Top 5 Famous Paintings That Inspired Horror Moviemakers


Inside and outside sets and settings, topics and themes, beasts and threats, even dialogue and audio effects – every one of these components have been inspired by famous paintings.

So here are top 5 famous paintings that inspired horror moviemakers and made a masterpiece out of them.

5. The Garden of Earthly Delights

Regan MacNeil, possessed by evil spirits insults at the two priests who have come to her home to exorcise the demons within. How does the voice of the devil sound? The Exorcist’s director William Friedkin and Chris Newman, who worked in the film’s sound department, found their answer in an unlikely source: Hieronymus Bosch’s famous surrealist painting, The Garden of Earthly Delights.

Friedkin described Newman Bosch’s painting, pointing out the dozens of demons in the panel of the triptych that represents the painter’s vision of hell. “That’s what the voice of Satan should sound like,” he suggested.

4. The Nightmare

“The Nightmare” was painted by Henry Fuseli in 1781. It shows a woman in deep sleep with her arms thrown below her, and with a demonic and apelike incubus crouched on her chest.

In 2015 this famous painting inspired the movie with the same name directed by Achim Bornhak. The movie’s main character, Tina sleeps with the hideous demonic creature next to her. Is she imagining its presence? Is she the only one who sees it? Real or imaginary the audience can interpret the presence of evil in different ways and opinions.

3. House by the Railroad

Psycho is a 1960 American psychological horror thriller film produced and directed by Alfred Hitchcock. This movie was a masterpiece and the scene when Norman Bates stands alone on the hill overlooking his isolated motel, is one of the most unforgettable parts.

And the inspiration for this house of horrors is the 1925 painting House by the Railroad, painted by Edward Hopper.

2. Witches Sabbath

In filming The Witch: A New England Folktale, director Robert Eggers, who likewise composed the film’s content, wanted to re-make the world of the seventeenth century that witches truly existed.

Despite the fact that witches were “much more primal and significantly more scary” than individuals today may think, Eggers said, the witch in his film should likewise dazzle his audience as someone whose existence would have actually been believed by her contemporaries.

”The painting shows the devil, in the guise of a goat, seated upright, its horns encircled by a garland, surrounded by witches, one of whom offers the central figure a nude newborn baby, while another presents a naked, emaciated child. Some of the witches are older than others, but none of them are young. Besides the presentation of the children as sacrifices, one of the more disturbing images in the painting appears in the background: three naked children’s bodies hung by their necks from a bare, sharpened branch stuck into the ground.

1. Venus with a Mirror

Venus with a Mirror (1555) is a painting by Titian, now in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, and it is considered to be one of the collection’s highlights. Titian’s goddess of love and beauty conjures the sense of touch. Observing her flushed cheek, one can almost feel its warmth. The textures of flesh, jewels, fabric, and fur are exquisitely detailed. In the mirror a cupid holds up to her, she appears not to view herself, but perhaps someone gazing at her.

Movie Psycho is again inspired by this painting. Film experts believe that Hitchcock’s choice of the painting by Titan was also quite purposive. “Venus in front of a mirror” and “Susanna and the Elders” are both symbols of the suppressed sexuality of Norman Bates, forcing him to surround himself with images of half-naked women because of the inability to make a real relationship.