Our Favourite De Palma Horror Films

  • Features

As you might already know, this September sees the release of the much-anticipated documentary De Palma, which explores the career of, perhaps unsurprisingly, legendary film director Brian De Palma.

de palma

To celebrate this, we’ve decided to check out some of De Palma’s best horror films.


Where else to start. Carrie is notably one of De Palma’s most well known movies. Originally released in 1976 and celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, Carrie is based on Stephen King’s novel of the same name.

Carrie is a young and shy 17 year old who is unpopular at her high school. One day her crush Tommy Ross invites Carrie to her high school prom. Unfortunately things weren’t as perfect as Carrie was led to believe and after her bullies play a prank on her at the prom, Carrie unleashes a horrific revenge on them all.


Sisters, released in 1973, is more of a psychological horror as opposed to the supernatural horror that Carrie was. The script for the film was written by De Palma and Louisa Rose and was largely influenced by Alfred Hitchcock’s films.

One day a young beautiful model, Danielle Breton meets an attractive advertising rep at a Manhattan game show. They hit it off well and after the show he politely takes her to her home to Staten Island, but what seemed like a nice gesture turned out to be something a lot more horrific. The next day, her neighbour Grace Collier, who is also a local reporter, witnesses the bloody violence that takes place in Danielle’s apartment but she can’t get anyone to believe her. With the help of a private detective, Grace is determined to try and solve the mystery.

Phantom of the Paradise

Phantom of the Paradise takes a very different approach to previous horrors as this is actually more of a musical horror film. Written and directed by De Palma, the story has been quite loosely adapted from a mix of several different classic European works such as Gaston Leroux’s novel The Phantom of the Opera, Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, and Faust by Goethe/Christopher Marlowe.

The story is focused around Winslow Leach, a composer who writes all his music for the woman that he loves. One day the evil producer Swan tries to steal his music for his own opera rock ballad and in doing so he leaves Leach horribly disfigured along with framing and getting him convicted for drug dealing. Winslow now covers his face with a silver-owl mask and starts searching for ways to have his revenge.

The Fury

Taking a trip back to the supernatural genre, The Fury is directed by De Palma (credited as Brian DePalma) and written by John Farris as the film is based on his novel of the same name. The film was also critically acclaimed for its soundtrack which was composed by John Williams.

A secret US agency is gathering up children who have psychological abilities. After taking them away from their homes the US agency then starts to train them to be super soldiers for wars. The agency finds out that ex-CIA agent Peter Sandza has a son with abilities and kidnap to train and harness the boy’s abilities. To rescue his son, who was officially declared dead after an arranged accident, Peter begins to investigate the agency whilst being on the run from them.

Raising Cain

Another film that is both written and directed by De Palma. Raising Cain is a psychological thriller that was released in 1992. The wife of a child psychologist, Jenny Nix, starts to become concerned about her husband’s obsessive concern over the upbringing of their daughter.

Jenny ends up having an affair with an old lover of hers which makes her begin to neglect her motherly duties. Soon after a bunch of local kidnappings forces her to realise the possibility that they might be linked to her husband trying to recreate the twisted mind-control experiments of his discredited psychologist father.

De Palma is released in UK cinemas on Friday 23rd September. Check out the trailer below:

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