With the sudden influx of world-ending weather, most of us are looking forward to spending the foreseeable future hiding underneath a blanket with a hot water bottle strapped to each leg. The following list is comprised of the kind of films with which you can snuggle up on the sofa, while occasionally glancing out at the snow-covered, apocalyptic land below, safe in the knowledge that you are, if nothing else, safely indoors, not freezing your ass off, and not, for example, trapped on a ski-lift, being stalked by Nazi zombies, or best friends with a bloodthirsty vampire.
These aren’t just films that feature blizzards or treacherous, icy landscapes, they’re movies that actually feel cold. We watch them and immediately feel a chill, because the world in which each is set is so vivid and, for the most part, immersive, that we’re instantly transported into it. If you’re in the mood for some chilly, snow-capped fun, to remind yourself that it could be so much worse, this lot won’t let you down. These are the top 10 horror movies to watch in a blizzard:
Easily one of the most impressive modern horror films, Adam Green’s incomparable Frozen (a stark, terrifying portrayal of three friends slowly freezing to death, after they find themselves stranded on a ski-lift for days on end) is incredibly brave, shocking in its simplicity and strangely moving in its depiction of a believable, fractured relationship between three friends. Scary and realistic, it freezes me right to my bones each and every time I force myself to watch it. Not the most comfortable of films, regardless of the weather outside, but definitely powerful.
Aside from being, arguably, one of the scariest vampire flicks of the past decade (not to mention a pretty solid adaptation), 30 Days Of Night, David Slade’s slick, fun, and very scary adaptation of Steve Niles’ comic book series also earns significant bad weather points because of how effectively it represents the extreme Alaskan climate in which the characters find themselves stuck for one whole month of darkness. At one point, they are shacked up in an attic, trying to bide their time while hoping the vampires don’t get to them first, and the temperature is so low throughout, nary a breath needs to be seen for us to feel it. The vamps are cold-blooded, though, so they don’t even need to wear multiple layers.
This Swedish gem is a little-known vampire flick, in roughly the same vein (sorry) as the entry above, only somehow the temperature seems to be even lower. The inhabitants of a small town, which is plagued in darkness for one month every year, are forced to defend themselves as an army of teenage vampires descend on them, turning everyone in their path into a creature of the night. This earns extra points, not just because it was filmed in colder-than-cold Sweden, but because it contains one of the most awesome death scenes in cinema; a teenage girl, recently turned, is impaled on a garden gnome and flatly states “what a totally uncool way to die”. Find this and check it out, now. It’s worth it for that moment alone.
Before Hollywood got its hands on it and made it all cuddly and cute, Swedish director Tomas Alfredson’s devastating pseudo-vampire film made the sight of blood on snow something beautiful, something to truly behold. The kid in this is so cold, one almost expects him to wear his hat indoors, but it is only when his vampire friend turns up, half-dressed, that the ice really begins to creep in. This is a gorgeous, expert piece of film-making, remarkable in its portrayal of friendship, bullying and innocence, and its stark realism is perhaps best represented in its cold, mannered portrayal of the world these children inhabit. The near-freezing temperatures only highlight the cold nature of the story being told, making its eventual conclusion even more heartbreaking.
Probably one of the most well-known cold weather movies of all time (not to mention everybody’s favourite), the John Carpenter alien classic only has to give us a flash of Kurt Russell in a furry hood, rubbing his hands together, for us to know we are in the middle of nowhere, freezing our asses off, while helplessly wondering which member of the team is still human, if any. There is little warmth throughout this film, and we are never really given any respite from the cold, aside from a massive fire at the end which, of course, signals that there is little hope left. Definitely one to watch with a giant mug of hot chocolate, alone, with the only person you can really trust.
Though this isn’t technically a cold film, it’s set in the town of Snowmanton and, really, it doesn’t get much snowier than that. The story of the titular serial killer turned snowman is a largely light-hearted enough affair, with a schlocky, B-movie heart and plenty of over-the-top gore to keep us snuggled up until its predictable, yet still very entertaining, conclusion. Its coldest moment is undoubtedly the rape scene, which is easily the dumbest of its kind in cinematic history. This crazy film is one of a kind and its tagline – “He’s chillin’ and killin'” – is still totally genius.
Probably the funniest, and silliest, entry on this list (apart from Jack Frost, of course), this already-infamous tale of friends being hunted in the snow in the middle of nowhere by zombie Nazis is one that truly never really gets old. It certainly leaves an impression on the viewer, whether good or otherwise, with a great mixture of crazy gore, ridiculous dialogue and a constantly snow-covered palette that makes the blood splatters stand out even more. Not the scariest of movies, nor the most effective, but a cold, snowy, bloody free-for-all that’ll leave you smiling no matter what the weather. And the sequel wasn’t too bad either!
Film locations don’t get much colder or more remote than an abandoned hotel in the middle of nowhere, but somehow there is even less warmth inside than out in this Stanley Kubrick classic. Though there are few of the rather showy breath-baring moments to which we’ve become accustomed, everything about this stone cold horror classic screams freezing temperatures, from the jumpers, to the snow, to the eerily silent, totally iconic Overlook Hotel which, I’m guessing, isn’t warm in the slightest, regardless of how many spirits are stalking its halls.
Another silly, but very snowy, entry, on this list, this rather brilliant, really good fun cannibal film, set in a remote outpost in the Sierra Madre Mountains, is a bit of a cult classic in its own right, thanks in large part to the fact it isn’t particularly good. Though this isn’t the cleverest, or most believable, of scenarios, it is an undeniably fresh take on the sub-genre, which utilises the freezing climate to its advantage, with lots of blood and a suitable amount of flesh-eating gore. The reliable Robert Carlyle is at his most manic and terrifying, dribbling blood and advancing through the snow like only the cannibals of our nightmares truly could. Not the best cannibal-themed horror film of all time, nor is it the most life-changing, but Ravenous is still entertaining, scary and very, very cold.
Another favourite that doesn’t feel quite as cold as it looks, this Spielberg-produced creature feature is a Christmas classic that makes me want to curl up, with a big mug of hot chocolate, while cuddling a cat who is wearing some sort of festive attire against its will, à la Gizmo. We see an awful lot of snow in this film, but the characters aren’t exactly freezing cold, possibly because it’s aimed at kids, they aren’t stranded and there just so happens to be a bunch of cutesy, yet evil, critters running riot around the toastiest bars and toy shops in town. Either way, it’s a cosier winter in the world of this film, but a snowy, mini monster-filled one nonetheless. If nothing else, it’ll warm your heart even when the weather outside is frightful.