Best Horror Films

by Jamie_Shannon | created - 15 Feb 2013 | updated - 15 Feb 2016 | Public
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1. Halloween (1978)

R | 91 min | Horror, Thriller

81 Metascore

Fifteen years after murdering his sister on Halloween night 1963, Michael Myers escapes from a mental hospital and returns to the small town of Haddonfield to kill again.

Director: John Carpenter | Stars: Donald Pleasence, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tony Moran, Nancy Kyes

Votes: 197,120 | Gross: $47.00M

Brillantly filmed a masterwork of suspense, it created a flood of slasher films that followed in its wake. It is almost a flawless horror film.

2. The Thing (1982)

R | 109 min | Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi

57 Metascore

A research team in Antarctica is hunted by a shape-shifting alien that assumes the appearance of its victims.

Director: John Carpenter | Stars: Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, Keith David, Richard Masur

Votes: 318,553 | Gross: $13.78M

A movie with no character development that is about not knowing who to trust. The apex of the special effects make up pre cgi period of horror movies.

3. Suspiria (1977)

R | 92 min | Horror

79 Metascore

An American newcomer to a prestigious German ballet academy comes to realize that the school is a front for something sinister amid a series of grisly murders.

Director: Dario Argento | Stars: Jessica Harper, Stefania Casini, Flavio Bucci, Miguel Bosé

Votes: 61,464

Filmed in a beautiful artistic way it is a film; that is the best of the watching people die in creative ways genre and stands as a work of art.

4. Dawn of the Dead (1978)

Unrated | 127 min | Horror, Thriller

71 Metascore

Following an ever-growing epidemic of zombies that have risen from the dead, two Philadelphia S.W.A.T. team members, a traffic reporter, and his television executive girlfriend seek refuge in a secluded shopping mall.

Director: George A. Romero | Stars: David Emge, Ken Foree, Scott H. Reiniger, Gaylen Ross

Votes: 101,141 | Gross: $5.10M

I am heading to the nearest mall when the zombie apocalypse hits. This is the best zombie apocalypse movie.

5. The Evil Dead (1981)

NC-17 | 85 min | Horror

71 Metascore

Five friends travel to a cabin in the woods, where they unknowingly release flesh-possessing demons.

Director: Sam Raimi | Stars: Bruce Campbell, Ellen Sandweiss, Richard DeManincor, Betsy Baker

Votes: 164,888 | Gross: $2.40M

Over the top buckets of blood and even claymation, this movie set a bar high.

6. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

Not Rated | 83 min | Horror

75 Metascore

Two siblings and three of their friends en route to visit their grandfather's grave in Texas end up falling victim to a family of cannibalistic psychopaths.

Director: Tobe Hooper | Stars: Marilyn Burns, Edwin Neal, Allen Danziger, Paul A. Partain

Votes: 116,692 | Gross: $30.86M

Going to realistic extremes in style and content of surrealistic blends of real human evils and creating a scary new murderous family. Villans who are not supernatural but come from the Psycho template and makes it far worse.

7. The Hills Have Eyes (2006)

R | 107 min | Horror, Thriller

52 Metascore

A suburban American family is being stalked by a group of psychotic people who live in the desert, far away from civilization.

Director: Alexandre Aja | Stars: Ted Levine, Kathleen Quinlan, Dan Byrd, Emilie de Ravin

Votes: 145,855 | Gross: $41.78M

This reboot is far superior to the original. The images that it creates are haunting to say the least. The battered father walking into hell to rescue his infant child alone.

8. Night of the Living Dead (1968)

Not Rated | 96 min | Horror

89 Metascore

There is panic throughout the nation as the dead suddenly come back to life. The film follows a group of characters who barricade themselves in an old farmhouse in an attempt to remain safe from these bloodthirsty, flesh-eating monsters.

Director: George A. Romero | Stars: Duane Jones, Judith O'Dea, Karl Hardman, Marilyn Eastman

Votes: 102,253 | Gross: $0.09M

9. The Blair Witch Project (1999)

R | 81 min | Horror, Mystery

81 Metascore

Three film students vanish after traveling into a Maryland forest to film a documentary on the local Blair Witch legend, leaving only their footage behind.

Directors: Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sánchez | Stars: Heather Donahue, Michael C. Williams, Joshua Leonard, Bob Griffin

Votes: 212,018 | Gross: $140.54M

Defined the found footage genre as a real genre of horror, it feels real. The final shot of the movie is one of the best final shots of any horror film made.

