Top 10 Horror Movies Of All Time

Disclaimer Alert!!! This list is my personal opinion based on my experience after viewing the movie, and the list can vary from person to person.

What makes a good horror movie, in your opinion? Sure, some might say it’s the story that makes horror movies so exciting.

But if you ask me, the horror movie is intriguing because of the combination of cinematography, music, theme, and costume design.

In addition, when a horror movie with all these elements gets a set of fairly talented actors, then it has a caliber to petrify even grown men like us.

So, today, I’ve prepared a list of 10 such movies that will certainly bring chills down your spine.

By the way, this list also includes a few films without supernatural phenomena. I believe that sometimes a story about how demonic a person can be is more scary than some fantasy devils.

Disclaimer Alert!!! This list is my personal opinion based on my experience after viewing the movie, which can vary from person to person.

Now without any further ado, let’s get scared, very scared.

10. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

IMDb
Release Date1974
CastMarilyn Burns, Edwin Neal, Allen Danziger
DirectorTobe Hooper
GenreHorror
Awards3

There have been many adaptations of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (TCM), but none could replicate the horrifying scenes in the first movie.

What’s even more amusing is that the first version of TCM did not have much money to begin with.

Yet, the movie went on to earn a massive $30.9 million at the box office.

And let’s be honest here: the movie actually had no storyline to begin with.

But all hail legendary director Tobe Hooper, who managed to create an atmosphere of fear throughout the movie.

Even during the silent moments of the film, he managed to create tension in the environment.

Furthermore, the movie also had no special effects. But according to my guess, it was a creative choice as Hooper wanted to introduce a rawness during the violent scenes.

And back when I saw the Leatherface for the very first time, the scene sent chills down my spine.

However, in my view, the actors’ performance and dialogue could have been better.

9. The Conjuring (2013)

IMDb
Release Date2013
CastPatrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Ron Livingston
DirectorJames Wan
GenreHorror, Mystery, Thriller
Awards15

Let’s be honest here: the quality of horror movies has gone from bad to worse in the modern days.

But amidst them, there is one movie that can give tough competition to any horror movie.

And it is the James Wan-directed movie The Conjuring.

Although it has been more than a decade since its release, it still has the potential to scare viewers.

Like a traditional horror movie, this movie has a haunted house where the old ghost welcomes a new family.

But it differs because it follows the golden rule of horror movies: “Never show the antagonist fully.”

Unlike most of the horror movies, there are no forced jump scares.

Each and every horror scene fits with the storyline perfectly.

Furthermore, the creative decision to set the movie’s theme in the 1970s makes it seem more authentic and real.

Talking about the direction, Wan chose to use the Dutch angle while filming the movie, which puts an array of uncomfortable images and videos on the screen.

By executing this tough job, The Conjuring easily became director James Wan’s best work.

Besides that, this movie is an absolute masterpiece, from the acting to the script.

If you are going to watch it for the first time, then I am sure you will research a lot about demonology afterward.

8. American Psycho (2000)

IMDb
Release Date2000
CastChristian Bale, Justin Theroux, Josh Lucas
DirectorMary Harron
GenreCrime, Drama, Horror
Awards7

If you are a fan of scrolling through social media, then you might have already seen some scenes of this movie in a reel or TikTok.

American Psycho perfectly depicts what a psychopath looks like in real life.

It tells a tale about how insane a human can be. It was crazy to see a charming actor like Christian Bale act the role of psychopath Patrick Bateman with such ease.

The story revolves around Patrick, who has OCD and is style-driven and egoistic. During the first half of the movie we get to know about the day to day life of Patrick.

While showing his daily work, the camera angle solely focuses on Patrick and blurs everything in the background.

This creative choice by the director, Mary Horren, is a stroke of genius, as the audience can really feel the motive behind Patrick’s every action.

Besides that, the soundtrack in this movie is also one of the finest.

But the scary part about this movie is its ending. None of the characters in the movie seem to believe Patrick, even when he tries to confess the crime he committed.

7. Misery (1990)

IMDb
Release Date1990
CastJames Caan, Kathy Bates, Richard Farnsworth
DirectorRob Reiner
GenreHorror, Drama, Thriller
Awards1 Oscar and 6 Other Awards

Misery is probably one of the best horror movies of 1990.

It focuses on the story of author Paul Sheldon, working on the final saga of his romantic novel series Misery.

For the sake of research, he decides to go an extreme route, and one day, while driving in extreme weather conditions, his car crashes.

The local nurse, Annie Walkins, saves him and tells him that she is one of her biggest fans.

However, when she learns that her favorite character from the series is going to be killed, she does some extremely dark deed.

Besides this perfect storyline, the direction was also spot-on in this movie. It has many perfectly edited suspense scenes which keep the audience on the edge till the very last moment.

With the use of close up shots, Rob managed to show the rage of Annie in a perfect manner.

But the actual superstar is the actress Kathy Bate as Annie. For her stellar performance, she won an Oscar for Best Leading Actress.

6. Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

IMDb
Release Date1968
CastMia Farrow, John Cassavetes, Ruth Gordon
DirectorRoman Polanski
GenreHorror, Drama
Awards1 Oscar and 13 Other Awards

Okay, let’s return to the classic horror films. Rosemary’s Baby is a horror movie in its purest form.

It has no disturbing scenes or murder scenes, so the movie does not have to depend on fake scenes to create a chilling atmosphere.

All it has is a perfect story and a talented crew.

The story begins with Rosemary and Guy Woodhouse moving into a new apartment. Here, they have a fairly old couple as a neighbor.

Their neighbors are friendly but weird as they consciously remove all the pictures from the wall of their apartment.

Guy starts to get close with the neighbor, but Rosemary, who is pregnant, doesn’t like them.

