The Dreadful Ten: Top 10 Horrors We’d Like to See in 3D!


It’s strange how, for something so commonly referred to as a “gimmick” by people in and outside of the industry, 3D has been a big part of horror history, and has been there for many of its milestones. During the ’50s, 3D was a definitive attraction when it came to CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON, which remains a selling point at revival screenings to this day, and also brought in audiences to such genre pictures as HOUSE OF WAX and DIAL M FOR MURDER. Later, during the horror surge of the early ’80s, the gimmick came back, most prominently during FRIDAY THE 13TH PART III, which effectively used 3D to enhance the slasher tropes of the time. And when 3D made it’s grand comeback in the late ’00s, it did so with horror by its side, with MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3D, CORALINE and THE FINAL DESTINATION all pre-dating the post-AVATAR 3D boom. And while 3D is still a presence nowadays, it’s not nearly used as commonly as in past years, where almost every studio release would tack on 3D for a box office boost.

But for this writer, one of the things that has been fun to rediscover are classic films that have been brought into 3D. Sometimes it works, like in the incredibly impressive 3D transfer of JURASSIC PARK or the 3D PREDATOR Blu-ray release. Other times, it doesn’t, and considering the fan backlash against the needless post-conversion of contemporary horror films, the concept is mostly met with pre-emptive scorn. And yet for all the horror fans who scream to the heavens whenever their favorite films are remade or favorite franchises are rebooted, isn’t a 3D re-release of the original the lesser of two evils?

As someone who loves cinema in all of its forms, there are plenty of horror films I’d love to see again in 3D, even if the film wasn’t inherently crafted for the format. Horror is one of the most imaginative genres in film history, and one that is often crafted by auteurs with an innate sense of depth and suspense. Therefore, this week’s Dreadful Ten offers the ten films FANGORIA would most want to see in the third dimension.




If you think about it, HELLRAISER is the kind of classic horror film that would definitely benefit from a 3D presentation, especially considering the incredible, reality-bending world Clive Barker builds in his directorial debut. Featuring incredible production design, SFX work and dreamlike cinematography, HELLRAISER could play even closer to a fever dream in 3D, especially once the Cenobites rear their ugly head in a new dimension (literally). And considering how much flesh destruction is on display in HELLRAISER, wouldn’t it be flat-out cool to see some of Barker’s demented dismemberment in 3D and have our sense sucked even further into Lemarchand’s Box?




Speaking of world building, there’s few films that established their universe as quickly and cohesively as Michael Dougherty’s TRICK ‘R TREAT, which throws its audience into it’s Halloween-driven environment with gruesome gusto. But with building such creepy mythology and characters comes a very distinct visual style, which 3D would craft into an event more immersive experience. And with how effective and fun the film already is, having 3D would be a cool addition to both the film’s intense set pieces as well as the little interconnecting easter eggs, some of which rely on the use of foreground and background.




With a comic book influence dripping from the narrative, the SFX and even the cinematography, the already immaculate CREEPSHOW would definitely be quite an experience in 3D. With all the potential sequences that would stick out in 3D, including the colorfully backlit panel-esque reactions to the underwater scenes in the third story, CREEPSHOW could really translate into the third dimension nicely. And with many of these tales inspired by golden age of horror comics, which existed around the title similar fare crept its way into 3D theaters, CREEPSHOW could use nostalgia to an even greater advantage in 3D.


7. THE EVIL DEAD (1981)


While people remember Sam Raimi’s THE EVIL DEAD for how effectively creepy, inventive and wicked it is on such a tiny budget, but it also the first time that fright fans had a sense of Raimi’s incredible visual style. Using depth and perspective in such a unique way, Raimi’s camera work on EVIL DEAD would likely translate incredibly well in 3D. Not to mention that in 3D, the many invasive, unsettling close-ups are likely to resonate even further, with the potential to offer an even more voyeuristic experience than before.




A trippy, reality-bending experience that plays around with depth as it is, this writer was actually surprised OCULUS was not originally released in 3D. With timelines intersecting and the nature of the antagonist, OCULUS would likely be more effective in 3D than most 3D-converts, especially as the film soldiers into creepier territory throughout.




