80+ Horror Movies About Making Movies

Horror movies that feature filmmaking as a main theme or setting run the gamut of horror subgenres. Just like the genre itself, there is a little something for everyone in this extensive list of horror movies about making movies.

X (2022) continued a long tradition of turning the crew of a film production into victims in a slasher movie.

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Movies about filmmakers and the process of making movies have been around for ages. It makes sense. After all, what’s one subject that most filmmakers are interested in? Movies, of course. But while many films about filmmaking focus on the wonder and power inherent in movie magic, there is a dark side to everything. That means there is no shortage of horror movies that focus on film productions.

Horror movies about making movies fall into a wide variety of subgenres. Many have slashers or monsters attacking film crews. Others focus on the mental effects of creating cinematic nightmares and opt for a more psychological approach to the horror. Or maybe the house a ghost movie is filmed in is really haunted. Or the murder depicted on-screen isn’t real enough so more drastic measures are implemented. The variety of horror in these types of movies is as far-reaching as the genre itself.

The following lists contain an ever-growing number of horror movies which all feature some aspect of the filmmaking process as a main theme or setting. This includes movies focusing on films actively in production, as well as in the stages of pre- and post-production such as screenwriting or editing. The movie-within-the-movie being made can either be a narrative film or documentary, but movies about making home movies, television shows, or livestreams generally won’t qualify for this particular list.

The Best Horror Movies about Making Movies

How to Make a Monster (1958)

Pete Dumond talks to movie posters in How to Make a Monster.
Phillip Scheer, the makeup artist who worked on both I Was a Teenage Werewolf and I Was a Teenage Frankenstein, also did the makeup effects in How to Make a Monster. The fictional makeup artist in the movie, Pete Dumond, was played by Robert H. Harris (pictured).

In the late 1950s, monster movies were on their way out. At least, that’s what the new owners of American International Studios think. This is bad news for Pete Dumond, a makeup artist who made his career by creating monsters. Pete is informed that he’ll be fired once the movie he’s working on is finished, but Pete won’t go quietly. Using mind control derived from a special type of makeup he designed, Pete makes up a Teenage Werewolf and Teenage Frankenstein and orders them to eliminate the new owners of the studio in manners befitting their monster makeup. How to Make a Monster is a clever meta-monster movie that uses real, recently released movies in an entirely fictional setting.

The House of Seven Corpses (1974)

The House of Seven Corpses (1973)
The House of Seven Corpses was filmed at the Utah Governor’s Mansion in Salt Lake City.

Film director Eric Hartman is making a movie about a real-life series of deaths, and he chooses to shoot the film in the very mansion the deaths occurred in. The spooky atmosphere of the movie-within-the-movie begins to unnerve the cast and crew, but the worst is yet to come. After the opening credits, it takes a while for the real horror of The House of Seven Corpses to begin, but the finale is worth the wait.

Last House on Dead End Street (1977)

Last House on Dead End Street (1973).
Despite its title, Last House on Dead End Street has nothing to do with The Last House on the Left. It is thought to have been originally screened in festivals as The Cuckoo Clocks of Hell, and it was later released in theaters in 1977 as The Fun House. The title it’s best known as, Last House on Dead End Street, was attached to the film in a 1979 re-release.

Last House on Dead End Street is a movie about a recently released criminal, Terry, who decides to make movies featuring the real murders of its unsuspecting actors. The film’s writer and director, Roger Watkins (who also stars as Terry), was inspired to make the movie after reading about the Charles Manson murders. So, while Last House on Dead End Street is an exploitation movie that revels in violence, it is also meant to be about the portrayal of violence in the media. While not a fantastic film, it is definitely worthy of discussion.

Effects (1979)

Tom Savini in Effects (1979).
Special effects master Tom Savini worked both in front of and behind the camera in Effects.

Effects was made during a time when violence and blood in movies had been on the rise for many years. The film is about the crew of a small, low-budget horror movie. As the audience, the line between reality and the movie-within-the-movie aren’t always clear, and that plays into one of the main themes in Effects: exploring the lines between the reality and fiction of what we pay to watch. The director of the movie being made in Effects wants his movie to be as real as possible, but not every member of his crew shares his goal of true realism.

