The Best Horror Movies of All Time

The Best Horror Movies of All Time

As the Halloween season kicks into full swing, many will seek out a fitting movie to watch. For many, this means turning to the sole genre designed to frighten audiences: horror.
To help movie watchers navigate the genre this Halloween, 24/7 Tempo has identified the 50 best horror movies of all time based on user and critic ratings online.

Fans of scary movies have a seemingly endless supply to choose from. Genre signifiers — such as skeletons, ghosts, and demons — have been appearing in films since the 19th century. Today, moviegoers have access to a steady stream of new, big budget horror movies at their local theater as well as extensive libraries going back decades available on streaming platforms such as Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Hulu.

Of course, the genre has gone through many changes over the years. The classic monster movies of the 1930s and 1940s were eventually replaced by grittier films in the 1960s and 1970s. The 1980s gave rise to the slasher craze, featuring memorable characters such as Jason, Freddy Kreuger, and Michael Myers in numerous sequels, though the popularity of these antagonists has notably waned since. These are the most popular movie villains of all time.

The films of the 1990s differentiated themselves by adopting an increased self awareness of tropes developed in the ’80s with popular movies like “Scream” and “I Know What You Did Last Summer.” Audiences then flocked to darker, more gruesome movies like “Saw” and “Hostel” in the mid-2000s as well as found footage flicks such as “Paranormal Activity.”
Horror movies have consistently maintained some level of popularity and some have even dominated the box office — here are the 100 top grossing movies of all time.

To determine the best horror movies of all time, 24/7 Tempo created an index based on each film’s Rotten Tomatoes average critic rating, Rotten Tomatoes average audience rating, and Internet Movie Database average user rating.

To be considered, each film needed to have at least 10,000 total user votes between IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes, as well as 10 approved Tomatometer critic reviews and be categorized as “horror” on IMDb. We averaged the user ratings from Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb, weighted by the number of votes for each. The combined user rating was then averaged with the Rotten Tomatoes critic rating.

To be considered, each film was required to have English dialogue. Certain films that were considered by our editors as being too far outside the genre were removed from consideration.

Source: Courtesy of RKO Radio Pictures

50. I Walked with a Zombie (1943)
> Directed by: Jacques Tourneur
> Starring: Frances Dee, Tom Conway, James Ellison
> Runtime: 69 min.

Reviewers describe “I Walked with a Zombie” as creepy and hypnotic. Directed by Jacques Tourneur, this film is about a nurse who journeys to the West Indies to care for the ailing wife of a man who blames himself for her condition. The nurse determines that only voodoo can revive the nearly comatose woman. The film is noted for its dreamy sequences, particularly when the ailing woman is walking through a jungle peopled with voodoo worshippers.

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

49. The Wolf Man (1941)
> Directed by: George Waggner
> Starring: Claude Rains, Warren William, Lon Chaney Jr.
> Runtime: 70 min.

“The Wolf Man” stars Lon Chaney Jr. as the sympathetic victim of a wolf’s bite who goes on a homicidal rampage. Like Bela Lugosi as Dracula and Boris Karloff as Frankenstein’s monster, Chaney defined the role. The movie, regarded as one of the classic horror films, features a super cast that includes Claude Rains, Ralph Bellamy, Maria Ouspenskaya, and Lugosi. Chaney followed in his father’s horror footsteps. The elder Chaney frightened audiences during the silent movie era playing “The Phantom of the Opera.”

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

48. The Wicker Man (1973)
> Directed by: Robin Hardy
> Starring: Edward Woodward, Christopher Lee, Diane Cilento
> Runtime: 88 min.

“The Wicker Man” has become a cult favorite, with horror icon Christopher Lee and the Oscar-nominated Diane Cilento in lead roles. The plot centers around a British police officer (Edward Woodward) who flies to an island off the Scottish coast to find a missing girl who the villagers say does not exist. What he does find is a libertine society that practices pagan rituals.

