Experience the thrill of terror with our definitive list of The 200 Best Horror Movies of All Time. From German expressionism to modern masterpieces, this comprehensive list includes the most bone-chilling films that expose audiences to the unknown and beyond. Slashers, zombies, vampires, and psychological thrillers- this list has it all.
Discover the recent strides made by female horror directors and international filmmakers, with new additions like His House and Candyman, and classics such as Dario Argento’s Creepers. So, brace yourself for an unforgettable journey into the world of horror and explore the best scary movies, each with a Fresh rating from at least 20 reviews.
The 200 Best Horror Movies of All Time
In this list, we’ve compiled the top 200 highest-rated horror movies of all time, based on critics’ reviews and audience ratings. From classic slashers to supernatural thrillers, this list includes a diverse range of films that are sure to give you goosebumps.
Whether you’re a die-hard horror fan or just looking for a good scare, these movies are guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat. So grab some popcorn, turn off the lights, and prepare for a terrifying journey through the world of horror cinema.
A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3: DREAM WARRIORS (1987)
Critics Consensus: A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors provides an imaginative and satisfying rebound for a franchise already facing sequelitis. Kristen Parker (Patricia Arquette) has her wrists slashed by dream-stalking monster Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) during a hallucinatory incident… [More]
Starring: Heather Langenkamp, Patricia Arquette, Craig Wasson, Laurence Fishburne
Directed By: Chuck Russell
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet. An American (Jennifer Connelly) at a Swiss finishing school calls on insects to help a paralyzed scientist (Donald Pleasence) fight… [More]
Starring: Jennifer Connelly, Donald Pleasence, Dalila Di Lazzaro, Fausta Avelli
Directed By: Dario Argento
BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA (1992)
Critics Consensus: Overblown in the best sense of the word, Francis Ford Coppola’s vision of Bram Stoker’s Dracula rescues the character from decades of campy interpretations — and features some terrific performances to boot. Gary Oldman plays Dracula whose lonely soul is determined to reunite with his… [More]
Starring: Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, Anthony Hopkins, Keanu Reeves
Directed By: Francis Ford Coppola
Critics Consensus: With writer-director Clive Barker’s fiendishly unique vision, Hellraiser offers a disquieting – and sadistically smart – alternative to mindless gore. Sexual deviant Frank (Sean Chapman) inadvertently opens a portal to hell when he tinkers with a box he bought… [More]
Starring: Andrew Robinson, Clare Higgins, Ashley Laurence, Sean Chapman
Directed By: Clive Barker
IT’S ALIVE! (1974)
Critics Consensus: It’s Alive throttles the viewer with its bizarre mutant baby theatrics. Leaving their son, Chris (Daniel Holzman), with a family friend (William Wellman Jr.), Frank (John P. Ryan) and Lenore Davis… [More]
Starring: John P. Ryan, Sharon Farrell, Andrew Duggan, Guy Stockwell
Directed By: Larry Cohen
JACOB’S LADDER (1990)
Critics Consensus: Even with its disorienting leaps of logic and structure, Jacob’s Ladder is an engrossing, nerve-shattering experience. After returning home from the Vietnam War, veteran Jacob Singer (Tim Robbins) struggles to maintain his sanity. Plagued by hallucinations… [More]
Starring: Tim Robbins, Elizabeth Peña, Danny Aiello, Matt Craven
Directed By: Adrian Lyne
OPEN WATER (2003)
Critics Consensus: Alow budget thriller with intense moments. Daniel (Daniel Travis) and Susan (Blanchard Ryan) embark on a tropical vacation with their scuba-diving certifications. During a dive, they are accidentally left behind in the open ocean and must fight for survival against the elements and circling sharks… [More]
Starring: Blanchard Ryan, Daniel Travis, Saul Stein, Estelle Lau
Directed By: Chris Kentis
THE MIST (2007)
Critics Consensus: Frank Darabont’s impressive camerawork and politically incisive script make The Mist a truly frightening experience. After a powerful storm damages their Maine home, David Drayton (Thomas Jane) and his young son head into town to stock up on supplies. But when a thick mist descends upon the town, trapping them in a grocery store with terrifying creatures lurking outside, they must fight for their survival… [More]
Starring: Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden, Laurie Holden, Andre Braugher
Directed By: Frank Darabont
THE RING (2002)
Critics Consensus: The Ring gets under your skin, thanks to director Gore Verbinski’s haunting sense of atmosphere and an impassioned performance from Naomi Watts. It sounds like just another urban legend — a videotape filled with nightmarish images leads to a phone call foretelling… [More]
Starring: Naomi Watts, Martin Henderson, David Dorfman, Brian Cox
Directed By:Gore Verbinski
Critics Consensus: Phantasm: Remastered adds visual clarity to the first installment in one of horror’s most enduring — and endearingly idiosyncratic — franchises. The residents of a small town have begun dying under strange circumstances, leading young Mike (Michael Baldwin) to investigate. After… [More]
Starring: A. Michael Baldwin, Bill Thornbury, Reggie Bannister, Kathy Lester
Directed By: Don Coscarelli
Critics Consensus: Frailty is a well-crafted, low-key horror that is creepy and disturbing. The film follows the FBI’s search for a serial killer who calls himself “God’s Hands” in present-day Texas. Starring Bill Paxton, Matthew McConaughey, Powers Boothe, and Matt O’Leary. Directed by Bill Paxton.
Dog Soldiers (2002)
Critics Consensus: Dog Soldiers is a frightening, funny, and action-packed movie that is well worth checking out for genre fans. The film follows a small squad of British soldiers who encounter werewolves during a routine nighttime training mission in the Scottish Highlands. Starring Sean Pertwee, Kevin McKidd, Emma Cleasby, and Liam Cunningham. Directed by Neil Marshall.
Basket Case (1982)
Critics Consensus: Basket Case is a movie that delivers all the promised gonzo gore and is set apart by its rich vein of genuine pathos. The film follows Duane, who checks into a sleazy hotel with a wicker basket containing his telepathic Siamese twin. Starring Kevin Van Hentenryck, Terri Susan Smith, and Beverly Bonner. Directed by Frank Henenlotter.
Eden Lake (2008)
Critics Consensus: Eden Lake is a brutal and effective British hoodie-horror movie that, despite the clichés, stays on the right side of scary. Thefilm follows a young couple who confront a gang of youths and suffer brutal consequences during a romantic weekend getaway. Starring Finn Atkins, Michael Fassbender, James Gandhi, and Tom Gill. Directed by James Watkins.
Critics Consensus: Candyman is a nuanced, effectively chilling tale that benefits from an interesting premise and fine performances, although it sacrifices some mystery in the name of gory thrills. The film follows graduate student Helen Lyle, who befriends Anne-Marie McCoy while researching superstitions in a housing project on Chicago’s Near North Side and discovers the legend of Candyman. Starring Virginia Madsen, Tony Todd, Xander Berkeley, and Kasi Lemmons. Directed by Bernard Rose.
Critics Consensus: Oculus emphasizes dread over gore and leaves the door wide open for sequels, making it a spine-tingling chapter in a potential franchise for horror fans. The film follows adult siblings Kaylie and Tim, who are haunted by the violent demise of their parents ten years earlier and set out to prove that the cause of their family’s tragedy is a cursed antique mirror. Starring Karen Gillan, Brenton Thwaites, Katee Sackhoff, and Rory Cochrane. Directed by Mike Flanagan.
Land of the Dead (2005)
Critics Consensus: Although not as fresh as the original, Land of the Dead delivers on gore and zombies-feasting-on-flesh action. The film is set in a world where zombies form the majority of the population and the remaining humans build a feudal society away from the undead. Starring Simon Baker, John Leguizamo, Asia Argento, and Robert Joy. Directed by George A. Romero.
Night of the Comet (1984)
Critics Consensus: Night of the Comet gets lots of mileage from its slapstick sci-fi zombie approach as a Valley Girl culture satire. The film follows teen sisters Regina and Samantha, who find themselves among the few survivors after a rare comet sighting turns most of humanity into dust or zombies. Starring Catherine Mary Stewart, Kelli Maroney, Robert Beltran, and Geoffrey Lewis. Directed by Thom Eberhardt.
Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994)
Critics Consensus: Wes Craven’s New Nightmare adds an unexpectedly satisfying meta layer to a horror franchise that had long since lost its way. The film blurs the lines between reality and fantasy as director Wes Craven and the original cast members of the “Nightmare on Elm Street” series find themselves facing the fictional villain they created. Starring Robert Englund, Heather Langenkamp, Miko Hughes, and David Newsom. Directed by Wes Craven.
Trick ‘r Treat (2007)
Critics Consensus: Trick ‘r Treat is a deftly crafted tribute to Halloween legends that hits all the genre marks with gusto and old-fashioned suspense. The film interweavesmultiple stories that demonstrate the importance of Halloween traditions and the consequences of breaking them. Starring Anna Paquin, Brian Cox, Dylan Baker, and Leslie Bibb. Directed by Michael Dougherty.
THE LOST BOYS (1987)
Directed by Joel Schumacher, The Lost Boys is a teen vampire thriller that is flawed but eminently watchable. The film blends horror, humor, and plenty of visual style, with standout performances from a cast full of young 1980s stars. With a 76% approval rating, the film follows teenage brothers Michael and Sam, played by Jason Patric and Corey Haim respectively, who move with their mother to a small town in California.
THE LODGE (2019)
Directed by Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala, The Lodge is a darkly atmospheric horror film that features an impressive performance by Riley Keough. With a 74% approval rating, the film follows a family retreat to a remote winter cabin over the holidays, where the father is forced to abruptly depart for work, leaving his two children in the care of his new girlfriend, Grace.
Directed by Wes Craven, Scream is a subversive deconstruction of the horror genre that is sly, witty, and surprisingly effective as a slasher film itself. With an 80% approval rating, the film stars Neve Campbell, David Arquette, Courteney Cox, and Matthew Lillard and follows the sleepy little town of Woodsboro, which just woke up screaming due to a killer in their midst.
Directed by Roxanne Benjamin, David Bruckner,Patrick Horvath, and Radio Silence, Southbound is a horror road movie that interlocks tales of highway terror revolving around malevolent spirits at a truck stop, a mysterious traveler, a car accident, and more. With an 81% approval rating, the film manages to avoid the jarring shifts common to anthology films, thanks to some thrilling twists and turns.
