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Top 5 Medical Horror Movies

  • by Fehbe Meza
  • Oct 07, 2019
  • MCAT Blog

Written by Patrick Hardie

Gather ‘round you sleep-deprived pre-med students for it’s finally time to take a break from your endless flashcards and heavy books. Put on your stethoscopes and listen closely for I’m about to haunt your evening with the top 5 medical horror movies that every pre-med student should watch. Here at Next Step Test Prep, we pride ourselves on teaching students new things to help you prepare for the MCAT and while nothing in this list can substitute for an MCAT course, there might be a movie or two in here that you were unaware existed and you can check out. We hope this list doesn’t frighten you too badly but, let’s be honest, there’s nothing scarier than the MCAT itself so these recommendations will probably feel like therapy to you.

5. Flatliners (1990)

And the award for dumbest medical students go to the characters in Flatliners. You’d think Julia Roberts, Kevin Bacon, Kiefer Sutherland, and an eager cast of others, would know better than to briefly stop their hearts to gain insight into the afterlife but NO! You heard me right, these medical students actual kill themselves to experience life after death only to be brought back via defibrillator to share their encounters. While the movie isn’t the most horrific out there, its fear originates from the paranormal consequences they face after treading where no human should. This medical horror movie should also scare pre-med students into realizing that there are just some experiments you should not do!

4. Contagion (2011)

Okay, maybe my list doesn’t contain the scariest of movies but they’re definitely movies that would send a shiver down any pre-med’s spine. When Gwyneth Paltrow returns to Minnesota from Hong Kong, she brings with her…can you guess? A cold? No! A sickness? Worse! A lethal microbe capable of wiping out the entire population? YES! Watch as this contagion, spread through human contact, turn sniffles into sneezes into death. So…I guess the best way to defeat this virus villain is to be an introvert. This movie is a valuable lesson to always wash your hands, cover your mouth when you sneeze, and never fly on planes when you’re sick!

3. Dr. Giggles (1992)

Every scary movie list needs an inherently terrible slasher film and this is my pièce de résistance. I find that “so bad it’s good” type slasher movies are best enjoyed with limited knowledge going into them so all I’ll tell you is that there is a son of a doctor who escapes from a mental institution to return to his hometown to wreak horror on its residents. Why does the son of a murderous medicine man return to mutilate these mild-mannered townspeople? Because many years ago, these townspeople murdered the murderous doctor for murdering many people and now the son is mighty keen to make his revenge via—how else?—murder. Sounds phenomenal, right?

2. Awake (2007)

Have you ever heard of intraoperative awareness, also known as anesthesia awareness? If you haven’t, maybe you haven’t been studying for the MCAT hard enough…(we can help with that). If you have, then you understand where I’m headed and understand why this movie might be the scariest on my list. Imagine being given anesthesia for an upcoming heart surgery but soon realize that you’re completely aware of everything. You can hear, feel, think, smell…but you can’t move. Your muscles have responded to the anesthesia but your consciousness has not. You feel everything performed on you during the surgery but can’t move an inch to make anyone aware of it. That’s exactly what happens to the main character of this movie. Yes, the film may take a few liberties in its medical accuracy and it may be a bit far-fetched near the end but the idea of being “awake” during massive surgery may just be the scariest thing of all. Just something to think about the next time you cut someone open.

1. Gattaca (1997)

This pick may have to remain an inside joke for the pre-med students out there. To the average movie-goer, this movie is nothing more than a 90s space romp but to a pre-med student, just hearing the title of this cringey movie may drive them insane. If you have taken any type of science course that discussed genes, this film has been played in your classroom countless times. Many a viewing guide has been filled out by bored pre-med students as they watch Jude Law and Ethan Hawke discuss genomes. Maybe the scariest trick we could play on you this Halloween is making you watch it again. MWAHAHAHA!

What’s your go-to medical horror movie? Remember, if it has guts and blood, we’ll let it pass!

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