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The 100 Greatest Horror Movies

Horror movies have existed almost as long as cinema itself, with Georges Méliès’ two-minute The House of the Devil treating audiences to images of demons and witches back in 1896, and early 20th Century adaptations of Frankenstein and The Hunchback of Notre Dame proving enormously popular. Since then films exploring ideas of fear and terror have never really gone away, whether it's the Universal monster movies of the 1930s, Hammer’s blood-soaked gothic horrors from 1958 to 1976, the slasher cycle of the 1980s, or modern horror hits like Let the Right One In.

Defining what constitutes a 'horror movie' is tricky as it has close ties to other genres such as thrillers, psycho-dramas and SF. But we’ve taken ‘horror movie’ as any film designed to generate shock, fear or unease in viewers; the cause of that terror could be psychological, supernatural or something stranger still.

And so, after an appropriately terrifying level of debate, the writers of Total Sci-Fi have put together a list of the top 100 horror movies. The list reflects the diversity of the genre, so you’ll find ghost stories, slashers, zombie flicks, body horrors, monster movies and much more.

As always you can email us at totalscifionline@titanemail.com to let us know which of your favourites we've missed...

1) The Shining (1980)


Perfectionist auteur Stanley Kubrick seemed an unlikely choice to adapt Stephen King’s pulp novel, yet the result was this towering horror masterpiece. Though King wasn’t satisfied with the result, Kubrick skilfully turned the story of a hotel caretaker slowly cracking up into an opulent study of isolation, madness and paranoia. It’s full of iconic moments, including the spooky twin girls in the hotel corridor and Danny’s mutterings about ‘Red Rum’, and Jack Nicholson gives one of his finest performances as the struggling author who lurches from caring family man into axe-wielding psycho.

2) Rosemary's Baby (1968)


Rosemary’s Baby opens with a young couple moving into a new apartment and gradually, and quite brilliantly, builds up a palpable sense of paranoia and unease as Rosemary comes to suspect that her neighbours are Satanists. The dream-like sequence in which Rosemary is raped by the Devil is truly horrifying, as is the final image of the rocking cradle, and the disquiet is increased both by the realistic tone and occasional moments of black humour.

3) The Wicker Man (1973)


Unlike more lurid films that pit their heroes against silly Satanists or kooky occultists, the genius of The Wicker Man lies in the sympathetic depiction of the Pagans who live on Summerisle – the remote Scottish island where the devoutly Christian PC Howie (Edward Woodward) is dispatched to look for a missing girl. True, their customs are outlandish (there's a lot of naked dancing), but alongside Howie's own blinkered zealotry, they seem positively harmless. Only in the closing scenes is the true cost of unthinking belief (by both sides) revealed, and captured in a chillingly neutral documentary style.

4) Bride of Frankenstein (1935)


Arguably the most famous of all Universal monster movies, James Whale’s sequel outshone his terrific original. The film sees Dr Frankenstein set about constructing a mate for his monster, which leads to tragedy, horror, humour and some of the most memorable scenes in cinema history (the monster taking refuge at the home of a blind hermit; an encounter with a little girl at a pond). Gorgeous sets, quotable dialogue (”I love dead. Hate living…”) and terrific performances - this is cinema at its most joyous.

5) Psycho (1960)


Despite influencing virtually every horror and suspense movie to arrive in its wake, it’s amazing how fresh and innovative Psycho seems today. The complex characters and psychological depth mean that Psycho is more than just the gimmicky flick it could have been (and that a few critics dismissed it as at the time). And in his career-defining role, Anthony Perkins’s Norman Bates is one of the greatest and most fascinating screen killers; sexually repressed, disturbed, yet also very personable – even when we know what he’s capable of.

6) Alien (1979)


Pitched as “Jaws in space”, Alien was set apart by several then-revolutionary factors: H.R. Giger’s stunning creature design; its gritty and utilitarian worldview; and casting Sigourney Weaver as its eventual heroine Ripley, a part written for a man but transformed by the change in gender into something iconic. Then there’s the body horror of the alien’s first appearance – a visceral inversion of birth that retains its shock value.

7) Night of the Living Dead (1968)



“They’re coming to get you Barbara…” George A. Romero gave birth to the modern zombie flick with his 1968 black & white cheapie, and its success inspired numerous sequels, remakes and imitations. But the original has lost none of its power. This is partly down to Romero’s skill as a filmmaker, and partly because of the unusual, unsettling structure – the zombie onslaught begins in a sudden, almost casual manner, the central protagonist switches partway through and the ending is as bleak as hell. A zombie flick with brains.

8) The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)


There have been gorier films than Tobe Hooper’s former video nasty, but The Texas Chain Saw Massacre remains one of the most shocking. The visuals are raw and realistic, and the simple story is powered by a visceral energy and jet-black humour (especially the gloriously twisted family dinner scene). The 2003 remake was far too slick, while the 2006 prequel missed the point entirely: Leatherface is so scary precisely because his background is ambiguous.

