Best Horror Movies

by DaveHedgehog | created - 08 Oct 2011 | updated - 08 Feb 2015 | Public

I've been a massive horror fan since I was a kid and being saddened by the fact that it's the most under-appreciated genre and you have to wade through a lot of crap to find the gems, I decided to make a list of recommendations.

This is a personal list of the best horror movies that I've seen. It includes personal favourites, as well as films that I think are good, but don't love. Films I don't like at all are not included here, so any glaringly obvious omissions are likely on purpose. This is not meant to be a list of the best and most important horror movies, just the ones I've liked the most. So it's really for my own amusement, but maybe it might convince someone to check out something they might not have seen otherwise.

Sorted chronologically.

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1. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)

Not Rated | 67 min | Fantasy, Horror, Mystery

Hypnotist Dr. Caligari uses a somnambulist, Cesare, to commit murders.

Director: Robert Wiene | Stars: Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt, Friedrich Feher, Lil Dagover

Votes: 52,249

2. The Phantom Carriage (1921)

Not Rated | 100 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

On New Year's Eve, the driver of a ghostly carriage forces a drunken man to reflect on his selfish, wasted life.

Director: Victor Sjöström | Stars: Victor Sjöström, Hilda Borgström, Tore Svennberg, Astrid Holm

Votes: 9,458

3. Nosferatu (1922)

Not Rated | 81 min | Fantasy, Horror

Vampire Count Orlok expresses interest in a new residence and real estate agent Hutter's wife.

Director: F.W. Murnau | Stars: Max Schreck, Alexander Granach, Gustav von Wangenheim, Greta Schröder

Votes: 83,571

4. The Unknown (1927)

Unrated | 63 min | Drama, Horror, Romance

A criminal on the run hides in a circus and seeks to possess the daughter of the ringmaster at any cost.

Director: Tod Browning | Stars: Lon Chaney, Norman Kerry, Joan Crawford, Nick De Ruiz

Votes: 6,713 | Gross: $0.41M

5. Drácula (1931)

Unrated | 104 min | Fantasy, Horror

Centuries-old vampire Dracula preys upon the innocent Eva and her friends.

Directors: George Melford, Enrique Tovar Ávalos | Stars: Carlos Villarías, Lupita Tovar, Barry Norton, Pablo Álvarez Rubio

Votes: 3,781

6. Frankenstein (1931)

Passed | 70 min | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi

91 Metascore

An obsessed scientist assembles a living being from parts of exhumed corpses.

Director: James Whale | Stars: Colin Clive, Mae Clarke, Boris Karloff, John Boles

Votes: 60,909

7. Freaks (1932)

Not Rated | 64 min | Drama, Horror

80 Metascore

A circus' beautiful trapeze artist agrees to marry the leader of side-show performers, but his deformed friends discover she is only marrying him for his inheritance.

Director: Tod Browning | Stars: Wallace Ford, Leila Hyams, Olga Baclanova, Roscoe Ates

Votes: 39,734

8. The Most Dangerous Game (1932)

Passed | 63 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller

An insane hunter arranges for a ship to be wrecked on an island where he can indulge in some sort of hunting and killing of the passengers.

Directors: Irving Pichel, Ernest B. Schoedsack | Stars: Joel McCrea, Fay Wray, Leslie Banks, Robert Armstrong

Votes: 9,613 | Gross: $0.97M

9. The Old Dark House (1932)

Not Rated | 72 min | Comedy, Horror, Thriller

Seeking shelter from a storm, five travelers are in for a bizarre and terrifying night when they stumble upon the Femm family estate.

Director: James Whale | Stars: Boris Karloff, Melvyn Douglas, Charles Laughton, Gloria Stuart

Votes: 8,304 | Gross: $0.03M

10. The Invisible Man (1933)

Not Rated | 71 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

A scientist finds a way of becoming invisible, but in doing so, he becomes murderously insane.

Director: James Whale | Stars: Claude Rains, Gloria Stuart, William Harrigan, Henry Travers

Votes: 27,450

11. Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933)

Passed | 77 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

The disappearance of people and corpses leads a reporter to a wax museum and a sinister sculptor.

Director: Michael Curtiz | Stars: Lionel Atwill, Fay Wray, Glenda Farrell, Frank McHugh

Votes: 4,288

12. Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

Not Rated | 75 min | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi

Mary Shelley reveals the main characters of her novel survived: Dr. Frankenstein, goaded by an even madder scientist, builds his monster a mate.

Director: James Whale | Stars: Boris Karloff, Elsa Lanchester, Colin Clive, Valerie Hobson

Votes: 40,690 | Gross: $4.36M

13. The Devil-Doll (1936)

Passed | 78 min | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi

An escaped convict uses miniaturized humans to wreak vengeance on those that framed him.

Director: Tod Browning | Stars: Lionel Barrymore, Maureen O'Sullivan, Frank Lawton, Rafaela Ottiano

Votes: 3,482

14. De spooktrein (1939)

70 min | Comedy, Crime, Horror

A group of travelers find themselves stranded for the night at a deserted train station, which according to the old stationmaster, has been haunted for the last 20 years.

Director: Karel Lamac | Stars: Sara Heyblom, Lies de Wind, Chris Baay, Adolphe Engers

Votes: 45

15. The Cat and the Canary (1939)

Approved | 72 min | Comedy, Horror, Mystery

When an eccentric family meets in their uncle's remote, decaying mansion on the tenth anniversary of his death for the reading of his will, murder and madness follow.

Director: Elliott Nugent | Stars: Bob Hope, Paulette Goddard, John Beal, Douglass Montgomery

Votes: 2,424

16. The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939)

Approved | 80 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson investigate the legend of a supernatural hound, a beast that may be stalking a young heir on the fog-shrouded moorland that makes up his estate.

Director: Sidney Lanfield | Stars: Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, Richard Greene, Wendy Barrie

Votes: 8,856

17. The Man They Could Not Hang (1939)

Unrated | 64 min | Crime, Horror, Sci-Fi

When Dr. Savaard's experiment in cryonics is interrupted by the short-sighted authorities, his volunteer dies, and he is condemned to death. He vows vengeance if he can survive his own hanging.

Director: Nick Grinde | Stars: Boris Karloff, Lorna Gray, Robert Wilcox, Roger Pryor

Votes: 1,306

18. The Ghost Breakers (1940)

Passed | 85 min | Comedy, Horror, Mystery

A radio broadcaster, his quaking manservant and an heiress investigate the mystery of a haunted castle in Cuba.

Director: George Marshall | Stars: Bob Hope, Paulette Goddard, Richard Carlson, Paul Lukas

Votes: 2,824

19. Cat People (1942)

Not Rated | 73 min | Fantasy, Horror, Thriller

An American man marries a Serbian immigrant who fears that she will turn into the cat person of her homeland's fables if they are intimate together.

Director: Jacques Tourneur | Stars: Simone Simon, Tom Conway, Kent Smith, Jane Randolph

Votes: 18,380 | Gross: $4.00M

20. The Leopard Man (1943)

Approved | 66 min | Horror, Thriller

A seemingly tame leopard used for a publicity stunt escapes and kills a young girl, spreading panic throughout a sleepy New Mexico town.

Director: Jacques Tourneur | Stars: Dennis O'Keefe, Margo, Jean Brooks, Isabel Jewell

Votes: 4,300

21. The Scarlet Claw (1944)

Approved | 74 min | Crime, Mystery, Thriller

When a gentlewoman is found dead with her throat torn out, the villagers blame a supernatural monster. But Sherlock Holmes, who gets drawn into the case from nearby Quebec, suspects a human murderer.

Director: Roy William Neill | Stars: Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, Gerald Hamer, Paul Cavanagh

Votes: 4,460

22. Dead of Night (1945)

Approved | 77 min | Drama, Horror

Architect Walter Craig (Mervyn Johns) senses impending doom as his half-remembered recurring dream turns into reality. The guests at the country house encourage him to stay as they take turns telling supernatural tales.

Directors: Alberto Cavalcanti, Charles Crichton, Basil Dearden, Robert Hamer | Stars: Mervyn Johns, Michael Redgrave, Roland Culver, Mary Merrall

Votes: 10,046

23. The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945)

Not Rated | 110 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

A corrupt young man somehow keeps his youthful beauty, but a special painting gradually reveals his inner ugliness to all.

Director: Albert Lewin | Stars: George Sanders, Hurd Hatfield, Donna Reed, Angela Lansbury

Votes: 11,001

24. Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)

Not Rated | 83 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Horror

Two hapless freight handlers find themselves encountering Dracula, the Frankenstein Monster and the Wolf Man.

Directors: Charles Barton, Walter Lantz | Stars: Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Lon Chaney Jr., Bela Lugosi

Votes: 13,712 | Gross: $4.80M

25. House of Wax (1953)

GP | 88 min | Horror

An associate burns down a wax museum with the owner inside, but he survives only to become vengeful and murderous.

Director: André De Toth | Stars: Vincent Price, Frank Lovejoy, Phyllis Kirk, Carolyn Jones

Votes: 15,122 | Gross: $23.75M

26. Them! (1954)

Not Rated | 94 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

The earliest atomic tests in New Mexico cause common ants to mutate into giant man-eating monsters that threaten civilization.

Director: Gordon Douglas | Stars: James Whitmore, Edmund Gwenn, Joan Weldon, James Arness

Votes: 18,589

27. Diabolique (1955)

Not Rated | 117 min | Crime, Drama, Horror

The wife and mistress of a loathed school principal hatch a plan to murder him while having the perfect alibi. They carry out the plan...but then his body disappears.

Director: Henri-Georges Clouzot | Stars: Simone Signoret, Véra Clouzot, Paul Meurisse, Charles Vanel

Votes: 58,454

28. Dementia (1955)

Not Rated | 61 min | Film-Noir, Horror, Mystery

This film, with no dialogue at all, follows a psychotic young woman's nightmarish experiences through one skid-row night.

Director: John Parker | Stars: Adrienne Barrett, Bruno VeSota, Ben Roseman, Richard Barron

Votes: 1,646

29. The Bad Seed (1956)

Approved | 129 min | Crime, Drama, Horror

51 Metascore

A housewife suspects that her seemingly perfect eight-year-old daughter is a heartless killer.

Director: Mervyn LeRoy | Stars: Nancy Kelly, Patty McCormack, Henry Jones, Eileen Heckart

Votes: 12,008

30. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

Not Rated | 80 min | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi

92 Metascore

A small-town doctor learns that the population of his community is being replaced by emotionless alien duplicates.

Director: Don Siegel | Stars: Kevin McCarthy, Dana Wynter, Larry Gates, King Donovan

Votes: 42,330

31. Not of This Earth (1957)

Approved | 67 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

An alien agent from the distant planet Davana is sent to Earth via a high-tech matter transporter. There, he terrorizes Southern California in an attempt to acquire blood for his dying race, the result of a devastating nuclear war.

Director: Roger Corman | Stars: Paul Birch, Beverly Garland, Morgan Jones, William Roerick

Votes: 1,391

32. The Blob (1958)

Not Rated | 86 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

An alien lifeform consumes everything in its path as it grows and grows.

Directors: Irvin S. Yeaworth Jr., Russell S. Doughten Jr. | Stars: Steve McQueen, Aneta Corsaut, Earl Rowe, Olin Howland

Votes: 21,254

33. I Bury the Living (1958)

Unrated | 77 min | Horror

Cemetery director Robert Kraft discovers that by arbitrarily changing the status of plots from empty to occupied on the planogram causes the death of the plots' owners.

Director: Albert Band | Stars: Richard Boone, Theodore Bikel, Peggy Maurer, Howard Smith

Votes: 2,314

34. The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958)

Unrated | 90 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

Baron Frankenstein escapes from the guillotine and goes to Germany. There, he names himself Dr. Stein and plans to restart his experiments by using parts of dead bodies.

Director: Terence Fisher | Stars: Peter Cushing, Francis Matthews, Eunice Gayson, Michael Gwynn

Votes: 4,276

35. A Bucket of Blood (1959)

Approved | 66 min | Comedy, Crime, Horror

A dim-witted busboy finds acclaim as an artist for a plaster-covered dead cat that is mistaken as a skillful statuette. The desire for more praise soon leads to an increasingly deadly series of works.

Director: Roger Corman | Stars: Dick Miller, Barboura Morris, Antony Carbone, Julian Burton

Votes: 5,456

36. The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959)

Not Rated | 87 min | Horror, Mystery

When a nobleman is threatened by a family curse on his newly inherited estate, detective Sherlock Holmes is hired to investigate.

Director: Terence Fisher | Stars: Peter Cushing, André Morell, Christopher Lee, Marla Landi

Votes: 8,580

37. The Tingler (1959)

Not Rated | 82 min | Horror

An obsessed pathologist discovers and captures a parasitic creature that grows when fear grips its host.

Director: William Castle | Stars: Vincent Price, Judith Evelyn, Darryl Hickman, Patricia Cutts

Votes: 6,660

38. 13 Ghosts (1960)

Not Rated | 85 min | Horror

56 Metascore

A family inherits what proves to be a haunted house, but a special pair of goggles allows them to see their ghostly tormentors.

Director: William Castle | Stars: Charles Herbert, Jo Morrow, Martin Milner, Rosemary DeCamp

Votes: 4,890 | Gross: $3.27M

39. Circus of Horrors (1960)

Approved | 88 min | Horror, Drama

In 1947 England, a plastic surgeon must beat a hasty retreat to France when one of his patients has ghastly problems with her surgery. Once there, he operates on a circus owner's daughter, ... See full summary »

Director: Sidney Hayers | Stars: Anton Diffring, Erika Remberg, Yvonne Monlaur, Donald Pleasence

Votes: 1,432

40. The Housemaid (1960)

Not Rated | 109 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

A composer and his wife are thrown into turmoil when a housemaid becomes more than they bargained for.

Director: Ki-young Kim | Stars: Jin Kyu Kim, Jeung-nyeo Ju, Eun-shim Lee, Aeng-ran Eom

Votes: 2,787

41. The Little Shop of Horrors (1960)

Not Rated | 72 min | Comedy, Horror

A clumsy young man nurtures a plant and discovers that it's carnivorous, forcing him to kill to feed it.

Director: Roger Corman | Stars: Jonathan Haze, Jackie Joseph, Mel Welles, Dick Miller

Votes: 15,194 | Gross: $1.40M

42. Psycho (1960)

R | 109 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

97 Metascore

A Phoenix secretary embezzles forty thousand dollars from her employer's client, goes on the run, and checks into a remote motel run by a young man under the domination of his mother.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles, John Gavin

Votes: 560,800 | Gross: $32.00M

43. Village of the Damned (1960)

Not Rated | 77 min | Horror, Sci-Fi