LIGHTS OUT (2016)
Directed by David F. Sandberg, Lights Out is a fright-filled horror film that skillfully uses sturdy genre tropes and some terrific performances for an unsettling experience that delivers superior chills without skimping on story. With a 75% approval rating, the film stars Teresa Palmer, Gabriel Bateman, Alexander DiPersia, and Billy Burke and follows Rebecca, who left home thinking that her childhood fears were behind her, only to face them again as a young woman.
THE PLATFORM (2019)
Directed by Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia, The Platform is a captivating dystopian thriller that envisions a future where prisoners housed in vertical cells watch as inmates in the upper cells are fed while those below starve. With a 79% approval rating, the film features Emilio Buale, Zorion Eguileor, Alexandra Masangkay, and Ivan Massagué.
THE BROOD (1979)
Directed by David Cronenberg, The Brood is a grotesque exploration of the bizarre and deadly side of motherhood. With an 80% approval rating, the film stars Oliver Reed, Samantha Eggar, Art Hindle, and Henry Beckman and follows a mad doctor who tries psychoplasmic therapy on a raging woman who is soon to be a mother.
THE CAT O’ NINE TAILS (1971)
Directed by Dario Argento, The Cat O’Nine Tails is a solidly entertaining film that is elevated by a well-chosen cast and the director’s distinctive visual style. With an 81% approval rating, the film stars Karl Malden, James Franciscus, Catherine Spaak, and Cindy Hamilton and follows a newsman who works with a blind puzzle-solver to catch a killer with mixed-up chromosomes.
MUTE WITNESS (1995)
Directed by Anthony Waller, Mute Witness is a horror/thriller film that is slickly crafted, with some surprising comic twists. With an 83% approval rating, the film stars Mary Sudina, Fay Ripley, Evan Richards, and Oleg Jankovskij and follows Billy, a mute makeup artist who becomes a witness to a brutal murder while working in Russia.
YOU’RE NEXT (2011)
Directed by Adam Wingard, You’re Next is a horror film that features an energetic and effective mix of brutal gore and pitch-black humor, pleasing horror buffs and beyond. With a 79% approval rating, the film stars Sharni Vinson, Nicholas Tucci, Wendy Glenn, and AJBowen and follows the wealthy but estranged Davisons, who attempt to mend their broken family relationships during a family reunion at their remote vacation home. However, when a group of masked assailants attacks the family, they must fight for their survival.
Directed by David Cronenberg, Videodrome is a visually audacious and disorienting film that explores the intersections of technology, entertainment, and politics. Max Renn, played by James Woods, is desperate for new programming to attract viewers as the president of a trashy TV channel. With a 80% approval rating, the film is still relevant today.
Thirst, directed by Park Chan-wook, is a stylish and bloody vampire film that satisfies fans of the genre. The film has an 81% approval rating and tells the story of Sang-hyun, played by Song Kang-ho, a respected priest who volunteers for an experimental procedure that may lead to a cure for a deadly disease.
Audition, directed by Takashi Miike, is a disturbing Japanese horror film that entertains as both a grisly shocker and a psychological drama. With an 83% approval rating, the film follows Aoyama, played by Ryo Ishibashi, a widower who decides to start dating again and is aided by a film-producer friend in staging auditions for a fake movie in order to find a new partner.
THREE…EXTREMES (SAAM GAANG YI) (2005)
Three…Extremes is an anthology film containing brutal and powerful horror stories by three of Asia’s top directors. With an 83% approval rating,the film stars Miriam Chin Wah Yeung, Pauline Lau, Zabit Memedov, and Miki Yeung and is directed by Takashi Miike.
DEAD RINGERS (1988)
Directed by David Cronenberg, Dead Ringers features a double dose of Jeremy Irons in service of a devilishly unsettling concept and commandingly creepy work. With an 85% approval rating, the film follows Elliot and Beverly, twin brothers both gynecologists, who share everything until they meet a woman who challenges their bond.
SCREAM 2 (1997)
Directed by Wes Craven, Scream 2 is a gleeful takedown of scary movie conventions that manages to poke fun at terrible horror sequels without falling victim to the same fate. With an 82% approval rating, the film stars David Arquette, Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, and Sarah Michelle Gellar.
1408, directed by Mikael Håfström, relies on psychological tension rather than overt violence and gore, making it a genuinely creepy thriller with a strong lead performance by John Cusack. With an 80% approval rating, the film follows Mike Enslin, a successful author who enjoys debunking supernatural phenomena, as he checks into room 1408 of the Dolphin Hotel.
A TALE OF TWO SISTERS (2003)
Directed by Kim Jee-woon, A Tale of Two Sisters is a creepily effective horror movie that is at times confusing but still manages to deliver on scares. With an 85% approval rating, the film follows two sisters, Su-mi and Su-yeon, as they reunite after Su-mi is released from a mental hospital.
OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL (2016)
Ouija: Origin of Evil, directed by Mike Flanagan, is a surprisingly scary and dramatically satisfying follow-up to its lackluster predecessor. With an 83% approval rating, the film stars Elizabeth Reaser, Annalise Basso, Lulu Wilson, and Henry Thomas and follows a widowed mother who inadvertently invites evil into her home by using a Ouija board.
Directed by Bruce McDonald, Pontypool is a witty and restrained low-budget zombie film that manages to be both taut and funny. With an 84% approval rating, the film stars Stephen McHattie as a disc jockey who reports to his radio station in the Canadian town of Pontypool, only to find himself reporting on a zombie outbreak.
THE SHALLOWS (2016)
Critics Consensus: The Shallows rises above the typical shark-attack thriller with a lean and well-crafted storyline, delivering intense thrills and a standout performance from Blake Lively.
Synopsis: Medical student Nancy Adams (Blake Lively) seeks solace and healing at a secluded beach, only to find herself stranded just a few hundred yards from shore and hunted by a great white shark.
Starring: Blake Lively, Óscar Jaenada, Brett Cullen, Sedona Legge
Directed By: Jaume Collet-Serra
SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE (2000)
Critics Consensus: Shadow of the Vampire is a chilling and compelling horror-drama that explores the making of the classic vampire film, Nosferatu, with a standout performance by Willem Dafoe.
Synopsis: Director F.W. Murnau (John Malkovich) hires a mysterious actor, Max Schreck (Willem Dafoe), to play the vampire Count Orlok in his upcoming film, but soon realizes that Schreck may actually be a real vampire.
Starring: John Malkovich, Willem Dafoe, Cary Elwes, Aden Gillett
Directed By: E. Elias Merhige
THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL (2009)
Critics Consensus: The House of the Devil is a slow-burning throwback to classic horror films, with a tense atmosphere and strongperformances that elevate it above typical genre fare.
Synopsis: College student Samantha Hughes (Jocelin Donahue) takes a babysitting job in a remote mansion, only to find herself in the midst of a satanic cult ritual.
Starring: Jocelin Donahue, Tom Noonan, Mary Woronov, Greta Gerwig
Directed By: Ti West
TUCKER & DALE VS EVIL (2010)
Critics Consensus: Tucker & Dale vs. Evil is a hilarious and subversive horror-comedy that turns the “backwoods killer” trope on its head with a clever premise and strong performances.
Synopsis: Two well-meaning hillbillies, Tucker (Alan Tudyk) and Dale (Tyler Labine), are mistaken for serial killers by a group of students on a camping trip, leading to a series of hilarious and bloody misunderstandings.
Starring: Tyler Labine, Alan Tudyk, Katrina Bowden, Jesse Moss
Directed By: Eli Craig
DRACULA: PAGES FROM A VIRGIN’S DIARY (2002)
Critics Consensus: Dracula: Pages from a Virgin’s Diary is a visually stunning and sensual interpretation of the classic vampire tale, with a unique balletic twist.
Synopsis: Guy Maddin’s film reimagines Bram Stoker’s novel as a ballet, with Zhang Wei-Qiang as the seductive and deadly vampire Count Dracula.
Starring: Zhang Wei-Qiang, David Moroni, Tara Birtwhistle, Stephane Leonard
Directed By: Guy Maddin
THE OTHERS (2001)
Critics Consensus: The Others is a haunting and atmospheric ghost story that relies on psychological tension and strong performances to deliver its scares.
Synopsis: In post-World War II England, a devoutly religious mother (Nicole Kidman) and her two young children live in a secluded mansion, where they begin to experience strange and terrifying events.
Starring: Nicole Kidman, Christopher Eccleston, Alakina Mann, James Bentley
Directed By: Alejandro Amenábar
CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON (1954)
Critics Consensus: Creature from the Black Lagoon is a classic monster movie that still holds up today, with impressive underwater photography and a memorable creature design.
Synopsis: A group of scientists on an expedition in the Amazon discover a prehistoric amphibious creature, which becomes fixated on the only female member of the group.
Starring: Richard Carlson, Julie Adams, Richard Denning, Antonio Moreno
Directed By: Jack Arnold
Critics Consensus: Tremors is a fun and clever throwback to classic monster movies, with a smart script, likable characters, and impressive special effects.
Synopsis: The residents of a small desert town are terrorized by giant man-eating worms, forcing a group of unlikely heroes to band together and fight back.
Starring: KevinBacon, Fred Ward, Finn Carter, Michael Gross
Directed By: Ron Underwood
Critics Consensus: Creep is a unique and unsettling found-footage horror film that delivers plenty of scares and a standout performance by Mark Duplass.
Synopsis: A videographer (Patrick Brice) responds to a strange Craigslist ad and discovers that his subject, a man named Josef (Mark Duplass), is not what he seems.
Starring: Mark Duplass, Patrick Brice
Directed By: Patrick Brice
CARNIVAL OF SOULS (1962)
Critics Consensus: Carnival of Souls is a haunting and atmospheric horror film that relies on mood and atmosphere rather than gore and jump scares to deliver its chills.
Synopsis: After surviving a car accident, a young woman named Mary (Candace Hilligoss) moves to a new town and begins to experience strange and terrifying visions of a mysterious man.
Starring: Candace Hilligoss, Frances Feist, Sidney Berger, Stan Levitt
Directed By: Herk Harvey
Critics have given this found footage horror film a 90% rating. The movie follows a reporter and her cameraman as they record the outbreak of a disease that turns humans into vicious cannibals in an apartment complex under siege. Directed by Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza, REC is an effective delivery mechanism for sparse, economic horror. Starring Manuela Velasco, Ferran Terraza, Jorge-Yamam Serrano, and Carlos Lasarte.
PARANORMAL ACTIVITY (2007)
PARANORMAL ACTIVITY, directed by Oren Peli, tells the story of Katie and Micah, a couple who moves into a suburban tract home only to become increasingly disturbed by what they believe to be a haunting. With an 83% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the low-budget effects and mockumentary style of the film turn a simple haunted house story into 90 minutes of relentless suspense. Starring Katie Featherston, Micah Sloat, Amber Armstrong, and Mark Fredrichs.