Deadline (1980)

Deadline (1980)
Like many movies about the creative process behind making horror fiction, Deadline comments on the genre while also being an example of the genre. (pictured: Stephen Young as Steven Lessey)

Steven Lessey is a horror writer currently working on the script for his latest film. He is under pressure from the film studio, his family, and a public who scrutinizes his work and his morals. It is all putting a strain on his mental state. Deadline is largely a dramatic character study of one man’s fall, while at the same time serving as a commentary on horror media. The movie is repeatedly interrupted by context-free scenes of horrific violence, which, juxtaposed with the rest of the story, give viewers a possible glimpse of the kinds of things going on in Steven’s mind.

Island of Blood (1982)

Island of Blood (1982)
Island of Blood was also released as Scared Alive and Whodunit.

Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None has inspired numerous movies over the decades. Island of Blood, a whodunit-style slasher released during the golden age of the subgenre, is one of those movies, though it isn’t necessarily one of the greatest. It is about a group of people gathered on an island to shoot a low-budget rock musical. People begin dying almost immediately. There is a killer among them, one who kills according to the various verses of a song that can be heard playing by each of the victims (much in the same way as how the nursery rhyme from Agatha Christie’s novel inspired the killings in her story).

Special Effects (1984)

Special Effects (1984)
Special Effects is from writer and director Larry Cohen who is known for genre movies including The Stuff (1985), It’s Alive (1974), God Told Me To (1976), and more. (pictured: Eric Bogosian as Neville in Special Effects)

Neville is a frustrated movie director. Andrea is a woman who has run away from her family for a life in the spotlight. Andrea runs to Neville when her husband Keefe comes looking for her, but her encounter with the slimy director ends in tragedy. Neville then has an idea. He wants to make a movie about Andrea and Keefe’s lives, and he wants Keefe to star as himself alongside an actress who looks exactly like Andrea. The complicated setup of Special Effects gives way to a movie that is often referred to as a trashy version of Hitchcock’s Vertigo.

Return to Horror High (1987)

Return to Horror High (1987)
The director of Return to Horror High, Bill Froehlich, also directed a couple of episodes of Freddy’s Nightmares in 1989 and 1990.

Years ago, Crippin High School was rocked by a series of violent murders. Now, a film crew takes residence in the abandoned school to make a horror movie about the murders in the very place they happened. But the killer was never caught, and murders within Crippin High begin again. Return to Horror High is a silly horror comedy that is notable for featuring George Clooney in one of his earliest film roles.

Destroyer (1988)

Lyle Alzado in Destroyer (1988).
Lyle Alzado had retired from the NFL a few years prior to making Destroyer.

In Destroyer, NFL star Lyle Alzado plays Ivan Moser, a depraved killer on death row. Ivan’s planned execution leads to a prison riot that forces the entire facility to close down. A year and a half later, a production crew uses the prison to film a trashy “women in prison” exploitation movie. The rumors of Ivan Moser’s death may have been greatly exaggerated, because the film shoot becomes deadly when the musclehead murderer appears and begins killing again.

The Black Cat (1989)

Florence Guérin in The Black Cat (1989)
The Black Cat has very few connections to Edgar Allan Poe’s story. One connection is that the opening scene is actually a movie-within-a-movie being filmed, and that movie is supposedly based on “The Black Cat”. Another connection is that one character quotes a line from Poe’s story in which it is mentioned that black cats are witches in disguise. (pictured: Florence Guérin in The Black Cat)

The Black Cat is a bit of a bait and switch. Despite the title in the English version of the movie declaring that this is Edgar Allan Poe’s The Black Cat, this is not an adaptation of Poe’s classic story. Instead, it’s a movie about an actress, Anne, whose life and mind are subjected to supernatural dangers when she accepts a role in an upcoming horror movie. The movie is to be directed by her husband, and it is going to be about the witch Levana, one of the entities described in Thomas de Quincey’s Suspiria de Profundis (the same writings that inspired Dario Argento’s Suspiria). As soon as Anne learns that the role of Levana was written for her, she is assaulted by horrific visions, and the people around her are all in mortal danger.

Paganini Horror (1989)

Paganini Horror (1989)
Paganini Horror was directed and co-written by Luigi Cozzi. Cozzi’s co-writer was Daria Nicolodi who also acted in the movie. (pictured: Jasmine Maimone and Pietro Genuardi)

In Paganini Horror an all-female rock band is looking for a new song to record. They find inspiration in an unpublished piece of music from classical composer and violin virtuoso Niccolò Paganini. As part of the preparation for the release of the song titled “Paganini Horror,” the band travels to an isolated house to shoot a music video with the help of a famous horror-movie director. As the shoot commences, the band and their crew start to realize that they’ve awakened something evil with their choice of music.

