Top 10 Best Christian-Themed Horror Movies Of All Time – Forbes

Today is Halloween, and that means everyone will be celebrating with parties, trick or treating, and of course horror movie marathons. Some of the scariest horror is that which speaks to viewers’ own fears, beliefs, and concerns about the current state of the world — be it actual religious views that guide interpretations of events, or the threat of religious views worsening and even causing terrible events in society. So it’s time to look at the top 10 best Christian-themed horror movies of all time.
Official poster for “Saint Maud”
Last week I brought you my picks for the top 10 best horror movies of the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, followed by a companion article of the top 10 best horror movies of the 2000s, 2010s, and 2020s (so far). I also offered my list of the top 10 scariest moments in horror movie history, and even a list counting down and reviewing every film in the entire Halloween horror franchise.
That’s a lot of excellent horror movie content to choose from already. But if you’re particularly looking for some terrifying religious horror stories that reflect Christian themes — be it the scares to be found in literal Christian supernatural beliefs, or the nightmare of extremist religious beliefs unleashing terror upon the world — I’ve got a list here full of not only some of the most iconic and well-known religious horror pictures, but also several you may not have seen or even heard of yet, spanning a wide period of time including every decade from the 1970s through the 2020s.
You don’t need to be religious or specifically Christian to appreciate and get plenty of scares from these films. They offer such a unique collection of approaches, topics, and subtexts that you’re sure to find more than enough horror here to enjoy regardless of your preferences or beliefs.
A few points about my selections. I wanted movies that took their religious themes seriously and used them not only as plot-points but as the engine for the story and character arcs. I also didn’t just include films that were explicitly religious without really being horror films, thus tremendous movies like for example The Rapture (1991) aren’t appropriate for this list (but if you’ve not seen that movie, I strongly urge you to seek it out, it’s amazing).
Now, without further ado, here are the top 10 greatest Christian-themed horror movies of all time! I present them here in order, starting with the #1 best and counting down the entire top 10. Enjoy!
1. THE EXORCIST — The best and scariest horror movie in cinema history pits faith against doubt, with the soul of a child at stake, and through this small-scale personal story it brings into focus larger questions about God’s purpose and the ability to find self-purpose within that belief structure through self-sacrifice in the name of others.
2. THE WITCH — An all around all-time top-tier horror film that relies on atmosphere and foreboding slow burn, it magnificently portrays the terror of its demonic premise amid deeper questions about hypocrisy and sin of pseudo-pious religious extremists who can be their own worst enemies and commit their own evils.
3. [REC]2 — This is not just one of the best religious horror films, it’s also one of the best zombie films and most original in its concept of where the undead come from. Best viewed along with the first [REC] film since they form a single narrative set during the same evening, and capable of giving you scary dreams for years to come.
4. THE CONJURING — The “inspired by a true story” framework will contribute an extra layer of resonance and fear for the faithful, while other viewers will find plenty to admire in the high quality filmmaking and remarkable performances, in a spooky haunted house story that’s at its best when it’s understated and restrained.
5. FRAILTY — One of the least-seen but most shockingly good horror movies of the 1980s is also a fantastic blend of both at-face-value religious horror storytelling and subtextual examination of extremism, with excellent twists and turns along the way. It also feature impressive performances from a great cast.
6. THE EXORCIST III — A worthy follow-up to the original horror classic that goes in some unexpected directions and relies once again on the conflict between loss of faith and the power of belief in the darkest of moments. It’s an oddly redemptive tale full of memorable moments, including one of the best jump-scares you’ll ever see.
7. SAINT MAUD — A remarkable character study about self-denial, religious extremism, isolation, and mental illness, and among the best horror films of the 2020s. It’s compelling psychological horror, so don’t expect a bunch of bloodletting, but also don’t be fooled into thinking it won’t deliver the horror when the time comes.
8. THE OMEN — A straightforward story imagining the Biblical book of Revelations in a modern setting, the son of Satan is presented as a little boy surrounded by sinister forces visiting ghastly punishment on those who try to oppose the Antichrist. The family dynamic and strong leads performances definitely sell the outrageous premise.
9. ANGEL HEART — Among the most controversial films of its era, largely because of the patronizing attitude of folks offended to see Lisa Bonet transition from sitcom fame to admittedly graphic horror and sexual content. But it’s a fabulous horror-noir piece of filmmaking, and New Orleans provides a perfect gothic backdrop.
10. CARRIE — A testament to the dangerous, awful conditions in extremist religious households and the trauma it inflicts on those trapped in its persecutory boundaries. Children in particular are at risk and suffer most in such climates, and here we see that suffering give way to an unleashing of rage, revenge, and self-destruction.
Honorable mention goes to The Mist, This is the End, House of the Devil, The Last Exorcism, and the first [REC] film (which I excluded from the main list because the religious themes are a final reveal and I didn’t want to too many films from the same franchises).
I also give huge honorable mention to a non-film, which is a cheat but it’s so good I can’t fail to mention it in an article like this — Midnight Mass is not just among the greatest Christian-themed horror productions of any kind, it’s one of the best miniseries ever made, one of my personal favorite horror tales on TV or film, and a must-see for any horror fans. If this list were fully a combination of theatrical and TV productions, Midnight Mass would be at the top of the list.
And there you have it, dear readers, the top 10 best Christian-themed horror movies in cinema history, plus a few honorable mentions to make sure you have the very best options for your Halloween horror viewing. Also be sure to check out my interview with horror film producer Peter Phok today at Forbes as well.
Have a Happy Halloween, and remember to stay safe and mask up!


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