THE CONJURING 2 (2016)
With an 80% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, THE CONJURING 2 is a superior ghost story told with spine-tingling skill. Directed by James Wan, the movie follows paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga, as they travel to Enfield, Londonin 1977 to investigate a case of possession. The film loses a bit of its predecessor’s chilly sting through familiarity, but remains a haunting and atmospheric horror film. Also starring Madison Wolfe and Frances O’Connor.
GINGER SNAPS (2000)
GINGER SNAPS is a biting satire of teenage life and a memorable werewolf movie. Directed by John Fawcett and starring Katharine Isabelle and Emily Perkins as two outcast sisters in the mindless suburban town of Bailey Downs, the film has a 90% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The strong female cast makes it stand out from other teen flicks and the story is far more memorable than your average werewolf movie. Also starring Kris Lemche and Mimi Rogers.
GOODNIGHT MOMMY (2014)
Directed by Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala, GOODNIGHT MOMMY is a dark, violent, and dread-filled horror film. It is perfect for extreme horror enthusiasts or filmgoers who prefer to watch between splayed fingers. The film follows twin boys who welcome their mother home after her reconstructive surgery, only to become increasingly convinced that she is an impostor. Starring Susanne Wuest, Elias Schwarz, Lukas Schwarz, and Hans Escher, GOODNIGHT MOMMY has an 85% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
JULIA’S EYES (2010)
JULIA’SEYES is a smart, suspenseful, and visually distinctive horror film that quickens the pulse while engaging the mind. Directed by Guillem Morales, the film follows a woman with a degenerative eye disease who becomes increasingly paranoid as she investigates her sister’s death. With a 90% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the film stars Belén Rueda, Lluís Homar, Pablo Derqui, and Francesc Orella.
Directed by Brian De Palma, SISTERS is a stylishly crafty horror film that offers an early glimpse of the director’s talent. The film, which has an 85% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, follows a journalist who witnesses her neighbor, a fashion model, commit a violent act. Starring Margot Kidder, Jennifer Salt, Charles Durning, and William Finley, SISTERS is clever yet clearly indebted to the masters of the genre.
CARGO takes a refreshingly character-driven approach to the zombie genre. Directed by Ben Howling and Yolanda Ramke, the film is set in rural Australia in the aftermath of a violent pandemic. Martin Freeman stars as an infected father who desperately seeks a new home for his baby daughter. With an 87% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the film also stars Anthony Hayes, Susie Porter, and Simone Landers.
SLITHER, directed by James Gunn, is a slimy B-movie homage that oozes with affection for low-budget horror films. Starring Nathan Fillion, Elizabeth Banks, Michael Rooker, and Gregg Henry, the movie has an 87% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The film takes place in Wheelsy, a small town where not much happens until evil takes over in the form of an alien parasite. SLITHER is creepy and funny, if you’ve got the stomach for it.
HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL (1959)
Directed by William Castle and starring Vincent Price, HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL is a fun, well-executed cult classic with a 78% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The movie follows rich oddball Frederick Loren, who invites five guests to a possibly haunted mansion. The guests must survive a night in the mansion to earn a large sum of money. Also starring Carol Ohmart, Richard Long, and Alan Marshal, HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL is campy by modern standards but spooky and atmospheric.
Critics and audiences alike agree that Poltergeist is a modern horror classic, thanks to its smart filming, tight scripting, and consistently frightening scenes. The movie follows an average California family called the Freelings as they experience strange, creepy happenings. Steve (Craig T. Nelson), Diane (JoBeth Williams), and their teenage children become the victims of a poltergeist haunting in their suburban home.
Starring: Craig T. Nelson, JoBeth Williams, Beatrice Straight, Dominique Dunne
Directed By: Tobe Hooper
THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS (2016)
The Girl with All the Gifts is a fresh take on the well-worn zombie horror genre, offering a thought-provoking storyline alongside its scares. Set in the future, the movie centers around a scientist and a teacher who embark on a perilous journey with a special young girl named Melanie. She is part of a group of children who are immune to a fungus that has turned most of humanity into flesh-eating monsters.
Starring: Gemma Arterton, Glenn Close, Paddy Considine, Anamaria Marinca
Directed By: Colm McCarthy
THE THING (1982)
John Carpenter’s The Thing is a tense sci-fi thriller that is grimmer and more terrifying than the 1950s version. The movie follows a group of American research scientists stationed in remote Antarctica who are disturbed by a helicopter shooting at asled dog. As they investigate the incident, they discover that a shape-shifting alien has infiltrated their research station and is picking them off one by one.
Starring: Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, T.K. Carter, Richard Dysart
Directed By: John Carpenter
DEAD ALIVE (1992)
Dead Alive is a delightfully gory and fun horror-comedy from director Peter Jackson. The movie tells the story of Lionel, a lovestruck teen, and his overprotective mother Vera Cosgrove. When Vera gets bitten by a Sumatran rat-monkey and turns into a zombie, Lionel must navigate a zombie outbreak while also dealing with his relationship with his mother.
Starring: Timothy Balme, Diana Peñalver, Elizabeth Moody, Ian Watkin
Directed By: Peter Jackson
Freaks is a clever sci-fi/horror hybrid that explores themes of fear, isolation, and familial bonds. The movie follows 7-year-old Chloe, who is kept locked inside her house by her father and is fascinated by the outside world. When she meets a mysterious man named Mr. Snowcone, she begins to uncover the truth about her family and her own powers.
Starring: Emile Hirsch, Bruce Dern, Lexy Kolker, Amanda Crew
Directed By: Adam B. Stein, Zach Lipovsky
THE TENANT (1976)
The Tenant is a rough-edged thriller from director Roman Polanski that skillfully mounts paranoia, dread, and dark themes. The movie centers around Trelkovsky, an Eastern European émigré who rents an apartment in a spooky old building in Paris. As he becomes more involved with the building’s strange and often hostile inhabitants, he begins to unravel a mystery that threatens his sanity and safety.
Starring: Roman Polanski, Isabelle Adjani, Melvyn Douglas, Shelley Winters
Directed By: Roman Polanski
THE DESCENT (2005)
The Descent is a riveting and claustrophobic horror film that features strong performances from its all-female cast. The movie follows Sarah, a woman who goes on a cave-diving expedition in North Carolina with her friends, a year after experiencing severe emotional trauma. However, the group soon realizes that they are not alone in the caves and must fight for their survival against a terrifying and unknown threat.
Starring: Shauna Macdonald, Natalie Mendoza, Alex Reid, Saskia Mulder
Directed By: Neil Marshall
BETTER WATCH OUT (2016)
Better Watch Out is an adorably sinister holiday horror film that is carried by its charismatic young cast. The movie follows Ashley, a babysitter who is tasked with looking after 12-year-old Luke at Christmastime in a suburban home. However, when intruders break into the house, Ashley and Luke must defend themselves against atwisted plot that unfolds with unexpected twists and turns.
Starring: Levi Miller, Olivia DeJonge, Ed Oxenbould, Dacre Montgomery
Directed By: Chris Peckover
AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON (1981)
An American Werewolf in London is a horror-comedy classic that balances terror and humor, thanks to John Landis’ skillful direction and Rick Baker’s astounding make-up effects. The movie follows David and Jack, two American college students backpacking through Britain. They are attacked by a large wolf, and David survives but becomes cursed with lycanthropy. As he struggles to control his animalistic urges, he falls in love with a nurse named Alex and must confront his inner demons.
Starring: David Naughton, Jenny Agutter, Griffin Dunne, John Woodvine
Directed By: John Landis
DOCTOR SLEEP (2019)
Doctor Sleep is a contemplative sequel to The Shining that balances poignant themes with spine-tingling chills. The movie follows Dan Torrance, who is still traumatized by the sinister events that occurred at the Overlook Hotel when he was a child. He meets a young girl named Abra who shares his psychic abilities, and together they must confront a group of supernatural beings called the True Knot, who prey on children with psychic powers.
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Rebecca Ferguson, Kyliegh Curran, Cliff Curtis
Directed By: Mike Flanagan
The Omen (1976)
With an 84% approval rating, The Omen is a horror classic that chooses to build suspense instead of relying on gore. American diplomat Robert (Gregory Peck) adopts Damien (Harvey Stephens) after his wife, Katherine (Lee Remick), delivers a stillborn child. However, as Damien grows older, strange and terrifying events surround him, leading Robert to question whether his son is the Antichrist.
Scoring an impressive 90% on Rotten Tomatoes, Creepy is a well-acted blend of crime procedural and domestic drama that lives up to its title. A retired detective (Hidetoshi Nishijima) is asked to investigate an old missing family case, but the more he digs, the more he realizes that something is terribly wrong.
Come to Daddy (2019)
Bloody horror with barbed wit, Come to Daddy is an 87%-rated movie that anchors its brutal violence in a surprisingly mature approach to provocative themes. Elijah Wood plays a privileged man-child who arrives at the beautiful and remote coastal cabin of his estranged father, whom he hasn’t seen in years. However, their reunion takes a dark turn as secrets are revealed and violence ensues.
With an 84% approval rating, Crawl is a fast and terrifying creature feature that benefits greatly from Kaya Scodelario’s performance. When a massive hurricane hits her Florida town, young Haley (Kaya Scodelario) ignores the evacuation orders to search for her missing father, Dave (Barry Pepper), who is trapped in their flooded home. However, as they try to escape, they soon realize that they are not alone in the house and must fight for their survival against a pack of alligators.
The Exorcist (1973)
Considered one of the scariest films of all time, The Exorcist rides its supernatural theme to magical effect, earning an 84% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Based on actual events, the movie tells the story of a young girl, Regan (Linda Blair), who becomes possessed by a demon. Her mother (Ellen Burstyn) seeks the help of two priests, Father Karras (Jason Miller) and Father Merrin (Max von Sydow), to perform an exorcism and save her daughter’s soul.
The Invitation (2015)
Scoring an 89% approval rating, The Invitation is a slow-building thriller that makes brilliant use of its tension-rich premise. While attending a dinner party at his former house, Will (Logan Marshall-Green) starts to believe that his ex-wife, Eden (Tammy Blanchard), and her new husband have sinister intentions for their guests.
