Top 30 Best Horror Movies of All Time

Every year around Halloween the list-making nerd in me feels the urge to create ‘best of’ lists.
Last year’s attempt in compiling a worthy Top 30 Best Horror Movies list wasn’t very satisfying. The whole list felt rushed, looked lame and I forgot about many films that are important to me.

This year I tried to do it right and… yeah, I admit I feel way more pleased with my Top 30 personal favorite Horror Movies of all time. While you are all waiting for the holiday of all holidays, you might like to pass the time by checking ou my 30 personal favorite Horror Movies of all time.

The list looks decent (at least to me) and every horror movie that I adore is in it. Plus there are bunches of free movie trials that feature horror films that you can subscribe to right now.

#30 THE HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY

Lucio Fulci’s
THE HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY (Quella villa accanto al cimitero)
Italy, 1981

As great as “The Beyond”, “The New York Ripper” or other Fulci-classics are… I never liked them as much as I like the weird story of Dr. Freudstein.

The movie is obviously flawed like most of Fulci’s films are, but due to some outstanding atmosphere, stunning suspense, fabulous gore and one of the greatest endings in horror history, I just can’t get enough of this 80s Italo masterpiece. Bravo Mr. Fulci!

“No one will ever know whether the children are monsters or the monsters are children.”

#29 DON’T LOOK NOW

Nicolas Roeg’s
DON’T LOOK NOW
UK / Italy, 1973

Roeg’s complex Daphne-du-Maurier-adaptation is one of the most suspenseful and most atmospheric movies ever made. A stylish and eerie kinda-giallo with a fantastic cast, a touching soundtrack, a highly interesting plot and many scenes that got burned into my mind (the funeral gondola, the drowning child, the uber-amazing, infamous sex scene…)

Thanx to my Mom who first showed this to me when I was 10 or 11 🙂

“Christine is dead. She is dead! Dead! Dead! Dead! Dead! Dead!”

#28 PULSE (Kairo)

Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s
PULSE (Kairo)
Japan, 2001

One of the weirdest and scariest Asian movies ever made. Kurosawa created a dark, unsettling and completely unique story about loneliness and the end of the world, including a brilliant plot, many terrifying images and deeply haunting scenes.

Whenever I watch “Pulse”, it impresses me, disturbs me, creeps the shit out of me and ultimately sets me into a depresssing, almost suicidal mood.
A fantastic work of Japanese art.

“People don’t really connect, you know… we all live totally separately.”

#27 A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET

Wes Craven’s
A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET
USA, 1984

The birth of Freddy Krueger, one of the most iconic horror characters ever created, and the start of one of the most successful movie franchises ever.

“A Nightmare On Elm Street” is Craven’s ultimate masterpiece, an inventive, innovative and highly original slasher variation, well-written and -directed, tense and scary, packed with many superb acting performances, extremely memorable scenes and super-cool dialogue lines.
A true 80s classic!

“I don’t know who he is but he’s burned and he wears a weird hat and a red and green sweater, really dirty. And he uses these knives, like giant fingernails…”

#26 SOCIETY

Brian Yuzna’s
SOCIETY
USA, 1989

Yuzna’s directorial debut is undoubtedly one of the most bizarre, most interesting movies ever made, not forgetting that it’s also one of the most underrated, most overseen horror movies of all time.

Starts out as a suspenseful and very well built-up mystery-take on some bold-and-beautiful/90210-soap-opera, and ends up with the eye-popping and mindblowing shunting orgy, one of the most grotesque scenes I’ve ever seen.

A disturbing but also quite entertaining effect-fest.

“The rich have always sucked off low-class shit like you!”

#25 MARTIN

George A. Romero’s
MARTIN
USA, 1977

As much as I love Romero’s zombie movies, but none of them are as awesome as his 70s character study “Martin”, one of the greatest vampire-themed movies in history, and nearly everything about is perfect:
the excellent cast, the awesome plot, the fabulous script, stunning cinematography and of course Martin himself, one of horror history’s most fascinating, most tragic characters.
Martin = magnificent!

