The Best War Horror Movies To Explain To President Trump What A Loser Looks Like
The best horror movies often come from war. Here are the top War Horror Movies proving wounded warriors aren’t losers or suckers, but heroes.
War is horrific. There is no sugar coating things. The terrible things people do to each other can’t be forgotten. They stick with a person. Soldiers come back hurt mentally and physically. That’s why they make such a perfect backdrop for horror movies. Even the most ill-conceived plot can make for a decent movie when the atrocities of war are the vehicle for terror. Recently President Trump was accused of calling wounded veterans “losers and suckers.” He denies it, but where there is smoke, there is always fire in battle. So, make your own conclusions. Just in case he is confused about what war looks like and how wounded warriors are heroes who sacrifice for us and not suckers, here are the Best War Horror Movies.
Some wars are completely fictional, and others all too historically accurate. Fantasy, science fiction, alternate reality, and invented enemies all make for good foes. Whether you are fighting yourself, memories, monsters, or an entire country, there are horror movies for every interest. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but rather the must-see horror movies from every conflict. I could have easily included movies like World War Z and Predator, but I wanted to stick a little closer to movies that were less about giant budgets and more about originality. That’s not to say there aren’t some more significant budget films on here, just that they represent the best in their category.
Wars With Werewolves, Vampires, Zombies, and Other Monsters
On the eve of D-Day, American paratroopers drop behind enemy lines to penetrate the walls of a fortified church and destroy a radio transmitter. As the soldiers approach their target, they soon begin to realize that there’s more going on in the Nazi-occupied village than a simple military operation. Making their way to an underground lab, the outnumbered men stumble upon a sinister experiment that forces them into a vicious battle against an army of the undead.
It’s weird, bombastic, loud, and chaotic. It is precisely what you would expect from a zombie World War II film. If you like a little sci-fi with your horror, this is perfectly balanced for you.
28 Days Later
A group of misguided animal rights activists free a caged chimp infected with the “Rage” virus from a medical research lab. When London bike courier Jim (Cillian Murphy) wakes up from a coma a month after, he finds his city all but deserted. On the run from the zombie-like victims of the Rage, Jim stumbles upon a group of survivors, including Selena (Naomie Harris) and cab driver Frank (Brendan Gleeson), and joins them on a perilous journey to what he hopes will be safety.
As far as zombie war movies go, there is no greater one than Danny Boyle’s apocalyptic thriller. The performances are incredible, and the story tight. Shot with hyperkinetic quick cuts that put the viewer right in the middle of the nightmare with the characters, this is hands down the best zombie movie of modern times.
28 Weeks Later
Six months after the original epidemic, the rage virus has all but annihilated the population of the British Isles. Nevertheless, the U.S. Army declares the danger past, and American soldiers arrive to restore order and begin reconstruction. Refugees return to British soil, but one of them carries a deadly secret: The virus is not gone and is even more dangerous than before.
Shockingly the sequel is almost as good as the original. That is a rare feat, and one most horror movies fail at miserably. Imogen Poots of this spring’s trippy hit breakout Vivarium and Robert Carlyle lead a stellar cast that also includes Jeremy Renner and Rose Byrne.
In the final days of World War I, a soldier leads a team beneath the trenches to stop a German plot that could turn the tide of the entire war.
The practical effects are amazing in this gooey, gooey gorefest. Leo Scherman’s movie is a mix of claustrophobic jump scares and shocking viscera. If you like things bloody, this zombie film is the one for you.
During a routine nighttime training mission in the Scottish Highlands, a small squad of British soldiers expected to rendezvous with a special ops unit instead find a bloody massacre with a sole survivor. The savage attackers of the special ops team return, and the men are rescued by Megan (Emma Cleasby), a zoologist who identifies what hunts them as werewolves. Without transport or communications, the group is forced to retreat to a farmhouse to wait for the full moon to disappear at dawn.
If you are only going to see one werewolf war movie, this is the one to see. Neil Marshall’s low budget horror-comedy is heavy on both laughs and disgusting gore. It is a cult classic and a must-watch.
When a presumed-dead soldier reappears at his parent’s home, there is joy, but soon, as his behaviour becomes more odd, tensions arise within the family.
