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10 great religious horror films to watch along with 'Chucky' Season 2
The Chucky crew is headed to Catholic school, so it's time for some religious horror.
Chucky is officially back on SYFY this week, just in time for the Halloween season, and along with the same old Chucky mayhem, we're also getting some changes to the status quo. For example, this time around, the crew is heading to Catholic school, bringing a whole new feel to certain aspects of the show, and introducing tones of religious horror to the mix.
If you like those creepy vibes that come when faith and terror mix, then you might be itching to go watch some other religious horror classics when you're done with each week's new Chucky episode. With that in mind, we've got you covered. Here are 10 great religious horror movies, from folk-horror classics to Catholic terror, to check out in between episodes.
1. The Exorcist (1973)
When you think "religious horror," it's hard not to immediately call to mind William Friedkin's classic film based on William Peter Blatty's novel. Often called "the scariest movie ever made," The Exorcist tells the story of a young girl who falls into the clutches of a demon and a pair of priests who try to save her even if it costs them their lives. It's been almost 50 years, and this movie will still chill you to your bones.
2. The Wicker Man (1973)
If you're looking for a film that's about the collision of faiths — specifically Christianity and the older ways of paganism — then The Wicker Man is the gold standard. Legendary for its strangeness, its horrifying ending, and its bright visuals contrasted with its dark subject matter, it remains the folk horror film against which all others are measured.
3. Apostle (2018)
If you love The Wicker Man and want to keep going down that road, Gareth Edwards' Apostle is a clear spiritual successor that will not disappoint. Like The Wicker Man, it's the story of a man (Dan Stevens) who visits a mysterious commune and finds dark and deadly secrets waiting there for him. It plays with a lot of the same themes, but takes them in even darker directions, and features some truly horrifying pieces of production and creature design.
4. Frailty (2001)
Directed by and starring Bill Paxton, Frailty is the intimate, shocking story of one family guided by a father's belief that his task on Earth is to destroy "demons" inhabiting the bodies of humans. Part serial killer shocker, part family saga, and part religious horror classic, it's a film that still packs a punch two decades after its release, and reveals Paxton's talent for building suspense and scares behind the camera.
5. Saint Maud (2020)
If you've enjoyed watching Morfydd Clark on The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, you owe it to yourself to check out her powerhouse performance in director Rose Glass' shocking film. The story of a young home health worker who believes she's been appointed to save the soul of a dying woman (Jennifer Ehle), it's full of beautifully realized moments of religious ecstasy morphing into terror, and features one of the most unforgettable final shots in recent horror memory.
6. Thirst (2009)
Park Chan-wook's take on the vampire genre is this dizzying, unpredictable modern classic about a Korean priest (Song Kang-ho) whose life is changed by an apparent miracle that transforms him physically, spiritually, and even romantically. Sumptuous, raw, and full of images that will stick in your brain forever, it's unlike any other vampire film you'll ever see.
7. The Prophecy (1995)
More dark Biblical fantasy than outright horror, The Prophecy nevertheless casts a compellingly eerie spell. The story of an angelic civil war and the archangel Gabriel's (Christopher Walken) role in it, the film has both a satisfyingly juicy mythos and plenty of intriguing casting decisions. Keep your eyes peeled for a younger Viggo Mortensen.
8. Prince of Darkness (1987)
Horror master John Carpenter's take on Catholic horror, Prince of Darkness follows a group of physicists as they investigate a strange artifact that might actually contain the concentrated essence of Satan himself. In the process, they reveal an entire secret history of good and evil, and Carpenter rolls out bug horror, gore, and full-on demonic chaos by the end. It's one of Carpenter's essentials, and a great October watch.
9. The Sacrament (2013)
Director Ti West's take on the Jonestown tragedy, The Sacrament takes a found footage approach by framing its narrative as the first-person story of two journalists who head to a religious common in an effort to rescue a loved one from the group's charismatic leader (an unforgettable Gene Jones). What follows is, of course, terrifying, and it's made all the more disturbing by its roots in a real-life atrocity.
10. We Summon the Darkness (2019)
Religious horror doesn't have to be all terror, all the time, and as proof, we have this 2019 film. Set in the 1980s, the movie follows a trio of girls in the Midwest who head to a heavy metal show and decide to party with some boys, only to reveal that they're after much more than a good time. How it all plays out is better left to the film itself to show you, but you'll definitely have a good time when the chaos enues.
Watch new episodes of Chucky on SYFY and USA Network at 9 p.m. Eastern.