The Best Weird Horror Films

by strangemedia | created - 07 Apr 2017 | updated - 19 May 2020 | Public

Horror that's either strange, wacky, surreal, kooky and / or bizarre - or at least has some of those elements.

Big budget and low budget, well known and obscure, comedy and straight - anything goes!

I'm only listing films I've actually seen and films that I think are worth watching. There's loads of awful, cheap "weird" movies out there (stuff like 'The Refrigerator', 'Slaughtered Vomit Dolls', 'Sewage Baby', 'Things', etc) that I don't think are worth the time to watch, so I've left them off this list.

Listed in order from oldest to newest.

NOTE: I'm leaving off most of David Lynch's work as it's not really "true" horror, most of his films fit into more of a 'surreal thriller' category.

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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: 59,181

2. Nosferatu (1922)

Not Rated | 94 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: 90,912

3. 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: 43,222

4. Matango (1963)

Unrated | 89 min | Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi

Shipwrecked survivors slowly transform into mushrooms.

Director: Ishirô Honda | Stars: Akira Kubo, Kumi Mizuno, Hiroshi Koizumi, Kenji Sahara

Votes: 2,872

5. Repulsion (1965)

Not Rated | 105 min | Drama, Horror, Thriller

91 Metascore

A sex-repulsed woman who disapproves of her sister's boyfriend sinks into depression and has horrific visions of rape and violence.

Director: Roman Polanski | Stars: Catherine Deneuve, Ian Hendry, John Fraser, Yvonne Furneaux

Votes: 50,311

6. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

G | 149 min | Adventure, Sci-Fi

84 Metascore

After discovering a mysterious artifact buried beneath the Lunar surface, mankind sets off on a quest to find its origins with help from intelligent supercomputer H.A.L. 9000.

Director: Stanley Kubrick | Stars: Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, William Sylvester, Daniel Richter

Votes: 621,579 | Gross: $56.95M

7. Let's Scare Jessica to Death (1971)

GP | 89 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

A recently institutionalized woman has bizarre experiences after moving into a supposedly haunted country farmhouse and fears she may be losing her sanity once again.

Director: John D. Hancock | Stars: Zohra Lampert, Barton Heyman, Kevin O'Connor, Gretchen Corbett

Votes: 7,676

8. The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971)

PG-13 | 94 min | Comedy, Horror

A doctor, scientist, organist, and biblical scholar, Anton Phibes, seeks revenge on the nine doctors he considers responsible for his wife's death.

Director: Robert Fuest | Stars: Vincent Price, Joseph Cotten, Virginia North, Terry-Thomas

Votes: 13,905 | Gross: $0.55M

9. Westworld (1973)

PG | 88 min | Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller

77 Metascore

A robot malfunction creates havoc and terror for unsuspecting vacationers at a futuristic, adult-themed amusement park.

Director: Michael Crichton | Stars: Yul Brynner, Richard Benjamin, James Brolin, Norman Bartold

Votes: 54,237 | Gross: $16.06M

10. Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (1973 TV Movie)

Unrated | 74 min | Horror

A young couple inherits an old mansion inhabited by small demon-like creatures who are determined to make the wife one of their own.

Director: John Newland | Stars: Kim Darby, Jim Hutton, Barbara Anderson, William Demarest

Votes: 3,506

11. Lemora: A Child's Tale of the Supernatural (1973)

PG | 80 min | Fantasy, Horror, Thriller

49 Metascore

A young girl who returns to her hometown to see her dying father finds herself being drawn into a web of vampirism and witchcraft.

Director: Richard Blackburn | Stars: Lesley Taplin, Cheryl Smith, William Whitton, Hy Pyke

Votes: 2,083

12. The Baby (1973)

PG | 84 min | Drama, Horror, Thriller

A social worker, still reeling from the loss of her architect husband, investigates the eccentric, psychedelic Wadsworth Family, consisting of a mother, two daughters, and an adult son with the apparent mental capacity of an infant.

Director: Ted Post | Stars: Anjanette Comer, Ruth Roman, Marianna Hill, Susanne Zenor

Votes: 3,140

13. Theater of Blood (1973)

R | 104 min | Comedy, Drama, Horror

A Shakespearean actor takes poetic revenge on the critics who denied him recognition.

Director: Douglas Hickox | Stars: Vincent Price, Diana Rigg, Ian Hendry, Harry Andrews

Votes: 10,006

14. The Wicker Man (1973)

R | 88 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

87 Metascore

A puritan Police Sergeant arrives in a Scottish island village in search of a missing girl whom the locals claim never existed.