9) Halloween (1978)


From writer/director John Carpenter’s classic synth score to Dean Cundey’s moody cinematography, Halloween is the perfect example of a straightforward idea done well. Despite a run of sequels and remakes that have tried their best to ruin the simplicity, this is a prime example of low-budget horror at its finest.

10) Jaws (1977)



With the model shark famously ‘not working’, Spielberg and his lead actors used imaginative scripting and directorial sleight of hand to generate a primal fear that has surrounded the shark population ever since. It also left millions of people terrified of the ocean beyond all rationality – and still does. Sit on a boat in any stretch of open water and start humming the theme tune and you’ll know what we mean!

11) Nosferatu (1922)
FW Murnau couldn’t obtain the rights to Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and so Count Dracula became the equally creepy Count Orlock. The subsequent expressionist masterpiece contains some of the genre’s most unforgettable imagery – who could forget the Count’s shadow falling against the wall? Star Max Shreck was so creepy that the 2000 movie Shadow of the Vampire hinged on the idea that the actor actually was a vampire.

12) Suspiria (1977)
A horror movie of quite staggering beauty, Dario Argento’s best work doesn’t make perfect narrative sense, but that only adds to its disorientating atmosphere. A dance school turns out to be a witches’ coven in a film brimming with eye-gouging colours, OTT sets, a frighteningly insane soundtrack (at times it sounds like a horde of demons gargling to fairytale tones) and a nightmarish disregard for logic. The 1980 thematic sequel, Inferno, is also recommended.

13) Don’t Look Now (1973)
While many modern horror films seek to elevate horror into art, Don't Look Now turns art into horror, overloading the senses with the rich architecture of Venice, powerful bursts of primary red, and that famously intense sex scene, edited in director Nicolas Roeg's disorienting trademark style. The plot follows the descent from grief into obsession for a loving couple (Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie) after the death of their only child, and builds relentlessly from oppressive calm to full-on hysteria at the baffling but unforgettable climax.

14) Dracula (1958, aka House of Dracula)
Hammer had a lurid and lucrative relationship with Dracula over the years, producing nine movies of varying quality between 1958 and 1974. This was the original and the best however, introducing the world to Christopher Lee's 'deathless' portrayal of the Count, and Peter Cushing's consummate Van Helsing. The plot sticks closely to the original novel, and while it may look clichéd now, that's simply because it established so many conventions of the genre.

15) An American Werewolf in London (1981)
Few movies have managed to combine horror and comedy successfully, but John Landis showed filmmakers how it’s done. AAWIL is frequently hysterical, but the laughs only serve to make the eventual horror even more shocking. David Naughton and Griffin Dunne have a wonderful chemistry as the pals who fail to “stick to the roads, stay off the moors”, while the memorable denizens of The Slaughtered Lamb speak like they reside inside a gothic novel. There’s also great deadpan support playing (check out Frank Oz’s embassy official!), groundbreaking effects from Rick Baker, and a perfect ending in which tragedy is counterbalanced by an upbeat rendition of Blue Moon.

16) The Haunting (1963)
As The Greatest Haunted House Film Ever, this is a salutary lesson in how less is more. With a judicious application of shadow and sound, director Robert Wise generates a nerve-jangling atmosphere, inflicting it on the four central characters like a skilled, sadistic surgeon. The ending, meanwhile, deftly avoids falling into the usual Hollywood trap of big, scary monsters, proving conclusively that the real monsters are the ones lurking inside your own imagination…

17) A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
He may have become a quip-spewing joke in the later sequels, but Freddy Krueger was a genuinely terrifying presence back in 1984. Elm Street is based on a simple, scary idea in which falling asleep can be lethal, and Wes Craven’s low-budget gem is full of gory set pieces, awesome effects and Freudian subtext. But unlike lesser slashers, we care about the characters too, and Heather Lagenkamp’s Nancy Thompson is as sympathetic as Freddy is frightening.

18) The Wolf Man (1941)
The only classic Universal Studios monster not to come from a literary source, The Wolf Man’s success can be attributed to moody lighting, strange (if stereotypically sinister) Eastern European characters, and stunning creature make-up. The central, tragic performance of Lon Chaney Jnr, as a man unable to control his own animalistic urges, adds humanity to the horror.

19) The Omen (1976)
The idea of an evil child was nothing new in 1976, but The Omen took the concept to a new level of terror. Given an air of respectability by a distinguished cast led by a straight-laced Gregory Peck, Richard Donner’s story of Satan’s sprog is one of the most influential films of the period.

20) Dawn of the Dead (1978)


The follow-up to George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead is a whole different beast, combining consumer satire with gory horror as four survivors of a zombie outbreak barricade themselves in a shopping mall. Shoppers’ mindless wandering is parodied in the zombies’ clumsy shambling through stores and up escalators, as are American gung-ho attitudes to gunplay. In the end, the living prove more threatening than the undead. Zack Snyder’s 2004 remake was surprisingly effective too.

