As a child, winters weren’t so bad because snow days were awesome; building snowmen, snowball fights, sledding, and hot cocoa. What’s not to love? However, as an adult, I personally despise winter, minus winter horror movies, and can’t wait until it’s over. In the last few weeks the snow has been piling up all over the United States, keeping people homebound and dreading the amount of white stuff that they will have to shovel. It’s not just the icy, slippery roads but the bitter cold that makes winter suck…frost bitten isn’t a pretty color on me.
Luckily, though, Phil the Groundhog determined that there will only be a few more weeks of winter, so we have spring to look forward to soon. Until then, on nights when we are trapped inside, why not indulge in some snowy horror movies? I know it’s my favorite thing to do – always. Here at Pophorror, we’ve compiled a list of our top 10 winter horror movies to watch when snowed in. Enjoy!
10. Jack Frost (1997)
I guess Frosty the Snowman took a turn for the worse in this cheesy winter horror comedy. But who doesn’t love the idea of a killer snowman?
While not much of a thinker, it’s a fun movie to watch to fight off the winter blues, and it was Shannon Elizabeth’s (American Pie 1999, Thi13en Ghosts 2001) first role. This is one Jack Frost you don’t want nipping at your nose, that’s for sure.
9. Devil’s Pass (2013)
When watching this winter horror, you will definitely appreciate the comfort of being snowed in at your home versus in an isolated deathtrap.
This movie is reminiscent of The Blair Witch Project but with a snowy setting. A few friends go to the Ural Mountains in Russia where the Dyatlov Pass Incident occurred in to film a documentary about the tragedy, but as the secrets unfold, their lives become endangered. Sound familiar?
8. Pontypool (2008)
Oooh, this one gives me the chills! In this film, the citizens of Pontypool, Ontario, are snowed in after a blizzard while a deadly virus begins to infect the town in a surprisingly new and terrifying way.
This movie was inspired by a few things, including the novel Pontypool Changes Everything by scriptwriter Tony Burgess as well as Orson Welles’ radio production of The War of the Worlds. Also, director Bruce McDonald and Burgess have discussed the planning of two sequels. I really hope they get made because I love this movie!
7. 30 Days of Night (2007)
Barrow, Alaska, is preparing for the annual Thirty Days of Night, a period in the middle of winter where everyone still living in town will be snowed in and trapped in 24-hour a day darkness with no way in and no way out…unless, of course, you’re a vampire. This is one of my favorite vampire movies. The bloodsuckers are animalistic, intimidating, and frightening, with their unique language only increasing the creatures’ creepy vibe.
The film is based off of a comic book miniseries of the same name, and the foreign language that the vampires speak is completely original. It was created specifically for the movie by a linguistics professor at New Zealand University, which is pretty awesome.
Josh Hartnett is enough reason to watch it, in case you were having any doubts.
6. Misery (1990)
Misery is based off the novel with the same name by Stephen King, which I just so happen to be currently reading, and tells the story of author Paul Sheldon. While traveling home he is caught in a blizzard, and who saves him but his number one fan, Annie Wilkes. She convinces him that they are snowed in with no communication to the outside world and tries to win him over by nursing him back to health. But what seems like a heroic story becomes a nightmare for Paul as he realizes Annie doesn’t plan on releasing him from her care anytime soon.
Some fun facts about this winter horror movie: Annie Wilkes is one of Stephen King’s favorite characters and is a representation of what he personally went through when battling substance abuse. He was also so impressed by Kathy Bates’ performance as Annie that he wrote two more roles for her, including Dolores Claiborne. Apparently Jessica Lange was asked to play the role of Annie, but I’m glad it was Bates… I can’t picture a better actress for this role – she brings this movie to life. It’s a classic winter horror film.
5. Let the Right One In (2008)
This is another favorite vampire story of mine, and it’s unlike any other. This movie is beautifully told and the visuals are absolutely stunning. In a wintry setting, a bullied boy finds love, friendship, and revenge through an unusual friend…certainly not your average pre-teen girl.
This movie is considered to be one of the 1000 movies everyone must see at one point of their lives. Also, almost every scene in the film has red or a reddish orange color in it, representing Eli’s blood thirst. I love movies that rely heavily on colors and shadows to tell the story. It’s the perfect winter horror love story.
4. The Thing (1982 & 2011)
I personally love both films and think they’re equally great. The remake is one that some actually prefer over the original, which is a rarity. In this movie, it’s the first week of winter in the Antarctic and a research team encounters an alien force that can assimilate with them both mentally and physically. As they struggle with the bitter cold of winter, the team must try to figure out who is still human and who has turned into one of “the things.”
It is one of John Carpenter’s favorite movies and has become part of the culture for those living in Antarctica. According to IMDb, it is a long standing tradition in all British Antarctic research stations to watch The Thing as part of their Midwinter feast and celebration held every June 21st.
3. Dead Snow (2009)
Nazi Zombies. Need I say more?
I adore everything about this horror comedy. I love the contrast of the red blood against the white sparkly snow and the isolated feeling of nowhere to go. Also, it’s not like zombies terrorizing you through the Norway Mountains wasn’t bad enough, let’s make them undead Nazi Germans! Don’t let the subtitles turn you away, this movie is well worth your time.
2. Frozen (2010)
This is a great freaking film! I love movie settings that seem like realistic possibilities; those are the types of stories that really haunt me. Three friends go to a ski resort and become stranded on a chairlift. Ugh, I can’t even freaking imagine! First of all, I probably wouldn’t be on a chairlift in the first place, because I’m afraid of heights, but add below zero temperatures into the mix and it becomes a hell no!
There was no CGI or green screen for this movie. It was shot exactly as it appears, a rarity in the movie business as of late. The actors were actually suspended 50 feet in the air on the side of a real mountain; knowing that fact, the movie terrifies me even more. Even though the wolves at the end make this situation even more frightening, they were almost not even necessary. The life and death struggle of staying in the chairlift, waiting for help, trying to decide if you should freeze to death or risk jumping off the lift and landing 5 stories down on the snow and ice is pretty terrifying all on its own.
1. The Shining (1980)
And finally, my go to movie when I’m snowed in, The Shining! Based off of the Stephen King novel with the same name, there are many differences between the movie and book. This is the ultimate snowed in/winter horror movie for any fan of the genre. Not only are the three characters trapped by dunes of snow in the middle of nowhere, there may be some rather undead residents staying the winter with the Torrance family. Family man Jack takes his family with him to a job as an off-season caretaker at the Overlook Hotel in Colorado, where snowfall comes in feet, not inches. Soon after, Jack becomes influenced by a supernatural presence and the madness begins.
Although, the movie has a brilliant screenplay, amazing actors, perfect lighting, visually climatic scenes, and is overall bad-ass…behind the scenes weren’t so great. Shelly Duvall and Jack Nicholson are both rumored to still hold resentment against the film and how director Stanley Kubrick handled certain situations. The famous “Redrum” line by Danny is one of the most quoted movie lines ever, but the six-year-old actor who played him was the one who had the idea to move his finger when talking as his invisible friend, Tony. And one more crazy fact is that the famous “Here’s Johnny!” scene took 3 days to film and they went through 60 doors! Now that’s crazy.
After creating this list, it almost makes me want a snow day so I can indulge in all my favorite winter movies…almost. Horror movies are always good at any time of year, for any type of reason, and are a good healthy remedy of many things – including making the “winter blues” bearable. I hope you enjoy the list, as I had a fun time reminiscing with some of my favorite classics and will certainly indulge in one soon! Leave a comment down below of what your favorite snowed in movie is to watch during winter. Let’s compare notes.