Director: Robin Hardy | Stars: Edward Woodward, Christopher Lee, Diane Cilento, Britt Ekland

Votes: 74,378 | Gross: $0.06M

15. Don't Look Now (1973)

R | 110 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

96 Metascore

A married couple grieving the recent death of their young daughter are in Venice when they encounter two elderly sisters, one of whom is psychic and brings a warning from beyond.

Director: Nicolas Roeg | Stars: Julie Christie, Donald Sutherland, Hilary Mason, Clelia Matania

Votes: 51,669 | Gross: $0.98M

16. It's Alive (1974)

PG | 91 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

72 Metascore

The Davies expect a baby, which turns out to be a monster with a nasty habit of killing when it's scared. And it's easily scared.

Director: Larry Cohen | Stars: John P. Ryan, Sharon Farrell, Andrew Duggan, Guy Stockwell

Votes: 7,374

17. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

R | 83 min | Horror

78 Metascore

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

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

Votes: 142,915 | Gross: $30.86M

18. Bloodsucking Freaks (1976)

Unrated | 84 min | Comedy, Horror

Sardu, master of the Theatre of the Macabre, and his assistant Ralphus run a show in which, under the guise of 'magic', they torture and murder people in front of their audience. But what the spectators see as a trick is actually real.

Director: Joel M. Reed | Stars: Seamus O'Brien, Viju Krem, Niles McMaster, Dan Fauci

Votes: 5,592

19. House (1977)

Not Rated | 88 min | Comedy, Horror

A schoolgirl and six of her classmates travel to her aunt's country home, which turns out to be haunted.

Director: Nobuhiko Ôbayashi | Stars: Kimiko Ikegami, Miki Jinbo, Kumiko Ohba, Ai Matsubara

Votes: 23,398

20. Eraserhead (1977)

Not Rated | 89 min | Fantasy, Horror

87 Metascore

Henry Spencer tries to survive his industrial environment, his angry girlfriend, and the unbearable screams of his newly born mutant child.

Director: David Lynch | Stars: Jack Nance, Charlotte Stewart, Allen Joseph, Jeanne Bates

Votes: 107,022 | Gross: $7.00M

21. 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: 84,854

22. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)

PG | 115 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

75 Metascore

When strange seeds drift to earth from space, mysterious pods begin to grow and invade San Francisco, California, where they replicate the residents into emotionless automatons one body at a time.

Director: Philip Kaufman | Stars: Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Jeff Goldblum, Veronica Cartwright

Votes: 55,212 | Gross: $24.95M

23. Tourist Trap (1979)

PG | 90 min | Horror

A group of young friends stranded at a secluded roadside museum are stalked by a masked assailant who uses his telekenetic powers to control the attraction's mannequins.

Director: David Schmoeller | Stars: Jocelyn Jones, Jon Van Ness, Robin Sherwood, Tanya Roberts

Votes: 9,060

24. The Brood (1979)

R | 92 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

63 Metascore

A man tries to uncover an unconventional psychologist's therapy techniques on his institutionalized wife, amidst a series of brutal murders.

Director: David Cronenberg | Stars: Oliver Reed, Samantha Eggar, Art Hindle, Henry Beckman

Votes: 27,251

25. Phantasm (1979)

R | 89 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 employs a lethal arsenal of unearthly weapons.

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

Votes: 33,583 | Gross: $11.99M

26. The Shining (1980)

R | 146 min | Drama, Horror

66 Metascore

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

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

Votes: 928,399 | Gross: $44.02M

27. Altered States (1980)

R | 102 min | Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller

58 Metascore

A psycho-physiologist experiments with drugs and a sensory-deprivation tank and has visions he believes are genetic memories.

Director: Ken Russell | Stars: William Hurt, Blair Brown, Bob Balaban, Charles Haid

Votes: 33,092 | Gross: $19.85M

28. Scanners (1981)

R | 103 min | Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller

60 Metascore

A scientist sends a man with extraordinary psychic powers to hunt others like him.

Director: David Cronenberg | Stars: Jennifer O'Neill, Stephen Lack, Patrick McGoohan, Lawrence Dane

Votes: 50,750 | Gross: $14.23M

29. The Beyond (1981)

R | 87 min | Horror

38 Metascore

A young woman inherits an old hotel in Louisiana where, following a series of supernatural "accidents", she learns that the building was built over one of the entrances to Hell.

Director: Lucio Fulci | Stars: Catriona MacColl, David Warbeck, Cinzia Monreale, Antoine Saint-John

Votes: 20,999 | Gross: $0.12M

30. 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: 192,139 | Gross: $2.40M

31. Possession (1981)

R | 124 min | Drama, Horror

72 Metascore

A woman starts exhibiting increasingly disturbing behavior after asking her husband for a divorce. Suspicions of infidelity soon give way to something much more sinister.

Director: Andrzej Zulawski | Stars: Isabelle Adjani, Sam Neill, Margit Carstensen, Heinz Bennent

Votes: 27,030 | Gross: $1.11M

32. An American Werewolf in London (1981)

R | 97 min | Comedy, Horror

55 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: 97,143 | Gross: $30.57M

33. Xtro (1982)

R | 84 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

An alien creature impregnates a woman who gives birth to a man that was abducted by aliens three years ago. The man reconnects with his wife and son for a sinister purpose.

Director: Harry Bromley Davenport | Stars: Philip Sayer, Bernice Stegers, Danny Brainin, Maryam d'Abo

Votes: 6,365

34. 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: 384,374 | Gross: $13.78M

35. Basket Case (1982)

Not Rated | 91 min | Comedy, Horror

77 Metascore

A young man carrying a big basket that contains his extremely deformed, formerly conjoined twin brother seeks vengeance on the doctors who separated them against their will.

Director: Frank Henenlotter | Stars: Kevin Van Hentenryck, Terri Susan Smith, Beverly Bonner, Robert Vogel

Votes: 17,073

36. Eating Raoul (1982)

R | 90 min | Comedy, Crime

69 Metascore

A relatively boring Los Angeles couple discovers a bizarre, if not murderous, way to get funding for opening a restaurant.

Director: Paul Bartel | Stars: Mary Woronov, Paul Bartel, Robert Beltran, Susan Saiger

Votes: 7,428

37. Q (1982)

R | 93 min | Crime, Horror, Mystery

NYPD detectives Shepard and Powell are working on a bizarre case of a ritualistic Aztec murder. Meanwhile, something big is attacking people of New York and only greedy small time crook Jimmy Quinn knows where its lair is.

Director: Larry Cohen | Stars: David Carradine, Michael Moriarty, Candy Clark, Richard Roundtree

Votes: 7,377

38. The Deadly Spawn (1983)

R | 81 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

Alien creatures invade a small town and four teenagers, along with a young boy, attempt to escape from them.

Director: Douglas McKeown | Stars: Charles George Hildebrandt, Tom DeFranco, Richard Lee Porter, Jean Tafler

Votes: 4,306

39. Videodrome (1983)

R | 87 min | Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller

60 Metascore

A programmer at a TV station that specializes in adult entertainment searches for the producers of a dangerous and bizarre broadcast.

Director: David Cronenberg | Stars: James Woods, Debbie Harry, Sonja Smits, Peter Dvorsky

Votes: 86,421 | Gross: $2.12M

40. The Toxic Avenger (1984)

R | 82 min | Action, Comedy, Horror

42 Metascore

Tromaville has a monstrous new hero. The Toxic Avenger is born when meek mop boy Melvin falls into a vat of toxic waste. Now evildoers will have a lot to lose.

Directors: Michael Herz, Lloyd Kaufman | Stars: Andree Maranda, Mitch Cohen, Jennifer Babtist, Cindy Manion

Votes: 26,934

41. Razorback (1984)

R | 95 min | Horror, Thriller

As a vicious wild boar terrorizes the Australian outback, the husband of one of the victims is joined by a hunter and a farmer in a search for the beast.

Director: Russell Mulcahy | Stars: Gregory Harrison, Arkie Whiteley, Bill Kerr, Chris Haywood

Votes: 6,133 | Gross: $0.15M

42. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

R | 91 min | Horror

76 Metascore

The monstrous spirit of a slain child murderer 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: 213,122 | Gross: $25.50M

43. House (1985)

R | 93 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Horror

44 Metascore

A troubled writer moves into a haunted house after inheriting it from his aunt.

Director: Steve Miner | Stars: William Katt, Kay Lenz, George Wendt, Richard Moll

Votes: 24,334 | Gross: $19.44M

44. Re-Animator (1985)

Unrated | 104 min | Comedy, Horror, Sci-Fi

73 Metascore

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: 58,927 | Gross: $2.02M

45. Lifeforce (1985)

R | 101 min | Action, Horror, Mystery