Hounds of Love (2016)
With an 88% approvalrating, Hounds of Love is a smartly constructed and powerfully acted psychological thriller. In 1987 Perth, Australia, a murderous couple, John (Stephen Curry) and Evelyn (Emma Booth), roam the streets searching for their latest victim. Fate leads them to teenager Vicki (Ashleigh Cummings), who must use her wits to survive their twisted desires.
Based on a Stephen King novella, 1922 features a rancher (Thomas Jane) who conspires to murder his wife for financial gain and convinces his teenage son to participate. With a 92% approval rating, this slow-burning thriller is directed by Zak Hilditch and features strong performances from the cast.
The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971)
Starring Vincent Price, The Abominable Dr. Phibes is a horror-comedy that juggles horror and humor, earning an 88% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Organist Anton Phibes (Vincent Price) is horrifically disfigured in a car accident while attempting to reach his ill wife. He seeks revenge on the medical team that failed to save her by unleashing a series of deadly plagues upon them.
Directed by George A. Romero, Martin is a thoughtful and surprisingly poignant take on vampire lore, earning a 90% approval rating. The eponymous Martin (John Amplas) is convinced that he is an 84-year-old blood-sucking vampire, despite not possessing fangs or mystical powers. As he struggles to cope with his condition, he becomes embroiled in a series of violent events that threaten to expose his true nature to the world.
Critics Consensus: House is a gleefully demented collage of grand guignol guffaws and bizarre sequences. Starring Kimiko Ikegami, Ai Matsubara, Miki Jinbo, Eriko Tanaka. Directed By Nobuhiko Ôbayashi. Rated 90%.
HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER (1986)
Critics Consensus: Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer is an effective, chilling profile of a killer that is sure to shock and disturb. Starring Michael Rooker, Tracy Arnold, Tom Towles, Anne Bartoletti. Directed By John McNaughton. Rated 89%.
RARE EXPORTS: A CHRISTMAS TALE (2010)
Critics Consensus: Rare Exports is an unexpectedly delightful crossbreed of deadpan comedy and Christmas horror. Starring Onni Tommila, Jorma Tommila, Ilmari Järvenpää, Peeter Jakobi. Directed By Jalmari Helander. Rated 89%.
Critics Consensus: Candyman takes an incisive, visually thrilling approach to deepening the franchise’s mythology — and terrifying audiences along the way. Starring Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Teyonah Parris, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Colman Domingo. Directed By Nia DaCosta. Rated84%.
THE ORPHANAGE (2007)
Critics Consensus: Deeply unnerving and surprisingly poignant, The Orphanage is an atmospheric, beautifully crafted haunted house horror film that earns scares with a minimum of blood. Starring Belén Rueda, Fernando Cayo, Geraldine Chaplin, Montserrat Carulla. Directed By J. A. Bayona. Rated 87%.
THE DEAD ZONE (1983)
Critics Consensus: The Dead Zone combines taut direction from David Cronenberg and a rich performance from Christopher Walken to create one of the strongest Stephen King adaptations. Starring Christopher Walken, Brooke Adams, Tom Skerritt, Herbert Lom. Directed By David Cronenberg. Rated 88%.
BONE TOMAHAWK (2015)
Critics Consensus: Bone Tomahawk’s peculiar genre blend won’t be for everyone, but its gripping performances and a slow-burning story should satisfy those in search of something different. Starring Kurt Russell, Patrick Wilson, Richard Jenkins, Matthew Fox. Directed By S. Craig Zahler. Rated 91%.
Critics Consensus: Duel makes brilliant use of its simple premise, serving up rock-solid genre thrills while heralding the arrival of a generational talent behind the lens. Starring Dennis Weaver, Tim Herbert, Charles Seel, Eddie Firestone. Directed By Steven Spielberg. Rated 89%.
HOUSE OF USHER (1960)
Critics Consensus: Scary, strange, and maybe a little silly, House of Usher represents an early high mark for Vincent Price and a career triumph for director Roger Corman. Starring Vincent Price, Myrna Fahey, Mark Damon, Harry Ellerbe. Directed By Roger Corman. Rated 84%.
THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT (1999)
Critics Consensus: Full of creepy campfire scares, mock-doc The Blair Witch Project keeps audiences in the dark about its titular villain, proving once more that imagination can be as scary as anything onscreen. Starring Heather Donahue, Michael C. Williams, Joshua Leonard, Bob Griffith. Directed By Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez. Rated 86%.
THE DEVIL’S CANDY (2015)
Critics Consensus: The Devil’s Candy playfully subverts horror tropes while serving up more than enough stylish thrills to satisfy genre enthusiasts. Starring Ethan Embry, Shiri Appleby, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Kiara Glasco. Directed By Sean Byrne. Rated 93%.
GERALD’S GAME (2017)
Critics Consensus: Carla Gugino carries Gerald’s Game’s small-scale suspense with a career-defining performance. Starring Carla Gugino, Bruce Greenwood, Henry Thomas, Carel Struycken. Directed By Mike Flanagan. Rated 91%.
28 DAYS LATER (2002)
Critics Consensus: Kinetically directed by Danny Boyle, 28 Days Later is both a terrifying zombie movie and a sharp political allegory. Starring Cillian Murphy, Noah Huntley, Naomie Harris, Brendan Gleeson. Directed By Danny Boyle. Rated 87%.
Critics Consensus: As ambitious as it is daringly transgressive, Prevenge should thrill fans of pitch-black horror-comedy — and open untold opportunities for writer/director/star Alice Lowe. Starring Kate Dickie, Gemma Whelan, Alice Lowe, Kayvan Novak. Directed By Alice Lowe. Rated 91%.
Critics Consensus: Ambitious and beautifully shot, Demon delivers a gripping — and sadly final — testamentto the singular talent possessed by director/co-writer Marcin Wrona. Starring Itay Tiran, Tomasz Schuchardt, Andrzej Grabowski, Adam Woronowicz. Directed By Marcin Wrona. Rated 92%.
HORROR OF DRACULA (1958)
Critics Consensus: Trading gore for grandeur, Horror of Dracula marks an impressive turn for inveterate Christopher Lee as the titular vampire, and a typical Hammer mood that makes aristocracy quite sexy. Starring Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Michael Gough, Melissa Stribling. Directed By Terence Fisher. Rated 90%.
FRIGHT NIGHT (1985)
Critics Consensus: Fright Night deftly combines thrills and humor in this ghostly tale about a man living next to a vampire. Starring Chris Sarandon, William Ragsdale, Roddy McDowall, Amanda Bearse. Directed By Tom Holland. Rated 82%.
THE WICKER MAN (1973)
Critics Consensus: This intelligent horror film is subtle in its thrills and chills, with an ending that is both shocking and truly memorable. Starring Edward Woodward, Christopher Lee, Britt Ekland, Diane Cilento. Directed By Robin Hardy. Rated 90%.
NINA FOREVER (2015)
Critics Consensus: Nina Forever tests the limits of the rom-com with a decidedly unorthodox triangle that’s as diabolically original as it is daringly dark. Starring Fiona O’Shaughnessy, Abigail Hardingham, Cian Barry, David Troughton. Directed By Ben Blaine and Chris Blaine. Rated 93%.
THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE (1974)
Critics Consensus: Thanks to a smart script and documentary-style camerawork, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre achieves start-to-finish suspense, making it a classic in low-budget exploitation cinema. Starring Marilyn Burns, Gunnar Hansen, Allen Danziger, Paul A. Partain. Directed By Tobe Hooper. Rated 88%.
THE CONJURING (2013)
Critics Consensus: The Conjuring is a well-crafted, old-school horror movie that builds dread with effective scares, featuring standout performances from Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson as paranormal investigators Lorraine and Ed Warren.
Synopsis: In 1970, the Warrens are summoned to investigate a haunted farmhouse. As they delve deeper into the case, they encounter malevolent spirits and face their greatest challenge yet.
Starring: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Lili Taylor, Ron Livingston
Directed By: James Wan
Critics Consensus: Misery is a taut, frightening thriller elevated by the standout performances of James Caan and Kathy Bates, and is considered one of the best Stephen King adaptations to date.
Synopsis: After a car crash, novelist Paul Sheldon is rescued by a former nurse named Annie Wilkes. But as he recovers, he realizes that Annie is his biggest fan and has no intention of letting him leave.
Starring: James Caan, Kathy Bates, Frances Sternhagen, Richard Farnsworth
Directed By: Rob Reiner
VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED (1960)
Critics Consensus: With chilling performances and an eerie atmosphere, Village of the Damned is a timeless classic and an unnerving parable of its era.
Synopsis: After a mysterious event, all the women in a British village become pregnant and give birth to children with strange, glowingeyes and telepathic abilities. As the children grow more powerful, the village becomes increasingly terrified of them.
Starring: George Sanders, Barbara Shelley, Michael Gwynn, Laurence Naismith
Directed By: Wolf Rilla
COLOR OUT OF SPACE (2019)
Critics Consensus: Color Out of Space is a visually alluring Lovecraftian horror movie that mixes B-movie pulp with a dash of Nicolas Cage’s signature gonzo acting.
Synopsis: After a meteorite lands on their farm, the Gardner family begins to experience strange phenomena, and their world is turned upside down by an alien presence that threatens their sanity and survival.
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Joely Richardson, Tommy Chong, Madeleine Arthur
Directed By: Richard Stanley
LET ME IN (2010)
Critics Consensus: Let Me In is a Hollywood remake that stands on its own, thanks to its similarities to the original and standout performances from Kodi Smit-McPhee and Chloë Grace Moretz.
Synopsis: A lonely 12-year-old boy named Owen befriends a strange new girl named Abby, who happens to be a vampire. As their bond deepens, they must navigate their dangerous and unconventional relationship.
Starring: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Chloë Grace Moretz, Richard Jenkins, Cara Buono
Directed By: Matt Reeves
Critics Consensus: Halloween wipes the slate clean and deliversa basic yet effective horror movie, with Jamie Lee Curtis giving a standout performance as Laurie Strode.
Synopsis: 40 years after surviving a brutal attack from Michael Myers, Laurie Strode prepares to face him once again, as he escapes from prison and returns to Haddonfield on Halloween night.
Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, Will Patton
Directed By: David Gordon Green
THEATRE OF BLOOD (1973)
Critics Consensus: Theater of Blood is a wonderfully campy and funny horror movie, featuring Vincent Price at his melodramatic best.
Synopsis: Edward Lionheart, a Shakespearean actor who feels he was unjustly overlooked for an award, seeks revenge on the critics who snubbed him in a series of gruesome and theatrical murders.
