Top 10 Best Horror Movies of All Time

The Top Ten
1 The Exorcist (1973)

If you watch it as a kid, it's very slow. If you watch it as an adult, especially if you have kids yourself, it becomes the scariest movie ever made: a film about a mother who can't figure out what's wrong with her daughter.
Then you add Linda Blairs incredible performance, the score, writing , directing and cinematography, and you have a masterpiece.

By far, this is the one that stands out. I watched it one time and have never watched it again, and I'm 42. Other movies about possession don't bother me as much, to a point, as this one did. Deservedly so, Aliens is in the top 10. Poltergeist, specifically the clown scene, is still the reason I can't stand clowns to this day. IT should be higher as well. Paranormal Activity (1) deserves its spot, as that movie kept me on the edge of my seat and my wife afraid to sleep at night. JAWS needs to be higher on the list - great directing, acting, etc. Plus, I was afraid to go into the ocean for years after seeing it in the theater!

2 The Shining

People often don't realize how great The Shining is, whether you're looking at it from a pure horror perspective or simply acknowledging its overall brilliance. Critics often complain that it differs significantly from the book, but every time I watch The Shining, it feels like a journey. The movie not only boasts a suspenseful and intriguing story but also showcases incredible directing by my all-time favorite director, Stanley Kubrick.

It was filmed at an interesting location, The Timberline Lodge, known as the Overlook Hotel in the movie. The cast was also remarkable, featuring performances by Jack Nicholson, Scatman Crothers, Joe Turkel, and Philip Stone. Beyond its place in the horror genre (which is my favorite), the movie is still one of my all-time favorites. When compared to supernatural and slasher films, they don't stand a chance.

3 Halloween (1978)

Not only is it one of the best horror movies, but it's also one of the scariest. This movie inspired me to become a horror film director, and without this movie, I probably wouldn't have gotten into the horror genre as a whole. It's so good it uses lighting to its advantage to bring out the scariness of the psycho killer's mask, and the jump scares are terrifyingly memorable.

Also, this movie is not like a lot of other horror movies where you have some unknown thing trying to kill people. It's realistic and something that could really happen to any of us. But it all takes place on Halloween, in the nighttime. Without this movie, franchises like Friday the 13th and Scream would probably never exist. One more thing: the survivor of this movie is one of the smartest victims and is definitely one of the best horror movie heroines of all time.

4 Alien

The fact that this is below Nightmare on Elm Street is insulting. Alien is not only the best horror movie of all time but also one of the best films ever made. What really separates Alien from the other films on this list is its beautiful cinematography, masterfully crafted tension, and interesting cast of characters. The people in this movie aren't stereotypes or dumb teenagers but real people who undergo real growth throughout the course of the film. Not to mention it had a badass sequel in Aliens as well.

5 A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

A legit Wes Craven horror movie. The sequels were all cheese and fairly stupid. This original one, though, was the most chilling. There weren't silly Freddy one-liners. Freddy wasn't over-the-top and crammed down the viewer's throat for the 90-minute duration. And I have to admit that the story was original and actually fairly good. It was an instant classic.

This film was actually based off of a true story! I'm not even kidding. And before you all ask, no, there was no real Freddy Krueger who killed kids and came back from the dead as a ghost. Director Wes Craven stated that he based this film on events reported of people dying in their sleep. This disease is known as Sudden Unexplained Nocturnal Death Syndrome (SUNDS).

6 Psycho (1960)

Such an interesting and tense movie. It defined the entire genre of horror. The next best horror movies they had were laughable monster movies like Dracula and Frankenstein. This is classic horror at its best and was the career-defining movie for the genius himself, Hitchcock. While it's not as scary as the movies we get today, it has a gripping feel that keeps you in suspense the entire time. A definite must-see movie for anyone who hasn't seen it already (I'd be surprised if you haven't). It's 100% better than the cheap, cliché horror movies we mostly get today.

7 Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

I'm voting just to comment on this. This was the grossest, most disturbing thing I have ever seen. If you want to squeal at jump scares with your boyfriend, watch an '80s slasher movie. If you want your stomach to roll for days after you see something, watch this. I've never had to turn my head at any amount of gore, but there were times I had to look away from this. While it was kind of crazy, it was amazing for its time. Keep in mind, this is from 1974. It scares you in a way you're not used to and doesn't quite match up to any specific genre of 20th-century horror, like the '60s unstoppable force of evil or the '70s man-in-a-mask.

8 The Silence of the Lambs

The Silence of the Lambs is easily the best horror movie I've ever watched. The movie itself doesn't rely on excessive gore. So when it does use gore, it's highly effective and much more frightening. This movie also never had a dull moment, in my opinion.

