8 Horror Movies With Deeper Meanings Than You Realise

Horror movies are like ogres, ogres are like onions, and all three have layers.

Willem Dafoe The Lighthouse
A24 / Focus Features

Sometimes, what seems like a simple horror movie is anything but. If you take a look at The Texas Chain Saw massacre, for example, what appears on the surface to be a grisly bad time in the sweaty south is actually one big long Quorn commercial, functioning as propaganda for vegetarians in its depiction of the human experience as an animal to the slaughter. And then you dig deeper and find that it's an allegory for the perversion of classic American values in its strange, cannibalistic farm family. AND THEN you come full circle on every 70s horror film every and realise it's actually just a whole riff on the Vietnam war. Jeez, weren't just happy with the meat hooks here, were they?

Horror movies hide far more under their bloody trappings than they'd care to admit, and one layer often isn't enough to please rabid fans that love to go searching for the truth. Even if you thought you knew what was going on in these movies - chances are there's more lurking underneath than initially thought.

Prepare yourself, as we've diving into a world of mythology, cannibalistic tendencies, and some rather unlucky rabbits feet. Oh my.

8. Normal Is Relative - Raw

Willem Dafoe The Lighthouse
Wild Bunch

The representations in Raw mirror that of any bloody gore-fest focussing on women: the horrors of growing up. Puberty is a scary thing, and with it comes all the blood, hair, and sexual liberation a young girl could wish for in a lifetime, then a dollop more for good luck. Raw's embrace of these bodily changes comes through loud and clear, and like in Carrie, and Ginger Snaps, and for all those other monstrous women in cinema, Justine is left stronger, stranger, and sexually awakened by her mysterious affliction for cannibalism. But that's not all that director Julia Ducournau was going for.

Ducournau has stated that she wanted to create a scenario that makes watchers consider what they're seeing and how it relates to our own perception of normality - how cannibalism might seem like this grand, terrifying statement, but in actuality it's an average part of cultures across many other parts of the world: “I thought it was very funny how people tend to qualify as monstrous or inhuman deeds that are actually very human... Cannibalism is part of humanity. Some tribes do it ritually and have no shame doing it."

It's perhaps best encompassed by her quipping "this thing is in us, we just don’t want to see it." Raw is the acceptance of the horrifying as just a part of subjective human nature, something we fold into ourselves and carry on as normal. Identity is purely relative.


Horror film junkie, burrito connoisseur, and serial cat stroker. WhatCulture's least favourite ginger.