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100 best horror films of all time

  • Semi-Professional
    1/ Semi-Professional

    100 best horror films of all time

    More than any other genre, horror arguably remains the purest form of cinematic entertainment. Accordingly, audiences are expected to leave their lofty pretenses at home. In horror, entertainment is the point. Rarely within these films will you find meaningful life lessons, ham-fisted motifs or layers of subtext (movies like Get Out or The Shining notwithstanding). Of course, that’s not to say horror films go short on symbolism or meaning. In fact, one might argue they offer a direct line into our collective unconscious. Ultimately, it’s a horror flick’s ability to provide a cathartic outlet for your most primal and basic fears that determines its effectiveness.

    Another cool thing about horror movies? They seem to be both recession-proof and impervious to broader trends. In an age of excessive spending by big studios, horror movies are able to pump substantial returns out of modest budgets. With mid-range flicks like It and Get Out (or pretty much anything produced by Blumhouse Entertainment) killing it at the box office, 2017 was no exception to the rule, proving that audiences are occasionally willing to resist the allure of superheroes and space battles in favor of gory thrills and bone-tingling suspense.

    Will 2018 serve up another bloody great time at the cinemas? Time will tell. Until then, Stacker is counting down the 100 best horror movies ever made. To create the list, we used IMDb ratings and the Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer, excluding any films with less than 5,000 IMDb votes. In order to make the list, each film also had to be classified as “horror” on IMDb, which is why you won’t see movies like Jaws, The Sixth Sense or Silence of the Lambs (as nerve-wracking as those films might be) listed here—just pure horror. So grab the edge of your seat, check out the list, and don’t let go until you’ve reached number one.  

  • Galatea Film
    2/ Galatea Film

    #100. Black Sunday

    Stacker Score: 76.60

    IMDb Rating: 7.3

    Tomatometer: 85%

    Year released: 1960

    From Italian horror legend Mario Bava comes 1960’s Black Sunday, a horror movie about a witch who returns from the dead and tries to possess one of her descendants. If you sit down today to watch the film for the first time, you might experience a strange sense of déjà vu. That’s no accident. Directors like Francis Ford Coppola and Richard Donner pay direct homage to the film in works like The Omen and Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

  • Mutant Enemy
    3/ Mutant Enemy

    #99. The Cabin in the Woods

    Stacker Score: 76.60

    IMDb Rating: 7.0

    Tomatometer: 92%

    Year released: 2012

    Putting a clever and humorous spin on classic horror movie tropes, The Cabin in the Woods features an underground institute that forces teenagers into fatal scenarios in order to please unseen gods. Hence, what begins as a traditional “cabin horror” movie subverts its own cliches by emphasizing those very same cliches. The film was co-written (in just three days) by Joss Whedon, who definitely knows a thing or two about movie tropes.  

  • Gaumont
    4/ Gaumont

    #98. Possession

    Stacker Score: 76.70

    IMDb Rating: 7.4

    Tomatometer: 83%

    Year released: 1981

    At first glance, 1981’s Possession might seem like a standard European divorce drama. However, slowly unraveling throughout the film is something far more devious. The story centers on a woman who wants to separate from her husband for unexplained reasons. As the husband investigates his wife’s sudden change of heart, he discovers that she’s hiding some very dark and twisted secrets.

  • Semi-Professional
    5/ Semi-Professional

    #97. Housebound

    Stacker Score: 76.70

    IMDb Rating: 6.8

    Tomatometer: 97%

    Year released: 2014

    Winner of the “Fresh Blood Audience Award” at the 2014 Germany Fantasy Film Festival, Housebound tells the tale of a woman who is put under house arrest in her childhood home, which she soon suspects is haunted. The movie mixes dark humor and horror to brilliant effect, while expertly toeing the line between the psychological and the supernatural. Is her house inhabited by an evil spirit or is it all in her head? Watch to find out.

  • Caliber Media Company
    6/ Caliber Media Company

    #96. Bone Tomahawk

    Stacker Score: 76.70

    IMDb Rating: 7.1

    Tomatometer: 90%

    Year released: 2015

    One might hear the words “Western horror” and think of gunslinging skeletons or something of the like, but Bone Tomahawk finds all its scares in the natural world. Starring Kurt Russell, the movie is about a devoted man trying to save his wife from a group of savage cannibals. Director S. Craig Zahler delivers a slow build to some truly grotesque visuals. The result is a movie that’s definitely not for the faint of heart... or stomach.  

  • RKO Radio Pictures
    7/ RKO Radio Pictures

    #95. The Thing from Another World

    Stacker Score: 76.80

    IMDb Rating: 7.2

    Tomatometer: 88%

    Year released: 1951

    It creeps. It crawls. It strikes without warning! So went the marketing for The Thing from Another World. Based on the short story “Who Goes There?” by John W. Campbell Jr., the film tells the tale of an arctic exploration team confronted with a deadly alien entity. The movie was produced by Howard Hawks, who reportedly took over directing duties about halfway through filming. And if the premise sounds familiar, that’s because John Carpenter’s 1982 classic The Thing was based on both this film and the very same short story, as was 2011’s The Thing.

  • Recorded Picture Company (RPC)
    8/ Recorded Picture Company (RPC)

    #94. Only Lovers Left Alive

    Stacker Score: 76.90

    IMDb Rating: 7.3

    Tomatometer: 86%

    Year released: 2013

    Arthouse director Jim Jarmusch tackles the vampire genre in 2013’s Only Lovers Left Alive. It’s about two vampires whose centuries-long relationship is thrown into chaos after the arrival of the female vampire’s younger sister. As with most of Jarmusch’s movies, the action moves gradually and dialogue dominates. In other words, don’t go in expecting a bloodbath.  

  • Showbox Entertainment
    9/ Showbox Entertainment

    #93. The Host

    Stacker Score: 76.90

    IMDb Rating: 7.0

    Tomatometer: 93%

    Year released: 2006

    Acclaimed director Joon-ho Bong turned the world on to Korean monster movies with 2006’s The Host. In the film, a vicious sea creature captures a young girl, whose family sets out to save her. While the beast itself might be fictional, it’s inspired by an actual event where a U.S. military civilian employee dumped formaldehyde into Korea’s sewer system.

  • Columbia Pictures
    10/ Columbia Pictures

    #92. Fright Night

    Stacker Score: 77.00

    IMDb Rating: 7.1

    Tomatometer: 91%

    Year released: 1985

    Not to be confused with the lackluster 2011 remake, 1985’s Fright Night delivers a successful slice of mid-’80s horror comedy. The premise takes potential inspiration from Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window, but this time around, the deadly neighbor is a vampire. The only one who suspects a thing is a teenager played by William Ragsdale, who must act before he (or someone he loves) becomes the vampire’s next victim.

  • Screen Australia
    11/ Screen Australia

    #91. The Babadook

    Stacker Score: 77.00

    IMDb Rating: 6.8

    Tomatometer: 98%

    Year released: 2014

    In the spirit of movies like The Shining, 2014’s The Babadook tells the tale of a traumatized young boy who is convinced there’s a deadly monster loose in the house. At first, the young boy’s mother, a recent widow, doesn’t believe him. However, as horrific events unfold she begins to think there’s something supernatural afoot. Or is there? Awash with psychological motifs and nail-biting visuals, The Babadook endures as a modern classic.