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

47. An American Werewolf in London (1981)
> Directed by: John Landis
> Starring: David Naughton, Jenny Agutter, Joe Belcher
> Runtime: 97 min.

John Landis directed one of the most acclaimed horror comedies of all time with “An American Werewolf in London.” The movie — which tells the story of two American college students who face a horrific situation abroad — has grown in reputation since its release, due in part to makeup artist Rick Baker’s exceptional effects.

Source: Courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

46. The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945)
> Directed by: Albert Lewin
> Starring: George Sanders, Hurd Hatfield, Donna Reed
> Runtime: 110 min.

This superbly acted film is based on the Oscar Wilde gothic tale about an English aristocrat in the late 19th century who wishes he could live forever and indeed doesn’t age and descends into a profligate lifestyle. At the same time, his portrait ages. The well-cast film features George Sanders as the friend of Dorian Gray who encourages him to pursue a life of licentiousness and Angela Landsbury as a woman he loves and then rejects.

Source: Courtesy of New Line Cinema

45. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
> Directed by: Wes Craven
> Starring: Heather Langenkamp, Johnny Depp, Robert Englund
> Runtime: 91 min.

“A Nightmare on Elm Street” introduced one of horror’s most recognizable villains: Freddy Krueger, a burned killer who stalks his victims in their dreams. Krueuger appears in all nine of the franchise’s movies. The movie also features a young Johnny Depp in his first movie role.

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

44. The Uninvited (1944)
> Directed by: Lewis Allen
> Starring: Ray Milland, Ruth Hussey, Donald Crisp
> Runtime: 99 min.

Lewis Allen’s atmospheric “The Uninvited” finds a pair of London siblings who have bought a seaside house faced with the specters that already call it home. Despite its English setting, the haunted house film is a Hollywood production.

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

43. Dracula (1931)
> Directed by: Tod Browning, Karl Freund
> Starring: Bela Lugosi, Helen Chandler, David Manners
> Runtime: 75 min.

While it was not the first vampire movie, the 1931 version of Dracula may be the most influential. Anchored by Bela Lugosi’s iconic performance as Count Dracula, the movie is still popular today. And with its brisk 75-minute runtime, it’s a great choice for viewers who are short on time this Halloween season.

Source: Courtesy of Bryanston Distributing

42. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
> Directed by: Tobe Hooper
> Starring: Marilyn Burns, Edwin Neal, Allen Danziger
> Runtime: 83 min.

“The Texas Chain Saw Massacre,” which features the nightmarish Leatherface murdering a group of teenage victims, is often credited as ushering in the slasher movie movement. Reportedly made for only $140,000, the movie was a tremendous success, appealing to both fans of lurid cinema and high art, judging by its inclusion in New York’s Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection.

Source: Courtesy of United Artists

41. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
> Directed by: Philip Kaufman
> Starring: Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Jeff Goldblum
> Runtime: 115 min.

A remake of the 1956 film, 1978’s “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” follows Donald Sutherland’s Matthew Bennell as he begins to notice changes in those around him following the appearance of organic pods around town. The movie is a nerve-racking horror film, steeped in paranoia, while also exploring ideas that were only briefly touched upon in the original.

Source: Courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

40. The Haunting (1963)
> Directed by: Robert Wise
> Starring: Julie Harris, Claire Bloom, Richard Johnson
> Runtime: 112 min.

This early 1960s psychological and supernatural thriller is about a scientist doing research on the paranormal. He brings two women — one a clairvoyant and the other possessed with psychic abilities — and a young man, who is skeptical about the supernatural, to Hill House, a mansion with a violent history. Directed by the distinguished Robert Wise, critics lauded the Oscar-winning director for making the eerie house the focus of the movie.

Source: Courtesy of RKO Radio Pictures

39. Cat People (1942)
> Directed by: Jacques Tourneur
> Starring: Simone Simon, Tom Conway, Kent Smith
> Runtime: 73 min.