“I’ve been much too shy to ever do the sexy stuff. I mean, do it with someone who’s awake. Someday maybe I’ll get to do it… awake… without the blood part. Just do it with somebody, then be together and talk all night.”

#24 CLOWNHOUSE

Victor Salva’s
CLOWNHOUSE
USA, 1989

Another lost 80s classic: “Clownhouse”, one of the very first slasher movies I’ve ever seen (I was 11), and IMO still one of the greatest. It’s packed, REALLY packed with breathtakingly creepy, incredibly intense and super-thrilling edge-of-seat-scenes that still manage to scare the crap outta me.

The circus music is terrific, the acting is awesome and the 3 killer clowns’ performances are just amazing.

Fuck Pennywise, this is the real clown-shit!

“They really are out tonight.” – “Who are?” – “The clowns…”

#23 LET THE RIGHT ONE IN

Tomas Alfredson’s
LET THE RIGHT ONE IN (Låt den rätte komma in)
Sweden, 2008

The stunning adaptation of John Ajvide Lindqvist’s bestseller of the same name, is one of the best and most overwhelming vampire movies of all time, one of the most touching ‘love stories’ of all time and probably the greatest Scandinavian horror film of all time.

Due to the gorgeous camera work, the outstanding child actors and and a perfectly written script, “Let The Right One In” absolutely never fails to impress me – this film is a jewel!

“I’m 12. But I’ve been 12 for a long time.”

#22 [REC]

Jaume Balagueró & Paco Plaza’s
[REC]
Spain, 2007

One of the loudest and wildest movies ever made: the Spanish [REC], an awesome mix of infected-horror and found footage film, well shot, well directed and perfectly executed.

Starts out interesting and entertaining, then suddenly gets shockingly brutal and incredibly tense for the greater part, right until the friggin’ awesome ending which is able to scare you half to death.
An ingenious hell ride of a movie!

“There’s something more to this place. Our cells don’t work. Neither does the TV or radio. We’re isolated.”

#21 SUSPIRIA

Dario Argento’s
SUSPIRIA
Italy, 1977

Not only Argento’s most powerful movie, it’s also one of the best-looking, if not THE best-looking horror movie of all time.

A ravishing nightmare, filled with surreal set pieces, bizarre characters and impressive kills,
plus: the awesome soundtrack from Goblin and a few outstanding technical aspects (wonderful cinematography, fantastic editing…).
A landmark Euro-masterstroke.

“Susie, do you know anything about… witches?”

#20 SUICIDE CLUB

Sion Sono’s
SUICIDE CLUB (Jisatsu sâkuru)
Japan, 2001

A complex, thought-provoking and mindblowing mindfuck of a movie. “Suicide Club”, one of Japan’s most bizarre movies. In terms and themes a bit similar to “Pulse”, but way more disturbing and terrifying, especially because of a few incredibly scary sequences, many remarkably unsettling images and, of course, all the uber-amazing suicide scenes (subway mass suicide, school roof mass suicide, kitchen suicides…).

So weird, so absurd, so awesome!

“We’ll pass out flyers: ‘Join our Suicide Club!’, ‘Come die with us!’, ‘Let’s shed blood together!'”

#19 PSYCHO

Alfred Hitchcock’s
PSYCHO
USA, 1960

I have no idea what to say about Psycho that hasn’t already been said. With this landmark milestone, Hitchcock reached the zenith of hsi career. It’s one of the greatest and most iconic horror-thrillers in movie history, including one of the coolest set pieces (the Bates mansion), one of the best-filmed, best-edited kills (the infamous shower scene) and one of the most interesting split-personailty killers (Anthony Perkins as the strangely sympathetic Norman Bates).

Genius, pure genius!

“Mother! Oh god, mother! Blood! Blood!!!”

#18 THE DESCENT

Neil Marshall’s
THE DESCENT
UK, 2005

Greatest and scariest survival horror movie ever made, thrilling and bloodcurdling from the first to the last minute. The female cast is simply stunning, the cave systems look terrific and the underground creatures are just horrifying.

Wonderfully filmed and executed, tightly directed and brilliantly written – and scenes like the shocking opening or the blood-pit attack are unforgettable.

