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The following article contains and discusses content that may be distressing to some readers.
Reason for Warning: This aesthetic contains horrorific elements, such as gore and exorcisms.

Catholic Horror is a subgenre of Horror fiction that focuses on Roman Catholic themes, imagery and symbolism, among other macabre religious themes related to faith such as exorcisms, demonic possessions, rituals, the supernatural, the occult and the Devil. Generally, Catholic Horror media often takes place in societies where traditional Catholic values are very prominent; for example, many movies are set in the past and in countries where Roman Catholicism is practiced (with France, Spain or Italy being the most common).

Catholic Horror also incorporates local elements associated to predominantely Catholic cultures, such as Gothic architecture and cathedrals and other religious legends. Catholic Horror as a distinct horror genre began to emerge during the late 60s, with Rosemary's Baby (1968) becoming one of the first examples, and it played an important role in the Satanic Panic phenomenon as well as influencing the Morute aesthetic.


Although the earliest example of Catholic Horror is Rosemary's Baby (1968), the first movie to fully embody the essence of this genre is considered to be The Exorcist (1973) by William Friedkin.[1] Said movie became really successful, and today it's still considered one of the best Horror movies ever made. This inspired many other movie producers to start making their own films blending Horror elements with Catholic elements. Another well known movie includes The Omen (1976) by Richard Donner. The Catholic Horror aesthetic & genre is heavily inspired by Catholicism's long history of exorcisms and belief in superstitions such as supernatural entities like demons. In the last decade this genre has made a comeback into the cinema, with several new movies or shows based around the genre being released.


Some visuals often featured in the Catholic Horror genre include:

  • Catholic symbolism: crosses, crucifixes, rosaries, holy water and sacred objects
  • Rituals: exorcisms, communions, religious marriages and sacraments
  • Imagery related to saints, angels, demons and evil spirits or souls
  • The struggle of redemption and sinning
  • Candles and fire
  • Fear of the unknown and the occult
  • Supernatural creatures, the Devil and the occult
  • Gore: blood stains and tears made of blood
  • Spirits and demonic possessions
  • (Usually) creepy baby dolls
  • Dark and Gothic atmospheres
  • Gothic cathedrals, stained glass and architecture
  • Gothic stained glass depicting legends and moments in Catholic history
  • The conflict between the divine and the demonic



  • Carrie (1976)
  • Conscetration (2023)
  • Constantine (2005)
  • Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977)
  • God Told Me To (1976)
  • Immaculate (2024)
  • Prince of Darkness (1987)
  • Rosemary's Baby (1968)
  • Stigmata (1999)
  • The Amityville Horror (1979)
  • The Communion Girl (2022)
  • The Devil's Doorway (2018)
  • The Devils (1971)
  • The Exorcist (1973)
  • The Exorcist III (1990)
  • The Exorcist: Believer (2023)
  • The Nun (2018)
  • The Nun II (2023)
  • The Unholy (2021)
  • The Witch (2015)


  • Constantine (2014-2015)
  • The Exorcist (2016-2017)
  • The Mandela Catalogue (2021-present)
  • The Conjuring (2013-Present)
  • The Omen (1976-2006, 2024)
  • Annabelle (2013-2017-2019)


  • The Last Door
  • Layers of Fear
  • The Evil Within
  • FAITH: The Unholy Trinity



  1. McDannell, Colleen (2007).  Chapter  "9: Catholic Horror" in  Catholics In The Movies .  Wikipedia:Oxford University Press.  pp 197–226.  Retrieved September 16, 2023.  Archived.