Director Jacques Tourneur’s commentary on the taboos about desire stars Simone Simon as a fashion artist who is obsessed with the notion that she is descended from an ancient Serbian tribe that transforms into panthers when they become jealous. Tourneur’s film is less about gore and violence and more about the unseen psychological terror. Paul Schrader made a remake of the early noir thriller in 1982.

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

38. The Old Dark House (1932)
> Directed by: James Whale
> Starring: Boris Karloff, Melvyn Douglas, Charles Laughton
> Runtime: 72 min.

In between directing “Frankenstein” (1931) and “The Invisible Man” (1933), filmmaker James Whale made this atmospheric film about a somewhat deranged family living together in a spooky house. Boasting acting talent such as Boris Karloff and Charles Laughton, the 1932 flick currently holds a 100% freshness rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

37. The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957)
> Directed by: Jack Arnold
> Starring: Grant Williams, Randy Stuart, April Kent
> Runtime: 81 min.

“The Incredible Shrinking Man” is among the most existential of science fiction films, praised for its meditation on notions about acceptance and the gradual loss of power and prestige, and for its special effects. In the film, a young man vacationing on a boat is enveloped by a mysterious dark cloud causing him to gradually shrink, ultimately to the size of an atom.

Source: Courtesy of New Line Cinema

36. The Evil Dead (1981)
> Directed by: Sam Raimi
> Starring: Bruce Campbell, Ellen Sandweiss, Richard DeManincor
> Runtime: 85 min.

This early film from Sam Raimi put the director — who would go on to shoot three big budget Spider-man movies — on the map. Its use of inventive filmmaking techniques and dark humor was a huge hit with audiences, leading to the creation of two more films in the franchise and a 2013 remake.

Source: Courtesy of Paladin

35. What We Do in the Shadows (2014)
> Directed by: Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi
> Starring: Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi, Cori Gonzalez-Macuer
> Runtime: 86 min.

Directed by the men behind the HBO series “Flight of the Conchords,” “What We Do in the Shadows” is a comedic movie shot documentary-style about four vampire roommates. While the movie generally aims for laughs over screams, its respect for genre conventions and willingness to step into darker thematic territory make it a winner for horror fans.

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

34. The Thing (1982)
> Directed by: John Carpenter
> Starring: Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, Keith David
> Runtime: 109 min.

Based on Howard Hawks’s “The Thing from Another World” (1951), John Carpenter’s “The Thing” was critically panned upon its release in 1982. The movie — with its apocalyptic tone and special effects by Rob Bottin — has since risen to the status of horror and sci-fi classic. It currently has an exceptional 92% user rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

33. The Birds (1963)
> Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock
> Starring: Rod Taylor, Tippi Hedren, Jessica Tandy
> Runtime: 119 min.

“The Birds,” based on the horror story by British writer Daphne du Maurier, is about our feathered friends who one day inexplicably attack people. Ninety-four percent of critics on Rotten Tomatoes gave it a Freshness rating, a near-consensus that was summed up by New Yorker critic Richard Brody, who said, “Few films depict so eerily yet so meticulously the metaphysical and historical sense of a world out of joint.”

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

32. Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979)
> Directed by: Werner Herzog
> Starring: Klaus Kinski, Isabelle Adjani, Bruno Ganz
> Runtime: 107 min.

German filmmaker Werner Herzog’s update of F.W. Murnau’s 1922 silent horror classic is both frightening and, in a way, hauntingly beautiful. Part of the film’s success is due to the performance of actor Klaus Kinski in the role of Count Dracula. Following a 2014 screening of the film, Herzog told his audience that “it was clear there would never be a vampire of his caliber ever again.”

Source: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

31. Curse of the Demon (1957)
> Directed by: Jacques Tourneur
> Starring: Dana Andrews, Peggy Cummins, Niall MacGinnis
> Runtime: 95 min.

