After making highly acclaimed A24 films The witch and LighthouseRobert Eggers was back on stage in April with his Viking action saga The man from the north. With only three feature films in his filmography so far, Eggers has established himself as one of the most original voices in Hollywood today.
Even though all of his films are distinct from each other, recurring themes in Eggers’ work include period settings and subversions of existing folklore and mythology. Therefore, several classics in the fantasy and supernatural horror genre are perfect streaming choices for admirers of his films.
ten Conan the Barbarian (1982)
Stream on Starz
Hailed as one of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s best films, Conan the Barbarian is a classic of the swords and sandals genre. Inspired by the works of Robert E. Howard, the film unfolds as a basic revenge story with the titular protagonist unleashing a cycle of violence against the invaders who massacred his family. But the film’s grand scale and quintessential ’80s nature make it worth revisiting for fans of fantasy and action alike.
For those who admired the grandiose and hyperviolent character of The man from the north, Conan the Barbarian made for essential viewing. After all, Eggers himself has publicly stated that the 1982 film heavily influenced his final feature.
9 Hereditary (2018)
Stream on Kanopy
Hereditary is not just a horror film with pagan undertones, but also a grueling family drama that tests the boundaries of personal relationships. The plot kicks off with a dysfunctional family going haywire after a personal tragedy affects them all. What follows is a series of innovative jumps and a masterclass in acting by Toni Colette.
With Hereditary, director Ari Aster has established himself as a talent to watch while transforming distributor A24 into an acclaimed horror studio. Given their knack for creating original horror movies that also focus on human emotions, Aster and Eggers can be considered worthy peers and poster boys for A24’s best horror films. For those who wish to enter Aster’s filmography, Hereditary is the ideal starting point.
8 Haider (2014)
Stream on Netflix
A modern approach Hamlet located in the conflict-ridden Kashmir region of India, Haider is a Hindi crime thriller. The plot is the same as its source material, but with localized variations of scenes from the play. The desolate, snowy setting adds to the haunting nature of the film which is easily one of the loose film adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays in recent times.
from Eggers The man from the north is inspired by Amlet, the original Scandinavian story that inspired the Bard’s English play. If the film succeeds in creating a fascination for unconventional takes on the story of Hamletthen Haider is the way to go.
seven Fellowship (1931)
Stream on HBO Max
camaraderie (Where Camaraderie as the English title says) is a claustrophobic survival tale set against the backdrop of a mine collapse. In a mine on the border of France and Germany, French workers are trapped under the rubble of an explosion. Now it’s up to a team of German miners to rescue them, ignoring the cultural rivalries between their respective countries.
In all, camaraderie is a hopeful vision of intercultural unity. But with its closed setting and realistic storyline, it also serves as an exploration of human psychology in stressful situations. That’s why it’s a good watch after a “cabin fever” classic like Robert Eggers’ Oscar-nominated psychological thriller. Lighthouse.
6 Mother! (2017)
Stream to Prime Video
The best of Daren Aronofsky’s movies winds between character-driven drama and psychological horror. In Mother, the author explores similar themes with his unique adaptation of the Bible. Playing like an allegorical tale of motherhood, the nightmarish experience continues to incorporate the lore of Abel’s death at the hands of Cain at the birth of Jesus Christ.
Aronofsky’s exploration of scripture like the Bible is perfect for fans of Eggers’ work, as he is also used to developing new interpretations of existing mythologies and folklore. For instance, The witch incorporated ideas from the Salem Witch Trial Records and European folklore while The man from the north draws heavily from Scandinavian mythology. Traces of Greek mythology can also be found in Lighthouse.
5 Antichrist (2009)
Stream to Criterion Channel
A harrowing experimental horror that’s sure to polarize audiences, Lars Von Trier is controversial at his best with Antichrist. The film explores the breakdown of a couple’s marriage as they embark on a sensual escapade in an Eden-like forest. However, it turns out to be an exercise in self-destruction with the narrative throwing up shocking examples of violence and nudity that might be artistic for some or downright grotesque for others.
Eggers’ experiences with such free content are different but Antichrist would still be an interesting case study. Moreover, a bit like Lighthouse, the storyline involves just two characters and their eventual descent into chaos. Both movies also offer some of Willem Defoe’s most iconic roles.
4 Valhalla Rising (2009)
Stream on the Amazon AMC+ Channel
When it comes to films focusing on ultra-violent Viking adventures with a hint of mythology, Rise of Valhalla is an easy choice. Starring Mads Mikkelsen, the film is a Danish production that focuses on a Nordic man’s quest for revenge. As he seeks to find new allies, he encounters a group of Christian crusaders with whom he embarks on a sea voyage plagued by dark visions.
Rise of Valhalla has equal doses of period action and mythological fantasy to satisfy fans of multiple genres. With a controlled performance by Mikkelsen as the One-Eye main character, his character is quite comparable to Alexander Sarsgaard’s Amlet in The man from the north. Even the wintry color palette makes The man from the north spiritual successor of Rise of Valhalla.
3 Nosferatu the Vampire (1979)
Stream on Kanopy
Nosferatus, the first of the 1922 adaptations of Dracula, is an undisputed pioneer in the horror genre. Even in terms of artistic merit, it set a benchmark for German Expressionism. So, naturally, it was a Herculean task for Werner Herzog to remake Nosferatu in a modern color format. And the result is an equally intriguing take on the same story that balances style and substance.
Herzog’s courage to offer his own take on a familiar horror tale like this would remind modern audiences of Eggers’ cinematic takes on established lore. In fact, Eggers himself loves the original Nosferatu so much that he even planned to remake it himself, according to IndieWire. Maybe in the future his version would be a perfect companion to Herzog’s remake.
2 The Green Knight (2021)
Stream on Showtime
Arthurian legends and their later film adaptations often focus on the masculinity and valor of knights. The green knight subverts this portrayal with a fantastical story that also highlights the human side of these warriors. Dev Patel’s Sir Gawain wants to prove his bravery with a trial by combat and Tolkien-style adventures. But deep down, he’s also humanized with scenes that show his fear and confusion.
David Lowery’s brilliant exploration of this character is comparable to the way Eggers treats his muscular Viking hero in The man from the north. Even in a movie like The witch, Eggers tries to move away from the clichéd antagonism associated with witches and offers more context behind a country girl’s eventual metamorphosis into a witch. These modern versions of ancient tales reflect the changing mindset of today’s audience.
1 The Wicker Man (1973)
Rent on Apple TV+
When it comes to movies with occult and pagan themes, the original Wicker Man is a must watch. The film begins as an investigative thriller with a policeman pursuing a cult on a Scottish island. In an effort to find a missing child, the protagonist goes through frivolous displays of sexual activity and rituals that border on pagan territory.
The landscape photos and the disturbing nature of the inhabitants make the island of Summerisle a character in its own right. This world-building exercise will impress horror fans of Eggers who have always focused on creating atmospheric storylines, whether in the 17th-century New England town of The witchthe lonely tower of Lighthouseor the Icelandic nature of The Nordic.