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These 16 Movies Are Incredibly Scary & Gore-Free

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    When Halloween movie marathons roll around every October, we have to wonder: When did gratuitous gore become the norm for scary movies? How did carnage get conflated with creepy? And what exactly is it about blood and guts that's supposed to be so terrifying, anyway?

    We decided to dig up the most frightening gore-free films we could find. And you know what we discovered? When you strip away shock-value violence from the genre, an impressive trove of genuinely well-made fright-fests remain. These scary movies range from seminal classics like Rosemary's Baby to more modern fare like Paranormal Activity. (That's right, folks, there's more to modern horror than Saw!) Packed with psychological thrills and masterful suspense sequences, these 16 films are bloodcurdling, not blood-filled. (We can’t promise they won’t make you queasy, though. A truly terrifying film will do that to you, anyway.)


    Read these scary stories next:
    Halloween Special! Why I Love Horror Movies
    16 Celebrities Who Starred In Cheesy Scary Movies Before They Were Famous
    R29 Halloween Binge Club: You Need To Be Watching The Returned

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    Paranormal Activity (2007)
    The first installment in the prolific series is far and away the best — bare-bones, blood-free, and downright terrifying. A young couple’s found-footage face-off with demonic supernatural forces is every new homeowner’s nightmare. It’s actually widely considered to be the most profitable film of all time (based on ROI — the movie cost just $15,000 to make and grossed nearly $200 million worldwide).

  3. Photo: Courtesy of Cruise/Wagner Productions.

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  4. Photo: Courtesy of Paramount.

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    The Blair Witch Project (1999)
    The Blair Witch phenomenon changed the horror genre forever, kicking off a decade-and-a-half-long trend of found-footage flicks. Three film school students investigate a local legend in the forest country of Maryland — the movie, pulsing with sickening dread, is what’s left behind after they vanish into the woods. Though the no-longer-novel concept isn’t as convincing or confounding as it was back in 1999, it still feels real enough to put you off camping for a good few months.

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    What Lies Beneath (2000)
    Claire (Michelle Pfeiffer) suffers memory damage from a car accident. So, when she starts seeing ghosts around her lakeside home in Vermont, her husband (Harrison Ford) starts to worry his wife is losing her mind. The only thing more surprising than the film’s director (Robert Zemeckis, of Forrest Gump and the Back to the Future trilogy) is its oh, shit third-act twist.