“Curse of the Demon” received a Freshness score of 100% from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, who hailed it for “unforgettably nightmarish sequences” and called it “one of the most intelligent and thoughtful horror movies ever made.” The film, directed by horror veteran Jacques Tourneur (“Cat People” and “I Walked With a Zombie”), centers around an American professor’s investigation of a devil-worshipping cult in England.

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

30. The Fly (1986)
> Directed by: David Cronenberg
> Starring: Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis, John Getz
> Runtime: 96 min.

David Cronenberg’s remake of the sometimes schlocky 1958 movie “The Fly” is frightening, funny, and, at times, grotesque. Jeff Goldblum plays scientist Seth Brundle who accidentally combines his DNA with that of a house fly, with horrifying results. The movie — made during the golden age of special effects in horror — benefits from the slow and sometimes hard-to-watch transformation of Brundle into “Brundlefly.” It won the Academy Award for Best Makeup in 1987.

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

29. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)
> Directed by: Rouben Mamoulian
> Runtime: 98 min.
> Starring: Fredric March, Miriam Hopkins, Rose Hobart

1931 was a red-letter year for horror films. Besides “Dracula,” the year featured “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” based on Robert Louis Stevenson’s horror novella “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.” The film stars Fredric March, who received his first Best Actor Oscar as the respected doctor whose chemical experiments involving human nature have deadly consequences. The film is lauded for its transformation scenes and for makeup artist Wally Westmore’s use of a sinister simian look that was influenced by comic books. Spencer Tracy would successfully recreate the role 10 years later.

Source: Courtesy of Libra Films International

28. Eraserhead (1977)
> Directed by: David Lynch
> Starring: Jack Nance, Charlotte Stewart, Allen Joseph
> Runtime: 89 min.

Director David Lynch’s debut feature film, “Eraserhead,” first gained popularity as a “midnight movie” in the late 1970s. The movie — which deals with one man’s fear of fatherhood — combines surrealism, horror, and dark humor, creating a wholly unique movie. Despite its general strangeness, “Eraserhead” has collected countless fans worldwide since its release.

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

27. Dead of Night (1945)
> Directed by: Alberto Cavalcanti, Charles Crichton, Basil Dearden
> Starring: Mervyn Johns, Michael Redgrave, Roland Culver
> Runtime: 77 min.

Several episodes about an architect’s nightmares, each directed by a different director, lead to a surprise ending that more than 70 years later still gives the viewer goosebumps. “Dead of Night,” a product of Britain’s Ealing Studios, has a 97% Freshness rating among critics on Rotten Tomatoes.

Source: Courtesy of 20th Century Fox International Classics

26. Suspiria (1977)
> Directed by: Dario Argento
> Starring: Jessica Harper, Stefania Casini, Flavio Bucci
> Runtime: 92 min.

Italian director Dario Argento’s “Suspiria” is about a young ballerina, played by Jessica Harper, who finds that her new dance school may actually be a cover for a coven of witches. The movie, however, may be best known for its bold use of color. Its use of bright reds, blues, and greens was originally inspired by Walt Disney’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” (1937).

Source: Courtesy of Focus Features

25. Shaun of the Dead (2004)
> Directed by: Edgar Wright
> Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Kate Ashfield
> Runtime: 99 min.

Edgar Wright’s 2004 film “Shaun of the Dead” is undoubtedly a comedy, yet it doesn’t neglect its zombie movie basis by including scares, violence, and a fair amount of gore. Critics and audiences weren’t the only ones to enjoy the movie. George Romero, who directed the original “Night of the Living Dead” (1968), called the movie “an absolute blast.”

Source: Courtesy of Warner Brothers/Seven Arts

24. Wait Until Dark (1967)
> Directed by: Terence Young
> Starring: Audrey Hepburn, Alan Arkin, Richard Crenna
> Runtime: 108 min.

One of the most innovative suspense movies of the 1960s stars Audrey Hepburn as a recently blinded woman who confronts ruthless thugs who invade her New York apartment searching for a doll her husband brought home, not knowing the doll contains a shipment of heroin. Both critics and audiences gave the film a rating of above 90%.

