I love horror films. All of the films on this list I have seen. These are all great horror films I believe every fan should watch. Keep count on how many you have seen.
0-10: have to watch more
11-20: seen a few but not a true fan
21-30: horror movie novice
31-40: Casual fan
41-50: Big fan
51-60: Hard-core fan
61-69: Horror film buff
All of them: Horror film fanatic
A truly clever horror flick, this movie is fun and thrilling. It follows high school teenagers being stalked by two masked killers, amazing meta-horror.
- The Sixth Sense
This is a sad, amazingly acted thriller about a psychiatrist who helps a boy who can see ghosts. The twist is amazing, a must watch.
- The Conjuring
This petrifying horror is about a family who call in two paranormal investigators when they believe they’re home is being menaced by demonic entities. You will literally be petrified of your wardrobe after seeing this.
- The Exorcist
This is a definite classic. It may be old but it still terrifies. It is about a young girl possessed by a demonic entity.
- The Conjuring 2
This is a petrifying sequel to an already petrifying film. The premise is similar but it’s set in the infamous Enfield house.
This gory classic is about a ballerina who joins a ballet school and discovers its home to a coven of witches. A must watch!
- Get Out
This movie is fairly modern but it’s petrifying and suspenseful. It follows a black man really nervous about meeting his white girlfriends parents…he should be.
- Dead of Night
The best anthology ever! This follows a man who’s called to a house in the middle of the night and realises he’s dreamt about the night before. The people in the house tell him their own ghost stories to calm him down. The 3rd and 5th segments are terrifying.
- The Masque of the Red Death
Not so much of a horror, truthfully, though it’s classed as one. The ending is absolutely flawless. This underrated horror stars Vincent Price as a Satanist who captures three people. He is trying to turn one of them into a Satanist while he shelters other Satanists from the disseise known as the Red Death.
- The Fly (remake)
This disgusting body horror is about a man (Jeff Goldblum) who invents teleportation. He manages to teleport himself but a fly gets in the pod with him. The computer gets confused and fuses them together and he slowly morphs into a fly.
Mother! is an intelligent horror starring Jennifer Lawrence. I won’t say the plot seeing as it will spoil it.
- The Wicker Man (original)
The Wicker Man is an amazing horror about a Christian policeman who travels to a pagan island to search for a missing girl but all is not what it seems.
- The Omen (original)
Petrifying, Satanic horror about an American Diplomat (Gregory Peck) who finds out his adopted son, Damien is in fact, the Antichrist.
- The Orphanage
This is an emotional horror about a woman who buys an orphanage where she used to live as a kid. When her son goes missing, the dead contact her as she frantically searches for her son.
- The Ring (remake)
This is a suspenseful horror about a journalist (Naomi Watts) who investigates a videotape that kills its viewer within 7 days. This may be pg13 but it never fails to terrify.
- Peeping Tom
This amazing horror follows an aspiring director who films women as he kills them. He soon falls in love. This has inspired films like Red Dragon.
- Silence of the Lambs
The main attraction of this film is Anthony Hopkins’ frightening performance as Hannibal Lector and the rest is just a bonus. It follows a detective, Clarice Starling, hunting a deranged serial killer, Buffalo Bill. She enlists the help of a charismatic cannibal, Hannibal Lector who is being held in a high security prison.
- American Werewolf in London
American Werewolf in London is a funny, scary classic. The soundtrack is fantastic and the shots of England’s foggy moors are also fantastic. It’s about 2 Americans hiking through England. They are attacked by a werewolf, one bitten, one killed. The survivor is visited by his dead friend, warning him that every full moon, he will turn into a werewolf.
- Drag Me to Hell
Sam Raimi returns to his horror roots with this horror-comedy about a woman, Christine who declines a mortgage loan only to impress her boss. The lady who she turned down is gypsy then she places a curse on Christine, and eventually, she is fighting for her soul.
- Paranormal Activity
Many say this film is boring but it is not. It is terrifying – it may not have loads of blood or cheap jump scares – but it is scary. It follows a couple and one of them is being followed by a demonic entity. They set up cameras around the house but are not prepared for the terrifying events the camera will pick up.
This is certainly not the scariest film on this list but it’s still a great film. The music, acting, directing and character development is all flawless. It is about a small beach community menaced by a shark and it’s up to a sheriff, marine biologist and shark hunter to stop it.
