Horror movies appeal to a fundamental and universal emotion: fear. It’s a simple, easy-to-understand sentiment, and ultimately what people expect from a horror movie. It’s fine to have a direct and sure outburst of jitters or outright dread through a movie. Sometimes that sense of candor in making audiences feel such a simple emotion comes through in the title of the film.
Enter the horror movie title in one word. There’s something odd about horror movies with such short titles, and how they often encapsulate the specific horror element of such a film so succinctly. The last of them is by Alex Garland most recent movie, Menwhich is acclaimed by horror fans the same way his last film was – itself another horror film with a one-word title – 2018 Annihilation. In celebration of Garland’s most recent simply titled horror movie, here are nine other great horror movies that have just one word in their title.
Jordan Peele The second movie is a weird, mysterious, and hugely compelling horror movie, where the less said about the plot, the better (it’s also really hard to describe exactly what’s going on, but it makes more sense when it unfolds on the screen). The important thing is that he is very good and has an incredible performance in the lead from the always excellent Lupita Nyong’o.
It’s about as good as Jordan Peele’s first movie, get out, and cemented Peele as one of the most exciting directors working in the horror genre today. His third film, Nopeis one of the most anticipated horror movies of 2022, and likewise, also has a beautifully straightforward one-word title.
Hereditary is a deeply unsettling and heartbreaking film, and as great as it is, it’s probably one that many will find hard to watch a second time, no matter how much they like it. It’s every bit as compelling as a downbeat family drama as it is a psychological horror film, and deals with a family torn apart by grief and unexpected developments regarding their ancestry.
It was the first feature film of Ari Asterwho did Midsommar, another very good horror movie with a single word in its title. For his next film, he’s really branching out by having two huge words in the title: Boulevard of disappointment. It is also said to be about 3.5 hours, and there’s still no word on what exactly the plot is. Exciting things.
Titanium is a French horror film that won the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 2021 and has been acclaimed both for its extreme horror elements and for its deep, often surprisingly moving insight into identity, family and masculinity versus femininity. With her, director Julia Ducournau made a film like no other.
Its one-word title translates to “Titanium” in English, and metal (or just metal in general) plays an important role in the film, in a way that’s hard to explain coherently. It’s the kind of movie that has more impact if you go into it knowing next to nothing, because the journey Titanium provides is tense, unsettling, unpredictable and utterly engaging (for those with a strong stomach of course).
One of the first big blockbusters remains one of the best, and also one of the simplest. It’s called Jawsafter all, and there’s a big shark on the poster, and the movie itself is about three guys who go on a boat and try to kill a big shark before it terrorizes their little coastal town further.
In the hands of Steven Spielberg, such a simple premise works wonders. The technical skill behind the film and the way it’s put together so well means it’s an almost timeless film. It’s just as entertaining in 2022 as it was in 1975, when it shook the world and almost scared everyone to go swimming in the ocean.
Darren Aronofsky is no stranger to tense, uncomfortable, and psychologically confronting films. Mother! might be his most gruesome, though, which is saying something, considering how insane something like Black Swan becomes as it goes, and just how terrifying drug addiction turns out to be in Requiem for a dream.
Mother! reflects its simple one-word title with a simple location for the film’s events (all in one house) and an initially simple premise that becomes more surreal and allegorical as it goes on. Whether it’s social anxiety, a retelling of multiple Bible stories, or just a woman who wants to be left alone as crowds of people refuse to let her depend on the viewer, ultimately. What we can surely agree on, though, is that it’s a dark, nightmarish ride that’s hard to forget, though some viewers might wish they could erase certain images from their minds…
the original Godzilla is still considered the best Godzilla movie by many fans of the series. While later sequels always had longer titles – usually because they added more monsters for Godzilla to fight – the first Godzilla is all about Godzilla, and as such, his name is the only thing really needed for the title.
It’s also much more of a horror movie than most later Godzilla the movies, which tended to have a bit more action, humor, or more alien sci-fi concepts (like aliens, giant robots, and even time travel!). But the original film of the iconic movie monster is just him as a force of nature against Japan as a nation, and that makes for a disturbingly tense sci-fi horror flick that’s even a little emotional, in its own way.
Gremlins is an iconic Christmas movie, as it can be enjoyed as both a heartfelt and somewhat ironic Christmas movie, given its irreverent comedy and surprisingly bloody violence. It’s a fairly straightforward monster movie about a unique creature that, if not cared for properly, can mutate and multiply, causing catastrophic death and destruction.
It succeeds and remains a classic because of the crazy comedy, as well as the mastery of special effects. It gets unusually dark in places, and tonally it feels as chaotic as the creatures that give the film its one-word title. It certainly seems appropriate, in its own way.
by Alfred Hitchcock iconic horror movie psychology arguably helped push the horror genre forward as a whole. Its story of a young woman on the run and seeking refuge in an unusually deserted and creepy motel unfolded in a way that shocked audiences at the time and is sure to surprise any modern viewer who doesn’t know what they’re talking about. “really” the movie.
But you have a good enough idea of what to expect from this simple and intoxicating title. It’s going to be crazy, and the movie is going to be extreme in one way or another. It might not seem that extreme these days, in terms of its violence, but it was pretty brutal for the times, and the content of what was shown on screen and the way the story unfolded were truly groundbreaking, to the point where most horror movies released after 1960 probably owe something to the Hitchcock classic.
Many people have seen Seen, as it was popular enough to get multiple sequels, and it started one of the biggest and best-known horror franchises of all time. But the former is the best for sure, and the most direct and simple. And it’s also the one with the simplest title: just “Seen“, without Roman numerals glued to the end.
It was the first of many films to feature a serial killer who placed people in horrific traps that they had to put themselves in danger of in order to escape. Here, it was less about, “How bad can we do these disgusting, gory scenes? and more: “How suspenseful and psychologically intense can we do these scenes? “. Its stark simplicity and the fact that it doesn’t rely too heavily on bloody violence means it holds up remarkably well as a one-word horror movie.
NEXT: Great Horror Movies For People Who Don’t Like Horror Movies