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Feb 01, 2023 at 01:54 PM
Top 50 Scariest Bollywood Horror Movies From 1992-2022, That You Just Can’t Watch Alone
There’s no doubt that horror movies are not everyone’s cup of blood – apologies, we mean tea. From creaking doors and monstrous creatures to creepy ensembles, Bollywood horror movies have been entertaining their audience since the 90s.
You can also pick your favorites from this Ramsay Brothers’ horror movies list to make the most of the upcoming weekend by binge-watching some classics. However, in case you are looking for something different, then here are some best Bollywood horror movies from 1992-2022 that one cannot dare to watch alone!
1. Krishna Cottage (2004)
Available On: Netflix IMDb Rating: 5.1 Revenue: 5.54 CR Cast: Sohail Khan, Isha Koppikar and Anita Hassanandani Reddy
In 1990, a professor writes an unfinished evil book of nine-and-a-half stories. Several years later, six school friends discover the unfinished book and unleash the evil.
2. Vaastu Shastra (2004)
Available On: MX Player IMDb Rating: 5.0 Revenue: 6.95 CR Cast: Sushmita Sen, Ahsaas Channa and JD Chakravarthy
The movie revolves around a young boy, who moves to an old house along with his family, and notices unexplainable yet scary events.
Check – Horror Movies That Were Frighteningly Cursed In Real Life
3. Kaal (2006)
Available On: Netflix IMDb Rating: 4.7 Revenue: 19 CR Cast: John Abraham, Vivek Oberoi, Esha Deol, Lara Dutta and Ajay Devgn
The movie revolves around two groups, investigators and hunters, who soon realize that someone or something is hunting them.
Watch – Killer Doll Horror Movies
4. Bhool Bhulaiyaa (2007)
Available On: Disney+Hotstar IMDb Rating: 7.4 Revenue: 82.8 CR Cast: Akshay Kumar, Vidya Balan, Shiney Ahuja, Ameesha Patel and Rajpal Yadav
The movie revolves around a couple who decide to live in their ancestral home, ignoring the warnings about ghosts. Later, due to creepy occurrences, they call a psychiatrist to uncover the mystery.
Also Read: Bollywood Horror Movies According to IMDb
5. Tumbbad (2018)
Available On: Amazon Prime Video IMDb Rating: 8.2 Revenue: 13.57 CR Cast: Sohum Shah, Jyoti Malshe and Anita Date-Kelkar
This period horror movie revolves around a family, who builds a shrine for a monster and attempts to own his cursed wealth. However, they face disastrous outcomes.
Read more – Scary Horror Movies Based On True Stories
6. Stree (2018)
Available On: Netflix IMDb Rating: 7.5 Revenue: 180.76 CR Cast: Rajkummar Rao, Shraddha Kapoor, Pankaj Tripathi, Aparshakti Khurana and Abhishek Banerjee
Stree is a horror comedy that is apparently based on the urban legend of Nale Ba, which hit the streets of Bengaluru in the 1990s. The movie revolves around the spirit of a woman who attacks men at night during festivals. However, a group of friends decides to unravel the mystery.
Also Read: Horror Movies That We Can’t Believe Scared The Shit Out Of Us As Kids
7. Durgamati (2020)
Available On: Amazon Prime Video IMDb Rating: 4.0 Revenue: 102.2 CR Cast: Bhumi Pednekar, Arshad Warsi, Jisshu Sengupta and Mahie Gill
The movie focuses on a woman officer, seeking justice, who gets possessed by a ghost while trying to prove her innocence.
8. Roohi (2021)
Available On: Netflix IMDb Rating: 4.3 Revenue: 30.33 CR Cast: Rajkummar Rao, Janhvi Kapoor and Varun Sharma
The movie centers on a kidnapped woman, who is possessed by a demon.
Check – Best Horror Movies Of 2021
9. Dybbuk (2021)
Available On: Amazon Prime Video IMDb Rating: 5 Revenue: 36 CR Cast: Emraan Hashmi and Nikita Dutta
The movie revolves around a married couple, who experiences paranormal activities after they bought an antique box in their home.
Checkout – Best Regional Horror Movies
10. Chhorii (2021)
Available On: Amazon Prime Video IMDb Rating: 6.8 Revenue: 4.83 CR Cast: Nushrratt Bharuccha, Mita Vashisht, Rajesh Jais and Saurabh Goyal
The movie revolves around a married couple, who seek refuge in a remote house, but soon experience supernatural events.
11. Bhediya (2022)
IMDb Rating: 7.5 Revenue: 79.35 CR Cast: Varun Dhawan and Kriti Sanon
This movie focuses on a man who gets bitten by a wolf and starts to transform into the wild creature.
Also Read: Horror Movies You Can Watch On Valentine’s Day
12. Raat (1992)
Available On: Zee5 IMDb Rating: 7.1 Cast: Revathy, Chinna and Om Puri
Raat is considered to be one of the finest films RGV has made. It’s a supernatural thriller that doesn’t go over the top with the nuances of a horror film. The plot is set into motion when a kitten is killed and the leading lady is possessed by its spirit. After you watch this cult classic, you will never look at cats the same way.
Check Out – Clown scary movies
13. 1920 (2008)
Available On: Amazon Prime Video IMDb Rating: 6.4 Revenue: 7 CR Cast: Rajneesh Duggal and Adah Sharma
A royal deserted mansion. Check. A mysterious caretaker. Check. A newlywed couple. Check. This movie abounds in every cliche expected of a horror film but what sets it apart from the others is the sheer artistic finesse with which the frames have been done. Chills guaranteed.
Check Out – Best story movies Bollywood
14. Raaz (2002)
Available On: YouTube IMDb Rating: 6.6 Revenue: 35 CR Cast: Bipasha Basu Grover, Dino Morea and Ashutosh Rana
Inspired by the Michelle Pfeiffer starrer ‘What Lies Beneath’, Raaz was just the beginning of a slew of horror films that Bipasha Basu was to sign later. Pfeiffer did a commendable job in the original. But our Bips matched her in every way.
15. Ragini MMS (2011)
Available On: Netflix IMDb Rating: 5.1 Revenue: 99.4 MN Cast: Kainaz Motivala and Rajkummar Rao
Ragini MMS is inspired by the American supernatural horror ‘Paranormal Activity’ and is partly based on a real story. Unlike its sequel, this one did not have Sunny Leone but still managed to draw the crowds to the theatres thanks to its edge-of-the-seat thrills. This sleeper hit can give you a few sleepless hours when you hit the bed at night.
16. 13 B (2009)
Available On: Amazon Prime Video IMDb Rating: 7.3 Revenue: 9.94 CR Cast: Madhavan, Nitu Chandra and Poonam Dhillon
13 B comes packed to the rafters with spine-tingling chills and scares. It doesn’t completely depend on a spooky background score or weird camera angles to deliver the chills. With a strong script and an ensemble cast that does its job to perfection, 13 B is definitely one movie you shouldn’t miss.
17. Junoon (1992)
Available On: YouTube IMDb Rating: 5.6 Cast: Avinash Wadhawan, Pooja Bhatt and Tom Alter
The movie revolves around a man, who is badly injured by a cursed tiger. He later learns that he will turn into a tiger on a full moon night.
18. Insaan Bana Shaitan (1992)
Available On: YouTube IMDb Rating: 4.3 Cast: Deepak Parashar, Anil Dhawan and Jagdeep
The movie focuses on a couple, who take a rest stop, while driving through a dense forest, in a secluded haunted bungalow.
19. Horror Story (2013)
Available On: YouTube IMDb Rating: 4.2 Revenue: 7 CR Cast: Karan Kundra, Ravish Desai and Hasan Zaidi
A group of youngsters decides to spend the night at a haunted hotel. Things get convoluted and it’s a scare fest thereon. There are some genuinely frightening scenes that will make you jump off your seat. Those looking for chills won’t be disappointed at all.
20. Shaapit (2010)
Available On: Disney+Hotstar IMDb Rating: 5.4 Revenue: 8 CR Cast: Aditya Narayan, Shubh Joshi and Shweta Agarwal
The third installment in the Raaz trilogy, Shaapit is good enough to raise the hair on the back of your neck. Like every Vikram Bhatt film, the USP of this film lies in its treatment, keeping it stylishly eerie. By the end of it all, you might want to believe in curses and evil spirits.
21. Ek Thi Daayan (2013)
Available On: Netflix IMDb Rating: 5.7 Revenue: 40.25 CR Cast: Emraan Hashmi, Huma Qureshi, Konkona Sen Sharma and Kalki Koechlin
The thought of daayans existing in society is spooky in itself. Ek Thi Daayan is a brave attempt at trying something new. It is a cross between an out-and-out horror film and a creepy, paranormal thriller. The supernatural drama may seem unrealistic but the stylised treatment and the taut storyline make up for it, not to mention Konkona Sen’s eerie portrayal of a daayan . Spooky indeed!
22. Bhoot (2003)
Available On: Voot IMDb Rating: 6.4 Revenue: 23.9 CR Cast: Ajay Devgn, Fardeen Khan and Urmila Matondkar
The scare element in Bhoot is kept brewing through most parts of the film and is frequently intercepted with scream-out-loud moments. Bhoot was one of the last gripping films churned out by Ram Gopal Varma before he switched to making films like Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag .
23. Darna Mana Hai (2003)
Available On: Amazon Prime Video IMDb Rating: 6.3 Revenue: 7.85 CR Cast: Nana Patekar, Vivek Oberoi, Aftab Shivdasani, Shilpa Shetty, Sameera Reddy, Isha Koppikar, Saif Ali Khan and Sohail Khan
Only Ramu can make apples look scary. This flick by RGV features in this list not because it is scary but because of its innovative script. Ramu packs in 6 of the most creative short stories in one movie, each with outrageous twists. No wonder they call him a maverick!
24. Andhera (1994)
Available On: YouTube IMDb Rating: 5 Cast: Anchana, Anisha and Anil Dhawan
This movie focuses on a rich man, who marries an amnesiac woman, but soon finds out that his wife is attracted by a supernatural force every night.
25. Phoonk (2008)
Available On: YouTube IMDb Rating: 3.9 Revenue: 60 CR Cast: Sudeep, Amruta Khanvilkar and Ahsaas Channa
Another creepy film churned out by Ram Gopal Varma’s Factory, Phoonk deals with the practice of black magic. RGV had so much faith in his film that he promised to offer Rs 5 lakhs to anyone who would watch the film alone in the theatre and not run out scared. Some challenge that!
26. Bulbbul (2020)
Available On: Netflix IMDb Rating: 6.5 Revenue: 6 CR Cast: Rahul Bose, Tripti Dimri, Parambrata Chatterjee, Avinash Tiwary and Paoli Dam
This supernatural thriller centers on a child bride and her transformation from innocence to power.
27. Pari (2018)
Available On: Amazon Prime Video IMDb Rating: 6.6 Revenue: 28.96 CR Cast: Anushka Sharma, Parambrata Chatterjee, Ritabhari Chakraborty, Rajat Kapoor and Mansi Multani
This supernatural horror movie revolves around a woman, who seems to be a victim of abuse, but holds a strange demeanor. When an innocent man tried to help her, her evil nature threatens his future.
28. Bhoot: Part One – The Haunted Ship (2020)
Available On: Amazon Prime Video IMDb Rating: 5.4 Revenue: 40.94 CR Cast: Vicky Kaushal, Bhumi Pednekar and Ashutosh Rana
This horror thriller focuses on a shipping officer who, on a secluded and unmanned haunted ship, tries to save a woman.
29. Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 (2022)
Available On: Netflix IMDb Rating: 5.7 Revenue: 266.88 CR Cast: Tabu, Kartik Aaryan and Kiara Advani
The plotline follows a fraud psychic, who deals with the return of a vicious spirit hell-bent on vengeance against a family.
Watch – Horror Movies That We Can’t Believe Scared The Shit Out Of Us As Kids
30. Ghutan (2007)
Available On: YouTube IMDb Rating: 5.2 Cast: Aryan Vaid and Hina Tasleem
The movie revolves around a woman, who returned from the dead, to seek revenge against her husband who buried her alive.
31. Makdee (2002)
Available On: YouTube IMDb Rating: 7.5 Revenue: 1.5 CR Cast: Shabana Azmi, Shweta Basu Prasad and Makrand Deshpande
This oh-so-scary movie, which was the first of its kind back then, centers on one half of an identical set of twins who, in an attempt to rescue her twin sister, from the evil witch.
32. Help (2010)
Available On: YouTube IMDb Rating: 4.2 Revenue: 3 CR Cast: Bobby Deol, Mugdha Godse and Shreyas Talpade
This horror-thriller focuses on a married couple, who share a disturbed relationship, and are haunted by a spirit that denies leaving the human world.
Watch – Korean Horror Movies to Watch
33. Pizza (2012)
Available On: Disney+Hotstar IMDb Rating: 6.2 Revenue: 8 CR Cast: Akshay Oberoi, Parvathy Omanakuttan and Dipannita Sharma
This horror movie revolves around a pizza delivery boy, who delivers a pizza at a bungalow where mysterious events start to take place.
34. Aks (2001)
Available On: YouTube IMDb Rating: 5.8 Revenue: 11.11 CR Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Raveena Tandon, Manoj Bajpayee and Nandita Das
This supernatural thriller centers on two characters, a cop and a killer, who shoot each other, and their souls are transferred into each other’s bodies.
35. Kaun? (1999)
Available On: YouTube IMDb Rating: 7.8 Revenue: 6.7 CR Cast: Urmila Matondkar, Manoj Bajpayee and Sushant Singh
This psychological suspense thriller focuses on an alone woman, who finds the doorbell ringing at odd hours and a stranger begs to enter her home.
36. Haunted – 3D (2011)
Available On: Disney+Hotstar IMDb Rating: 6.3 Revenue: 25.56 CR Cast: Mahaakshay Chakraborty, Tia Bajpai, Achint Kaur and Arif Zakaria
The plotline of this movie centers on a man, who travels to prepare his father’s house, which is apparently haunted, for sale. Later, he’s taken back to 1936, which proves that the haunted stories are, in fact, true.