Starring: Vincent Price, Diana Rigg, Robert Morley, Ian Hendry
Directed By: Douglas Hickox
ATTACK THE BLOCK (2011)
Critics Consensus: Attack the Block is a thrilling sci-fi movie that mixes scares, laughs, and social commentary, with a distinctly British flavor.
Synopsis: A gang of South London teenagers defends their neighborhood from an alien invasion, and in the process, they discover their own strengths and the importance of community.
Starring: John Boyega, Jodie Whittaker, Alex Esmail, Leeon Jones
Directed By: Joe Cornish
CriticsConsensus: Eraserhead is a disturbing and surreal horror movie that explores the fear of parenthood through detailed visuals and a creepy score.
Synopsis: Henry, a man living in a bleak industrial world, struggles with his responsibilities as a new father to his mutant baby. As he spirals into madness, he must confront his deepest fears and insecurities.
Starring: Jack Nance, Charlotte Stewart, Allen Joseph, Jeanne Bates
Directed By: David Lynch
THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE (2001)
Critics Consensus: The Devil’s Backbone is a haunting and intelligent ghost story that also serves as a political allegory, with a creepy atmosphere and standout performances.
Synopsis: After his father’s death, Carlos is sent to a Republican orphanage during the Spanish Civil War, where he encounters a ghostly presence and uncovers dark secrets about the adults around him.
Starring: Marisa Paredes, Eduardo Noriega, Federico Luppi, Fernando Tielve
Directed By: Guillermo del Toro
Critics Consensus: Housebound is a horror-comedy that strikes the perfect balance between hilarity, gore, and entertainment, making it a must-watch for fans of the genre. Morgana O’Reilly plays a would-be thief who finds herself under house arrest with her estranged mother, played by Rima Te Wiata. However, things take a strange turn as they start experiencing paranormal activities in the house.
Starring: Morgana O’Reilly, Rima Te Wiata, Glen-Paul Waru, Cameron Rhodes
Directed By: Gerard Johnstone
WE ARE STILL HERE (2015)
Critics Consensus: We Are Still Here is a cleverly written and well-acted horror film that adds a unique twist to the genre. The movie follows a couple who move to a new home in rural New England, only to discover that it has a dark history of sacrifice and murder. As they uncover the gruesome truth, they realize that the vengeful spirits of the dead are still present in the house.
Starring: Barbara Crampton, Andrew Sensenig, Lisa Marie, Larry Fessenden
Directed By: Ted Geoghegan
THE BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE (1970)
Critics Consensus: The Bird with the Crystal Plumage is a stylish and thrilling horror debut by Dario Argento. The movie follows an American writer, played by Tony Musante, who becomes awitness to a violent attack in Rome and finds himself drawn into the investigation. As he delves deeper into the mystery, he becomes the target of a sadistic killer who will stop at nothing to silence him.
Starring: Tony Musante, Suzy Kendall, Eva Renzi, Enrico Maria Salerno
Directed By: Dario Argento
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1925)
Critics Consensus: Lon Chaney’s unforgettable performance and the movie’s haunting visuals make The Phantom of the Opera a classic horror film. The story follows a young opera singer, played by Mary Philbin, who becomes the object of obsession for a disfigured musical genius who lives in the depths of the Paris Opera House. As his obsession turns to madness, he will stop at nothing to make her his own.
Starring: Lon Chaney, Mary Philbin, Norman Kerry, Arthur Edmund Carewe
Directed By: Rupert Julian
THE WOLF MAN (1941)
Critics Consensus: Lon Chaney Jr. delivers a standout performance in The Wolf Man, a classic horror film that has stood the test of time. The movie tells the story of Larry Talbot, who returns to his ancestral home in Wales and is bitten by a werewolf, leading to a terrifying transformation. As he struggles to come to terms with his new reality, he becomes embroiled in a deadly game of cat and mouse with those who seek to destroy him.
Starring:Lon Chaney Jr., Claude Rains, Ralph Bellamy, Evelyn Ankers
Directed By: George Waggner
DAWN OF THE DEAD (1978)
Critics Consensus: Dawn of the Dead is a masterful zombie film that combines horror, gore, and social commentary in a compelling way. The movie follows a group of survivors who seek refuge in a shopping mall during a zombie apocalypse. As they try to hold on to their humanity in the face of overwhelming danger, they must also confront the materialistic society that led to the downfall of civilization.
Starring: David Emge, Ken Foree, Gaylen Ross, Scott H. Reiniger
Directed By: George A. Romero
DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE (1931)
Critics Consensus: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a classic horror film that boasts impressive special effects and a captivating performance by Fredric March. The movie follows Dr. Jekyll, who experiments with a potion that unleashes his dark alter ego, Mr. Hyde. As he becomes increasingly consumed by his evil side, he risks losing everything he holds dear.
Starring: Fredric March, Miriam Hopkins, Rose Hobart, Holmes Herbert
Directed By: Rouben Mamoulian
SHAUN OF THE DEAD (2004)
Critics Consensus: Shaun of the Dead is a hilarious and clever zombie film that blends humor and horror in a delightful way. The movie follows Shaun,a slacker who must step up and save his friends and family from a zombie outbreak in London. Along the way, he discovers his true potential and learns the value of loyalty and courage.
Starring: Simon Pegg, Kate Ashfield, Lucy Davis, Nick Frost
Directed By: Edgar Wright
THE ENDLESS (2017)
Critics Consensus: The Endless is a thought-provoking horror film that delivers on both scares and storytelling. The movie follows two brothers who return to a cult they escaped from years ago, only to discover that the group’s beliefs may not be as crazy as they once thought. As they unravel the truth, they must confront their own demons and make a fateful decision.
Starring: Aaron Moorhead, Justin Benson, Callie Hernandez, Tate Ellington
Directed By: Aaron Moorhead, Justin Benson
DON’T BREATHE (2016)
Critics Consensus: Don’t Breathe is a tense and thrilling home invasion movie that subverts expectations in surprising ways. The movie follows a group of young burglars who break into the home of a blind man, thinking it will be an easy target. But as they soon discover, the man is not as helpless as he seems, and they must fight for their lives in a deadly game of cat and mouse.
Starring: Jane Levy, Dylan Minnette, Daniel Zovatto, Stephen Lang
Directed By: Fede Alvarez
Perfectly mixing humor and horror, the only thing more effective than Re-Animator’s gory scares are its dry, deadpan jokes. A medical student (Jeffrey Combs) brings his headless professor back from the dead with a special serum. Starring Jeffrey Combs, Bruce Abbott, Barbara Crampton, David Gale. Directed By Stuart Gordon.
Wickedly funny and featuring plenty of gore, Zombieland is proof that the zombie subgenre is far from dead. After a virus turns most people into zombies, the world’s surviving humans remain locked in an ongoing battle against the undead. Starring Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin. Directed By Ruben Fleischer.
IT COMES AT NIGHT (2017)
It Comes at Night makes lethally effective use of its bare-bones trappings while proving once again that what’s left unseen can be just as horrifying as anything on the screen. After a mysterious apocalypse leaves the world with few survivors, two families are forced to share a home in an uneasy alliance to keep the outside evil at bay. Starring Joel Edgerton, Christopher Abbott, Carmen Ejogo, Riley Keough. Directed By Trey Edward Shults.
THE SHINING (1980)
Though it deviates from Stephen King’s novel,Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining is a chilling, often baroque journey into madness — exemplified by an unforgettable turn from Jack Nicholson. Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) becomes winter caretaker at the isolated Overlook Hotel in Colorado, hoping to cure his writer’s block. Starring Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd, Scatman Crothers. Directed By Stanley Kubrick.
Bela Lugosi’s timeless portrayal of Dracula in this creepy and atmospheric 1931 film has set the standard for major vampiric roles since. The dashing, mysterious Count Dracula (Bela Lugosi), after hypnotizing a British soldier, Renfield (Dwight Frye), into his mindless slave, travels to London and begins a reign of terror. Starring Bela Lugosi, Edward Van Sloan, Dwight Frye, David Manners. Directed By Tod Browning.
DEEP RED (1975)
The kinetic camerawork and brutal over-the-top gore that made Dario Argento famous is on full display, but the addition of a compelling, complex story makes Deep Red a masterpiece. A psychic medium (Macha Méril) is brutally murdered, and musician Marcus Daly (David Hemmings) feels a need to solve the case, since he was the one who discovered the body. Starring David Hemmings, Daria Nicolodi, Gabriele Lavia, Clara Calamai. Directed By Dario Argento.
THE FLY (1986)
David Cronenberg combines his trademark affinity for gore and horror with strongly developed characters, making The Fly a surprisingly affecting tragedy. When scientist Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) completes his teleportation device, he decides to test its abilities on himself. Unbeknownst to him, a housefly slips in during the process, leading to a terrifying transformation. Starring Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis, John Getz, Joy Boushel. Directed By David Cronenberg.
A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (1984)
Wes Craven’s intelligent premise, combined with the horrifying visual appearance of Freddy Krueger, still causes nightmares to this day. In Wes Craven’s classic slasher film, several Midwestern teenagers fall prey to Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund), a disfigured midnight mangler who preys on the teenagers in their dreams. Starring John Saxon, Ronee Blakley, Heather Langenkamp, Amanda Wyss. Directed By Wes Craven.
THE MUMMY (1932)
Relying more on mood and atmosphere than the thrills typical of modern horror fare, Universal’s The Mummy sets a masterful template for mummy-themed films to follow. A team of British archaeologists led by Sir Joseph Whemple (Arthur Byron) discover the mummified remains of the ancient Egyptian prince Imhotep (Boris Karloff), who they accidentally revive with a curse. Starring Boris Karloff, Zita Johann, David Manners, Edward Van Sloan. Directed By Karl Freund.
THE HOST (2006)
As populace pleasing as it is intellectually satisfying, The Host combines scares, laughs, and satire into a riveting, monster movie. Careless American military personnel dump chemicals into South Korea’s Han River. Several years later, a creature emerges from the tainted waters and begins attacking people along the riverbank. Starring Song Kang-ho, Byun Hee-bong, Park Hae-il, Bae Doo-na. Directed By Bong Joon Ho.
THE CAT AND THE CANARY (1927)
Synopsis: The relatives of Cyrus West gather at his estate on the 20th anniversary of his death to hear the reading… [More]
Critics Consensus: Bringing its sturdy setup thrillingly to life, The Cat and the Canary proves Paul Leni a director with a deft hand for suspenseful stories and expertly assembled ensembles.
