Few films are truly worthy of being called macabre and the definition alone and synonyms really don’t live up to it either:
/məˈkäbrə/ (I personally pronounce it as meh·kob — expert discussion of pronunciation)
Disturbing and horrifying because of involvement with or depiction of death and injury: “a macabre series of murders”.
gruesome – ghastly – lurid – horrible – grisly – terrible
To me, macabre runs much deeper than words can describe, though I’ll try. It’s a sense of melancholy and true horror that’s ultimately inexplicable. The smell of death in the air that isn’t necessarily rot, but a cold breeze after it rains, dead leaves in fall, and old dust of a room years sealed off and forgotten.
There’s a desolation and pensiveness to it that’s poetic. It’s ritualistic like burying something dead and digging it up again a long time after to see it again and how it’s “changed”. It’s not just horror, but sadness and something more.
I’ll attempt to list the films that I think truly managed to encapsulate the feeling of macabre (in no meaningful order):
- The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
- Lady in White
- Flowers in the Attic
- Children of the Corn
- Dark Night of the Scarecrow
- The Devonsville Terror
- The Wicker Man
- The People Under the Stairs
- In Dreams
- House of 1000 Corpses
- Psycho II
- Day of the Dead
- Rosemary’s Baby
- Pet Sematary
- The Last House on the Left
This was a difficult list to make. If anyone has any suggestions for additions or removals to this list, please post them in the comments below.
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