Cat in the Brain (1990)

Luci Fulci is disgusted by ground meat in A Cat in the Brain (1990).
Cat in the Brain contains numerous clips from movies Lucio Fulci either directed himself, or movies in which Fulci was in some other way involved in the production of.

Italian horror master Lucio Fulci stars as a fictionalized version of himself in the meta-horror gore-fest Cat in the Brain. The mental strain of living a life creating stories about death and violence is getting to be too much for poor Mr. Fulci. He goes to see a psychiatrist, but instead of helping the struggling filmmaker, the psychiatrist hypnotizes Fulci as a way to frame him for murders the psychiatrist himself is committing.

Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994)

Wes Craven in Wes Craven's New Nightmare (1994).
Director Wes Craven (pictured) appears as himself in New Nightmare, as do other filmmakers involved in the A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise.

After horror megastar Freddy Krueger was killed in Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991), the death of the character released the real-life demonic force behind the icon. At least, that’s the story of Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, a meta-cinema take on the A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. New Nightmare is set in a world that is very much like our own in which A Nightmare on Elm Street is just a series of films. A new Nightmare movie is being made, and the star of the first film, Heather Langenkamp, is being stalked by the same entity that inspired Wes Craven to create the original 1984 horror hit. New Nightmare is one of the best movies in the franchise, and when it was released its darker tone was a nice change from the increasingly comedic performances from Freddy (which is also good in its own way).

Evil Ed (1995)

Johan Rudebeck as Edward Tor Swenson in Evil Ed (1995).
Evil Ed is a fun and bloody horror comedy from Swedish director Anders Jacobsson. (pictured: Johan Rudebeck as Edward Tor Swenson)

Edward is a mild-mannered film editor working for a European distribution company. He has zero interest in horror movies, so when he is assigned to re-edit the ultra-gory Loose Limbs films to censor them for a distribution deal, he is not happy about the task. He does his job though, and in the course of his work Ed is exposed to a constant stream of extreme violence and gore. It all takes a toll on his mind, pushing him not only to embrace the acts he is supposed to be excising, but to also start imitating those acts in his own life.

Mute Witness (1995)

Mute Witness (1996)
The amazing and underseen Mute Witness (1995) is now streaming on Shudder.

Mute Witness is a superb horror/thriller that begins on a film set in Moscow. Billy (Marina Zudina) is a makeup artist working on a small horror movie. Billy is mute, so when she stumbles upon the making of a snuff film after-hours on the set of her horror movie, she cannot scream for help. What follows is a series of intense cat-and-mouse chases as Billy becomes the target of the killers and criminals involved in a ring of snuff film productions.

The Blair Witch Project (1999)

The Blair Witch Project (1999)
The Blair Witch Project was a sensation upon its release and popularized the found-footage format.

Three student filmmakers go into the woods of Burkittsville, Maryland to create a documentary about the local legend of the Blair Witch. Over the next few days they find that there is a lot of truth to the spooky stories of the Blair Witch, and they’re becoming part of a new story themselves. The only thing they’ll leave behind is the footage they shot.

Terror Firmer (1999)

Terror Firmer (1999)
Lloyd Kaufman (pictured here in the red shirt), co-founder of Troma and a highly-influential filmmaker in the independent space, costars in Terror Firmer as a movie director who is blind.

Troma made their name by producing and releasing some of the most outlandish movies of all time. Terror Firmer pays tribute to their style of film production by making a Troma movie about making a movie in the Troma style. The story is simple: a bizarre film crew makes a movie while a real killer infiltrates their ranks and murders people. What makes Terror Firmer so great is the distinctly Troma brand of entertainment that is ultra-goofy and campy, and contains copious amounts of nudity and gore.

Cabin by the Lake (2000)

Cabin by the Lake (2000).
Cabin by the Lake is a made-for-TV movie, and it feels more like a crime thriller than a straightforward horror movie.

Stanley Caldwell is a screenwriter who takes the research side of his job a little too seriously. He’s currently in the process of writing a new horror movie about a killer who drowns his victims, so what does Stanley do to learn more about the subject? He abducts women, holds them in a secret room hidden in his cabin, and drowns them in the nearby lake. All the while he’s studying his victims’ reactions so he can incorporate them into his script. It all goes swimmingly for him until one of his potential victims escapes.