The 70s brought a whole new type of horror to the landscape. This hidden gem holds up well and is an excellent example of drive-in cinema. Give it a chance. It’s better than you think it will be.
The Ghosts Of War
The Devil’s Backbone
After losing his father, 10-year-old Carlos (Fernando Tielve) arrives at the Santa Lucia School, which shelters orphans of the Republican militia and politicians, and is taken in by the steely headmistress, Carmen (Marisa Paredes), and the kindly professor, Casares (Federico Luppi). Soon after his arrival, Carlos has a run-in with the violent caretaker, Jacinto (Eduardo Noriega). Gradually, Carlos uncovers the secrets of the school, including the youthful ghost that wanders the grounds.
This film is probably my favorite of all the Guillermo del Toro films. Layered and moody, this is smart horror that is guaranteed to scare you. The scares aren’t cheap thrills or jump scares either.
In 1917, nine British soldiers find themselves lost in enemy territory on the Western Front. They take refuge in a corpse-filled, rat-infested enemy trench where they wait for rescue. As night falls, however, the men sense that they are not alone. Soon they begin to die one by one.
Period pieces are sometimes hard sold, but this one delivers. The setting is horrific all by itself but layer in the supernatural plot beat, and it becomes something else entirely. It isn’t the scariest film on the list, but it is memorable.
The submarine U.S.S. Manta had a perfect record until the mysterious death of its captain. The next-in-command, Lt. Richard Brice (Bruce Greenwood) is determined to steer his disheartened crew back to safety. But after three battle survivors board the sub, bizarre and frightening things begin to happen. As the tale unfolds, and crew members begin to disappear, Ensign Douglas O’Dell (Matthew Davis) must piece together the puzzles of the submarine’s past before it is too late to resurface alive.
Below gets a bad rap. I’m not sure why this movies often gets ignored or panned. David Twohy and Darren Aronofsky wrote the screenplay, so you know to expect some twists and turns. It’s a first-rate naval drama and a better than decent horror movie.
After returning home from the Vietnam War, veteran Jacob Singer (Tim Robbins) struggles to maintain his sanity. Plagued by hallucinations and flashbacks, Singer rapidly falls apart as the world and people around him morph and twist into disturbing images. His girlfriend, Jezzie (Elizabeth Peña), and ex-wife, Sarah (Patricia Kalember), try to help, but to little avail. Even Singer’s chiropractor friend, Louis (Danny Aiello), fails to reach him as he descends into madness.
The 1990 version is far superior to the recent reboot. Jacob’s Ladder is my favorite of all the Best War Horror Movies. It’s intense, creative, and disturbing. The hospital scene alone makes it worth several watches.
It’s 1944 and the Allies have invaded Nazi-held Europe. In Spain, a troop of soldiers are sent to a remote forest to flush out the rebels. They are led by Capitan Vidal, a murdering sadist, and with him are his new wife Carmen and her daughter from a previous marriage, 11-year-old Ofelia. Ofelia witnesses her stepfather’s sadistic brutality and is drawn into Pan’s Labyrinth, a magical world of mythical beings.
Guillermo del Toro knows how to weave fairy tales and horror. His creatures are both stunning and terrifying. Easily the smartest and saddest film on the Best War Horror Movies list, Pan’s Labyrinth makes you think.
The Third Part Of The Night
A man (Leszek Teleszynski) joins the resistance following the brutal butchering of his family by the Gestapo.
You won’t find a more insanely weird fever dream than The Third Part Of The Night. Full of symbolism and apocalyptic images, it will stick with you long after the credits roll. This film is art and horror.
Satan Loves A Good Fight
The Devil’s Rock
Two brave Kiwi commandos infiltrate a Nazi facility on the eve of D-Day. They discover an occult plot to unleash the forces of darkness on the Allies and win the war.
Some slick visual effects make up for the unmistakable B movie vibe. This New Zealand horror film is far from original, but it’s still a ton of fun. Please don’t take it too seriously. Just enjoy it!
