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130 Good Horror Movies Every Fan Has To See

By Edited May 30, 2016 1 4

More than 100 of the world's best horror flicks

If you ask people on the street for some suggestions of a great horror movie, odds are you'd get a wide range of answers. You’d get everything from the scariest slasher film to horror comedies and even b-rated horror movies that barely classify for the genre. 

Because we all have a different capacity for being scared and our own unique reasons for watching horror films, we of course have varying tolerances for gore and suspenseful movies[2].  Storytelling is an art form and the best stories share a hero, his struggles, and the ultimate victory of the hero over the villain.  

Great horror movies drag out the suspense until the end[1], sometimes never concluding with victory.  The most successful horror franchises are masterful at drawing the suspense to the next movie, where the hero will finally be able to overcome the villain.  Maybe.

Let's get started, shall we?

Great Scary Movies

1-10

Suspiria
1- Dawn Of The Dead (1978): This is one of Romero’s best zombie films, and although it is a little over the top in places, it is fantastic to watch.
2- The Silence of the Lambs (1991): One of the scariest crime-solving films ever made.
3- Hellraiser (1987): Even though Cenobite appearances are limited, they really do steal the show.
4- Poltergeist (1982): Still scary after all these years.
5- Suspiria (1977): A really visually stimulating film, so be sure to watch the entire movie.
6- The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974): Part of what makes this film scary is the gritty and raw style in which it was made.
7- Psycho (1960): Killing off a star in the first few minutes took guts back then.
8- Nosferatu (1922): The creepy performance of Max Shreck playing Count Orlok is what makes this horror movie so good.
9- Gremlins (1984): One of only a few really good scary movies that take place during the holidays.
10- An American Werewolf in London (1981): An excellent balance of humor and horror.

11-20


Fright Night

11- Rosemary’s Baby (1968): A film that is just as scary today as it was when first released.
12- Audition (1999): An excellent Japanese horror film that you shouldn’t watch all the way through if you have a weak stomach.
13- Misery (1990): I bet a lot of writers found this movie very frightening.
14- Night Of The Living Dead (1968): The movie that changed the zombie genre.
15- Fright Night (1985): A vampire flick with a little comedy mixed in with a lot of scares.
16- Cast A Deadly Spell (1991): If you find detectives, horror and magic interesting, this one could be for you.
17- Halloween (1978): The film that gave a face to the holiday.
18- Freaks (1932): This film used a cast largely made up of actual circus performers.
19- The Thing (1982): It’s very hard to pull off a good cold weather horror film successfully and this one knocks it out of the park.
20- High Tension (2003): A well made film that makes the slasher genre even better.

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21-30

 

Midnight Meat Train

21- Paranormal Activity (2007): A real gem that gets scarier as it progresses.
22- Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2007): At first I thought this film was just a well made mockumentary… until the end.
23- The Exorcist (1973): This one always seems to make it into top 10 horror movie lists…and with good reason.
24- Phantasm (1979): I know a guy that is very scared of this movie. Every time you say “Boy!!!” it makes him shiver.
25- Spellbinder (1988): I often find that women like this one as there is a bit of a love story.
26- Warlock (1989): A fantastic portrayal of evil from Julian Sands.
27- Lake Placid (1999): Giant crocodile. Nuff said.
28- The Midnight Meat Train (2008): A very smart and gory horror film that is steadily gaining a cult following.
29- Let the Right One In (2008): A very creepy vampire film made in Sweden that has garnered a lot of attention.
30- Martyrs (2008): A French horror film so disturbing that you’ll only watch it once.

31-40

 

Trick 'r Treat

31- Duel (1971): There are a lot of crazy drivers on the road.
32- Return Of The Living Dead (1985): I rank this one right up there with Romero’s stuff.
33- Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter (1974): I remember seeing this during a horror film marathon hosted by Captain USA.
34- A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984): Another horror icon is born.
35- Thinner (1996): A diet that really works!
36- Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (1978): Whenever someone starts to act differently, I start to grow suspicious.
37- City Of The Living Dead (1980): Also known as “The Gates of Hell.”
38- Trick ‘r Treat (2007): A solid movie that would be great to watch with friends.
39- Black Christmas (1974): An underrated horror classic that has a large fan base.
40- The Vanishing (1988): A brilliant Dutch horror film that completely outshines the American remake.

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41-50

 

The Puppetmaster

41- Puppet Master (1989): You’ll fall in love with the puppets despite the gore.
42- Friday the 13th Part III (1982): The quintessential slasher horror movie in which Jason first puts on the hockey mask.
43- The Sixth Sense (1999): If only his other movies were as good as this one.
44- Jeepers Creepers II (2003): One of the few cases where the sequel is better than the original.
45- Day Of The Dead (1985): I would have loved to see this film if Romero was able to do it with the budget he had wanted.
46- Queen Of The Damned (2002): I reluctantly saw this film despite seeing the awful prequel and was pleasantly surprised.
47- Hostel (2005): Lots and lots of torture.
48- The Last House on the Left (1972): A controversial 70’s horror movie that has gained a huge cult following.
49- Ringu (1998): The superior Japanese horror film that inspired the American version.
50- Stuck (2008): A ridiculous, over-the-top and largely unknown horror gem.