Cut (2000)

Cut (2000)
Cut is from director Kimble Rendall who also directed Bait (2012) and 7 Guardians of the Tomb (2018).

Molly Ringwald and Kylie Minogue are featured in the Australian film Cut, a slasher movie about the making of a slasher movie. Years ago, production was stopped on the film Hot Blooded because the actor playing the masked killer “Scarman” actually murdered the movie’s director. More than a decade later, a group of film students want to complete the notoriously cursed Hot Blooded, and they even get the main actress from the original production back to finish her role. Unfortunately, when production starts, so does a new spate of killings at the hands of Scarman.

The Dead Hate the Living (2000)

A demonic zombie steps through a portal in The Dead Hate the Living (2000).
The Dead Hate the Living was produced by Full Moon Features.

Making movies is difficult at the best of times. For the crew of a micro-budget zombie movie, things begin poorly and only get worse. First, the prima-donna sister of the director arrives to the set late, ruining everyone’s night. Then, the discovery of a coffin and a dead body in the abandoned hospital where the movie is illegally being shot causes most of the crew to threaten a revolt. Worst of all, the coffin is actually a magical portal that opens to a dimension where the dead walk… and kill!

Scream 3 (2000)

Parker Posey and Courteney Cox in Scream 3 (2000).
Parker Posey playing Jennifer Jolie who is playing Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox) in the movie-within-a-movie Stab 3 is one of the best parts of Scream 3.

Scream 3 takes the series’ inherent comedy and meta commentary to extremes. A new Ghostface emerges from the shadows, targeting people involved in the making of Stab 3, a Hollywood movie inspired by the previous Ghostface murders. The premise alone is a situation loaded with potential for self-parody which makes this entry one of the silliest in the franchise. It still has a solid mystery though, and it digs deep into the lore of the Scream stories to provide revelations that can reshape how you watch the previous films.

Shadow of the Vampire (2000)

Willem Dafoe as Max Schreck in Shadow of the Vampire (2000).
Willem Dafoe is so good in Shadow of the Vampire that you may question if he’s actually a vampire as well.

Was Max Schreck, the German actor who played Count Orlok in the silent film Nosferatu (1922), actually a vampire? This idea is the basis of Shadow of the Vampire, a fictionalized account of the making of Nosferatu in which Schreck appears to be getting way too into the vampiric role he is playing. Or maybe he’s not acting at all.

The Backlot Murders (2002)

A person in a cartoonish Elvis mask as seen in The Backlot Murders (2002).
Music videos are basically short movies, so The Backlot Murders (a slasher film featuring an Elvis-masked killer) counts as a “horror movie about making a movie.”

Filmed on the actual Universal Studios Lot, The Backlot Murders is a comedic slasher movie about a shoot for a music video that goes horribly wrong. The band, called The Wiseguys, recently fired their lead music writer, and they need this video to work for them to have a chance of reaching the level of stardom they’re hoping for. But a killer in an Elvis mask has other plans. The Backlot Murders is a fairly standard early 2000s slasher, but it boasts a good cast including Priscilla Barnes, Charles Fleischer, Ken Sagose, and Corey Haim.

Slaughter Studios (2002)

Slaughter Studios (2002)
Slaughter Studios was filmed at Roger Corman’s studio which was located in Venice, California.

Slaughter Studios, an old film studio known for its output of schlocky films, is about to be demolished. An aspiring filmmaker decides to gather a crew and shoot a movie in the abandoned studio on the final night of its existence before it is torn down the following morning. Everything for the movie is planned out, but what the guerilla filmmakers didn’t plan for is the killer hiding in the shadows of Slaughter Studios. Slaughter Studios is campy and corny, but it’s also a lot of fun.

Reincarnation (aka Rinne, 2005)

A doll with a broken eye socket in Reincarnation (2005).
Reincarnation was directed and co-written by Takashi Shimizu, the creator of the Ju-On franchise.

More than three decades ago, a mass murder occurred in a hotel, perpetrated by a deranged professor. In the present day, a filmmaker wants to make a movie about the massacre inside the same hotel in which it occurred. In the days leading up to the film shoot, the woman hired as one of the movie’s lead actors is haunted by visions of the murders and the victims. Then, when filming in the hotel actually begins, the line between the past and the present blurs even more.

Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006)

Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006)
Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon is presented mostly in a found footage style before switching to a traditionally-shot slasher movie towards the end.

In the world created by Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon, killers like Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, and Michael Myers are all real maniacs who actually murdered people. A three-person team, led by journalist Taylor Gentry (Angela Goethals), follow Leslie Vernon (Nathan Baesel) as he plans a murder spree that he hopes will catapult him into the ranks of legendary killers. Taylor’s crew sets about filming a documentary about the up-and-coming slasher, but when it comes to the killing, they start to have second thoughts. Behind the Mask lovingly skewers slasher tropes while being a solid slasher movie itself.

Inland Empire (2006)

Laura Dern in Inland Empire (2006).
Inland Empire is a movie about movies, filtered through the mind of director David Lynch. (pictured: Laura Dern as Nikki Grace)

As with many of filmmaker David Lynch’s movies, it’s difficult to provide a succinct description of the experience you’ll have while watching Inland Empire. The film stars Laura Dern as Nikki, an actress who begins working on a film titled On High in Blue Tomorrows. As she continues to work on the project, fiction and reality seemingly begin to overlap to the point where Nikki isn’t sure what is real anymore. The audience won’t be sure either in this surreal gem.

Wrestlemaniac (2006)

El Mascarado stands in a bloody room in Wrestlemaniac (2006).
The killer in Wrestlemaniac is played by Rey Misterio (aka Rey Misterio Sr.), the uncle of the Rey Mysterio (aka Rey Mysterio Jr.) who became famous for his time in WCW, WWE, and other worldwide pro-wrestling companies.

A tiny film crew driving through Mexico on their way to shoot a sleazy movie breaks down near a ghost town. The town, La Sangre de Dios, is said to be the final resting place of El Mascarado, a maniacal masked wrestler who went insane and killed his opponents in the wrestling ring. The director of the film crew decides to begin shooting the movie in La Sangre de Dios, but the legendary El Mascarado is more than just a legend. He’s real, and he’s looking for new opponents to “unmask” in the most violent ways possible.

The Perfect Witness (2007)

A man records as another man prepares to murder someone in The Perfect Witness (2007).
The Perfect Witness was also released as The Ungodly in certain regions.

Mickey (Wes Bentley) is a struggling filmmaker searching for the perfect subject for a movie to help him break through in the business. One night he films a man named James (Mark Borkowski) attacking a woman in an alley. The attack ends in murder, and that gives Mickey the perfect idea: why not make a documentary about a serial killer? But as Mickey dives deeper into James’s world, he starts to realize that maybe he’s gotten himself in too deep.

Smash Cut (2009)

Jennilee Murray and David Hess in Smash Cut (2009).
Smash Cut was one of the final film roles of David Hess (seen here on the right with Jennilee Murray).

David Hess (The Last House on the Left) is Able Whitman, a director whose career is a joke to most of the movie-watching public. Able makes horror movies, and he finds inspiration in how to make his movies more realistic than ever before when he accidentally kills a stripper in a car wreck. Smash Cut is an intentionally campy homage to the films of Herschell Gordon Lewis, and Lewis actually makes a cameo in the film.

All About Evil (2010)

All About Evil (2010)
All About Evil was written and directed by drag queen Peaches Christ. (pictured: Natasha Lyonne as Deborah)

Natasha Lyonne stars in the horror comedy All About Evil as Deborah, the proprietor of a movie theater she inherited from her father. The theater isn’t doing great business, but a series of unlikely circumstances ends up with Deborah screening footage of an actual murder to a packed house of unwitting moviegoers. The people—thinking it’s just a movie—love it, so Deborah knows what she must do to save her father’s legacy: create her own snuff films and show them in her theater.

Berberian Sound Studio (2012)

Toby Jones in Berberian SoOund Studio (2012).
Berberian Sound Studio is a psychological horror movie starring Toby Jones.

Berberian Sound Studio is about Gilderoy, a British man with a reserved personality who travels to Italy to work as a sound engineer on an upcoming film. Gilderoy thinks he was hired for a movie about horses, but he has actually been brought in to create the soundscape for a violent giallo film. As the days go by, Gilderoy’s mental state is worn down not just by what he sees on the screen, but also by a working environment filled with tension, anger, and the unscrupulous conduct of the people around him. Everyone has a breaking point, and Gilderoy is about to find his.

