The central concept of an action movie involves a singular hero (or group of heroes), who are naturally drawn to combat, even if they are not necessarily violent at heart. The only reason they fight, in most cases, is to free themselves, or the world, from the clutches of a predominantly aggressive antagonist whose goal is to cause destruction and chaos.

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Given this perspective, it’s easy enough to imagine how an action narrative can essentially become the horror genre without losing most of its substance. However, only a few of them would be equally great stories in both film categories.

10 Enter the Dragon (1973)

One of the Bruce Lee classics, it tells the story of a master fighter named Lee, who tries to solve the mystery of his sister’s murder when he goes on a mission for a UK intelligence agency. The antagonist, Han, uses terrifying metal prosthetic claws to viciously kill anyone he dislikes, but this isn’t the creepy part.

The final scene, shot in an intricate room of mirrors, is especially stressful and almost negates the protagonist’s combat prowess by generating tons of disturbing images of the villain. Imagine this, but with a supernatural creature than a mere crime lord.

9 The Matrix (1999)

Matrix It is already a horror story from several perspectives: humans are anatomically linked to machines and fed with artificial simulations that generate a fake reality around them. Interestingly, the real situation is much more serious, as people have to constantly focus on the threat ahead.

Certain sequences, such as when Nebuchadnezzar’s crew patiently wait for a swarm of Sentinels to pass is stressful, as it resembles the standard horror trope in which the characters anxiously hope that the demons / serial killers will not find them hiding in the Dark.

8 Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

The Mimics aren’t a nice bunch of alien invaders, but then which of them really are? However, instead of the repetitive time-looping plot, what if the narrative is segmented and randomly dispersed, as in Nolan’s story? Memory (2000)?

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Having to deal with a nearly invincible enemy group is difficult enough, but forcing the protagonist to investigate his own memory to produce a coherent set of events would make victory intimidating enough.

7 Aliens (1986)

The original, Alien (1979), it was literally a horror movie set in space, and it really lived up to it. Its 1986 sequel clearly falls into the action genre, as the characters effortlessly dispatch hordes of Xenomorphs with only automatic weaponry.

The feeling of fear does not arise from a lack of technology, but from the destruction of hope, which is forged by the Alien Queen in her last attempt to protect her creepy clan. Take out the Colonial Marines and let Ellen Ripley do it alone one more time. Anyway, it’s not like I’m going to lose.

6 Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

The scorching hot desert in post-apocalyptic Australia is eerie enough without having to watch Max bite into a two-headed lizard, or Immortan Joe’s face being ripped through his mask, the crow-fishers stalking the horizon, or even the poor. decrepit inhabitants of the wasteland asking for a drop of water.

Replacing the War Boys with, say, a mob of rampant zombies would be one way to make the race for freedom considerably scarier. Where can one hide in a thousand miles of burning sand? And how many weapons would the heroes really need?

5 Avatar (2009)

James Cameron Avatars

This movie is a bit complicated, because the Na’vi are charming creatures who have to experience the colonial and destructive mentality of horrible human beings.

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However, if these peaceful extraterrestrial beings are the evil ones, the whole tone of the story would instantly change. Taking on a planetary hive mind and winning is no easy task, and it’s especially worse if all you want to do is eat human flesh (or worse).

4 Predator (1987)

How Predator it has not yet been classified as horror is a mystery, because it contains all the elements of the genre: a suspicious entity, people skinned alive and an invisible hunter who collects “trophies” from their deaths.

Where the Yautja comes from becomes irrelevant to its bloodlust for inflicting pain and suffering on innocent people. Well, as innocent as these heroes are. In addition, the climax in which he self-destructs laughing maniacally is one of the nightmare scenes in action movies.

3 The raid (2011)

So Rama is one of the best martial artists out there, since he can only eliminate dozens and dozens of enemy fighters that are thrown at him. Would you be able to do your job in such style if the apartment building was infested with something … paranormal?

Zombies, once again, would be an interesting option, but not the slow ones. Night of the Living Dead (1968). Imagine something straight out of Demonic resident, like the Pursuer, an ominous example of the Nemesis-T type. Another possibility is to go in the Mountain range direction, except that the hero is totally devoid of his fighting prowess.

2 Snowpiercer (2013)

Snowpiercer 2013 Chris Evans Jamie Bell

It would not be difficult to successfully convert Snowpiercer in other Train to Busan (2016), but zombies quickly get bored. How about a short story about people trapped on a ghost train, circling the world in an eternal circumlocution around a dying globe?

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Instead of blasting their way across metaphorical class boundaries, they could be forced to grapple with the horrible mistakes of their collective past; a form of psychological eco-horror.

one The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966)

Now, forget about Tuco and Blondie scouring Civil War-ravaged lands in search of gold, because this Western villain, dishonorable and fearsome as he is, is not terrifying.

Making Angel Eyes a no-nonsense serial killer chasing after a couple of treasure hunters, on the other hand, is a sure path to true horror. Anton Chigurh of No country for old men (2007), for example, with his lurid talent for emotionless murder.

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