  • William Castle Productions
    12/ William Castle Productions

    #90. House on Haunted Hill

    Stacker Score: 77.10

    IMDb Rating: 6.9

    Tomatometer: 96%

    Year released: 1959

    In 1959’s House on Haunted Hill, an eccentric millionaire (played by iconic horror actor Vincent Price) offers a group of people $10,000 on the condition that they spend the night inside a haunted house. So impactful was this movie that the premise has been replicated multiple times since. Most strikingly, the film’s success inspired Alfred Hitchcock to make 1960’s Psycho.

  • Associated British-Path̩
    13/ Associated British-Path̩

    #89. The Devil Rides Out

    Stacker Score: 77.20

    IMDb Rating: 7.0

    Tomatometer: 94%

    Year released: 1968

    Watch enough vintage horror movies and a few names will pop up over and over again. One of those names is Christopher Lee, who starred in 1968’s The Devil Rides Out. In the movie, Lee’s character is a black magic expert who encounters a group of devil worshippers in pursuit of their next sacrifice.

  • Northern Lights Films
    14/ Northern Lights Films

    #88. It Follows

    Stacker Score: 77.40

    IMDb Rating: 6.9

    Tomatometer: 97%

    Year released: 2014

    As any expert or enthusiast might tell you, two teenagers having sex almost always portends death in horror movies. However, It Follows takes that concept to its furthest extreme, using sex itself as the gateway to a vicious curse. Once cursed, random people will begin slowly walking toward the victim with murder on the mind. The result is a nightmarish film enhanced by a synth-based soundtrack, an intentionally retro vibe and a lingering sense of dread.

  • Laurel Entertainment Inc.
    15/ Laurel Entertainment Inc.

    #87. Martin

    Stacker Score: 77.40

    IMDb Rating: 7.2

    Tomatometer: 90%

    Year released: 1978

    Another name that’s commonplace in the annals of horror? George Romero, the filmmaker behind The Night of the Living Dead. In 1978, he unleashed Martin, a film about a boy who is convinced he’s a vampire and accordingly lusts for human blood. According to legend, Martin is Romero’s personal favorite among his many films.

  • Dino De Laurentiis Company
    16/ Dino De Laurentiis Company

    #86. The Dead Zone

    Stacker Score: 77.40

    IMDb Rating: 7.2

    Tomatometer: 90%

    Year released: 1983

    Based on the gripping novel by Stephen King, The Dead Zone is about a man with psychic powers who can foresee the future just by gripping someone’s hand. The film was directed by David Cronenberg and stars Christopher Walken in the lead role. Toward the end of the movie, Walken’s character comes face to face with an aspiring politician and envisions that politician ending the world by way of nuclear strike. Stephen King himself would go on to liken that politician to a certain outsized figure currently holding public office.  

  • Paramount Pictures
    17/ Paramount Pictures

    #85. 10 Cloverfield Lane

    Stacker Score: 77.40

    IMDb Rating: 7.2

    Tomatometer: 90%

    Year released: 2016

    Upon its release, 10 Cloverfield Lane was shrouded in secrecy. The movie seemed to be about a man (played by John Goodman) who holds a woman captive in an underground bunker. However, the name itself was clearly associated with Cloverfield, the 2008 found footage movie about monsters attacking the planet. Is it all connected somehow? Naturally. But that’s all we’re going to say about it.

  • Hammer Films
    18/ Hammer Films

    #84. The Mummy

    Stacker Score: 77.60

    IMDb Rating: 6.8

    Tomatometer: 100%

    Year released: 1959

    The Mummy (1959) takes place just before the turn of the 20th century, when some British archaeologists accidentally reanimate an ancient high priest. In this particular adaptation, it’s actor Christopher Lee wrapped in gauze, striking terror into the hearts of many. And if his jilted walk looks painstakingly authentic, that’s because he was injured several times before shooting wrapped—no pun intended.

  • Walt Disney Productions
    19/ Walt Disney Productions

    #83. The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad

    Stacker Score: 77.60

    IMDb Rating: 7.1

    Tomatometer: 93%

    Year released: 1949

    While beloved children’s tale "The Wind and the Willows" and terrifying short story "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" don’t exactly make for a perfect double header, they were nevertheless paired by Disney in 1949’s The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad. The animated movie was one of Disney’s “Package Films”, which the studio released in order to cut down on budget costs on the heels of World War II.  

  • Lorimar Film Entertainment
    20/ Lorimar Film Entertainment

    #82. The Witches

    Stacker Score: 77.60

    IMDb Rating: 6.8

    Tomatometer: 100%

    Year released: 1990

    Bringing one of Roald Dahl’s many scrumdiddlyumptious stories to life was 1990’s The Witches. It features Anjelica Huston as a high witch with a plot to eliminate all the children in England. The only thing standing in her way is a young boy who’s been turned into a mouse. While not really horror, the film definitely strikes a bone-chilling chord among younger viewers.  

  • DreamWorks
    21/ DreamWorks

    #81. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

    Stacker Score: 77.60

    IMDb Rating: 7.4

    Tomatometer: 86%

    Year released: 2007

    In 2007, director Tim Burton teamed up with actor Johnny Depp yet again for Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Adapted from a Broadway musical of the same name, the movie tells the story of a widowed barber who—with the help of a meat pie shop owner—enacts revenge on those who wronged him. He kills the customers. She cooks them. It’s quite a partnership indeed.

  • Universal Pictures
    22/ Universal Pictures

    #80. Son of Frankenstein

    Stacker Score: 77.70

    IMDb Rating: 7.2

    Tomatometer: 91%

    Year released: 1939

    No list of horror movies is complete without Dr. Frankenstein’s monster, or without screen legend Boris Karloff. That brings us to 1939’s Son of Frankenstein, where Karloff plays the groaning half-man/half-demon with predictable expertise. This time around, it’s Dr. Frankenstein’s son who awakens the famous monster from slumber. Also starring in the film is horror icon Bela Lugosi as Ygor.  

  • Harvest Filmworks
    23/ Harvest Filmworks

    #79. Pi

    Stacker Score: 77.90

    IMDb Rating: 7.4

    Tomatometer: 87%

    Year released: 1998

    Director Darren Aronofsky’s big screen debut, Pi, is about a brilliant and disturbed mathematician trying to find patterns in nature by exploring the world’s most mysterious number. While not horror per se, the movie is a visual and psychological tour de force, ultimately rendering far greater an impression than a substantial number of gorier films. As it turns out, math can be quite scary.

  • RKO Radio Pictures
    24/ RKO Radio Pictures

    #78. I Walked with a Zombie

    Stacker Score: 78.00

    IMDb Rating: 7.2

    Tomatometer: 92%

    Year released: 1943

    Marking the first appearance of zombies on the list is 1943’s I Walked With a Zombie. However, don’t take that to mean the film includes swaths of the walking dead on the hunt for human brains. By contrast, the movie is about a nurse who visits an island and encounters a woman who seems to be brain dead. In lieu of blood and gore, expect taut, unnerving atmosphere and a shocking ending.

