Top 10 Religious Horror Films

With Legion opening up in theaters, it only proves that mixing faith and terror is still popular. Funny how most so-called religious horror films deal with Christianity, but I guess that’s something else unrelated to this countdown. Over the years, filmmakers have been looking to capitalize off of the two markets, both been proven profitable to make one that scares the Jesus right out of us-literally!

So, sit back, grab your crucifix and repent, as Killer Film looks at the Top 10 Religious Horror Films!

10 – Stigmata (1999)

For those who don’t know, the Stigmata are pains, sores, or body marks in locations where Jesus was crucified. In this film, something I consider of more as a intellectual thriller than a horror film, but regardless, Stigmata is defiantly an interesting flick. Theologists should like the topics of discussion in the film, something novices can follow as well, with the Gospel of Thomas, and its place in the Word of God.

9 – Tales from the Crypt Presents: Demon Knight (1995)

Now, this film is just pure old fashion monster movie fun, with solid performances by Billy Zane as the collector, a demonic presence that must obtain these keys to open Hell. One of the keys, is filled with Christ’s blood, a powerful weapon against the Hellish minions. Look for a fun performance by Jada Pinkett Smith and some wonderful FX. The age old battle between God and Satan continues with some wit from the Cryptkeeper!

8 – The Church (1994)

Before he gave us the wonderful Cemetery Man, Michele Soavi, with some help by the Argentos (Dario and Asia), directed this horror film about the Teutonic Knights, a crusading militant force. While Argento wanted it to be the third film in his produced Demons franchise, but Soavi gave it a different, more compelling bent. Some neat FX, and a young Asia, make this battle to keep Hell closed, a neat Italian excursion.

7 – Children of the Corn (1984)

While this film doesn’t given by fellow Nebraskans a good image nationally, King’s story translates well with some deep religious subtext about cults and false prophets. ‘He Who Walks Behind the Rows’ has often be sequelized, but this 1984 original is the best.

6 – The Prophecy (1995)

The upcoming Legion owes a bit to this film, with Gabriel (a wild-isn’t he always?-Christopher Walken) leading a search for an evil soul that gets some people involved in an Angelic War, similar to the first that sent Lucifer to Hell. Lots of fun with the film’s nature of toiling with the Book of Revelations. Walken is spectacularly over-the-top.

5 – Martyrs (2008)

Here’s one of the most disturbing, dark, and violent religious horror films around. Through some systematic torturing, this secret order is using pain to create “martyrs” that through enlightenment, can reveal the secrets of the afterlife. It’s a clever idea, with grisly results. Strong stomachs need apply.

4 – Frailty (2001)

This clever, twist-happy, psychological religious thriller is a wicked good time. Two young boys follow their father, as he claims God commanded him to kill demons. Is it serial murder or is it the actual word of God?

3 – Rosemary’s Baby (1967)

What is Rosemary giving birth too? After a dream of demonic rape, Roman Polanski’s thriller is one of the finer films he has ever done, with mood, terror, and some deep psychological ideas going on. The film is more about Satanism than the good of faith prevailing, causing plenty of controversy.

2 – The Omen (1976)

This film gave us 666 has a household number to fear. Cute, little Damien, is really the Antichrist and the level of violence and the places his biological father (Gregory Peck) must go, makes this an immortal horror film. Wicked deaths, a great score, and a rare appearance of Evil winning over Good. The remake was okay, but stick to this original. Look at me, Damien! It’s all for you!

1 – Exorcist (1973)

What can one really say about this superb film about the ultimate battle between Good and Evil? The innocence of Regan and what befalls on her, is the big tragical element in the film. The nature of faith, believing, and how it affects different people, plus the sound design and shock value, makes this not only the best religious horror film, but a gem of the genre.

Did we miss a religious horror film you liked? Feel free to comment below!

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Jon Peters

I love film. That is all.

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  1. Great to see some love for Soavi’s THE CHURCH, his film THE DEVIL’S DAUGHTER/THE SECT is also a great one.

    I’d have to add THE EXORCIST III, THE SENTINEL, and the rarely seen film THE UNHOLY(1988)

    And for shits and giggles you can’t go wrong with END OF DAYS, THE REAPING, and THE SEVENTH SIGN.

    daniel Reply:

    love the Excorcist III, great movie, and totally agree on The Sentinel deserving a place

  2. I figured it wouldn’t be long for an “Exorcist III” mention. ;)

  3. FRAILTY is amazing. One film everyone should see.

  4. yes. FRAILTY!!!

  5. People really love “Frailty”.

  6. I love Stigmata.. I still remember all the press with the churches trying to keep it from being seen.

  7. Great List! Martyrs is a really interesting movie, Im glad to see that on the list.

    The Sentinel (1977) and The House of the Devil (2009) are two movies that I would add. Hellraiser (1987) and Sheitan (2006) are worthy mentions too.

    Jon Reply:

    Thanks and they are!

  8. I think Stigmata should have been higher up on the list as well as The Prophecy, but all in all a great list. Though I definitely would have included The Reaping.

  9. Seven with brad pitt and kevin spacy needs to be on here for sure!

    Jon Reply:

    Really good film, no doubt.

  10. Exorcist 3 is probably the best movie in this genre. I’d put it up above the original, honestly.