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51-60

 

Zombieland

51- Buried Alive (1990): A really frightening movie that was made for TV.
52- Demons (1985): This well known cult film is completely over the top and full of gore.
53- House of 1000 Corpses (2003): First time director Rob Zombie gives horror a try and succeeds.
54- Dead Alive (1992): An early one directed by Peter Jackson (the same one who directed the Lord of the Rings movies).
55- I Spit on Your Grave (1978): Do a little research before watching this one.
56- Re-Animator (1985): You will never see oral sex in the same way again.
57- Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992): Good scary movies don’t get much better than this one as it is perhaps the best adaptation of the novel.
58- Event Horizon (1997): A horror film set in a sci-fi environment.
59- Cannibal Holocaust (1980): Disturbing and controversial with elements similar to “Blair Witch.”
60- Zombieland (2009): Doesn’t try to spoof the genre as bad as “Shaun of the Dead” did.

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61-70

 

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer

61- Cemetery Man (1994): This one takes the zombie genre in a bit of a different direction.
62- Evil Dead II (1987): There is one reason why I chose this one over the others.
63- Maximum Overdrive (1986): Who made who? An interesting question.
64- Needful Things (1993): A really well done film based on one of Stephen King’s books.
65- 28 Days Later (2002): I’d rather be up against slow moving zombies than these buggers.
66- Howling II: Your Sister Is a Werewolf (1985): A horror movie that is so bad, it’s good.
67- Wrong Turn (2003): There is no winking at the audience with this one.
68- Inside (2007): Another French horror movie that really pushes the envelope when it comes to gore.
69- Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986): A disturbing movie that apologizes to no one.
70- The House of the Devil (2009): A successful throwback to 80’s horror.

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71-80

 

The Shining

71- Resident Evil (2002): As someone who played the games I was surprised how good this movie was.
72- Ben (1972): A perfect film for those who have pet rats.
73- The Blob (1988): There are not that many films out there that have jelly as the bad guy.
74- From Dusk Till Dawn (1996): Action, horror, guns and vampires. Who can ask for more?
75- The Shining (1980): No horror movie list is complete without this one.
76- C.H.U.D. (1984): Cannibalistic Human Underground Dwellers.
77- The Blair Witch Project (1999): Are you one of the ones that believed the story was true before the movie came out? I know I was.
78- The Mist (2007): I was completely caught off guard by how much I enjoyed this picture.
79- Dog Soldiers (2002): A well made low-budget werewolf film.
80- Silent Hill (2006): Even though I believed it should have been much better, it’s still very creepy.

81-90

 

The Birds

81- Land Of The Dead (2005): Great, now they’re growing smarter.
82- The Brood (1979): Very disturbing. Very hard to explain.
83- Children Of The Corn (1984): You won’t look at corn the same way again.
84- Slither (2006): A great film that reminds me of some of the classic 80’s horror movies.
85- Jaws (1975): People didn’t want to go into the ocean after seeing this one.
86- The Birds (1963): Perhaps one of the best horror movies of its time. Every time I see a bunch of birds sitting on a wire or in a tree I think of this film.
87- Scream (1996): This film is great, but it did hurt horror’s reputation a little. The effect didn’t last long.
88- Cube (1997): Very similar to the “Saw” movies and just as addicting.
89- Stir of Echoes (1999): A very spine-chilling ghost story that was widely overlooked due to “6th Sense.”
90- Session 9 (2001): You either love or hate it.

91-100


Se7en
91- The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988): A more traditional take on the zombie flick involving voodoo and being buried alive.
92- Saw (2004): An aptly named title.
93- The Omen (1976): The smile on the boys face at the end of the movie is not a kind smile is it?
94- The Ninth Gate (1999): If you love books and horror, you’ll like this film.
95- The Hills Have Eyes (1977): Although the remake was decent; the original is still better.
96- Se7en (1995): You will squirm while watching this one.
97- Child’s Play (1988): I wonder how many parents actually gave this doll to their kids.
98- The Ruins (2008): A really welcome fresh take on the genre.
99- [REC] (2007): The Spanish horror film that inspired the American remake “Quarantine.”
100- Man Bites Dog (1992): Eventually you’ll ask yourself if this is a movie or if it’s real.

101-110

 

The Crypt Keeper

101- The Stand (1994): This one is actually a TV mini-series based upon the book by Stephen King. It’s a long one, but well worth watching.
102- Bordello of Blood (1996): Dennis Miller versus vampires! Who could ask for more?
103- Highway to Hell (1991): A determined boyfriend goes after his soul mate after she is taken into the underworld. Simple plot; entertaining story.
104- Witchboard (1986): I’ve always been warned not to use a Ouija board and after seeing this film, I heeded the advice.
105- Nightbreed (1990): A fun film about discovering your inner monster.
106- Feast (2005): A successful movie brought to you by the Project Greenlight TV show.
107- Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight (1995): A successful first attempt at adapting some of the comic book stories into something other than a TV show.
108- The Craft (1996): If you’re into strong, sexy witches, then you’ll like this one.
109- The Others (2001): A ghost story that had an ending that completely surprised me.
110- Jacob’s Ladder (1990): There are a lot of layers to this creepy film. Be sure to watch it more than once.