  • Reliance Big Pictures
    25/ Reliance Big Pictures

    #77. Tucker and Dale vs Evil

    Stacker Score: 78.10

    IMDb Rating: 7.6

    Tomatometer: 83%

    Year released: 2010

    Before Cabin in the Woods, it was Tucker and Dale vs Evil turning the “cabin horror” premise on its head. In the film, we meet Tucker and Dale, two kind-hearted hillbillies who get mistaken for bloodthirsty murderers by a group of naive teenagers. As the miscommunications and mishaps lead to a number of grisly deaths, Tucker and Dale soon find themselves fending for their lives.

  • Dimension Films
    26/ Dimension Films

    #76. Grindhouse

    Stacker Score: 78.10

    IMDb Rating: 7.6

    Tomatometer: 83%

    Year released: 2007

    Filmmakers Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez were raised on gory, campy and exploitative flicks from the ‘70s, and in 2007, they offered up their own take. The result was Grindhouse, an indulgent double-header dealing with zombie invasions and crazed drag racers. Delightfully sandwiched between the two films is a series of mock previews for movies that don’t exist, each one heralded by a famous director.  

  • Cruise/Wagner Productions
    27/ Cruise/Wagner Productions

    #75. The Others

    Stacker Score: 78.10

    IMDb Rating: 7.6

    Tomatometer: 83%

    Year released: 2001

    It’s hard to discuss 2001’s The Others without bringing up the incredible ending, which will truly sweep the rug out from under you. Hence, all we can say about the movie is that it’s a haunted house premise with a brilliant twist, and you should see it.

  • Bryan Foy Productions
    28/ Bryan Foy Productions

    #74. House of Wax

    Stacker Score: 78.20

    IMDb Rating: 7.1

    Tomatometer: 95%

    Year released: 1953

    Vincent Price stars as a vengeful wax museum owner with a terrifying methodology in 1953’s House of Wax. The horror classic was the first 3-D color movie produced by a major studio, however the film’s own director couldn’t even notice the effect because he was blind in one eye. Meanwhile, according to Price’s biographer, the actor would routinely (and discreetly) attend screenings, once leaning forward during a scary scene and asking two teenagers in his singular voice: “Did you like it?”

  • Twentieth Century Fox
    29/ Twentieth Century Fox

    #73. The Fly

    Stacker Score: 78.20

    IMDb Rating: 7.1

    Tomatometer: 95%

    Year released: 1958

    After trying out his new teleportation device, a scientist becomes the subject of his own experiment in The Fly. Later remade by David Cronenberg, the original 1958 film is a genuine creep-fest that makes expert use of early special effects and animatronics. Sadly, the film’s director, Kurt Neumann, died a week before it was released. 

  • Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
    30/ Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

    #72. Poltergeist

    Stacker Score: 78.20

    IMDb Rating: 7.4

    Tomatometer: 88%

    Year released: 1982

    To this day, it’s not entirely clear whether Tobe Hooper or Steven Spielberg directed the bulk of Poltergeist, a film that puts a suburban spin on the haunted house genre. However, that remains a lightweight mystery compared to other legends surrounding both the film and subsequent franchise. For instance, stars JoBeth Williams and Zelda Rubinstein both claimed to have supernatural experiences during filming. Also spooky is the fact that several actors from the Poltergeist franchise have died untimely deaths. Some people believe there’s even a curse on the movie. Suffice it to say, don’t watch this one alone.

  • Universal Pictures
    31/ Universal Pictures

    #71. The Mummy

    Stacker Score: 78.30

    IMDb Rating: 7.2

    Tomatometer: 93%

    Year released: 1932

    After playing Frankenstein’s monster for the first time in 1931, Boris Karloff took a step to the side to play the mummy in a 1932 movie of the same name. During filming, Karloff kindly let the costume designer know, You’ve done a wonderful job, but you forgot to give me a fly!” Just as iconic as the film itself is the original poster, which once fetched a record-breaking $453,500 at auction.

  • WingNut Films
    32/ WingNut Films

    #70. Dead Alive

    Stacker Score: 78.30

    IMDb Rating: 7.5

    Tomatometer: 86%

    Year released: 1992

    Before setting his sights on hobbits and giant apes, Peter Jackson was a reputable cult director with a penchant for extreme gore. To witness some of his gruesome antics on full display, look no further than 1992’s Dead Alive, one of the downright grossest movies you may ever come across. Equal parts comedy and horror, the movie deals with a young man’s mother, who gets infected with a virus and turns into a bloodthirsty cannibal as a result.  

  • New Line Cinema
    33/ New Line Cinema

    #69. The Conjuring

    Stacker Score: 78.30

    IMDb Rating: 7.5

    Tomatometer: 86%

    Year released: 2013

    Here’s a movie so terrifying that it was reportedly given an R rating for its “scare factor” alone. Helmed by modern horror maestro James Wan, The Conjuring introduces viewers to the Warrens, a pair of paranormal investigators who visit a haunted farmhouse and confront the demons therein. In addition to being critically acclaimed, the flick was a box office smash, earning the third highest-grossing weekend for an R-rated horror film at the time of its release.

  • Hemdale
    34/ Hemdale

    #68. The Return of the Living Dead

    Stacker Score: 78.40

    IMDb Rating: 7.3

    Tomatometer: 91%

    Year released: 1985

    According to the tagline for The Return of the Living Dead, zombies are back from the grave and “ready to party”. As one might expect, the movie delivers a striking combination of laughs and gore. It was directed by Dan O’Bannon—the screenwriter behind the original Alien—who paid some of the zombies extra to eat real calf brains during filming.

  • Empire Pictures
    35/ Empire Pictures

    #67. Re-Animator

    Stacker Score: 78.60

    IMDb Rating: 7.2

    Tomatometer: 94%

    Year released: 1985

    Stuart Gordon’s Re-Animator is the stuff that cult followings are made of. Based on a story by H.P. Lovecraft, the movie is about an eccentric medical student who brings the dead back to life. Expect loads of campy acting and buckets of blood. Just how many buckets you might ask? About 25 gallons worth, according to legend.

  • De Laurentiis Entertainment Group (DEG)
    36/ De Laurentiis Entertainment Group (DEG)

    #66. Manhunter

    Stacker Score: 78.60

    IMDb Rating: 7.2

    Tomatometer: 94%

    Year released: 1986

    Most movie-lovers hear the name Hannibal Lecter and think of the 1991 Oscar-winning film The Silence of the Lambs, however, the iconic psychopath made his big screen debut in 1986’s Manhunter. Directed by Michael Mann, the movie is an adaptation of Thomas Harris’ Red Dragon, about an intuitive cop trying to catch a serial killer before he strikes again. Originally, David Lynch was attached as director, and his early notes on Hannibal Lecter (spelled Lektor in this version) reportedly left a substantial impact in regards to how future filmmakers approached the character.  

  • New Line Cinema
    37/ New Line Cinema

    #65. It

    Stacker Score: 78.70

    IMDb Rating: 7.6

    Tomatometer: 85%

    Year released: 2017

    One of the biggest blockbusters in 2017, It tells the story of an evil entity terrorizing children in a small town. The entity most commonly takes the form of a clown named Pennywise, and as a result, you may never look at children’s birthday parties or circus acts the same way again. So effective were trailers for the film that real clowns united in protest against the movie, fearing the potential impact that Pennywise would have on their industry.