Dark Feed (2013)

Dark Feed (2013)
Shawn and Michael Rasmussen wrote and directed Dark Feed. The pair also co-wrote movies including The Ward (2010) and Crawl (2019).

A psychiatric hospital with a horrific past is the setting for Dark Feed. A small crew enters the building to shoot a low-budget horror film. But the longer the shoot goes, the more their minds are affected by the mysterious influences contained within the location. Eventually the crew members begin turning on each other in terrifying ways.

Digging up the Marrow (2014)

Adam Green in Digging up the Marrow (2014).
Adam Green, writer and director of movies including Frozen (2010) and Hatchet (2006), plays a fictionalized version of himself in Digging up the Marrow.

Presented in a pseudo-documentary and found-footage style, Digging up the Marrow follows filmmaker Adam Green. Adam sets out to make a documentary about real monsters after being contacted by an odd man who claims to have proof of their existence. The man, William Dekker (Ray Wise), leads Adam to where the monsters supposedly live. Though he is skeptical at first, Adam will soon believe that monsters are real.

The Editor (2014)

Adam Brooks in The Editor (2014).
The Editor was made by the Canadian film collective Astron-6 who also worked on movies including The Void (2016) and Psycho Goreman (2020).

The Editor is a silly parody (and homage) of giallo films and other related Italian genre movies of the 1970s and surrounding years. Rey Ciso (Adam Brooks) is a film editor whose best days in the film world are behind him. As Rey works on his latest project, a string of murders occurs at the film studio, and Rey himself becomes a prime suspect. The Editor is a movie that is immeasurably better if you are familiar with the movies and styles it mimics, but it’s still a fun movie even if you’re not an expert on giallo films.

The Taking of Deborah Logan (2014)

The Taking of Deborah Logan (2014).
Jill Larson plays the title role of Deborah Logan.

Mia Medina (Michelle Ang) is making a documentary about Alzheimer’s disease as her PHD thesis. The main subject of her film is Deborah Logan, an elderly woman showing prominent signs of the disease. But the longer the documentarians observe Deborah, the more erratic and dangerous she becomes, pointing to there being something other than Alzheimer’s influencing Deborah’s body and mind.

Found Footage 3D (2016)

Found Footage 3D (2016)
Found Footage 3D provides plenty of meta commentary on the found footage genre through the dialogue of its jaded characters.

A group of filmmakers travel to an old house in a remote area of Texas to film the first-ever 3D found-footage movie. There are various tensions within the group (such as the director and the star of the movie being in a failing relationship), and the house they’ve chosen to use in their movie is said to actually be haunted. One thing leads to another, and Found Footage 3D becomes a chaotic vision of terror and survival in the longstanding found-footage tradition.

One Cut of the Dead (2017)

Yuzuki Akiyama and Kazuaki Nagaya in One Cur of the Dead (2017).
A French remake of One Cut of the Dead, titled Final Cut in English, was originally released in France in 2022. (pictured: Yuzuki Akiyama and Kazuaki Nagaya in One Cut of the Dead)

One Cut of the Dead takes the “movie about movies” idea to another level. It’s a movie about making a movie about making a movie. If that doesn’t make sense to you now, just watch. You’ll be treated to one of the most surprising and wonderful independent Japanese films of the 2010s. One Cut of the Dead starts in a found-footage style with a small crew making a cheap zombie flick. Things spin out of control very quickly when real zombies wander onto the set, but that’s only the beginning.

Knife + Heart (2019)

Knife+Heart (2019)
Knife+Heart has been compared to Italian gialli, slasher movies, and the thrillers of Brian De Palma. (pictured: Vanessa Paradis)

Anne Parèze (Vanessa Paradis) is a director of gay pornography in late-1970s Paris. Anne’s girlfriend, who is also her film editor, leaves her, prompting Anne to dive into her work by making her most ambitious movie yet. Unfortunately a masked killer keeps slaughtering people involved with the production, and the police are no help. Knife+Heart is a film that takes a darkly humorous approach at times, but still delivers a movie with meaning.

Censor (2021)

Niamh Algar as Enid in Censor (2021).
Censor is a wonderful psychological horror movie that gets more intense as the main character (played by Niamh Algar) gets drawn further and further into the world of horror movies.

