Prequel Orphan: first murder is a dark, psychological drama filled with violence and twists that eclipse even the famous twist of the original film, Orphan. The films’ premise is creepy enough on its own, with an adult posing as a child to infiltrate grieving families.
But the filmmakers add another layer of genre to the eroticism by having the main villain also be a serial seducer. This combination of sex and terror is a tried and tested classic that has been around since the turn of the 20th century of cinema.
ten Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
Stanley Kubrick’s last film, Eyes wide closed, stars Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman at the height of their fame and uses the then-real couple’s relationship to extraordinary effect in this erotic thriller. The plot revolves around a couple in a difficult relationship who are not completely honest with themselves and each other regarding their psychosexual inclinations.
The couple, especially Cruise’s character, are drawn into an underworld of sex and secrecy and become part of an underground society dedicated to masked orgies. The company begins to reveal an even more sinister underbelly as Cruise deepens and the mystery, thrills and sex come together to form an iconic film that has been referenced many times over.
9 Videodrome (1983)
David Cronenberg is the master of body horror and one of the genre’s defining films is Videodrome. The film stars James Woods and involves virtual pornography and fast-growing tumors and the “Videodrome” video tape is the cause.
The main characters work in or alongside pornography and themes of sadomasochism permeate the film as people are titillated and then mesmerized by the film. The film’s ending covers sexual themes, the killer tape only affects those who are so obsessed with sex and violence that they would turn on the film in the first place.
8 Hunger (1983)
The sexual implications of vampires have been present in lore since Dracula was written by Bram Stoker in 1897. Drinking the blood of virgins, killing by stake in the heart, and nightly visits to vampire lore are no accident. It is an explicit reference to sexuality and promiscuity.
Hunger takes these themes and puts them clearly on screen with its love triangle plot between a doctor and a couple who also happen to be vampires. There’s a lot of blood to be sure, but the sexual desires of creatures that have lived on for centuries is why this movie sits firmly in the erotic horror genre.
seven Jennifer’s Body (2009)
This dark horror-comedy stars Megan Fox as a demon-possessed entertainer who uses her sexuality to seduce men and feed off them when she puts them in a vulnerable position. Eventually it is revealed that Jennifer is harboring a succubus, a mythological creature with deep roots in sex and eroticism.
While at first glance Jennifer’s bodyseems to exploit Megan Fox’s well-known sexuality, there are clear feminist undertones to the film as oppressive men are often punished for being aggressive. When the #MeToo movement started, the film gained popularity as a cult favorite and symbol of the feminist movement in horror (via Voice).
6 Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)
At Bram Stokers Dracula was an unusual follow-up for Francis Ford Coppola after a career directing gangster films, dramas and great war epics. Its plunge into horror was both celebrated and somewhat mystifying to critics who weren’t quite sure what to make of it.
Dracula in this film is very well aligned with the original setting of the novel. Gary Oldman stars as the vampire and hypnotically seduces a number of women throughout the film. But it’s the wives of Lucy and Dracula who exude the most sexuality. Their openness and their eroticism bear witness to the restricted role played by women at the time.
5 The Witch of Love (2016
The witch of love is a passion project of virtuoso filmmaker, Anna Biller, who not only directed but wrote, edited, produced and even scored the horror-comedy. The film centers on a woman who practices witchcraft to make men fall in love with her, and the sex appeal goes up from there.
There are two types of eroticism and sex that are the themes of the film and the way they play off each other makes for a scary, often hilarious, and always sexy film. The passion that the main witch imparts to her targets is one of a kind and the other, darker side of it manifests in the ritual and occult scene.
4 Black Swan (2010)
A psychological horror film about the corps de ballet was bound to have a high level of eroticism and sex, add French actor Vincent Cassel and national sex symbols Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis, and Black Swan becomes one of the most exciting films of the 21st century. Darren Aronofsky directs this surreal tale of one woman’s obsession with dance.
Portman plays an extremely talented ballet dancer selected to try out for the role of the swan in Swan Lake. But her benevolent and naïve nature means that she only succeeds in embodying the White Swan, not the Black Swan, a role that requires more sexuality and aggression. The rest of the film is Portman’s hallucinatory journey to find that side of herself.
3 American Psycho (2000)
Unlike many other films in the sex horror genre, American psycho draws heavily on the male eroticism of Christian Bale’s character Patrick Bateman. Bateman is a shell of a human being who apparently only exists to make money, fornicate, and murder.
Although this film has found a bit of new life online in the form of memes and parodies of the famous “Hootie and the Blowfish” scene, it’s still a horror film full of gore and a disturbing refusal to let the public know what is fact and what is false. The shots of Bale’s body as he sleeps with women throughout the film aren’t just for gratification, it’s to juxtapose the messy murders with near-perfect sexuality.
2 Enemy (2013)
Enemy starts with an underground sex club and ends with one. It also starts with a full-sized spider and ends with a coin-sized spider curled up in a corner, away from the film’s protagonist. This Jake Gyllenhaal-directed movie is about frustration with life and sex, and its use of spiders to get that message across is a chilling method indeed.
Jake Gyllenhaal plays two characters in the film, lookalikes who seem unrelated to each other despite looking exactly alike, right down to their scars. Both men use this resemblance to boost their sexual and personal lives to disaster. Why these two men are the same, and why giant spiders are so often featured in the film, is never fully explored, leaving a lingering and unsettling feeling.
1 Cat People (1942)
RKO Pictures and French director Jacques Tourneur have teamed up to make one of the first erotic horror films cat people. Unlike many other films in the genre, sexuality and violence are rarely, if ever, shown onscreen. Instead, they’re conjured up somewhere just off-screen, creating a suitably spooky effect.
The main character of the film, Irena, is a mysterious woman from Eastern Europe who comes to New York and brings a terrible curse. Irena and the people of the village she is from all turn into panthers when sexually aroused and are forced to stay that way. The suspense comes from the tense expectation of when Irena will give in to her suitor’s advances and transform for good.
Next: The 20 Best Psychological Horror Movies That Will Mess Up Your Brain