  • Vortex
    38/ Vortex

    #64. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

    Stacker Score: 78.90

    IMDb Rating: 7.5

    Tomatometer: 88%

    Year released: 1974

    If you’re a horror buff who hasn’t seen 1974’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, then drop everything you’re doing and start streaming it now. The movie—which tells the story of a crazed family who essentially treats human beings like livestock—delivers a vérité style that goes straight to the bone. What’s ironic is that director Tobe Hooper was originally aiming for a “PG” rating, and he thereby kept most of the gore off-screen. Somehow that makes the terror all the more palpable, and the MPAA actually first wanted to give the movie an “X” rating, eventually bringing it down to an “R”.

  • Harbour Productions Limited
    39/ Harbour Productions Limited

    #63. Theater of Blood

    Stacker Score: 79.00

    IMDb Rating: 7.3

    Tomatometer: 93%

    Year released: 1973

    Horror king Vincent Price is back in 1973’s Theater of Blood, this time as a Shakespearean actor who enacts revenge on all the critics who didn’t shower him with praise. It sounds like something out of an actor’s wildest fantasies indeed, which is perhaps why Price considers it a personal favorite among his numerous films.

  • Hammer Films
    40/ Hammer Films

    #62. The Hound of the Baskervilles

    Stacker Score: 79.00

    IMDb Rating: 7.0

    Tomatometer: 100%

    Year released: 1959

    A nobleman fears for his life due to an ancient curse, and it’s up to good old Sherlock Holmes to uncover the truth. That’s the premise for The Hound of the Baskervilles, which offered “10 times the terror in Technicolor” according to its tagline (it was the first color movie to feature Sherlock Holmes). In this version of the classic tale, actor Peter Cushing plays the world’s most famous private detective.

  • Twentieth Century Fox
    41/ Twentieth Century Fox

    #61. The Omen

    Stacker Score: 79.00

    IMDb Rating: 7.6

    Tomatometer: 86%

    Year released: 1976

    A couple desperate for a child ends up literally raising the son of Satan in 1976’s The Omen. Move over, Dennis the Menace, because Damien isn’t just stomping on the rose garden or hurling slingshots—he’s sending people to their graves. As with Poltergeist, some say that The Omen is cursed, due to a number of mysterious (and sometimes fatal) circumstances surrounding those who worked on it.

  • Harbour Productions Limited
    42/ Harbour Productions Limited

    #60. Phantom of the Paradise

    Stacker Score: 79.10

    IMDb Rating: 7.4

    Tomatometer: 91%

    Year released: 1974

    Loosely combining elements of stories like The Phantom of the OperaFaust and The Picture of Dorian Gray, among others, Brian De Palma’s Phantom of the Paradise tells the story of a disfigured composer who seeks revenge on the executive who betrayed him. While not horror per se, the musical does tackle plenty of themes about selling one’s soul to the devil.

  • Hammer Films
    43/ Hammer Films

    #59. Horror of Dracula

    Stacker Score: 79.10

    IMDb Rating: 7.4

    Tomatometer: 91%

    Year released: 1958

    In the old days of Hollywood, if Terence Fisher was directing and Christopher Lee starring, then you knew it was a horror film without even needing to see the title. In 1958, they teamed up for Horror of Dracula, which also features Peter Cushing as Dr. Van Helsing. The movie sees Dracula moving to the city and preying upon Jonathan Harker’s fiancée. In spite of playing the titular role and receiving top billing, Christopher Lee is actually on-screen for no more than seven minutes total.  

  • American Film Institute (AFI)
    44/ American Film Institute (AFI)

    #58. Eraserhead

    Stacker Score: 79.10

    IMDb Rating: 7.4

    Tomatometer: 91%

    Year released: 1977

    Redefining the concept of midnight movies upon its 1977 release was David Lynch’s Eraserhead. The film deals with a quiet, awkward man who struggles to cope with his screaming, mutant baby. Interspersed throughout are surreal detours into a netherworld that only Lynch himself can deliver. This is avant-garde filmmaking at its finest.

  • Argyle Enterprises
    45/ Argyle Enterprises

    #57. The Haunting

    Stacker Score: 79.30

    IMDb Rating: 7.6

    Tomatometer: 87%

    Year released: 1963

    The premise sounds familiar enough: A scientist asks two women to spend the night in a haunted mansion. However, 1963’s The Haunting handles that premise with particular aptitude. Expect a genuine thrill ride and some truly terrific performances as a result. In fact, director Martin Scorsese claims this is his favorite horror movie of all time.

  • DNA Films
    46/ DNA Films

    #56. 28 Days Later...

    Stacker Score: 79.30

    IMDb Rating: 7.6

    Tomatometer: 87%

    Year released: 2002

    Infusing the zombie genre with some much-needed style and distinction is 2002’s 28 Days Later. The movie was directed by auteur Danny Boyle, who enjoyed some newfound freedom by way of digital technology, giving the film itself a discernibly kinetic feel. In fact, this was one of the first mainstream films to be shot entirely using digital cameras.  

  • Produzioni Intersound
    47/ Produzioni Intersound

    #55. Santa Sangre

    Stacker Score: 79.40

    IMDb Rating: 7.7

    Tomatometer: 85%

    Year released: 1989

    Surrealist filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky has always been synonymous with graphic, uncompromising cinema, but 1989’s Sante Sangre arguably remains his only true “horror” movie. Additionally, the film stands out as his most accessible and streamlined to date, following an escaped mental patient who joins his armless mother and her cult on a killing spree.

  • Universal International Pictures (UI)
    48/ Universal International Pictures (UI)

    #54. Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein

    Stacker Score: 79.60

    IMDb Rating: 7.6

    Tomatometer: 88%

    Year released: 1948

    Comedy duo Abbott and Costello encounter a range of popular monsters in 1948’s Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. While probably not a very “scary” film, the movie was enough to terrify The Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia at a very young age, subsequently influencing him in a variety of ways.

  • RKO Radio Pictures
    49/ RKO Radio Pictures

    #53. Cat People

    Stacker Score: 79.70

    IMDb Rating: 7.4

    Tomatometer: 93%

    Year released: 1942

    The idea of a crazy cat lady might be scary enough, but 1942’s Cat People takes the concept to some extreme places. In the movie, a woman is convinced that she will literally turn into a giant cat, if the old fables from her homeland are to be believed. The movie famously delivers a slow burn on a tight budget. In fact, to make ends meet during the 18-day shoot, the crew re-used set pieces from the Orson Welles film The Magnificent Ambersons.  

  • Red Bank Films
    50/ Red Bank Films

    #52. Carrie

    Stacker Score: 79.70

    IMDb Rating: 7.4

    Tomatometer: 93%

    Year released: 1976

    Stephen King’s debut novel makes for one heck of a shocking ride in the 1976 film Carrie. Directed by Brian De Palma, the movie centers on a perennially abused and confused teenage girl with deadly powers that she unleashes upon her fellow students at prom. The prom scene is one for the ages, so complicated to pull off that filming it took two weeks out of a 50-day shoot.

