Horror isn’t just the domain of Hollywood. Over the years, filmmakers from around the world have mined the genre and produced some terrifying cinematic experiences. Here are our picks of the best (and scariest) horror films from around the world.
You might also like: Greatest Horror Films of the 21st Century
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
13. Train to Busan (2016) – South Korea
Part of the new wave of zombie-horrors, this fast-paced ride of terror boasts some superb special effects to go with its innovative high-concept. A train (surprisingly heading to Busan) suddenly comes under attack from the hideously infected detritus that is left behind by a virus. Unknown to the passengers, the outside world is suffering an even worse fate…
12. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014) – Iran
Pitching a black and white vampire movie set in Iran (although it is predominantly backed by American money) is a tough sell. The creepy tone throughout and stark use of visual cues is what really make this work. The sight of a young Muslim woman in a headscarf skateboarding through the still night air is one that will live long in our memory.
11. Goodnight Mommy (2014) – Austria
Another multinational production, Goodnight Mommy has twists galore but that’s not at the expense of a core story that is genuinely unsettling. When a woman returns home following reconstructive facial surgery, her twin sons begin to suspect she might not be the woman she claims to be. Then we find out the full horror of the situation, and things get seriously deranged.
10. Suspiria (1977) – Italy
A cult classic, in the best possible sense, Suspiria is remains the best example of Italian horror from the 70’s. Blood readily flows throughout the movie, but the imagery throughout is what sets this apart. Dario Argento perfected a look that many have tried to imitate, but none have mastered to the same effect. We’re not too optimistic about the upcoming sequel starring Dakota Johnson and Mia Goth…
9. Let the Right One In (2008) – Sweden
Another take on the vampire genre, this Swedish chiller has already had a remake. The American version was effective enough, but lacked the subtly that made the original so effective. The two young leads make a mockery of the old adage that you should never work with kids, providing the quiet script with moments of spell-binding gravitas.
8. The Babadook (2014) – Australia
One of the few horrors of recent years to work as both a cerebral exercise in terror as well as outright jump scares, The Babadook attained cult status even before it was released. The performances, most notably from Essie Davis, have won plenty of plaudits.
7. The Silent House (2010) – Uruguay
Another film that has an unnecessary remake already in the can, this effort was unfairly overlooked as a ‘gimmick’ given that it is essentially a one-take movie. The ‘based on a true story’ hook also did it no favours, but when watching it on its own merits, you can’t help but fall into its clever traps.
6. Ils (2005) – France
The home invasion genre has gained rapid popularity in recent years. The idea of using “real-life” antagonists to freak us out is one that appeals, if that is the right word, to the casual viewer. Keeping it real makes for unnerving movies, and this French/Romanian co-production is about as good as it gets.
5. We Are What We Are (2010) – Mexico
Cannibalism is not for the queasy. There have been many takes on the subject matter, most recently it was effectively explored in French thriller Raw but there is something about the way We Are What We Are approaches it all in a matter-of-fact way that disturbs the most. The everyday and mundane outward appearance makes for a horrifying eventual realisation about exactly what is going on. The Hollywood remake isn’t half bad either…
4. The Orphanage (2007) – Spain
Creepy kids are, well, creepy. The Orphanage (and it was tough to pick out just one modern Spanish horror given the resurgence in recent years), has arguably the best jump scene in decades. Not since Spielberg decided to pop out a decapitated head in Jaws (1975) have we seen the popcorn fly across the cinema.
3. Under the Shadow (2016) – UK/Iran
We might be cheating slightly here, we already have another Iranian entry in our list, as well as another British film to come, but this is such a unique blend of both cultures we just had to include it. It’s also so darn scary that our rundown wouldn’t be complete without it. If you want to know what really gets critics jumping out of their seats, then Under the Shadow is the answer.
2. Ringu (1998) – Japan
Overall, J-Horror (horror genre films from Japan) fail to travel successfully. There are cultural sensibilities that need to be fully understood as well as difficulties in translating lengthy dialogue without it sounding like unnecessary exposition. Ringu does away with these issues by having a tremendous central premise (a cursed video tape that will kill you if you watch it) and an unspeakably horrifying villain that has universal appeal. Every girl we know that has long hair has done the old ‘hair over the face’ trick at least once…
1. The Descent (2005) – United Kingdom
So here it is. Our second British entry and one that still doesn’t quite get the recognition it deserves. Perhaps it’s the simple premise, which sees a bunch of female cave-divers tormented by something sinister on their latest expedition, that puts people off? Or perhaps it’s just too scary to watch? We sign up to the latter theory, because The Descent is about as relentlessly evil as a film has any right to be.
Are these the best horror films from around the world, or have we missed any out? Let us know what you think!
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.