37. 404 (2011)
Available On: Google Play IMDb Rating: 7.3 Revenue: 1.5 CR Cast: Imaad Shah, Nishikant Kamat, Rajvvir Aroraa, Tisca Chopra and Satish Kaushik
This movie revolves around a science student and how he has to stay in a room that is apparently haunted by a student, who had committed suicide.
38. Darr @ The Mall (2014)
Available On: YouTube IMDb Rating: 4.9 Revenue: 7.84 CR Cast: Jimmy Sheirgill and Nushrratt Bharuccha
This horror tale revolves around how a newly constructed mall is said to be haunted as some construction workers were mysteriously killed. However, a security guard unveils the secret behind the dark secret.
39. Haunted Hills (2020)
Available On: YouTube IMDb Rating: 7.5 Revenue: 52.98 CR Cast: Zuber K. Khan and Diana Khan
This spine-chilling drama revolves around a couple on their honeymoon. Nevertheless, things take a wild turn when the wife dies and her soul is stuck in a painting.
40. Raaz: The Mystery Continues (2009)
Available On: Amazon Prime Video IMDb Rating: 5.7 Revenue: 38.9 CR Cast: Emraan Hashmi, Kangana Ranaut and Adhyayan Suman
This horror movie focuses on an artist, who is surprised to find a woman who looks exactly like the girl in his fictional sketches. Later, she begins to experience the same accidents he painted.
41. Aatma (2013)
Available On: Disney+Hotstar IMDb Rating: 3.9 Revenue: 11.36 CR Cast: Bipasha Basu and Nawazuddin Siddiqui
This psychological horror movie centers on a woman, who is haunted by the spirit of her late husband, who died in a car accident, post losing custody of their daughter.
42. 3G (2013)
Available On: Zee5 IMDb Rating: 3.6 Revenue: 59.1 MN Cast: Neil Nitin Mukesh and Sonal Chauhan
This movie revolves around a man, who shops for a 3G-enabled phone in a foreign land. Later, he started receiving unknown calls that threaten his life.
43. Raaz 3 (2012)
Available On: Amazon Prime Video IMDb Rating: 4.1 Revenue: 70.7 CR Cast: Bipasha Basu, Emraan Hashmi and Esha Gupta
This horror thriller movie, which was the third and last installment of the Raaz franchise, centers on a famous female actor, who feels threatened as a young actor marks her debut. The former then uses black magic to ruin her life.
44. Bhoot Returns (2012)
Available On: Amazon Prime Video IMDb Rating: 2.6 Revenue: 6.39 CR Cast: Manisha Koirala, JD Chakravarthy, Madhu Shalini and Alayana Sharma
This horror movie, which is a sequel to the 2003 movie Bhoot , focuses on a child, who recently moved into a possessed bungalow, along with her parents. Soon, strange occurrences start taking place.
45. Ragini MMS 2 (2014)
Available On: Netflix IMDb Rating: 3.9 Revenue: 63.29 CR Cast: Sunny Leone and Saahil Prem
This horror sequel revolves around a female actor, who’s shooting for an erotic movie in a house with a demonic spirit. Later, the spirit possesses the actor.
46. Alone (2015)
Available On: Zee5 IMDb Rating: 3.7 Revenue: 25.7 CR Cast: Bipasha Basu and Karan Singh Grover
This movie centers on a young woman whose dead late sister haunts her.
47. The House Next Door (2017)
Available On: YouTube IMDb Rating: 6.7 Revenue: 2.31 CR Cast: Siddharth, Siddharth and Suresh
The movie focuses on a newlywed couple, who move into a new house and soon realize that the house next door is haunted.
48. Laxmii (2020)
Available On: Disney+Hotstar IMDb Rating: 2.5 Revenue: 1.96 CR Cast: Akshay Kumar and Kiara Advani
This horror comedy revolves around a man who gets possessed by the spirit of a transgender individual.
49. Phone Booth (2022)
Available On: Amazon Prime Video IMDb Rating: 5.5 Revenue: 14.1 CR Cast: Katrina Kaif, Ishaan Khattar, and Siddhant Chaturvedi and Jackie Shroff
This supernatural comedy movie centers on a female ghost, who reaches out to two goofy ghostbusters for a business idea. What follows is a hilarious journey.
50. Bhoot Police (2021)
Available On: Disney+Hotstar IMDb Rating: 7.0 Revenue: 40 CR Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Arjun Kapoor, Jacqueline Fernandez, Yami Gautam Dhar and Javed Jaffrey
The film follows two brothers, who are assigned a case of hunting down spirits in a remote village.
Ram Charan Movies
Akshay Kumar Movies
FAQs About Scariest Bollywood Horror Movies From 1992-2022:
FAQ: Which is the highest IMDb-rated horror movie? Tumbbad (8.2 ratings).
FAQ: Which is the scariest movie on Amazon Prime Video? With a 7.3 rating, 13B: Fear Has A New Address is one of the scariest movies on this streaming platform.
FAQ: Which is the scariest movie on Netflix? Krishna Cottage has to be one of the scariest movies on this streaming platform.
FAQ: Who is the king of horror movies? We’d say Ramsay Brothers, without a doubt.
FAQ: Which five are popular horror movies? Our top picks would be Tumbbad, Pizza, Stree, Bhool Bhulaiyaa, and 13B: Fear Has A New Address.
Are you gutsy enough to watch any of these alone tonight?
Please note that all images are taken from IMDb unless specified otherwise.
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The 20 Scariest Movies of All Time, According to Reddit
These films made Reddit users jump out of their skin.
Talk to Me is one of the most well-received and critically beloved horror films coming out this year and for very good reason. Not only are its complex characters hard to forget, but its disturbing and scary premise will certainly linger in the audience's minds. These are some other scary horror movies to watch next.
Movies can be scary. In fact, movies can be really scary. And throughout the years, several horror films have proved the point, terrifying global audiences with their super atmospheric storylines as well as a few iconic jump scares that still haunt viewers to this day. Still, the true meaning of the word varies, and thus what is scary for some may not be for others.
And what better place than Reddit to ask cinephiles what movie absolutely startled them out of their wits? From Gonjiam: Hunted Asylum to Fire in the Sky , here are the top 10 scariest movies that have made the hearts of movie enthusiasts on the platform skip a beat.
Updated on September 9, 2023, by Daniela Gama:
20 'alien' (1979).
Alien is understandably one of the most beloved sci-fi films out there; on top of this, it is also an incredible horror feature. The award-winning 1979 Ridley Scott flick marks the beginning of a fan-favorite franchise and centers on the crew of a commercial spacecraft, who accidentally comes across a dangerous lifeform.
RELATED: The Most Influential Action Movie Heroines of All Time
It's pretty clear how Redditors feel about the movie on the website. As _thelonewolfe_ says, "Nothing beats the pure, unrelenting horror of the original Alien . That final 15 minutes of Ripley frantically running like a bat out of hell, trying desperately to escape the living nightmare that is the "Big Chap," the user wrote.
Watch on Hulu
19 'Eden Lake' (2008)
In this intense movie, Michael Fassbender and Kelly Reilly play a young couple who go out on a romantic weekend break. In the meantime, they are faced with a gang of ill-mannered youths who they are forced to confront – what they don't anticipate is the brutal consequences that follow.
What is apparently so scary about the film is how real the story it features feels. As user labitin puts it, Eden Lake "scared the hell out of me. It was very real and touching." In a reply, a Redditor added, "The ending is one that's stuck with me longer than most other movies. Thoroughly unsettling film, especially given some of the kids/families that I used to live near!"
Watch on The CW
18 'We Need to Talk About Kevin' (2011)
Brilliantly executed by Lynne Ramsay , We Need to Talk About Kevin follows the strange title protagonist Ezra Miller , who does and says dangerous things as he matures, and his mother Eva ( Tilda Swinton ) who, despite it all, still attempts to love her child. The intriguing thriller follows the desperate mother as she tries to piece together her life after an incident caused by her bizarre son.
"I don’t know if it quite fits into the horror category, but We Need to Talk About Kevin was one of the bleakest, most unsettling movies I’ve ever seen," JoanieKoobs says and many agree. Surely, even if it doesn't feature extreme content, the psychological drama is undoubtedly a very disturbing watch that provides tons of food for thought on top of being a film that delivers a realistic take on mental health .
Watch on Prime Video
17 'Fire in the Sky' (1993)
This 1993 film focuses on the disappearance of Travis Walton ( D.B. Sweeney ) who goes for a closer look when he spots a bright light in a forest in the White Mountains but is abducted by a flying saucer in the meantime. He remains missing for five days while his co-workers are wrongly accused of murder.
Fire in the Sky seems to both amaze and terrify global viewers. On the platform, a Redditor says that it features "the scariest alien abduction scene I've ever seen," reminiscing on the effects the sci-fi fantasy film had on them as a child.
16 'Martyrs' (2008)
Among the best horror movies out there, the underrated and incredibly disturbing French film by Pascal Laugier centers on a young woman's ( Morjana Alaoui ) journey to avenge her past and seek payback against the people who captured and tortured her as a child.
RELATED: The New French Extremity, Explained
Martyrs is nothing short of a horrifying, upsetting, explicit feature that features highly sensitive topics; it's also very well-written, however, and guaranteed to linger in the audience's minds. " Martyrs ruined me. I didn't know what to expect going in and as soon as you think you have a feel for the plot the movie takes the darkest turn imaginable," bunnysmugler commented.
Watch on Hoopla
15 'Hell House LLC' (2015)
Set five years after a malfunction causes the death of 15 tour-goers and staff on the opening night of a creepy Halloween haunted house tour, Shudder's found footage film Hell House LLC is a Stephen Cognetti horror movie that will certainly disturb audiences.
" Hell House LLC is LEGIT scary. Took me by surprise and had to finish during the day time," fayce81 wrote. Even if a bit flawed, the 2015 movie is effective and provides audiences with a thrilling and absorbing time throughout. "The initial scene with the clown in Hell House LLC is one of the scariest scenes ever," cjpotter82 added.
14 'The Empty Man' (2020)
The Empty Man is a surrealist film that fuses the horror and sci-fi genres while telling the tale of a former police officer who is looking into the disappearance of a teenage girl who participated in an urban legend ritual.
Although David Prior 's movie counts on mixed reviews, it is undoubtedly worth checking as it features an ambitious, atmospheric, and unsettling premise that will keep audiences intrigued. "I cannot remember the last time a movie watching experience was so visceral," Crankylosaurus reflects on their first viewing. "To be honest, I think it was less about the movie’s content than the creepy ambience I was experiencing it in," the user admitted.
Watch on Fubo
13 'The Thing' (1982)
The Thing is widely regarded as one of the most iconic horror films of the 1980s. Directed by John Carpenter , it is based on a novella by John W. Campbell Jr. titled Who Goes There? and centers on a group of American researchers who come across a dangerous extraterrestrial life form that imitates other organisms.
The Thing may not be the scariest film of all, especially considering the time it was released, but it still delivers some chilling scenes of body horror, including a number of graphically violent and gory moments. According to a Redditor , the film “holds up pretty well.” In a reply, another Redditor notes, “ The Thing was light years ahead of the other horror movies of its time with the presentation of the monster.”
Watch on Peacock
12 'A Dark Song' (2016)
When a determined young woman named Sophia ( Catherine Walker ) and a damaged occultist ( Steve Oram ) come together to perform a dangerous ritual that will concede her deepest wishes – including contacting her son that was murdered by teens who practiced black magic – an unexpected turn of events takes place.
RELATED: The Most Realistic, Creepiest Movie About Magic Cost $50,000
As for Redditors' takes on the magical A Dark Song ? A great number of people seem to agree that the film is amazing and one of the best occult horrors ever. "I’d say the movie that instilled the most terror in me was A Dark Song ," abigaillevya says. Other Redditors even describe it as a "rare beauty" and "something that feels so real and deep."
Watch on Shudder
11 'The Autopsy of Jane Doe' (2016)
As the title suggests, practical effects master André Øvredal ’s compelling supernatural horror The Autopsy of Jane Doe depicts the dead body of an unidentified woman who undergoes an examination and leads the father and son examining it to experience unexplainable phenomena.
“I freaking love Autopsy of Jane Doe . Hardly anyone ever talks about this movie!” Tinker1028 could not help showcasing their excitement. “ Autopsy of Jane Doe was remarkably scary. Not much gets me, but when I went to bed the night I watched it I was jumpy,” schtickyfingers replied under their comment.
10 'Lights Out' (2013)
This Swedish supernatural horror short film directed, written, produced, shot, and scored by David F. Sandberg is everything you expect it to be: dark, intense, and absolutely terrifying. In a short amount of time, Lights Out manages to creep audiences with its simplistic plot, which analyzes what one fears the most when alone in a small dark room.
According to skekoksbathbonnet , the YouTube film (which later originated a feature-length of the same name featuring Teresa Palmer ) was incredibly scary. "For sheer fear, the Lights Out short . Only time I had to check I hadn't peed a little at a jump scare. The build-up of dread was just...yes," they commented.
9 'Hereditary' (2018)
One of A24's most beloved horror movies to date, Ari Aster 's unmatched Hereditary is everything everyone says it is and more. A grieving family finds themselves tormented by disturbing, tragic events after the death of Annie's ( Toni Collette ) heartbroken mother.
The praise for Hereditary is certainly never-ending, and the beloved platform highlights that once again. "Went to the theater to see Hereditary not knowing it would deliver one of the biggest gut punches in any movie I’d ever see," ghostraptor42 says. In a comment, a Reddit user also reflects on the same scene, adding that "I've never felt more alone and horrified. I just sat there with my mouth covered by my hands and stared as that unending scene unveiled."
Watch on Max
8 'The Blair Witch Project' (1999)
The Blair Witch Project is widely considered one of the best found-footage movies out there, and for good reason. After entering a Maryland forest to record a documentary about the local Blair Witch legend, three film students vanish, leaving only their filming records.
RELATED: The Best Found Footage Horror Movies
"I hate to admit it, but I’m rarely, rarely scared or even pushed to feeling fear when watching horror films," FaxJunkie explains. "But the original Blair Witch Project got the most out of me. I wasn’t jumping all over the place or screaming - it’s the fear it installed inside me. How simple and almost real it looked." No doubt, you can for sure count on the 1999 feature to be in every "top 10 scary movies" list.