  • Red Bank Films
    51/ Red Bank Films

    #51. The Fly

    Stacker Score: 79.80

    IMDb Rating: 7.5

    Tomatometer: 91%

    Year released: 1986

    More than most genres, horror tends to recycle ideas, characters and premises on a generational basis. However, that didn’t stop David Cronenberg’s 1986 adaptation of The Fly from standing squarely on its own two feet (or should we say wings?). Starring Jeff Goldblum as a scientist who falls victim to his own experiment, the movie is as much a gory excursion as it as a story about love and obsession. During the more prosthetic-heavy scenes, Goldblum reportedly wore up to 5 pounds of make-up. Meanwhile, you may never look at arm wrestling the same way again.

  • Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer British Studios
    52/ Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer British Studios

    #50. Village of the Damned

    Stacker Score: 79.90

    IMDb Rating: 7.3

    Tomatometer: 96%

    Year released: 1960

    After falling into a spontaneous, mid-day sleep, the women of England’s Midwich village wake up inexplicably pregnant in 1960’s Village of the Damned. Their offspring turns out to be a bunch of like-minded (and similar-looking) children, who go on to control and even torture the village, using just their eyes.

  • Casey Productions
    53/ Casey Productions

    #49. Don't Look Now

    Stacker Score: 79.90

    IMDb Rating: 7.3

    Tomatometer: 96%

    Year released: 1973

    In 1973’s Don’t Look Now, Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie play a couple who may (or may not) be receiving psychic messages from their recently deceased daughter. In addition to being known for its Venice setting, brilliant acting and tense atmosphere, the movie also endures thanks to a famous, lurid sex scene between the two leads. The scene was actually a last-second decision by director Nicolas Roeg, who felt there was otherwise too much bickering between the couple.

  • Paramount Pictures
    54/ Paramount Pictures

    #48. The Uninvited

    Stacker Score: 80.00

    IMDb Rating: 7.4

    Tomatometer: 94%

    Year released: 1944

    Yet another haunted house film, The Uninvited finds a brother and sister moving into an abandoned property, only to soon discover why they were able to purchase it so cheap. The familiar premise is handled with distinct effectiveness, hence the film’s inclusion on this list, as well as a list of director Guillermo del Toro’s favorite “fright flicks” of all time.

  • Universal Pictures
    55/ Universal Pictures

    #47. The Wolf Man

    Stacker Score: 80.00

    IMDb Rating: 7.4

    Tomatometer: 94%

    Year released: 1941

    An unlucky man is bitten by a werewolf and the full moon is approaching in 1941’s The Wolf Man. The movie stars Lon Chaney Jr. in the titular role, which was originally intended for Boris Karloff. This is certainly not the only werewolf movie out there, but it is one of the best.

  • Solofilm
    56/ Solofilm

    #46. Invasion of the Body Snatchers

    Stacker Score: 80.00

    IMDb Rating: 7.4

    Tomatometer: 94%

    Year released: 1978

    Horror movies are particularly effective when you never know exactly where the threat is coming from. So it goes in the 1978 version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, where an alien species takes over the planet by replacing human beings without altering their appearance. Starring Donald Sutherland, the classic horror film has a final scene that will stick with you for days.

  • British Lion Film Corporation
    57/ British Lion Film Corporation

    #45. The Wicker Man

    Stacker Score: 80.20

    IMDb Rating: 7.6

    Tomatometer: 90%

    Year released: 1973

    Frequent attendees at Burning Man might find 1973’s The Wicker Man to be vaguely familiar. The movie is set in a small Scottish village, where the citizens partake in a procreative pagan ritual once a year. Unlike Burning Man, however, this festival has a sinister underbelly, which a visiting police officer (in search of a missing girl) must find out the hard way. While the 1973 version is occasionally referred to as “the Citizen Kane or horror movies”, a 2006 remake starring Nicolas Cage is considered one of the worst films of all time.

  • PolyGram Filmed Entertainment
    58/ PolyGram Filmed Entertainment

    #44. An American Werewolf in London

    Stacker Score: 80.20

    IMDb Rating: 7.6

    Tomatometer: 90%

    Year released: 1981

    Written and directed by John Landis, 1981’s An American Werewolf in London is about two American tourists who encounter a werewolf late at night in the English countryside. What follows is a truly deft blend of horror and comedy, as well as some unforgettable special effects. Bookending the film are two distinctly different versions of “Blue Moon,” one of the movie’s many charms.

  • RKO Radio Pictures
    59/ RKO Radio Pictures

    #43. The Most Dangerous Game

    Stacker Score: 80.40

    IMDb Rating: 7.2

    Tomatometer: 100%

    Year released: 1932

    Based on a world famous short story, 1932’s The Most Dangerous Game does away with the monsters and aliens in favor of mankind’s own worst enemy: man himself. Specifically, the film is about a crazed aristocrat who hunts humans for sport. If the premise doesn’t sound scary enough on its own, consider the rumor that the movie was a major influence on the infamous Zodiac killer.

  • Seda Spettacoli
    60/ Seda Spettacoli

    #42. Suspiria

    Stacker Score: 80.40

    IMDb Rating: 7.5

    Tomatometer: 93%

    Year released: 1977

    Widely considered Italian horror master Dario Argento’s finest hour, Suspiria takes place at a ballet institute where things are most definitely not what they seem. In addition to gory visuals, the movie also features a terrific soundtrack by Italian progressive rock outfit (and frequent Argento collaborators) Goblin.

  • Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
    61/ Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

    #41. The Picture of Dorian Gray

    Stacker Score: 80.50

    IMDb Rating: 7.6

    Tomatometer: 91%

    Year released: 1945

    Taglined as “the most unusual story to ever reach the screen”, 1945’s The Picture of Dorian Gray presents an unconventional spin on mortality. The movie takes its cues from an Oscar Wilde novel of the same name, telling the tale of a young man who stays young by transferring his soul (and his ability to age) onto a painting, which visually records his every misdeed.

  • Universal Pictures
    62/ Universal Pictures

    #40. Dracula

    Stacker Score: 80.50

    IMDb Rating: 7.6

    Tomatometer: 91%

    Year released: 1931

    Horror doesn’t get much more classic than 1931’s Dracula, which marks Bela Lugosi’s first appearance as the world famous vampire. Directed by cult legend Tod Browning (who would helm Freaks the next year), the movie is rife with atmosphere and memorable performances. To help ensure as much, Bela Lugosi doesn’t blink once while on screen.

  • New Line Cinema
    63/ New Line Cinema

    #39. A Nightmare on Elm Street

    Stacker Score: 80.70

    IMDb Rating: 7.5

    Tomatometer: 94%

    Year released: 1984

    On the heels of John Carpenter’s Halloween in 1978, there came a surge of original horror that arguably climaxed with 1984’s A Nightmare on Elm Street. Directed by Wes Craven, the movie stars Robert Englund as razor-clawed menace Freddy Krueger, who gets revenge on his killers by murdering their children in their dreams. The movie’s box office success brought New Line Cinema back from the brink of bankruptcy, hence their nickname as “The House That Freddy Built”. The classic flick also marks the big screen debut of a young Johnny Depp.  

  • Columbia Pictures
    64/ Columbia Pictures

    #38. Zombieland

    Stacker Score: 80.90

    IMDb Rating: 7.7

    Tomatometer: 90%

    Year released: 2009

    In Zombieland, you either learn the rules of survival or you become one among the walking dead. The movie offers a witty and frequently comedic take on the zombie genre, and earned huge box office numbers as a result. The Bill Murray cameo alone is worth the price of admission. As it turns out, however, Murray was just one among a number of celebrities (including Kevin Bacon and Jean-Claude Van Damme) to be offered cameos.

