I used to be the biggest religious horror fan of them all. Whether it be “chosen” children recruited by the church to ward off demons, evil priests doing dastardly deeds, or something more reality-based where the Catholic church was investigated for storing possible demonically-possessed objects, I was there. Although my fascination with this theme has wanned (mostly because I’ve heard and seen them all) there are some that I go back to again and again. Here are my TOP 5.
1. Lost Souls, 2000
Starring Winona Ryder and Ben Chapman, this movie is about a gal who assists in exorcisms and how she meets a guy who she believes is going to be a vessel for Satan in the future. I know a lot of people don’t like this movie and it didn’t get good reviews from the movie critics, but I really love this movie and I watch it frequently. I don’t want to give away the secret but I love movies where people find out they’ve been living a lie their entire lives and that everyone they know is not what they seem. It also has a spectacular reveal scene.
2. The Prophecy, 1995
Put away the fact that this movie series stars one of the creepiest actors in Hollywood, Christopher Walken, and that it deals with dark angels–a subject I personally find fascinating–but this series is really fantastic. The first film is the best as most series go, but the full series is worth a watch as well. Not only do they deal with angels and demons, but the bigger subject of a priest-turned detective questioning his faith as he sees real proof during an investigation will quench your religious horror thirst.
3. Warrior Nun, 2020-
Although I haven’t watched this whole series yet, Netflix’s Warrior Nun is pretty good. A sort of religious conspiracy nut’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the story follows an orphaned teen who wakes up in a morgue and finds she has superpowers. The religious “girl-gang” who she belongs to doesn’t know who she is or why she was chosen and they really want nothing to do with her. The orphan feels the same, but these teens are forced together to demon-slay whether they like it or not.
4. Perfect Creature, 2006
In a world where vampirism is worshipped and human churchgoers “donate” blood to quench their thirst, a rogue vampire starts a killing spree that has the police sniffing out the culprit. A priest from the church teams up with a cop to find out what is going on. As vampire (and religious conspiracy) movies go, this is a unique one and something not to be missed.
5. Stigmata, 1999
A great classic from the ’90s, this movie stars Medium’s Patricia Arquette and Ghost Ship’s Gabriel Byrne. Patricia is fabulous as the non-believer being attacked by unseen forces through a cursed rosary. There is a scary reality factor to this movie as it is not immediately clear that the attack is religious in nature. Gabriel Byrne’s jaded priest act is pretty intoxicating and the whole relationship is funt to watch unfold.