Source: Courtesy of Howard Mahler Films

23. Deep Red (1975)
> Directed by: Dario Argento
> Starring: David Hemmings, Daria Nicolodi, Gabriele Lavia
> Runtime: 127 min.

Two years prior to the release of “Suspiria,” director Dario Argento made “Deep Red” — sometimes referred to as the auteur’s “master work.” The movie, about a jazz pianist and a journalist who become involved in a string of killings, is considered to be one of the definitive giallo films — stylish and often seedy crime thrillers that were popular throughout Italy.

Source: Courtesy of Rosebud Releasing Corporation

22. Evil Dead II (1987)
> Directed by: Sam Raimi
> Starring: Bruce Campbell, Sarah Berry, Dan Hicks
> Runtime: 84 min.

Six years after the release of “Evil Dead,” Sam Raimi released this sequel, which according to Rotten Tomatoes, “is better, funnier, scarier and superior to the first indie gore-fest.” The movie’s much larger budget allowed Raimi more freedom to indulge in his creative style of filmmaking, resulting in a horror classic that is equal parts fun and frightening.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

21. The Exorcist (1973)
> Directed by: William Friedkin
> Starring: Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, Linda Blair
> Runtime: 122 min.

One of the most frightening movies of all time, directed by William Friedkin and written by William Peter Blatty, “The Exorcist” was based on actual events. The film tells the story of a young girl whose odd behavior defies medical solutions. A local priest, while questioning his own faith, believes she is possessed by the devil and requests the help of an exorcist.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

20. What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)
> Directed by: Robert Aldrich
> Starring: Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Victor Buono
> Runtime: 134 min.

The thriller “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?” relaunched the storied careers of Bette Davis and Joan Crawford and prompted similar melodramas in the mid-1960s such as “Hush…Hush Sweet Charlotte.” Davis plays an aging child vaudeville star living in a decrepit Hollywood mansion with her crippled sister, played by Crawford, herself a former star actress, whom Davis torments out of jealousy.

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

19. Get Out (2017)
> Directed by: Jordan Peele
> Starring: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford
> Runtime: 104 min.

Jordan Peele directed a modern classic with his 2017 feature debut, “Get Out.” The movie is both frightening and funny — Peele previously co-created the sketch comedy show “Key and Peele” — and is loaded with social commentary. The movie was a huge success at the domestic box office, grossing more than $176 million on a $4.5 million budget.

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

18. Don’t Look Now (1973)
> Directed by: Nicolas Roeg
> Starring: Julie Christie, Donald Sutherland, Hilary Mason
> Runtime: 110 min.

British director Nicolas Roeg dabbled in the horror genre with his 1973 film “Don’t Look Now” about a married couple’s anguish in the wake of the loss of their daughter. The movie — based on a story by Daphne du Maurier, whose writing was also the basis for Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” (1963) — has been declared one of the 10 best British films ever made, based on polls taken by both the British Film Institute and Time Out London.

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

17. The Invisible Man (1933)
> Directed by: James Whale
> Starring: Claude Rains, Gloria Stuart, William Harrigan
> Runtime: 71 min.

Claude Rains, known for his roles as a debonair sophisticate, made his starring debut in this classic directed by horror maestro James Whale that was based on the H.G. Wells novel. Rains plays enigmatic scientist Jack Griffin, who experiments with a formula that renders him invisible. The formula’s side effects cause him to go insane, prompting him to go on a reign of terror. Gloria Stuart, who would appear in “Titanic” some 64 years later, stars as Griffin’s fiancée.

Source: Courtesy of Astor Pictures Corporation

16. Peeping Tom (1960)
> Directed by: Michael Powell
> Starring: Karlheinz Böhm, Anna Massey, Moira Shearer
> Runtime: 101 min.