Watch on Paramount+
7 'Sinister' (2012)
Starring Ethan Hawke as Ellison Oswalt, a true crime writer who finds a suspicious box of super 8 home movies in his new home, Sinister depicts the uncovering of a murder case in which the main star is an unknown serial killer whose crimes date back to the 1960s.
Apparently, there is something about Sinister 's soundtrack that doesn't sit right with cinephiles (in the best possible way). Often described as evocative of uneasy feelings, the movie features a thrilling score as well. "The soundtrack alone is enough to get your hairs rising," syktty says. On another post, another user adds that the "found footage scenes have the scariest soundtrack I’ve ever heard in any movie. Just these disturbing filtered grainy moans over the crackle of static really hits a nerve unlike anything I’ve ever heard."
6 'The Descent' (2005)
According to the platform, British horror The Descent makes it to the top 5 scariest movies of all time , and it depicts what happens when a caving expedition goes terribly wrong (except, fortunately, that isn't always the case). When six women become trapped inside an unmapped cave system, they strive to get away from a very peculiar breed of flesh-eating predators.
Redditors seem to agree that the main reason why Neil Marshall and Jon Harris ' film is so incredibly scary is because it is realistic – or at least, it deals with realistic fears. "I'd reckon only The Descent would still get to me. I think a part of it is the claustrophobia and darkness, since those are genuine, common fears," a now-deleted Reddit account says.
5 'The Exorcist' (1973)
Illustrating the possession of a young girl by a mysterious entity and her mother's quest to find the help of two priests to save her daughter, The Exorcist rightfully remains a classic all these years later. While the film's simple premise may not sound innovative to recent moviegoers, William Friedkin 's legendary feature — which is getting a new installment — was undoubtedly a groundbreaking concept for the time it was released.
" The Exorcist (1973) is still one of the most genuinely frightening movies I've ever seen," a Reddit user admitted. "It isn't just the exorcism itself but the build-up to it and the strong sense that Evil is omnipresent as much as Good is."
4 'REC' (2007)
This Spanish film starring Manuela Velasco and directed by Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza follows a young TV reporter and her cameraman who, after following emergency workers into a dark building while covering the night shift at the local fire station, find themselves trapped inside something disconcerting.
RELATED: The Best Spanish Horror Movies
Some viewers were surprised to see the film so low down on the platform, including Bwebbmann . The user also adds that the movies are "best watched as one long film," post adding that the second installment of the franchise was terrifying.
3 'Pulse' (2001)
Also known as Kairo , Kiyoshi Kurosawa 's mind-bending Japanese feature Pulse centers around a group of young residents who, after one of their friends dies by suicide, find themselves falling victim to a strange series of events – including seeing visions of the dead friend on the wall and realizing that spirits may actually be trying to invade the human world through the Internet.
Among many similar reactions to the film on the platform, one of the most memorable was mustnttelllies ': "It genuinely caused an emotional spiral that almost landed me in the hospital." Surely, Pulse is a movie that is not meant for the faint of heart.
2 'Paranormal Activity' (2007)
No wonder this 2007 feature made many lose sleep back in the day; the first movie out of the famous supernatural horror franchise Paranormal Activity depicts a couple's increasing anxieties when a demonic presence starts to torment the two after moving into a suburban home.
Directed by Oren Peli , this memorable horror feature is still very much favored after all these years. Apparently, many people agreed with a Reddit user when they picked the movie as the scariest; in the comments, one of the Redditors even mentioned that the film "scared the hell out of" them, "and then I got to walk home at 1 am through Hollywood. Alone. And both my roommates were out of town."
1 'Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum' (2018)
This terrifying South Korean found footage horror movie directed by Jung Bum-shik follows an internet broadcaster who reunites a team of people to work on a horror web series. When the crew travels to an abandoned asylum to record a live broadcast and the host starts pranking the guests, things start to get seriously out of hand.
An extremely nightmarish film through and through, Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum seemingly does not leave anyone indifferent. On Reddit, jaketwo91 reveals that they thought they were "completely immune" to being scared by horror movies until they came across the South Korean movie. "I actually got goosebumps watching Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum , it genuinely creeped me out," the user says. "I'm not really even sure what exactly it was, since it's basically just Grave Encounters in Korean. But something about it really freaked me out."
NEXT: The Scariest Horror Movies That Are Too Disturbing To Re-Watch
The 30 best horror movies that will haunt you long after the credits roll
From monsters and slashers to haunted hotels, here are the best horror movies to watch right now
October is finally here and spooky season has begun in earnest, so we’re going to need the best horror movies of all time to really celebrate in style. No pretenders, only the absolute top choices from the genre will do in this most hallowed time in the run up to Halloween.
We need zombies of the fast variety and vampires of the Southern Gothic variety. Slashers from proto to classic to meta. Violent, wince-inducing thrillers - some that sparked franchises, some that kicked off entire sub-genres of their own and some that swept the board at the Oscars. We need comedy too - films filled with knowing nods and references that have us laughing through the screams. Allegorical spooks from familial terror to teen trauma, and racial commentary that get our brains working while we hide behind our hands. We need hauntings; from large scale frights by acclaimed directors to found footage game-changers via J-horror masterpieces. Witches, we need witches; in the woods, in our schools, in our homes. Monsters of every shape and size, from giant sharks to aliens to werewolves to subterranean bat people. And we need the occult - dial up the Devil and demons and all their more nefarious acolytes.
You’ll see from our list that all this and more is waiting for you, and your October will not be the same without inviting in some high quality scares. So, grab a blanket and some popcorn, turn off the lights and crank up the volume, and indulge your darker side in the best horror movies of all time.
Read more: New horror movies | Best Netflix horror movies | Best witch movies | Best haunted house movies | Best horror movie remakes | Best horror movie sequels | Best vampire movies | Best horror comedies | Best horror movies for scaredy cats | Best zombie movies | Cheap tricks horror movies use to scare you | Best Shudder movies | The best movie drinking games
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30. Near Dark (1987)
The movie: Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow’s Southern Gothic vampire flick follows Caleb (Adrian Pasdar), a young man forced to join a travelling band of bloodsuckers after he’s bitten by one of their crew - his beautiful and brutal love interest, Mae (Jenny Wright). Bill Paxton, Lance Henrickson, and Jenette Goldstein add to the fray, with stellar performances across the board bringing the neck-tearing terror to life. It’s a tale of vampires as family, told in a neo-Western style that breathes fresh life (or death) into the ubiquitous subgenre and which has garnered a cult following over the years thanks to its striking visuals and set pieces.
Why it’s scary: The unpredictability and savagery of the vampires in Near Dark leaves a lasting impression. These are blood-soaked killers on the rampage, killing to feed but also apparently for fun, and the group includes not only unhinged immortals as you’d expect them but also an unsettling vampire child in Joshua Miller’s Homer. It’s made very, terrifyingly clear that once the sun goes down there’s no escape, so you had better pray for daylight.
29. Saw (2004)
The movie: It might have reignited the so-called torture porn genre with its (mostly) truly disgusting sequels but - and this is a huge 'but' - the original Saw is nowhere near as gross-gusting as you think it is and happens to be brilliant horror. Yes, the title is about an implement that a depraved killer suggests someone takes their leg off with rather than use a key to unlock a cuff, but Saw is actually remarkably restrained. The ideas at work here are significantly more grisly in your own mind than what you see on screen. Made on a shoestring budget by Leigh Whannell and James Wan, this tale of two men waking up in a bathroom, a corpse between them, is twisted but constantly intriguing.
Why it’s scary: Put simply, we all play Jigsaw’s game along with our heroes. What would we be willing to do to save our own miserable lives? Would we be Amanda, ready to go into a stomach to find a key, or would we sit and wait for an ultra gruesome fate? Throw in the genuine terror of ‘Billy’, Jigsaw’s painted cycling doll, and one of the most terrifying extended jump-scare sequences potentially ever, and Saw still manages to pack a barbed-wire-covered punch.
Read more: Here's how Saw became one of the biggest names in horror
28. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
The movie: Just like a certain dungaree-clad possessed doll, Freddy Krueger fell firmly into killer clown territory as the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise evolved over the years. Sure, he’ll spray your organs all over the walls but you’ll die laughing, right? Look back at Wes Craven’s original movie, though, and Freddy isn’t to be trifled with. Our selective memories mean we often forget that this serial child killer’s burns come from him being incinerated by an angry mob of parents. Living eternally through their fear and guilt, Freddy becomes the ultimate boogeyman when he dons his favorite murder glove and goes after a whole new generation of Springwood spawn while they slumber.
Why it’s scary: Bed is meant to be safe. Secure. Free of razor-sharp blades ready to plunge through your chest at any given moment... Robert Englund’s Freddy might be horrible to look at but it’s the very idea of falling asleep and never waking up again that’s the true terrifying kicker here. The desperation of Heather Langenkamp’s Nancy and her friends as they strive to stay awake to stay alive. No amount of caffeine or loud music can save you now, dreams are waiting and that’s where a maniac lurks menacingly in the dark to end your life. Yes, the whole movie is worth it alone for Johnny Depp’s spectacularly splattery death scene, but A Nightmare on Elm Street isn’t one to press the snooze button on.
27. Evil Dead 2 (1987)
The movie: So many Evil Dead 2 questions, so little time. Is it a remake? Is it a sequel? Would it actually be physically possible to switch out your missing (presumed possessed) hand for a chainsaw with relative ease? Well, thankfully, Bruce Campbell himself has answered the first two and explained that Sam Raimi’s cabin-based comedy horror is, in fact, a 'requel.' Whereas the original Evil Dead followed a group of twenty-somethings to a holiday house from hell, the sequel revolves exclusively around Campbell’s Ash and his girlfriend Linda as they attempt to survive after playing a reading of the Necronomicon aloud. I'd be remiss if I didn't warn you about someone being beheaded with a garden tool post-reading.
Why it’s scary: Evil Dead 2 is perfect comedy horror. While it might not send you shrieking away from your screen, there’s a delightfully depraved viscerality to proceedings. Eyes in mouths, wall to wall gore, chainsaws feeling like the only option. It’s worth noting here, too, that if you do want something a little less punctuated with the word ‘groovy,’ then the Evil Dead remake from Fede Alvarez is truly something that can get under your skin. Where Evil Dead 2’s grim is played for much-appreciated laughs and you’ll embrace the physical effects, Alvarez’s reboot errs distinctly on the unnerving side, making them a perfect double bill.
26. The Babadook (2014)
The movie: On release, Jennifer Kent’s haunted pop-up book became a whole generation’s boogeyman seemingly overnight. "Have you seen The Babadook? I didn’t sleep all night," was hissed gleefully across offices and pubs. And for good reason. The Babadook is scary. The tale of a young grieving widow trying to look after her young son, this is a movie that sneaks under your skin and stays there. It also makes you ask yourself a lot of questions. What would you do with a pop-up book about a creepy black-clad figure in a top hat? Would you read it to your already traumatized young son? What if he begged? And how would you deal with the ‘haunting’ that follows…?
Why it’s scary: Like the best horror movies on this list, the Babadook isn’t just about scaring its audience. The parallels between grief and depression are no accident and it’s interesting to note that one of the most disturbing sequences in the movie has nothing to do with a monster, but everything to do with a young mother losing control of her son while she tries to drive. On the surface, you might mistake The Babadook for something from The Conjuring universe but delve in and this is an intelligent, grueling fright-fest with a knowledge of exactly what you’re afraid of. Even if you didn’t know it when you sat down to watch.
25. The Cabin in the Woods (2011)
The movie: By 2011, we were having a self-referential horror crisis. Scream 4 was out and had an intro multiple layers deep, smashing the fourth wall into pieces with horror-ception as character after character quipped about the masked slasher genre. But where could comedy horror go next? How many times could a leading actress say “I saw this in a movie once” without us wanting to remove our own eyes and never watch horror again? Well, it turns out that there was still some life in the reanimated corpse yet. The Cabin in the Woods manages to pin not just one horror trope but every single one, like someone armed with a laser sight and Final Destination 3’s nail gun. When this lot of attractive twenty-somethings head to the titular spot, they get significantly more than they bargained for. Oh, and Chris Hemsworth is one of them. Now you’re interested…
Why it’s scary: Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard’s creation is no mere comedy escapade. I’m staying spoiler-free here because it’s too good, but just like the It movie and its monster’s multiple faces, The Cabin in the Woods will tackle plenty of your phobias. This is a creature feature like you’ve never seen before with gallons of gore and every monster you could ever imagine lurking in the dark. Like Buffy before it, this has the ability to make you laugh one minute and scream the next. Go in blind and this trip to the forest is a delightfully gory surprise.
24. Paranormal Activity (2007)
The movie: While The Blair Witch Project revved found footage horror back into action like a haunted motorbike back in 1999, Paranormal Activity is where things got, err, dead serious. The first movie from now horror staple Oren Peli, it introduces us to Katie and Micah who have been experiencing some odd goings-on in their LA home. Ever the keen filmmaker, Micah sets up a camera at the foot of their bed to keep an eye on things while they sleep. The bumps in the night that follow are enough to make you never want to see another bed again, let alone lie on one.
Why it's scary: The reason why Paranormal Activity is so nerve-janglingly effective is simple. Regardless of your favorite snoozing position or habits, we all lie down in a dark room, switch off, and become perfect prey for whatever lurks in the gloom. The now infamous shot from the bottom of Katie and Micah’s bed is a masterclass in slow-burn terror. Every simple extended shot as the clock ticks forward becomes an agonizingly tense eye test. What’s going to move? Was that a shadow? Lingering footage of nothing actually happening has never been this nail-biting as the days and nights roll on. The sequels have been relentless and a mixed bag in terms of scares but, like a slamming door in the middle of the night, the pure terror of the original Paranormal Activity just can’t be ignored.
23. Suspiria (1977)
The movie: Less a movie and more an assault on your senses, not to mention your stomach, Dario Argento’s Suspiria follows young dancer Suzy as she arrives at a famous ballet school. Unfortunately, she doesn’t heed the girl running in the other direction and finds herself surrounded by horrific murder as young women are picked off artfully one by one. Still a gory cut above the remake, Argento’s original faced multiple cuts around violence on release and was one of the films at the bloody center of the 1980s video nasty panic. It doesn’t take long to see why.
