The top 100 horror films not in English, Spanish, Japanese or Korean

As voted for by Horror Film Twitter.

Last year I got an itch to expand my horror knowledge, and take in more films from around the world. So in October 2020 I asked people on Twitter to recommend me horror films not in English, Spanish, Japanese or Korean.

Why exclude those four languages? Well, English is obvious – I’ve seen quite a few anglophone horrors in my time. Spanish? Well, I had a vision of all the obvious Guillermo Del Toro flicks rising straight to the top. A similar deal with J-Horror: I could guess all the most obvious ones, and wanted more than Ringu, Audition and Pulse. And K-horror? Well, it’s a thing, and I was on a roll with my exclusions. Of those four languages, I know the least about K-Horror, and maybe I should have left it in. Or excluded Italy instead (all those gialli!). But in any case it was an off-the-cuff request and I expected a couple of dozen responses. So why over-think it?

Instead, about 1000 people responded, with over 200 movies.

This was such a big sample I figured I’d better count it all up properly.

Counting up the votes

I have finally got around to totting up the results. A reference to a film counted as a vote, as did someone commenting in agreement. I’ve excluded all the people who voted for something in Spanish (surprisingly common!) This was a laborious manual process, but hopefully I picked up everyone’s votes – including those that came in the form of quote tweets to replies to other quote tweets and so on and so on.

At time I had to make an educated guess about what people were voting for. Demoni and Demons are both the 1985 Lamberto Bava movie, but Demon I took to be the 2015 film by Marcin Wrona (and sometimes that was confirmed). Votes for Beauty and the Beast might have been for the 1946 Cocteau film La Belle et la Bête, but in fact when people clarified their vote they usually clarified to the 1978 film by Juraj Herz. So any ambiguous votes I counted in that direction. Likewise, 2009 Tamil horror Yavarum Nalam was simultaneously filmed in Hindi with some slight variations in cast. The Hindi version is called 13B: Fear Has a New Address, but I merged their votes together.

Nosferatu was an interesting case, too. Some might have thought only the Herzog version was actually eligible, given that the earlier film is silent – but plenty of people decided a silent film was allowed and both films picked up their fair share of votes, coming out even. Where people simply said “Nosferatu” I made my best guess on a case by case basis. Likewise votes for Indonesian horror Jelangkung (2001) and its 2017 remake were merged – I counted them as being for the original, as it seemed to be better regarded.

Kinski in Nosferatu Phantom Der Nacht

The two Nosferatus weren’t the only co-incidental tie; wintery zombie flicks Dead Snow and Dead Snow 2 both got equal votes. Where there was a tie for position, I usually went with the higher Letterboxd score as a tie-breaker, but I sometimes factored in extreme enthusiasm from voters…

Results

A clear win for Swedish favourite Let The Right One In, and just beneath that a very strong showing for the New French Extremity. In fact, Let the Right One in got 76 votes, almost twice what the second-placed Raw got (46). Gialli were surprisingly underrepresented in comparison – perhaps because the more famous ones feature a partially American or British cast, and anglophones tend to watch them in an English dub.

Second-placed Raw.

Everything in the top 100 got at least two votes. French movies make up just under a quarter of that list – 24 entries. Other languages represented include German (19 films), Italian (15 – who would have guessed there would be more German films than Italian?), Cantonese (7), Czech (6), Swedish (5), Indonesian (4), Portuguese (4), Thai (4), Polish (3), Tagalog (3), and Farsi (2 films – and both of them in the top 10!).

There is also one film each that is at least partially in Arabic (Atlantics), Estonian (November), or Turkish (Baskin). There are two films in Tamil and four in Hindi, if we count Yavarum Nalam as being in both, due to its alternate Hindi version, 13B.

Four silent films appear (The Cabinet of Dr Caligari, Nosferatu eine Symphonie des Grauens, Häxan and Faust). 42 entries are 20th Century films, and 58 are from the 21st Century. The most recent film is 2020’s Sputnik.

The highest-placed film that I’d not seen? The 2004 Thai horror Shutter (placing 10th), followed by 1983’s Angst (16th). But the most eye-catching new-to-me horror here is a horrific-sounding true-life tale from the Philippines – Kisapmata, in 98th place. It’s been newly restored, so maybe this year…

Thailand’s Shutter (2004)

The top 100

This list can also be found here on Letterboxd.

