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Midnight Mass: 7 movies and shows to watch when you finish the Netflix horror series
It's been two weeks since Midnight Mass arrived to chill viewers with its vision of a small community gripped by a dark force, and if you're like a lot of horror fans out there, that means you've already binged through it at least once.
Like his previous Netflix miniseries hits The Haunting of Hill House and The Haunting of Bly Manor, Midnight Mass features writer/director Mike Flanagan's commitment to haunting visuals, ensemble casting, and emotional performances to balance out the sense of dread lurking under every single scene. It makes for some very compelling television, but unfortunately its compelling nature means you move through it very quickly.
So, if you're done with Midnight Mass, what can you do other than watch it all over again? Well, we're here to help. From Flanagan's other horror hits to films and shows that share similar themes and concepts, here are seven things you can watch after you've binged Midnight Mass on Netflix.
Oh, and it should probably go without saying if you've read this far, but there are SPOILERS for Midnight Mass mentioned below.
The Haunting of Bly Manor
It makes perfect sense that, if Midnight Mass is among your first introductions to the world of writer/director Mike Flanagan, you'd want to dive into more of his work after binging the seven-episode series. But where to begin? I'm sure every Flanagan fan has their opinion on that, but for my money you can't go wrong with jumping right into The Haunting of Bly Manor. If you're determined to go in order, you could start with The Haunting of Hill House, but as emotional as Hill House is, Bly Manor packs a certain extra helping of emotion and connection that makes it the perfect follow-up to Midnight Mass. Plus, you get more of Midnight Mass star Rahul Kohli, who made his first appearance in a Flanagan production as Bly Manor's lovable, pun-crazy cook, Owen.
Yes, it's time for more Flanagan horror, but this time on the film front. One of the cornerstones of Midnight Mass is Kate Siegel's performance as Erin Greene, and while Siegel has appeared in a number of Flanagan productions, her biggest contribution to his filmography remains this tense home invasion thriller in which she plays a deaf novelist stalked by a masked killer. Hush features yet another tour de force performance from Siegel, who also co-wrote the film alongside Flanagan, giving an extra layer of her own emotional investment to the project. Plus, if you love all-out, nerve-shredding tension in your horror films, Flanagan's never taken that feeling further than he did in this film, which also features Midnight Mass star Samantha Sloyan.
If the intersection of religion and horror is what appeals to you most about Midnight Mass, you're probably on the hunt for more stories that provide that particular blend, and when it comes to religious horror experiences, Saint Maud is one of the absolute best in recent memory. Written and directed by Rose Glass and featuring a stunning central performance by Morfydd Clark, Saint Maud follows a home health carer after a conversion to Catholicism, as she grows fascinated with one of her charges and becomes determined to convert her. It all builds in tension and supernatural ambiguity until it reaches a crescendo with one of the best final shots of any horror film released in the last five years.
In the very first episode of Midnight Mass, we see a paperback copy of Stephen King's novel 'Salem's Lot sitting on the bookshelf in Riley Flynn's childhood bedroom. It turns out to be much more than a passing Easter egg. King's novel about vampires slowly infiltrating and converting a small town is obviously a very direct influence on Flanagan's Midnight Mass, from the involvement of a priest to the various tests of faith at work in the two stories, to the central communities and the doom that comes to them. So, you could obviously follow-up the series by reading 'Salem's Lot. If you're hoping for something to watch, though, Tobe Hooper's 1979 adaptation for television is certainly worthy viewing. It features one of the single creepiest scenes in any Stephen King adaptation, and the creature design for the vampire Barlow will no doubt remind you of Midnight Mass' Angel. Oh, and opt for the long miniseries version, not the shorter, movie-length cut.
Watching Midnight Mass, I was reminded of a number of other horror stories, and the seaside nature of Crockett Island and the ensemble structure of the whole piece called to mind John Carpenter's The Fog. Though it exists in a different subgenre than Midnight Mass, The Fog carries with it that same sense of an entire community being overwhelmed by a supernatural force, from the eerie opening sequence to the reveal of the town's dark secrets to the final confrontation with darkness. They even both have priests confronted with preternatural mysteries, though they end up reacting in different ways. If you want more beautiful ocean views along with your horror, throw The Fog on when Midnight Mass is over.
Midnight Mass is not the first story to focus on a priest wrestling with his own newfound vampiric nature. In 2009, director Park Chan-wook released Thirst, the story of a priest privately struggling with his faith (played by the legendary Song Kang-ho) who transforms into a vampire after a blood transfusion. The changes in his body are initially greeted as a miracle by his followers, but the more his new condition progresses, the more his body and soul seem to change. Featuring some of the most inventive displays of vampiric power I've ever seen onscreen, and one of the most unsettling final acts a vampire movie has ever delivered, Thirst is essential viewing for fans of bloodsucker stories, and an intriguing companion to Midnight Mass.
Nosferatu the Vampyre
In a recent roundtable discussion with Mike Flanagan to discuss Midnight Mass, he named Werner Herzog's 1979 classic Nosferatu the Vampyre as his favorite vampire film ever. That's reason enough to watch it, but as you dig deep into Herzog's remake of F.W. Murnau's original silent classic, you'll also find a lot of thematic resonance between the two stories. Both feature the vampire as a metaphor for decay and corruption, both feature unforgettable creature design, and both feature characters who deliver meaty, contemplative monologues about the nature of life, faith, and death. If you're putting together a vampire marathon after Midnight Mass, make Nosferatu the Vampyre, and Klaus Kinski's unforgettable portrayal of Dracula, your first stop.