An eclectic mix they may be, but three movies have been nagging me to compile them into a list of non-horror movies for horror fans. A fourth is pouting as he feels left out, so I'll include him as a bonus just to keep him happy.
The first non-horror movie for horror fans is a truly classic movie that many younger viewers may have passed over because it's in that ancient black and white format with long-dead Hollywood stars of the past. Night of the Hunter (1955) is a drama with so many horror overtones that it is hard to even classify what genre it really falls under. From terrifying caricatures to visually surreal, almost Dadaistic visual interludes, the movie has it all. Some scenes are so out there, they remind me of the strangely lit, fever dream-esque scenes that have haunted me since childhood from various ViewMaster reels I owned.
The second non-horror movie for horror fans is a cable classic that burned its imagery into my young brain as I snuck in some forbidden late-night HBO while my parents were out with friends. The Name of the Rose (1986) is a truly unique medieval murder-mystery based on the novel by the late Umberto Eco. While its killer (literally) cast is composed of such Hollywood heavyweights as Sean Connery, Christian Slater, Ron Perlman, William Hickey, and F. Murray Abraham, its feel is much more intimate, almost documentary in a way. A truly fantastic historical whodunnit with some shocking visuals that will burn themselves into your mind's visual vocabulary,
Riding that ever-present fine line between horror and science fiction, Dreamscape (1984) is the third non-horror movie for horror fans I can recommend. It's an early cable staple, and a lot older than most of us care to admit, but its visuals still hold up today, including one scene that scarred me as a kid the same way Large Marge's transformation did in Pee Wee's Big Adventure. A very young Dennis Quaid leads a star-heavy cast including Max von Sydow, Christopher Plummer, Eddie Albert, George Wendt and Kate Kapshaw on a terrifying journey bringing to life the things that people secretly fear the most.
Bonus non-horror movie for horror fans: Spring (2014) is, simply put, Before Sunrise (1995) if its script was written by H.P. Lovecraft. Drag your horror hating, Hallmark Movie loving significant other to watch it and you'll be the hero by the end of the movie…I promise. Trust me.