Growing up, I was constantly immersed in the worlds of Tolkien, Terry Brooks and Goodkind, George R. R. Martin, and David Eddings.  These fantastical stories all lived within a setting reminiscent of our own historical Middle Ages.  The sword and sorcery playing out between kings and castles.  Good and evil constantly at odds, often with an air of the unnatural.  So it should come as no surprise that many of us who love our knights, also love our nightmares.  The horror genre plays with the exact same tropes: a valiant hero against impossible odds.  Surprisingly, we don’t often see a large crossover between the two genres, but it does happen.  Behold! Five films that have the best of both worlds.

The Bubonic plague has hit England. Death sweeps across the land. Yet one small village claims to be immune to the disease. Some believe it to be witchcraft, and so a young monk travels with a band of witch hunters to discover the truth. When the credits roll, you’re left with a lot to think about. This isn’t going to be the most historically accurate film about the Middle Ages, but I think it does a spectacular job at conveying the fears and mindset of the time. A must watch.

What would a list be without some Nic Cage? Once again we find ourselves in the 14th century dealing with the plague and suspected witches. However, unlike Black Death, we’re delving deep into the fantastical. Two former Crusaders are tasked with taking a young girl, accused of witchcraft, to a remote abbey. There, the hope is that a ritual will end the pestilence. I wish I could say this one was better than it is, but on a rainy day it’ll help pass the time.

I think it’s fair to assume that the majority of us have seen Wes Craven’s ‘The Last House on the Left’. What you may not have known is that Craven was inspired by ‘The Virgin Spring’, directed by Ingmar Bergman. This 1960 film is shot in black and white, and has a stark silence to it. Though not as graphic as Craven’s film, the sparse dialogue and absence of a soundtrack create a haunting effect. Sadly, finding a trailer for this one was a fruitless effort. I know a lot of readers won’t go back to watch something so old, or even read subtitles for that matter. Therefore I present you with the revenge scene so that you can at least appreciate this film’s influence. Everyone else, go watch the full thing. It’s a major work of cinema.

Now you might be thinking, “of course we needed some Vincent Price on this list”, but that’s not the version we’re talking about here. Instead, we’re adding horror staple Lance Henriksen to the list. Back in 1991, the horror landscape was an interesting one. I believe it was around this era when the mindset of new horror sucks really came into play. ‘The Pit and the Pendulum’ isn’t going to change your mind about 90’s horror, but it will give you some insight into the over-the-top, exploitative nature of the time. There’s not much to say about the plot, which is loosely based on the Edgar Alan Poe story. The trailer does enough talking anyways!

I don’t think we can honestly talk medieval settings and horror without mentioning this classic. It has knights, armies of the undead, and a boomstick. In 1992, Sam Raimi brought back Ash Williams for one of the craziest movies you can ever hope to watch. If you were to have only seen the ‘Evil Dead’, then went and read the plot synopsis for ‘Army of Darkness’, I can only imagine you’d be left scratching your head. But for whatever reason it works, it’s silly, and it’s the kind of thing every horror fan should see at least once. In short, it’s groovy!