Why it’s scary: Nothing about Suspiria is easy to experience. Every color forcing its way into your eyeballs like technicolor violence, every murder intent on you watching each moment in agonizing detail from angles only a madman would select, and a soundtrack so disturbing that you’ll feel like you might have accidentally found Hell’s playlist on Spotify. Depraved, stylish, and beautiful, Suspiria is an experience not to be missed. You don’t have to like it, but even after all these years, this is a true nightmare of a horror movie waiting patiently to sneak into your brain.
Read more: The Suspiria remake is beautiful, brutal, and shocking
22. The Descent (2005)
The movie: If there was a dip in caving and bouldering trip attendance back in the mid-noughties, it’s probably the fault of Neil Marshall’s truly terrifying claustrophobic creature feature. Sarah’s friends want to make her feel better after the tragic death of her family so, instead of y’know, buying her some gin , they take her on a caving trip. Unfortunately, the movie wouldn’t be on this list if the six women were there to have a heartwarming, gently comedic adventure where they all grow as people. From the moment this lot lower themselves into the darkness below the Appalachian mountains, it’s very clear that getting back out into the light again isn’t going to be likely.
Why it’s scary: The claustrophobia of The Descent is horribly real. Before you even discover what’s lurking down there - with a night vision reveal so spectacular that it goes down in jump scare history - this cave system is stone horror. The women are experienced explorers but every shot of squeezing through tiny spaces as rubble gently falls, every huge cavern only lit in one tiny corner by their flares, and every step they take further into the abyss is heart-racing stuff. And this isn’t an unlikable crew of barely fleshed out American teens, pun intended, these characters and their complex relationships truly matter. This is beautifully grueling, not to mention empowering, filmmaking. Witness the UK ending of this cult classic and you’ll need more than a cheeky G&T to cheer you up afterward.
21. It Follows (2015)
The movie: Infection in horror movies is spread in many ways. A bite here, an injection of a transformational virus there. Hell, we’ve even had watching a video tape and having a ghost in real need of some conditioner come and get you seven days later. To add a new spin to things, the grim plodding nasty of It Follows comes to get you if you literally, well, do the nasty. While a 21st Century horror about a sexually transmitted horrific curse sounds like it should be driven off a cliff, It Follows is a truly terrifying experience. The horror is real as teenager Jay is plagued by ghosts no one else can see, slowly, endlessly walking towards her unless she ‘passes it on’. Proving just how good Jay’s friends are, they club together to take on the supernatural entity.
Why it’s scary: It Follows isn’t just scary. It’s chilling with jump scares that might mean you’ll need to remove yourself from your ceiling with a spatula. With an unsettlingly brilliant synth score from Disasterpiece - seriously, let’s put that in your headphones all day and see how it feels - Jay’s battle against those following her is shot in a way that never feels like you can settle. Like Jay, we can never relax, and while a scene might look peaceful, it never is. The most effective scares come from the relentlessness of these pursuers, dead-eyed, and unblinking with one mission. It Follows is a modern masterpiece.
20. An American Werewolf in London (1981)
The movie: Comedy horror is nothing new. The best horror movies have been walking that bloodied tightrope between making us laugh and making us scream for decades. An American Werewolf in London, from legendary comedy director John Landis, is a masterclass in this particular circus trick. David and Jack, two American backpackers - don’t worry, it’ll be one in a minute - find themselves wandering the Yorkshire moors after dark, and instead of staying safe in The Slaughtered Lamb pub, decide to continue their journey. The locals even tell them they’ll be fine if they just stick to the path…
Why it’s scary: When two become one and Jack brutally falls to a mysterious lupine predator on the moors, a bitten David is taken to hospital in London. Regardless of what this says about the NHS’s ability to deal with werewolf wounds, it means that when David sheds his human skin to become a creature of the night, there are plenty of iconic places for him to gorily slaughter his way through. Once you get over the first transformation sequence - a true CGI-free agonizing marvel of lengthening bones, hewing muscle, and popping joints - this human canine’s tensely directed jaunt through the London Underground will absolutely ruin your late-night travel plans. And, while you’ll get to stop to laugh at Jack’s zombified ghost repeatedly rocking up to tell David to end his own life, the horror here is very real as his relationship with his nurse girlfriend threatens to have the heart, quite literally, ripped out of it. A masterwork.
19. The Witch (2015)
The movie: Self-described as a 'New England folk tale' – although it’s more like a fairy tale from hell - Robert Eggers’ terrifying period drama follows a Puritan family after they are ejected from their colony. Screaming 'don’t do it' at the screen just doesn’t work as William (Ralph Ineson) takes his wife Katherine (Kate Dickie) and his five children into the deep, dark woods to survive alone on a farm. It’s not spoiling anything to say that it doesn’t go particularly well. Following Thomasin, the eldest daughter of the family played by Anya Taylor-Joy in her first credited role, we witness the tense unraveling of a dysfunctional family faced with the horrific prospect of an outside force staring out at them from the trees.
Why it’s scary: It’s love or hate time with this divisive movie, but lose yourself to The Witch and suddenly everything is scary and you can’t put your shaking finger on exactly why. Every perfectly constructed shot of the family attempting to survive in the wilderness is cranked into fear-ville with a constantly surprising hellish score of strings and vocals. This means that when true horror eventually does hit after a torturous slow burn of tension, it’s like Eggers has masterfully wired you in for shocks and you didn’t notice. From the unnerving skip and shrill voices of the young twins to the monstrous goat known only as Black Phillip, there is unique horror lurking in The Witch that just doesn't go away.
18. 28 Days Later (2002)
The movie: Let’s get the undead elephant out of the room first. Danny Boyle’s horror is a zombie movie. Yes, they can run, but it’s important to think of this horrible lot as part of the same family tree as Romero’s finest. Maybe they wouldn’t have Christmas dinner together but they’d at least send cards and maybe some gift cards for the necrotic kids. The important thing is, regardless of their speed, these zombies are still the destroyers of worlds. When Jim (Cillian Murphy) wakes up in a hospital bed - a lot like our friend Rick in The Walking Dead - he staggers out into an apocalyptic London that will never be the same again.
Why it’s scary: 28 Days Later feels like a nightmare. Complete with a quite often heartbreaking as well as heart-pounding soundtrack, this feels like the truest glimpse at the modern British apocalypse as Jim and his fellow survivors quest for safety in Scotland. The Infected are truly horrifying, survivors are suspicious, and the fallen British landscape is an impressive feat of cinematography. Throw in excellent performances from everyone involved and 28 Days Later is a gory feast for the eyes and the heart.
17. Candyman (1992)
The movie: The original Candyman film, based on horror writer Clive Barker’s short story The Forbidden, was a success upon release and subsequently gained a loyal following throughout the '90s thanks to its regular appearance at teen sleepovers as a VHS rental. Helen Lyle (Virginia Madsen) and her study buddy Bernadette Walsh (Kasi Lemmons) are researching folk tales and urban myths in Chicago, and land themselves in the midst of the Candyman legend - the only-too-real tale of a murdered enslaved man who haunts and terrorises the residents of a housing project with his hooked hand. Helen’s tenacity, slight white-saviour complex and likeness to Candyman’s old love see her become his new obsession… and then his victim.
Why it’s scary: Tony Todd’s titular Candyman lurks in the shadows and the subconscious of the project Cabrini-Green, and his imposing stature and deep lyrical voice catapulted him into modern horror monster cult status. The film is renowned for its beauty and its brutality, with evocative direction from Bernard Rose, a stunning score from Philip Glass, and visceral kills from its central character. Candyman is scary in all the best ways: it delivers gore and jump scares to test the most seasoned of horror fans, and the kind of tension that comes from a feeling of grim relentlessness and inevitability. In short, dare to say his name five times into a mirror and you and the people you love are doomed to die a horrible hooky death.
16. Get Out (2017)
The movie: Mid-20's photographer Chris is driving out to rural New York to meet his girlfriend's parents for the first time, but he's a little nervous. "Do they know I'm Black?" he tentatively asks Rose, but she's having none of it: "My Dad would have voted for Obama a third time if he could have!". Phew! What could possibly go wrong? Everything. Everything can go wrong, Chris. Turn back now. This isn't just going to be slightly socially awkward.
Why it's scary: Bubbling with resonant social commentary, layered with hard-hitting goosebumps, and sprinkled with uncompromising humor, Get Out is a modern horror masterpiece in every sense of the word. Not content with scaring you just for its 90-minute run-time, director Jordan Peele wants to draw your attention to the real frightening truths rooted deep in the identity politics of contemporary America, and his grand reveal is more horrific than any jump scare could ever hope to be.
15. The Wicker Man (1973)
The movie: If the above image doesn’t strike a sense of menace into your heart, it’s time to mainline Robin Hardy’s folk horror directly into your eyes. No, The Wicker Man isn’t just about reaction gifs and mocking the bee-packed Nicolas Cage remake. If nothing else, watching Edward Woodward’s journey to Summerisle is essential background reading for the 21st Century spate of rural scary movies. The ideal accompaniment for the modern nastiness of Ari Aster’s Midsommar or Ben Wheatley’s Kill List, The Wickerman’s appeal is in its sheer terrifying simplicity. Policeman goes to island on the hunt for a missing girl. Policeman discovers all is not what it seems. Oh, and indeed, dear.
Why it’s scary: It’s a horror message that we’re all quite used to by now but humans being the real monsters never seems to get old. The inhabitants of Summerisle might seem somewhat comedic and there are more than a few moments of genuine humor in here, but The Wicker Man is fuel for your trust issues. Why should you truly believe what anyone says? How can you actually go to sleep in a world full of human beings? The fear of the unknown is potent as Woodward’s Neil Howie blunders into a world with its own set of rules and beliefs. And, if you have managed to somehow not know how it ends, the reveal is still absolutely devastating.
14. Psycho (1960)
The movie: Alfred Hitchcock’s proto-slasher classic is now over 60 years old and still packs the sort of punch that elevates horror films into the realms of cinematic legend. In case you don’t know, Psycho follows Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) as she goes on the run after stealing a shedload of money from her boss, ending up at a motel run by the unassuming Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) and his domineering mother. What unfolds is a shocking story of identity and murder, with some of the most iconic sequences in film history playing out in beautiful black and white under Hitchcock’s inspired watchful eye.
Why it’s scary: Well… there’s that shower scene for starters. Not to mention the sort of tension only Alfred Hitchcock - the Master of Suspense - can conjure in that certain way he did, making it look so easy but which was actually the kind of illusive genius that made him a household name. Scenes of voyeurism are characteristically played out for both Norman and the audience, creating an atmosphere of impending doom, and genuinely chilling moments of frenzied stabbing from the movie’s killer (no spoilers here, no matter how long it’s been around) make the blood run cold... especially down a certain famous plughole. Set all this to Bernard Herrmann’s sublime score of screeching strings, and you’ve got something truly special that’s not to be missed by any fan of horror or cinema.
13. Halloween (1978)
The movie: Who'd have thought an old Star Trek mask could be so terrifying? Director John Carpenter created a modern classic when he gave his villain a blank William Shatner mask to wear while he stalks babysitters around the fictional town of Haddonfield, Illinois. The movie created another icon, too, in Jamie-Leigh Curtis, who'd become both a scream queen in her own right, and the template for all final girls to follow. Who cares if the first scene makes no sense? This is a movie that starts with a child-murdering his sister while wearing a clown mask and if that's not scary, you need your horror fan status revoked immediately.
Why it's scary: Pretty much the original stalk-and-slash, Halloween set standards that have rarely been matched. Carpenter composes his shots to keep you constantly guessing, blending both claustrophobia and fearful exposure, often at the same time, to create a deeply uneasy sense of vulnerability wherever you are and whatever is happening. Also, that soundtrack. Composed by Carpenter himself. There is a reason that pounding doom-synth is still the soundtrack for oppressive horror. As a great follow up too, get the 2018 sequel into your eyes. The new Halloween removes all those messy other sequels and does a perfect job of showing the real trauma of growing up as a victim of The Shape himself.
Read more: The best Halloween movies rewatched, reviewed, and ranked
12. Alien (1979)
The movie: Arguably one of the greatest science fiction movies ever made also just happens to be one of the greatest horror movies too. It doesn't seem fair, does it? The original Alien from Ridley Scott sends the crew of the Nostromo to investigate a distress call from an abandoned alien spaceship as innocently as any gang of hormonal teenagers headed off to a remote cabin in the woods. And, just like those teenagers, not many of them are going to survive to tell the tale. Sigourney Weaver makes for the ultimate Final Girl here.
Why it's scary: There's nowhere more horribly isolated than a spaceship light years away from home and Giger's alien is as terrifying a monster as you could wish for. The dread goes much deeper than teeth and claws though. This creature represents a multilayered, bottomless pit of psychosexual horror, its very form praying on a raft of primal terrors. Plus, the visual ambiguity of Scott's direction during the final act is an absolute masterclass in 'What's that in the shadows?' tension. Ignore the recent xenomorph-packed movies, turn off the lights and watch this and Aliens to reignite your passion for the true horror of Scott's vision.
11. The Omen (1976)
The movie: At the sixth hour of the sixth day of the sixth month (get it?), a certain baby was born who would change the world forever. And not just within the world of The Omen. Damian is the ultimate evil kid - the spawn of Satan himself - and he’s here to wreak havoc on the lives of his ‘adoptive’ parents, the Thorns (played masterfully by Gregory Peck and Lee Remick) and everyone around them, including David Warner’s photographer-cum-buddy-cop Jennings. So exemplary is this creepy child that he has become the go-to reference for all little “Damians” going forward.
Why it’s scary: Richard Donner’s The Omen is a masterclass in quality horror filmmaking but don’t let that put you off, horror fans - there’s plenty of shock and schlock to be had here too. As Damian unleashes his dastardly plans on the world around him, people are hanged, shot, decapitated, defenestrated, impaled, savaged by rottweilers and a sinister nanny - the lot. But perhaps what is most scary about this occult offering is the sense of inescapability that runs through the frightening deaths that pepper the film - if Damian has you in his sights, there’s very little you can do to outrun your fate.
10. Hereditary (2018)
The movie: Home is where the heart is. It’s also where the worst horror lives, hiding just beneath the surface of the perfect family life. A harrowed Toni Collette leads Ari Aster’s very first (!) feature film as the mother of a grieving family. The death of her own mother has sent shockwaves through their home and, to keep this review spoiler-free, the future isn’t looking exactly, errr, bright either.
