10 Scariest Horror Movies Set During The Medieval Period

Strange and evil forces have been causing nightmares for years before Michael Myers or Jason Voorhees. Horror movies set in medieval times depict a life of struggle and wickedness. There are plenty of chilling inspirations: vengeful witches (bombonic plagues), ancient vampires, religoius Zealots, and many other things. It was a time of very strong beliefs and deep distrust in all things that weren’t connected to the church’s sanctity.

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Whether fans want movies involving witchcraft and puritanical torture, the Black Plague laying waste to entire countries, or just want to know the origins of Count Dracula, there’s something scary for everyone with these medieval horror movies.

10The Masque Of The Red Death (1964), – Available on Prime

The only way to avoid the Red Plague for the evil Prince Prospero is to stay in a castle and watch the peasants die. One evening, a mysterious guest arrives at one of the royal’s elaborately hedonistic bachanals, and the prince soon discovers that what was also keeping the Red Death out will be used to keep him in. 

Vividly colorful and grotesque, The Masque of the Red Death, based on the Edgar Allan Poe story and starring horror icon Vincent Price as the dastardly Italian prince is that most delicious of horror tales that promises ironic comeuppance for its villains with a fate as relentless as the red hands of death., and a powerful message about greed and avarice.

 

9Hagazussa (2017): A Heathen’s Curse

When a young woman is severally abused by her mother and then left to survive on her own in the woods, she acquires a certain reputation from the citizens of her local  village. As she grows up, she is labeled a witch. She is used as a convenient scapegoat to supsertitions of the past. She doesn’t care how she looks at it but eventually she gives in to the rumors and brings terror that the village has never seen.

Hailed as a “feminized version of Eraserhead”, this debut movie from Lukas Feigelfeld is original, visceral, and highly disturbing. It’s haunting and etherreal in cinematography and transports viewers to the Alpine environment. The scenario becomes even more authentic.

 

8Draug (2018) – Available on Prime

The draug creature from Draug

Focusing on Vikings in the 11th century, Draug is a horror movie steeped in mysticism and Nordic legend. It starts with a quest undertaken by the king’s men to find a missing missionary, but what the knights eventuall – y uncover in the wilds of pagan-worshipping Hälsingland is something far worse than bandits.

Nordic folklore horror fans are being marketed as an alternative to the real thing “epic Viking horror saga”It is alive with thrilling action that matches its unsettling sequences. It offers a glimpse at an original creature from Old Norse mythology which inspired our version.

7 Black Death (2010) – Available On Hulu

Sir Ulric (Sean Bean) confronts a villager in Black Death

Sir Ulric and his soldiers must travel through the marshes and moors in order to investigate the rumors of a necromancer bringing back plague victims. They take a young monk along, who has his own mysterious reasons for making the perilous journey.

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This medieval horror movie certainly seems like an excuse for Sean Bean to wear a suit of armor again, but it has genuine thrills and chills amidst its Lord of the Rings looking environment, and a salient message about the fanatacism that can come with strong beliefs.

6 Sauna (2008) – Available On AppleTV

Sauna 2008 Sweden

Two brothers, who have been fighting for years, decide to go to a remote village and explore the mysterious swamp. According to locals, the sauna is said to be able to cleanse a man of his sins. However, once the brothers step into it, they find that they are transformed in ways not quite moral.

Oppressively creepy at times, Sauna has frights that are both real and metaphorical, making it much more of an experience rather than just a generic medieval horror movie. It’s also another Nordic horror movie that incorporates elements of Nordic folklore for fans of the genre.

5Witchfinder General (1968). Available on Youtube

The Puritans appoint a Witchfinder General to search the English countryside for anyone suspected of practicing witchcraft. The Witchfinder General and his eager group of henchmen are ready to do anything to obtain a confession.

Another tale of terror featuring easily one of Vincent Price’s creepiest roles, Witchfinder General was nearly banned in its native England for its excessive violence, and remains highly controversial becuse of its subject mater. Its themes of moral hypocricy subvert expectations, and never has the rural landscape seemed so chilling, when neighbors will turn on neighbors as their beliefs are weaponized.

4 Dracula Untold (2014) – Available On Hulu

The origin story of the Prince of Darkness takes a medieval turn in Dracula Untold, when young Vlad the Impaler must decide how best to serve his country and his family. When the Turkish Sultan demands he wage war, and requires his son to fight in it along with a thousand others, he makes a pact with a cave-dwelling creature that will give him the stren gth of ten armies.

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Vlad is depicted as a tragic heroine and victim of circumstance in the movie. However, there’s still plenty of fear in this gritty, swords-and-shield epic. Charles Dance’s portrayal of an ancient evil is especially frightening.

3Prime: The Head Hunter (2018)

The Head Hunter movie 2019 poster

There is nothing worse than losing a child to a wild beast. The monster can also replace her memory. The fate of a medieval warrior who goes each day into the forested wilderness of his home to kill his daughter is similar. Each night he returns with different heads but never the right one.

The Head Hunter leaves a lot to the audience’s imagination, but what it lacks in particularly showy visuals it more than makes up for in character development, atmosphere, and a powerful sense of dread. He kills creatures that look more like something out of a medieval fantasy movie and are also very realistic.

 

2The Reckoning (2021), – Available on Prime

Creepy witch doctor seance in The Reckoning

Even though her husband has been killed by the bubonic plague a young woman is still accused and sentenced to Judge Moorcroft, an English witch hunter. He tortures her in every way possible, but she maintains her innocence and fends off the devil.

Even with all the gore and jump scares in this medieval horror movie, there is still a sense of depth to it. This is especially true as viewers are taken on a painful journey with her, witnessing how a person can be broken.

 

1Season Of The Witch (2011) – Available On Hulu

Behman (Nicolas Cage) and Felson (Ron Perlman) in front of the wooden cage in Season of the Witch

Two crusaders are sent to rescue a dying cardinal. They must take a witch to a distant abbey where monks will purportedly destroy the darkness in her and put an end to the Black Plague. Their journey isn’t as simple as they think, and there are many surprises at their destination.

Although the idea of Nicolas Cage and Ron Perlman in medieval armor might put off some viewers, it would be a mistake. It has clever dialogue, entertaining action scenes, and a pervasive sense of paranoia when the young girl’s true identity emerges.

NEXT: 10 Scariest Horror Movies Based On Japanese Legends

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About the Author


Kayleena Pierce-Bohen
(1238 Articles Published)

Kayleena grew up on Indiana Jones and Star Wars right from her crib. She is a huge film buff and has a Western collection that includes 250+ titles. She can be found writing for ScreenRant or CBR or The Gamer. When she’s not working on her fiction novel or lifting weights, she also enjoys going to synthwave concerts and cosplaying. She has degrees in archaeology and anthropology, and plans to pretend to be Lara Croft for as long as possible.

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