21) The Exorcist (1973)
For many years, this tale of demonic possession was obscured by its own reputation. On its initial release, cinemas supplied 'Exorcist barf bags' to ratchet up expectations, and in the 1980s the movie outraged a whole new generation when it was labelled a 'video nasty'. Only now, more than 30 years later, can it be properly appreciated as the template for modern horror films, with its skilful blend of the psychological and physical that balances unforgettable set pieces with meditations on the eternal conflict between faith and science.

22) The Innocents (1961)
The classic spook story, based on Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw, centres on a sexually repressed governess (a terrific Deborah Kerr) haunted by the ghosts of dead servants. Director Jack Clayton and screenwriter Truman Capote increase the sense of unease by keeping the spectres ambiguous – are they real or merely in the head of the governess? – and the detailed sets, costumes and bold monochrome cinematography (courtesy of Freddie Francis) were highly influential.

23) Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1931)
This Robert Louis Stevenson novel has been filmed many times, but the 1931 Paramount version remains the greatest. Fredric March manages to make the good doctor and the twitching, hideous Hyde into two distinct figures, and Wally Westmore’s make-up effects still impress.

24) The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
After Michael Mann’s critically lauded but commercially unsuccessful Manhunter in 1987, Jonathan Demme had another go at bringing Hannibal ‘the Cannibal’ Lecter to the screen in 1991. Anthony Hopkins turned the doctor into one of the great screen killers in his Oscar-winning turn as the urbane madman, but Jodie Foster (who also nabbed an Oscar) is equally impressive as determined FBI agent Clarice Starling.

25) Aliens (1986)
Aliens was undeniably a more action-heavy picture than its 1979 predecessor. Yet its careful, slow build-up (it’s almost an hour before the xenomorphs appear), awesome set pieces (trapped in a room with a Facehugger! Aliens in the ceiling! Rescuing Newt from the Hive!) and well drawn characters, mean that James Cameron’s movie is no less gripping.

26) The Curse of Frankenstein (1957)
Hammer's Frankenstein strand eventually descended into (intentional) parody, but their first attempt to bring life to the monster revitalised the genre, shocking audiences and establishing Hammer as a bona fide house of horror. For not only does it boast its fair share of gore courtesy of the monster, but it also taps into the psychology of its maker, with Peter Cushing bringing pathos and ambiguity to a version of Baron von Frankenstein that is scarier even than his terrifying creation.

27) The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari (1920)
Robert Wiene’s expressionistic classic still looks remarkable 89 years on. The story centres on the titular doctor who uses a somnambulist to carry out murders, but it’s the staggering fairytale production design that you’ll be unable to forget.

28) The Thing (1982)
Overblown special effects can often be the ruination of a horror film, yet somehow John Carpenter’s take on Howard Hawks’ 1950s classic works perfectly. The combination of some of the most inescapably grotesque effects with a sense of isolation in the shadowy Antarctic base offers a movie defined by paranoia and fear.

29) Black Sunday (1960, aka The Mask of Satan)
From the grotesque opening sequence in which a spiked mask is placed upon Barbara Steele’s witch before she’s burnt at the stake, to the witch’s eventual re-emergence from an exploding coffin, Mario Bava’s atmospheric and highly influential gothic horror is full of unforgettable imagery of shadow and light, beauty and decay.

30) Evil Dead II (1987)


With his 1987 sequel, Sam Raimi essentially remade his 1981 original with a slightly bigger budget and more laughs. A riotous splatterfest with enough energy to fill 12 crates of Red Bull, Evil Dead II just pips the other entries in the series, if only for Ash’s crazed wrestle with his possessed hand.

31) Repulsion (1965)
After her sister leaves her alone in their apartment, the young, sexually repressed Carol begins to lose her mind. Hands push through the walls; ceilings start to crack; a man appears in a mirror… and the audience becomes as fearful as Carol. Roman Polanski’s first English language film is a disturbing and original psychological horror in which a ringing telephone or a dripping tap are as scary as any monster.

32) Dead of Night (1945)
Weaving together a series of short tales, this portmanteau film was often imitated but never bettered. The yarns include a comedy ghost story and a terrifying (much-parodied) tale about a ventriloquist’s dummy, and it’s capped by a brilliant and well-realised linking narrative.

33) Carrie (1976)
This adaptation of Stephen King’s coming of age spine-tingler sticks remarkably close to the original text, but Brian De Palma adds his trademark touches of dramatic split-screen photography, discomfiting camera angles and almost nauseating levels of bloodletting. All this and the greatest leap-out-of-your-seat ending in movie history!

34) Ring (1998)
The movie that brought J-horror to the masses. Hideo Nakata’s slow-burning tale of a cursed videotape remains the highest-grossing horror film in Japan, and led to a sequel, a prequel, a Korean remake and a not-bad US remake, not to mention many imitators. Few have been as effective as the subtle, stylish original.

35) Hellraiser (1987)
“It will tear your soul apart!” Hellraiser had one of the best taglines of the 80s, and one entirely appropriate for this grisly, blackly comic frightfest. Like many bogeymen, Pinhead (Doug Bradley) became almost of a parody of himself in later sequels, but he remains a terrifying, never over-used presence in Clive Barker’s clever, dark fantasy.