Why it’s scary: It’s fair to say that at no point does Hereditary feel safe. Nowhere during its two-hour run time do you feel like you can stop and take a breath, or even make a guess as to what’s coming next. Is this a supernatural movie? Is this an exercise in grief, similar to the Babadook? Is there even a difference between these two ideas? Every shot of Collette’s artist painstakingly creating miniature dioramas feels like a threat and every awkward conversation between the two teenagers of the family leaves a sickening feeling in the pit of your stomach. Why? There's no putting your finger on the exact reason. It might have split cinema audiences but Hereditary is a tour de force of modern horror that will leave you reeling long after its grueling third act. We’re just not going to tell you why .
Read more: Intelligent, emotional, and terrifying, Hereditary is near-perfect horror.
9. Scream (1996)
The movie: By the late '90s, horror was looking a little tired. The masked slasher trope was staggering along in a dire need of a cup of very strong espresso. What it got instead was Wes Craven’s Scream which, despite being parodied into Inception levels of postmodern irony since, reinvigorated the genre with its perfect blend of knowing comedy and scares. Neve Campbell, Rose McGowan, and Drew Barrymore as teenagers talking fluent horror movie while being picked off by a genre-obsessed serial killer? Oh, go on… Add in Courtney Cox - at the giddy heights of Friends fame - as intrepid news reporter Gale Weathers and Scream is a modern horror classic.
Why it’s scary: Just because something is self-referential doesn’t mean it can’t be truly terrifying. The Scream mask, based on Munch’s painting, might have been twisted into stoned bliss by Scary Movie , but it still manages to unsettle and thrill. Scream’s scares remain unpredictable too. Victims fall to this slasher’s knife with disturbing regularity and as we grow attached to our genuinely likable quipping heroes, the end game becomes all the more stressful as we wonder who will survive to the credits. Craven’s Nightmare on Elm Street scare talents guarantee terror all the way to the end. Why don't you, liver alone , eh?
8. Jaws (1975)
The movie: Before Jurassic Park , before ET , and an eternity before the majority of the cast of Ready Player One were brought screaming into existence, there was Jaws, Steven Spielberg’s toothy horror. And yes, this is a horror movie. Jaws, one of the original blockbusters on account of the number of people literally queuing round the block only to flee the cinema in terror, is horrifying. It doesn’t matter that the shark looks a little ropey now when he gets up close and personal, the story of Amity Island’s gory summer season as Chief Brody desperately tries to keep swimmers out of the water is the stuff of horror legend. And, let’s face it, you’re already humming the score.
Why it’s scary: The reason that Jaws haunts you long after the credits roll is simple. One viewing and this particularly vindictive shark can potentially ruin every trip to the seaside. Every gentle paddle as waves lap at your toes. Every skinny dip. Every precarious trip out onto the ocean wave on anything smaller than the Titanic. Spielberg doesn’t pull any punches either. Dogs die, children die, heads float out of sunken boats. No one is guaranteed to see the credits here, especially not the three men who head out to sea to slay the beast. With legendary performances and a monster that will never leave you, Jaws is the ultimate creature feature.
Read more: 11 big dumb shark movies to guarantee you'll never go swimming again
7. Ringu (1998)
The movie: In the late ‘90s and early ‘00s, a rash of J-horror films came out of Japan to scare the bejeezus out of audiences, and perhaps none so notable or influential as Hideo Nakata’s Ringu. Journalist Reiko Asakawa and her ex-husband Ryuji investigate the mysterious death of Reiko’s niece, a highschooler who died one week after watching a notorious video tape linked to an urban legend that appears to be petrifyingly true and now threatens the couple’s son. They uncover the story of Sadako, a young girl with deadly psychic powers and her unfortunate demise, and seek to bring peace to her memory before it’s too late. The VHS technology may seem a little dated in the age of digital streaming, but there’s nothing out-of-touch about the fear generated by Nakata’s incendiary horror filmmaking.
Why it’s scary: Oh we don’t know. Maybe there’s nothing scary about the relentless ringing of a telephone that means you’ve only got seven days to live, haunted video tapes showing surreal footage that leads to people being literally terrified to death, the idea that you have to pass on the curse to someone else or die, or lank black haired ghost girls crawling their way out of deserted wells… maybe it’s just us.
6. The Blair Witch Project (1999)
The movie: Ever wondered why no one’s out camping in the woods these days? It’s not that millennials really need to be within one hundred feet of a charging point at all times, it’s just the fact that a full generation of us saw The Blair Witch Project in our early teens and we just really like to sleep inside now. This now almost mythical, found footage horror follows three young documentary makers as they journey to Burkittsville in Maryland. Heather, Mike, and Josh start off interviewing the locals about the local legend of The Blair Witch, a particularly nasty tale you’d hope was just to keep children eating their veggies, before heading into the woods where the witch apparently resides. Given that all that’s ever been found are these tapes, there's not exactly a happy ending.
Why it’s scary: What’s waiting for Heather and co in the woods is terrifying enough, as strange noises drift through the trees and they descend into a directionless spiral of madness and anger, but what’s equally scary about The Blair Witch Project is the perfect blurring of reality and fiction. This is Heather Donahue, Michael Williams, and Joshua Leonard. These actors were sent out into the woods and their horrifying ordeal is thanks to the filmmaker's insistence on mentally torturing them every night. Released in 1999 and reigniting the popularity of the now horror staple found footage genre, the movie’s marketing even touted it as real. Every wobbly shot, every scream, and every stick figure that the three find are there to tell your brain that these people really went into the woods and never came back. Oh, and the ending is like being punched in the gut by nightmares.
5. The Silence Of The Lambs (1991)
The movie: Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins star in this horror - yes horror - film about a young FBI agent hunting serial killer Buffalo Bill (Ted Levine) and the incarcerated cannibal brought on to assist her. Jonathan Demme’s film won ‘the big five’ prizes at that year’s Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Adapted Screenplay, and gave licence to an audience who wouldn’t normally gravitate towards horror movies to delve into the scary underbelly of cinema’s darker side. In turn, novelist Robert Harris’ character of Hannibal Lector became one of film’s most recognisable villains under the assured - and deliciously camp - steer of Hopkins’ teeth-gnashing performance, and we were given one of our strongest and most compelling female leads with Foster’s Clarice Starling.
Why it’s scary: Moments of sickening violence intersperse with strong procedural storytelling to create a truly nail biting experience. Lector is a man beyond us - a genius who can outthink, outfight and outrun those entrusted with keeping us safe. Add in Levine’s Buffalo Bill, a beast of a man intent on making himself a human suit, and characters we care about not becoming bloated corpses with their skin flayed off, and you’ve got a serial killer shocker for the ages. Not to mention that to this day, a denouement in a pitch black basement, soundtracked by the desperate cries of a kidnapped woman, is one of the most terror-stricken - and cathartic - sequences in horror cinema.
4. The Shining (1980)
The movie: Even if you haven’t watched Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece, you’ll know of The Shining. You’ll know Jack Nicholson’s (apparently ad-libbed) "Heeeeeeeere’s Johnny" and you might even be aware that if you’re handed the keys to room 237 in a hotel, you might want to switch it for another suite. But what if you haven’t? What if you have been snowed up in a mysterious hotel with only hedge animals for company? Well, The Shining follows a man and his family as he takes on the role of winter caretaker at a resort hotel known as The Overlook. Given that this is a Stephen King adaptation (albeit one that that horror author hates so much that he made his own movie), the winter months don’t go well. The Overlook Hotel, it turns out, doesn’t really like people.
Why it’s scary: There's a reason that this is the top of this veritable pile of screams. The Shining feels evil. From Jack Nicholson’s deranged performance as a man descending into murderous insanity to Kubrick’s relentless direction as we hypnotically follow Danny navigating the hotel corridors on his trike, this is a movie that never lets you feel safe. Like Hereditary earlier in this list, The Shining is like being driven by a drunk mad man. What’s coming next? Lifts of blood? Chopped up little girls? The terror that lurks in the bath of room 237? This is not a horror movie made of boo scares or cheap tricks, Kubrick’s film is a lurking, dangerous beast that stays with you long after your TV has gone dark.
3. The Thing (1982)
The movie: Perhaps you’ve been buried in snow and have missed John Carpenter’s ultimate creature feature. Entirely understandable. Why don’t you come closer to the fire and defrost? The title might sound hokey but The Thing remains one of the most gloriously splattery and tense horrors of all time as a group of Americans at an Antarctic research station - including Kurt Russell’s R.J MacReady - take on an alien, well, thing that infects blood . It might start off taking out the canine companions, but it really doesn’t stop there.
Why it’s scary: The Thing is a movie of physicality. There’s intense paranoia and horror sprinkled in as the party begins to fall apart as the infection spreads but it’s the very real, oh-so-touchable nature of the nasties at work here that’s so disturbing. The practical effects - the responsibility of a young Rob Bottin and uncredited Stan Winston - are the true stars as arms are eaten by chests, decapitated heads sprout legs, and bodies are elongated and stretched. The macabre vision of these murderous monsters at work is never anything less than true nightmare fuel.
2. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
The movie: Some movie titles are vague, letting you gradually work out their meaning as the narrative slowly unfurls in front of your eyes like a delicate flower in tea. Then there’s Tobe Hooper’s grim, sweaty horror movie. There is nothing delicate here. Its titular weapon needs to be sharp but The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is a blunt instrument of horror. This is a tour de force of violence as five young people leave the safety of the world behind and journey into dusty Americana. What they find in one house when they innocently enter looking for gas is such death and depravity that the movie is still, decades on, a disturbing endurance test.
Why it’s scary: The funny - and there is humor here, it’s just not there on the first watch - thing about the Texas Chain Saw Massacre is that there’s actually very little blood. There’s the iconic Leatherface, inspired by Ed Gein in his fleshy face covering, and a death scene involving a hook that will make you look down and check your body is still there, but very little viscera. Gore is something that your brain mentally splashes everywhere to try and deal with the horror on screen here, to cope with the screams of pure terror and iconic disturbing soundtrack. It’s suffered plenty of clones over the years, not to mention a Michael Bay-produced glossy cash cow remake, but nothing can replicate the sheer desperation and violent honesty of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. It would almost be dangerous to try.
Read more: The real Texas Chain Saw Massacre – how a '50s grave-robber inspired a horror classic
1. The Exorcist (1973)
The movie: And here we are. It almost feels predictable that William Friedkin’s masterpiece, now in its 50th year, is still looming near the top of so many horror features. But watch The Exorcist and you’ll understand why. This is the tale of Regan, the daughter of a successful movie actress who one day occupies herself in the basement by playing with an ouija board. If you have ever wondered why your parents don’t want you playing with this innocuous-looking toy, a young Linda Blair probably has something to do with it. Using the ouija board as gateway, an unwelcome guest takes root in the little girl and the rest, as the titular exorcist arrives, is cinema history.
Why it’s scary: Much like The Shining, The Exorcist is not safe. Unpredictable, visceral, and primeval, this is a movie based on the simplest of premises but even in its happiest moments, is absolutely anxiety-inducing. With a now near-mythical production, William Friedkin’s relentlessness for ‘authenticity’ meant his actors were frozen in a refrigerated bedroom, physically pulled across sets to replicate the demon’s physical prowess, and, of course, splattered with warm pea soup. The result is a horror movie that you’ll probably never say you actively enjoy, but will find yourself rewatching, just to feel the sheer terror of Friedkin’s battle of good vs evil in all its disturbing glory once again.
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Louise Blain is a journalist and broadcaster specialising in gaming, technology, and entertainment. She is the presenter of BBC Radio 3’s monthly Sound of Gaming show and has a weekly consumer tech slot on BBC Radio Scotland. She can also be found on BBC Radio 4, BBC Five Live, Netflix UK's YouTube Channel, and on The Evolution of Horror podcast. As well as her work on GamesRadar, Louise writes for NME, T3, and TechRadar. When she’s not working, you can probably find her watching horror movies or playing an Assassin’s Creed game and getting distracted by Photo Mode.
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The 200 Best Horror Movies of All Time
The wind forces open the curtained window. Candles snuff out in darkness. And a shiver cascades down your spine. Nope, it’s not just your imagination. Something is stalking on your screen, primed to to kill all your free time: The big, boo-tiful list of Rotten Tomatoes’ 200 Best Horror Movies of All Time!
The wonders of seeing the unknown has always been the luring temptation of movies, and so horror feels especially close to this medium, a genre that exposes audiences to beyond normal, and into death. So we’re pulling from 100 years of movie history, from those early days of German expressionism ( Nosferatu , The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari ) and Universal monsters ( Dracula , The Wolf Man ). Creature features ( King Kong , The Fly ) nestle with Best Picture nominees ( The Exorcist , Get Out ). Slashers ( Scream ), zombies ( Dawn of the Dead ), vampires ( Let the Right One In ) abound with terror of the more psychological persuasion ( Don’t Look Now , The Innocents ). Or so it would seem.
And we honor the recent stabs and strides made by female horror directors ( A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night , The Babadook , The Invitation ) and directors abroad ( Under the Shadow , The Wailing ). Each of these best scary movies thrown into our bubbling cauldron had to have at least 20 reviews with a Fresh rating, before being sorted by our ranking formula, which accounts for a movie’s number of reviews and year of release.
New additions for this year’s update include His House and Candyman , and classics like Dario Argento’s Creepers creepin’ in.
Ready to settle in for dark nights of Fresh fear? Then flip the switch on The 200 Best Horror Movies of All Time…it’s alive! It’s alive!!