Directed by English filmmaker Michael Powell, “Peeping Tom” portrays a homicidal cameraman as he films his murders. The movie was critically disparaged upon its release due to its subject matter, but it has since been embraced. Director Martin Scorsese has stated that with “Peeping Tom,” Powell was the first to show “how close moviemaking can come to madness.”

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

15. The Innocents (1961)
> Directed by: Jack Clayton
> Starring: Deborah Kerr, Peter Wyngarde, Megs Jenkins
> Runtime: 100 min.

This adaptation of Henry James’s “The Turn of the Screw” follows British governess Miss Giddens — played by Deborah Kerr — as she takes on the task of caring for two young children, Miles and Flora, in a grand mansion. It soon appears that the children may have malevolent intentions, however. The chilling British tale was co-written by Truman Capote.

Source: Courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

14. Freaks (1932)
> Directed by: Tod Browning
> Starring: Wallace Ford, Leila Hyams, Olga Baclanova
> Runtime: 64 min.

Director Tod Browning followed up his directorial triumph “Dracula” with this macabre tale of vengeance set against a circus sideshow. The story revolves around a trapeze artist who schemes to marry a midget and kill him for his fortune. The plot is foiled by his fellow “freaks” who exact terrible revenge on the woman. The movie shocked audiences, including one woman who claimed it caused her to have a miscarriage. The film hurt Browning’s career and was banned in several countries, including the United Kingdom, for decades because of its depiction of the sideshow characters. But the film gained a cult in the 1960s, and it still shocks audiences today.

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

13. Frankenstein (1931)
> Directed by: James Whale
> Starring: Colin Clive, Mae Clarke, Boris Karloff
> Runtime: 70 min.

“Frankenstein,” made by Universal Pictures, is among the greatest of the classic monster movies. It was among English director James Whale’s earliest films and was heavily influenced by German Expressionist movies such as “Das Kabinett des Dr. Caligari” (1919) and “Der Golem” (1915). The movie was added to the United States National Film Registry in 1991 — 60 years after its release.

Source: Courtesy of Royal Films International

12. Repulsion (1965)
> Directed by: Roman Polanski
> Starring: Catherine Deneuve, Ian Hendry, John Fraser
> Runtime: 105 min.

While many may be more familiar with Roman Polanski’s first American film, “Rosemary’s Baby,” it is not the director’s only popular horror film. “Repulsion,” released in 1965, chronicles a schizophrenic woman’s plunge into depression and madness. The film currently holds a 98% freshness score on Rotten Tomatoes, with the site declaring that it “makes the audience feel as claustrophobic as the character.”

Source: Courtesy of United Film Distribution Company

11. Dawn of the Dead (1978)
> Directed by: George A. Romero
> Starring: David Emge, Ken Foree, Scott H. Reiniger
> Runtime: 127 min.

Ten years after the release of his groundbreaking “Night of the Living Dead,” director George A. Romero returned to the subject of zombies with another classic, “Dawn of the Dead.” This time, the zombies return to that which they were most familiar with during their lives. For many, one such place is the shopping mall in which most of the film takes place.

Source: Courtesy of Aquarius Releasing

10. Halloween (1978)
> Directed by: John Carpenter
> Starring: Donald Pleasence, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tony Moran
> Runtime: 91 min.

John Carpenter’s “Halloween” is a slasher classic that inspired countless imitations. The film’s premise is relatively simple: a man who murdered his sister as a young boy returns to terrorize the town in which the crime took place after spending years in a mental asylum. The movie’s restraint works in its favor, however, as the masked, silent killer proved hugely popular.

Source: Courtesy of United Motion Pictures Organization

9. Diabolique (1955)
> Directed by: Henri-Georges Clouzot
> Starring: Simone Signoret, Vera Clouzot, Paul Meurisse
> Runtime: 117 min.

Henri-Georges Clouzot’s taut thriller has all the earmarks of the master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock, with an ending that viewers don’t see coming. “Diabolique” is about a philandering boarding school headmaster who is targeted for murder by his ailing wife and his current mistress. Critics on Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a 95% Freshness rating and 93% of audiences liked the movie.

