, corpses and shocking truths. The film's colorfully exotic imagery and stunning photography make "Kwaidan" so much more than a horror film, but a true work of cinematic artistry.
4. "Eyes Without A Face"
George Franju's 1960 French-Italian horror film follows a surgeon who kidnaps women as a means of using their faces to replace his daughter's disfigured face. The film blends the horrific and unsettling elements of its genre in a moving piece of cinematic poetry.
5. "Under the Skin"
Jonathan Glazer, best known for 2000's "Sexy Beast," introduced one of the most fascinating, unnerving and experimental horror films in recent memory this year. "Under the Skin" stars Scarlett Johansson as an unnamed alien seductress who preys on men to use their skin as her own. While it sounds gory, the film is nothing of the sort and instead used guerilla-style filmmaking with hidden cameras to film real-life people and their reactions to Johansson. The result is a mind-altering, unsettling film that will leave you simultaneously disturbed and mesmerized.
6. "Funny Games" (1997)
Michael Haneke has been called by many the Austrian master of modern horror. His films exhibit realistic instances of terror, whether through actual violent situations or through more emotional and psychological means, à la last year's Oscar winner "Amour." In 1997 Haneke debuted one of the most terrifying films with his first "Funny Games," an Austrian film he remade 10 years later in America. The film focuses on a vacationing family who becomes tied up and tormented by their psychotic neighbors. Haneke's masterful timing is what elevates "Funny Games" beyond mere horror.
The beginning of Roman Polanski's "Apartment Trilogy," or set of films that look at the terrors of a confined apartment space, was 1965's "Repulsion." The film starred Catherine Deneuve as a shy woman left alone in her sister's apartment where her suppressed anxieties of the past begin to haunt her. With its disturbing claustrophobia and hallucinations, "Repulsions" is still called the director's scariest film, even over "Rosemary's Baby," the second part of the trilogy.
8. "Let The Right One In"
The 2008 Swedish vampire film was praised for adding a beautiful delicacy to the exhausted and blood-filled sub-genre. Instead of exploiting gore and violence, Tomas Alfredson's film focuses on the relationship between a 12-year-old boy and a young vampire girl, while still keeping the fright intact. Few films about the bloodsucking creatures are as atmospheric and compelling.
From Italian horror legend Dario Argento, "Suspiria" is the phantasmagorical nightmare that haunts and dazzles with its woozy camera movements and eerie, glossy lighting. The film follows a young woman who enters a European ballet school to find that it's run by a coven of witches.
10. "Nosferatu the Vampyre"
There are many adaptations of Bram Stoker's "Dracula," from F. W. Murnau's silent classic to Francis Ford Coppola's 1992 version. Yet when looking for something that doesn't fall ill to the modern interpretations of the tale, look no further than Werner Herzog's beautiful take on the story of gothic decay. The German director's 1979 "Nosferatu the Vampyre" stars Klaus Kinski as Count Dracula and uses eerie camerawork and slow-pacing to pay tribute to Murnau's film.
11. "The Innocents"
Jack Clayton's 1961 gothic ghost tale follows a 19th century governess watching two children in a mansion that she begins to suspect to be haunted. Instead of succumbing to conventional jump-scares, "The Innocents" uses lighting and a chilling score to intensify the building of dread and tension.