The “Video Nasty” moral panic of the 1980s in the United Kingdom was built on the idea that horror movies were invading homes on VHS and corrupting the public. Horror fans know this idea is nonsense, but it’s a certainty that some of the people whose job it was to review movies for the British Board of Film Classification felt like they were doing a public service. Censor is about one of those people. Enid works for the BBFC and takes pride in her work. But when she sees a horror movie that reminds her way too much of her sister who went missing when she was young, Enid becomes embroiled in the world of Video Nasties as she attempts to track down the director of the film while he is working on his latest exploitation film.

X (2022)

Bobby-Lynne watches as RJ shoots a scene at a gas station in X (2022).
All of the characters in X want something different out of the film they’re shooting. In the end, most of them end up getting the same thing. Dead.

In X, a group of aspiring pornographers attempt to make a movie on a remote homestead in Texas. The problem is, they’re shooting their film in secret inside a guesthouse rented from an elderly couple. The bigger problem is that the elderly woman who lives on the property, Pearl (Mia Goth), is obsessed with show business and sees something of herself in Maxine Minx (also Mia Goth), the star of the film being produced on her land. Emotions begin stirring within Pearl, and when Pearl gets overwhelmed with emotion, people end up dead.

Near (2023)

Connor Scambler as Hollis in Near (2023).
Near is a found-footage movie with a clever premise. (pictured in the foreground: Connor Scambler as Hollis)

Hollis has some problems, and he’s decided to make a movie about them. When we first see Hollis (which is a pseudonym he’s using for the documentary he’s making about himself), he is living in a tent. We soon learn that he’s isolating himself from other people because whoever gets near to him dies in some horrible way. Sometimes the death looks like an accident, sometimes it’s murder, and sometimes it’s completely inexplicable, but the results are always the same. And the problem is getting worse, because Hollis believes that the size of his death bubble is increasing. In Near, we follow Hollis as he documents his struggles while traveling to meet up with the one person he believes won’t be affected by his death curse.

The Exorcism (2024)

Russell Crowe in The Exorcism (2024).
In 2023, a little more than a year before the release of The Exorcism, Russell Crowe delighted audiences with his role as Father Gabriele Amorth in The Pope’s Exorcist.

Anthony Miller (Russell Crowe) is an actor with a history of addiction. He takes a role as an exorcist in a horror movie that is rumored to be cursed, and soon he shows signs of erratic behavior. Is Anthony reverting back to old habits, or is something more sinister going on?