Starring: Laura La Plante, Creighton Hale, Forrest Stanley, Tully Marshall
Directed By: Paul Leni
TRAIN TO BUSAN (2016)
Synopsis: A man (Gong Yoo), his estranged daughter and other passengers become trapped on a speeding train during a zombie outbreak… [More]
Critics Consensus: Train to Busan delivers a thrillingly unique — and purely entertaining — take on the zombie genre, with fully realized characters and plenty of social commentary to underscore the bursts of skillfully staged action.
Starring: Gong Yoo, Jung Yu-mi, Ma Dong-seok, Choi Woo-sik
Directed By: Yeon Sang-ho
ISLAND OF LOST SOULS (1933)
Synopsis: In this adaptation of H.G. Wells’ novel “The Island of Doctor Moreau,” Edward Parker (Richard Arlen) is shipwrecked on a… [More]
CriticsConsensus: Led by a note-perfect performance from Charles Laughton, Island of Lost Souls remains the definitive film adaptation of its classic source material.
Starring: Charles Laughton, Bela Lugosi, Richard Arlen, Leila Hyams
Directed By: Erle C. Kenton
Synopsis: Jen is enjoying a romantic getaway with her wealthy boyfriend — until his two sleazy friends arrive for an unannounced… [More]
Critics Consensus: Revenge slices and dices genre tropes, working within an exploitation framework while adding a timely — yet never less than viscerally thrilling — feminist spin.
Starring: Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz, Kevin Janssens, Vincent Colombe, Guillaume Bouchède
Directed By: Coralie Fargeat
Synopsis: Suzy (Jessica Harper) travels to Germany to attend ballet school. When she arrives, late on a stormy night, no one… [More]
Critics Consensus: The blood pours freely in Argento’s classic Suspiria, a giallo horror as grandiose and glossy as it is gory.
Starring: Jessica Harper, Stefania Casini, Joan Bennett, Eva Axén
Directed By: Dario Argento
THE RING (1998)
Synopsis: When her niece is found dead along with three friends after viewing a supposedly cursed videotape, reporter Reiko Asakawa (Nanako… [More]
Critics Consensus: Ringu combines supernatural elements with anxieties about modern technology in a truly frightening and unnerving way.
Starring: Nanako Matsushima, Hiroyuki Sanada, Miki Nakatani, Yuko Takeuchi
Directed By: Hideo Nakata
I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE (1943)
Synopsis: Canadian nurse Betsey Connell (Frances Dee) is hired to care for Jessica Holland (Christine Gordon), a woman on a Caribbean… [More]
Critics Consensus: Evocative direction by Jacques Tourneur collides with the low-rent production values of exploitateer Val Lewton in I Walked with a Zombie, a sultry sleeper that’s simultaneously smarmy, eloquent and fascinating.
Starring: James Ellison, Frances Dee, Tom Conway, Edith Barrett
Directed By: Jacques Tourneur
THE LOVE WITCH (2016)
Synopsis: Elaine (Samantha Robinson), a beautiful young witch, is determined to find a man to love her. In her gothic VictorianCritics Consensus: The Love Witch offers an absorbing visual homage to a bygone era, arranged subtly in service of a thought-provoking meditation on the battle of the sexes.
Starring: Samantha Robinson, Gian Keys, Laura Waddell, Jeffrey Vincent Parise
Directed By: Anna Biller
Synopsis: Rivalries, dark secrets, and sexual tension emerge when three friends find themselves stranded on a yacht in the middle of… [More]
Critics Consensus: A B-movie with an A-level commitment to entertain, Harpoon should hit the target with horror fans in the mood for gory, darkly humorous antics on the open water.
Starring: Munro Chambers, Emily Tyra, Christopher Gray
Directed By: Rob Grant
INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (1978)
Synopsis: This remake of the classic horror film is set in San Francisco. Matthew Bennell (Donald Sutherland) assumes that when a… [More]
Critics Consensus: Employing gritty camerawork and evocative sound effects, Invasion of the Body Snatchers is a powerful remake that expands upon themes and ideas only lightly explored in the original.
Starring: Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Leonard Nimoy, Veronica Cartwright
Directed By: Philip Kaufman
THE INNOCENTS (1961)
Creepily atmospheric, The Innocents is a stylishly crafted, chilling British ghost tale with Deborah Kerr at her finest. Based on the Henry James story “The Turn of the Screw,” a psychological thriller about a woman who takes a nanny job for two orphans in a remote English mansion. As she begins to see apparitions of the former governess and her lover, she questions whether she’s losing her mind or if the children are under a sinister supernatural influence.
Starring: Deborah Kerr, Martin Stephens, Pamela Franklin, Michael Redgrave
Directed By: Jack Clayton
THE LOVED ONES (2009)
Successfully mixing the conventions of the teen and horror genres with a twist, Australian director Sean Byrne makes a striking directorial debut with The Loved Ones. After a classmate declines her invitation to the school dance, a teenager kidnaps him and makes him the guest of honor at her own twisted prom.
Starring: Xavier Samuel, Robin McLeavy, Jessica McNamee, Victoria Thaine
Directed By: Sean Byrne
EVIL DEAD 2 (1987)
Less a continuation than an outright reimagining, Sam Raimi transforms his horror tale into a comedy of terrors — and arguably even improves on the original formula. The second of three films in the Evil Dead series is part horror, part comedy, with Ash Williams fighting off demonic forces in a cabin in thewoods.
Starring: Bruce Campbell, Sarah Berry, Dan Hicks, Denise Bixler
Directed By: Sam Raimi
Raw’s lurid violence and sexuality live up to its title, but they’re anchored with an immersive atmosphere and deep symbolism that linger long after the provocative visuals fade. Stringent vegetarian Justine encounters a decadent, merciless, and dangerously seductive world during her first week at veterinary school, leading her to indulge in a taste for flesh that awakens a primal desire within her.
Starring: Garance Marillier, Ella Rumpf, Rabah Nait Oufella, Joana Preiss
Directed By: Julia Ducournau
THE EVIL DEAD (1981)
So scrappy that it feels as illicit as a book found in the woods, The Evil Dead is a stomach-churning achievement in bad taste that marks a startling debut for wunderkind Sam Raimi. Ash Williams and his friends discover an ancient book in a cabin in the woods, unleashing demonic forces that possess and torment them in gruesome ways.
Starring: Bruce Campbell, Ellen Sandweiss, Betsy Baker, Richard DeManincor
Directed By: Sam Raimi
LA LLORONA (2019)
La Llorona puts a fresh spin on the familiar legend by blending the supernatural and the political to resolutely chilling effect. Alma is murdered with her children duringa military attack in Guatemala, but when the general who ordered the genocide is acquitted, Alma’s spirit begins to haunt him and his family.
Starring: María Mercedes Coroy, Sabrina De La Hoz, Margarita Kénefic, Julio Diaz
Directed By: Jayro Bustamante
Stunning visuals from Werner Herzog and an intense portrayal of the famed bloodsucker from Klaus Kinski make this remake of Nosferatu a horror classic in its own right. Jonathan Harker is sent to Count Dracula’s castle to sell him a house in Virna, where he lives. But Harker is unaware that he’s being used to bring the vampire to new hunting grounds.
Starring: Klaus Kinski, Isabelle Adjani, Bruno Ganz, Roland Topor
Directed By: Werner Herzog
CREEP 2 (2017)
Creep 2 has everything that made the original work and more — more laughs, more awkwardness, more unsettling terror. A video artist meets a serial killer in a cabin, but soon finds herself drawn into his twisted world as she tries to document his bizarre behavior.
Starring: Mark Duplass, Karan Soni, Patrick Brice, Desiree Akhavan
Directed By: Patrick Brice
GREEN ROOM (2015)
Green Room delivers unapologetic genre thrills with uncommon intelligence and powerfully acted élan. Members of a punk-rock band and a tough young woman battle murderous white supremacists after stumbling upon a horrifying crime scene at a remote club in the Pacific Northwest.
Starring: Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots, Alia Shawkat, Joe Cole
Directed By: Jeremy Saulnier
Carrie is a horrifying look at supernatural powers, high school cruelty, and teen angst — and it brings us one of the most memorable and disturbing prom scenes in history. Withdrawn and sensitive teen Carrie White faces taunting from her peers at school and abuse from her religious mother at home, but when she develops telekinetic powers, she unleashes a wave of revenge at her prom.
Starring: Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, William Katt, Amy Irving
Directed By: Brian De Palma
Ambitious, impressively crafted, and above all unsettling, Midsommar further proves writer-director Ari Aster is a horror auteur to be reckoned with. A young American couple, their relationship foundering, travel to a fabled Swedish midsummer festival where a seemingly pastoral paradise transforms. Starring Florence Pugh, Jack Reynor, William Jackson Harper, Will Poulter. Directed By Ari Aster.
THE FLY (1958)
Deliciouly funny to some and eerily presicient to others, The Fly walks a fine line between shlocky fun and unnerving nature parable. When scientist Andre Delambre (Al Hedison) tests his matter transporter on himself, an errant housefly makes its way into the machine with horrific results. Starring David Hedison, Patricia Owens, Vincent Price, Herbert Marshall. Directed By Kurt Neumann.
HOUSE OF WAX (1953)
House of Wax is a 3-D horror delight that combines the atmospheric eerieness of the wax museum with the always chilling presence of Vincent Price. Wax sculptor Henry (Vincent Price) is horrified to learn that his business partner, Matthew (Roy Roberts), plans on torching their museum to collect on the insurance policy. Starring Vincent Price, Frank Lovejoy, Phyllis Kirk, Carolyn Jones. Directed By Andre de Toth.
DRAG ME TO HELL (2009)
Sam Raimi returns to top form with Drag Me to Hell, a frightening, hilarious, delightfully campy thrill ride. Christine Brown (Alison Lohman) has a loving boyfriend (Justin Long) and a great job at a Los Angeles bank. But her life spirals out of control when she’s cursed by a gypsy woman (Lorna Raver) and is given three days to live before she’s dragged to hell. Starring Alison Lohman, Justin Long, Lorna Raver, Dileep Rao. Directed By Sam Raimi.
A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT (2014)
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night blends conventional elements into something brilliantly original — and serves as a striking calling card for writer-director Ana Lily Amirpour. Residents of a worn-down Iranian city encounter a skateboarding vampire (Sheila Vand) who preys on men who disrespect women. Starring Sheila Vand, Arash Marandi, Marshall Manesh, Mozhan Marnò. Directed By Ana Lily Amirpour.