36) The Fly (1986)
David Cronenberg's reputation as a master of the ‘body horror’ genre was cemented with this grotesque yet remarkably poignant tale of boy meets girl/boy mutates into fly. That the Canadian director improves on the b-movie original and keeps chronic over-actor Jeff Goldblum under control is a minor miracle.

37) Duel (1971)
Steven Spielberg's directorial debut is proof that the best horror plays on simple fears, and doesn't have to be gory or supernatural. On paper, it doesn't sound like much: an ordinary man is relentlessly pursued by a huge truck. But as the truck keeps on coming, and the driver is never seen, the menace takes on nightmare proportions in the otherwise empty California desert. With minimal dialogue, the visuals speak for themselves.

38) Gremlins (1984)
Gremlins may not be the scariest film on this list, but it’s certainly one of the most entertaining. Screenwriter Chris Columbus later went onto much safer family fare, but his script (which was originally much darker) is a glorious mix of Capra-whimsy, jet-black comedy (“That's how I found out there was no Santa Claus…”) and monsters both cute (Gizmo!) and vicious (Stripe!). 1990’s crazed, cartoonish sequel, The New Batch, was a very different beast, but almost as enjoyable.

39) Let the Right One In (2008)
One of the horror highlights of recent years, this adaptation of John Ajvide Lindqvist’s acclaimed novel is as much a study in friendship as it is a horror movie. Kåre Hedebrant and Lina Leandersson convey all the awkwardness of youth as the bullied schoolboy and androgynous vampire who becomes friends, and the gorgeous visuals, haunting soundtrack and absence of exposition results in an evocative film that is impossible to forget.

40) Poltergeist (1982)


Controversy still rages as to whether Tobe Hooper or Steven Spielberg really directed this tale of a little girl sucked into another dimension. But whoever was behind it, it’s one of the best ever mainstream horrors. Jobeth Williams and Craig T Nelson are entirely believable as the parents whose light-hearted banter gives way to despair, and just when you think the film can’t get any better, in walks the inimitable Zelda Rubenstein as an oddball medium.

41) Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
The post-Watergate era was a perfect time to remake the ultimate conspiracy movie. Philip Kaufman upped the fright factor in his update of the 1950s classic, including such notable shock moments as a man and beast merging and an ending that is all the more scary for being totally ambiguous…

42) Cat People (1942)
Jacques Tourneur’s classic tale of otherness reinforces a sense of paranoia that foreigners are different, while making full use of shadowy sets, intelligent sound design (that bus still has the power to startle) and tension that relies on the audience projecting fears that aren’t always there. 1944’s Curse of the Cat People was a worthy follow up.

43) Frankenstein (1931)
James Whale gave Boris Karloff his career-defining role as the lumbering monster: a horrifying figure, yet one with a real longing and sadness in his eyes. Whale keeps things fast-paced and stylish with just the right dash of lighthearted moments, and the lavish lab sets and make-up still impress today.

44) The Birds (1963)
The idea is simple: the residents of a small Californian town are plagued by vicious attacks from our feathered friends. Hitchcock, in one of his four Daphne Du Maurier adaptations, stages the avian assaults in inventive ways (an attack in a telephone booth, the famous sequence in which more and more birds appear on a climbing frame), and many critics point to its influence on Night of the Living Dead. A lame DTV sequel popped up in 1994, featuring a cameo from original star Tippi Hedren.

45) The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
Horror movies were big business in 1920s Hollywood, and Lon Chaney was its biggest star. The ‘Man of a Thousand Faces’ is at his best in this lavish Universal Super Jewel production of the Gaston Leroux novel. The first half is a little slow, but it’s worth persevering with for the magnificent sets, groundbreaking make-up and, of course, Chaney’s commanding performance.

46) Peeping Tom (1960)
The film that killed Michael Powell’s filmmaking career is now rightly regarded as one of the most important British movies ever made. The proto-slasher is an intense study of art, madness and voyeurism, and Carl Boehm’s sympathetic portrayal of cameraman killer Mark only makes the events even more disturbing.

47) Dracula (1931)
Todd Browning’s Universal monster movie isn’t quite held in the same regard as James Whale’s Frankensteins, but there’s still much to recommend it. Bela Lugosi is still the definitive Dracula to legions of horror fans, and the film scores highly for its gloomy, gothic sets and much-quoted dialogue (“Children of the night. What music they make!”).

48) Friday the 13th (1980)
By his own admission, Sean S Cunningham set out simply to rip-off Halloween, but the result became just as seminal in its own right. The box office smash sees teens at Camp Crystal Lake picked off by an unstoppable maniac, and it’s packed with corny lines, old-school effects and Henry Manfredini’s unmistakable score. Friday the 13th Part II (featuring a sack-headed Jason as the killer) is technically superior, while Jason didn’t pick up his hockey mask until Part III, but the well-orchestrated original remains a genre landmark.

49) Eyes Without a Face (1959)
Like many other movies on this list, critical appreciation for Georges Franju’s unique and controversial horror didn’t come until years later. His film juxtaposes realism and the fantastical in the disturbing story of a mad scientist trying to heal his disfigured daughter by kidnapping young women and carrying out skin grafts.