  • Renaissance Pictures
    65/ Renaissance Pictures

    #37. The Evil Dead

    Stacker Score: 81.00

    IMDb Rating: 7.5

    Tomatometer: 95%

    Year released: 1981

    Perhaps the quintessential “cabin horror” movie, Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead bears all the hallmarks of a cult classic, including bold cinematography, hilarious dialogue and buckets of blood and gore. Made on a shoestring budget of $350,000, the zany flick would go on to spawn two sequels, a remake and a TV series.  

  • Universal Pictures
    66/ Universal Pictures

    #36. The Old Dark House

    Stacker Score: 81.10

    IMDb Rating: 7.3

    Tomatometer: 100%

    Year released: 1932

    In The Old Dark House, a group of people seek shelter from a storm inside the nearest mansion, only to soon realize they were better off staying out in the rain. It marked the first American film for U.K. actor Charles Laughton, who would run back and forth in order to play a man running out of breath. Upon noticing Laughton’s method, co-star Gloria Stuart said, “Can’t you just FAKE it?” 

  • H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society (HPLHS)
    67/ H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society (HPLHS)

    #35. The Call of Cthulhu

    Stacker Score: 81.10

    IMDb Rating: 7.3

    Tomatometer: 100%

    Year released: 2005

    If you were to randomly catch 2005’s The Call of Cthulhu on TV, you might think it was made in the 1920s. That’s because in order to stay completely true to H.P. Lovecraft’s source material—about an ancient horror lurking beneath the sea—the filmmakers fashioned their flick after ‘20s era silent movies.  

  • Warner Bros.
    68/ Warner Bros.

    #34. Them!

    Stacker Score: 81.10

    IMDb Rating: 7.3

    Tomatometer: 100%

    Year released: 1954

    About giant mutant ants that threaten civilization, 1954’s Them! might sound at first like campy midnight movie madness (complete with an awesome retro poster). However, to look beyond the premise is to find a highly regarded slice of vintage cinema, bolstered by strong writing, great acting, taut pacing and solid special effects. That said, don’t be surprised when you see no more than three ants at a time, since that’s how many were created for the film.

  • Universal International Pictures (UI)
    69/ Universal International Pictures (UI)

    #33. The Incredible Shrinking Man

    Stacker Score: 81.20

    IMDb Rating: 7.7

    Tomatometer: 91%

    Year released: 1957

    Famous horror writer Richard Matheson wrote both the original novel and subsequent screenplay for 1957’s The Incredible Shrinking Man. The film is appropriately about a man who incredibly shrinks. Once tiny, the man is terrorized by a (now enormous) spider and other obstacles. It’s a small, small world indeed.  

  • Paramount Pictures
    70/ Paramount Pictures

    #32. Island of Lost Souls

    Stacker Score: 81.30

    IMDb Rating: 7.5

    Tomatometer: 96%

    Year released: 1932

    The Island of Lost Souls (1932) was the first big screen adaptation of H.G. Wells’ famous novel, The Island of Dr. Moreau. The movie is about an island where a mad scientist creates a breed of half-human/half-animals, then rules over them as a demigod. Music fans might recognize snippets of dialogue in the film as appearing on hip hop group House of Pain’s debut album. There’s also a Blondie song inspired by the movie.

  • Werner Herzog Filmproduktion
    71/ Werner Herzog Filmproduktion

    #31. Nosferatu the Vampyre

    Stacker Score: 81.40

    IMDb Rating: 7.6

    Tomatometer: 94%

    Year released: 1979

    Germany’s Werner Herzog wrote and directed 1979’s Nosferatu the Vampyre, an updated version of the silent-era classic. Herzog is no stranger to challenges, and the shoot presented more than a few. For instance, when grey rats weren’t available for an important scene, Herzog and his crew painted thousands of white rats grey instead. Meanwhile, Herzog would later claim those rats were far more well-behaved than lead star (and frequent collaborator) Klaus Kinski.

  • Paramount Pictures
    72/ Paramount Pictures

    #30. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

    Stacker Score: 81.80

    IMDb Rating: 7.7

    Tomatometer: 93%

    Year released: 1931

    Exploring the duality of man with spectacular literalism, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde is the tale of a scientist who unleashes his inner monster after taking an experimental drug. Not only has the 1931 version stood the test of time, but it was the first horror film to receive an Academy Award.

  • Warner Bros.
    73/ Warner Bros.

    #29. The Exorcist

    Stacker Score: 81.80

    IMDb Rating: 8.0

    Tomatometer: 86%

    Year released: 1973

    While somewhat tame or at least normal by today’s horror standards, The Exorcist was unlike anything audiences had ever seen in 1973. The religious-themed film centers around a girl who’s possessed by a demon, prompting her head to spin, her body to contort, her flesh to turn green, and copious amounts of vomit to shoot from her mouth. Audience members reacted so strongly to the film that many of them fainted or burst into hysterics right there in the theater. In spite of all the controversy (or perhaps due to it), the movie remains the highest-grossing film in Warner Bros. history when adjusted for inflation.

  • Unison Films
    74/ Unison Films

    #28. What We Do in the Shadows

    Stacker Score: 82.00

    IMDb Rating: 7.6

    Tomatometer: 96%

    Year released: 2014

    It’s hard enough being deathly allergic to sunlight and dependent on human blood to survive, but as this 2014 mockumentary goes to show, those are just a sample of the problems facing modern vampires. Also contributing to their struggles are things like coming up with rent money, dealing with pesky flatmates and getting into night-clubs. It’s just no world for a bloodsucker these days.  

  • Universal Pictures
    75/ Universal Pictures

    #27. The Thing

    Stacker Score: 82.30

    IMDb Rating: 8.2

    Tomatometer: 83%

    Year released: 1982

    A financial and critical disappointment upon its release (in part because it was competing with E.T.), John Carpenter’s The Thing has gone on to become a cornerstone of classic horror cinema. The movie presents Carpenter’s take on the influential short story “Who Goes There?”, this time staying truer to the source material. The result is a taut and gory tale of arctic explorers squaring off against an alien entity with the ability to take over mammal’s bodies. Among all of Carpenter’s films, The Thing is his personal favorite.  

  • Compass International Pictures
    76/ Compass International Pictures

    #26. Halloween

    Stacker Score: 82.50

    IMDb Rating: 7.8

    Tomatometer: 93%

    Year released: 1978

    Some genre buffs would argue that John Carpenter’s Halloween is the most influential horror movie of all time. Whether those buffs are correct might be up for debate, but even the naysayers would probably agree that modern horror begins with this iconic slasher film. The premise is painstakingly simple: An escaped mental patient returns to his hometown and terrorizes teenagers on Halloween night. Yet along with that premise came an iconic character known as Michael Myers, who would set the template for many masked murderers to come. Throw in a brilliant, minimalist soundtrack, tons of lingering suspense, and a harrowing performance by original scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis, and you have all the makings of a timeless classic.  

