Top 5 Lighthouse-Themed Thrillers/Horror Movies

Sommerleigh Pollonais – Senior Writer

Inspiration can come from anywhere and, as we know, the universal symbol for it is the light bulb. And this is pretty fitting considering my inspiration for this week’s horror list came while I was watching the trailer for what looks to be another horror movie for the ages, The Lighthouse, starring Robert “I’m Batman” Pattinson and Willem “I was The Green Goblin” Dafoe.

When you think of iconic horror movie locations your mind probably conjures up a cabin in the woods, a haunted house, or an old asylum, just to name a few, but lighthouses can actually make for an excellent locale as well, when you realise how isolated and entirely creepy they are.

So without further achoo…adu?…you know what I’m trying to say! With a mild SPOILER ALERT here are my TOP 5 FAVORITE LIGHTHOUSE-THEMED MOVIES.

#5 Darkness Falls

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So I heard somebody had their first tooth out!

Is it just me, or is this movie an underrated gem? Granted, I haven’t watched it for some time, but I remember really enjoying this twisted take on the Tooth Fairy mythos. While I’m sure the CG effects haven’t held up well (they rarely do), the acting is fairly decent and the pacing, story and fun kills all culminate in a battle for survival that ends in a lighthouse because this vengeful spirit doesn’t appreciate being put in the spotlight. Then again, who does?

I also appreciated there was no cheap set up for a sequel as this movie wraps up nicely and as a horror movie fan, that’s always a win to me.

#4 Cold Skin

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And this is what the boy’s part looks like…

I’m sure a lot of folks missed out on this one and, if you haven’t seen it, it’s definitely worth a look, especially if like myself you watch it without having known anything about it going in.

What starts out as a movie about a young man in 1914 who’s sent to a lighthouse to relieve the previous weather observer, quickly takes a turn into the realm of nightmares, when the lighthouse is attacked on a nightly basis by creatures who make the zombies in The Walking Dead, seem like drunk party-goers who annoyingly hangout in the streets when they should get their asses home.

This movie also has a lot to say about colonisation and the arrogance of foreigners and their sense of entitlement, as well as their perceived superiority over the natives of a conquered land.

Or maybe it’s just about sea monsters. Viewer’s choice.


#3 The Fog (1980)

lighthouse 3
Good evening ma’am. We’re from the Fishermen’s Union. We’d like to have a word with ya

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this before, but just in case I didn’t John Carpenter’s The Thing is my favorite horror movie of all time.

It’s the movie that made me fall in love with the genre and while his name is synonymous with movies like Halloween and They Live (just to name a few), his lesser-appreciated film, The Fog, has always held a special place in my heart and I would probably list it as my second favorite John Carpenter movie if I was doing that list…*note to self, idea for my next Top 5*

The Fog, like Darkness Falls, doesn’t take place entirely in a lighthouse, but the location does play a pivotal role in the movie. It is there that radio DJ Stevie Wayne, played by another Queen of Horror, Adrienne Barbeau, chooses to stay during the cursed night so she can warn the townsfolk and tell them where the fog (and it’s ghostly inhabitants) are heading next. She’s the unsung hero of this movie and even holds her own when the ghosts decides to attack the lighthouse because everyone knows Snitches get Stiches Stevie!


#2 The Lighthouse

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‘Come work at a lighthouse’ they said. ‘It’ll be fun’ they said

But this movie is not out yet Sommer!!! So what? It’s MY LIST! FIGHT ME!

This movie isn’t out until October and it already has an 8.2 out of 10 on IMDb, based on the trailer alone. I totally get it. Sometimes you just know a movie is gonna live up to its potential and as someone who really enjoyed what director Robert Eggers did with The Witch, I’m putting my movie money where my mouth is.

The classic black and white visuals, the star power and acting chops of leads Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe, produced and distributed by Studio A24, who gave us movies like Ex Machina, Son of a Gun, Hereditary and Green Room just to name a fabulous few, and what else is there to say?

Honestly, the only reason it’s not at #1 is, I haven’t seen it yet, but after watching the trailer at least half a dozen times now, my inner horror radar is telling me, The Lighthouse is gonna be one for the ages.


#1 The Vanishing

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No, I’ve never been to Sparta. Why do you ask?

While a huge part of me wanted to put The Fog at No. 1, just because I’m such a huge Carpenter fan, I had to be fair with my choice. While The Vanishing is a movie I’m sure most people haven’t seen and probably don’t even know came out last year, it is set in and around a lighthouse and, like The Thing, is a tense and thought-provoking look into what isolation and paranoia can do to people, in a claustrophobic environment.

Starring Gerard Butler (300, Olympus has Fallen) and Peter Mullan (Ozark, Westworld), the story follows three lighthouse keepers who discover a trunk full of gold on their remote island. But what first seems like good luck quickly turns deadly, when some men turn up looking for their treasure.

The Vanishing is more of a thriller than a horror movie, and its methodical pacing won’t appeal to everyone, but the acting is superb, with Butler showing a surprising amount of range you don’t really get to see him utilise in his cookie-cutter action movies. Honestly, it’s one of his best performances yet. Throw in the fact that this movie (while completely fictional) is based on the true-life disappearance of these three men, and I just had to give this lighthouse the top place on the hill.

Lighthouses are a beacon of safety in reality. They’re the port in the storm. But in the hands of creative horror writers and directors, they can just as easily become, the last place you’d ever want to be.

It’s kind of like the moth and the flame, and we all know how it ends for the moth.

For my ranking of the Top 5 Scariest Towns You Never Want to Visit you can click here

Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes. Double Tap Baby!

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