More Horror Movies about Making Movies

  • King Kong (1933) – A director hires a beautiful woman to star in his movie shot on-location on an uncharted island. There, they discover a beast called Kong.
  • Frankenstein 1970 (1958) – Boris Karloff stars as Baron Victor Von Frankenstein, a descendant of the Dr. Frankenstein who created the monster. Frankenstein needs money, so he allows a television crew to make a movie about him and his family while he secretly works on a new monster.
  • Blood of the Iron Maiden (1973) – An unscrupulous director uses LSD on his actresses to facilitate his plan to make a snuff film.
  • Snuff (1976) – The majority of the film follows an actress in South America while a cult murders people, but the end of the movie suggests that everything we’ve seen is just a movie being made as an excuse for a snuff film finale which is “really” what’s happening.
  • Reel Savages (1977) – A Brazilian movie about filmmakers who hire a crew for a movie, secretly planning to make it into a snuff film.
  • Arrebato (1979) – More dark drama than traditional horror, Arrebato is a Spanish arthouse film about the addictive, transformative, and transcendental nature of cinema.
  • Cannibal Holocaust (1980) – The crew of a documentary film go missing in the Amazon rainforest. A small rescue team is sent to find the crew, but they instead find reels of film that contain the crew’s horrific deaths at the hands of cannibals.
  • Red Spell Spells Red (1983) – A crew shooting a documentary unleashes an evil spirit in this grotesque and wild shocker.
  • Video Violence (1987) – The new owners of a video store in a small town discover that someone in town is making snuff films.
  • The Freeway Maniac (1989) – A killer breaks out of an asylum to hunt down an actress who became moderately famous in the media for escaping the killer once before.
  • Massacre (1989) – Directed by Italian filmmaker Andrea Bianchi (Burial Ground: The Nights of Terror), Massacre is about murders plaguing a film shoot after a seance is held.
  • Don’t Look Up (1996) – Directed by Hideo Nakata (Ring 1998, Dark Water 2002), a crew is haunted by the spirits inhabiting a film set.
  • Anaconda (1997) – A documentary film crew are attacked by a giant anaconda while making a film about indigenous Amazonian tribes.
  • Urban Legends: Final Cut (2000) – A film student plans to make her thesis movie about a killer who patterns their slayings after urban legends, and students at the school begin dying for real.
  • Return to Cabin by the Lake (2001) – A sequel to the TV movie Cabin by the Lake, Judd Nelson returns in the role of a screenwriter who, now two years later, invades the set of a movie being made based on the screenplay he wrote about the murders he committed.
  • Scared (2002) – The masked killer in a Scream-like horror movie being made begins actually killing people on set.
  • Seed of Chucky (2004) – Chucky is brought back once again when his child, Glen, brings his soul back into a prop doll used on the set of a film about Chucky and Tiffany.
  • The Remake (2006) – This low-budget slasher flick is about a killer who slaughters the cast and crew working on a remake of a cult-classic horror film.
  • Diary of the Dead (2007) – This found-footage entry in the long-running franchise contains a group of film students who begin making a movie, and then keep the cameras rolling when real zombies begin attacking.
  • Lights Camera Dead (2007) – The makers of a low-budget horror movie are frustrated when their cast and crew walk out on them halfway through production, but they realize they can finish the film if they record themselves murdering their own former coworkers.
  • Killer Movie (2008) – A crew working on a reality television show focusing on a local hockey team become directly involved in investigating a series of murders.
  • Don’t Look Up (2009) – A director decides to make a movie about the story of a cursed woman, a story that another director tried to make into a film years prior before he disappeared.
  • Skeleton Crew (2009) – An overzealous director discovers a collection of snuff films in the basement of the abandoned hospital where he’s shooting a horror movie, pushing his desire for bloody realism too far.
  • A Serbian Film (2010) – A porn actor commits to making a movie, not realizing the depravity of the film he has become a part of.
  • Star Vehicle (2010) – A driver prone to violence is pushed over the edge while working on an independent film production.
  • Fright Flick (2011) – There’s a killer on the loose among the people working on the third film in a trashy slasher trilogy.
  • Regissören (2011) – An experimental Swedish film about a director who documents the making of what he believes will be his final movie.
  • Silent But Deadly (2011) – Jason Mewes stars in this slasher comedy as a quiet, goat-loving guy who goes on a murder spree while working as a production assistant on a movie.
  • Wendigo (2011) – Young filmmakers begin making a documentary about deforestation, but they have strange encounters in the woods they’re camping in.
  • Devil’s Weekend (2012) – Wanting to add more realism to his no-budget horror movie, a man kills his friends on-camera in this extreme found-footage flick.
  • Reel Evil (2012) – A three-person crew is hired to make a behind-the-scenes documentary about a movie being shot in an abandoned insane asylum where evil still resides.
  • Cut! (2014) – A pair of small-time filmmakers accidentally create a snuff film when the “actor” they hire kills someone.
  • Ragini MMS 2 (2014) – The shoot of an erotic horror film is plagued by a ghost haunting the film’s location.
  • Clash of the Dead (2015) – Documentary filmmakers travel to the location of a WWI battle to unravel its mysteries, but they end up bringing the dead back to life instead.
  • Virgin Cheerleaders in Chains (2018) – A micro-budget film crew finds the perfect location for their movie, the titular Virgin Cheerleaders in Chains, but the location comes with a host of real killers.
  • The Cleansing Hour (2019) – Two friends run a livestreaming show in which they stage exorcisms to appear real. However, their latest actor might truly be possessed.
  • Nightmare Symphony (2020) – A tribute of sorts to Lucio Fulci’s A Cat in the Brain, Nightmare Symphony is about a director whose line between fiction and reality becomes blurred.
  • A Classic Horror Story (2021) – SPOILERS! – A group of people stranded at a cabin in the woods find out they are unwittingly part of the production of a horror film.
  • Cut! (2021) – Life (and death) imitates art when the people around Marcos, the director of a queer giallo, keep getting murdered by a black-gloved killer.
  • Dwellers (2021) – Found footage horror about a small crew making a documentary about the homeless, and discovering a story about missing people and a mystery beneath the city’s streets.
  • Untitled Horror Movie (2021) – A found-footage/screenlife horror comedy about a group of people who accidentally summon something malevolent when they attempt to make a horror movie.

Further Reading

Meet The Author

Chris has a degree in film studies at Temple University’s campus in Tokyo, Japan. He is a renowned expert on horror cinema.