From supernatural forces to the terrifying side of humanity, Horror movies can be a great way to cure boredom. Not only do they scare us to death, but they also manage to fully captivate us to the point where you can’t even look away, no matter what horrible thing could be unfolding on-screen.
I am here to countdown the 10 greatest horror movies of all time. From the classics to the ones that don’t seem to get the recognition that they deserve, these are the best that the genre has to offer.
Before I start, there are some honorable mentions I have to give out. Although these are amazing movies, they just missed out on making the cut.
Get Out (2017): The directorial debut feature from Jordan Peele was one of the most psychologically unnerving films of the year. With great performances, scary plot twists and amazing social commentary, this will become a classic for the genre.
The Cabin in the Woods (2012): How could a movie where you get to see every movie monster onscreen together not disappoint?
It Follows (2014): A film which makes the idea of an STI even more terrifying than it already is.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974): The only cannibal family that makes Hannibal Lecter look like a butterfly.
The Evil Dead (1981): The ultimate low-budget gore fest that managed to be as terrifying as it was funny.
The Fly (1986): If you love body horror and have always wanted to watch Jeff Goldblum slowly transform into a fly, this is the movie for you.
You’re Next (2011): A movie which turns the Australian female in its American cast into one of the greatest horror protagonists ever.
Eden Lake (2008): A terrifying tale on the evil that kids are capable of and Michael Fassbender, which is definitely a positive.
Hush (2016): A unique take on the home invasion genre and one of the best.
[REC] (2007): One of the most terrifying found footage films ever with one of the best horror movie endings of all time.
Now, let’s begin!
10. 28 Days Later (2002)
This Danny Boyle directed feature is one of the greatest zombie movies ever made. Although many don’t classify it as a zombie movie, it has the elements of one and then some. The terrific performances from Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Brendan Gleeson, Christopher Eccleston and Megan Burns make the characters relatable and they feel like real people. But it is the music, atmosphere and underlying themes that make ’28 Days Later’. From the dread of an empty London in the opening scenes, we get an understanding of the world which Danny Boyle has made. Although the rage induced “zombies” are scary, it is what the humans are capable of that makes it such a terrifying look at a post-apocalyptic world. Also, the musical theme from this is one of the best movie themes ever.
9. Suspiria (1977)
This Italian-American horror classic is what made me love the genre. The story of an American ballerina coming to a prestigious dance school in Germany where something dark and supernatural lies within is Dario Argento’s finest. The vibrant colours that shine throughout are pleasures for your eyes and the blood, well, I can say that this is one of the more blood soaked movies on this list. From a piece of glass sticking out of a skull, to one of the young women falling into a stash of razor wire, this is a violent movie. But then again, why shouldn’t a horror movie like this be that violent. This is a classic of the genre.
8. Halloween (1978)
The movie that really started off the slasher genre is a classic. John Carpenter’s ‘Halloween’ is a showcase of what made slasher movies great before modern film-making slaughtered it. The scream queen (also known as Jamie Lee Curtis) shines as our main protagonist, as she attempts to survive the wrath of the stone cold menace known as Michael Myers. This is a chilling movie to watch and it is still as scary as it was almost 40 years ago.
7. Jaws (1975)
Steven Spielberg’s summer blockbuster is one of the greatest movie successes of all time. Everything was against it including the animatronic shark they had which hardly ever worked. All in all, ‘Jaws’ has enough adventure and thriller elements in it to make you think it isn’t actually horror, but trust me, it is. From John William’s iconic score to the effectiveness of showing little of the titular shark, this is both a fun and terrifying ride to experience. Also, it has some of the best characters in a horror movie ever. I’m talking about you Quint.
6. An American Werewolf In London (1981)
This is my easily my favourite horror-comedy and the greatest werewolf movie of all time. The terrifying tale of two American backpackers in England, who both get attacked by a werewolf where one of them survives, at a cost, is both original and clever. The infamous transformation scene that occurs half-way through may be disgusting, but this is a time before CGI and the use of practical effects is brilliant. Not only is this one of the best movies to come from John Landis, but it is a classic example of what a horror-comedy should be.
5. The Descent (2005)
What do you get when you have a cast which is mainly made up of Females and put them in a claustrophobic cave with terror hidden within? You get Neil Marshall’s finest movie, ‘The Descent’. Now, this is probably one of the scariest movies that I’ve ever seen and there are people who would agree with me on this. The first half which is an intense and claustrophobic experience to witness was scary enough, but then the monsters come along and S#@% hits the fan. This is one of the most intense horror movies you’ll ever see and also one of the goriest. To put it plainly, this is British horror at its finest.
4. The Thing (1982)
‘The Thing’ is the prime example of the effectiveness of body horror and practical effects in a horror movie. Yet another John Carpenter entry on this list, this is an isolated thriller under the disguise of a horror movie. The setting of an American research base in the Antarctic is brilliant and the cast including Kurt Russell, is also great. The monster itself is a brilliant creation and the terrifying nature of it being able to take the form of any human/animal makes you wonder what you would do if you were in that situation with those poor souls.
3. The Exorcist (1973)
“What an excellent day for an exorcism.” Or shall I say, what an excellent horror movie this is. Classified as the scariest movie of all time, ‘The Exorcist’ is the best demonic possession movie out there. The performance from Linda Blair alone makes this great horror. With her being so young when this was filmed (13 years old), it makes you wonder how the filmmakers got away with some of the stuff she had to do (that scene with the cross, oh my). This is a nightmare inducing movie and it still holds up well today. If you have seen the other demonic possession movies that are being made at a ridiculous pace and you haven’t seen this, do yourself a favour.
2. Scream (1996)
The ultimate meta horror movie and man is it great. The reason ‘Scream’ is so high on this list is because of how different it is as a horror movie. It isn’t afraid to poke fun at the stereotypes of the genre (hell it even refers to the stereotypes throughout as a guide for survival) and I love it. Being a Wes Craven movie, you get the bloodshed and characters that you would expect coming from the great horror director. As funny as it is terrifying, this is a horror movie that is still as relevant as it was 21 years ago and I fell like it will stay like that for a long time.
1. The Shining (1980)
This may be a controversial pick for my number one, but the idea of a demonic hotel driving a father insane is the best of the genre. Stanley Kubrick’s Horror masterpiece about a family of three looking after the grand Overlook Hotel in the winter session is both claustrophobic and terrifying. The loneliness that the family starts to experience makes you wonder why someone would want that job in the first place. Jack Nicholson is terrific as a man slowly driven to the brink of insanity and once he wants to kill his family, it’s scary as hell. A prime example of psychological horror, ‘The Shining’ is the best horror movie out there and is as scary as it was back in 1980.
There it is, my top 10 Horror movies and my first ever top 10 list. I hope you enjoyed this list and please tell me if I left a horror movie you loved off this list, I’m curious to see if we have different tastes in this genre.