Cats have crept their way into the world of horror cinema, bringing an extra layer of eeriness to these spine-tingling stories. From mysterious black cats and jump scares to feline apparitions, these 30 scary movies featuring cats have clawed their way into cinematic history. Prepare for a hair-raising journey through the world of feline-inspired horror!
"The Cat and the Canary" (1927):
One of the earliest examples of the horror-comedy genre, this silent film features a cat that plays a title role in unraveling the mystery of a haunted mansion.
"The Black Cat" (1934):
Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi star in this classic Universal horror film. A black cat is a prominent superstition and doom symbol in this atmospheric masterpiece. This classic horror film explores the twisted relationship between a man and his beloved black cat. As their sinister connection deepens, their actions spiral into madness and murder.
"Cat People" (1942):
This Val Lewton-produced classic explores the idea of people who can turn into panthers when sexually aroused, blending eroticism and horror in a unique and unsettling way. A woman believes she's cursed to become a panther if she becomes sexually aroused. And as the tension builds, the line between human and feline blurs with terrifying consequences. There's also a 1982 remake of this movie starring Nastassja Kinski.
"Curse of the Cat People" (1944):
A sequel to "Cat People," this film explores the supernatural experiences of a young girl who befriends a mysterious woman and her black kitty. It delves into themes of loneliness and imagination.
"The Uninvited" (1944):
Another classic ghost story, "The Uninvited," features a mysterious feline that serves as a supernatural guardian and protector against evil forces.
"The Night of the Hunter" (1955):
While not a traditional horror film, this thriller showcases a chilling performance by Robert Mitchum as a homicidal preacher with the words "LOVE" and "HATE" tattooed on his knuckles. A relentless pursuit ensues, and a cat becomes an unlikely protector.
"Eye of the Cat" (1969):
This psychological thriller revolves around a wealthy woman, her nephew, and a plot to inherit her fortune. The film's tension escalates as the nephew uses his affinity for cats to manipulate events.
"Let's Scare Jessica to Death" (1971):
Jessica, a woman with a troubled past, moves to a rural farmhouse with her husband, where they encounter a mysterious woman and her strange cat. The cat's unsettling behavior adds to the film's eerie atmosphere.
"The Cat O' Nine Tails" (1971):
Directed by Dario Argento, this Italy-produced thriller follows a newspaper reporter and a blind puzzle maker as they investigate a series of murders. A black cat is symbolic and eerie in the film's complex and suspenseful plot.
"The Stepford Wives" (1975):
While not explicitly a horror film, "The Stepford Wives" carries an eerie undertone. A robotic cat is a subtle presence, emphasizing the eerie perfection of the town's women.
This bizarre horror-comedy follows a writer who moves into a haunted house filled with supernatural secrets. Amidst the chaos, a mysterious cat named Blanche appears to offer guidance and protection.
"The Cat From Outer Space" (1978):
This family-friendly comedy sci-fi film tells the story of an extraterrestrial cat with special powers who befriends a group of humans while pursued by government agents. While not a horror film, it adds a unique twist to the concept of cats in cinema.
"The Cat's Eye" (1985):
Stephen King's Cat's Eye is an anthology film that weaves three stories together, each connected by a wandering cat. The cat finds itself in various challenging situations, becoming an unwitting hero. From saving a little girl from a supernatural monster to protecting a smoker from himself, this fearless feline battles evils of all kinds.
In this madcap tale of scientific experimentation gone wrong, a deranged scientist injects reanimating serum into a dead feline. Chaos ensues as the killer cat wreaks havoc on the life of its unsuspecting owners.
In this B-movie gem, a genetically altered mutant cat escapes from a research laboratory and terrorizes a group of yacht-owning friends. The cat's monstrous nature adds a unique twist to this horror-comedy.
"Pet Sematary" (1989):
Based on Stephen King's novel, this film revolves around a burial ground with a supernatural ability to bring the dead back to life. The eerie presence of Church, the Creed family cat, serves as an ominous harbinger of death. If you want more, there's also a 2019 remake of this 1989 classic.
"The Witches" (1990):
Based on Roald Dahl's novel, this film features a coven of witches who despise children and are thwarted by the cleverness of a boy and his grandmother, with the help of a brave and magical cat.
"Tales from the Darkside: The Movie" (1990):
In this anthology film, the tale "The Cat from Hell" presents a cat on a grisly mission - avenging the deaths of its previous owners. Watch out for this vengeful feline and its killer instincts!
"The Sixth Sense" (1999):
In this supernatural thriller, a cat's reactions hint at the presence of restless spirits. The feline observer adds to the film's sense of foreboding and tension.
"The Mummy" (1999):
Although the cat in "The Mummy" plays only a minor role, it is pivotal in this action-packed horror adventure. With its ability to sense danger, this sleek feline assists in thwarting the ancient mummy's evil plans.
"Let the Right One In" (2008):
This vampire romance film introduces us to Eli, a centuries-old vampire who forms an unlikely friendship with a young boy. Her equally enigmatic companion? A spectral cat that shares her immortal life.
Based on Neil Gaiman's novel, "Coraline" is a dark fantasy film that explores the eerie world of a young girl who discovers a secret door in her new home. Behind it lies a parallel world with a seemingly perfect "Other Mother" and "Other Father." Coraline's feline companion, a talking black cat, is her guide and protector on this unsettling and surreal journey. The cat's wisdom and enigmatic presence add depth to the film's eerie atmosphere.
"Drag Me to Hell" (2009):
In this Sam Raimi-directed horror-comedy, a cursed loan officer is tormented by a demonic force determined to drag her to hell. Among the chaos, a black cat named Rham Jas provides an invaluable clue for salvation.
"The Witch" (2015):
Set in 17th-century New England, this atmospheric horror film revolves around a family banished from their settlement and plagued by supernatural occurrences. A scene with a demonic cat adds a chilling layer to the already unsettling tale.
"The Ninth Life of Louis Drax" (2016):
A troubled child with a mysterious past suffers from a coma after a fall. As doctors try to uncover the truth, a mischievous cat adds an element of supernatural intrigue to this psychological thriller.
"The Cat Rescuers" (2018):
While not a traditional horror movie, this documentary explores the lives of dedicated individuals who rescue and care for feral and abandoned cats in New York City. It delves into the eerie and heartwarming stories of these cats' survival against the odds.
"The Good Liar" (2019):
While primarily a thriller, this film features a cat as a subtle symbol of deception and hidden agendas. The cat's presence adds to the atmosphere of intrigue and suspense.
"The Cat and the Moon" (2019):
This indie horror film follows the story of a troubled teenager who becomes entangled in a web of secrets and strange occurrences after she moves to a new town. A mysterious black cat plays a significant role in guiding the protagonist through the dark and unsettling mysteries of the town.
"Lamb" is a unique and eerie horror film from 2021 that blurs the lines between psychological thriller and supernatural horror. A couple living on a remote farm in Iceland raises a mysterious hybrid creature with both human and lamb-like features. Isolation and the unknown is explored in this movie, with a cat playing a subtle yet unsettling role in the story.
Released in 2022, "Smile" is a psychological horror film that follows a woman who moves to a small town with her daughter after a traumatic event. As they try to start anew, they encounter a series of disturbing and supernatural events. A stray cat becomes a mysterious and foreboding presence, adding to the film's sense of unease and dread.
These 30 spooky movies featuring cats showcase the versatility of our ferocious feline friends in the world of cinematic scares. From being subtle symbolism to major characters, cats have left their mark on the genre, adding an extra layer of suspense, superstition, and sometimes even comedy. So, dim the lights, cuddle up with your furry friend, and prepare for a feline fright fest that will leave you with a newfound appreciation for the role of cats in the world of horror cinema.