9+ Best Fashion Horror Films

Between red carpets and blood-soaked ones, there is a common thread. Here is a list of the best fashion horror films.

The Neon Demon (2016) is a gorgeous film about the fashion world that leaves a lot open to interpretation.

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Horror cinema is a world full of beauty and blood. In cinematography, in score, and even in fashion. A memorable wardrobe conveys character while establishing the time and geographical setting. Usually, the wardrobe is also a canvas for blood splatter. “You have to consider being able to see blood, and if you pick dark costumes, I don’t know that it’ll necessarily show up so well, so that’s something you always think about,” says wardrobe designer Meagan McLaughlin. The relationship between the horror film world and the fashion world goes both ways. Fashion runways are splattered with iconic horror imagery. From A Clockwork Orange suspenders to Donnie Darko ears. 

The films on this list don’t simply showcase fashion. They delve into the fashion world head first, making you wonder, is fashion something to fear? These horror films have the power to exploit the dark side of the fashion world. In a genre that is so obsessed with spirits and ghosts, a statement comes into focus. The fashion world is made of ghosts. Something that seems as innocent as a simple dress carries curses and a history as dark as any weapon. Symbolically or literally, the fashionable films on this list have a lot to say about the complexity behind a simple piece of fabric. Keep reading to unveil the most frightening side of fashion.

The Best Fashion Horror Films

Blood and Black Lace (1964)

Blood and Black Lace (1964)
Blood and Black Lace was highly influential in the giallo genre of film.

Roman fashion house Christian Haute Couture is home to many models and many secrets. When one of the secrets is dangerously close to being exposed, a model is slain. Learning that she kept a diary holding many valuable secrets, the murderer sets out to find it. Before their everything can be revealed, they kill all who stand between them and the precious pages. The film is an international co-production between some of the fashion world’s key players—Italy, France, and Germany. 

Night Angel (1990)

Night Angel jumps between gothic imagery, wild 1980s-era practical effects, and erotic thriller.

People who strive to be stars within the fashion industry have a multitude of reasons of why they want to succeed at the highest level. For Lilith, her reason is to spread evil throughout the world. You see, the beautiful and enchanting Lilith is the human form of a demon whose plan is to become a world-famous model so her pictures will be seen by everyone, everywhere. To gaze at Lilith is to lose your mind, and what better way to get eyes on her than by being the top model in a top-selling fashion magazine?

The Red Shoes (2005)

The Red Shoes (2005)
Hans Christian Andersen’s original story “The Red Shoes” was also adapted to film in the United Kingdom in 1948, though that film is quite different from the 2005 South Korean version.

Director Kim Yong-gyun twists Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale into a nightmare. While leaving her cheating husband, Sun-jae finds a pair of beautiful red shoes on the subway. When she brings them to her new home, Sun-jae is struck by violent visions. Soon, everyone is jealous of the heels that have filled Sun-jae’s nights with visions of terror. Every accessory has a history, sometimes a very dark one. Sun-jae learns more about the origins of the shoes, finally uncovering the mystery behind the bloody visions they expel. 

The Neon Demon (2016)

Elle Fanning in The Neon Demon (2016).
Elle Fanning stars as Jesse in The Neon Demon.

A model, Jesse, moves to Los Angeles to discover that the city of angels is covered in blood. Older models envy her and will do anything to take the piece of her they most desire—her youth. “I can show both sides of it: the glamour and the vulgarity,” says director Nicolas Winding Refn, a fan of the fashion industry. “[Jesse] comes closer and closer to her own narcissism. She has to pass each level: being photographed, being selected for the fashion show, and going through the fashion show.”

In Fabric (2018)

Marianne Jean-Baptiste in In Fabric (2018)
Marianne Jean-Baptiste stars as Sheila in In Fabric.

During the winter sale of a department store, clothes fly off the rack. Customers devour the store, where, unbeknownst to them, one of the dresses also has a hunger for them. This dress isn’t just an article of clothing. Its history has sunk into each thread of its fabric. This haunted history is passed to its new owners, who are in for a bloody surprise.  “There was this heavy backdrop of consumerism,” says director Peter Strickland says. “We’ve all seen Black Friday chaos in the States, and in the UK we have the January sales.”

