5. Halloween (1978)
> Starring: Donald Pleasence, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tony Moran
> Directed by: John Carpenter
> Runtime: 91 min
> Available on: Apple iTunes, Vudu, DIRECTV, IndieFlix, Shudder, Hoopla, Shudder Amazon Channel, The Roku Channel
“Halloween” set the standard for the American slasher film with its silent, seemingly unstoppable killer Michael Myers. The film follows teenage Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) as she’s stalked by the knife-wielding butcher throughout the normally quiet town of Haddonfield, Illinois. Despite its many imitators — and Halloween franchise sequels — the movie still feels fresh and has earned Freshness ratings of 96% from critics and 89% from users on Rotten Tomatoes.
4. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
> Starring: Duane Jones, Judith O’Dea, Karl Hardman
> Directed by: George A. Romero
> Runtime: 96 min
> Available on: Google Play Movies, Vudu, Amazon Prime Video, Amazon Video, YouTube, Kanopy, Syfy, Epix, Microsoft Store, Criterion Channel, Apple iTunes, Shudder Amazon Channel, DIRECTV, IndieFlix, The Roku Channel, HBO Max
George A. Romero’s debut film “Night of the Living Dead” launched the modern zombie movie genre. The motion picture, 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, stark black and white cinematography, and political subtext. The 1960s gorefest holds a 97% Freshness score among Rotten Tomatoes critics, and an 87% rating from audiences.
3. The Shining (1980)
> Starring: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd
> Directed by: Stanley Kubrick
> Runtime: 146 min
> Available on: Microsoft Store, Vudu, Apple iTunes, Amazon Video, AMC on Demand, Google Play Movies, YouTube, DIRECTV, Redbox, FandangoNOW, The Roku Channel
The Stephen King adaptation that deviates from its source material (famously irking the author), Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining” is intriguing, with great depth hidden beneath its ostensibly simple premise. Jack Nicholson plays Jack Torrance, a writer who agrees to oversee a shuttered hotel in the dead of winter accompanied by his wife and young son, who connects with the mysterious location on a psychic level with terrifying results. “The Shining” received a lukewarm critical welcome upon its release but has since grown to be loved by critics and audiences alike. It holds a 93% approval score among almost 482,000 audience members on Rotten Tomatoes.
2. Alien (1979)
> Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, John Hurt
> Directed by: Ridley Scott
> Runtime: 117 min
> Available on: Google Play Movies, Apple iTunes, Vudu, Amazon Video, Microsoft Store, YouTube, DIRECTV, HBO Go, HBO Now, Redbox, FandangoNOW, HBO Now Amazon Channel, HBO Max
Ridley Scott’s “Alien” can be likened to 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 gave the movie 98% and 94% positive ratings on Rotten Tomatoes, respectively.
1. Psycho (1960)
> Starring: Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles
> Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock
> Runtime: 109 min
> Available on: Vudu, Apple iTunes, Google Play Movies, YouTube, Microsoft Store, Fandango, Amazon Video, AMC on Demand, DIRECTV, Redbox, FandangoNOW
With “Psycho” — which received positive reviews from 96% critics and 95% of users on Rotten Tomatoes — 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 another filmmaker, François Truffaut, Hitchcock boasted, “You might say I was playing [the audience], like an organ.” “Psycho” is also known for several of its iconic elements, including the movie’s score, Anthony Perkins’ performance as the boyish Norman Bates, and the unforgettable 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 and retains the power to keep audiences on the edge of their seats to this day.