A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987) 68%
Phenomena (1985) 74%
Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992) 78%
Hellraiser (1987) 70%
It's Alive (1974) 67%
Jacob's Ladder (1990) 72%
Open Water (2003) 71%
The Mist (2007) 73%
The Ring (2002) 71%
Phantasm (1979) 75%
Frailty (2002) 75%
Dog Soldiers (2002) 81%
Basket Case (1982) 77%
Eden Lake (2008) 80%
Candyman (1992) 79%
Oculus (2013) 75%
Land of the Dead (2005) 74%
Night of the Comet (1984) 79%
Wes Craven's New Nightmare (1994) 79%
Trick 'r Treat (2007) 82%
The Lost Boys (1987) 77%
The Lodge (2019) 75%
Scream (1996) 81%
Southbound (2015) 81%
Lights Out (2016) 75%
The Platform (2019) 80%
The Brood (1979) 81%
The Cat o' Nine Tails (1971) 81%
Mute Witness (1995) 83%
You're Next (2011) 80%
Videodrome (1983) 81%
Thirst (2009) 81%
Audition (1999) 83%
Dead Ringers (1988) 85%
Scream 2 (1997) 82%
1408 (2007) 80%
A Tale of Two Sisters (2003) 86%
Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016) 83%
Pontypool (2008) 84%
The Shallows (2016) 78%
Shadow of the Vampire (2000) 81%
The House of the Devil (2009) 85%
Tucker & Dale vs Evil (2010) 85%
Dracula: Pages From a Virgin's Diary (2002) 87%
The Others (2001) 84%
Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954) 80%
Tremors (1990) 88%
Creep (2014) 91%
Carnival of Souls (1962) 87%
Rec (2007) 90%
Paranormal Activity (2007) 83%
The Conjuring 2 (2016) 80%
Ginger Snaps (2000) 90%
Goodnight Mommy (2014) 85%
Julia's Eyes (2010) 90%
Sisters (1973) 85%
Cargo (2017) 87%
Slither (2006) 87%
House on Haunted Hill (1959) 79%
Poltergeist (1982) 88%
The Girl With All the Gifts (2016) 86%
The Thing (1982) 85%
Dead Alive (1992) 89%
Freaks (2018) 88%
The Tenant (1976) 83%
The Descent (2005) 87%
Better Watch Out (2016) 89%
An American Werewolf in London (1981) 89%
Doctor Sleep (2019) 78%
The Omen (1976) 84%
Creepy (2016) 91%
Come to Daddy (2019) 88%
Crawl (2019) 84%
The Exorcist (1973) 78%
The Invitation (2015) 89%
Hounds of Love (2016) 88%
1922 (2017) 92%
The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971) 88%
Martin (1978) 90%
House (1977) 90%
Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986) 89%
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010) 89%
Candyman (2021) 84%
The Orphanage (2007) 87%
The Dead Zone (1983) 89%
Bone Tomahawk (2015) 91%
Duel (1971) 89%
House of Usher (1960) 84%
The Blair Witch Project (1999) 86%
The Devil's Candy (2015) 93%
Gerald's Game (2017) 91%
28 Days Later (2002) 87%
Prevenge (2016) 91%
Demon (2015) 92%
Horror of Dracula (1958) 91%
Fright Night (1985) 82%
The Wicker Man (1973) 90%
Nina Forever (2015) 93%
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) 89%
The Conjuring (2013) 86%
Misery (1990) 91%
Village of the Damned (1960) 93%
Color Out of Space (2019) 86%
Let Me In (2010) 88%
Halloween (2018) 79%
Theater of Blood (1973) 88%
Attack the Block (2011) 91%
Eraserhead (1977) 90%
The Devil's Backbone (2001) 93%
Housebound (2014) 96%
We Are Still Here (2015) 95%
The Bird With the Crystal Plumage (1970) 85%
The Phantom of the Opera (1925) 90%
The Wolf Man (1941) 91%
Dawn of the Dead (1978) 93%
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931) 91%
Shaun of the Dead (2004) 92%
The Endless (2017) 92%
Don't Breathe (2016) 88%
Re-Animator (1985) 94%
Zombieland (2009) 89%
It Comes at Night (2017) 88%
The Shining (1980) 83%
Dracula (1931) 94%
Deep Red (1975) 93%
The Fly (1986) 93%
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) 95%
The Mummy (1932) 89%
The Host (2006) 93%
The Cat and the Canary (1927) 93%
Train to Busan (2016) 95%
Island of Lost Souls (1933) 88%
Revenge (2017) 93%
Suspiria (1977) 94%
The Ring (1998) 98%
I Walked With a Zombie (1943) 85%
The Love Witch (2016) 95%
Harpoon (2019) 97%
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) 93%
The Innocents (1961) 95%
The Loved Ones (2009) 98%
Evil Dead 2 (1987) 88%
Raw (2016) 93%
The Evil Dead (1981) 86%
La llorona (2019) 96%
Nosferatu (1979) 95%
Creep 2 (2017) 100%
Green Room (2015) 90%
Carrie (1976) 93%
Midsommar (2019) 83%
The Fly (1958) 95%
House of Wax (1953) 93%
Drag Me to Hell (2009) 92%
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014) 96%
His House (2020) 100%
Ready or Not (2019) 89%
Tigers Are Not Afraid (2017) 97%
Mandy (2018) 91%
It (2017) 86%
Don't Look Now (1973) 93%
Cat People (1942) 92%
The Birds (1963) 94%
The Wailing (2016) 99%
Dead of Night (1945) 93%
Under the Shadow (2016) 99%
Host (2020) 99%
10 Cloverfield Lane (2016) 90%
Peeping Tom (1960) 95%
The Witch (2015) 90%
The Cabin in the Woods (2011) 92%
Repulsion (1965) 95%
Eyes Without a Face (1960) 97%
Rosemary's Baby (1968) 96%
Halloween (1978) 96%
The Silence of the Lambs (1991) 95%
The Invisible Man (1933) 94%
Aliens (1986) 98%
Night of the Living Dead (1968) 95%
Freaks (1932) 95%
It Follows (2014) 95%
Let the Right One In (2008) 98%
Hereditary (2018) 90%
Vampyr (1932) 98%
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) 98%
The Lighthouse (2019) 90%
Frankenstein (1931) 94%
The Babadook (2014) 98%
Jaws (1975) 97%
Bride of Frankenstein (1935) 98%
A Quiet Place (2018) 96%
The Invisible Man (2020) 92%
The Night of the Hunter (1955) 93%
Nosferatu (1922) 97%
King Kong (1933) 97%
Alien (1979) 98%
Us (2019) 93%
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919) 96%
Get Out (2017) 98%
Psycho (1960) 97%
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The Most Haunted Movies in Hollywood History
Josh winning on haunted film sets, cursed productions, and a different kind of hollywood myth-making..
For almost as long as Hollywood has existed, there have been stories about cursed movie productions. From the freaky weather that threatened to derail The Omen (1976), to the fires that ravaged the sets of The Exorcist (1973), to the tragic deaths of some the Poltergeist (1982) cast, stories of “haunted” films have become legendary. Sometimes, those stories are even more famous than the films themselves.
It’s a fantastically Hollywood phenomenon. Tinseltown is, after all, a place where stories come to life, and there’s something tantalizing about the idea that the filmmaking process can summon a kind of magical energy that spills into the real world, reshaping it in its own image — like when Freddy Krueger crosses over into “reality” in Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994).
If you want to find any kind of origin to the madness, you’ll have to go back to July 1924. That’s when Universal Pictures began constructing Stage 28 on its lot in Los Angeles. The 21,000 sq ft stage was built to house the enormous sets for The Phantom of the Opera (1925), including the extravagant opera house at the heart of the story. Tragedy struck when, during filming, an electrician fell from the catwalks above and died.
The set would go on to double for the Royal Albert Hall in Dracula (1931), and Stage 28 also housed Frankenstein’s laboratory for The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) and the Bates Motel for Psycho (1960). Workers routinely reported sightings of a ghost on the sound stage over the years before its demolition in 2014, although it’s telling that most claimed they saw the ghost of Lon Chaney, star of The Phantom of the Opera , rather than the unfortunate electrician who died.
Of course, the horror genre is overflowing with these stories. Now, the concept of a “haunted movie” is so well-known, it has become a PR angle itself. There will always be a filmmaker trying to convince you that weird things happened during the making of their horror movie. Everybody from Ti West ( The Innkeepers ) to James Wan ( Insidious, The Conjuring ) has talked about lights going off, strange feelings in certain rooms, and cast members waking up in the middle of the night, certain they’re not alone in their hotel room.
The stories I find most interesting are the ones that are harmlessly silly — such as the long-held belief that you can glimpse a ghost kid in Three Men and a Baby (1987) — and the stories that are pre-internet. Films such as Apocalypse Now (1979) and Fitzcarraldo (1982) already belong to another age, and their behind-the-scenes tales have become their own kind of ghost story, passed down through generations of horror fans who, like me, were raised by Blockbuster and Roger Ebert. Impossible to fact check. Chilling in their timelessness.
You probably know about The Wizard of Oz (1939) and the theory that a hanged “munchkin” can be glimpsed in the background of one scene (that one’s definitely fake, by the way). But that legend looks positively quaint next to a grisly subset of the cursed movie phenomenon that emerged in the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s. Films like The Exorcist, The Omen and, in particular, Poltergeist , became renowned for their troubled productions, in which cast and crew members died in tragic circumstances.
On The Omen alone, there’s the story about Gregory Peck’s plane being struck by lightning, the stuntman who was attacked by Rottweilers for real, and the awful car wreck that claimed the lives of the special effects director and his assistant. Meanwhile, Poltergeist is famous for the deaths of its cast, including young Heather O’Rourke, who died from septic shock aged just 12.
Claims that these people fell victim to a “curse” can feel spectacularly tone deaf, and continued interest in the stories could be categorized as “ghoulish” at best, “bad taste” at worst. After all, real people lost their lives. What is interesting, though, is just why audiences want to believe an otherworldly force was responsible. Could it be that it gives them an explanation for the inexplicable? That it restores their sense of order and control in a chaotic world? It makes me think about that episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer where Andrew (Tom Lenk) keeps making up stories in order to cope with a personal trauma. Human beings want nothing more than to feel in control.
Whatever the truth behind these stories, they provide a fascinating insight into Hollywood’s unnerving knack for self-mythologizing. Meanwhile, interest in them shows no sign of waning. An entire streaming series has been made on the topic ( Cursed Films , available on Shudder), and books about cursed movie productions are on the rise — my own tip of the hat is Burn the Negative (Putnam), which is about a journalist who visits the set of a streaming horror series, only to discover that it’s a remake of the cursed 1993 horror film she starred in as a child. Naturally, it all then goes horrifically wrong.
For what it’s worth, my belief is that these stories function as an extension of the movies themselves — they prolong the movie experience and provide fans with something to pore and puzzle over, long after the credits have rolled. They keep the movie alive. That excited feeling of fear and unease only magnifies if we believe that, somehow, the horror films we love are living entities themselves, capable of reaching out and touching not only the real world, but us, too.
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Scariest Most Terrifying Horror Movies
This is not a list of the best horror movies, although you will find some of the best here. Its a list of the scariest, most terrifying horror movies to find. I understand that what makes us scared is a rather subjective thing, but I feel that this list is a good representation of what terrifies us in general. I am excluding comedy horror. All these movies have a nice balance of creepy atmosphere, suspense, terror and well placed jump scares, for the most part anyway. These movies are best watched with a good sound system or head phones, in the dark, preferably around midnight.
- Movies or TV
- IMDb Rating
- In Theaters
- Release Year
1. A Quiet Place (2018)
PG-13 | 90 min | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi
A family struggles for survival in a world where most humans have been killed by blind but noise-sensitive creatures. They are forced to communicate in sign language to keep the creatures at bay.
Director: John Krasinski | Stars: Emily Blunt , John Krasinski , Millicent Simmonds , Noah Jupe
Votes: 564,340 | Gross: $188.02M
A family surviving in a post apocalyptic world full of unknown creatures. The less you know going in , the better. You can pretty much apply every horror description to this film, and easily conquers each one... "quietly" of course. Well acted and paced, with some of the best use of sound I have ever heard in any movie. A good sound system or headphone is highly recommended. I like to think of this as the unofficial ASMR film of horror.
2. The Exorcist (1973)
R | 122 min | Horror
When a young girl is possessed by a mysterious entity, her mother seeks the help of two Catholic priests to save her life.
Director: William Friedkin | Stars: Ellen Burstyn , Max von Sydow , Linda Blair , Lee J. Cobb
Votes: 438,240 | Gross: $232.91M
Absolute classic, and pretty much the best possession film, ever. You don't have to be a believer of the devil to appreciate the horror in this film. Its creepy and deceptively disturbing. This film has aged incredibly well, considering it came out about 45 years ago
3. The Shining (1980)
R | 146 min | Drama, Horror
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: 1,074,446 | Gross: $44.02M
In my opinion, Stanley Kubricks best work. An unsettling examination of paranoia and mental degradation, all presented within the murderous past of an isolated hotel. Some of the imagery in this film is horrifying and will stick with you.
4. Alien (1979)
R | 117 min | Horror, Sci-Fi
The crew of a commercial spacecraft encounters a deadly lifeform after investigating an unknown transmission.
Director: Ridley Scott | Stars: Sigourney Weaver , Tom Skerritt , John Hurt , Veronica Cartwright
Votes: 922,833 | Gross: $78.90M
Probably the scariest film in this list to take place in space. The movie uses the cold bleakness of space and isolation to great effect. That being said, the real threat of the Xenomorph is what truly brings the terror.
5. The Thing (1982)
16+ | 109 min | Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi
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: 449,876 | Gross: $13.78M
Probably the goriest movie in this list, but don't let that fool you. Despite the gore, its not its defining feature, but rather adds to it. What truly make's this terrifying are the monstrosties that are formed and the impressive practical effects used throughout the film making it all more convincing. The isolation and paranoia of the characters also adds to it.
6. The Sixth Sense (1999)
PG-13 | 107 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Malcolm Crowe, a child psychologist, starts treating a young boy, Cole, who encounters dead people and convinces him to help them. In turn, Cole helps Malcolm reconcile with his estranged wife.
Director: M. Night Shyamalan | Stars: Bruce Willis , Haley Joel Osment , Toni Collette , Olivia Williams
Votes: 1,027,228 | Gross: $293.51M
7. Halloween (1978)
R | 91 min | Horror, Thriller
Fifteen years after murdering his sister on Halloween night 1963, Michael Myers escapes from a mental hospital and returns to the small town of Haddonfield, Illinois to kill again.
Director: John Carpenter | Stars: Donald Pleasence , Jamie Lee Curtis , Tony Moran , Nancy Kyes
Votes: 295,807 | Gross: $47.00M
I always find Slashers more fun and schlocky compared to other horror genres, but Halloween manages to feel real, with great sound, atmosphere and sheer terror.
