Despite an evergreen critical backlash from critics towards most horror films these days, horror cinema always keeps on thriving with classic titles hitting the theaters every once in a while. Focused totally on enticing reactions and riding on a roller coaster of terror, shock, gore, and disgust, to some horror cinema is better than any other form of cinema. We today have compiled a list of the 15 best horror movies of all time to relinquish the thirst of horror fans once and for all:
15. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Night of the Living Dead is a black-and-white classic horror film about Barbara and her brother, Johnny. Both of them travel to the countryside from Pittsburg to visit their dad’s grave. Out of nowhere, they are attacked by a weird man and Johnny gets killed.
Barbara manages to run to a deserted farmhouse and locks herself in. Soon she finds out that she has company, thankfully, of human beings. There she finds out that the radiations of a satellite returning from Venus have awoken the dead and now they must fight for their survival, together.
14. The Birds (1963)
Another Hitchcock film, The Birds is a suspenseful horror film about a girl named Melanie, who to take revenge for a practical joke played on her by Mitch Banner, goes to the place where Banner is on vacation with his mom. As she reaches there, a bird attacks her.
After that, Banner’s mom finds her neighbor dead, obviously killed by a bird attack. Soon after that, all the birds in the city start attacking anyone outdoors without a warning or an explanation and everyone remains undercover to survive the ferocious attack of birds.
13. The Omen (1976)
The Omen is an American/British horror film about a happily married couple, Robert and Katherine Thorn. The wife gets pregnant but gives birth to a baby that dies shortly afterward. Robert gets worried about how his wife would take the news.
Meanwhile, a priest tells Robert to adopt a newborn baby whose mother has just died in childbirth. Robert agrees and without telling his wife, goes and adopts the baby. After several warnings from a priest and a strange turn of events, Robert begins to suspect that their child is not a human, but some evil force in the form of an innocent child.
12. The Evil Dead (1981)
The Evil Dead is an American horror film that features the life of five friends who go for a vacation in a cabin in the woods. There they discover the Book of the Dead called, “Necronomicon”. Besides the book, there’s a tape that has recorded verses from the professor who owns the cabin. One of the friends plays the tape and a great evil gets unleashed in the woods. Evil takes over all of the friends, except for one, who must find a way out of this nightmare for his life.
The film gave birth to two successful sequels, various video games, and a recent super successful reboot. Evil Dead is now an entire franchise and enjoys a strong cult following.
11. Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Rosemary’s Baby is an American psychological horror film based on a bestselling novel of the same by the writer Ira Levin. The story is about a couple, Rosemary and Guy Woodhouse, who move into a new apartment. The building they move into has a bad reputation. The guy starts spending a lot of time with his neighbors, the Castevets, who seem quite friendly.
After that, peculiar and mysterious things start to happen around them. Their neighbor’s ward commits suicide and Rosemary sees a horrible and sinister creature rape her after which she gets pregnant. Rosemary suspects that all of these things are linked somehow and due to several other incidents, she begins to fear for her to-be-born child to be the child of the demon.
10. The Sixth Sense (1999)
The Sixth Sense is a supernatural thriller about Malcolm Crowe, an award-winning child psychologist, who is set to cure a boy who is ill with a hideous disease. He sees dead people.
With such a heavy burden on such a small child, Crowe considers himself to be his only hope now.
9. Hellraiser (1987)
Also known as Clive Barker’s Hellraiser, Hellraiser is a British horror film directed by Clive Barker. The film is based on the novella, “The Hellbound’s Heart” written by Clive himself. The film is about a man and his wife, Larry, and Julia, who move into their old house without being aware of the fact that Larry’s half-brother, Frank got annihilated by Cenobites after solving the puzzle box in the same house.
Frank happens to be Julia’s ex-lover and somehow comes back to life after Larry’s daughter Kristy’s blood drop gets to his body. Despite being a hideous creature now, Julia agrees to find the blood sacrifice required to bring him back to his normal state. But things aren’t always as simple as they look and get a drastic turn when Kristy informs Cenobites about Frank’s escape!