Sometimes you need a break from true terror and watch this hilarious Christmas classic about a boy who gets a Mogiwai as a pet. I think everyone knows what happens next.
- The Lost Boys
This was one of my first horror films. I love this film. It is about a teenager who discovers the people he’s hanging around with are actually vampires.
- Deep Red
Dario Argento’s gory masterpiece follows an artist who becomes obsessed with tracking down a killer after witnessing the murder.
- Shaun of the Dead
This is basically Scream of the zombie movies. It follows a group of people trying to survive in a zombie apocalypse.
- The Birds
This film is way better than Psycho. It’s creepier and doesn’t rely too heavily on shock horror. It is about a flock of birds terrorising a small seaside town.
Classic slasher film about a lunatic from an asylum escapes and returns to his home on Halloween night. The scene where Laurie Strode walks across the street to her dead friend’s house as eerie music plays is one of the best part of the film.
- Friday the 13th (1980)
This entertaining slasher flick is about teens getting picked off one by one by a psycho at a summer camp.
- Friday the 13th part 2
This has the same premise of the original but it does everything better than it. Also, Pamela is gone and Jason shows the true slasher icon he actually is.
- The Thing (80’s remake)
This disgusting horror is about an Antarctic research team are face to face with a shape-shifting alien after they rescue a dog.
- The Tale of two Sisters
Classic J-horror about two sisters who return home from an asylum and believe their stepmother is hiding a sinister secret.
- Scream 2
Classic horror sequel about the survivors of the original are faced with copycat killings. The opening scene’s greatness is on par with the original’s greatness.
- The Babadook
Frightening horror which is about a mother who finds out a monster from a book her son found is very real. Whether it’s in a word, or if it’s in a look, you can’t get rid of the Babadook.
- The Witch
Old fashioned horror about a 17th century family, who’s been banished to the woods, is menaced by a witch when the baby goes missing.
- It (2017)
This is the modern adaption of the classic Stephen King novel about a group of kids hunting for a demonic clown killing the children of Derry.
- The Visit
This is a creepy horror about to kids who meet their grandparents for the first time but things take a dark and dangerous turn.
This is a terrifying horror about a woman investigating an urban legend that may be all too real. Try saying Candyman in the mirror 5 times after watching this. You won’t be able to do it.
- Annabelle: Creation
This is a huge improvement to the original. This also proves that you don’t need an original plot, just excellent execution.
- 28 Days Later
This is the scariest zombie film I’ve ever seen. I’ve seen a few as well. Get ready for one big gore-fest.
This is one of the first horror films. It may be a silent film, but it’s still extremely eerie.
This is certainly not the scariest film on this list but it’s a haunted house classic every horror fan has to watch. It is a perfect horror for beginners.
- The Strangers
The Strangers is a tense, home invasion thriller that balances out genuine scares and jump scares perfectly.
- The Last Exorcism
This is another excellent pg13 horror. There are some genuinely frightening scenes, particularly near the end.
- The Others
This suspenseful horror stars Nicole Kidman as a mother who protects her two children from spirits, but all is not what it seems.
- The Descent
This is a terrifying, exhilarating, claustrophobic horror from Neil Marshall that follows 6 women who go cave-diving and discover creatures with a taste for flesh.
Ethan Hawke stars as a crime writer who moves into a house with a dark history to write his next novel. He discovers snuff films in the attic and weird events start to plague the house. An unoriginal idea executed perfectly.
This would be a lot higher up on the list (number 5 maybe) if it wasn’t classed as a thriller. This gripping film puts Seven to shame. It is about a comic writer for Chronicle becomes obsessed with finding the Zodiac killer, adapted from a book written by the real life main character.
- Lights Out
This creepy horror is not suitable for people afraid of the dark. When her dad’s killed, young woman fears her family is being targeted for a spirit that can only appear in the dark.
- Damien: Omen II
Sequel to the original is by no means a better film but is it gorier and the twist at the end is fantastic. Plus, there are some genuinely creepy scenes.
- The Omen 3: Final Conflict
This is actually scarier than the second and is extremely unnerving. In this one, Damien is an adult attempting to prevent the coming of Christ. Because of this it is the darkest out of the lot, despite the fact it has a happy ending – for once.