A powerful and breathtaking Brit-masterpiece!

“Where are we?” – “It hasn’t got a name. It’s a new system. I wanted us all to discover it! No one’s ever been down here before.” – “Are you fucking kidding me?”

 #17 FRIGHT NIGHT

Tom Holland’s
FRIGHT NIGHT
USA, 1985

Next to “Lost Boys” and “Near Dark” the coolest and most entertaining vampire flicks from the 80s.
Director Holland created an incredible cult horror comedy, full of amazing actors, hilarious characters, fabulous one-liners, stunning-looking special effects and many remarkable and highly memorable scenes. The awesome cinematography, the well-designed settings and the outstanding build-up keeps you glued to the screen.

A movie I could watch over and over and over again.

“I have just been fired because nobody wants to see vampire killers anymore, or vampires either. Apparently all they want see to are demented madmen running around in ski-masks, hacking up young virgins.”

#16 THE RING

Gore Verbinski’s
THE RING
USA, 2002

The very first movie in my life that actually scared me half to death – and it’s still one helluva scarefest. The Japanese original is brilliant but the remake is just mind-blowingly awesome – btw, it’s the only US remake of an Asian movie that works.

Wonderfully written and directed, highly atmospheric and thrilling, with a top notch cast, an awesome soundtrack and many scenes that are so scary, you’ll wet your pants.
Ring-tastic!

“Don’t you understand, Rachel? She never sleeps.”

#15 THE CHURCH (La Chiesa)

Michele Soavi’s
THE CHURCH (La Chiesa)
Italy, 1989

Michele Soavi, the underestimated genius of Italian horror cinema, directed 4 horror movies: all 4 of them are excellent, especially “The Church”, IMO the greatest Italian horror film of all time.
Packed with visually stunning images and eerie-looking set pieces, terrific actors, great special effects, awesome-looking demons and super-haunting pieces of music.

The whole movie is incredibly atmospheric and almost hypnotic from beginning to end, incl. loads of extremely suspenseful, extremely scary scenes and a few remarkable sequences that are just unforgettable (especially the breathtaking opening and the stunning climax).

“Behold! The stigmata… the sign of the demon!” – “Kill them, all of them! Not one must be allowed to live!”

#14 BRAINDEAD

Peter Jackson’s
BRAINDEAD (a.k.a. Dead Alive)
New Zealand, 1992

Fuck “Lord Of The Rings” – THIS is the greatest New Zealandian movie of all time: “Braindead”, one of the bloodiest and goriest AND one of the funniest and most hilarious horror comedies ever made.
Everything, I repeat EVERYTHING about this movie is just terrific: the rat-monkey, the lawnmower massacre, the zombie outbreak at the house party, the zombie baby, the zombie mother, the martial-arts priest, the ear-custard, the nose injections, the humping zombie couple etc. etc.
People who don’t like this movie are pathetic.

“The devil is amongst us. Stay back, boy! This calls for divine intervention. I kick ass for the lord!!”

#13 INSIDE (À l’intérieur)

Alexandre Bustillo & Julien Maury’s
INSIDE (À l’intérieur)
France, 2007

One of the 3 French movies from the 00s that blew my mind: the unbelievably brutal and emotionally intense “Inside”, a movie packed to the brim with incredibly horrifying and uber-disgusting death scenes, but also full of outstanding atmosphere and staggering suspense, thanx to a compelling score and some stunning camera work.

Plus: super-awesome performances from the insanely genius Béatrice Dalle and the overwhelming Alysson Paradis.

A sick but outstanding violence-fest.

“There’s a strange woman by my door. Please hurry up. I don’t know what she wants. She knows my name… she knows everything about me…”

#12 DUEL

Steven Spielberg’s
DUEL
USA, 1971

As much as I love “Jaws” or “Jurassic Park”, this one will always be my absolute favorite Spielberg-flick: “Duel”, the greatest car-chase movie ever, the greatest TV movie ever.

Incredibly tense, suspenseful and thrilling from beginning to end, brilliantly written and directed, brilliantly filmed and edited, including one of the greatest acting performances I’ve ever seen (the marvellous Dennis Weaver) and one of the ugliest yet coolest and scariest vehicles in movie history (the Peterbilt 281).