Source: Courtesy of Paramount

8. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
> Directed by: Don Siegel
> Starring: Kevin McCarthy, Dana Wynter, Larry Gates
> Runtime: 80 min.

“Invasion of the Body Snatchers” is a thinly veiled commentary on the communist witch hunt in the 1950s by Sen. Joseph McCarthy and the accompanying blacklist of artists said to have had communist leanings. The plot is about a small-town doctor who sees behavior changes among his friends and neighbors, and to his horror he discovers aliens are replacing humans.

Source: Courtesy of Walter Reade Organization

7. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
> Directed by: George A. Romero
> Starring: Duane Jones, Judith O’Dea, Karl Hardman
> Runtime: 96 min.

George A. Romero’s debut film “Night of the Living Dead” created the prototype for the modern zombie film genre. The movie, which was independently produced with only a small budget, has grown to be considered one of the best horror movies ever because of its raw violence, bleak vision, and political subtext.

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

6. Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
> Directed by: Roman Polanski
> Starring: Mia Farrow, John Cassavetes, Ruth Gordon
> Runtime: 137 min.

“Rosemary’s Baby” takes an unfantastic approach to its premise of a woman who believes her unborn child may have have demonic origins. The result is one of the decade’s most frightening films, which spawned countless occult films.

Source: Courtesy of RKO Radio Pictures

5. King Kong (1933)
> Directed by: Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack
> Starring: Fay Wray, Robert Armstrong, Bruce Cabot
> Runtime: 100 min.

“King Kong” pairs blonde beauty (Fay Wray) with a 50-foot ape in a frightening twist on the Beauty and the Beast tale. The movie’s special effects were revolutionary at the time and continue to deliver a certain creepiness to this day.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

4. The Shining (1980)
> Directed by: Stanley Kubrick
> Starring: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd
> Runtime: 146 min.

A Stephen King adaptation that famously deviates from its source material, Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining” is endlessly intriguing, despite its relatively simple premise. Jack Nicholson plays Jack Torrance, a writer who has agreed to oversee the Overlook Hotel through a long, snowy winter accompanied by his wife and young, psychic son. “The Shining” is yet another horror film that received a lukewarm critical welcome upon its release but has since grown to be loved by critics and audiences alike.

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

3. Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
> Directed by: James Whale
> Starring: Boris Karloff, Elsa Lanchester, Colin Clive
> Runtime: 75 min.

Director James Whale returned to the characters of Dr. Frankenstein and his monster four years after his 1931 classic was released with this sequel that many consider superior. “Bride of Frankenstein” touches on many of the same notes but with an additional touch of humor and satire. Both films, however, currently have a perfect 100% Freshness rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

2. Alien (1979)
> Directed by: Ridley Scott
> Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, John Hurt
> Runtime: 117 min.

Ridley Scott’s “Alien” is like a haunted house movie set in space. Once the terror begins, every dark corner potentially contains a scare. Writing for The Guardian, critic Peter Bradshaw recently declared that “After 40 years, this sci-fi horror masterpiece still feels lethally contemporary.” This statement is supported by critics and viewers, who give the movie 97% and 94% positive ratings on Rotten Tomatoes, respectively.

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

1. Psycho (1960)
> Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock
> Starring: Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles
> Runtime: 109 min.

With “Psycho” Alfred Hitchcock proved that he was not only a master of suspense but one of terror as well. The movie is filled with twists and turns — in an interview with filmmaker Francois Truffaut, Hitchcock boasted, “You might say I was playing [the audience], like an organ.” It is also known for several of its iconic elements, including the movie’s score, Anthony Perkins’ performance as the boyish Norman Bates, and the shower scene. Despite its small budget relative to other Hitchcock films and the fact that it was shot in black and white after the advent of color, “Psycho” remains a masterwork of the horror genre.

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