Rabid (2019)

Rabid (2019)
Rabid (2019), directed by The Soska Sisters, is a remake of Rabid (1977) which was directed by David Cronenberg.

Rose is a fashion designer who works for a boss that creates a sense of brutal competition among the designers working for him. After Rose gets into a disfiguring accident, she feels that she needs to do whatever it takes to heal and get back to work as soon as possible. She undergoes an experimental treatment and is back to work quickly, but her treatment did more than heal her body. It aggressively changed it. When speaking about Rabid, co-director Jen Soska says, “I feel that the fashion industry is sometimes, by outsiders, misunderstood as very feminine, very delicate, very not cut-throat. But a lot of things that are female are actually very aggressive.”

Last Night in Soho (2021)

Last Night in Soho (2021).
Thomasin McKenzie (in black on the right) costars with Anya Taylor-Joy (not pictured) in director Edgar Wright’s Last Night in Soho.

It is said that fashion trends repeat themselves in cycles. What was once popular years ago is discovered by the next generation and brought back to the forefront. For Eloise, a fashion design student new to the big-city lifestyle of London, it’s not just her love of clothing from the 1960s that drives her. Every night when she goes to sleep in the room she rents, Eloise experiences a cycle of violence hidden away for decades. But her experiences may be more than mere dreams as her nightmares start influencing her waking life.

Nocebo (2022)

Nocebo (2022)
In Nocebo, the fashion industry is compared to a tick, sucking substance from those who produce the clothing. (pictured on the right: Eva Green)

A mysterious illness befalls a fashion designer. The sickness stems from a tick bite she suffers when a stray dog walks onto the set of her photoshoot. Just as mysterious as the appearance of her sickness, a Filipino healer appears at her door with a suitcase full of folk remedies. Director Lorcan Finnegan says that capitalism and consumer culture is “one of the biggest causes of all sorts of strife and war and everything. This sort of massive divide between the wealthy and the poor. It just keeps on growing and growing.”

Appendage (2023)

Appendage (2023)
Feeling the need to live up to other people’s impossible standards is harmful, as Hannah finds out in Appendage.

Hannah is a fashion designer whose self-confidence is low and only getting lower. Her work is detrimentally affecting her personal life, and the stress is beginning to affect her body in horrific ways. Namely, all of her self-loathing inner dialogue is physically manifesting as a sentient growth forming in her side. She tries to hide the living embodiment of her mental distress from the world, but that only makes things much, much worse.

More Fashion Horror Films

  • The Mannequin in Red (original title: Mannekäng i rött ,1958) – Within the walls of La Femme a model with many secrets to hide is murdered. As more and more models drop dead, Kajsa infiltrates the fashion house as a model to discover who the killer is. 
  • Strip Nude for Your Killer (original title: Nude per l’assassino, 1975) – A model dies while getting an illegal abortion. Afterward, everyone connected to her is targeted, starting with her doctor and eventually the models from her agency. When only photographers are left alive, they work together to track down the killer.
  • Eyes of Laura Mars (1978) – Fashion photographer Laura Mars is always complimented on her uniquely artistic vision. Her vision becomes even more unique when she develops the ability to see through the eyes of a killer as they are committing their vicious crimes.
  • Nothing Underneath (1985) – The brother of a fashion model sense that his sister is in danger. Traveling to Italy, he doesn’t initially find her, but he does find a series of murders that point back to her.
  • Invisible Eyes (2009) – A former fashion model attempting to start a life outside of the fashion industry begins to sense that someone (or something) is watching her as she stays at an isolated house.
  • Helter Skelter (2012) – Based on the manga of the same title, Helter Skelter is about a Japanese model and star whose desire to hold on to her beauty leads her to extensive plastic surgery… and nightmarish side effects.
  • Personal Shopper (2016) – A shopper works with a celebrity medium hoping to contact her deceased brother. Between high-end fashion events and retail excursions, she yearns for signs from her brother that he is still with her. 
  • Slaxx (2020) – A new product launch of “super shaper” jeans becomes bloody when the pants show their true powers. When dead bodies are found in the dressing room, war wages between a trendy pair of jeans and a retail clerk.

Further Reading

Meet The Author

Kasey Rae is an artist, writer, and filmmaker, residing in the mountains of New York. Her favorite horror films are Nightmare on Elm Street and The Descent.