The Best Horror Movies of All Time

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.