Soon after that, Rosemary starts to lose some weight. This is odd because pregnant women normally gain weight.

Director Roman Polanski tells this tale in a perfect tone. In the opening scene, he uses a creepy lullaby to grasp the audience from the very first moment.

Throughout the film, Polanski drops many hints to the audience, which keeps them engaged.

All in all, this movie is a must-watch for all the cinephiles out there.

5. The Exorcist (1973)

IMDb
Release Date1973
CastEllen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, Linda Blair
DirectorWilliam Friedkin
GenreHorror
Awards2 Oscars and 18 Other Awards

For 2024, the VFX and editing might seem a little gimmicky, but one has to remember the film was actually released in 1970, and for that time period, this movie is actually quite legendary.

This movie was supposedly based on the true story. It starts well with a scene in Iraq, which develops a perfect backstory for a character.

With each passing minute, the movie gets more and more scary.

The overall plot is about the mother and the possessed daughter. Meanwhile, two holy fathers try to free the daughter from the demon’s grasp.

Besides that, Regan’s transformation from a sweet child to a dangerous demon manages to scare a lot of audiences even today.

Although the special effects are a little gimmicky, the film manages to create tension among fans during its second half.

All in all, this movie is a legendary horror movie that sets standards for how a horror movie should be.

4. The Thing (1982)

IMDb
Release Date1982
CastBill Lancaster
DirectorJohn Carpenter
GenreHorror, Mystery, Sci-Fi
Awards5 Nominations

The Thing” is an exciting movie from start to end.

This masterpiece, directed by John Carpenter, is set in Antarctica.

The story starts with a group of scientists completely isolated in a cold region who are suddenly invaded by beings from outer space.

These beings have powers like shapeshifters. They can imitate the faces of the people they killed.

However, that’s not what makes “The Thing” scary. It’s the way the scientists become paranoid one by one.

The movie offers an atmosphere of desperation and suspicion throughout

By the movie’s end, every existing human loses trust in one another.

And for the viewers, it offers an ambiguity that leaves many questions unanswered.

3. Requiem For A Dream (2000)

IMDb
Release Date2000
CastEllen Burstyn, Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly
DirectorDarren Aronofsky
GenreHorror, Drama
Awards1 Nomination for Oscars and 37 Other Awards

The title Requiem For A Dream literally translates to the graveyard for the dream.

To be honest with you guys, this movie still haunts me. It reminds us about how simple addictions can lead to horrifying changes in life.

Furthermore, the story portrayed in the movie tries to tell us that sometimes the scariest thing about life is life itself.

There are four protagonists in this movie and each of them gets destroyed by the end, and the thing that destroys them is their own addiction.

From the acting to the direction, everything in this movie is on another level. By the way, there is no sugarcoating at all.

Now, regarding the cinematography, it offers some extreme close-ups and split-screen scenes to tell the story of four lives. With the help of snapshots, it does a great job of showing multiple perspectives.

That’s not it; the music is also legendary. It offers one of the saddest tunes I have ever heard.

There isn’t a single moment where something feels forced.

But let me warn you: after watching this movie, its story will haunt you for the rest of your life.

And just a suggestion: if someone you know has a drug addiction, then tell them to watch this movie once.

For substance abuse treatment, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

2. The Shining (1980)

IMDb
Release Date1980
CastJack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd
DirectorStanley Kubrick
GenreHorror, Drama
Awards6

Most of the horror movies offer an obscene amount of violence. They are mostly targeted to bring the teens into the theatre.

However, when I first watched this movie, surprisingly, it had no such scenes; in fact, no one made a sudden appearance from the dark.

But after watching it for the first time, I remember keeping my lights on at night for an entire month.

Stanley Kubrick, the director of the movie, chose to build suspense with chilling music.

Regarding its cinematography, Kubrick chose to use wide-angle lenses, which perfectly portrayed the emptiness and isolation.

Furthermore, it made the hotel look even more scary than it should be.

Besides that, Jack Nicholson, as Jack Torrance, also delivered one of his best performances.

In spite of all that, the movie’s superstar turned out to be its vagueness. In the end, it leaves many questions unanswered.

But there was one problem: Since it was an adaptation of Stephen King’s novel, it left many characters out of the book.

The storyline is also a little different from the original novel.

This is the only reason why this movie is second on our list.

1. Psycho (1960)

IMDb
Release Date1960
CastAnthony Perkins, Janel Leigh, Vera Miles
DirectorAlfred Hitchcock
GenreHorror, Mystery, Thriller
AwardsNominated for 4 Oscars and 8 Other Awards

Not just horror movies, but Psycho is probably one of the best movies ever made in Hollywood.

The movie starts with a hint of realism; the first 40 minutes tell much about life in America in the 60s.

Moreover, as the movie progresses you start appreciating the work of Hitchcock.

You start realizing that Hitchcock was a master at creating suspense.

Besides that, the movie doesn’t slow down even for a single second.

I especially liked the shower scene in which Hitchcock captures the victim’s lifeless eyes. That scene alone deserves an Oscar.

Speaking about the acting, Anthony Perkins really gives a stellar performance in this film. At the start, he is kind and gentle, but as the movie progresses, he grows increasingly insane.

In addition, the music itself has become a classic. It perfectly accompanies the killings in the movie.

For those who haven’t seen this movie yet, I would like to tell you that it’s a must-watch.

Summary With Rotten Tomatoes Ratings

S.NName Of The MovieRating On Rotten Tomatoes
1Psycho97%
2The Shining83%
3Requiem For A Dream78%
4The Thing84%
5The Exorcist78%
6Rosemary’s Baby96%
7Misery91%
8American Psycho68%
9The Conjuring86%
10The Texas Chainsaw Massacre89%

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