Scream VI, 2023’s newest horror movie, hits theatres this weekend. In a surprising turn, this blood-soaked slasher was made available in 3D. Scream is by no means the Avatar of the horror world, but 3D movies are nothing new to the genre. Filmmakers and distributors have been releasing horror movies in 3D as far back as the 1940s. It’s a gimmick that comes as goes every few years, but it might shock you to know just how many horror movies have had a 3D theatrical presentation.
We all the remember the early 2000s 3D resurgence that had coal miners stabbing through the screen with a pickaxe in My Bloody Valentine (2009), or how death came from us all in The Final Destination (2009). And if you’re old enough, you might even fondly remember the 80s nostaglia wave that saw Jason Voorhees reach out into the audience for Friday The 13th Part III or how we were “actually” eaten by sharks in Jaws 3D (1983). But that’s just the tip of the 3D iceberg!
If you’re dying for more 3D Horror after seeing Ghostface stalk & stab his victims through three dimensions of terror in Scream VI, we’ve got a few recommendations to keep you creepy the rest of the weekend. Below are 10 Horror Movies that, believe it or not, were originally released theatrically in 3D.
Amityville 3-D (1983)
Is there any gimmick the Amityville franchise hasn’t tried? Easily horror longest running series of movies, Amityville 3-Dwas another of the early 1980s returns to 3D. Released the same year as Friday The 13th Part III, Amityville 3D is about as gimmicky as 3D can get, but if you’re looking for a fun movie to hoot and holler through with your friends, look no further. This one is full of ghouls and gags, and if you can get your hand on a copy of Scream Factory 2013 re-release, you can watch it in 3D at home!
Did this Charles Band directed sci-fi horror about deadly parasitic monsters need to be released in 3D? Absolutely not, but oh boy are we happy it was! Ever the showman, Charles Band jumped ahead of the line and stole the thunder from larger studio movies like Jaws 3D (1983) with this grindhouse b-movie spectacle with parasite effects designed and created by Stan Winston. Fun Fact: Not only is Parasite one of the best-worst movies you’ll see all year, it’s also the feature film debut of Hollywood icon Demi Moore.
Dial M For Murder (1954)
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Alfred Hitchcock’s Dial M For Murder is a taught, suspenseful story about a man who thinks he’s crafted the perfect murder. Starring Ray Milland (The Uninvited), Anthony Dawson (Dr. No), and Grace Kelly who also starred in Hitchcock’s Rear Window, Dial M For Murder takes place largely in one parlor room. Milland convinces an old friend to help him kill his wife in one of the most gripping and unpredictable moments of cinema history. If you think a killer stalking an unsuspecting victim from the shadows is suspenseful, just wait until you see those cold, careless hands reaching out for your own throat in terrifying 3D!
Flesh For Frankenstein (1973)
Commonly referred to as “Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein” Paul Morrisey’s Flesh For Frankenstein was (unsurprisingly) rated X at release due to “explicit sexuality, nudity and violence” otherwise known as the holy trinity for horror fans. Hitting theatres just a year before his cult-classic Blood For Dracula (1974), starring Udo Kier, Flesh For Frankenstein is a gonzo, experimental riff on the classic Frankenstein story that as much a remake as it is a porn parody. And it’s made all the more engaging/uncomfortable/confrontational/sexy? by its 3D gimmicks. It also has my vote for best 3D poster ever made.
Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991)
Not entirely shot in 3D,Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare features one hell of a 3D sequence that shows Freddy (Robert Englund) becoming immortal (I think) but allowing evil eels (?) to possess his body before burning alive, giving him the power to become The Dream Demon we know and love today. It’s a doozy of a sequence, and one that was also made available for the home video release! If you haven’t revisited this bizarre entry in the Springwood saga recently, you may have forgotten about this nutters 3D sequence but it’s absolutely worth taking the trip back to Elm Street!
The Mask (1961)
They just don’t make ’em like they used to. Back in the heyday of schlocky, gimmicky movie releases when producers like William Castle reigned supreme, a little Canadian horror picture called The Mask (1961), graced our movie screens with a wonderfully weird little stunt. Rather than watching the entire movie in 3D, audiences were instructed to wear their “3D Masks” only when characters on screen did the same. This way, you would enter the terrifying, surreal world of horror just as the characters were experiencing it. Rather than simply watching the movie….you lived it!
Silent Madness (1984)
Pictured here on a drive-in double bill with C.H.U.D (damn, I wish I could have attended this double-feature), Silent Madness, much like Scream VI, is a rare slasher presented in 3D. A somewhat reactionary story to the 1980s release of mentally ill patients (similar to the Cropsey urban legend and fellow 80s slasher The Burning), Silent Madness follows a homicidal lunatic who goes on a rampage after a computer error sees him accidentally released. It’s gimmicky, it’s grimy, and it was nearly forgotten until Vinegar Syndrome gave it a loving restoration, including a physical released of the 3D cut for you to enjoy at home!
It Came From Outer Space (1953)
The atomic era of horror was full of giant monsters and creatures from other planets but none as terrifying, as spine-chillingly gruesome as…It Came From Outer Space! JK, it’s just like every other 1950s sci-fi horror that promised out-of-this-world frights, and unimaginable horrors, but hot damn if it isn’t a charming little slice of cold war horror. It also stars Russell Johnson, who would go on to play the Professor on Gilligan’s Island, and Richard Carlson who horror fans will surely recognize as Dr. David Reed of The Creature From The Black Lagoon. And given that we’re probably only weeks away from a full-scale UFO invasion, now might be the exactly right time to brush up on UFOs. Just saying.
Phantom of The Rue Morgue (1954)
We all remember how Vincent Price breathed new life into Charle’s S. Beldon’s short story with The House of Wax (1953), but were you aware that Warner Bros tried to do the same for Edar Allan Poe’s classic story Murders in The Rue Morgue? Arguably the origins of the modern Murder Mystery, this puzzling tale has baffled readers for decades and in 1954 it was given new three-dimensional life in Phantom of The Rue Morgue (a much cooler title if you ask me). Although never reaching the heights of the previous year’s The Wax Museum, Phantom of The Rue Morgue remains a fun curio in the world of 3D, and proof that Poe’s macabre masterpieces will live on forever.
The Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954)
Truly the best use of 3D photography in all the films on this list, The Creature From The Black Lagoonis a stunning example of what 3D movies can accomplish. At worst, they are good gimmicky fun but at their best, they create a depth of field that is unlike any other viewing experience. And despite being released in 1954 it’s still the gold standard among 3D enthusiasts that even films like Avatar are compared to today.
The underwater sequences look incredible in flat 2D projection, but they are pure movie magic when seen in 3D. If you think that iconic stalking shot of The Gill Man (Ricou Ren Browning) swimming underneath Julia Adams is beautifully haunting, just wait until you see it with the actors floating in front of your very eyes! And thanks to Universal Pictures near constant re-releasing of the Classic Monsters movies, it’s not hard to get your hands on a 3D copy TheCreature From The Black Lagoon.
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