8. Jaws (1975)
PG | 124 min | Adventure, Mystery, Thriller
When a killer shark unleashes chaos on a beach community off Cape Cod, it's up to a local sheriff, a marine biologist, and an old seafarer to hunt the beast down.
Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Roy Scheider , Robert Shaw , Richard Dreyfuss , Lorraine Gary
Votes: 642,351 | Gross: $260.00M
Its not a true horror movie per se, but the film is suspenseful, creepy with a couple of good scares. Tell me you haven't looked around in paranoia while in the water at the beach.
9. Get Out (I) (2017)
R | 104 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller
A young African-American visits his White girlfriend's parents for the weekend, where his simmering uneasiness about their reception of him eventually reaches a boiling point.
Director: Jordan Peele | Stars: Daniel Kaluuya , Allison Williams , Bradley Whitford , Catherine Keener
Votes: 661,829 | Gross: $176.04M
10. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
R | 83 min | Horror
Five friends head out to rural Texas to visit the grave of a grandfather. On the way they stumble across what appears to be a deserted house, only to discover something sinister within. Something armed with a chainsaw.
Director: Tobe Hooper | Stars: Marilyn Burns , Edwin Neal , Allen Danziger , Paul A. Partain
Votes: 176,855 | Gross: $30.86M
11. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
R | 91 min | Horror
Teenager Nancy Thompson must uncover the dark truth concealed by her parents after she and her friends become targets of the spirit of a serial killer with a bladed glove in their dreams, in which if they die, it kills them in real life.
Director: Wes Craven | Stars: Heather Langenkamp , Johnny Depp , Robert Englund , John Saxon
Votes: 254,679 | Gross: $25.50M
12. The Conjuring (2013)
R | 112 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren work to help a family terrorized by a dark presence in their farmhouse.
Director: James Wan | Stars: Patrick Wilson , Vera Farmiga , Ron Livingston , Lili Taylor
Votes: 539,277 | Gross: $137.40M
13. The Orphanage (2007)
R | 105 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery
A woman brings her family back to her childhood home, which used to be an orphanage for handicapped children. Before long, her son starts to communicate with an invisible new friend.
Director: J.A. Bayona | Stars: Belén Rueda , Fernando Cayo , Roger Príncep , Mabel Rivera
Votes: 161,175 | Gross: $7.16M
14. 28 Days Later (2002)
R | 113 min | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi
Four weeks after a mysterious, incurable virus spreads throughout the UK, a handful of survivors try to find sanctuary.
Director: Danny Boyle | Stars: Cillian Murphy , Naomie Harris , Christopher Eccleston , Alex Palmer
Votes: 432,878 | Gross: $45.06M
15. Insidious (I) (2010)
PG-13 | 103 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller
A family looks to prevent evil spirits from trapping their comatose child in a realm called The Further.
Director: James Wan | Stars: Patrick Wilson , Rose Byrne , Ty Simpkins , Lin Shaye
Votes: 330,820 | Gross: $54.01M
16. Hereditary (2018)
R | 127 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery
A grieving family is haunted by tragic and disturbing occurrences.
Director: Ari Aster | Stars: Toni Collette , Milly Shapiro , Gabriel Byrne , Alex Wolff
Votes: 356,837 | Gross: $44.07M
17. The Taking of Deborah Logan (2014)
R | 90 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller
An elderly woman battling Alzheimer's disease agrees to let a film crew document her condition, but what they discover is something far more sinister going on.
Director: Adam Robitel | Stars: Jill Larson , Anne Ramsay , Michelle Ang , Brett Gentile
Original concept, great acting and some truly disturbing moments. Keeps you guessing till the end.
18. Poltergeist (1982)
PG | 114 min | Horror, Thriller
A family's home is haunted by a host of demonic ghosts.
Director: Tobe Hooper | Stars: JoBeth Williams , Heather O'Rourke , Craig T. Nelson , Beatrice Straight
Votes: 174,318 | Gross: $76.61M
19. It (I) (2017)
R | 135 min | Horror
In the summer of 1989, a group of bullied kids band together to destroy a shape-shifting monster, which disguises itself as a clown and preys on the children of Derry, their small Maine town.
Director: Andy Muschietti | Stars: Bill Skarsgård , Jaeden Martell , Finn Wolfhard , Sophia Lillis
Votes: 585,117 | Gross: $327.48M
20. The Others (2001)
PG-13 | 104 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller
In 1945, immediately following the end of Second World War, a woman who lives with her two photosensitive children on her darkened old family estate in the Channel Islands becomes convinced that the home is haunted.
Director: Alejandro Amenábar | Stars: Nicole Kidman , Christopher Eccleston , Fionnula Flanagan , Alakina Mann
Votes: 383,581 | Gross: $96.52M
21. REC (2007)
R | 78 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller
A television reporter and cameraman follow emergency workers into a dark apartment building and are quickly locked inside with something terrifying.
Directors: Jaume Balagueró , Paco Plaza | Stars: Manuela Velasco , Ferran Terraza , Jorge-Yamam Serrano , Pablo Rosso
If I have to give one word to describe this movie, it would be "Intense". Its one big roller coaster ride from beginning to end and boy it doesn't disappoint. Great horror here that is even more amplified with the great acting.
22. Jacob's Ladder (I) (1990)
R | 113 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery
Mourning his dead child, a haunted Vietnam War veteran attempts to uncover his past while suffering from a severe case of dissociation. To do so, he must decipher reality and life from his own dreams, delusions, and perceptions of death.
Director: Adrian Lyne | Stars: Tim Robbins , Elizabeth Peña , Danny Aiello , Matt Craven
Votes: 115,251 | Gross: $26.12M
23. The Conjuring 2 (2016)
R | 134 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Ed and Lorraine Warren travel to North London to help a single mother raising four children alone in a house plagued by a supernatural spirit.
Director: James Wan | Stars: Vera Farmiga , Patrick Wilson , Madison Wolfe , Frances O'Connor
Votes: 291,136 | Gross: $102.47M
24. The Descent (2005)
R | 99 min | Adventure, Horror, Thriller
A caving expedition goes horribly wrong, as the explorers become trapped and ultimately pursued by a strange breed of predators.
Director: Neil Marshall | Stars: Shauna Macdonald , Natalie Mendoza , Alex Reid , Saskia Mulder
Votes: 239,550 | Gross: $26.02M
25. A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)
R | 114 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery
After spending time in a mental hospital, a girl is reunited with her sister and returns home, only to see some truly strange events start to happen.
Director: Jee-woon Kim | Stars: Lim Soo-jung , Yum Jung-ah , Kim Kap-su , Moon Geun-young
26. Shutter (II) (2004)
Not Rated | 97 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller
A young photographer and his girlfriend discover mysterious shadows in their photographs after a tragic accident. They soon learn that you can not escape your past.
Directors: Banjong Pisanthanakun , Parkpoom Wongpoom | Stars: Ananda Everingham , Natthaweeranuch Thongmee , Achita Sikamana , Unnop Chanpaibool
27. Don't Breathe (2016)
R | 88 min | Crime, Horror, Thriller
Hoping to walk away with a massive fortune, a trio of thieves break into the house of a blind man who isn't as helpless as he seems.
Director: Fede Alvarez | Stars: Stephen Lang , Jane Levy , Dylan Minnette , Daniel Zovatto
Votes: 292,112 | Gross: $89.22M
28. The Ring (2002)
PG-13 | 115 min | Horror, Mystery
A journalist must investigate a mysterious videotape which seems to cause the death of anyone one week to the day after they view it.
Director: Gore Verbinski | Stars: Naomi Watts , Martin Henderson , Brian Cox , David Dorfman
Votes: 366,678 | Gross: $129.13M
While the original Japanese version (Ringu) is among the best, I found this american re-make more terrifying.
29. Hellraiser (1987)
R | 94 min | Horror, Thriller
A woman discovers the newly resurrected, partially formed, body of her brother-in-law. She starts killing for him to revitalize his body so he can escape the demonic beings that are pursuing him after he escaped their sadistic underworld.
Director: Clive Barker | Stars: Andrew Robinson , Clare Higgins , Ashley Laurence , Sean Chapman
Votes: 136,058 | Gross: $14.56M
30. House of Usher (1960)
Approved | 79 min | Drama, Horror
Upon entering his fiancée's family mansion, a man discovers a savage family curse and fears that his future brother-in-law has entombed his bride-to-be prematurely.
Director: Roger Corman | Stars: Vincent Price , Mark Damon , Myrna Fahey , Harry Ellerbe
Votes: 14,747 | Gross: $3.16M
Underrated and often overlooked gem from the Corman Poe movies. Has this unsettling feel throughout the movie, with a great and creepy performance by the great Vincent Price. Delves into the terrifying idea of being buried alive. Has great atmosphere and a couple of good scares.
31. The Witch (2015)
R | 92 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror
A family in 1630s New England is torn apart by the forces of witchcraft, black magic and possession.
Director: Robert Eggers | Stars: Anya Taylor-Joy , Ralph Ineson , Kate Dickie , Julian Richings
Votes: 286,549 | Gross: $25.14M
32. The Babadook (2014)
Not Rated | 94 min | Horror, Mystery
A single mother and her child fall into a deep well of paranoia when an eerie children's book titled "Mister Babadook" manifests in their home.
Director: Jennifer Kent | Stars: Essie Davis , Noah Wiseman , Daniel Henshall , Hayley McElhinney
Votes: 239,882 | Gross: $0.92M
33. Event Horizon (1997)
R | 96 min | Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller
A rescue crew is tasked with investigating the mysterious reappearance of a spaceship that had been lost for seven years.
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson | Stars: Laurence Fishburne , Sam Neill , Kathleen Quinlan , Joely Richardson
Votes: 191,861 | Gross: $26.67M
34. Sinister (I) (2012)
R | 110 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller
A controversial true crime writer finds a box of super 8 home movies in his new home, revealing that the murder case he is currently researching could be the work of an unknown serial killer whose legacy dates back to the 1960s.
Director: Scott Derrickson | Stars: Ethan Hawke , Juliet Rylance , James Ransone , Fred Thompson
Votes: 270,583 | Gross: $48.09M
35. Ju-on: The Grudge (2002)
R | 92 min | Horror
A mysterious and vengeful spirit marks and pursues anybody who dares enter the house in which it resides.
Director: Takashi Shimizu | Stars: Megumi Okina , Misaki Itô , Misa Uehara , Yui Ichikawa
Votes: 47,079 | Gross: $0.33M
36. It Follows (2014)
R | 100 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller
A young woman is followed by an unknown supernatural force after a sexual encounter.
Director: David Robert Mitchell | Stars: Maika Monroe , Keir Gilchrist , Olivia Luccardi , Lili Sepe
Votes: 259,368 | Gross: $14.67M
37. 1408 (2007)
PG-13 | 104 min | Fantasy, Horror, Mystery
A man who specialises in debunking paranormal occurrences checks into the fabled room 1408 in the Dolphin Hotel. Soon after settling in, he confronts genuine terror.
Director: Mikael Håfström | Stars: John Cusack , Samuel L. Jackson , Mary McCormack , Tony Shalhoub
Votes: 286,911 | Gross: $71.99M
38. Evil Dead (2013)
Five friends head to a remote cabin, where the discovery of a Book of the Dead leads them to unwittingly summon up demons living in the nearby woods.
Director: Fede Alvarez | Stars: Jane Levy , Shiloh Fernandez , Jessica Lucas , Lou Taylor Pucci
Votes: 192,741 | Gross: $54.24M
Love the original Evil Dead Trilogy, but they were more humor than horror. In this recent version, the humor is cut to almost nothing, and is just plain terrifying.
39. Fire in the Sky (1993)
PG-13 | 109 min | Biography, Drama, Fantasy
An Arizona logger mysteriously disappears for five days in an alleged encounter with a flying saucer in 1975. His co-workers endure ridicule and contempt as they are wrongly accused of murder.
Director: Robert Lieberman | Stars: D.B. Sweeney , Robert Patrick , Craig Sheffer , Peter Berg
Votes: 27,415 | Gross: $20.10M
40. Oculus (2013)
A woman tries to exonerate her brother, who was convicted of murder, by proving that the crime was committed by a supernatural phenomenon.
Director: Mike Flanagan | Stars: Karen Gillan , Brenton Thwaites , Katee Sackhoff , Rory Cochrane
Votes: 136,273 | Gross: $27.70M
41. Drag Me to Hell (2009)
PG-13 | 99 min | Horror
A loan officer who evicts an old woman from her home finds herself the recipient of a supernatural curse. Desperate, she turns to a seer to try and save her soul, while evil forces work to push her to a breaking point.
Director: Sam Raimi | Stars: Alison Lohman , Justin Long , Ruth Livier , Lorna Raver
Votes: 213,180 | Gross: $42.10M
An underrated gem of terror. Yeah, there is some humor in it, but the scares are so over the top, that at times overwhelms any levity. Expect to be on edge the whole movie.
42. The Blair Witch Project (1999)
R | 81 min | Horror, Mystery
Three film students vanish after traveling into a Maryland forest to film a documentary on the local Blair Witch legend, leaving only their footage behind.
Directors: Daniel Myrick , Eduardo Sánchez | Stars: Heather Donahue , Michael C. Williams , Joshua Leonard , Bob Griffin
Votes: 276,925 | Gross: $140.54M
Wasn't the first, but sure as hell got the FF genre into the spotlight, as well as introducing me to it. Great example of what you don't see is scarier than what you do see. Strong performances by the main characters which makes it much more convincing.
43. The Woman in Black (2012)
PG-13 | 95 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror
A young solicitor travels to a remote village where he discovers that the vengeful ghost of a scorned woman is terrorizing the locals.
Director: James Watkins | Stars: Daniel Radcliffe , Janet McTeer , Ciarán Hinds , Emma Shorey
Votes: 189,987 | Gross: $54.33M
44. Lights Out (II) (2016)
PG-13 | 81 min | Horror, Mystery
Rebecca must unlock the terror behind her little brother's experiences that once tested her sanity, bringing her face to face with a supernatural spirit attached to their mother.