It is one of the few films that never becomes uninteresting. With the help of genius characters and dialogue, the movie cultivates a slowly growing sense of suspense that persists throughout the film. Furthermore, it doesn't resort to flooding the viewer with horror clichés and unoriginal plot points. This movie is a true original.

Not only are the plot and characters twisted and disturbing, but it's also evident that the storyline was carefully mapped out and must have required an extreme amount of effort. Combine all these elements, and you have a cinematic gem and a horror classic that will be remembered for eternity.

9 The Thing (1982)

This movie needs to be higher on the list. It's a classic horror film with great characters, settings, suspense, and gore. You won't be able to forget it. I watched this film when I was 21, and it still shakes me up to this day.

The special effects are solid, and most of them actually feel very real. The suspense this movie hinges on is what makes it so enjoyable, and the mystery adds to that. We never truly see exactly what The Thing looks like because it takes on the form of its host, kind of like a shape-shifter. Since we never see The Thing's real form, that's what makes it even scarier on its own. We leave it up to our minds to figure out what it looks like, and I love that. Usually, the things that are unknown are the scariest parts of all.

10 Scream (1996)

This movie totally revitalized the slasher genre and, really, all of horror. It started a new trend of smart, suspense-driven horror movies. The entire franchise is a classic!

Awesome movie. One of my favorites. It has lots of suspense and thrills. The plot and story are both interesting and thrilling. It's not boring at all compared to other horror films.

To me, this was the perfect slasher movie satire/homage by all standards. Even the sequels, ironically enough, were actually pretty good.

The Contenders
11 Saw

How is this not number one? Texas Chainsaw Massacre is weird. In Scream, Billy and Stu act like they're mentally ill at the end, but it's still very good. The Shining is weird with that kid who talks to his fingers, but it's a great movie. All the others in the top 10 are awesome, but Saw is a masterpiece. Not just the first film. All eight were truly thrilling to watch.

Saw is not necessarily the scariest movie, but it is a great movie if you want to see some gore. The story is also very good, considering it spans seven movies. The end was such a twist. I loved it. The reverse bear trap was the best. It's too bad we don't see it actually work until the second time. This movie deserves to be in the top ten.

12 Jaws

It's funny how a movie that frightened people so badly they stayed out of the water for two years could slip this low. It had a little bit of everything: a beautiful town, a strong family unit, and a mayor who only cared about money and prestige. Not to mention, a hard-nosed sea captain. All this, and there is a 30-foot monster shark waiting to ruin them all. People, I know most of you like everything to be new, but this movie, at 43 years old, is great in every way. Please, vote it up.

Dude, I love this movie! It's one of my favorite movies of all time! I still remember not being scared of the shark or the water after watching the movie. I also just love the whole idea that "it's what we don't see that really scares the crap out of us."

13 Paranormal Activity

PA1 scared you, whether you admit it or not. It did. Now, PA2, PA3, PA4, and I'm sure the uneagerly expected PA5 are quite different stories. They were pumped out as fast as Mel B pumps out kids. No thought to the story and terrible, terrible acting.

Now, the acting in the first WAS sub-par, but it didn't affect the overall movie in such a huge way that it was unwatchable, unlike the other three. Please, dear God, no more. But back to the point: great movie. It kept most of us up googling demonology and eyewitness accounts of ghosts, I think.

14 Friday the 13th (1980)

Far scarier than half of the films above it. I'd think twice before going on a camp now. I think the key elements of this movie were the fact that you don't know what or who the hell Jason is until the end of the film. And then you kind of regret finding out. It's brilliance - a magnificent piece of horror filmmaking. Should be in the top 5.

It may not have Jason Voorhees being a badass horror villain here, but it is still an awesome movie. This film sparked the beginning of a new era of adding sex scenes in horror movies, mostly slashers.

15 The Omen (1976)

This is a vote for the 1976 "The Omen," not that two-bit hack job that opened on 6/6/06. This movie freakin' traumatized me the first time I saw it. It sent Christians into counseling.

Great movie! I love it. It has good picture and quality for an older movie. I even like the idea. Time to find Damien: Omen II!

If this is only number 18, then it's sadly underrated. A top-ten horror film for sure. My personal favorite.

16 Night of the Living Dead (1968)

Romero created zombies with this movie! How many directors can claim they started an entirely new creature or genre? Back then, it was bold and new. I just watched the documentary. Filming was so challenging they weren't even sure they would finish it. They had no budget, so they used locals for zombies. The crew also worked as actors. For example, the actor who played the jerk in the movie was also the producer and makeup artist. Many scenes were improvised, and the budget for sound mixing was secured last minute through a game of chess! It became one of the most iconic films ever, which is quite an accomplishment.