  • Michael Powell (Theatre)
    77/ Michael Powell (Theatre)

    #25. Peeping Tom

    Stacker Score: 82.70

    IMDb Rating: 7.7

    Tomatometer: 96%

    Year released: 1960

    Released the same year as Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho was Peeping Tom, about a man who spies on women and then murders them, capturing their expressions of terror on a 16mm camera. More than just an early slasher film, the movie also dives beneath the surface to offer an intensive and even sympathetic portrayal of its vicious lead. Peeping Tom is also considered the first horror movie to employ POV from the killer’s perspective, setting the stage for later hits like Halloween. At the time of its release, however, such tactics were highly controversial, thereby ending director Michael Powell’s career.

  • Alfred J. Hitchcock Productions
    78/ Alfred J. Hitchcock Productions

    #24. The Birds

    Stacker Score: 82.70

    IMDb Rating: 7.7

    Tomatometer: 96%

    Year released: 1963

    If you were wondering when we’d finally get to Alfred Hitchcock, then wonder no more. He makes his first appearance on the list with 1963’s The Birds. The famous film takes place in a small seaside town, which is under siege by killer birds. Upon the movie’s release in the U.K., Hitchcock kept the scares coming even after the final credits rolled, having theaters emit the sound of screeching and flapping birds through loudspeakers as audiences were leaving.

  • Ealing Studios
    79/ Ealing Studios

    #23. Dead of Night

    Stacker Score: 83.00

    IMDb Rating: 7.7

    Tomatometer: 97%

    Year released: 1945

    Proving that horror movies can deliver far more than cheap thrills, 1945’s Dead of Night reportedly inspired three cosmologists to come up with an alternative to the big bang theory after they saw the film. The movie is about a man who gets stuck in a recurring nightmare and soon finds himself listening to a series of strange tales.

  • Twentieth Century Fox
    80/ Twentieth Century Fox

    #22. The Hound of the Baskervilles

    Stacker Score: 83.20

    IMDb Rating: 7.6

    Tomatometer: 100%

    Year released: 1939

    Sherlock Holmes and his assistant Watson investigate a plot involving murder by dog in 1939’s The Hound of the Baskervilles. In this version, it’s Basil Rathbone playing the iconic private detective. The actor would go on to play Holmes in radio plays and 13 subsequent films.  

  • Columbia Pictures Corporation
    81/ Columbia Pictures Corporation

    #21. Curse of the Demon

    Stacker Score: 83.20

    IMDb Rating: 7.6

    Tomatometer: 100%

    Year released: 1957

    It’s up to an American professor to break a demon’s curse in the fittingly named Curse of the Demon from 1957. Originally, director Jacques Tourneur insisted upon not showing the demon, wanting to leave it to the audience’s imagination instead. Hollywood executives had other ideas, however, and they added a monster during post-production, reportedly without the director’s input or approval.

  • Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
    82/ Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

    #20. Freaks

    Stacker Score: 83.50

    IMDb Rating: 7.9

    Tomatometer: 94%

    Year released: 1932

    “One of us! One of us! Gooble gobble, gooble gobble!” Odds are you’ve heard that chant somewhere and now you know the original source. Indeed, Tod Browning’s Freaks remains an essential work for cinephiles and cult buffs alike. The movie takes viewers behind the scenes at a carnival freak show, using real “freaks” and offering an uncompromising glimpse into their world. Originally, the film was 90 minutes long, but studios cut out nearly 30 minutes of footage after early viewers turned squeamish. That lost footage is supposedly gone forever.  

  • Universal Pictures
    83/ Universal Pictures

    #19. Get Out

    Stacker Score: 83.60

    IMDb Rating: 7.7

    Tomatometer: 99%

    Year released: 2017

    More than just a modern horror movie, Jordan Peele’s Get Out satirizes societal conventions with fiendish alacrity. The wildly popular comedy-horror sees a young, African-American protagonist visiting his girlfriend’s white, well-to-do parents. At first, things seem inviting and picturesque, if not a little strange. However, the boyfriend soon realizes he’s been ensnared in a trap with his very soul on the line. Get Out’s box office success has made Jordan Peele the first African-American writer and director whose debut film made over $100 million.

  • Universal Pictures
    84/ Universal Pictures

    #18. Shaun of the Dead

    Stacker Score: 83.60

    IMDb Rating: 8.0

    Tomatometer: 92%

    Year released: 2004

    Similar to Zombieland, Edgar Wright’s Shaun of the Dead is never as scary as it is funny. That said, the movie does serve up plenty of gore while infusing the zombie genre with a slacker’s perspective. The film was co-written by Simon Pegg, who also stars. As the ultimate reward for their efforts, both Pegg and Wright were offered parts as zombies in George Romero’s Land of the Dead after Romero saw and loved their send-up.

  • Universal Pictures
    85/ Universal Pictures

    #17. The Invisible Man

    Stacker Score: 83.90

    IMDb Rating: 7.7

    Tomatometer: 100%

    Year released: 1933

    Faithful to the H.G. Wells novel (with a few minor exceptions), 1933’s The Invisible Man is about a professor who figures out how to disappear from view, then goes crazy in the process. While actor Claude Rains is more or less present throughout the entire movie, his face is only visible to the viewer in the final scene.

  • Dawn Associates
    86/ Dawn Associates

    #16. Dawn of the Dead

    Stacker Score: 83.90

    IMDb Rating: 8.0

    Tomatometer: 93%

    Year released: 1978

    In the midst of a zombie outbreak, survivors shack up inside an abandoned mall in 1978’s Dawn of the Dead. Arguably the most popular of all Romero’s zombie films (and perhaps all his films, period), the horror flick goes big on gore, so much so that the MPAA originally wanted to slap it with an “X” rating.

  • Walter Wanger Productions
    87/ Walter Wanger Productions

    #15. Invasion of the Body Snatchers

    Stacker Score: 84.00

    IMDb Rating: 7.8

    Tomatometer: 98%

    Year released: 1956

    While a number of “alien invasion” movies are adored by audiences worldwide, most horror buffs stand by the original 1956 Invasion of the Body Snatchers as being the best. In the film, a small town doctor tries to convince others that aliens are taking over human bodies. See if you can guess whether he succeeds.

  • De Laurentiis Entertainment Group (DEG)
    88/ De Laurentiis Entertainment Group (DEG)

    #14. Evil Dead II

    Stacker Score: 84.00

    IMDb Rating: 7.8

    Tomatometer: 98%

    Year released: 1987

    Sam Raimi was back with a bigger budget and a new bag of tricks for 1987’s Evil Dead II. Also back is lead actor Bruce Campbell, who once again squares off against evil demons in the middle of the woods. As before, the insanity dial is cranked all the way up. As for that bigger budget, Raimi had Stephen King to thank for it, whereas the famous horror writer was such a big fan of the original that he helped Raimi secure financing for the sequel.

  • Twentieth Century Fox
    89/ Twentieth Century Fox

    #13. The Innocents

    Stacker Score: 84.10

    IMDb Rating: 7.9

    Tomatometer: 96%

    Year released: 1961

    Dubbed by famous French filmmaker (and critic) François Truffaut as the best British film made since Alfred Hitchcock left for America, 1961’s The Innocents is about a governess and two children who become convinced the house they’re occupying is haunted. Thanks to striking visuals and a genuinely creepy score, the movie stands head and shoulders above most standard haunted house fare.

