21 Mind-Melting Movies To Prepare You For The Multiverse Of Madness

These surreal and slimy films will get you ready for Doctor Strange‘s next adventure.

After the global phenomenon that was Spider-Man: No Way Home, Marvel fans have been waiting patiently for the next film in the MCU, Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness.

Disney / Marvel / Via media.giphy.com

However, some fans don’t quite know what to expect from this diversion from Marvel’s typical superhero fare, as the studio has enlisted horror great (and Spider-Man OG trilogy filmmaker) Sam Raimi and showcased plenty of surreal and scary goodness in the previews thus far. So in preparation for the next mind-bending adventure of the Sorcerer Supreme, I’ve assembled 20 freaky and phantasmagorical films that will help ready your brain to withstand the sights and sounds of the Multiverse of Madness.


From Beyond

Empire Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

Reuniting the stars and crew of Re-Animator for another eerie adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft, From Beyond is a gooey and gruesome story of scientists who accidentally summon a shape-shifting monster from another dimension.


Sound of My Voice

Fox Searchlight / Courtesy Everett Collection

A tense and nail-biting thriller co-written by star Brit Marling, Sound of My Voice follows two journalists who decide to infiltrate a secretive apocalypse cult, only to have their emotional wounds laid bare and question the validity of the enigmatic and seductive cult leader.



Oscilloscope Laboratories / Courtesy Everett Collection

An intimate, paranoia-laden science fiction film that has become a cult classic in recent years, Coherence follows a dinner party that turns volatile after a cosmic incident opens a doorway between parallel dimensions.



Warner Bros / Courtesy Everett Collection

In Christopher Nolan’s game-changing action/sci-fi hybrid, a group of thieves attempt to implant a thought into the mind of an influential executive by injecting themselves into his dreams, but find themselves at the mercy of dream logic and the perils of their individual subconscious threats.



Relativity Media / Courtesy Everett Collection

In the breakout film from horror maestro Mike Flanagan, two siblings come to terms with their nightmarish past as they attempt to destroy an allegedly cursed mirror that is accused of being able to manipulate reality and may have been responsible for the terrifying tragedies in their youth.


Take Shelter

Sony Pictures Classics / Courtesy Everett Collection

In this meditative and eerie drama, Michael Shannon plays a blue-collar father who begins experiencing visions of an impending doomsday, and must decide if these experiences are premonitions or evidence of mental distress before its too late.


The One

Columbia Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

From the writers and director behind Final Destination, The One follows a cop who is targeted by his alternate dimension self, who has been traveling throughout the multiverse to kill his other selves in order to harness their life force.


The Similars

XLRator Media / Courtesy Everett Collection

In this modern, Twilight Zone-esque mystery movie, a group of people stranded at a bus station during a stormy night soon discover they have more in common than they ever could imagine.



Collection Christophel / Rhombus Media / Roxbury Pictures / Courtesy Alamy

Director Denis Villeneuve further cemented his reputation as the master of cerebral thrillers with Enemy, a surreal film in which a man discovers, and is subsequently blackmailed by, his doppelgänger.


Donnie Darko

Newmarket Releasing / Courtesy Everett Collection

A seminal cult film of the early ’00s, Donnie Darko served as a strange yet accessible tale of angst and love in the age of time travel and predetermination featuring a star-making performance from a young Jake Gyllenhaal.



XYZ Films / AA Film Archive / Courtesy Alamy

A neon-soaked nightmare that feels ripped out of the pages of Heavy Metal, Nicolas Cage plays a lumberjack who seeks bloody revenge against a bizarre cult and a band of savage mutant bikers.


The Empty Man

Boom! Studios – Out of Africa Entertainment / Prod.DB / TCD / Courtesy Alamy

Released in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, The Empty Man is a creepy adaptation of the Boom! Studios comic of the same name, which focuses on a private investigator’s maddening search for a missing girl, a metaphysical cult, and a local legend known as “The Empty Man.”


Daniel Isn’t Real

Spectrevision / Allstar Picture Library Ltd. / Courtesy Alamy

Emerging horror filmmaker Adam Egypt Mortimer’s story about a malevolent imaginary friend descends into some deep, dark places, twisting the mind of its audience almost as much as its protagonist as he encounters an imaginative body horror hellscape.



Magnolia Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

Equal parts science fiction, horror, and comedy, Timecrimes is a wonderfully weird story of a man fleeing a menacing bandaged figure who accidentally takes refuge in a time machine.



Paramount / Courtesy Alamy

Effortlessly hypnotic, meditative, and disturbing, Alex Garland’s Annihilation utilizes stunning visuals and a creeping sense of dread to bring its cosmic horror to life.


The Cell

New Line Cinema / Courtesy Everett Collection

A fantastic and shocking film that literally leaps into the mind of a serial killer, Tarsem Singh’s The Cell utilizes the juxtaposition of breathtaking elegance and twisted brutality unlike any film before or afterward.



Patriot Pictures / Album / Courtesy Alamy

Anthony Mackie and Jamie Dornan headline this stripped-down time travel film in which a terminally ill EMT attempts to rescue the daughter of his friend, who recently tried a drug that allegedly transports you randomly back in time.


12 Monkeys

Universal / Allstar Picture Library Ltd. / Alamy

Few can pull off otherworldly cinema as well as Terry Gilliam, as the Monty Python member went both strange and serious for 12 Monkeys, in which Bruce Willis plays a reluctant time traveler who attempts to prevent a world-ending plague.



Fox Searchlight / Courtesy Everett Collection

James McAvoy, Rosario Dawson, and Vincent Cassel star in this immersive and visually remarkable cinematic puzzle box from acclaimed director Danny Boyle, blending hallucinatory storytelling with the stakes of a crime film as to keep the audience guessing in more than one way.


Altered States

Warner Bros / Courtesy Everett Collection

The provocative Ken Russell movie combined experimental filmmaking techniques, a mind-melting script from Paddy Chayefsky, and his bold, borderline adversarial relationship with his audiences for one of the best and most affecting psychological horror films of all time.


Dark City

New Line Cinema / Courtesy Alamy

An underrated sci-fi masterpiece from the director of The Crow, Dark City follows a man who wakes up one day believing he has been framed for a rash of bizarre killings, only to learn that there is a bigger and far more terrifying secret manipulating the entire city…and possibly even reality itself.

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21 Mind-Melting Movies To Prepare You For The Multiverse Of Madness