17 The Hills Have Eyes (2006)

I just watched the original movie by Wes Craven, and I think it's probably one of the best horror movies I have ever seen! It is so gritty, brutal, and full of a dark atmosphere. I definitely recommend this one for any horror fan!

This is my favorite movie of all time. The special effects were amazing, and the makeup didn't look like makeup. Go Jupiter's clan. I love you!

The film keeps you wondering what the hell is going to happen next! You also feel so much pity for the victims at a point. Great film.

18 Stephen King's It (1990)

I know many of you may not think it is scary and, in a way, it's not. But understand the potential that this movie has in modern day. It is the essential "kid-friendly" horror film. It has mummies, clowns, werewolves, photographs that come to life, and a clown's face melting. And all of this is done with '80s cheese and Tim Curry giving 110% in every scene. While it is by no means a perfect movie, it does have its place.

Great horror film, especially the fact that it makes you imagine the off-screen deaths as you want. Creepy clown, incredible performance by Tim Curry, good flashbacks, and lack of blood.

19 The Grudge (2004)

This movie is so scary! The Grudge and The Ring always seemed similar to me because they had the whole drenched in water, dark-haired girl thing going on. Don't watch it by yourself in the dark. You'll regret it. Also, how is Saw #5? It's not that scary. It uses one little thing called gore, which I don't find frightening. Jump scenes are where it's at.

I'm not sure why it's not number one. I've seen the top three films above this, and they don't scare me as much as The Grudge. The first one I saw was Grudge 3. The scene where she comes out of the painting just thinking about it gives me bad memories and shivers. When I watched it, I couldn't even walk into a room without turning the lights on and looking beneath my bed and in my closets, etc. I guess it's number 4 because not many people have seen it, but seriously, this freaked me out!

20 The Ring

I love this movie. Even though it's not the kind of film that is considered good outside of the horror genre, I still adore it. I watched The Ring when I was 10 with my best friend, and I admit we were not scared at all. We even laughed many times. I seriously don't understand why people think it's so scary. I've watched this movie more than 10 times and never got scared, but I still love it. It was a significant part of my childhood.

It should be higher. There's really a scary atmosphere in this movie, and the cast is perfect. Naomi Watts, as usual, and all the other actors and actresses convincingly play their characters. The combination of superb acting with an outstanding script is very rare in horror movies. That's why I believe this movie needs to be ranked higher.

21 Suspiria (1977)

Suspiria should get more credit. It's the best horror witch film of all time. It should be ranked higher. I like the color in the film. It has some of the best music in horror films.

Favorite movie ever! Last film shot in Technicolor.

The original was awesome! The reboot sucks though.

22 The Conjuring

James Wan is a brilliant director, and this is honestly some of his best work. He also directed Jaws, The Conjuring 2, and Insidious. He is currently working on Aquaman. He gives you time to like the characters, and the plots are not too complicated. But what sets it apart is the fact that it's a true story! I recommend The Conjuring for modern horror fans.

While I was looking for the original Amityville Horror, I stumbled across this one. AH was a spookfest that just didn't have much of a surrounding story. The Conjuring not only references AH through the use of the Warrens, but it also has the flexibility to deliver the spookfest while maintaining an intriguing storyline. Wan did a brilliant job making this movie and, in my opinion, it's a must-see if you are a horror fan.

23 Carrie (1976)

I really like this movie. It wasn't that scary, and it was a little slow, but it was great. I was really mad when the bucket of blood fell on Carrie, so I was quite happy when Carrie got her revenge. I liked it when she killed Chris, who was my least favorite character.

I don't know which was scarier: the wide-eyed Carrie on stage or her hand coming out of the grave? This was one of the greatest revenge movies ever.

The only movie to make me cry. It is so disturbing and emotional. That jump scene at the end is one hell of a jump scene!

24 28 Days Later

This movie was good, because Chris Eccleston was in it :) He is the cutest person in the entire world. I was scared to death by his beauty!

25 Wrong Turn (2003)

Wrong Turn was brilliant. I bet I've seen it over 100 times and I still get something from it every time I watch it. It will forever be my favorite movie. If you're looking for a good 83 minutes of your time, you won't regret using it on this movie.

This is an awesome movie! Along with its sequel and The Hills Have Eyes, of course, they are my favorite movies of all time.

This movie creeped the crap out of me. Just seeing the cannibalism and the mutants hunting down people is just creepy.

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