An overwhelming 70s masterpiece.

“Come on you miserable fat-head, get that fat-ass truck outta my way.”

#11 PRINCE OF DARKNESS

John Carpenter’s
PRINCE OF DARKNESS
USA, 1987

One of the most underrated, most underestimated horror films of all time: Carpenter’s super-amazing late 80s masterpiece “Prince Of Darkness”, a highly intelligent and incredibly suspenseful religion-themed shocker with a great plot, a stunning cast, terrific characters, many uber-eerie images, loads of breathtaking atmosphere and one of the most awesome musical scores ever composed.

A unique, impressive and unforgettable horror gem.

“You wil not be saved by the Holy Ghost. You will not be saved by the god Plutonium. In fact, YOU WILL NOT BE SAVED!”

#10 SHAUN OF THE DEAD

Edgar Wright’s
SHAUN OF THE DEAD
UK / France / USA, 2004

The greatest zombie movie of all time, the greatest zombie comedy of all time, the greatest comedy of all time.

I could watch “Shaun Of The Dead” over and over and over without getting tired, thanks to the uber-amazing performances from Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, the absolute hilarious and ingenious humor which makes me totally laugh off my ass and of course, the terrific-looking design of all the zombies.
I love… no, I ADORE this movie!

“Purple Rain?” – “No.”
“Sign O’ The Times?” – “No.”
“The Batman soundtrack?” – “Throw it.

#9 THE EVIL DEAD

Sam Raimi’s
THE EVIL DEAD
USA, 1981

Undoubtedly the greatest and most impressive low-budget horror movie of all time.
After years and years of older kids telling me how awesome and horrifying this movie is, I finally got my hands on a copy at the age of 16 – and finally got blown away too by this indie masterpiece.

Oh, how I love all the possessed zombie-like ‘deadites’, the living forests, the creepy fog overload, the superscary cellar, the super-disgusting yet amazing-loking special effects and, of course, ASH, one of the most likable characters in horror history. A masterpiece!

“You bastards, why are you torturing me like this? Why?”

#8 EXORCIST III

William Peter Blatty’s
THE EXORCIST III
USA, 1990

You may be surprised, but… yeah, the original Exorcist never did anything for me. It was always the fully underestimated Part 3 that really impressed me, a movie so tense, so creepy, so compelling it’s astonishing.

Fabulous performances from George C. Scott and Brad Dourif, wonderful cinematography, awesome dialogue and a few of the scariest scenes I’ve ever seen (especially the infamous nurse station scene) make this not only the greatest exorcism-themed movie ever, but also the greatest horror sequel ever. Period.

“I believe in death. I believe in disease. I believe in injustice and inhumanity, torture and anger and hate… I believe in murder. I believe in pain. I believe in cruelty and infidelity. I believe in slime and stink and every crawling, putrid thing… every possible ugliness and corruption, you son of a bitch. I believe… in you!”

#7 MARTYRS

Pascal Laugier’s
MARTYRS
France / Canada, 2008

One of the most talked-about genre movies of the last few years: the absolutely insane “Martyrs”, a film that shocked me to the core.

Never before have I seen something so brutal and violent, so disturbing and horrifying, so mean and relentless – yet, so incredibly well-made and intelligent, so thrilling and impressive, so stunning and mindblowing.

Watching “Martyrs” is a shocking and traumatizing, but also fully satisfying experience you will never, NEVER ever forget!

“It’s so easy to create a victim, young lady… so easy.”

#6 THE FOG

John Carpenter’s
THE FOG
USA, 1980

Another absolutely awesome Carpenter gem:
the fantastic “The Fog”, a superscary, highly atmospheric and stunningly creepy oldschool horror movie, superbly directed, written and filmed,full of excellent actors, haunting music pieces and gorgeous-looking effects, including one of the scariest openings of all time and another classic and cool Carpenter-esque WTF!?-ending.

An almost perfect ghost film, hands down.

“11:55, almost midnight. Enough time for one more story… one more story before 12:00, just to keep us warm.”

#5 JU-ON: THE GRUDGE

Takashi Shimizu’s
JU-ON: THE GRUDGE
Japan, 2002

The only horror film that manages to scare me half to death AND causes nightmares EVERY SINGLE TIME I WATCH IT.

Others might find it mediocre or just plain confusing – I always end up a complete wreck after watching… no… experiencing “Ju-On”.

The creepy pale boy, the scary black-haired women, the cats, the cursed house, all the horrifiying sounds, all the heartstopping jump scares – just thinking about it makes me shudder.
An Asian piece of awesomeness and IMO the absolute scariest horror movie of all time.

“Ju-on, the curse of one who dies in the grip of powerful rage. It gathers and takes effect in the places that person was alive. Those who encounter it die, and a new curse is born.”

#4 HIGH TENSION (Haute Tension)

Alexandre Aja’s
HIGH TENSION (Haute Tension)
France, 2003

In 2004, after 3-4 years where I wasn’t that interested in horror movies, this slasher-masterpiece suddenly came along, completely re-awakened my interest in horror and finally made me the horror-geek that I am today.

An excellently written and directed suspensefest, unbelievably tense and thrilling, unebelievably brutal and gory, including an outstanding soundtrack, brilliant actors, awesome camera work and lighting, eerie locations, a cool twist ending and some batshit insane gore.
Best French movie ever, nuff said.

“I won’t let anyone come between us anymore.”

#3 THE THING

John Carpenter’s
THE THING
USA, 1982

Without a single doubt the greatest science-fiction/horror-movie of all time:
Carpenter’s flawless and super-stunning “The Thing”, one of the very first horror movies I’ve ever seen (Thanks Mom!).

Outstandingly suspenseful and atmospheric from beginning to end; packed with a few of the best-looking special effects in history (spider-head, dog mutation) and a few of the most thrilling scenes in history (blood-test, climax),

plus: awesome actors, terrific-looking settings, magnificent cinematography and a superb soundtrack from maestro Ennio Ennio Morricone. – Perfect.

“Nobody… nobody trusts anybody now and we’re all very tired. There’s nothing more I can do, just wait…”

#2 THE SHINING

Stanley Kubrick’s
THE SHINING
UK / USA, 1980

A tremendously awesome horror classic from one of the greatest directors in history – far, FAR better than the Stephen King novel it is based on.

Haunting and eerie from the very first to the very last minute, due to the unsettling atmosphere, the horrifying soundtrack, the outstanding cinematography and the best-looking settings since “Suspiria”.
Excellent actors, excellent direction, excellent script – an excellent and unbeatable masterpiece.

“Mr. Grady, YOU WERE the caretaker here.” – “I’m sorry to differ with you sir, but YOU are the caretaker. You’ve always been the caretaker. I should know, sir… I’ve always been here.”

#1 HALLOWEEN

John Carpenter’s
HALLOWEEN
USA, 1978

The first true horror film I’ve ever seen (I was 9 and once again, thanks Mom!), the one horror film I’ve seen the most in my life (watched it about 40 or 50 times – already watched it 3 times this year!) and without a shadow of a doubt, the greatest horror movie ever… EVER!!

Reasons?
~ Michael Myers, the coolest and scariest horror villain of all time.
~ Jamie Lee Curtis, the one and only Scream Queen.
~ Donald Pleasance, definitely the coolest and most likable doctor in film history.
~ The greatest soundtrack ever composed.
~ One of the greatest opening scenes.
~ One of the greatest ending scenes.
~ Loads of breathtakingly amazing atmosphere, tension and suspense.
~ Flawless direction, flawless pacing and an almost flawless script.

Halloween – often copied, never equalled. The absolute perfect horror movie – thank you Mr. Carpenter!

“I met him 15 years ago. I was told there was nothing left. No reason, no conscience, no understanding… even the most rudimentary sense of life or death, good or evil, right or wrong. I met this 6-year-old child with this blank, pale, emotionless face and the blackest eyes… the devil’s eyes. I spent 8 years trying to reach him, and then another 7 trying to keep him locked up because I realized what was living behind that boy’s eyes was purely and simply… evil.”

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