50) Kwaidan (1964)


J-horror didn’t begin with Ring. Masaki Kobayashi’s adaptation of Lafcadio Hearn’s folk tales is a strange and lyrical affair full of samurais and spirits. Kobayashi is influenced by fine art as much as ghost stories, and the result is slow, colourful and achingly beautiful.

51) The Mummy (1932)
Karl Freund’s leisurely-paced Universal monster movie boasts groundbreaking special effects (courtesy of Jack Pierce), atmospheric cinematography, and a mesmerising performance from Boris Karloff in the title role. The actor, billed as ‘Karloff the Uncanny’ in the film’s marketing, brings a dignified grace and humanity to Im-Ho-Tep, making him a strangely sympathetic figure.

52) Village of the Damned (1960)
Fondly remembered by many as the film with the creepy kids with the glowing eyes, this simple but chilling effect was actually added for the US release, and is absent from the original UK print. But effects aside, it's not hard to see why this film still strikes a nerve. Nothing is more precious and unspoilt to an adult audience than its children, and to see them rendered so cold and alien is every parent's nightmare.

53) The Company of Wolves (1984)
Based on several of feminist writer Angela Carter’s reworkings of classic fairy tales from her book The Bloody Chamber, director Neil Jordan’s take on the Little Red Riding Hood story becomes an erotic, sensual, dream-like experience of transformations both physical and sexual. Beware of men whose eyebrows meet in the middle…

54) Day of the Dead (1985)
After the playful satire on consumerism that was Dawn of the Dead, George Romero’s next entry was a much more downbeat affair. Though not well received at the time, the film has been rightly reassessed in recent years for its interesting ideas (especially the tame zombie, Bub), tremendous special effects and relentless feeling of isolation and hopelessness.

55) Eraserhead (1977)
Much of David Lynch’s oeuvre has a strong horror influence, and the auteur’s black & white feature debut was this highly original visual nightmare. Set against a bleak industrial backdrop, the story plays out like a twisted take on a kitchen sink drama, and features deeply unsettling imagery (bleeding chickens! A mutant baby!) and an unnerving mechanical soundtrack.

56) Witchfinder General (1968, aka The Conqueror Worm)
Witchfinder General begins and ends with the sound of a woman screaming, and is no less bleak and savage in between. The tale of Matthew Hopkins' brutal crusade against witchcraft in the 17th Century, its point is a simple one – about the abuse of power and the madness of absolute faith – yet driven home so relentlessly and repeatedly that it forgoes any glib moral in favour of letting the shocks speak for themselves.

57) Martin (1977)
George Romero is most famous for his zombie efforts, but this wilfully sick bloodsucking fable is one of his best movies. A young boy becomes convinced he’s a vampire; only he uses razor blades rather than fangs. An original horror flick with excellent Tom Savini effects and a downbeat tone.

58) Night of the Demon (1957, aka Curse of the Demon)
A professor slowly begins to realise that an ancient curse is a reality in Jacques Tourneur’s smart, atmospheric chiller, based on M.R. James’s Casting the Runes. In the original US version 13 minutes were trimmed from the film, though they’ve thankfully now been restored.

59) Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht (1979)
It’s safe to say that a Werner Herzog picture will always make for interesting viewing, even when it’s a remake. This hynotic reworking of Murnau’s masterpiece is a slow and moody affair, celebrated for its evocative imagery. Klaus Kinski is at his creepiest; Isabella Adjani is at her sexiest. Filmed simultaneously in German and English.

60) The Old Dark House (1932)


Various visitors wind up trapped in an isolated, rain-lashed mansion in James Whale’s adaptation of the J.B. Priestley novel. The result is a fine blend of wit, melodrama and chills that boasts snappy dialogue (“Have a potato!”) and a great cast (including Boris Karloff, Raymond Massey and Charles Laughton).

61) The Tenant (1976)
The final in Roman Polanski’s ‘apartment’ trilogy (after Repulsion and Rosemary’s Baby), The Tenant is another fine psychological chiller. A man moves into an apartment where the previous tenant committed suicide. Could his neighbours be driving him to kill himself too?

62) Return of the Living Dead (1985)
This is the one that gave us the iconic undead cry of, “Braaiiins!” Dan O’Bannon’s zom-com (which hinges on the theory that Night of the Living Dead was based on a true story!) works because of its lovably crotchety heroes, unconventional structure, gory set pieces and apocalyptic ending.

63) Misery (1990)
An incredibly taut chiller that relies on two powerhouse performances, this adaptation of the Stephen King novel sees author James Caan ensnared by his “number one fan” Kathy Bates. With this brilliant look at obsession and power, Spinal Tap director Rob Reiner proved he was a dab hand with creating terror as well as comedy. And we haven’t even mentioned the hobbling…

64) White Zombie (1932)
Zombies may be very much in vogue at the moment, but the living dead were shuffling around the screen over 75 years ago. An wealthy landowner asks Bela Lugosi’s witch doctor to help him win over a girl he’s smitten with, only for the girl to wind up as a zombie. Though fairly slow, the atmospheric sound, lighting and effects build up a tangible sense of unease, and Lugosi gives one of his best turns as the awesomely-monikered Murder Legendre.

65) The Last House on the Left (1972)
Thirty-six years after it first burst controversially onto the scene, Last House has lost none of its capability to shock. Wes Craven’s crude, documentary style echoed TV news reports of Vietnam at the time, and the movie shows rape and murder in all its ugliness. It also features terrific performances from David Hess, Jeramie Rain and Marc Sheffler as the gang members, each of whom give very different – but equally chilling – depictions of psychosis and depravity.

66) Island of Lost Souls (1932)
The only decent adaptation of HG Wells’ The Island of Doctor Moreau so far, Erle C. Kenton’s picture is heavy on lurid detail and creepy atmosphere. The final sequence in which the beasts rise up against Charles Laughton’s whipcracking Moreau (“Have you forgotten the house of pain?”) is one of the most unforgettable sequences of 1930s cinema.

67) The Blair Witch Project (1999)
It’s a film that continues to divide viewers. Some consider it a motion sickness-inducing bore peopled by whiney characters. Others herald it as one of the scariest films ever made. Though it wasn’t the first film to fall back on the documentary concept (Cannibal Holocaust did a similar thing 20 years earlier), its shaky-cam style proved highly influential (as did its clever marketing campaign), and directors Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez worked wonders on a tiny budget. The film also packs one of the all-time great horror movie endings.

68) The Howling (1981)
1981 was a good year for werewolf movies, with An American Werewolf in London, Wolfen and Joe Dante’s The Howling all wowing critics and audiences alike. The latter film is a tongue-in-cheek treat about a resort that acts as a refuge for shapeshifting werewolves. There are movie in-jokes galore (characters are named after old directors, and the likes of Dick Miller and Famous Monsters’ editor Forrest J Ackerman make cameos), yet it remains an unsettling movie in its own right. Six sequels followed.

69) The Masque of Red Death (1964)
Arguably the best film Roger Corman directed, this Poe adaptation features Bergman references, a dwarf jester and a man in a monkey suit. Seriously, what more could you want? Vincent Price is at his sly best as the cruel, Devil-worshipping Prince Prospero, and Nicolas Roeg provides the sumptuous cinematography. Roeg obviously liked the ideas of both a creepy dwarf and a red-hooded figure; he incorporated them both into Don’t Look Now nine years later.

70) Vampyr (1932)


The critical and commercial failure of Vampyr sent Carol Theodor Dreyer into a deep depression in the early 1930s; he wouldn’t make another picture for 10 years. Happily, his take on the vampire legend is now regarded as a classic, though it’s more of a phantasmagoria of beguiling images (giant faces at windows, skeletons, weird night visitors) than a traditional bloodsucking story. Dreyer uses foggy lighting and creeping shadows to create an atmosphere of discomfort, and in the most audacious sequence we watch the action through the eyes of a man being nailed inside a coffin.

71) Ju-on (2002, aka The Grudge)
Takashi Shimizu is certainly dedicated to the Grudge franchise. He directed two short versions of the story in 2000, followed by this hit feature-length version, its tamer sequel and both the US remake and sequel. The 2002 movie remains the best, featuring plenty of well-timed shocks, unsettling sound effects and memorable spectres.

72) The Pit and the Pendulum (1961)
Another one of Roger Corman’s many Poe adaptations, this much-admired slice of gothic horror sees Vincent Price gradually morph into his Inquisitor father, locking his sister and her lover in his torture chamber. An expertly directed and good-looking shocker.

73) Santa Sangre (1989)
Alejandro Jodorowsky’s most accessible, and arguably best, movie is an idiosyncratic and masterful mix of exploitation and art. This surreal psycho-horror features such giddy sights as circus performers worshipping an armless god, an elephant’s funeral procession, a cross-dressing wrestler and coke-addled Down’s syndrome sufferers, and combines Jodorowsky’s love of outsiders with buckets of blood and dazzling visuals.

74) Martyrs (2008)
We’ve seen a wave of stylish, gory French horrors in recent years - others include Switchblade Romance, Inside and Frontier(s) - and Pascal Laugier’s film is perhaps the boldest and bloodiest. Martyrs is upsetting stuff, and its strange, nightmarish structure and unrelenting intensity ensure you won’t sleep easy.

75) The Black Cat (1934)
Edgar G. Ulmar’s hit horror mostly ignores Poe’s story, though it’s infused with Poe’s macabre sensibility. This wilfully nasty film is arguably the best title that terror titans Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi appeared in together, and their expressive performances bring much to the creepy, dreamlike picture.

76) Braindead (1992, aka Dead Alive)
Some people claim that the Lord of the Rings trilogy is Peter Jackson’s greatest work. These people are wrong. Jackson’s best movie is quite obviously this New Zealand splat-com, which sees our hapless hero Lionel take a monstrous baby on a trip to a park and lay waste to zombie hordes with a lawnmower. Genius.

77) The Devil Rides Out (1968, aka The Devil’s Bride)
A flawed classic that suffers from some overambitious effects and the awkward redubbing of one of its stars, The Devil Rides Out wins its place on this list by the strength of its cast (Christopher Lee, Charles Gray, Patrick Mower, Paul Eddington), its conviction to the Dennis Wheatley novel on which it is based, and its rollicking twist ending, skilfully built up from a slow start with the oddly memorable discovery of some chickens.

78) Near Dark (1987)
Vampires have never really dropped out of popularity since the 1920s, and the late 1980s threw up some bloodsucker gems including The Lost Boys, Fright Night and, best of all, Kathryn Bigelow’s Near Dark. This grown-up, stylish fable sees Adrian Pasdar’s Caleb sucked into a vampire gang after falling for the beautiful Mae (Jenny Wright). The brooding, elegiac tone, dramatic visuals and atmospheric soundtrack, courtesy of Tangerine Dream, ensure that there’s plenty to sink your teeth into.

79) Phantasm (1979)
Eschewing horror staples like vengeful ghosts, blood-crazed vampires or masked maniacs, 25-year-old director Don Coscarelli filled his movie with hooded mutant dwarves, flying silver balls and a severed finger that can turn into a flying creature. It’s rough around the edges, but that only adds to its barmy charm.

80) This Night I’ll Possess Your Corpse (1967)


Coffin Joe (played by José Mojica Marin, who also co-writes and directs) is a very different breed of bogeyman: a bearded, long-nailed atheist who tortures and kills women in his quest to find one who’ll bear his son. The follow up to At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul is even crazier than the original, especially the wigged-out hell sequence (at which point the black & white film suddenly explodes into lurid colour).

81) Child’s Play (1986)
The sequels may have lurched from awfulness (Child’s Play 2 & 3) to camp comedy (Bride of Chucky, Seed of Chucky), but the first killer doll flick is clever stuff. Chucky, as voiced by Brad Dourif, is both scary and darkly funny, but the film really works because of Alex Vincent’s utterly believable performance as the kid who wants a playmate.

82) The Descent (2005)
Modern gory horrors are often fuelled by testosterone, so this film – which features a virtually all-female cast – was like a breath of fresh air. There’s little fresh air in the film’s gloriously claustrophobic cave setting, however, and Marshall creates an unbearably tense atmosphere before the mutated flesh-chompers even show up.

83) The Sixth Sense (1999)
Yes, yes, so some viewers boast of how they guessed the twist halfway though. But there’s much more to M. Night Shyamalan’s breakout film than that ending. For starters, there’s a world-weary performance from Bruce Willis, who showed he could do more than romantic leads or cocky action heroes, and the wonderfully slow-burning atmosphere enhances the skin-crawling scares.

84) Shaun of the Dead (2004)
The legendary team of Wright, Pegg and Frost added Britain’s own high-voltage kick-start to the zombie cultural resurrection with a whole new sub-genre: the rom/zom/com. It was also an affectionate homage (if such a thing can exist in the zombie genre) to the Romero undead canon, but shot through with a streak of pop culture and pathos a mile wide, and a very British wit. Plus blood. Lots of blood.

85) House of Wax (1953)
As concepts go, it’s pretty awesome: sculptor Vincent Price’s waxworks are so convincing because they’re MADE FROM PEOPLE! The film was originally in 3-D, but you don’t need any gimmicks to enjoy the ghoulish plot. The earlier, more lighthearted version of the story, Mystery of the Wax Museum, is also worth watching. The 2005 Paris Hilton-starring remake isn’t.

86) Saw (2004)
For better or worse, Saw has become one of the most influential horror movies of the new millennium. Though the acting is a little variable, the low-budget original is a twisty, smartly plotted little chiller with a great sting in the tale. The never-ending sequels became bogged down in devising ever-gorier traps and an increasingly dense mythology.

87) Re-Animator (1985)
“Who’ll ever believe a talking head?” Filled with hilarious one-liners, gruesome effects and well-crafted characters, Stuart Gordon’s debut is a blast from start to finish. Jeffrey Combs gives his defining performance as the calmly insane Dr Herbert West, but the film works because his madness is counterbalanced by likeable heroes, Dan (Bruce Abbott) and Megan (Barbara Crampton).

88) Salem’s Lot (1979)
The success that greeted Tobe Hooper’s mini-series version of the Stephen King novel prompted a European theatrical release (albeit in an edited version with added violence). Whatever cut you’re watching, this is an exceptionally well made tale of vampires in a New England town.

89) The Others (2000)
Drawing heavily on The Innocents and its source novel The Turn of the Screw, The Others relies on the build up of suspense to its inevitable twist, rather than out and out shocks or gore. For once, Nicole Kidman’s glacial beauty is entirely appropriate in the role of a nervy housewife stranded in a fog-bound Jersey mansion with two light-sensitive children and some seriously creepy new servants.

90) [Rec] (2007)


It may draw from The Blair Witch Project, but Spanish flick [Rec] has a power all of its own. Shot in the now-popular shaky-cam style, the claustrophobic tale of a news crew and firefighters investigating a disturbance in an apartment includes a zombie child and an astonishingly scary finale. Remade virtually shot-for-shot as Quarantine.