Again, this would be higher on the list if it wasn’t for the fact it’s a thriller. This riveting film is about a wounded author held hostage by his increasingly deranged number 1 fan. Queue ankle-hobbling.
- I am Not a Serial Killer
Not another thriller on this list! Yes, I am Not a Serial Killer is a thriller, because like Zodiac, it takes time developing characters and delving into the mind of a sociopathic teen rather than gory murders. This is about a sociopathic teen who becomes obsessed with finding a (supernatural) serial killer.
- Dawn of the Dead (Remake)
Remake of George A Romero’s classic horror (which I unfortunately haven’t seen). The beginning grabs the audience by the throat, completely unexpectedly.
- It Follows
Eerie horror about a teenager who has sex with her boyfriend and discovers she’s being stalked by a demon. Watch this film alone, in the dark.
- The Invitation
Slow-burn horror about a man and his girlfriend invited to his ex-wife’s dinner party but all is not what it seems.
While it’s not as terrifying as The Exorcist, Stigmata is still a good possession movie, applying plenty of chills and thrills to keep fans of the genre satisfied.
This could’ve been a tiresome found-footage rip-off to Godzilla ended up actually being quite frightening. It is about a group of people trying to escape a giant monster in Manhattan.
- The Serpent and the Rainbow
This is a truly underrated voodoo horror flick from Wes Craven. While it may be silly towards the end, the build-up is amazing, showing off some truly nightmarish imagery. This is about a man who travels to Haiti when he hears of a medicine that can raise the dead.
- The Conspiracy
This is another thriller type film. This chilling film follows three filmmakers investigating the Illuminati. Watch this alone, in the dark.
- Event Horizon
Event Horizon may not be the most original film on this list, but it’s creepy, filled with haunting imagery, gore, it’s memorable and doesn’t drag on to long by using unnecessary scenes (I’m looking at you Seven. Do we have to watch a two minute scene of someone’s house shaking every time a train goes by?)
- Red Dragon
Red Dragon is a disturbing prequel to Silence of the Lambs that again, isn’t original, however the execution is great.
- Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon
Behind the Mask is a fresh, clever and inventive twist on the slasher genre perfect for fans of the slasher sub-genre. This won’t give you sleepless nights but instead will inspire several laughs, and sometimes you need a film like that.
Like most anthologies, Creepshow is uneven fun. The first segment, Father’s Day is mediocre. The second segment, The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verill is rubbish. The 3rd, something Tide over You is fantastic. The fourth, The Crate is gory fun. The fifth, They’re Creeping up on you is my favourite.
- A Christmas Horror Story
Another uneven anthology, but this time it gets you into the festive season. The segments that are true gems is the one where Santa Clause fights a horde of zombie elves, is gory fun but ends with a stomach churning twist and Christmas Changeling shows that creepy kids can still be used effectively. The segment Krampus is okay and Christmas in the Attic sucks.
- The Faculty
The Faculty is a perfect film for beginners; it’s like a scary rollercoaster ride. While there are some genuinely chilling moments, you won’t care because the execution handles it in a way that won’t make you reach for the covers. It is about students who begin to suspect their school is being taken over by body-snatchers.
I stumbled upon this underrated thriller when I was browsing through Sky. I was intrigued by its premise, a man (Mathew McConaughey) contacts the police claiming his brother has committed recent murders.
- Dead Calm
While it’s not my favourite thriller, Dead Calm is entertaining and gripping enough to keep the audience invested, elevated by superb performances from Nicole Kidman, Billy Zane and Sam Neill.
- The Hand that Rocks the Cradle
The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world. This is actually my all-time favourite thriller. It is very unsettling, extremely suspenseful and boasts fantastic performances from Rebecca De Mornay, Annabella Sciorra and Julianne Moore.
- Play Misty for Me
Fatal Attraction is an infamous thriller that inspired films like Obsessed, Swimfan, The Boy Next Door and much more. Fatal Attraction is actually a rip-off to an underrated 70’s film Play Misty for me, directed by Clint Eastwood.
- Cape Fear (remake)
I watched this film when I was too young and I was horrified. It was very disturbing and it burned into my mind.
So that’s my list. Are you as big as a fan that you thought? All of these movies are worthwhile. Scores are also below.