10 Horror Films That Did Social Isolation Right
Day of the Dead (1985)
Most Zombie films revel in social isolation, whether people are shacked up in a little farm house, or an empty shopping mall, it’s all about social distancing themselves from zombies, people and decent hygiene products. The king of social isolation zombie films falls on the fragile hands of George Romero’s horror sequel, Day of the Dead. Following a bunch of scientist and soldiers held up in an underground bunker.
Not only is the military base deep underground, it’s above ground facilities are completely cornered off by high fences and barbed wire, making this the perfect resort for a few weeks of R&R and it keeps those pesky realtors at bay too!
Evil Dead (1981)
There are plenty of cabin in the woods styled movies out there, such as Cabin Fever, What Keeps You Alive and Cabin in the Woods, enough to make up an entire list of their own. Anyone of them could have appeared here on the list, but when it comes to the best example, nothing beats the great granddaddy of cabin movies, The Evil Dead. Sam Raimi’s seminal splatter film is the perfect example of social isolation through isolation.
Four crazy teens head up to the hills to spend the weekend in a remote cabin in dense woodland. But like all good plans of mice and men, things turn sour when they play a recording that unleashes dark forces into the woods. As an extra slam in your face analogy of our current predicament, and the governments advice to STAY IN DOORS, one of the teens is ravaged by the evil forces when she decided to wander out into the woods, away from the safety of the cabin. Yep, if the Evil Dead is to teach us anything, it’s stay inside!
The Wickerman (1973)
The Wickerman is one of Edward Woodward’s most epic roles, where he plays a devout Christian police officer investigating a missing person on a remote Hebridean island. In the case of global pandemics, these remote islands; that only have access via boats, will be the least affected, if not completely isolated from the event entirely. And even if someone was to show up from the outside “infected” world , you could always take a page out of Summerisle island townsfolk and burn them to a crisp, because nothing kills virus quicker than a good flame grill. Remember, self-isolate, don’t self-immolate!
The Shining (1980)
It has been suggested that you could spend your time, whilst self-isolating, doing something creative and meaningful. And whilst this may seem like a truly great idea at first, this advice might be best ignored when you remember how that worked out for Jack Torrance in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. The loving family man ships his family to the isolated Overlook Hotel so that he can work on a new book, whilst also maintaining the grand old hotel. By a combination of supernatural forces and cabin fever slowly send the writer mad.
We are not saying that all creative endeavours will result in an axe wielding maniacs, but if you insist on heading out into your back garden or balcony and starting singing for your neighbours, don’t be surprised if someone comes hacking at your door! All work and no play..and all that!!
The Thing (1982)
You know what else slows down the spread of virus’? The cold. Yep, those nasty microscopic parasites hate the cold, and while freezing temperatures don’t necessarily kill bacteria, they can slow or stop the growth of it. In John Carpenter’s The Thing, the sub Antarctica temperatures are responsible for freezing a shapeshifting alien creature for possible 100,000 years.
Only when a bunch of Norwegian scientist dig it up, does it thaw and start to bodysnatch everyone. The films characters even surmise that the creature plans on freezing itself until rescue comes. But the biggest issue the film really addresses is contact. Yep, that right folks, stop touching people, and if you do, WASH YOUR HANDS! You don’t want to end up a strange alien hybrid doppler do you!
One thing you’ll find a lot of people doing more during this global lock down, is reading. And if you’re not reading a book, how about writing one? The 1990 adaption of Stephen King’s Misery puts a popular writer into un-self-isolation, when he is rescued from a horrible car crash, and then imprisoned by his new nurse.
The self-proclaimed “number one fan” keeps the writer under lock and key, forcing him to write a new version of his latest book. Not only is he not out and about and spreading any nasty virus, but he’s pretty firmly focus on something creative too. Cool!
If you’re looking for the ultimate way of Social Isolating, look no further than a film called Buried, a Ryan Reynolds thriller about a man buried alive in a coffin by terrorists in Iraq. Paul Conroy (Reynolds) finds himself caught in a ploy to extort a ransom from the US Government, traaped in a coffin with nothing more than a phone and lighter.
There are a few films that deal with being buried alive, with the 1988 horror The Vanishing being one that will give you chills (an English remake of this starring Jeff Bridges and Kiefer Sutherland is just as good!), but it’s buried that almost entirely takes places within the claustrophobic confines of a wooden coffin. Whilst we are not saying that you SHOULD bury yourself in your back garden to keep yourself social Isolated, it’s a damned great idea, if only you had important stuff down there with you. You know, stuff like food, water….air!!
The Mist (2007)
One of the most important parts of Social Isolation is to stay indoors as much as possible. Whilst many government say that exercise and food shopping is allowed, the best way of completely isolating is to stop all outside movement. And whilst certain governments are relying on more heavy handed tactics to keep the populace inside, there is an alternative that could work.
Try filling the streets with horrendous blood thirsty creatures to discourage folks from outside athletic endeavors and prevent people from popping to the shops by simply locking people into a supermarket. Such is the case in of Frank Darabont’s adaption of Stephen King’s novella, The Mist, which sees a mysterious mist engulf a small town trapping many of them inside the local supermarket. It might be a little over the top, but it sure is an effective way of keeping folks inside.
Gerald’s Game (2017)
Whilst Gerald’s Game, an adaption of yet another King Book on this list, could be bundled under the Cabin in the woods list, it’s easy to forget that those cabin folks still had freedom of movement. Here in Gerald’s Game, Jessie Burlingame (Carla Gugino) takes self-isolation to the next level. Not only does she and her husband head for a remote cabin, but she finds herself tied to the bed. Try popping to the shops when your handcuffed to an inch of metal, tricky stuff.
Things do get a bit hairy for our naughty nympho , when her hubby pops one Viagra too many and dies of a heart attack, leaving her tied to the bed with no way out. Well at least she isn’t going to catch any virus’ like that!
Before escape rooms were a thing, there was little science fiction horror called Cube, which dropped a handful of people into a giant maze made up of cube like rooms. Filled with booby traps and with a constant shifting pattern, the poor prisoners are faced with a challenge of mind and body.
If you were going to self-isolate , you could do no better than a huge space, with individual cubes to live in. There’s plenty of room, a constantly shifting vista to keep you sane and it’s a huge massive puzzle, one that would keep even the most smartest folks busy for days or months. Now, if only they could find the supermarket hidden at the center of the maze…
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“Hello Horror Fans – I’ve secretly being self-isolating for years. I don’t get many visitors down here in the Morgue, and my complexion is not great in the sunlight. I do enjoy a good list and there’s some pretty great films on this one. Let us know you thoughts in the comments below.
“Morti” The Mortician
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