Considering the way that Stuart Gordon plays with space, color and focus, one can only imagine how the beasts and mutations of FROM BEYOND might play in 3D. Hell, even the way the film is shot beyond the strictly horror sequences have an off-kilter visual style, which would allow the film as a whole to feel as invasive as it is pervasive. Besides, John Buechler’s SFX would be nice to see in 3D, especially when the worm-like membrane bits start wailing about.




Though more famous for another in-theater gimmick from William Castle, HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL is almost a no-brainer for 3D, considering the nature of both the film and the narrative. With optical illusions, striking cinematography and some absolutely startling tricks, there’s little doubt that HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL would be a fun, and possibly frightening, 3D experience.




Practical SFX, unique perspectives and some evocative directorial choices: all good reasons for AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON to get a 3D treatment. Whether you’re in the eyes of the wolf himself, or if you’re weaving in and out of a nightmare state, an even more immersive cinematic experience would be a nice new lens on such a familiar genre classic.




While part of the appeal for GRINDHOUSE was the digitally added degradation of film, the content and visual style both would accommodate a 3D transfer as well. With PLANET TERROR, the film has plenty of digital and practical SFX that would pop out in 3D, as well as Rodriguez’s playful depth of field. And for DEATH PROOF, the racing sequences would be even more immersive in 3D, much in the same way that DRIVE ANGRY 3D did so effectively.




Giger’s designs. The chesburster. The Xenomorph reveal. The suspense. If PROMETHEUS proved anything, it’s just how immersive Ridley Scott’s ALIEN universe could be in 3D, and this would be one horror title that would absolutely get me back in the theater for the 3D experience.


And now, some honorable mentions who unfortunately did not make the cut:


While the FRIDAY THE 13TH series has some striking visuals at times, and had its day in the sun with 3D as well, the cinematography on both JASON LIVES and JASON TAKES MANHATTAN would translate well to 3D. JASON LIVES has it’s fair share of in-your-face moments, including the heart-punch scene and the RV face-smash, while JASON TAKES MANHATTAN’s half-giallo, half-STREET TRASH production design would make for an interesting 3D experience.



While Guillermo del Toro is almost synonymous with immersive cinematic experiences at this point, most of his oeuvre came before the 3D boom of the late ’00s. With BLADE 2 well-built universe and rich environments, as well as PAN’S LABYRINTH beautiful imagery and expansive mythology, del Toro’s work would certainly be worth revisiting in the third dimension.



As many recent sci-fi films have proven, the depth of space can be gorgeous in 3D, especially when paired with some stunning visual effects. And as for great genre tales set in space, there’s few titles that would be fitting of a 3D viewing better than Paul W.S. Anderson’s EVENT HORIZON and Tobe Hooper’s LIFEFORCE.



Throughout his nearly 30 directorial endeavors, there hasn’t been a single John Carpenter film in 3D to date, even if he has more than a few concepts befitting of the 3D treatment. And out of his film slate, the practical SFX and cinematography of the first two flicks in Carpenter’s “Apocalypse Trilogy” would likely be the strongest of his output for a 3D transfer.


Italian Horror in 3D: Fulci’s THE BEYOND and Argento’s SUSPIRIA

Horror fans don’t need to be reminded as to the gorgeous nature of Italian horror, yet outside of the recent 3D boom, Italian horror has often used exceptional visuals to bolster the 2-D experience. Yet with the power of 3D, and the use of depth and optical illusions, Lucio Fulci’s THE BEYOND and Dario Argento’s SUSPIRIA could both make for engaging 3D experiences, especially on the big screen and paired with their respective scores.

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About the author
Ken W. Hanley
Ken W. Hanley is the Managing Web Editor for FANGORIA and STARLOG, as well as the former Web Editor for Diabolique Magazine and a contributing writer to YouWonCannes.com. He’s a graduate from Montclair State University, where he received an award for Excellence in Screenwriting. He’s currently working on screenplays, his debut novel "THE I IN EVIL", and various other projects, and can be followed on Twitter: @movieguyiguess.
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