111-120

 

Pumpkinhead

111- Flatliners (1990): Purposely killing yourself and having friends shock you back to life – great concept.
112- Carrie (1976): High school is tough and Carrie has had enough.
113- Cujo (1983): It’s always scary when that beloved pet tries to kill you.
114- Tremors (1990): Not really sure how to classify this one. It’s not really a straight up horror film or a sci-fi movie. Why don’t you watch it and try to decide.
115- American Psycho (2000): I had to watch this one a few times before I actually decided that I liked it.
116- Black Sunday (1960): There is a rumor that this film is one of Tim Burton’s favorites. You should know if you like it by watching the first few minutes.
117- Silver Bullet (1985): This werewolf film doesn’t get that much exposure despite it being one of the better ones out there.
118- Alien (1979): I’ve finally broken down and included this one, even though I think its sequel is much better and more of a sci-fi film.
119- Pumpkinhead (1988): Calling forth monsters to seek revenge is always a good time.
120- Bubba Ho-Tep (2002): Two nursing home residents decide to do battle against an ancient Egyptian mummy. Did I mention that the residents were Elvis and JFK?

121-130

 

Pet Sematary

121- The Curse of Frankenstein (1957): Peter Cushing’s performance of Frankenstein really makes this picture great.
122- The Lost Boys (1987): Punk-rock vampires. Nuff said.
123- Hatchet (2006): If you’re a horror fan, you’ve probably seen all of this before, but it give you what most fans of the genre want – blood and boobs.
124- The Entity (1982): A controversial film about a woman having to fight off unwanted advances from a ghost.
125- Dawn of the Dead (2004): I am reluctant to put re-makes in this list, but this is one zombie movie that deserves to be on here. This one could have stood on its own even without that title. 
126- Pet Sematary (1989): One of Stephen King's best movies.  Sometimes dead is better.
127- Cabin Fever (2002): Just another horror movie about a flesh-eating virus and a bunch of kids having a good time.
128- Angel Heart (1987): A private detective finds more truth than he bargained for. If you liked Jacobs Ladder, you’ll like this one.
129- Frailty (2001): It’s always disturbing to find out that cold-blooded killers feel that they are justified in doing what they do and even more disturbing when they are.
130- The Changeling (1980): A much underrated haunted house movie that will have you sleeping with a nightlight.

The horror genre is perhaps one of the most viewed categories in film due to the fact that they are fairly cheap to make and they touch a base emotion of fear in every single person. Because of this there are literally hundreds of good scary movies on the market, but probably double that amount of bad ones. I hope this list has helped you discover a few gems among the coal.

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Comments

Sep 15, 2011 7:06am
dYoder
Great List! Although the one thing that killed if for me was saying Queen of the Damn was better than Interview with a Vampire. I know Interview had its problems, but Queen of the Damn is universally accepted as utter garbage. I wouldn't recommend that movie to anyone unless they were a bitter enemy.
Mar 15, 2012 1:41am
tommygrande
This is one of the most complete horror movie lists I have ever seen. There's a lot of things I don't agree with here, but at the same time you have so many movies people don't even know exist. Same time though you do have a lot of movies that aren't worth a damn. One last thing you have city of the living dead by Fulci but not The Beyond, or House by the Cemetery; let alone you suck Romero's dick, but still on Fulci no Zombie or even Zombie 3? Big ups for the Cannibal Holocaust though good pick.
Jan 17, 2013 7:58am
Millie
I had to watch Psycho at college and I think it is one of the most over rated horror films of all time, so is Jaws. A mechanical shark doesn't scare me. They may have been scary in its day, but not now.
Hostel was a big disappointment for me. The special effects were unconvincing and it took to long to get to the actual torture.
The best classic horrors in my opinion are: Carrie (funny not scary), The exorcist (scary), and Evil dead 2 (also funny). Extensive list by the way.
Jan 17, 2013 8:23am
psidwell
I agree that Jaws was only scary because of the story line, not necessarily the mechanical shark. Maybe we shouldn't be peeking behind the curtain, though, should we? Kind of ruins the fun when we see behind the scenes.
One of my personal favorites is #113: Cujo. That dog is just nasty. Another is The Descent; not on this list but hopeless and grotesque all at once!
Thanks for stopping by!
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Bibliography

  1. "Horror Movie Scripts - 10 Steps to Writing A Horror Screenplay." Simply Scripts. 11/04/2013 <Web >
  2. "Why We Watch Horror Movies, Especially the Bloody Ones." InfoBarrel. 12/05/2012. 11/04/2013 <Web >

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