10. Re-Animator (1985)

Unrated | 105 min | Comedy, Horror, Sci-Fi

After an odd new medical student arrives on campus, a dedicated local and his girlfriend become involved in bizarre experiments centering around the re-animation of dead tissue.

Director: Stuart Gordon | Stars: Jeffrey Combs, Bruce Abbott, Barbara Crampton, David Gale

Votes: 47,920 | Gross: $2.02M

Released in the middle of the eighties it was the year that Out of Africa one best picture. This movie was a wake up call to movies as whole that extreme film making can be mixed with humor. The movie has one of the funniest visual puns ever.

11. The Exorcist (1973)

R | 122 min | Horror

82 Metascore

When a teenage girl is possessed by a mysterious entity, her mother seeks the help of two priests to save her daughter.

Director: William Friedkin | Stars: Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, Linda Blair, Lee J. Cobb

Votes: 322,092 | Gross: $232.91M

One of the few films that brought horror into the mainstream when it wasn't. It still shocks today.

12. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

R | 91 min | Horror

76 Metascore

The monstrous spirit of a slain janitor seeks revenge by invading the dreams of teenagers whose parents were responsible for his untimely death.

Director: Wes Craven | Stars: Heather Langenkamp, Johnny Depp, Robert Englund, John Saxon

Votes: 179,018 | Gross: $25.50M

A truly unique horror villian that was the basis of a truly unique horror film.

13. 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: 514,618 | Gross: $32.00M

14. Ringu (1998)

Not Rated | 96 min | Horror, Mystery

A reporter and her ex-husband investigate a cursed video tape that is rumored to kill the viewer seven days after watching it.

Director: Hideo Nakata | Stars: Nanako Matsushima, Miki Nakatani, Yûko Takeuchi, Hitomi Satô

Votes: 57,026

15. The Howling (1981)

R | 91 min | Horror

68 Metascore

After a bizarre and near deadly encounter with a serial killer, a television newswoman is sent to a remote mountain resort whose residents may not be what they seem.

Director: Joe Dante | Stars: Dee Wallace, Patrick Macnee, Dennis Dugan, Christopher Stone

Votes: 26,912 | Gross: $17.99M

16. Zombie (1979)

R | 91 min | Horror

Strangers searching for a young woman's missing father arrive at a tropical island where a doctor desperately searches for the cause and cure of a recent epidemic of the undead.

Director: Lucio Fulci | Stars: Tisa Farrow, Ian McCulloch, Richard Johnson, Al Cliver

Votes: 22,565

17. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

R | 118 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

85 Metascore

A young FBI cadet must receive the help of an incarcerated and manipulative cannibal killer to help catch another serial killer, a madman who skins his victims.

Director: Jonathan Demme | Stars: Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Lawrence A. Bonney, Kasi Lemmons

Votes: 1,082,301 | Gross: $130.74M

18. Let the Right One In (2008)

R | 115 min | Drama, Horror, Romance

82 Metascore

Oskar, an overlooked and bullied boy, finds love and revenge through Eli, a beautiful but peculiar girl.

Director: Tomas Alfredson | Stars: Kåre Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson, Per Ragnar, Henrik Dahl

Votes: 191,472 | Gross: $2.12M

19. Saw (2004)

R | 103 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

46 Metascore

Two strangers, who awaken in a room with no recollection of how they got there, soon discover they're pawns in a deadly game perpetrated by a notorious serial killer.

Director: James Wan | Stars: Cary Elwes, Leigh Whannell, Danny Glover, Ken Leung

Votes: 343,563 | Gross: $56.00M

20. Night of the Living Dead (1990)

R | 92 min | Horror

54 Metascore

The unburied dead return to life and seek human victims.

Director: Tom Savini | Stars: Tony Todd, Patricia Tallman, Tom Towles, McKee Anderson

Votes: 35,043 | Gross: $5.84M

21. Alien (1979)

R | 116 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

83 Metascore

After a space merchant vessel perceives an unknown transmission as a distress call, its landing on the source moon finds one of the crew attacked by a mysterious lifeform, and they soon realize that its life cycle has merely begun.