HIS HOUSE (2020)
Featuring genuine scares through every corridor, His House is a terrifying look at the specters of the refugee experience and a stunning feature debut for Remi Weekes. A refugee couple makes a harrowing escape from war-torn South Sudan, but then they struggle to adjust to their new life in an English town that has an evilpresence lurking within their new home. Starring Wunmi Mosaku, Sope Dirisu, Matt Smith, Cornell John. Directed By Remi Weekes.
READY OR NOT (2019)
Smart, subversive, and darkly funny, Ready or Not is a crowd-pleasing horror film with giddily entertaining bite. Grace couldn’t be happier after she marries the man of her dreams at his family’s luxurious estate. There’s just one catch — she must now play a deadly game with her new in-laws as part of a twisted tradition. Starring Samara Weaving, Adam Brody, Mark O’Brien, Henry Czerny. Directed By Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett.
TIGERS ARE NOT AFRAID (2017)
Tigers Are Not Afraid draws on childhood trauma for a story that deftly blends magical fantasy and hard-hitting realism – and leaves a lingering impact. When a girl’s mother disappears leaving her on her own, she joins a gang of street children, leading to a supernatural encounter that changes their lives forever. Starring Paola Lara, Ianis Guerrero, Rodrigo Cortés, Hanssel Casillas. Directed By Issa López.
Mandy’s gonzo violence is fueled by a gripping performance by Nicolas Cage — and anchored with palpable emotion conveyed between his volcanic outbursts. In the PacificNorthwest in 1983, outsiders Red Miller and Mandy Bloom lead a loving and peaceful existence. When their idyllic life is shattered by a cult led by the sadistic Jeremiah Sand, Red sets out on a bloody quest for vengeance. Starring Nicolas Cage, Andrea Riseborough, Linus Roache, Ned Dennehy. Directed By Panos Cosmatos.
Well-acted and fiendishly frightening with an emotionally affecting story at its core, It amplifies the horror in Stephen King’s classic story without losing touch with its heart. Seven young outcasts in Derry, Maine, are about to face their worst nightmare — an ancient, shape-shifting evil that emerges from the sewers every 27 years to prey on the town’s children. Starring Jaeden Martell, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard. Directed By Andy Muschietti.
DON’T LOOK NOW (1973)
Synopsis: John and Laura Baxter are still grieving over the accidental death of their daughter, Christine, when they encounter a pair of sisters who claim to be able to communicate with the dead. As John becomes increasingly obsessed with the sisters and their warnings, the line between reality and fantasy becomes blurred.
Starring: Julie Christie, Donald Sutherland, Hilary Mason, Clelia Matania
Directed By: Nicolas Roeg
Critics Consensus: Don’t Look Now patiently builds suspense with haunting imagery and a chilling score — causing viewers to feel Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie’s grief deep within.
CAT PEOPLE (1942)
Synopsis: Irena Dubrovna, a fashion designer from Serbia, falls in love with a marine engineer but becomes consumed by fear that she will turn into a panther if she gives in to her desires. As the tension builds, Irena’s husband’s assistant Alice becomes more involved, leading to a deadly confrontation.
Starring: Simone Simon, Kent Smith, Tom Conway, Jane Randolph
Directed By: Jacques Tourneur
Critics Consensus: Influential noir director Jacques Tourneau infused this sexy, moody horror film with some sly commentary about the psychology and the taboos of desire.
THE BIRDS (1963)
Synopsis: When Melanie Daniels meets Mitch Brenner in a pet store, she decides to follow him to his family’s home inBodega Bay. However, as they spend time together, the birds in the area begin to act strangely and attack the residents of the town. Melanie and Mitch must fight for survival in this terrifying bird apocalypse.
Starring: Rod Taylor, Tippi Hedren, Suzanne Pleshette, Jessica Tandy
Directed By: Alfred Hitchcock
Critics Consensus: Proving once again that build-up is the key to suspense, Alfred Hitchcock successfully turned birds into some of the most terrifying villains in horror history.
THE WAILING (2016)
Synopsis: When a mysterious stranger arrives in a rural village, a series of brutal murders occurs, leading to suspicion and hysteria. As a police officer tries to solve the case, he becomes embroiled in a supernatural mystery that threatens the safety of his family.
Starring: Kwak Do-won, Jun Kunimura, Hwang Jung-min, Chun Woo-hee
Directed By: Na Hong-jin
Critics Consensus: The Wailing delivers an atmospheric, cleverly constructed mystery whose supernatural thrills more than justify its imposing length.
DEAD OF NIGHT (1945)
Synopsis: Architect Walter Craig arrives at a potential client’s home to find that he has seen the house in his dreams before. As Walter shares his recurring nightmares with the other guests, they realize they are all experiencing strange and terrifying occurrences. Each guest tells their own supernatural story in this classic horror anthology.
Starring: Mervyn Johns, Michael Redgrave, Roland Culver, Mary Merrall
Directed By: Alberto Cavalcanti, Basil Dearden, Robert Hamer, Charles Crichton
Critics Consensus: With four accomplished directors contributing, Dead of Night is a classic horror anthology that remains highly influential.
UNDER THE SHADOW (2016)
Synopsis: Shideh and her daughter are trapped in their apartment during the Iran-Iraq War, but their confinement is made even more terrifying when they begin to experience supernatural occurrences. With her husband away at war, Shideh must fight to protect her family from a malevolent force.
Starring: Narges Rashidi, Avin Manshadi, Bobby Naderi, Ray Haratian
Directed By: Babak Anvari
Critics Consensus: Under the Shadow deftly blends seemingly disparate genres to deliver an effective chiller with timely themes and thought-provoking social subtext.
Synopsis: Six friends hold an online séance during the COVID-19 pandemic, unknowingly inviting a demonic presence into their homes. As strange and terrifying occurrences begin to happen, the group must band together to try and survive the night.
Starring: Haley Bishop, Jemma Moore, Emma Louise Webb, Radina Drandova
Directed By: Rob Savage
Critics Consensus: Lean, suspenseful, and scary, Host uses its timely premise todeliver a nastily effective treat for horror enthusiasts.
10 CLOVERFIELD LANE (2016)
Synopsis: After surviving a car accident, Michelle wakes up in an underground bunker with two men who claim that the outside world has been destroyed by a chemical attack. As tensions rise and Michelle begins to question their story, she must decide if she can trust them and what truly lies outside.
Starring: John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Gallagher Jr., Douglas M. Griffin
Directed By: Dan Trachtenberg
Critics Consensus: Smart, solidly crafted, and palpably tense, 10 Cloverfield Lane makes the most of its confined setting and outstanding cast — and suggests a new frontier for franchise filmmaking.
PEEPING TOM (1960)
Synopsis: Mark Lewis works at a film studio during the day and takes racy photographs of women at night. However, his obsession with capturing fear on film leads him to commit a series of murders. As the police close in, Mark’s past and twisted psyche are revealed.
Starring: Karlheinz Böhm, Moira Shearer, Anna Massey, Maxine Audley
Directed By: Michael Powell
Critics Consensus: Peeping Tom is a chilling, methodical look at the psychology of a killer, and a classic work of voyeuristic cinema.
THE WITCH (2015)
Synopsis: In 1630s New England, a Puritan family is banished from their community and forced to live on the edge of a dark forest. When their newborn son suddenly disappears, the family begins to suspect that a malevolent force is at work. As paranoia and hysteria take hold, the family members turn on each other and their faith is tested to the limits.
Starring: Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie, Harvey Scrimshaw
Directed By: Robert Eggers
Critics Consensus: As thought-provoking as it is visually compelling, The Witch delivers a deeply unsettling exercise in slow-building horror that suggests great things for debuting writer-director Robert Eggers.
THE CABIN IN THE WOODS (2011)
Critics Consensus: The Cabin in the Woods is a meta-horror film that is capable of being funny, strange, and scary all at the same time.
Synopsis: Five college friends (Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams) arrive at a remote forest cabin for a weekend getaway, but things quickly take a turn for the worse as they uncover the dark secrets of the cabin and the mysterious organization behind it.
Starring: Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz
Directed By: Drew Goddard.
Critics Consensus: Roman Polanski’s first English-language film is a claustrophobic and disturbing descent into madness.
Synopsis: Carole (Catherine Deneuve), a beautiful young manicurist, suffers from androphobia and begins to experience terrifying hallucinations and delusions, leading to a violent and tragic outcome.
Starring: Catherine Deneuve, Yvonne Furneaux, Ian Hendry, John Fraser
Directed By: Roman Polanski.
EYES WITHOUT A FACE (1959)
Critics Consensus: Eyes Without a Face is a chilling and poetic tale of guilt and obsession.
Synopsis: Dr. Génessier (Pierre Brasseur), a plastic surgeon, becomesobsessed with restoring his daughter’s disfigured face after a tragic accident, leading him to commit horrific acts in the pursuit of his goal.
Starring: Pierre Brasseur, Alida Valli, Édith Scob, Juliette Mayniel
Directed By: Georges Franju.
ROSEMARY’S BABY (1968)
Critics Consensus: Rosemary’s Baby is a disturbing and unforgettable tale of Satanism and pregnancy, featuring powerful performances from Mia Farrow and Ruth Gordon.
Synopsis: A young wife named Rosemary (Mia Farrow) becomes increasingly paranoid and convinced that her unborn child is part of a sinister and supernatural conspiracy.
Starring: Mia Farrow, John Cassavetes, Ruth Gordon, Sidney Blackmer
Directed By: Roman Polansk.
Critics Consensus: Halloween is a suspenseful and terrifying masterpiece that set the standard for modern horror films.
Synopsis: Michael Myers, a disturbed and dangerous individual, escapes from a mental institution and returns to his hometown to continue his killing spree on Halloween night.
Starring: Donald Pleasence, Jamie Lee Curtis, Nancy Kyes, P.J. Soles
Directed By: John Carpenter.
THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (1991)
Critics Consensus: The Silence of the Lambs is a taut and intelligent thriller, featuring unforgettable performances from Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster.
Synopsis: Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster), a young FBI trainee, is tasked with interviewing the incarcerated cannibalistic serial killer Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) in order to gain insight into the mind of another serial killer on the loose.
Starring: Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Scott Glenn, Ted Levine
Directed By: Jonathan Demme.
THE INVISIBLE MAN (1933)
Critics Consensus: The Invisible Man is a classic horror film with sharp special effects, tension, and a touch of humor, featuring an excellent performance from Claude Rains.
Synopsis: Dr. Jack Griffin (Claude Rains), a scientist, discovers the secret to invisibility but becomes increasingly unstable and dangerous as a result.
Starring: Claude Rains, Gloria Stuart, Henry Travers, William Harrigan
Directed By: James Whale.
Critics Consensus: Aliens is a thrilling and action-packed sequel to the classic Alien, featuring a standout performance from Sigourney Weaver.
Synopsis: Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), the sole survivor of the Nostromo, returns to the planet where she first encountered the alien creature, this time with a team of heavily armed marines to investigate the disappearance of a human colony.
Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Carrie Henn, Michael Biehn, Paul Reiser
Directed By: James Cameron.
H3: NIGHT OFTHE LIVING DEAD (1968)
Critics Consensus: Night of the Living Dead is a groundbreaking zombie film that remains a classic, featuring realistic gore and a political subtext.
Synopsis: A group of disparate individuals takes refuge in an abandoned house as the dead rise from their graves to feast on the living.
Starring: Duane Jones, Judith O’Dea, Karl Hardman, Keith Wayne
Directed By: George A. Romero.
H3: FREAKS (1932)
Critics Consensus: Freaks is a timeless horror classic that manages to shock and touch viewers in equal measure.
Synopsis: A group of sideshow performers, including a woman with no arms and legs, a human torso, and a bearded lady, seek revenge on a beautiful trapeze artist who has betrayed them.
Starring: Wallace Ford, Olga Baclanova, Leila Hyams, Roscoe Ates
Directed By: Tod Browning.
IT FOLLOWS (2014)
Smart, original, and terrifying, It Follows is a rare modern horror film that works on multiple levels and leaves a lingering sting. After carefree teenager Jay sleeps with her new boyfriend, she learns that she is being pursued by a supernatural entity that can take any form and is always walking towards her. Starring Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Daniel Zovatto, and Jake Weary, and directed by David Robert Mitchell.
LET THE RIGHT ONE IN (2008)
Let the Right One In effectively mixes scares with intelligent storytelling, reinvigorating the seemingly tired vampire genre. When Oskar, a sensitive, bullied 12-year-old boy living with his mother in suburban Sweden, meets his new neighbor, Eli, he finds solace in her friendship. But Eli is a vampire, and as bodies start piling up in their small town, Oskar must decide whether to help or turn on her. Starring Kåre Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson, Per Ragnar, and Henrik Dahl, and directed by Tomas Alfredson.
Hereditary uses its classic setup as the framework for a harrowing, unsettling horror film whose cold touch lingers long beyond the closing credits. When the matriarch of the Graham family passes away, her daughter and grandchildren begin to unravel cryptic and increasingly terrifying secrets about their ancestry.Starring Toni Collette, Gabriel Byrne, Alex Wolff, and Ann Dowd, and directed by Ari Aster.
Conceptually disturbing and full of disorienting visual effects, Carl Theodor Dreyer’s Vampyr is a theoretically unsettling horror film. After Allan Gray rents a room near Courtempierre in France, strange events unfold, including an elderly man leaving a packet on his table and the disappearance of a girl he had seen earlier. As Gray investigates, he finds himself in the middle of a vampire story. Starring Julian West, Henriette Gérard, Jan Hieronimko, and Maurice Schutz, and directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer.
INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (1956)
Efficient and chilling, Invasion of the Body Snatchers is a blend of sci-fi and horror and one of the best political allegories of the 1950s. In Santa Mira, California, Dr. Miles Bennell is baffled when all his patients come to him with the same complaint: their loved ones seem to have been replaced by emotionless imposters. As Bennell investigates, he realizes that a widespread conspiracy is taking over the town. Starring Kevin McCarthy, Dana Wynter, Carolyn Jones, and Larry Gates, and directed by Don Siegel.
THE LIGHTHOUSE (2019)
A gripping story brilliantly filmed and led by powerhouseperformances, The Lighthouse establishes Robert Eggers as a filmmaker of exceptional talent. Two lighthouse keepers try to maintain their sanity while living on a remote and mysterious New England island in the 1890s. As their isolation and paranoia grow, they become trapped in a nightmare of their own making. Starring Robert Pattinson, Willem Dafoe, Valeriia Karaman, and Logan Hawkes, and directed by Robert Eggers.
Adroitly exploring the fine line between genius and madness, Frankenstein is still unnerving to this day, featuring Boris Karloff’s legendary, frightening performance as the monster. Obsessed scientist Dr. Henry Frankenstein attempts to create life by assembling a creature from body parts. But when the creature becomes alive and starts to terrorize the countryside, Frankenstein must find a way to stop him. Starring Colin Clive, Mae Clarke, John Boles, and Boris Karloff, and directed by James Whale.
THE BABADOOK (2014)
The Babadook relies on real horror rather than cheap jump scares and boasts a heartfelt, genuinely moving story to boot. A troubled widow discovers that her son is telling the truth about a monster that entered their home through the pages of a children’s book. As she becomes increasingly unhinged and the monster’s presence becomes more and more real, she must confront her own demons to save herself and her son.Starring Essie Davis, Daniel Henshall, Noah Wiseman, and Hayley McElhinney, and directed by Jennifer Kent.
Compelling and well-crafted, Jaws remains a benchmark in the art of delivering modern blockbuster thrills. When a young woman is killed by a shark while skinny-dipping near the New England tourist town of Amity Island, the police chief, a marine biologist, and a grizzled shark hunter set out to stop the deadly predator. As tensions rise and the body count increases, they must face their own fears to save the town from the monster lurking in the sea. Starring Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss, and Lorraine Gary, and directed by Steven Spielberg.
BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1935)
Eccentric, campy, technically impressive, and frightening, James Whale’s Bride of Frankenstein has aged remarkably well. After recovering from injuries sustained in the mob attack upon himself and his creation, Dr. Frankenstein falls under the control of his former mentor, Dr. Pretorius, who insists on the creation of a mate for the monster. But when the bride rejects the monster, chaos ensues. Starring Boris Karloff, Elsa Lanchester, Colin Clive, and Valerie Hobson, and directed by James Whale.
A Quiet Place (2018)
Ranked at #10, A Quiet Place artfully plays on elemental fears with its ruthlessly intelligent creature feature that’s as original as it is scary. The film established director John Krasinski as a rising talent. The story follows a family who must live in silence to avoid mysterious creatures that hunt by sound. Starring Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds, and Noah Jupe, A Quiet Place is a must-watch for horror enthusiasts.
The Invisible Man (2020)
Smart, well-acted, and above all scary, The Invisible Man proves that sometimes, the classic source material for a fresh reboot can be hiding in plain sight. At #9, this film tells the story of a crazed scientist who uses his power to become invisible, stalking and terrorizing his ex-girlfriend after staging his own suicide. Starring Elisabeth Moss, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Aldis Hodge, and Storm Reid, The Invisible Man is a chilling tale of terror.
The Night of the Hunter (1955)
Ranked at #8, The Night of the Hunter features Robert Mitchum’s formidable performance as a child-hunting preacher. This film is a disturbing look at good and evil. The Rev. Harry Powell (Robert Mitchum) is a religious fanatic and serial killer who targets women who use their sexuality. Starring Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters, Lillian Gish, and Evelyn Varden, The Night of the Hunter is a classic horror film that will leave you on the edge of your seat.
At #7, Nosferatu is one of the silent era’s most influential masterpieces, with its eerie, gothic feel and a chilling performance from Max Schreck as the vampire setting the template for the horror films that followed. In this highly influential silent horror film, the mysterious Count Orlok (Max Schreck) summons Thomas Hutter (Gustav von Wangenheim) to his castle in Transylvania, where he becomes his prisoner. Starring Max Schreck, Alexander Granach, Gustav von Wangenheim, and Greta Schroeder, Nosferatu is a must-watch for horror fans.
King Kong (1933)
King Kong explores the soul of a monster, making audiences scream and cry throughout the film. Ranked at #6, this film is a classic horror movie. Actress Ann Darrow (Fay Wray) and director Carl Denham (Robert Armstrong) travel to the Indian Ocean to do location shoots, where they encounter a giant ape who becomes smitten with Darrow. Starring Fay Wray, Bruce Cabot, Robert Armstrong, and Frank Reicher, King Kong’s breakthrough special effects make it a true classic.
At #5, Alien is a modern classic that blends science fiction, horror, and bleak poetryinto a seamless whole. In deep space, the crew of the commercial starship Nostromo is awakened from their cryo-sleep capsules halfway through their journey, only to discover that they are not alone. Starring Tom Skerritt, Sigourney Weaver, John Hurt, and Veronica Cartwright, this Ridley Scott-directed film is a masterpiece of suspense that will leave you on the edge of your seat.
With Jordan Peele’s second inventive, ambitious horror film, we have seen how to beat the sophomore jinx, and it is Us. Ranked at #4, this film follows Adelaide Wilson, who returns to the beachfront home where she grew up, only to have a traumatic encounter that leads to a series of horrifying events. Starring Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Elisabeth Moss, and Tim Heidecker, Us seamlessly weaves trenchant social critiques into its horror/comedy thrill ride.
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919)
Arguably the first true horror film, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is ranked at #3 and set a brilliantly high bar for the genre. The film remains terrifying nearly a century after it first stalked the screen at a carnival in Germany. Francis and his friend Alan encounter the crazed Dr. Caligari, who exhibits a somnambulist named Cesare that can predict the future. Starring Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt, Lil Dagover, and Friedrich Feher, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is a haunting masterpiece that every horror fan should experience.
Get Out (2017)
Ranked at #2, Get Out is a funny, scary, and thought-provoking horror/comedy thrill ride that seamlessly weaves trenchant social critiques into its storyline. The film follows Chris and his girlfriend, Rose, who visit her parents for a weekend getaway. However, things take a dark turn as Chris discovers the horrifying truth about the family’s intentions. Starring Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Catherine Keener, and Bradley Whitford, Get Out is a masterpiece of suspense and social commentary.
At #1, Psycho is a true classic that validated modern horror. Infamous for its shower scene, but immortal for its contribution to the horror genre, Alfred Hitchcock filmed it with tact, grace, and art. The story follows Phoenix secretary Marion Crane, who steals $40,000 from her employer and runs away, only to end up at the Bates Motel. Starring Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles, and John Gavin, Psycho is a must-watch for any horror fan and a true masterpiece of suspense.
The 200 best horror movies represent the best of the best in the genre. These films have earned their place on this list thanks to their ability to terrify, shock, and entertain audiences.
From classic horror films to modern masterpieces, each movie tells a unique story that stays with viewers long after the credits have rolled. Whether you’re a horror fan or just looking for a good scare, the Top 200 horror movies offer a diverse selection of films that are sure to satisfy.
These movies prove that horror is a genre that will continue to captivate and thrill audiences for years to come.