91) Brain Damage (1988)
With Brain Damage and his earlier almost-as-good Basket Case, Frank Henenlotter drew on the exploitation cinema of the 60s and 70s and added his own deliriously demented dialogue (“Ready to crawl across the floor and plead for my juice?”). This one’s about a young man who becomes addicted to the LSD-style sensations provided by a jovial, penis-shaped creature named Aylmer. Cue deadpan comedy and brain-sucking gore.

92) Audition (1999)
A strange and deeply disturbing experience, Audition is a typically idiosyncratic effort from Japanese splatter auteur Takashi Miike. When a widower advertises for a new wife, little does he expect what’s to follow. A slow first half gives way to an extraordinarily nasty finale. Eihi Shiina's cry of “Kiri! Kiri!” will haunt you for days.

93) Drag Me to Hell (2009)
Sam Raimi combined the high-energy scares of The Evil Dead with the slick thrills of his Spider-Man pictures in this devilishly entertaining return to his horror roots. You’ll be laughing and trembling in equal measure, as Raimi inflicts all manner of torments upon Alison Lohman’s impossibly likeable heroine, and there’s winning support from Justin Long as Lohman’s wealthy, well-meaning boyfriend.

94) Rabid (1977)
The movie that defined David Cronenberg’s ‘body horror’ methodology, this is also something of a different take on the vampire theme, tying his apparent obsession with all things surgical to a mutation-induced bloodlust. The director was still knocking off a few rough edges to his filmmaking, but what was to become his trademark pathological medical porn is clearly signposted.

95) Scream (1997)
Three years after the commercial failure of the ingenious New Nightmare, Wes Craven had another stab at creating a post-modern horror. The result was the phenomenally successful Scream, which draws on slasher conventions in ways that are both amusing and bloody. Highlight: the pre-credit phonecall.

96) Switchblade Romance (2003, aka High Tension)
Alexandre Aja’s simple yet astonishingly suspenseful spin on the slasher sees a young woman attempting to rescue her friend from the clutches of a sadistic killer. The emphasis on realism, extreme violence and sly subversion of genre conventions (check out the mirror-in-the-bathroom scene) ensure this is scary stuff. If it wasn’t for the nonsensical twist, this would probably rank even higher.

97) Cemetery Man (1994, aka Dellamorte Dellamore)
A barmy Italian zombie flick based on a novel by Tiziano Sclavi and influenced by that writer’s popular Dylan Dog comics. Rupert Everett (who Dylan Dog was based on) plays the cemetery caretaker who finds himself surrounded by zombies. Meanwhile, his assistant falls in love with a reanimated zombie head, who he keeps inside a TV. Beautiful, funny and very strange.

98) Blood and Black Lace (1964)
Though not a hit at the time, Mario Bava’s vicious twist on the murder mystery helped set the template for both the giallo and its American offshoot, the slasher. There are all the hallmarks you’d expect from mid-60s Bava – vivid colours, ornate sets, stylish violence – and Blood and Black Lace was one of the first horrors to incorporate POV tracking shots.

99) Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954)
There were some great monster movies in the 1950s, and this tale of scientists encountering Gill Man (half man, half fish) was one of the best. Nowadays it’s more fun than frightening, but the elaborate studio backlots, groundbreaking underwater photography, influential score and sympathetic monster (played by Ricoh Browning) ensure its status as a cult classic. Like many 1950s monster movies, it was directed by Jack Arnold.

100) Candyman (1992)


Candyman, Candyman, Candyman… Sure, it’s easy enough to write, but after watching Bernard Rose’s commanding adaptation of the Clive Barker story, it’s unlikely many viewers will dare repeat the words in front of the mirror. Rose switches the setting from Liverpool to Chicago, but retains the grim backdrop of urban poverty and the dark fairytale menace of the original story.

12 comentarios - The 100 Greatest Horror Movies

@Invasorashassy +1
Pero esto ta todo en ingles! Me da una fiaca leerlo!!!
@scare81 -1
Debatible... pero bueno, el idioma no debe de ser impedimento, si no saben estudien, todos deberíamos saber; español, ingles, frances, italiano, alemán y japones además de alguna lengua de nuestro país natal, bueno el aporte, gracias. (Podrías subir las portadas)
@FANTASMA2010
scare81 dijo:Debatible... pero bueno, el idioma no debe de ser impedimento, si no saben estudien, todos deberíamos saber; español, ingles, frances, italiano, alemán y japones además de alguna lengua de nuestro país natal, bueno el aporte, gracias. (Podrías subir las portadas)


The 100 Greatest Horror Movies

@daniel2014 +1
Esta bueno tu post pero estaria mucho mejor si le agregaras links de descarga a algunas peliculas. Te llenarias de puntos y de agradecidos...
@gok86 +1
repost?? :O:O
Esto esta re copiado man..
@Manuchox
no lei un karajo!
igual buen aporte aunke le faltarian algunas kapturas...