  • Image Ten
    90/ Image Ten

    #12. Night of the Living Dead

    Stacker Score: 84.10

    IMDb Rating: 7.9

    Tomatometer: 96%

    Year released: 1968

    Those who posit that Halloween isn’t the most influential horror movie of all time might point you to 1968’s Night of the Living Dead instead. George Romero’s intense tale of flesh-eating zombies who descend upon an abandoned farmhouse kicked off a new appetite for gore and terror among audiences. Made for just $114,000, it’s considered one of the most successful independent films of all time, in addition to being a landmark horror flick. Unfortunately for Romero, he was duped out of most of the profits by savvy distributors. Meanwhile, in spite of its enduring appeal and substantial impact on the zombie genre, Night of the Living Dead never once uses the word “zombie”.

  • Associates & Aldrich Company
    91/ Associates & Aldrich Company

    #11. What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

    Stacker Score: 84.30

    IMDb Rating: 8.1

    Tomatometer: 92%

    Year released: 1962

    As anyone who saw FX’s "Feud" might know, when What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? was being made, there was as much tension going on behind the scenes as there was on camera. That’s because film stars Bette Davis and Joan Crawford weren’t exactly seeing eye to eye during production. Nevertheless, all that real drama amounted to plenty of fictional drama in this tale about a former child star who torments her paraplegic sister.

  • Bull Productions
    92/ Bull Productions

    #10. The Shape of Water

    Stacker Score: 84.60

    IMDb Rating: 8.1

    Tomatometer: 93%

    Year released: 2017

    Love is in the air between a lonely janitor and a sea creature at a research facility in 2017’s The Shape of Water. The movie was directed by modern horror auteur Guillermo del Toro, and it features stars Sally Hawkins, Octavia Spencer, and Michael Shannon. While the nods to movies like Creature from Black Lagoon are obvious, it nevertheless took del Toro and his team nine months to arrive at the look he wanted for the creature.

  • Compton Films
    93/ Compton Films

    #9. Repulsion

    Stacker Score: 84.60

    IMDb Rating: 7.8

    Tomatometer: 100%

    Year released: 1965

    Roman Polanski’s film about a repressed woman who drives herself crazy inside an apartment is a psycho-sexual triumph of claustrophobic intensity, and Polanski’s first English language film. Look for a cameo from the director—who appears dressed as a woman—toward the end. 

  • RKO Radio Pictures
    94/ RKO Radio Pictures

    #8. King Kong

    Stacker Score: 84.70

    IMDb Rating: 7.9

    Tomatometer: 98%

    Year released: 1933

    As cinema progresses, the special effects and filming methods might improve, and yet somehow the original 1933 King Kong remains the fan favorite. By now, we all know the story about a giant ape who falls in love with an actress and gets hauled back to New York. But did you know they used more than one model in the film, amounting to noticeable differences between “island” Kong and “city” Kong? Or that the premise itself was inspired by a dream one of the directors had?

  • Warner Bros.
    95/ Warner Bros.

    #7. The Shining

    Stacker Score: 84.90

    IMDb Rating: 8.4

    Tomatometer: 87%

    Year released: 1980

    Few horror movies have been poured over with the same amount of obsession as Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. For proof, look no further than Room 237, a documentary that analyzes all the film’s minutiae to near hysterical extremes. On the other hand, it is a Kubrick film. All interpretations aside, The Shining remains a classic psychological horror film about a hotel caretaker who goes insane and tries to kill his family. Meanwhile, Stephen King himself—who wrote the book on which the movie was based—is still not much of a fan (he described the movie as a “fancy car with no engine”). Maybe one day he’ll come around. Heeere’s Johnny!

  • Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
    96/ Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

    #6. The Unknown

    Stacker Score: 85.30

    IMDb Rating: 7.9

    Tomatometer: 100%

    Year released: 1927

    Before he made Freaks, fearless director Tod Browning helmed The Unknown, which similarly takes place in a circus. The film is about a convict on the run who hides out by impersonating a carny and falls in love with a woman he can’t have. The story is loosely based on Browning’s own experiences in the circus, where a man pretended to be an acrobat while on the run from the police.  

  • Universal Pictures
    97/ Universal Pictures

    #5. Bride of Frankenstein

    Stacker Score: 85.30

    IMDb Rating: 7.9

    Tomatometer: 100%

    Year released: 1935

    One of the world’s foremost monsters gets a love interest in Bride of Frankenstein. She comes to life by way of two skeletons and the heart of a living girl. Naturally, Boris Karloff stars as Frankenstein’s monster, though by this point in his career he was so widely known that he was credited simply as “Karloff”.  

  • Universal Pictures
    98/ Universal Pictures

    #4. Frankenstein

    Stacker Score: 85.30

    IMDb Rating: 7.9

    Tomatometer: 100%

    Year released: 1931

    It’s alive! It’s alive! We’re speaking, of course, of 1931’s Frankenstein, about a mad scientist who creates a monster from assorted human parts. Boris Karloff wasn’t listed by name during the opening credits, nor was he invited to the film’s premiere. Suffice it to say, that would all change by the time his next film was released. Originally offered the role of the monster was fellow actor Bela Lugosi, who later regretted passing it up.    

  • William Castle Productions
    99/ William Castle Productions

    #3. Rosemary's Baby

    Stacker Score: 85.70

    IMDb Rating: 8.0

    Tomatometer: 99%

    Year released: 1968

    If you’ve seen Rosemary’s Baby, then odds are you’ve already got the opening music swirling in your head. Along with that spine-tingling score came an equally scary movie about a woman who gets impregnated by the devil. Among the film’s bevy of memorable scenes is one where lead actress Mia Farrow walks through traffic while pregnant. According to legend, that scene wasn’t scripted and the traffic was real, with director Roman Polanski telling the actress that “nobody will hit a pregnant woman.”

  • Shamley Productions
    100/ Shamley Productions

    #2. Psycho

    Stacker Score: 88.60

    IMDb Rating: 8.5

    Tomatometer: 97%

    Year released: 1960

    Alfred Hitchcock had already earned his status as the “master of suspense” by the time Psycho was released, and yet his ability to induce terror and surprise audiences was never so masterful as it is here. The film starts off with the intriguing premise of a woman stealing money from the bank where she works, prompting her to flee town and shack up at the Bates Motel. That’s when she crosses paths with Norman Bates, who has some mommy issues to say the least. From that point forward, the movie turns on its own head and becomes a slasher film. Yet as legendary as the movie’s plot twist might be, it’s nothing compared to the famous shower scene, one still studied in film school as though it were shot yesterday. Fun fact: This is also the first American film to ever feature a toilet flushing on screen.

  • Brandywine Productions
    101/ Brandywine Productions

    #1. Alien

    Stacker Score: 88.60

    IMDb Rating: 8.5

    Tomatometer: 97%

    Year released: 1979

    In space, no one can hear you scream, which proves particularly fatal for the crew on spaceship Nostromo in 1979’s Alien. The movie remains a milestone in classic horror cinema, partly thanks to artist H.R. Giger’s visionary alien concept and Sigourney Weaver’s legendary turn as a heroine named Ripley. When making the film, director Ridley Scott took inspiration from three essential films: 2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Wars and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The result is a brilliant exercise in sci-fi terror.  

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