Director: Ridley Scott | Stars: Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, John Hurt, Veronica Cartwright

Votes: 687,808 | Gross: $78.90M

22. Jaws (1975)

PG | 124 min | Adventure, Drama, Thriller

87 Metascore

When a killer shark unleashes chaos on a beach resort, it's up to a local sheriff, a marine biologist, and an old seafarer to hunt the beast down.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss, Lorraine Gary

Votes: 494,032 | Gross: $260.00M

23. Audition (1999)

R | 115 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

69 Metascore

A widower takes an offer to screen girls at a special audition, arranged for him by a friend to find him a new wife. The one he fancies is not who she appears to be after all.

Director: Takashi Miike | Stars: Ryo Ishibashi, Eihi Shiina, Tetsu Sawaki, Jun Kunimura

Votes: 63,389

24. The Descent (2005)

R | 99 min | Adventure, Horror, Thriller

71 Metascore

A caving expedition goes horribly wrong, as the explorers become trapped and ultimately pursued by a strange breed of predators.

Director: Neil Marshall | Stars: Shauna Macdonald, Natalie Mendoza, Alex Reid, Saskia Mulder

Votes: 179,869 | Gross: $26.02M

25. Sinister (I) (2012)

R | 110 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

53 Metascore

Washed-up true-crime writer Ellison Oswalt finds a box of super 8 home movies that suggest the murder he is currently researching is the work of a serial killer whose work dates back to the 1960s.

Director: Scott Derrickson | Stars: Ethan Hawke, Juliet Rylance, James Ransone, Fred Dalton Thompson

Votes: 191,727 | Gross: $48.09M

26. The Mist (2007)

R | 126 min | Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller

58 Metascore

A freak storm unleashes a species of bloodthirsty creatures on a small town, where a small band of citizens hole up in a supermarket and fight for their lives.

Director: Frank Darabont | Stars: Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden, Laurie Holden, Andre Braugher

Votes: 253,975 | Gross: $25.59M

27. The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988)

R | 98 min | Fantasy, Horror

64 Metascore

An anthropologist goes to Haiti after hearing rumors about a drug used by black magic practitioners to turn people into zombies.

Director: Wes Craven | Stars: Bill Pullman, Cathy Tyson, Zakes Mokae, Paul Winfield

Votes: 19,728 | Gross: $19.60M

28. Evil Dead II (1987)

R | 84 min | Comedy, Horror

69 Metascore

The lone survivor of an onslaught of flesh-possessing spirits holes up in a cabin with a group of strangers while the demons continue their attack.

Director: Sam Raimi | Stars: Bruce Campbell, Sarah Berry, Dan Hicks, Kassie Wesley DePaiva

Votes: 131,638 | Gross: $5.92M

29. Insidious (I) (2010)

PG-13 | 103 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

52 Metascore

A family looks to prevent evil spirits from trapping their comatose child in a realm called The Further.

Director: James Wan | Stars: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Ty Simpkins, Lin Shaye

Votes: 244,692 | Gross: $54.01M

30. The Crazies (2010)

R | 101 min | Horror, Thriller

55 Metascore

After a strange and insecure plane crash, an unusual toxic virus enters a quaint farming town. A young couple are quarantined, but they fight for survival along with help from a couple of people.

Director: Breck Eisner | Stars: Radha Mitchell, Timothy Olyphant, Danielle Panabaker, Joe Anderson

Votes: 102,548 | Gross: $39.12M

31. The Omen (1976)

R | 111 min | Horror

62 Metascore

Mysterious deaths surround an American ambassador. Could the child that he is raising actually be the Antichrist? The Devil's own son?

Director: Richard Donner | Stars: Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, Harvey Stephens, David Warner

Votes: 94,588 | Gross: $4.27M

32. Rosemary's Baby (1968)

R | 137 min | Drama, Horror

96 Metascore

A young couple moves in to an apartment only to be surrounded by peculiar neighbors and occurrences. When the wife becomes mysteriously pregnant, paranoia over the safety of her unborn child begins to control her life.

Director: Roman Polanski | Stars: Mia Farrow, John Cassavetes, Ruth Gordon, Sidney Blackmer

Votes: 164,228

33. Hostel (2005)

R | 94 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

55 Metascore

Three backpackers head to a Slovak city that promises to meet their hedonistic expectations, with no idea of the hell that awaits them.

Director: Eli Roth | Stars: Jay Hernandez, Derek Richardson, Eythor Gudjonsson, Barbara Nedeljakova

Votes: 155,309 | Gross: $47.33M

34. 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: 38,021

35. 28 Days Later... (2002)

R | 113 min | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi

73 Metascore

Four weeks after a mysterious, incurable virus spreads throughout the UK, a handful of survivors try to find sanctuary.

Director: Danny Boyle | Stars: Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Christopher Eccleston, Alex Palmer

Votes: 337,645 | Gross: $45.06M

36. Dracula (1992)

R | 128 min | Horror

57 Metascore

The centuries old vampire Count Dracula comes to England to seduce his barrister Jonathan Harker's fiancée Mina Murray and inflict havoc in the foreign land.

Director: Francis Ford Coppola | Stars: Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, Anthony Hopkins, Keanu Reeves

Votes: 167,825 | Gross: $82.52M

37. Carrie (1976)

R | 98 min | Horror

85 Metascore

Carrie White, a shy, friendless teenage girl who is sheltered by her domineering, religious mother, unleashes her telekinetic powers after being humiliated by her classmates at her senior prom.

Director: Brian De Palma | Stars: Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, Amy Irving, John Travolta

Votes: 147,038 | Gross: $33.80M

38. 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: 78,560

39. My Bloody Valentine (2009)

R | 101 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

51 Metascore

Tom returns to his hometown on the tenth anniversary of the Valentine's night massacre that claimed the lives of 22 people. Instead of a homecoming, Tom finds himself suspected of committing the murders, and it seems like his old flame is the only one that believes he's innocent.

Director: Patrick Lussier | Stars: Jensen Ackles, Jaime King, Kerr Smith, Betsy Rue

Votes: 49,725 | Gross: $51.55M

40. The Shining (1980)

R | 146 min | Drama, Horror

63 Metascore

A family heads to an isolated hotel for the winter where an evil spiritual presence influences the father into violence, while his psychic son sees horrific forebodings from the past and of the future.

Director: Stanley Kubrick | Stars: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd, Scatman Crothers

Votes: 747,334 | Gross: $44.02M

41. Freaks (1932)

Not Rated | 64 min | Drama, Horror

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: 37,267

42. The Fog (1980)

R | 89 min | Horror, Thriller

55 Metascore

An unearthly fog rolls into a small coastal town exactly 100 years after a ship mysteriously sank in its waters.

Director: John Carpenter | Stars: Adrienne Barbeau, Jamie Lee Curtis, Janet Leigh, John Houseman

Votes: 55,247 | Gross: $21.38M

43. Phenomena (1985)

R | 116 min | Horror, Mystery

57 Metascore

A young girl, with an amazing ability to communicate with insects, is transferred to an exclusive Swiss boarding school, where her unusual capability might help solve a string of murders.

Director: Dario Argento | Stars: Jennifer Connelly, Donald Pleasence, Daria Nicolodi, Fiore Argento

Votes: 19,652

44. Scream (1996)

R | 111 min | Horror, Mystery

65 Metascore

A year after the murder of her mother, a teenage girl is terrorized by a new killer, who targets the girl and her friends by using horror films as part of a deadly game.

Director: Wes Craven | Stars: Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette, Skeet Ulrich

Votes: 254,277 | Gross: $103.05M

45. Paranormal Activity (2007)

R | 86 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

68 Metascore

After moving into a suburban home, a couple becomes increasingly disturbed by a nightly demonic presence.

Director: Oren Peli | Stars: Katie Featherston, Micah Sloat, Mark Fredrichs, Amber Armstrong

Votes: 204,277 | Gross: $107.92M

46. An American Werewolf in London (1981)

R | 97 min | Comedy, Horror

60 Metascore

Two American college students on a walking tour of Britain are attacked by a werewolf that none of the locals will admit exists.

Director: John Landis | Stars: David Naughton, Jenny Agutter, Joe Belcher, Griffin Dunne

Votes: 79,100 | Gross: $30.57M

47. Phantasm (1979)

R | 88 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

72 Metascore

A teenage boy and his friends face off against a mysterious grave robber known only as the Tall Man, who keeps a lethal arsenal of terrible weapons with him.

Director: Don Coscarelli | Stars: A. Michael Baldwin, Bill Thornbury, Reggie Bannister, Kathy Lester

Votes: 27,531 | Gross: $11.99M

48. [Rec] (2007)

R | 78 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller