Are you forever searching for a good horror movie to watch? Not sure where to even begin? Well, worry no longer because this post has been created expressly for you!
Below is a list of the best horror movies that you simply must watch. The films listed below are the best of the best – no filler here – and include a range of iconic pictures and hidden gems.
Films featuring Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers, and Jason Voorhees appear in this post (did you expect anything less?), but they are included amongst many glorious horrors that are standout pieces within the genre. Expect ghosts, ghouls, and guts galore as I present a collection of 150 gruesome delights for your viewing pleasure.
The Exorcist (1973)
First up is arguably one of the most famous and most iconic horror movies of all-time – William Friedkin’s The Exorcist. The movie – based on the novel of the same name by William Peter Blatty – tells the story of a young girl who is possessed by a demon, and includes head-spinning antics, and an infamous scene with a crucifix.
Goodnight Mommy (2014)
Next up is an Austrian horror which follows twin boys who become so convinced their mother has been replaced by an imposter, they set out to uncover the truth – no matter the consequences. But the closer the boys get to unravelling the mystery, the more horrific the situation becomes.
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
Another stone cold classic now and this time from director Tobe Hooper. The title says it all really, but for those who have never watched The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, expect depravity and death as a group of teens run afoul of a cannibal and his backwater family.
Set during the 14th Century civil war, this Japanese horror tells the story of a pair of women who kill soldiers to obtain their belongings. Directed by Kaneto Shindo, Onibaba is big on atmosphere and chills, and is loaded with suspense and creepy imagery.
Filmed during lockdown 2020, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Host is a supernatural found footage movie about a group of friends who summon up a spirit during a video call. Genuinely scary, and very inventive, this movie is a true gem that must not be missed.
There are horror icons and there are horror icons, and Frankenstein is well and truly one of horror’s most recognisable faces, and that is in large part because of director James Whale’s 1931 science-fiction tale about the man-made monster. Based on Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, the movie stars Colin Clive, and Dwight Frye, while Boris Karloff appears in a career-defining role as The Monster.
The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Proof that not all sequels are bad, The Bride of Frankenstein is a follow-up to Frankenstein which is arguably better than the original. James Whale returns to the director’s chair, while Elsa Lanchester steals the screen as Frankenstein’s better half.
In director John Carpenter’s slasher film, Halloween, Jamie Lee Curtis plays the role of a babysitter who finds herself the unwitting obsession of a masked killer. The film introduced the world to the murderous Michael Myers and kick-started a long-running series of sequels and knock-offs that tried, but could never quite top the original.
Based on the novel of the same name by Robert Bloch, Psycho tells the story of a young woman and her unfortunate encounter with a motel owner… and his mother. Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, Psycho is a seminal horror film which continues to entrance audiences with its fantastic performances, expert direction, and THAT shower scene.
In Deadstream, internet personality/streamer Shawn Ruddy attempts to revive his flagging online career by spending a night in a supposed haunted house. But what Shawn initially believes to be a simple way to increase his subscriber count, soon turns into something sinister in this superb horror-comedy.
The Black Phone (2022)
Directed by Scott Derrickson and based on Joe Hill’s short story of the same name, The Black Phone tells the story of a kidnapped boy who discovers he can communicate with the dead via a mysterious telephone. The movie stars Mason Thames and Madeleine McGraw, and features an excellent performance by Ethan Hawke as The Grabber.
In Damien Leone’s grotesque horror Terrifier, an evil clown called Art, embarks on a murder spree. This low-budget film is a cult favourite amongst horror fandom, but with its graphic scenes and brutal kills, it is not for the faint hearted.
In psychological horror movie, Smile, a young therapist find herself haunted by a supernatural presence which she simply can’t avoid. The movie stars Sosie Bacon, Kyle Gallner, Jessie T. Usher, and Kal Penn, and uses the subject of mental health to form the backdrop of this picture.
The Witch (2015)
Robert Eggers directs this folk horror, about a New England family who encounter supernatural forces when they are forced to set up a new home in the woods. Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, and Kate Dickie star in this wickedly atmospheric horror, sure to send a shiver down your spine.
Train to Busan (2016)
In 2016, the well-worn zombie sub-genre got a welcome shot in the arm with Train to Busan – a South Korean horror movie from director Yeon Sang-ho. The movie – which largely takes place on a moving train – focuses on a zombie outbreak and a group of passengers fighting for survival.
Sleepy Hollow (1999)
Tim Burton’s gothic horror fantasy movie, based on the Washington Irving short story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, is a superb, blood-soaked gore fest filled with deliciously dark moments and an all-star cast. If you have not watched Sleepy Hollow in a while, or you have never watched this movie, be sure to check it out soon – it really is a stunning piece of horror cinema.
Satan’s Triangle (1975)
Of all the movies in this list, Satan’s Triangle is arguably one of the least well-known horrors, and this is largely because it is a little remembered television movie from the mid-‘70s. But don’t let its humble origins fool you into thinking this should be forgotten, as Satan’s Triangle is a frighteningly good chiller about a rescue team sent to the Bermuda Triangle to attend a distress call that isn’t what it seems.
An American Werewolf in London (1981)
John Landis directs this ‘80s horror comedy about two friends who are attacked by a werewolf while backpacking through England. The effects, the script, and the tone are all fantastic in this fan-favourite movie with bite.
Two men awake to find themselves locked in a run-down bathroom, chained to either end of the room. Neither knows how they got there, all they know is they must kill one another in order to save their respective families in James Wan’s mind-bending gore-fest, Saw.
Get Out (2017)
Writer/director Jordan Peele explores the subject of deep-seated racism in this horror tale about a young African-American man who meets his girlfriend’s parents for the first time. Daniel Kaluuya and Allison Williams take the leads in what is a thrilling, well-crafted, and topical movie.
Jordan Peele returns to the horror genre for another frighteningly good movie, this time about a group of doppelgängers who menace a seemingly ordinary American family. Filled with social and political commentary, Us is a tense and terrifying picture, with a stand-out performance from lead actor, Lupita Nyong’o.
Cub (aka Welp) is a Belgian horror movie about a young cub scout who crosses paths with a brutal poacher. Filled with grisly moments, Cub is a simple, yet surprisingly effective tale from first-time director, Jonas Govaerts.
The Omen (1976)
Richard Donner directs Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, and David Warner in this supernatural chiller about a young boy believed to be the Antichrist. The Omen is filled with stunning set-pieces and some truly frightening scenes.
Village of the Damned (1960)
Based on the novel The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham, Village of the Damned is a first-class horror movie from director Wolf Rilla. The film tells the story of a British village, whose inhabitants suddenly, and inexplicably falls unconscious, only to be revived hours later, seemingly unaffected. However, two months on, all of the women in the village find themselves pregnant, leading to the birth of a rather odd collection of children.
When a Stranger Calls (1979)
The urban legend of ‘the babysitter and the mysterious caller’ is explored in When a Stranger Calls – a psychological thriller from director Fred Walton. The movie stars Carol Kane and Charles Durning and boasts one of the most nail-biting opening sequences in any movie.
The Babadook (2014)
Depression and post-traumatic stress disorder are explored with great effect in this creepy psychological horror about a young woman and her son who are stalked by a character in a story book. Written and directed by Jennifer Kent, The Babadook is a spooky story which takes influence from Georges Méliès and German expressionism.
Fatal Attraction (1987)
In Fatal Attraction, Michael Douglas plays the role of a married lawyer who engages in a one-night stand with a publishing editor, played by Glenn Close. Although the lawyer wants to put the affair behind him very quickly, he soon realises that is not going to happen and his actions have dire consequences in this horror-thriller.
Let the Right One In (2008)
Let the Right One In (aka Låt den rätte komma in) is a Swedish horror from director Tomas Alfredson. The film tells the story of a young boy and his friendship with a vampire girl, in a story which explores the dark side of life.
Written and directed by Ari Aster, Hereditary is a disturbing story about a family who are coming to terms with tragedy while being haunted by a supernatural force. The film includes one of the most shocking and unexpected scenes in horror, as well as knock-out performances from Toni Collette and Alex Wolff.
Set around the holiday season, Krampus is a Christmas horror which is steeped in black comedy. The movie focuses on a family gathering for the festive season, which takes a turn for the worst when a demonic creature from European folklore drops by for a visit.
Although it has been adapted countless times, most people forget that Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is a ghost story, and therefore the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge lends itself to the horror genre very well. So, what better way to include it on this list, than via the dark fantasy movie, Scrooged – a story about four frightening apparitions and a self-centred man who needs to change his ill-gotten ways.
The Thing (1982)
Starring Kurt Russell and Keith David, The Thing is a paranoia-inducing horror movie from director John Carpenter. The film follows a research team who encounter a mysterious and deadly parasitic lifeform, while cut off from the outside world at a base in Antarctica.
Peter Jackson’s Braindead (aka Dead Alive) is a ballsy and brilliant zombie comedy filled to the brim with lashings of gore. The film features a jaw-dropping final act, which has to be seen to be believed, and is easily one of the best horror movies of the 1990s.
Don’t Breathe (2016)
In Don’t Breathe, three friends break into the house of a blind man, in the hope of scoring some quick cash. However, the trio discover more than they bargained for in this tense thriller from director Fede Álvarez.
American Psycho (2000)
Christian Bale gives an outstanding performance in Mary Harron’s delicious 1980s-set slasher about a New York investment banker with a penchant for murder. Based on the book of the same name by Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho is a tour de force of splatter and ‘80s iconography.
The Wicker Man (1973)
A British police sergeant travels to a remote island in search of a missing girl, in Robin Hardy’s cult classic, The Wicker Man. The film details his investigation, his encounter with the island’s inhabitants, and the shocking secret at the heart of her disappearance.
The Strangers (2008)
In The Strangers, three masked criminals force their way into the home of a young couple in order to terrorise them. Why? Because they can. Bryan Bertino directs this disturbing home invasion thriller which stars Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman.
The House of the Devil (2009)
Filmed to look and feel very much like a horror movie from the late ‘70s/early ‘80s, The House of the Devil is a slow burning film about a young girl who crosses paths with Satanists. Written and directed by Ti West, the movie is a glorious throwback to the past, with some unsettling moments.
In 1996, horror maestro Wes Craven served up the what is undoubtably the quintessential horror film of the ‘90s – Scream, a slasher movie about a hooded killer stalking teenagers. Filled with various nods to horror lore and plenty of self-referential humour, Scream was and still is a superb horror film which shaped the genre for many years.
Scream 2 (1997)
With Scream being such a huge critical and commercial success, the movie was quickly followed by a sequel in the shape of Scream 2, and do you know what? It’s a ruddy good sequel!
The film is jam-packed full of self-referential humour, lots of blood and gore, and a compelling central mystery. Scream 2 is a fantastic horror sequel and a must-see movie.
In Sinister, a crime writer discovers a collection of snuff movies hidden in the attic of his new home, which lead towards a supernatural mystery filled with jump scares. Ethan Hawke, Juliet Rylance, Nick King, and Vincent D’Onofrio are amongst the cast in this frightening picture from director Scott Derrickson.
Cabin Fever (2002)
During a vacation at a cabin in the woods, a group of college students become infected by a flesh-eating virus in Eli Roth’s stomach-churning horror, Cabin Fever. The movie is a gross-out picture, filled with lashings of black comedy, and bucket loads of gore.
The Fly (1986)
In David Cronenberg’s The Fly, an eccentric scientist invents a way to transport himself between two distances, via his newly created ‘telepods’. All seems to be going well until a fly enters one of the telepods and the scientist finds his DNA spliced with that of the insect, in this ghoulish body horror starring Jeff Goldblum.
Bird Box (2018)
Set in a post-apocalyptic world, Bird Box is a surprisingly creepy movie about a woman and two children trying to find sanctuary in a world overrun by supernatural forces. Atmospheric and very effective in its story-telling, Sandra Bullock stars in this thriller from director Susanne Bier.
Directed by Tod Browning, Freaks tells the story of a group of sideshow performers, an unscrupulous trapeze artist, and a desire for revenge. Although there are no major scares in here, Freaks is filled with macabre imagery, and a shock ending designed to unnerve its audience.
The Orphanage (2007)
J. A. Bayona’s chilling Spanish horror, The Orphanage (aka El orfanato) is a beautifully crafted picture filled with haunting imagery. The film – about a woman and a seemingly spook-tastic orphanage – presents an atmospheric and poignant tale which favours storytelling over quick scares.
Dark, disturbing, and crammed with shocks, Insidious is a superb supernatural story about a boy who becomes a vessel for paranormal entities. James Wan directs, while the cast includes Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Barbara Hershey, and Lin Shaye.
Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986)
With so many Friday the 13th movies in existence the iconic horror series had to feature in this list somewhere, it was just a case of deciding which movie. Not that it was a tough decision, it simply had to be Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives – a ‘Friday’ movie which manages to perfectly balance horror with humour, in what is arguably the best entry in the long-running franchise.
Thomas Harris’ psychological novel, Red Dragon gets the big screen treatment via Manhunter – a story about an FBI profiler and his attempt to catch a serial killer. Michael Mann directs, while the cast includes William Petersen, Tom Noonan, and Brian Cox as the cannibalistic (and oddly spelt) Hannibal Lecktor.
Paranormal Activity (2007)
Things go bump in the night (and then some) in this pulse-pounding found footage movie about a haunted house. Produced on a low budget, Paranormal Activity was a hit with audiences upon release, led to a string of sequels, and remains a very effective feature film filled with frights.
Don’t Look Now (1973)
Following the tragic death of their daughter, a couple travel to Venice in part to help distance themselves from the situation. But shortly after they arrive, the husband begins to see images of his lost child wandering around the city, in this chiller from director Nicolas Roeg.
The Conjuring 2 (2016)
In The Conjuring 2, paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren head to the UK to uncover the truth behind a suspected haunting which is taking place in a run-of-the-mill council house. Taking inspiration from the infamous Enfield haunting, James Wan directs this spook-filled sequel which is not only great, it is also much better than its predecessor (which is why The Conjuring is not on this list).
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
A group of teenagers find their dreams have become invaded by a mysterious and gruesome man in Wes Craven’s legendary A Nightmare on Elm Street. The movie contains many iconic moments (far too many to mention), as well as a scene-stealing turn from Robert Englund as the monstrous Freddy Krueger.
Clive Baker brings his horror novella, The Hellbound Heart to the big screen in Hellraiser – a grisly story about a mysterious puzzle box and a reanimated corpse. Andrew Robinson, Clare Higgins, and Ashley Laurence star, with Doug Bradley taking on the role of ‘Lead Cenobite’, a character who would later become dubbed ‘Pinhead’ for the sequels.
Child’s Play (1988)
When a notorious serial killer is shot and killed in a toy shop, his soul is transferred into a nearby doll which gives him a second chance at life, albeit as a child’s toy. From here, the doll known as Chucky terrorises a young boy as he attempts to transfer his soul once again, this time into his new playmate.
Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Based on the book of the same name by Ira Levin, Rosemary’s Baby follows the story of a young pregnant woman who begins to suspect that her neighbours are not quite who they claim to be. Mia Farrow plays the role of Rosemary, while the cast includes John Cassavetes, Sidney Blackmer, and a knockout performance from Ruth Gordon as busy-body neighbour, Minnie Castevet.
Three college students go backpacking across Europe, only to find themselves in a deadly situation involving a mysterious organisation. Eli Roth directs this gut-wrenching horror which is big on blood and gore.
The Cabin in the Woods (2011)
In this satire of the horror genre, a group of college students tackle various horror clichés head-on as they try to survive a weekend away in a remote cabin. Drew Goddard directs, while Chris Hemsworth is amongst the cast of this surprisingly imaginative film.
The ‘Burbs (1989)
Tom Hanks, Carrie Fisher, Corey Feldman, and Henry Gibson star in this marvellous black comedy from director Joe Dante. The film centres around a group of suburbanites who suspect their new neighbours are murderers.
Steven Spielberg’s horror-thriller about a great white shark terrorising a small coastal town is one of the most suspenseful movies of all time. Based on the book of the same name by Peter Benchley, Jaws stars Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Lorraine Gary, and Richard Dreyfuss, and is simply superb.
Deep Blue Sea (1999)
Deep Blue Sea is another shark-infested horror, this time about a collection of genetically engineered sharks who systematically attack an underwater research facility. Renny Harlin directs, while Saffron Burrows, Thomas Jane, Samuel L. Jackson, and LL Cool J star.
There are few people on this planet who don’t know what Ghostbusters is, and even fewer who have never seen it, but for the handful out there shaking their heads Ghostbusters is a supernatural comedy about a team of spook-catchers. Directed by Ivan Reitman, and starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, and Ernie Hudson, the film is one of the best-loved comedy horrors of all-time and spawned an entire franchise.
Directed by Hideo Nakata, Ring (aka Ringu) is a Japanese horror based on a novel by Kôji Suzuki. The movie revolves around a cursed videotape which results in the death of those who watch it.
The Others (2001)
Nicole Kidman leads this gothic horror about a woman who is convinced there are strange, uninvited people in her house. As the story progresses, it appears that not everything is as it seems in this suspenseful picture from Alejandro Amenábar.
The Blob (1988)
In this remake of the 1958 monster movie of the same name, Chuck Russell throws gore at the screen (and then some) in a sci-fi horror about an extra-terrestrial organism which dissolves everything it touches. Remakes can be a bit hit and miss, but this is a remake which really devours its predecessor.
Brian De Palma’s Carrie focuses on a shy teenager who possesses telekinetic abilities. The movie features one of the most infamous scenes in horror and counts Sissy Spacek, John Travolta, and Piper Laurie amongst its cast.
The Babysitter (2017)
Directed by McG, The Babysitter is an over-the-top comedy horror, about a young boy, his babysitter, and a horrifying night he will never forget. The movie is soaked in blood, filled with laughs, and topped off with action.
Based on the novel The Forbidden by Clive Barker, Candyman is supernatural horror about an urban legend who can be summoned by repeating his name five times in a mirror. Virginia Madsen and Xander Berkeley star, while Tony Todd plays the eponymous Candyman.
Kathy Bates and James Caan play the lead roles in director Rob Reiner’s Misery – a big screen adaptation of Stephen King’s book of the same name. The story concentrates on an author and an obsessive fan, and is one of the strongest King adaptations committed to screen.
Army of the Dead (2021)
Zack Snyder directs this horror heist movie, about a team of mercenaries on a mission to steal a large sum of money from a zombie-infested casino in Las Vegas. Daft, fun, and very explosive, Army of the Dead is over the top and incredibly stylish.
Wrong Turn (2021)
In this reboot of the Wrong Turn horror franchise, a group of friends stumble across a hidden society in the wilderness. The encounter ends in tragedy and terror, in an interesting reworking of the Wrong Turn series.
A small-town police officer transforms into a werewolf in the appropriately titled horror romp, WolfCop! The movie – from director Lowell Dean – combines horror and humour, never takes itself too seriously, and offers 80 minutes of pure entertainment, low-rent style!
The Frighteners (1996)
In The Frighteners, Michael J. Fox plays a psychic and faux-exorcist who pretends to exorcise spirits as part of a money making scam. But he soon finds himself caught up in an investigation into a series of murders in this dazzling comedy horror from director Peter Jackson.
The Summer of 84 (2018)
When a worrying number of teenage boys go missing from a small town in Oregon, a group of four friends decide to investigate, leading to a tense horror. Set in 1984, Summer of 84 recreates the ‘80s through music, costumes, and pop culture references in film that is part Stranger Things, part The ‘Burbs.
Fright Night (1985)
In Fright Night, a teenager who suspects his neighbour is a vampire, enlists the aid of an actor (who played a vampire hunter in movies) to help him vanquish the supernatural creature. Tom Holland directs, while Chris Sarandon, William Ragsdale, and Roddy McDowall star.
Dog Soldiers (2002)
Neil Marshall’s action horror movie follows a squadron of British soldiers who encounter werewolves in the Scottish Highlands. Humorous and horrific, Dog Soldiers is a brilliant movie where a tongue is planted firmly in cheek, and a gun is locked and loaded.
The Evil Dead (1981)
Bruce Campbell stars in this quirky supernatural horror from writer/director Sam Raimi. The Evil Dead concentrates on a group of college students who unleash demons while staying at a remote cabin and introduced the world to the enduring horror icon, Ash Williams.
I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)
A year after they cover up a car accident which resulted in the death of an unnamed man, a group of teenagers are stalked by a hook-wielding killer in the teen horror I Know What You Did Last Summer. Jim Gillespie directs, while Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe, and Freddie Prinze Jr. star.
Trick ‘r Treat (2009)
Written and directed by Michael Dougherty, Trick ‘r Treat is a devilishly good anthology movie which tells four interconnected tales, all set around Halloween. Dylan Baker, Anna Paquin, and Brian Cox appear within the stories, but the star of the movie is Sam – a strange child-like figure who wears a burlap sack over his head.
Little Shop of Horrors (1986)
Horror and toe tappin’ tunes combine in this fabulous musical about a carnivorous plant. Frank Oz directs, while the cast includes Rick Moranis, Ellen Greene, Steve Martin, and John Candy, while Levi Stubbs provides the voice of the human-munching plant, Audrey II.
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
This multi-award-winning movie, adapted from a Thomas Harris novel, has continued to intrigue and enthral audiences long after its release. Why? Because The Silence of the Lambs is a superb horror-thriller which not only features a brilliant performance from Sir Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal ‘the cannibal’ Lecter, as well as a killer turn from Jodie Foster as FBI agent Clarice Starling, but is also so bloody good!
Gruesome creatures take over a small town in this hilarious black comedy from director Joe Dante. Set at Christmas, the movie offers monster mayhem, a healthy dollop of laughs, and an important set of rules which must be obeyed.
A group of friends travel to Sweden to take part in some Midsommar festivities; however, they are unaware of what they are letting themselves in for in Ari Aster’s perplexing folk horror. Midsommar is a slow burning story which places its emphasis on psychological horror rather than quick shocks, but contains some very unexpected and very uncomfortable scenes.
The Monster Squad (1987)
All of the iconic Universal Monsters (Dracula, Frankenstein, the Wolf Man etc) share the screen in this comedy horror about a group of kids who work together to stop monsters from taking over the world. Fred Dekker directs.
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
The inspiration behind countless zombie movies, Night of the Living Dead is a true icon of the genre, and a masterpiece in filmmaking. The movie – directed by George A. Romero – explores the immediate impact of a zombie outbreak, while serving up plenty of social commentary and scares.
Dawn of the Dead (1978)
The sequel to George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead further explores the impact of the zombie apocalypse, through the eyes of a small band of survivors who lock themselves inside a shopping mall. Filmed on a small budget, the movie features impressive special effects, and is loaded with social commentary.
Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Inspired by Romero’s zombie movies, Shaun of the Dead is a hilarious British horror comedy from director Edgar Wright. The movie follows the story of a retail worker who finds himself in the middle of a zombie apocalypse, when all he really wants to do is get back with his girlfriend and go for a pint in his local pub.
Based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, It is a creepy film about seven children who become terrorised by a supernatural being. Andy Muschietti directs, while the cast includes Sophia Lillis, and Finn Wolfhard, while Bill Skarsgård plays the evil entity better known to you and I as Pennywise the clown.
The Shining (1980)
Another movie based on a Stephen King novel, this time via the lens of Stanley Kubrick. Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, and Danny Lloyd star in a movie about a young family who become isolated in a hotel with a terrible past.
In this disturbing, and incredibly unnerving Japanese horror movie from Takashi Mike, a widower holds an ‘audition’ to find a new partner, but soon discovers more than he bargained for. The movie is not for the squeamish, but is one of the great Japanese horrors.
What begins as a routine mission in space, turns into a living nightmare when the crew of the Nostromo encounter a deadly alien life form in this slow burning sci-fi horror from Ridley Scott. Sigourney Weaver, Ian Holm, Veronica Cartwright, and Yaphet Kotto are amongst the cast in what has become one of the best loved movies of the 1970s.
Sigourney Weaver returns for yet another sci-fi horror showdown, only this time she is up against multiple aliens. James Cameron adds a dose of action to proceedings in a horrifying movie which is as good as, if not better than, the original.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)
Francis Ford Coppola brings the most famous vampire to the big screen in Bram Stoker’s Dracula – a lavish, gothic horror starring Sir Anthony Hopkins, Keanu Reeves, and Gary Oldman. The movie is visually striking, and features a magnificent performance from Oldman – just don’t mention Keanu Reeves’ dodgy English accent.
The Devil’s Rejects (2005)
Rob Zombie presents a brutal, depraved horror about three psychopaths on the run from the law. The movie – a sequel to House of 1000 Corpses – is extremely graphic, and includes Bill Moseley, Sid Haig, and Sheri Moon Zombie amongst its cast.
The Descent (2005)
In this British horror from writer/director Neil Marshall, a group of women embark on a spelunking adventure which turns into a nightmare. The movie is tense, very creepy, incredibly claustrophobic, and features top performances from the cast, who spend the majority of the movie in the dark escaping something truly terrifying.
Happy Death Day (2017)
Scream meets Groundhog Day in this time-loop horror about a girl who is bumped off by a masked killer, only to find herself reliving the event over and over again. Quirky, comical, and downright fun, Happy Death Day is a surprising horror comedy from director Christopher Landon.
A group of medical students take part in a series of near-death experiments to see what the afterlife is like in this ‘90s horror from Joel Schumacher. Kiefer Sutherland, Julia Roberts, and Kevin Bacon star.
A Quiet Place (2018)
Silence is golden in this largely wordless movie about a family trying to survive in a world overrun by ferocious creatures with excellent hearing. John Krasinski stars and directs, while Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, and Noah Jupe are amongst the cast.
Arnold Schwarzenegger goes head-to-head with a bloodthirsty alien in Predator – an action-packed sci-fi movie from director John McTiernan. Featuring a gruesome monster and plenty of blood and guts, Predator is a sci-fi action flick with plenty of horror tropes.
Ghostwatch is a British television film/mockumentary, about a BBC camera crew who investigate a supposed haunted house. Presented as a live TV special, the movie aired on Halloween night in 1992 and was never re-broadcast by the BBC, due to the huge amount of controversy that surrounded it. Why so controversial? Because millions of people who tuned in to view Ghostwatch were under the impression it was real.
Written and directed by James Gunn, Slither is a comedy horror about an extra-terrestrial lifeform that lands in a small US town and begins to take over the population. Nathan Fillion, Elizabeth Banks, and Michael Rooker are amongst the cast in this grotesque, but great monster movie.
Vince Vaughn and Kathryn Newton switch roles, in this hilarious and inventive slasher movie about a middle-aged male serial killer who trades bodies with a high school girl. Freaky is Friday the 13th meets Freaky Friday, and provides plenty of call-backs to some of the best slasher flicks of the past.
Dark Night of the Scarecrow (1981)
In this made for television movie, from J. D. Feigelson, a sinister scarecrow terrorises a small town. Very dark, very effective, and surprisingly good – you are urged to check out this oft-overlooked gem.
Antebellum is a mind-boggling, twisty-turny horror thriller, from writers/directors Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz. The movie follows the story of a young African-American woman, enslaved on a Southern plantation, trying to escape her situation while making sense of her surroundings.
In Caveat, a man is employed to keep watch of a young girl who lives in a rundown house on a remote island. His services are only required for a few days, and he will be paid rather well, but while he is in the house he must agree to be chained up.
Caveat is a claustrophobic, imaginative, and creepy little horror. It is low-budget stuff, but a horror movie guaranteed to send a shiver down the spine.
Final Destination (2000)
After surviving a terrible aircraft disaster, a group of high school students come to realise they have cheated death once, but they won’t cheat death for long. What follows is a series of elaborate scenes as each survivor is picked off one by one in increasingly imaginative ways.
The Hitcher (1986)
While travelling through the West Texas desert, a young driver makes a huge mistake – he picks up a mysterious and unhinged hitchhiker. C. Thomas Howell and Rutger Hauer play the lead roles, while Robert Harmon directs this chilling horror/thriller from the 1980s.
The Invisible Man (2020)
Elisabeth Moss leads the way in this superb thriller about domestic abuse. The film is a clever reworking of The Invisible Man story by H. G. Wells, and features some frightening moments as well as a stand-out performance from Moss.
Drag Me To Hell (2009)
Directed by Sam Raimi, Drag Me to Hell is a gruesome and glorious horror about loan officer caught up in a supernatural curse. The film is packed with gore and slapstick humour, and puts lead actress Alison Lohman through the wringer and back again many, many times.
Marvel Comics dips its toe into the horror genre in Blade – an action-packed horror movie about a vampire hunter. Wesley Snipes takes on the title role, while the supporting cast includes Stephen Dorff, N’Bushe Wright, and Kris Kristofferson.
The Woman in Black (2012)
Based on the novel of the same name by Susan Hill, The Woman in Black is a gothic, atmospheric supernatural horror movie, starring Daniel Radcliffe. The British horror film follows a widowed solicitor, named Arthur Kipps, and details his encounter with a vengeful spirit.
In black-comedy horror, Fresh, a young woman is playing the dating game and finding that every man she meets is a complete jerk. That is until she has a chance encounter with a seemingly charming man who she bumps into in the supermarket.
But is this man a refreshing change from all the others or is he worse than all the rest? It won’t be too long before she finds out.
Bodies Bodies Bodies (2022)
In Bodies Bodies Bodies, a group of friends gather together at a mansion while a storm rages outside. But as they soon discover in this horror ‘whodunnit?’, there are worse things going on inside the house, when they find themselves being picked off one-by-one.
Urban Legend (1998)
In ‘90s slasher movie, Urban Legend, a serial killer murders a collection of college students, using the subject of urban legends as his modus operandi. Alicia Witt, Joshua Jackson, Jared Leto, Rebecca Gayheart, and Michael Rosenbaum star.
In Dario Argento’s Suspiria, US student Suzy Bannion, travels to Freiburg, Germany to attend a prestigious ballet school. But when she arrives, Suzy discovers all is not what it should be, and something sinister and supernatural lurks in the shadows.
Imaginative special effects, strong storytelling, and some incredibly creepy moments come together for this ‘80s classic about a family who are terrorised by dark spirits. Based on a story by Steven Spielberg, Tobe Hooper directs one of the most iconic ghost stories of all time.
The Changeling (1980)
And speaking of ‘80s ghost stories, The Changeling is wonderfully atmospheric picture about a recently bereaved composer who moves into a mansion, only to discover it is haunted. George C. Scott takes the lead role in Peter Medak’s spine-tingling movie about loss and the afterlife.
Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)
Largely discarded upon release, but reappraised in recent years, Halloween III: Season of the Witch is the third entry in the Halloween movie series, and the only one not to include Michael Myers as the antagonist. Instead, Season of the Witch focuses on a novelty mask maker and his nefarious plans to cause mayhem at Halloween, and is suitably creepy when viewed as a stand-alone tale.
The Blair Witch Project (1999)
One of the most talked about horror movies of the 1990s, and certainly one of the most profitable, is The Blair Witch Project – a found footage film about three student filmmakers who embark on an expedition into the woods. The movie – directed by Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez – is a masterclass in producing scares out of thin air, is genuinely unnerving, and created a milestone moment for the genre.
The Sixth Sense (1999)
Bruce Willis and Haley Joel Osment take the lead in this supernatural thriller from writer/director M. Night Shyamalan. The Sixth Sense follows the story of a young boy who claims he can see ghosts, as well as the child psychologist assigned to help him.
The Visit (2015)
Writer/director M. Night Shyamalan delivers an unnerving, and sometimes comical horror movie about two children who spend a week with their grandparents. All seems fine at first, that is until ‘Nana’ and ‘Pop Pop’ start exhibiting bizarre behaviour in this creepy found footage film.
The Lost Boys (1987)
Joel Schumacher’s teen horror movie The Lost Boys, about a family who move to a small US beach town infiltrated by vampires, is a sublime picture and one of the best vampire films of the 1980s. Kiefer Sutherland, Jami Gertz, Jason Patric, Dianne Wiest, Corey Haim, and Corey Feldman round out the cast, in a stylish movie guaranteed to entertain.
Near Dark (1987)
Released the same year as The Lost Boys, yet often overlooked, is director Kathryn Bigelow’s Near Dark – a gritty neo-Western about a family of nomadic vampires. Starring Adrian Pasdar, Bill Paxton, Lance Henriksen and Jenette Goldstein, Near Dark is a stunning movie and another fine example of ‘80s horror.
The Exorcist III (1990)
Set 15 years after the events of The Exorcist (and wisely ignoring the woeful The Exorcist II) The Exorcist III is psychological horror about a series of demonic murders. Written and directed by William Peter Blatty, and based on his novel Legion, the movie stars George C. Scott and Ed Flanders, and features a scene-stealing performance from Brad Dourif.
A Classic Horror Story (2021)
A Classic Horror Story tells the tale of a group of strangers who find themselves caught up in a sinister situation in a forest. This Italian film includes plenty of blood and gore, is not suited for the squeamish, but is most certainly suitable for long-time horror fans.
The Night House (2020)
In David Bruckner’s psychological horror, The Night House, a recently widowed teacher begins to notice strange phenomena in her house. Has her husband returned from beyond the grave to make contact with her, or is something else going on?
10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)
After becoming involved in a car accident, a young woman awakes to find herself in an underground bunker with two strangers. The men inform her the world is no long inhabitable, and that she must remain with them if she wishes to survive, in this brilliant and claustrophobic story starring John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and John Gallagher Jr.
28 Days Later (2002)
When a contagious virus infects the population of the planet, four survivors struggle to find their place in the world in this suspenseful post-apocalyptic drama from Danny Boyle. The movie is filled with fantastic moments, including an incredible shot of completely deserted London.
Young Frankenstein (1974)
Gene Wilder, Marty Feldman, and Peter Boyle lead the way in this hilarious spoof of the Frankenstein stories. Mel Brooks directs, gags come thick and fast, and the running time simply isn’t long enough.
Loosely based on a story by H. P. Lovecraft, Re-Animator tells the story of medical student who has discovered a way to re-animate the deceased in this crazy, yet brilliant horror classic. Stuart Gordon directs, Jeffrey Combs stars, and the audience is sent into a cringe-inducing frenzy.
The Haunting (1963)
Based on the novel, The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, The Haunting is a hair-raising horror guaranteed to give you goosebumps. The movie – directed by Robert Wise – follows a group of people who are invited to stay in a haunted house, and is incredibly claustrophobic.
The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)
Father and son coroners, played by Brian Cox and Emile Hirsch, begin to experience bizarre occurrences while examining the body of an unnamed woman, in this eerie horror from André Øvredal. The Autopsy of Jane Doe is one of those movies which really gets under your skin and becomes instantly unforgettable.
Last Night in Soho (2021)
Director Edgar Wright mashes together a modern day aesthetic, with music and imagery from the swinging ‘60s in this fantastic psychological thriller, about a young girl who gets caught up in a troublesome murder mystery. Last Night in Soho stars Thomasin McKenzie, alongside Anya Taylor-Joy, Matt Smith, and Diana Rigg.
An assassin with the ability to possess different bodies, finds herself in a fight for control of her current host in this mind-bending body horror from writer/director Brandon Cronenberg. Tuppence Middleton, Sean Bean, and Jennifer Jason Leigh star in Possessor.
Witchfinder General (1968)
Vincent Price steals the show in this historical horror movie about a murderous witch hunter, who believes himself to be judge, jury, and executioner. Ian Ogilvy and Wilfrid Brambell provide support, while Michael Reeves directs.
Cape Fear (1991)
A convicted rapist seeks revenge against a public defender in this tense and brutal psychological thriller from director Martin Scorsese. Robert De Niro takes on the role of the vengeful rapist, while Nick Nolte finds himself in the firing line.
Bill Pixton directs and stars in this superb psychological horror, about two young boys and their deeply religious father. The movie details the relationship between the three characters, and the terrible and murderous path they take.
Chopping Mall (1986)
In Chopping Mall, three security robots turn deadly after they short circuit in a shopping mall, in this rip-roaring sci-fi horror comedy. Jim Wynorski directs.
Set in the near future, Life follows the crew of the International Space Station, as they come into contact with an extra-terrestrial lifeform. The organism – dubbed ‘Calvin’ – seems quite friendly at first, but soon turns hostile, putting the lives of the crew in grave danger.
The Wasteland (2021)
Spanish horror movie, The Wasteland (aka El Páramo), follows the story of a young family, living a meagre existence in a sprawling wasteland. They keep themselves to themselves, but something dark and sinister appears to be lurking in the shadows.
Lake Placid (1999)
In this daft, but really fun monster movie, a giant saltwater crocodile terrorises the community of a small town. Bill Pullman, Bridget Fonda, and Betty White star.
Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994)
Released a few years after the original Nightmare on Elm Street film series had come to an end with the death of Freddy Krueger, Wes Craven’s New Nightmare is a slasher flick, which manages to resurrect Freddy in a meaningful way. The key to this film is its very clever premise, which seemingly brings the fearsome Freddy into the real world through some post-modern storytelling.
They Live (1988)
John Carpenter presents a movie about a drifter who uncovers a worrying plot in which aliens have infiltrated the planet. The aliens use subliminal messages, hidden within the media, to achieve their goals in a politically loaded film starring Roddy Piper, Keith David, and Meg Foster.
Godzilla vs. Kong (2021)
Two titans of cinema, King Kong and Godzilla, clash in this big budget monster movie. Not a creepy horror, and not scary in the slightest, but a fun monster flick nonetheless, designed to be enjoyed with plenty of popcorn.
No list of ‘must watch’ horror movies would be worth anything if it didn’t include Dracula – Tod Browning and Karl Freund’s black-and-white classic. With this one, Bela Lugosi took on the title role and became an instant horror icon in the process.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
In this well-worn story, a health inspector uncovers a plot to replace humans with emotionless alien duplicates. The result is a tense, paranoid horror-thriller starring Donald Sutherland, Veronica Cartwright, Jeff Goldblum, and Leonard Nimoy.
Little Joe (2019)
Sharing thematic similarities with Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Little Joe tells the story of a mysterious plant which appears to influence all around it. Beautifully shot and very compelling, Little Joe is a small-scale horror featuring Emily Beecham, Kerry Fox, and Ben Whishaw.
The Belko Experiment (2016)
Directed by Greg McLean and written by James Gunn, The Belko Experiment focuses on a group of office workers who are locked inside their building and are instructed to kill each other. Across the movie’s 89-minute running time, the former colleagues go head-to-head as they fight for survival.
The Birds (1963)
Loosely based on Daphne du Maurier’s story of the same name, The Birds is a horror-thriller about a small coastal town which one day, for no reason whatsoever, becomes the focus of a terrifying mass assault… from birds. Tippi Hedren and Rod Taylor star, while Alfred Hitchcock calls the shots.
And finally, Kevin Bacon, Fred Ward and Michael Gross tackle flesh-eating worms in Tremors – a hilarious horror romp from director Ron Underwood. Utilising a simple premise and boosted by great practical effects, Tremors is the gift that keeps on giving and is always ripe for revisiting.
List of the best horror movies to watch
Thank you for taking the time to read this post about the best horror movies, which was published on It’s A Stampede!. I hope this list provides you with plenty of great horror stories to sink your teeth into… and maybe gives you one or two sleepless nights.
If you’re now more than ready to dive into a horror-fest, to save you having to scroll back through the post, here is the list of best horror movies in full:
- The Exorcist (1973)
- Goodnight Mommy (2014)
- The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
- Onibaba (1964)
- Host (2020)
- Frankenstein (1931)
- The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
- Halloween (1978)
- Psycho (1960)
- Deadstream (2022)
- The Black Phone (2022)
- Terrifier (2016)
- Smile (2022)
- The Witch (2015)
- Train to Busan (2016)
- Sleepy Hollow (1999)
- Satan’s Triangle (1975)
- An American Werewolf in London (1981)
- Saw (2004)
- Get Out (2017)
- Us (2019)
- Cub (2014)
- The Omen (1976)
- Village of the Damned (1960)
- When a Stranger Calls (1979)
- The Babadook (2014)
- Fatal Attraction (1987)
- Let the Right One In (2008)
- Hereditary (2018)
- Krampus (2015)
- Scrooged (1988)
- The Thing (1982)
- Braindead (1992)
- Don’t Breathe (2016)
- American Psycho (2000)
- The Wicker Man (1973)
- The Strangers (2008)
- The House of the Devil (2009)
- Scream (1996)
- Scream 2 (1997)
- Sinister (2012)
- Cabin Fever (2002)
- The Fly (1986)
- Bird Box (2018)
- Freaks (1932)
- The Orphanage (2007)
- Insidious (2010)
- Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986)
- Manhunter (1986)
- Paranormal Activity (2007)
- Don’t Look Now (1973)
- The Conjuring 2 (2016)
- A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
- Hellraiser (1987)
- Child’s Play (1988)
- Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
- Hostel (2005)
- The Cabin in the Woods (2011)
- The ‘Burbs (1989)
- Jaws (1975)
- Deep Blue Sea (1999)
- Ghostbusters (1984)
- Ring (1998)
- The Others (2001)
- The Blob (1988)
- Carrie (1976)
- The Babysitter (2017)
- Candyman (1992)
- Misery (1990)
- Army of the Dead (2021)
- Wrong Turn (2021)
- WolfCop (2014)
- The Frighteners (1996)
- The Summer of 84 (2018)
- Fright Night (1985)
- Dog Soldiers (2002)
- The Evil Dead (1981)
- I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)
- Trick ‘r Treat (2009)
- Little Shop of Horrors (1986)
- The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
- Gremlins (1984)
- Midsommar (2019)
- The Monster Squad (1987)
- Night of the Living Dead (1968)
- Dawn of the Dead (1978)
- Shaun of the Dead (2004)
- It (2017)
- The Shining (1980)
- Audition (1999)
- Alien (1979)
- Aliens (1986)
- Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)
- The Devil’s Rejects (2005)
- The Descent (2005)
- Happy Death Day (2017)
- Flatliners (1990)
- A Quiet Place (2018)
- Predator (1987)
- Ghostwatch (1992)
- Slither (2006)
- Freaky (2020)
- Dark Night of the Scarecrow (1981)
- Antebellum (2020)
- Caveat (2021)
- Final Destination (2000)
- The Hitcher (1986)
- The Invisible Man (2020)
- Drag Me To Hell (2009)
- Blade (1988)
- The Woman in Black (2012)
- Fresh (2022)
- Bodies Bodies Bodies (2022)
- Urban Legend (1998)
- Suspiria (1977)
- Poltergeist (1982)
- The Changeling (1980)
- Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)
- The Blair Witch Project (1999)
- The Sixth Sense (1999)
- The Visit (2015)
- The Lost Boys (1987)
- Near Dark (1987)
- The Exorcist III (1990)
- A Classic Horror Story (2021)
- The Night House (2020)
- 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)
- 28 Days Later (2002)
- Young Frankenstein (1974)
- Re-Animator (1985)
- The Haunting (1963)
- The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)
- Last Night in Soho (2021)
- Possessor (2020)
- Witchfinder General (1968)
- Cape Fear (1991)
- Frailty (2001)
- Chopping Mall (1986)
- Life (2017)
- The Wasteland (2021)
- Lake Placid (1999)
- Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994)
- They Live (1988)
- Godzilla vs. Kong (2021)
- Dracula (1931)
- Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
- Little Joe (2019)
- The Belko Experiment (2016)
- The Birds (1963)
- Tremors (1990)
Thank you for stopping by It’s A Stampede! to read this post. If you wish to read more horror-related posts, be sure to check out the recommended reads below.