8. The Thing (1982)
The Thing is a scary science fiction movie about a parasitic extraterrestrial life form that consumes its victims and starts emulating them. A team of Americans comes to investigate the situation. They soon discover that the extraterrestrial ‘thing’ is among them and has emulated someone.
Any one of them could be an alien and they could be attacked anytime. The situation demands only one thing from them: Trust no one!
7. The Ring (2002)
The Ring is a highly praised psychological horror film based on a Japanese classic made in 1988. Rachel Keller finds out that there’s a videotape with an urban legend that whoever watches it, dies in seven days.
After her niece and her friend die after they watch it, she decides to investigate the whole scenario herself. In the middle of the investigation, she finds out the terrible truth and uncovers dark mysteries related to the video. Unfortunately, she along with her son happened to have already seen the video. She must fight now against the dark and sinister forces to save herself and her son’s life.
6. Alien (1979)
An SOS message is received by a commercial crew aboard the spaceship Nostromo. The crew considers the message to be a call for help which turns out to be a warning.
What welcomes them is a highly aggressive extraterrestrial race that once awoken makes the crew’s nightmares come to reality.
5. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
A Nightmare on Elm Street is a film centered on Elm Street which is considered to be the best scary movie of its time. Nancy Thompson finds out that she along with her friends is having the same nightmare about a man with razor-sharp fingers and scarred body.
One by one, the children of Elm Street begin to die. Nancy must do something to stop this serial killer and bring him to the eyes of the world, but how can you do something about a creature that exists only in dreams?
4. Saw (2004)
Saw is an extremely violent film that spawned an entirely new sub-genre of horror cinema. The film is about Adam Stanheight and Dr. Lawrence Gordon who wake up on opposite sides of an abandoned bathroom, chained together by their ankles.
There lies a corpse with blood all around it, a shotgun, and a tape player in the vicinity. Both of them find tapes in their back pockets that reveal that one of them must kill the other by 6:00, or his wife and daughter will die and he will be left to rot in the bathroom. And, then Jigsaw’s game of death begins!
3. Psycho (1960)
Psycho is a suspense horror film based on the novel of the same name by Robert Bloch. The film got an excellent critical reception and four Academy Award nominations, including Best Supporting Actress for Leigh and Best Director for Hitchcock. The plot of the film involves a working woman named Marion Crane who is despondent and depressed because she can’t marry the love of her life due to his messed-up financial situation.
She gets a chance to fix this when she is trusted with $40,000 by her employer. Seizing the opportunity, she bags the money leaves the town, and heads for the California store of her lover, Sam. In the middle of her journey, she is forced to stop at a motel due to a storm. Here starts a complicated web of guilt, lies, murder, and deceit leading the life of characters to unforeseen and unwanted turns.
2. The Shining (1980)
The Shining is a psychological horror film based on Stephen King’s novel of the same name and is considered to be one of the scariest movies ever made. The film revolves around a family that goes to a deserted hotel for winter because the father, Jack Torrance, needs to concentrate on his writing project.
The son, Danny, discovers that he has an insight into the past of the hotel through the power called ‘The Shining’ – some kind of telepathy. Jack (played by Jack Nicholson) however slowly goes insane thanks to the ghosts in the hotel. Ultimately Jack gets completely insane and tries to ‘correct’ his family. With no one near the hotel for hundreds of miles, winter at its peak, the only thing that can save the family is Danny’s shining.
1. The Exorcist (1973)
The Exorcist is an American horror film based on a novel of the same name by William Peter Blatty. The plot of the film involves an actress whose daughter, Regan, is acting strangely and is showing huge changes in both physique and attitude. Meanwhile, a priest in Washington DC loses faith in God as her mother dies on the hospital bed due to lack of money, and another priest in Iraq finds that the demon he had defeated years ago, has come back from the dead for a showdown.
The plot gets interconnected when Regan’s mother eventually gets convinced that Regan is possessed by a demon and can only be saved through exorcism. Thus begins an epic exorcism, that revolutionized horror cinema forever.
Our list cannot be completed without mentioning these horror flicks as well:
- Cabin in the Woods (2011)
- Dead Alive (1992)
- Zombie (1979)
- Grave Encounters (2011)
What are the best horror movies of all time that you would suggest to a friend? Let us know in the comments section below!