Horror For Beginners

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Emily Perry-Musgrave

Artist & Writer at Under The Art House
Northerner with a passion for lingerie, art, guinea pigs and sarcasm.
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Genuinely in the space of the last 18 months, I’ve suddenly become a horror fan. I truly avoided horror films and TV at all costs when I was younger. I couldn’t handle the jump scares and I especially hated gore (still do). But after Game of Thrones and American Horror Story, gore isn’t quite as awful as I remember and jump scares are the only way to make my evenings interesting anymore.

If you avoid the horror genre like the plague, this list is for you.


A Quiet Place

More tense than anything, it is a wild ride. I’ve never known anything like it. I went to see it in the cinema, which honestly is the only way I think it could have been so effective.

American Horror Story (Series 1-2)

AHS was the first horror show I actually enjoyed watching. I prefer seasons 1-2 because I honestly think it works horror and scary moments into the show in a way that isn’t just shock value. And there is so much character development, you are actually invested in the outcome of all the characters. (Even you, Grace in season 2. You were the woooorrrsst).

The Conjuring

Vaguely based on the real events of Ed and Lorraine Warren’s work as paranormal investigators, this has the same effect as true crime series for me only it is the horror genre (with embellishment, of course). Morbid fascination of what happened to that family in that old house is compulsive viewing. The real life aspect is what made me watch it in the first place. It is legitimately terrifying and I don’t doubt that is because of the notoriety surrounding the events in that house. Lorraine Warren is still living and still lectures on her work with her husband.


I’ve read that Carrie is only scary for guys because women recognise the manifestation of her powers as puberty. When I watched the film I felt sadness and compassion for Carrie (up until the last couple of scenes) and felt raw emotion over the feeling of being scared.

The Exorcist

My mum tells me a story of when she went to see this when it came out. British audiences had never experienced a phenomenon like it. She was 17 when she saw it (that’s right, she got away with seeing it underage) and remembers the queue was a few hundred feet down the street to get in to watch The Exorcist. She also told me that there was paramedics and volunteers inside the screenings to assist anyone who couldn’t handle what they were seeing. Someone actually fainted while she was there.

Honestly, the scariest thing about this film is that it’s all happening to a child. If this was an adult man for example, I’d probably just shrug and grab the popcorn.

The Others

I remember watching this for the first time when I was 8. The film is so quiet and atmospheric that it meant my dad, who using hearing aids, had to connect up a device to be able to hear it properly.  It’s only rated a 12A, but there are moments I remembered until I watched it again 15 years later. The film made Nicole Kidman quit during rehearsals because playing her role gave her nightmares. Set during World War 2 on the isolated island of, it reinvents the haunted mansion trope in an absolutely terrifying way.


Kathy Bates with a sledge hammer and a haircut that only belongs in fiction. That is all.

Emily Perry-Musgrave
Emily Perry-Musgrave

Northerner with a passion for lingerie, art, guinea pigs and sarcasm.

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