10 Best Comfort Horror Movies

"You're gonna suffer, but you're gonna be happy about it."

Shaun of the Dead
Universal Pictures

There is something undeniably comforting about giving your emotions over to another entity for a couple of hours, allowing yourself to feel the whole spectrum of emotions within the confines of a familiar fiction, before returning to the excitement or mundanity of your reality.

For some of us, this comes in the form of horror films, where we got to get our rocks off and be scared witless. Sure, there are demons and serial killers and creatures from outer space, but each of these hold in them the key to unlock feelings of familiarity, recognition and a sense of sanctuary.

Maybe the aesthetics are easy on the eyes they're pulling out, maybe the characters are super smooth and offer us some solace as they plunge to their deaths, or maybe there are themes that just resonate with us on a deeper, darker level. Whatever the symptom, these films are the cause. More than anything, we often crave the feeling of safety and control – even in our horror films – and these ten deliver the goods every single time.

10. The Beyond (1981)

Shaun of the Dead
Fulvia Film

Lucio Fulci's 1981 Italian-made The Beyond is not the most obvious choice for comfort horror, and yet something about the rhythm and unreality of it all makes it compelling and unchallenging viewing.

Liza Merril (Catriona MacColl) inherits an old hotel in New Orleans, with the intention of refurbishing and reopening it, not knowing a devotee of the dark arts was lynched there 50 years prior. The hotel sits on a gateway to Hell, and all manner of happenings befall her and her companions: Bleeding hands, tarantulas, eye gouging, spectral forces, and the resurrection of the dead – basically everything you need to make your new hotel project a home away from home.

Originally (and perhaps unfairly) branded as a video nasty - alongside some seriously grim features, such as Cannibal Holocaust (1980) and I Spit On Your Grave (1978) - The Beyond was made at a time when horror was still hoping and praying for the kind of budgets these films command today. Its scares are so crazy and OTT, and presented within such a scattered and improvisational plot, that they don't interrupt the rhythm of the film. In fact, it is so saturated in elementary gore effects that it all becomes part of the scenery; moving wallpaper for an easy evening of blood and guts.


Writer, editor and lifelong critic of test screenings, money men and films-by-committee.