PositionNameYearLetterboxd Link
1Let the Right One In2008https://boxd.it/1Qr0
2Raw2016https://boxd.it/dLd2
3Martyrs2008https://boxd.it/1Yqu
4Eyes Without a Face1960https://boxd.it/1j9i
5A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night2014https://boxd.it/7nZE
6Under the Shadow2016https://boxd.it/d1uG
7Suspiria1977https://boxd.it/1SNW
8Funny Games1997https://boxd.it/1WKM
9The Vanishing1988https://boxd.it/1ZTW
10Shutter2004https://boxd.it/1JbY
11High Tension2003https://boxd.it/1WLU
12Diabolique1955https://boxd.it/29we
13Baskın2015https://boxd.it/b24U
14The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari1920https://boxd.it/2aOo
15Goodnight Mommy2014https://boxd.it/8Niy
16Angst1983https://boxd.it/1G46
17Viy1967https://boxd.it/nd2
18Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens1922https://boxd.it/29TM
19Nosferatu the Vampyre1979https://boxd.it/21J0
20Inside2007https://boxd.it/1QqG
21The Cremator1969https://boxd.it/1H8y
22Amour2012https://boxd.it/34Q6
23Vampyr1932https://boxd.it/29DY
24Satan’s Slaves2017https://boxd.it/gJ1E
25Deep Red1975https://boxd.it/1E1E
26The Lure2015https://boxd.it/d3mE
27Hour of the Wolf1968https://boxd.it/1H9G
28Tumbbad2018https://boxd.it/jDZk
29Climax2018https://boxd.it/ikvo
30Troll Hunter2010https://boxd.it/NQY
31Demon2015https://boxd.it/c2Vm
32Them2006https://boxd.it/1VhE
33Come and See1985https://boxd.it/1w9q
34At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul1964https://boxd.it/1kje
35Little Otik2000https://boxd.it/1G0I
36Revenge2017https://boxd.it/gL9g
37The Eye2002https://boxd.it/1Wo2
38Dogtooth2009https://boxd.it/158K
39November2017https://boxd.it/fxu8
40Hagazussa2017https://boxd.it/gHYu
41Blood and Black Lace1964https://boxd.it/1qme
42Thelma2017https://boxd.it/e7Ce
43Black Sunday1960https://boxd.it/1rlG
44Good Manners2017https://boxd.it/aakY
45The House of the Laughing Windows1976https://boxd.it/mG8
46A Chinese Ghost Story1987https://boxd.it/1lmI
47Zombie Flesh Eaters1979https://boxd.it/217q
48Black Sabbath1963https://boxd.it/1qoa
49Magic Cop1990https://boxd.it/2g3I
50Demons1985https://boxd.it/1OTQ
51Knife+Heart2018https://boxd.it/h5ko
52Macabre2009https://boxd.it/14xE
53Taxidermia2006https://boxd.it/1LBO
54Amer2009https://boxd.it/TaY
55Jelangkung2001https://boxd.it/chJA
56Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom1975https://boxd.it/237s
57Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale2010https://boxd.it/IyU
58Alone2007https://boxd.it/174K
59The Ordeal2004https://boxd.it/1ROk
60The Horde2009https://boxd.it/17eA
61Yavarum Nalam / 13B: Fear Has a New Address2009https://boxd.it/1Ekm
62Irreversible2002https://boxd.it/29as
63The Iron Rose1973https://boxd.it/2Yss
64Mother Joan of the Angels1961https://boxd.it/3Nny
65M1931https://boxd.it/29vq
66Tenebre1982https://boxd.it/1mRM
67Dumplings2004https://boxd.it/1ZgA
68Evolution2015https://boxd.it/aQNS
69Häxan1922https://boxd.it/n4O
70Opera1987https://boxd.it/1E2M
71The Eyes of My Mother2016https://boxd.it/cTd8
72Trouble Every Day2001https://boxd.it/115M
73May the Devil Take You2018https://boxd.it/j3Ha
74Wither2013https://boxd.it/4maE
75The Era of Vampires2003https://boxd.it/12bw
76The Cannibal Club2018https://boxd.it/i0LG
77Strigoi2009https://boxd.it/uny
78Sputnik2020https://boxd.it/lUya
79Shake, Rattle & Roll1984https://boxd.it/93le
80Seeding of a Ghost1983https://boxd.it/12y6
81Rigor Mortis2013https://boxd.it/6ipE
82Purana Mandir1984https://boxd.it/43aK
83Night Watch2004https://boxd.it/25SK
84Morgiana1972https://boxd.it/x9Y
85Lunacy2005https://boxd.it/1Cm6
86Carnival of Sinners1943https://boxd.it/uEO
87Inferno1980https://boxd.it/1KbK
88Frontier(s)2007https://boxd.it/1Q3M
89Feng Shui2004https://boxd.it/4aZA
90Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead2014https://boxd.it/76Ro
91Dead Snow2009https://boxd.it/1O4e
92Coming Soon2008https://boxd.it/1KmS
93Bhoot2003https://boxd.it/3E0A
94Beauty and the Beast1978https://boxd.it/2tKA
95Zombi Child2019https://boxd.it/kgkq
96The Virgin Spring1960https://boxd.it/1TjI
97Manichitrathazhu1993https://boxd.it/2Yeg
98Kisapmata (aka In Just The Wink Of An Eye)1981https://boxd.it/6sRo
99Faust1926https://boxd.it/1Vxi
100Atlantics2019https://boxd.it/hVEK

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