We all know the classic black and white horrors of old. In the '30s and '40s films were black and white by necessity, but now a new wave of horror directors are choosing to forego the full color palette and return to cinema's roots. Read on for five of our favorite forays into monochrome.
1. 'A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night' (2014)
This ultra-stylish vampire noir is the bold feature film debut of director Ana Lily Amirpour. Set in an imaginary Iranian city, the film was branded as "the first Iranian vampire Western" and screened at Sundance back in 2014. It follows "The Girl," a lonely vampire, through the lawless streets of Bad City. Despite its various nods to times past, the film's particular take on monochrome is crisp and modern. More of a poetic mood piece than a conventional narrative, the film is nonetheless mesmerizing from start to finish.
2. 'A Field In England' (2013)
Back before Ben Wheatley hit the mainstream, he was responsible for some pretty incredible low budget gems such as trippy folk horror Kill List and even trippier English Civil War horror A Field in England. Shot in just 12 days in a literal field in Surrey, England, the film is a beautifully odd piece of cinematic theater. The story plays out in a series of acts separated by surreal, painterly tableaus, beautifully captured by Wheatley's long-time collaborator Laurie Rose, with bawdy, brilliant dialogue by Wheatley's partner Amy Jump.
3. 'The Eyes Of My Mother' (2016)
The directorial debut of Nicolas Pesce, The Eyes Of My Mother is a shocking, visceral exploration of the trauma of loss. The film's protagonist Francisca (Kika Magalhães) descends into disturbing depths after the murder of her mother by a stranger. The film's clinical, matter-of-fact depictions of shocking acts make for a truly chilling ride, even though much of the violence appears off-screen. Pesce's decision to go black and white further emphasizes the cold, impersonal tone.
4. 'The Black Gloves' (2017)
The Black Gloves is the fourth feature from director/writer duo Lawrie Brewster and Sarah Daly. Although not yet released, the trailer teases a moody gothic noir that harks back to classic British chillers. The film stars Macarena Gomez (Dagon, Shrew's Nest) and tells the story of a reclusive ballerina plagued by strange visions of a mysterious owl-headed figure. The film sees the return of the Owlman, the villain from Brewster's cult favorite Lord of Tears. The choice to go monochrome here makes perfect sense as the film is clearly a love letter to the black and white films of the '30s and '40s.
5. 'Darling' (2015)
Written and directed by Mickey Keating, Darling, like The Eyes Of My Mother, tracks one woman's descent into madness. Heavily influenced by Roman Polanski's early horrors, the film has definite echoes of Repulsion and a pervasive 1960s feel. Real-life #horror darling Lauren Ashley Carter gives a mesmerizing performance in the titular role, and although the film lacks a standard narrative, it is nonetheless brimming with atmosphere and intensity.
Those are my top picks, but there are plenty more out there, as this looks like a trend that's set to continue. Bring it on, I say!
Which of these black and white horrors is your favorite?