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Horror Film: International Horror

An exploration of the modern horror film, examining how we can successfully break down horror through a social justice lens.

Introduction to International Horror

International horror encompasses horror films transnationally, mostly films that were made and produced outside of the United States of America. Horror outside of our Americanized perspective is wildly different, but we also take a lot from other cultures' ideals of horror, and studying them is critical to understanding the horror genre at large.

The films listed here are simply examples and are not a comprehensive list.

All posters are cited from

The Eye


The Eye (2002) is a Chinese supernatural horror film, employing the use of an eye transplant as a vessel for it's horror. Due to a curse from a small village, the eyes that our protagonist, Mun, receives are cursed and allow her to see tragedy and death before it will strike. This horrifies her, and nobody believes that this is happening, so she is constantly filled with thoughts of dread and pain at what she could be stopping but is unable to actually stop. This film plays on ideals of "savages" and curses, common among international horror.

The Eye can be viewed on Amazon.

A Tale of Two Sisters

A Tale of Two Sisters (2003) is a South Korean psychological thriller based on a Korean folktale. It is the highest grossing South Korean horror film, and became so popular that it was even screened in American theatres. It follows the trends of many K-Horror films, employing psychological violence and fear as opposed to blood and guts to create fear.

A Tale of Two Sisters can be viewed on Amazon or from UK Libraries.

Go Goa Gone

Go Goa Gone poster.jpg

Go Goa Gone (2013) is an Indian horror-comedy zombie flick, playing on the tropes of zombes being both terrifying and also strangely endearing, a common theme within zombie movies. Hailed as India's virst "Zom-Com", it is in the same vein of Shaun of the Dead and other similar Zom-Com films.

Go Goa Gone can be viewed on Amazon.

Ju-on: The Grudge

Ju-on: The Grudge (2002) is a Japanese horror film, inspiring one of the most notorious American horror movies in The Grudge. Employing a nonlinear narrative, it explores a community wrought with the curse of a prior family's murder. This is perhaps the most famous example of a non-American horror film, and for a long period, it was one of the most popular horror films in the world.

Ju-on can be viewed on Amazon.

Whispering Corridors

Whispering Corridors film poster.jpg

Whispering Corridors (1998) is a South Korean horror film focusing on a school of girls haunted by one of their prior classmates. Korean horror focuses on the psychological aspect of horror, as opposed to the blood-and-guts type of horror that American horror is known for, and this is perhaps most clear in this film. It was brought about after the demilitarization of South Korea and makes many anti-authoritarian statements.

Whispering Corridors can be viewed on Amazon.

Santa Sangre

Santa Sangre (1989) is a Mexican-Italian avant-garde horror film told through both flashbacks and current time, examining the life of a circus boy named Fenix. It documents his life through the series of flashbacks and his time now, and looks to understand what life would be like for someone who was essentially exposed to horrible trauma from an early age. It deals with the occult and also religious blasphemy, along with irreparable family relationships.

Santa Sangre can be viewed on Amazon.


Nekromantic (1987) is a West German exploitation horror film, exploring topics of necrophilia. The film has received a cult following for how violent and horrible it actually is, being banned in multiple countries. As a film, it employs disturbing imagery of necrophilia juxtaposed against common daily things, such as meat being fried right after a shot of the couple having sex with a corpse.

Nekromantic can be viewed on Amazon.



Kisapmata (1981) is a Filipino psychological thriller horror film, exploring themes of incest, parricide, and gaslighting within a family. It follows a retired police officer who goes to great lengths to keep his daughter and her partner in his home, seemingly because he loves her so much, but it is revealed that he is actually carrying on an incestuous relationship with her and the baby she is carrying is his. This leads the father to slaughtering the whole family before committing suicide himself. It's one of the first depictions of incest in Filipino film, and without a doubt the most popular.

Kisapmata can be viewed on Youtube.


Descendents (2008 film).jpg

Descendents (2008) is a Chilean experimental horror film surrounding a zombie apocalypse. It follows a little girl leading a group of children through the apocalypse and through militarized lands to reach the coast, where safety is found for them. Various flashbacks are used to explain the story between Camille, the little girl, and her mother.

Descendents can be viewed on Amazon.