International Horror: 3 French Masterpieces Not to Underestimate

French horror is weird. But amazing. And always a trip.

I’ve already mentioned Climax in several articles before, so I’ll focus on three of my other favorite French films for this one. Climax is, in my opinion, the epitome of what French horror is capable of: a crazy, trippy experience that sticks with you.

The Devils is a classic horror film that helped inspire Psycho.
An intense precursor to Psycho that still holds up in 2020 (image credits: Filmsonar)

The Devils

If you love Psycho, you need to watch The Devils as soon as possible. The author of Psycho’s original novel has cited this as his all-time favorite film, and Psycho definitely wears it on its sleeves as an inspiration.

Though older (it came out in 1955), it surprisingly still holds up as an engaging psychological thriller. A woman plots to kill her husband with his mistress… but it’s once they kill him that weird things begin to happen. First the body disappears unexplainably. Then, well, you’ll just have to watch the film on your own to see what other strangeness ensues.

Martyrs is a famous and quite graphic French horror film.
Martyrs is a well known, and quite graphic, French horror film. (image credits: Wild Bunch)


One of the more famous French horror films, Martyrs has been referred to as “shocking”… which, to be honest, is just a nice way of saying “torture porn.”

As you can probably tell from my praise of Climax, I’m more of a psychological horror kind of guy. So while the amount of gore in Martyrs wasn’t for me, I acknowledge that for some people, that’s what they like.

Much like Climax and Eyes Without a Face, Martyrs is also just as impressive in how it really pushes the boundaries of what horror is capable of. On paper, I really love this film. The plot is certainly unique, and the many twists and turns are unexpected. If you can get past the graphic gore, this one is highly recommended.

Raw is a coming of age movie, a cannibal movie, and a horror film.
Raw is a coming-of-age cannibalistic thriller, and it works in every aspect. (image credits: Petit Film)


I love this film. Best described as a coming-of-age cannibalistic thriller, it works much better than it sounds. A focused story with a great script and breathtaking cinematography, this is another film that sticks with you.

I will say, it wasn’t nearly as “gross” or nauseating as many critics say, and unlike the gore-heavy Martyrs, I was able to get through this one easily in one sitting. Then I immediately ate dinner afterwards.

Have you seen any of these French horror films? Which one was your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: