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The Best Horror Films Ever Made - Good Horror Movies You've Got To See

Updated on December 14, 2012

101 Good Horror Movies - You Can't Call Yourself A True Fan Of The Genre Unless You've Seen These Great Horror Films

I paid a visit to my local video store recently looking for some good horror movies to rent for the weekend. As I stood there looking for the perfect one, I saw a lot of great ones that I'd seen before, but was looking for a few that I hadn't seen. I tried to conjure up good titles in my mind, but nothing was making itself known. That's when I decided that I needed to have access to a solid list of horror movies that I can turn to the next time this problem arose. This lens is my attempt at that.

Let me say up front that this is not a ranked list of horror movies, though I consider every film listed to be a very good representative of the horror genre and should be seen (at least once) by fans. The reason for not ranking them is simple - it would be much too hard. I mean how could one really decide between Exorcist and Dawn of the Dead (two of my favorites). It's impossible. The only reason that there is a number beside each movie is because I wanted to provide some semblance of order.

So, without further ado, let my give you my list of what I consider to be some of the best horror movies of all time. I hope they will provide you with hours of entertainment (and sleepless nights). Enjoy.

Photo by SeanJCPhoto / flickr.

the-lament-configuration
the-lament-configuration

Good Horror Movies

Warning: Watching these at night could give you a few nightmares.

1-Hellraiser (1987): The difference between pleasure and pain is ever so slight. The disturbing part about this film is that you will most likely be tempted into exploring the question yourself.

2-Dawn of the Dead (1978): If you think zombies are the only thing you've got to worry about in a zombie apocalypse, you'll probably end up dead.

3-Fright Night (1985): If you're one of those people that thought the remake was worth watching, you're going to love this good horror movie.

4-Halloween (1978): Some say that this is the movie that began the slasher flick craze. Most people have seen it more than once, and there's a reason for that - it'll still scare the hell out of you.

5-An American Werewolf In London (1981): One of the most amazing transformation scenes in film history. I still enjoy this werewolf flick.

6-Phantasm (1979): This is another good horror movie in which the music really pushes it over the top into great territory. The creepy acting by Angus Scrimm (The Tall Man) always keeps me coming back to watch this one every few years.

7-Psycho (1960): If it wasn't for this film, I wouldn't realize how important it is to have a good relationship with your mother.

8-The Omen (1976): I still don't understand parents who name their son Damien. Why tempt fate?

9-The Shining (1980): After seeing Nicholson chop his way through a door with an axe, I tried it myself. It's not as easy as you might think, plus I ruined a perfectly good door.

10-American Psycho (2000): It took me two attempts to get through the first few minutes of the film, but once I forced myself to watch, I began to enjoy the mayhem and madness.

11-The Innocents (1961): A great ghost story that produces genuine chills using atmosphere and sounds.

12-Scream (1996): Gave the slasher flick a much needed facelift. Can be watched over and over again.

13-The Haunting (1963): When you go out to prove the existence of ghosts, you have no right to complain when people start dying.

14-Poltergeist (1982): Whenever I want a movie to watch in the dark and be scared, yet I'm not sure what to get - I get this one. It's a great scary movie that still makes me jump.

15-The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974): I find that most people who think the re-make is better than the original are lying. They just find the original much too disturbing and gritty to sit through.

Scream (1996) - Never say, "I'll be right back."

Who would have thought that if you put together one of the most prolific horror directors of their time with an amazingly clever and frightening script you'd get one of the best horror movies of the 90's. This is one that will be watched and appreciated by all age groups for a very long time.

Scream (Collector's Series)
Scream (Collector's Series)

Although the other sequels have their moments, they can't compare to the first. I find myself watching this one several times a year without getting tired of it. I can't say that about the others. Especially fun to watch with a bunch of friends.

 
frankenstein-painting
frankenstein-painting

Best Horror Movies Of All Time - Continued

How does your horror movie collection look?

16-Frankenstein (1931): Classic monster movies like this will always be on good horror movie lists, not necessarily because they are classics, but because they are very well made and still hold up well.

17-Hostel (2005): A great gory, over-the-top revenge movie that gives its peers a run for their money.

18-Friday the 13th Part 3 (1982): This is the one where Jason puts on the hockey mask and the rest is history.

19-A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984): A psychotic madman with a sick sense of humor. Go figure. What really makes this one great is the wonderful acting of Robert England, as everyone who saw the remake can attest to.

20-The Sixth Sense (1999): Will be considered one of the best ghost stories on film not due to the ending that slaps you in the face, but due to good writing, good directing good acting and a good ending.

21-Aliens (1986): Some may argue that this is a sci-fi flick, but the entire mood of it screams horror movie. Much more scarier than Alien, which was also quite good.

22-The Stand (1994): This is one of the better Stephen King adaptations for TV out there. Be sure to take the time to watch it. Randall Flagg makes an awesome bad guy.

23-Jaws (1975): After watching this great horror movie, you may not want to go swimming for a while.

24-28 Days Later (2002): No matter which zombies you think more frightening (fast or slow), this film will scare you.

25-Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992): Quite possibly one of the most visually stunning adaptations of Stoker's classic novel, plus the acting isn't bad either.

26-The Wicker Man (1973): A wonderful new way to get better crops! If you thought the re-make was awful, then do yourself a favor and watch the original.

27-Suspiria (1977): Don't feel sorry if you start admiring the beauty of the death scenes; many people do it. Dario Argento at his best.

28-I Spit On Your Grave (1978): Do a little more research before watching this one, because everyone won't be able to watch. I am still surprised about how many women rent it at the video store I go to. In any case, once is all you'll probably want to watch it.

29-Rosemary's Baby (1968): It took me a while to watch this one, but once I did, I immediately added it to my favorites list. I have a feeling others will too. One of the best witchcraft / devil worship movies out there.

30-Bride of Frankenstein (1935): Good horror movies don't get much better than this. Many consider it the highlight of James Whale's directing career. A really solid film that everyone should see at least once.

Rosemary's Baby Movie Poster

Universal Movie Monster DVD Collections - I'm hinting at these for my birthday and Christmas.

These are really packaged beautifully and look wonderful in any DVD collection. I can't wait to get all of them as I am a big fan of black and white monster movies. There's just a certain charm about them, don't you think?

chucky-doll
chucky-doll

15 More Good Horror Movies To Watch When You Want To Scream

It has been suggested by some that screaming in terror... is a good thing.

31-Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954): There are so few films featuring this particular type of movie monster. This is one of the best.

32-Zombie (1979): The movie that spawned the never ending debate of who would win between a shark and a zombie.

33-The Silence of the Lambs (1991): One of the best psychological horror thrillers you're ever going to see. The debut of another amazing movie monster who just happens to be human.

34-Dracula (1931): A really good horror movie classic featuring everyone's favorite bloodsucker.

35-King Kong (1933): Highly debatable whether it belongs in the horror category, but you can't deny that Kong is one of the most famous movie monsters.

36-Godzilla (1954): If you're going to include Kong, you've got to include Godzilla.

37-The Mummy (1932): Even though I loved the remake they did in 1999, this one has more of a creepiness factor to it.

38-Childs Play (1988): Can you believe people actually bought these dolls after the movie!?

39-Misery (1990): Did you look away at the sledgehammer scene? I did.

40-Nosferatu: The Vampyre (1979): A beautiful vampire film that should be seen by fans of the horror genre.

41-Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn (1987): If I only got to watch one film from the Evil Dead series, then I would always choose this one.

42-Night of the Living Dead (1968): I know there are people out there who criticize Romero a lot, but there is not doubt that he turned the zombie genre upside-down when he made this horror classic. Bravo!

43-House of Wax (1953): Vincent Price really makes this film what it is and that's one reason the remake just didn't do it for me.

44-Paranormal Activity (2007): You must be patient with this one. The payoff doesn't come until the end, and it will send a shiver up your spine.

45-The Exorcist (1973): No other possession movie has ever come close to how good this one is. That's saying something.

The Exorcist (1973) - The Scariest Movie Ever Made - Still to this day.

As of this date there has been no other demonic possession movie that comes close to being as good as this one. They all try, but all have fallen short. That really says something about this film. I can't imagine anyone who hasn't seen it (unless by choice). People don't watch it as much because it's not good, people don't watch it as much because it's scary as hell.

The Exorcist (The Version You've Never Seen)
The Exorcist (The Version You've Never Seen)

There were those that claimed that actual demons were living in the celluloid of this film. I must say that... they may be right.

 
alfred-hitchcock-on-psycho-set
alfred-hitchcock-on-psycho-set

List Of Horror Movies (46 - 60)

Good horror films can be watched over and over again. Have you seen any of these more than once?

46-The Hills Have Eyes (1977): The remake was decent, but the original still holds a special place in my heart.

47-Zombieland (2009): What zombie fan hasn't thought about making up rules to survive during a zombie apocalypse. This was just the first film that actually found a clever way to utilize it.

48-House of 1000 Corpses (2003): Rob Zombie decides to direct and does a pretty good job.

49-Resident Evil (2002): I can watch this one over and over again with satisfaction, of course, I was a big fan of the game.

50-Saw (2004): What would you be willing to do to survive?

51-Slither (2006): A perfect mix of laughs and scares that will take people born in the 80's back to better times. Highly recommended.

52-Se7en (1995): One of the best serial killer movies ever made. Very smart, well acted and well directed, but very dark. Very, very dark.

53-Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978): The last scene in the film is awesomely creepy.

54-Jeepers Creepers 2 (2003): One of the few instances where a sequel is better than the original (in my opinion).

55-Cabin Fever (2002): A great horror story with one of the toughest monsters ever - disease. Nothing like rotting flesh to get people to grimace.

56-House on Haunted Hill (1959): A creepy atmosphere and great acting can go a long way in making a good scary movie.

57-It (1990): This Stephen King movie did nothing to help the reputation of clowns.

58-Nosferatu (1922): Max Schreck is brilliant as Count Orlok. Vampire fans need to see this one at least once.

59-The Curse of Frankenstein (1957): Dead things are always hard to control, aren't they?

60-The Birds (1963): Whenever I see a bunch of birds lined up on a fence or in a playground, this Alfred Hitchcock classic comes to mind.

Nosferatu (1922) - A Frightening Experience - Watch this in a dark room with your own creepy music.

Good horror movies don't have to have special effects or buckets of blood to be successful. They don't even have to have sound. A silent film that you should watch in the dark.

We are so lucky that this film is available today. It was originally an unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker's novel, with names and details changed. All copies were supposed to be destroyed at the urging of Stoker's widow. A few were hidden away.

Nosferatu (The Ultimate Two-Disc Edition)
Nosferatu (The Ultimate Two-Disc Edition)

The core of the movie is basically the same as the novel. The main differences are that Orlok kills his victims instead of turning them, must sleep by day and is ultimately killed by sunlight.

 
the-wolf-man
the-wolf-man

More Good Scary Movies For Your Viewing Pleasure

The best thing about scary movies? The nightmares they cause.

61-The Thing (1982): One of the great horror movies of its time. It still holds up well because of the isolation. Who wouldn't be a little scared stuck out in a place like that?

62-Carrie (1976): Would this ability cut down on high school bullying nowadays or make it worse?

63-Dead Alive (1992): One of the bloodiest zombie movies you're ever going to see brought to you by the same guy that directed The Lord of the Rings films.

64-The Wolf Man (1941): There really is something about watching old classic black and white horror movies that gives you a sense of satisfaction. Paying homage to the great ones that came before, if you will.

65-The Mist (2007): The best scary movies surprise you, and this one certainly surprised me. I was caught completely off guard by how much I enjoyed it. You will be too.

66-[REC] (2007): The original international version is much better than the American remake.

67-Puppet Master (1989): You're going to fall in love with these killer puppets. This is a one of the best hard to find horror movies that is worth tracking down.

68-Horror of Dracula (1958): Another excellent vampire flick starring Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee - two horror movie icons.

69-Black Christmas (1974): There's not many horror films that take place around the holidays. This is perhaps the best. The DVD would make a great Christmas present.

70-The Changeling (1980): This one is the definition of a good haunted house movie. It will make the hair on you arms stand up from time to time.

71-The Orphanage (2007): Those that don't watch a movie because they have to read subtitles are missing out on some good ones every once in a while.

72-Vampyr (1932): A really good horror movie that takes advantage of light and shadow. Creepy stuff.

73-The Invisible Man (1933): A cautionary tale about what real, unexpected power can do. Another great James Whale film based upon a H.G. Wells book.

74-Repulsion (1965): A Roman Polanski film that lets you in on what happens when madness takes control. Some people just aren't meant to handle solitude.

75-From Dusk Till Dawn (1996): Action horror at its best. Period. Vampires beware.

lemures-ghosts-of-the-dead
lemures-ghosts-of-the-dead

Another Batch Of Must See Horror Movies

The list of the greatest horror movies ever made just keeps on growing, doesn't it?

76-The Golem (1920): One of the best bodyguards you can get.

77-Don't Look Now (1973): Creepy little dead children are so... creepy.

78-Ju-on: The Grudge (2002): Japanese horror movies made a huge splash here in the states with this one. The remake isn't very good compared to the original, even though I hoped it would be.

79-The Devil's Backbone (2001): Before directing Hellboy and Pan's Labyrinth, Guillermo del Toro cut his teeth on this little ghost story. This wasn't his first film, but you can tell he was just getting better and better.

80-In the Mouth of Madness (1994): A horror writer's tales of fiction begin to take shape in a small town. You can guess what happens next.

81-A Tale of Two Sisters (2003): Seeing ghosts after coming home from a mental institution does not help recovery.

82-The Others (2001): The living often believe what they want to believe. Why should the dead behave any differently?

83-Let the Right One In (2008): If you don't mind subtitles that much choose the Swedish original over the remake. It is much more scarier.

84-The Blair Witch Project (1999): The web promotion of this one was just as scary as the film itself. Not everyone liked the POV camera work, though.

85-When A Stranger Calls (1979): Every babysitter's worst nightmare.

86-The Ring (2002): Full of disturbing imagery and impending doom, this film will have you on the edge of your seat all the way through.

87-Creepshow (1982): A wonderful collection of short horror films inspired by the E.C. comics of the 1950s.

88-The Blob (1988): The original made back in 1958 is also decent, but I prefer this one a little bit more. These types of movies just aren't made that much anymore, which make me appreciate them even more.

89-The Beyond (1981): Never build a home over an entrance into Hell. It'll always end badly.

90-Return of the Living Dead (1985): A lot of fun and a lot of gore. A really great horror movie from the 1980s.

The Holiday Season Can Be Very Dark For Some - One of the best slasher movies available.

A good slasher film is a pretty basic recipe. Victims plus maniac plus creative ways of dying equals lots of screams from the audience. Despite this, there are still a lot of mediocre ones that get made. This is not one of those.

Black Christmas (Special Edition)
Black Christmas (Special Edition)

It's pretty cool when you can go see a scary movie during December. They're quite rare and should be taken advantage of as much as possible. Have a merry, I mean a black Christmas. Ho, ho, ho.

 

Run For You'r Life - If You Don't Die Laughing - The first movie where zombies first had a taste for brains.

This film is one of the best zombie movies ever made and is usually found compared with Romero's and Fulci's zombie masterpieces. If you've never seen it, you're in for a treat. Good horror movies like this are a lot of fun to watch. They can be enjoyed again and again.

The Return of the Living Dead
The Return of the Living Dead

I would also recommend parts 2 and 3, as well as More Brains!: A Return To The Living Dead documentary for those wanting a closer look at how this wonderful franchise was made.

 
the-gates-of-hell-vhs-tape
the-gates-of-hell-vhs-tape

Scary Movies To Watch - If You Can

Creepy movies. Spooky movies. Disturbing movies. This list has all those and more.

91-Audition (1999): This one explores obsession in a whole new way. Definitely belongs in the "movies you can only watch once" category.

92-Pet Sematary (1989): The wonderful acting of Fred Gwynne, who plays Jud, makes this movie into one you won't soon forget. By the way, the book is even scarier.

93-Cujo (1983): Have a fear of dogs? It'll be worse after seeing this one.

94-City of the Living Dead (1980): Also known as The Gates of Hell. You can always expect lots of gore from Lucio Fulci horror films, and this one will not let you down in that respect. This one is over the top bloody.

95-The Brood (1979): This one belongs in the "weird movies" category. It just also happens to be terrifying and disturbing, as well. Cronenberg comes through again.

96-Insidious (2010): The worst ghosts are those that follow you no matter where you move to.

97-Dawn of the Dead (2004 Remake): I must say that I was completely surprised by how much I enjoyed this film. I've watched it several times now and it always entertains, but it is not for the faint of heart.

98-The Descent (2005): Just about everybody can relate to being afraid of the dark and tight spaces.

99-Salem's Lot (1979): How amazing is to have a novelist and a young horror fan to fight off the forces of evil. An excellent choice when wanting to watch a vampire flick.

100-Freaks (1932): Despite what some people think, people with deformities are not weak. They are able to exact revenge.

101-Candyman (2002): Don't mistake this one for a children's movie.

Physical Deformities Doesn't Make Anyone Any Less Dangerous - Will anything like this ever be made again?

Films that have been banned are always a joy to watch years later. The thing that upset people was that Tod Browning (director) cast his film using real life freaks. That's right, folks. Virtually no make-up or special effects. One of the most truly unique horror films to ever come out. We may never see one like it again.

Freaks (1932)
Freaks (1932)

The only thing that I think some people will not like about this film is that it only comes in at about 60 minutes long. Of course, if you're thinking of getting this film, you're probably buying it because there is nothing else like it (that I'm aware of).

 

Any thoughts about this list of scary movies that you would like to share with others? - Or maybe a few that you would like to suggest?

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      I enjoyed your list, great info

    • profile image

      Auntie-M LM 5 years ago

      Now THAT's a list of horror movies. Hitchcock was always my favorite. He was just so devious in design. I don't know how angels can bless horror, but I shall.