Top Ten Heart Wrenching Horror Films


Horror films horrify by nature but fear isn't always the emotion that is desired or achieved. Sometimes these movies touch us in other ways. I personally feel that if a film manages to pull any sort of reaction out of me then it is a job well done...unless of course that reaction is hatred for the film. Then it just sucks. But what I have compiled this week is a list of the films that made me cry. Okay all of them didn't exactly reduce me to tears but I find them either sad or heartwarming. So the criteria for this list is basically that they had to pull at my heart a little, one way or another. And without further hoopla I bring my my:

Top Ten Tear-jerky Terrors

  1. I Am Legend- There are many reasons that I am not a huge fan of this film. Mainly it's because I always read the book and find myself saying “why can't they just make THAT movie?” There have been three attempts and none of them have nailed it completely, though I think The Last Man on Earth with Vincent Price is the closest. But even though I have issues with this movie as a whole I have to admit that the dog scene caused a breakdown. I mean that was brutal. Of course it was purposeful and we all saw it coming but it got me just the same.

  1. Requiem for a Dream – Before I get a laundry list of complaints about this film not being a horror film, I will go ahead and submit that Aronofsky himself has referred to this movie as horror. I honestly don't see how you wouldn't. Yes, I can see that it could be a flat-out drama if you squint really hard but few films have been as horrifying. I sat (along with the rest of the audience) speechless for several minutes after it ended trying to find a way to process all that had happened. Requiem is a punch in the gut. And it is emotionally exhausting. I didn't exactly cry while I was watching it but it moved me without question.

  1. Carrie – No I didn't cry while watching Carrie either. But the sadness of her character reaches me every time. She is utterly alone in the world. Her mother is no help at all and she has no friends. She is an all out outcast. But all of that, to me, isn't even the most depressing part. The heartbreaking points of this film are that when people do reach out to help her, it ends badly anyway. Carrie is a tragedy in every sense of the word.

  1. Pet Sematary – What is more horrible than losing your family once and trying to get them back only to destroy them again? Not much. We may watch the film and wonder why Lewis keeps trying but if you were in his position, can't you see trying to do the same thing. In the end with Rachel his mind does its best to rationalize his actions with statements like “she just died a little while ago” or “it'll work this time.” He has suffered the two-time loss of his little boy and now his wife. I can understand why he wants so badly to reverse everything to have his life back. But the sad reality? “Sometimes dead is better.”

  1. Fido – So many aspects of this film are sad to me. While I find Fido to be a brilliant comedy over all, it does its share of tugging at the cockles. Part of that is due to the satire but mostly the characters themselves. Fido himself just breaks my heart. He is so sweet and caring, alas he is dead. And how sad that it should take the attentions of a zombie to make a woman feel loved, rather than those of her own husband. It is a very endearing film and one that should make us realize that we should appreciate what we have while we have it.

  1. The Fly 2 – Okay now we are getting down to the real nitty-gritty of this list. No, it's not a good film. As far as sequels go this one was not necessary in the least. But the damn dog thing messed me up beyond repair. I watched it again recently and I should have known better. I really don't need to ever see it again. The failed dog transfer is just wrong and I honestly could punch them in the belly for making me cry so much. But I have to admit that it did make me cry. A lot. And horror films don't often do that to me. So for bringing me to my knees alone, this one gets a higher spot on the list than it likely deserves.

  1. Let the Right One In – Okay back to the good stuff. This film is tragedy from beginning to end. Shortly into it I remarked to my friend “I know I'm gonna cry.” And I did. LTROI is about love, loss and acceptance, among other things. And all of those ingredients boil down to a tearfest for little ol' me. But the best thing about it was that it wasn't cheap. These guys didn't go after your soul just to be doing it (cough The Fly 2 cough) but it is simply the inevitable outcome. If you have not yet viewed this one, please do. It is beautiful and touching and well worth the trouble.

  1. King Kong (any version) – Whether you enjoy Fay Wray, Jessica Lange or Naomi Watts, you cannot escape the ultimate sadness of this tale. It's a tale as old as time (yes, I was singing the Disney song when I wrote that) but it never gets old. You can even remove Kong from the equation and replace him with some other misunderstood character and it's just as wrenching. Somehow I find myself hoping every time that things will end differently but they never do. Of course they don't. I just wish they would. But it is unavoidable. If I watch this film I will cry.

  1. The Mist – Wow, this baby is rough. I am all torn up over this film every time I watch it but it's usually not even the end. Of course the ending is about as much of a downer as you could find but I guess I am so wrung out by that point that it just doesn't get me like it gets most. For me it's the realization that people are human and humans are selfish. We like to think that we would come together in the face of something like this but sadly the portrayal is pretty much dead on. The scene with the soldier in the store is the worst for me. Right then we know that once hysteria has grabbed humanity there is no limit to what we will do in order to protect ourselves. The other overwhelming factor is of course the fact that sometimes it just doesn't matter how good your intentions are. In the end, it's all screwed up anyway.

  1. Bram Stoker's Dracula – I may be hardcore in some respects but I am a hopeless romantic. I really do believe that love never dies. Having said that I will go on to say that I think the story of Dracula is one of the most tragic love stories ever told. And Coppola's version had me crying in the theater...three times. Yes others looked at me like “really?” but I cried anyway. The love of his life was also his ruination. And while you can choose to see him as evil if you want, I will always see him as one of the saddest characters in literature and film. Everything he did, good or bad, was a merely a reaction to his loss. Even the most pious of us can surely understand his pain.

Honorable Mention: Frankenstein – I just watched this film again. It has never made me cry but I do notice how deeply saddening it is. At first glance, the creature is an experiment gone wrong. But after another look we find a being that never asked to be created and only met hatred in disgust after it was. He wasn't bad. He wasn't evil. He was just different. Another perfect example of people and why I generally dislike them so much.

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