Director: David F. Sandberg | Stars: Teresa Palmer , Gabriel Bateman , Maria Bello , Billy Burke
Votes: 138,760 | Gross: $67.27M
45. Paranormal Activity (2007)
R | 86 min | Horror, Mystery
After moving into a suburban home, a couple becomes increasingly disturbed by a nightly demonic presence.
Director: Oren Peli | Stars: Katie Featherston , Micah Sloat , Mark Fredrichs , Amber Armstrong
Votes: 251,154 | Gross: $107.92M
46. The Strangers (2008)
R | 86 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller
A young couple staying in an isolated vacation home are terrorized by three unknown assailants.
Director: Bryan Bertino | Stars: Scott Speedman , Liv Tyler , Gemma Ward , Alex Fisher
Votes: 139,124 | Gross: $52.60M
47. Verónica (I) (2017)
TV-MA | 105 min | Horror
Madrid, 1991. A teen girl finds herself besieged by an evil supernatural force after she played Ouija with two classmates.
Director: Paco Plaza | Stars: Sandra Escacena , Bruna González , Claudia Placer , Iván Chavero
48. Mama (I) (2013)
PG-13 | 100 min | Fantasy, Horror, Thriller
After a young couple take in their two nieces, they suspect that a supernatural spirit named Mama has latched onto their family.
Director: Andy Muschietti | Stars: Jessica Chastain , Nikolaj Coster-Waldau , Megan Charpentier , Isabelle Nélisse
Votes: 188,661 | Gross: $71.63M
49. V/H/S/2 (2013)
R | 96 min | Horror, Thriller
Searching for a missing student, two private investigators break into his house and find collection of VHS tapes. Viewing the horrific contents of each cassette, they realize there may be dark motives behind the student's disappearance.
Directors: Simon Barrett , Jason Eisener , Gareth Evans , Gregg Hale , Eduardo Sánchez , Timo Tjahjanto , Adam Wingard | Stars: Lawrence Michael Levine , Kelsy Abbott , Adam Wingard , Hannah Hughes
Votes: 42,788 | Gross: $0.02M
a found footage anthology film, focusing on 4 stories centered around VHS tapes. The two that stood out to me the most, were the cult story and the alien story. Both are unique and terrifying.
50. Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016)
PG-13 | 99 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery
In 1967 Los Angeles, a widowed mother and her daughters add a new stunt to bolster their seance scam business by inviting an evil presence into their home, not realizing how dangerous it is.
Director: Mike Flanagan | Stars: Elizabeth Reaser , Lulu Wilson , Annalise Basso , Henry Thomas
Votes: 70,627 | Gross: $35.14M
51. The Visit (I) (2015)
PG-13 | 94 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Two siblings become increasingly frightened by their grandparents' disturbing behavior while visiting them on vacation.
Director: M. Night Shyamalan | Stars: Olivia DeJonge , Ed Oxenbould , Deanna Dunagan , Peter McRobbie
Votes: 145,600 | Gross: $65.21M
You'll never see seniors the same way after this. Couple of good scares and creepy moments. The most impressive aspect would be the two young leads, putting on a very strong performance.
52. The Nightmare (II) (2015)
Not Rated | 91 min | Documentary, Horror
A look at a frightening condition that plagues thousands; sleep paralysis.
Director: Rodney Ascher | Stars: Nicole Bosworth , Stephen Joseph , Estrella Cristina , Siegfried Peters
53. Dead Silence (2007)
R | 89 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller
After his wife meets a grisly end, Jamie Ashen returns to his hometown of Ravens Fair to find answers. His investigation leads him to the ghost of a ventriloquist named Mary Shaw who seems to have ties to his entire family tree
Director: James Wan | Stars: Ryan Kwanten , Amber Valletta , Donnie Wahlberg , Michael Fairman
Votes: 99,821 | Gross: $16.81M
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The 25 Most Haunting Movies of All Time
Some movies affect us more than others. Some movies we forget about as soon as they finish, some we may remember for the rest of our lives. And some movies haunt us even in our dreams. Often this is due to the subject matter, other times a specific scene, and sometimes simply the nightmarish atmosphere. Though fear is often what haunts us, love can haunt us even more. So can visceral disgust, or terrible grief. Perhaps regret haunts us most of all.
In an effort to touch on various genres and styles, here are 25 films that will haunt you long after the credits roll.
25. Chinatown (1974), directed by Roman Polanski
In 1974 director Roman Polanski and screenwriter Robert Towne turned noir on its head, thereby reinventing the genre and ushering in a neo-noir fascination that continues today. Towne’s screenplay is frequently described as one of the greatest ever written, in part due to its tragic climax that paved the way for downbeat endings in crime and popular cinema.
Towne’s script hit on all the conventions of noir but spun them in new directions: protagonist Jake Gittes (Jack Nicholson) is a P.I. investigating a cover-up—but his involvement makes everything worse; the setting is Los Angeles—but it’s so sunny it hurts; the introduction of Faye Dunaway’s character Evelyn sets her up as femme fatale—but she proves to be the only character acting selflessly.
But Chinatown’s most important element is the haunting final scene which broke the “justice served” honored convention of the genre and could only have been written in an America that saw the civil rights movement, Watergate scandal, and Vietnam War, allowing the public to realize that in their beloved country the rich and powerful commit terrible crimes—and they get away with them. The look on Gittes’ face when this truth hits is “haunting” personified.
24. Boys Don’t Cry (1999), directed by Kimberly Peirce
The most refreshing aspect of the way Boys Don’t Cry, released in 1999, treats its protagonist, a young woman who thinks of herself as a man, is the distinct lack of P.C. culture’s myriad terms to describe a person’s sexual identity as if it matters. Because it doesn’t matter; whatever protagonist Brandon Teena (based on the real-life Teena whose story this film depicts, played breathtakingly by Hilary Swank) identifies as is beside the point. This is a film about tragic love and the violence of male fragility.
Because Boys Don’t Cry is based on real events, we know the outcome, and the film pushes toward its tragic climax with the assuredness of an excellent screenplay directed well. Brandon and new lover Lana find comfort and happiness in each other, doing nobody any harm and adding a little joy to the world while they’re at it. But some men insecure in their perceptions of themselves cannot abide anything that makes them look inward, and Brandon pays the ultimate price for their weakness. Boys Don’t Cry is haunting because the commonplace tragedy of it really happened, has happened since, and will happen again.
23. The Imposter (2012), directed by Bart Layton
Bart Layton’s The Imposter is possibly the greatest, and most self-aware, example of the power documentaries wield in manipulating their audiences. The film is so twisty and intriguing it could almost be mistaken for an M. Night Shyamalan flick. It concerns how 23-year-old, black-haired, brown-eyed, French-Algerian con artist Frédéric Bourdin pretended to be 16-year-old, blond-haired, blue-eyed, American schoolboy Nicholas Barclay who had gone missing three years earlier at the age of 13—and how Barclay’s family believed Bourdin, welcoming him home as their Nicholas.
If this sounds stranger than fiction, it’s because it is. But The Imposter takes a frightening turn when the slow realization hits that there may be a more sinister reason a family would so readily ignore the discrepancies between this new Nicholas and the old. The final shot of the documentary strips away the thrills and reminds us of its fundamental truth: that Nicholas is still missing, and he may never be found. It’s a shot that haunts long after the screen fades to black.
22. 8MM (1999), directed by Joel Schumacher
Nicolas Cage, a torture-porn tape that might be real snuff, a screenplay by the writer of Se7en, Joaquin Phoenix in a supporting role as sex shop employee Max California, and cameos by James Gandolfini and Peter Stormare. What’s not to love?
Except that this 1999 thriller is dark. Screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker had already shocked the world four years earlier with his relentlessly bleak detective-cum-horror story Se7en. Somehow, Walker went even darker with 8MM, in which P.I. Nicolas Cage is hired by a rich old lady to find out if a porno tape she found in her recently deceased husband’s safe depicting the horrific murder of a young woman is in fact a snuff film or a very convincing fake.
Save for a select few, Roger Ebert among them, critics tore 8MM apart. Released at the turn of the millennium when the internet was new to the general population and the many horrors it contained all too easily stumbled upon, pornography and the dangers of the internet weighed heavy on the public’s mind. The world was simply not ready for a film like this. The most haunting moment? At the end when Cage screams “Why?” at the snuff film’s executioner, who responds, “Because I like to. Because I want to.”
21. 28 Days Later (2002), directed by Danny Boyle
Is there anything more terrifying to modern society than the prospect of civilization’s total collapse? What if most people in the post-apocalyptic new world have become infected with pure rage, hellbent on murdering with their bare hands anyone not yet tainted with the disease? Such is the world Danny Boyle launches us into in his masterpiece of horror, 28 Days Later.
The most haunting moment of the film occurs right at the beginning when protagonist Jim (Cillian Murphy) wakes up alone in hospital following a coma to then wander a London City totally abandoned of its inhabitants, a London so still and silent Jim must surely wonder if he’s awoken at all or is trapped inside a dream—or in this case, a nightmare.
20. I Saw the Devil (2010), directed by Jee-woon Kim
Few filmmakers can do “haunting” quite like the masters of South Korean cinema, such as filmmaker Jee-woon Kim. Already a successful auteur on the world stage, Kim’s A Tale of Two Sisters (2003), a modern reimagining of an old Korean folk tale, established Kim as a powerful voice in horror cinema. Then, seven years later, Kim’s I Saw the Devil arrived, a movie about the evils of revenge so unflinching in its depictions of violence, so relentlessly brutal yet visually stunning and elegiac, that it defies easy categorization. South Korea is renowned for its revenge thrillers (such as Chan-wook Park’s Vengeance Trilogy), but with I Saw the Devil Kim managed to breathe fresh life into the genre by fusing it with that of the slasher to create something new.
As for the film’s ability to haunt the viewer—virtually every scene in this twisted tale of grief and blood will linger long after the credits roll, but the most haunting element is the crazed journey into the darkness of the human soul the film takes viewers on as the “hero” protagonist becomes increasingly sadistic in his pursuit of revenge against the man who raped and murdered his wife (most of which we see onscreen at the beginning). Yeah, this probably isn’t one to watch on a first date.
19. The Act of Killing (2012), directed by Joshua Oppenheimer
In 1965, General Suharto of Indonesia’s military executed up to one million people suspected of being communists in one of the worst genocides of the 20th century. Suharto, who ruled the country as dictator for 32 years until his death in 2008, and the generals and soldiers who perpetrated the mass murders never had to answer for them. In fact, they were celebrated as heroes in the narrative that dominated the country.
In 2012, filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer came up with an ingenious and bizarre concept: With no way to document survivors’ stories safely and document the truth of the communist purge without the tyrannical government harming the survivors in retaliation, Oppenheimer instead turned his sights onto the perpetrators, offering many of them eager to brag about their roles in the purge the opportunity to recreate their killings through dramatic reenactments of their own devising in which the perpetrators would act not only as themselves but also as the people they had tortured and killed. The resulting B-movie spectacles of varying degrees of outlandishness and divorce from reality are metaphor for the Indonesia’s national denial of the purge and the denial by the perpetrators of the purge as a crime.
This denial is perhaps most chillingly expressed in a scene when a man named Anwar Congo, wearing a colorful Hawaiian shirt, demonstrates in vivid detail how he strangled his victims with wire because when he beat them to death “there was too much blood” before dancing the cha-cha in the same spot he’d committed mass murder in all those years before.
18. The Wrestler (2008), directed by Darren Aronofsky
Darren Aronofsky knows how to make his audience feel, and none of his movies better illustrates this than The Wrestler. Mickey Rourke gives the performance of a lifetime as aging professional wrestler Randy “The Ram” Robinson, a man, like Rourke, past his prime and fallen from stardom with damaged relationships and burned bridges behind him. Randy is a lonely man and a man alone, who has only his wrestling and, despite his doctor’s advice that with his heart problems the wrestling may kill him, Randy will not give up the only thing he has left.
The Wrestler is haunting because, when we’re in our good times, we never conceive that these times will come to an end. And when they do, any one of us could become as alienated and filled with regret as Randy, desperate for just one more moment of glory to make life worth living.
15 Replies to “The 25 Most Haunting Movies of All Time”
Picnic at Hanging Rock? Walkabout? The Night of the Hunter?
L’Avventura is a film that haunts. Marnie is a film that haunts. A Ghost Story would be a good selection too. Maybe this list should be longer or could focus on some older films as well?
The Constant Factor (1980) Synecdoche New York (2008) The Great Sadness Of Zohara (1983) Barrier (1966) The Passenger (1975) Barren Lives (1963) L’avventura (1960) A Borrowed Life (1994) Barren Illusions (1999) This Filthy Earth (2000)
The House of Sound and Fog??? Anybody?
Irreversible succeeded so well in it’s depiction of what it truly means to be raped or to rape an utter stranger, and subject them to inhuman violence and depravity. Most men, and I will include myself in this, tend to secretly be titillated by rape scenes and with Irreversible you find yourself being FORCED (because of the awful length of the scene) to bare witness to something terrible. You are HELPLESS to do anything except watch as this poor women is sodomized and brutalized into a bleeding coma. It really does make anyone who thinks otherwise (oh she probably loved it..) think hard about their feelings about this awful crime.
A couple of other films that have haunted me ever since I first saw them are “Come And See” and “Wake In Fright” along with some of the excellent films featured in this list.
Wake in Fright (aka Outback, 1970) is quite good and disturbing in an over-the-top way, wherein Donald Pleasence delivers another of his patented performances, this time as a renegade doctor who rapes the male protagonist.
Dogme not Dogma
Good list. Hard to whittle down I am sure. 1 that could make a list like this is Happiness.
Very good list, thank you. But for f sake, how many times will taste of cinema feature Salo and Serbian Film on top of all their ‘controversial’ lists, i mean who cares about pink floyd and 2001 space odyssey, come on man.
Johnny Got His Gun
for a film to be haunting it generally has to feel true , otherwise it is so easily dismissed. requiem for a dream is addiction porn and a dishonest film. the type of film that people are easily impressed and shocked by, and yet is oddly conservative and pedestrian, because it is spectacle, not substance. try ‘down to the bone’, for addiction. funny games by haneke sticks with u. or try lilya forever.
Good list, and agree on the ones I’ve seen. Gotta do some searching for the others to check out.
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