Under The Shadow
After Shideh’s building is hit by a missile during the Iran-Iraq War, a superstitious neighbor suggests that the missile was cursed and might be carrying malevolent Middle-Eastern spirits. She becomes convinced a supernatural force within the building is attempting to possess her daughter Dorsa. She has no choice but to confront these forces if she is to save her daughter and herself.
This is a surprising hidden gem. It is creepy and genuinely imaginative. Beautifully acted with a cohesive storyline, this film shows the cost of war metaphysically and traditionally.
Revenge And War
After one member of her tribe sets an American camp ablaze, a young Mohawk warrior finds herself pursued by a contingent of military renegades set on revenge. Fleeing deep into the woods they call home, Oak and Calvin, along with their British companion Joshua, must now fight back against the bloodthirsty Col. Holt and his soldiers. They must use every resource that the forest can offer.
Mohawk is a brutal revenge thriller that is a relentless onslaught of viciousness. The screenplay by Ted Geoghegan and Grady Hendrix allows the violence to play out without feeling exploitive. It’s a great revenge thriller.
Thou Shalt Not Kill…..Except
Former Marine Sgt. Stryker (Brian Schulz) and his old war buddies hunt down the weirdos who kidnapped Stryker’s wife.
Killer cults, lots of guns, and soldiers suffering from PTSD, what more do you need? It’s a solid action thriller with elements of Last House On The Left vigilante horror.
Everything Wrong With People
While her son, Kichi, is away at war, a woman (Nobuko Otowa) and her daughter-in-law (Jitsuko Yoshimura) survive by killing samurai who stray into their swamp, then selling whatever valuables they find. Both are devastated when they learn that Kichi has died, but his wife soon begins an affair with a neighbor who survived the war, Hachi (Kei Satô). The mother disapproves and, when she can’t steal Hachi for herself, tries to scare her daughter-in-law with a mysterious mask from a dead samurai.
Onibaba is an essential piece of Asian cinema. It’s a robust supernatural fable about a Buddhist curse, but it, more importantly, is an incredible statement on feminism. It has aged gracefully, and the imagery and themes remain very strong.
Salo, Or The 100 Days of Sodom
A group of fascists round up nine adolescent boys and girls and subject them to a 120 days of physical, mental and sexual torture.
This movie is just sick. Salo is shocking and vile. The level of depravity is unmatched even by today’s standards. This is the kind of movie you should see once, and only once. It is a brilliant if nauseating indictment on capitalism and the abuse of power.
Upon receiving reports of missing persons at Fort Spencer, a remote Army outpost on the Western frontier, Capt. John Boyd (Guy Pearce) investigates. After arriving at his new post, Boyd and his regiment aid a wounded frontiersman, F.W. Colghoun (Robert Carlyle), who recounts a horrifying tale of a wagon train murdered by its supposed guide — a vicious U.S. Army colonel gone rogue. Fearing the worst, the regiment heads out into the wilderness to verify Colghoun’s gruesome claims.
Robert Carlyle pops up again in another of the Best War Horror Movies. This time he is a soldier about to become someone’s lunch. It’s really well acted and shot atmospherically.
Cpl. John McBurney is an injured Union soldier who finds himself on the run as a deserter during the Civil War. He seeks refuge at an all-female Southern boarding school where the teachers and students seem more than willing to help. Soon, sexual tensions lead to dangerous rivalries as the women tend to his wounded leg while offering him comfort and companionship.
The Beguiled is a different type of horror. It is more a Southern Gothic in sensibility than a slasher. This one makes my Best War Horror Movies because the slow burn dread that permeates every scene. It is played to perfection by an outstanding cast. Poor Colin Farrell never had a chance.
There are hundreds of war movies. When you factor in science fiction, alternate reality, and pure fantasy, there are thousands. If you want the Best War Horror Movies, this list should serve as your jumping-off point. Whether you are looking for a night of laughs, gasps, or gags, you won’t be dissatisfied. Most of these can be found for free on Tubi, Prime, Hulu, or Netflix.
As the Television Editor for Signal Horizon, I love watching and writing about genre tv. I grew up with old school slashers, but my real passion is television and all things weird and ambiguous. When I’m not watching and writing about my favorite movies and series, I’m introducing my family to the wonderful world of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. My only regret, there is not enough time in the day to watch everything.