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Top 10 Horror Movies That Surprisingly Are NOT R-Rated

VO: Matthew Wende
Written by Thomas O' Connor Horror movies often rely on violence, blood and gore to get their points across, so how is it these ones managed to escape without an R-Rating? WatchMojo presents the top 10 Movies You'll Be Shocked Aren't Rated R! But what will take the top spot on our list? The Ring, The Grudge, or The Sixth Sense? Watch to find out! Watch on WatchMojo: Big thanks to Drew Boxall for suggesting this idea, and to see how WatchMojo users voted, check out the suggest page here: http://WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Horror+Movies+That+Are+Surprisingly+Rated+PG/PG-13+As+Of+Today

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These films prove that you don’t need an R rating to generate pure terror. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Horror Movies That Surprisingly Aren’t Rated R.

For this list, we’re looking at some of the best horror movies that you’ll be surprised to hear are rated PG or PG-13, despite scenes containing violence and gore.

#10: “Jaws” (1975)

One of the most infamous horror movies of all time, this legendary early work from filmmaker extraordinaire Steven Spielberg is surprisingly low on blood and gore considering the story centers on a killer shark. That’s largely because Spielberg plays it coy when it comes to the shark itself and the aftermath of its attacks, letting our minds fill in the blanks with horrors more frightening than anything the film could actually depict. Of course, there’s still the odd severed leg to remind us of the brutal nature of the shark and its appetites, so we can’t call the film entirely bloodless.

#9: “Mama” (2013)

This spooky tale focuses on two young girls who spent an extended period of time alone in the woods following the death of their parents. But after being found and taken in by their uncle and his girlfriend, it slowly becomes clear that the girls weren’t as alone as it seemed, and an entity they call Mama has latched onto them. Much like our last entry, this film lets the audience do a lot of the work for themselves, often generating scares through some wonderfully spooky sound design. The sound of Mama alone is enough to give us the heebie jeebies, and that’s a rare thing in horror films.

#8: “Killer Klowns from Outer Space” (1988)

This 1988 horror movie sees a group of aliens, who, by astonishing cosmic coincidence, look and act exactly like circus clowns. They proceed to invade a small town to cause mayhem and turn the townsfolk into delicious cotton candy. But surprisingly enough, the film only holds a PG-13 rating despite decapitations, acid pies, and even one poor cop being turned into a human ventriloquist’s dummy. There are also one or two scantily clad ladies to be found in between the brightly colored carnage, but nothing so explicit as to warrant a full R rating.

#7: “Ouija: Origin of Evil” (2016)

A movie based on a board game already has to fight pretty hard to be scary, but doubly so when it’s trying to scare viewers without resorting to extreme violence. This horror movie prequel pulls it off, however, managing to deliver on scares while keeping things relatively low in the gore department. Of course, there are still deaths aplenty and a genuinely disturbing demonic possession, but for the most part the film doesn’t go overboard with the gore, sticking to good, old-fashioned scares that hit their mark more often than not. Maybe there’s hope for board game movies after all?

#6: “Fire in the Sky” (1993)

Alien abductions are usually the stuff of sci-fi rather than horror, but this 1993 genre-mixing film takes the concept of abduction to some genuinely horrifying places. After vanishing for five days, an Arizona logger mysteriously reappears with no memory of what happened. However, the memories of his horrible ordeal slowly start coming to the surface. And trust us when we say that these memories were best left forgotten. The abduction flashbacks are not for the faint of heart, especially if, like us, you aren’t a big fan of eyeball violence. How this one manages to escape an R rating is beyond us, but we’re squirming in our seats either way.

#5: “Drag Me to Hell” (2009)

You don’t get a title like this movie without some serious horror chops, and Sam Raimi’s 2009 splatter-fest has chops to spare - to say nothing of splats, pops, and crunches. After evicting an old woman from her home, a bank employee finds herself horribly cursed, and bizarre and gooey incidents soon follow. As can be expected from the director of the “Evil Dead” series, this film is rife with popping eyeballs, bursting bodily fluids, and even a talking demonic goat, but somehow dodges an R rating. R rating or not, maybe try to avoid eating while you’re watching this one. You’ve been warned.

#4: “Insidious” (2010)

This tale of a normal suburban family who find themselves terrorized by a creepy demonic entity is surprisingly light on blood and guts, instead relying on jump scares and atmosphere to keep the audience on edge. Even though he’s rocking some seriously dangerous looking claws, the demon that menaces the Lambert family doesn’t do a whole lot of slashing – he actually appears to prefer popping out when you’re least expecting it. He keeps those claws sharp, though, and we’d hate to see what he can do with them when he gets his demonic hands on somebody. Do you think he’s related to Freddy Krueger?

#3: “The Grudge” (2004)

This remake of the Japanese film, “Ju-On,” tells the story of an American family that moves into a house in Japan, only to discover that it’s also home to some seriously scary entities that aren’t too happy about sharing their abode. This is another movie that manages to do a lot with the power of sound, and the horrible noises made by the entities is guaranteed to get under our skin every single time we hear it, to say nothing of the creepy way they crawl around on all fours and the vacant looks on their ghostly-white faces. Plus, let’s be honest, sometimes kids are just plain creepy!

#2: “The Ring” (2002)

And speaking of creepy ghost children from American remakes of Japanese films, this 2002 horror sensation features a mysterious VHS tape that condemns anyone who watches it to a terrifying death one week later. The film, like the tape itself, is full of frightening images, from a horse meeting a grisly end at the blades of a boat propeller, to the ghostly Samara emerging from a TV screen to claim her latest victim. But very rarely does the film go all-out with gore or violence, keeping it firmly in the PG-13 category. Given the hours of sleep we lost after watching this one, we aren’t complaining.

#1: “The Sixth Sense” (1999)

This 1999 horror film catapulted filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan to directorial superstardom, and it cast action hero Bruce Willis in a decidedly new light as a child psychiatrist caring for a young boy plagued by visions of ghosts. The ghosts that he sees aren’t of the white sheet variety, but rather gruesome visions that still haunt us to this day. This is another entry that relies mostly on tension and atmosphere, two things that don’t generally get a film an R rating. However, we’re still surprised that some of the horrible sights this movie has to offer only warranted a PG-13 rating.

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