Best Horror Movies of All Time

The best horror movies are considered the ones we still refer to in hushed, excited tones. The ones we saw at a young age when it was too hard for our fledgling minds to handle. In this article on TechTrends, we will look through those very best horror movies of all time.

Horror movies, which fire our adrenal glands, send shivers down our spine and give us goosebumps, will highlight our unconscious fears, urges and desires. Moreover, when we think of the best horror films, we remember the ones that gave us nightmares and the ones we still shudder to think about. The allure of watching the best horror movies of all time is the challenge we give ourselves to survive the onslaught of absolute terror. Joe Hill, Stephen King’s son, once said that horror is “an exercise in extreme empathy”. The greatest horror movies of all time hand us that chance to go through hell with the characters and come out the other way having had an elevatory experience, despite all the stress. Although cutting this frights list so short was no mean feat, there are many different varieties. The list includes psychological horror, things that go bump at night, bloodshed, classic horror, and modern horror. Therefore, let’s get to the best horror movies ever without further ado.

Best Horror Movies of All Time

If you are a horror movie fan looking for the best ones to watch for the first time or even rewatch, you are in the right place. We have put together a list of the best horror movies of all time. So, grab your snacks and get your favorite streaming service ready.

The Exorcist 1973

Best Horror Movies of All Time
  • Director: William Friedkin
  • Stars: Linda Blair, Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, Jason Miller, Lee J. Cobb
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 84%, IMDb 8.1

The Exorcist, the first on our list of the best horror movies of all time, is just as frightening as it was when it first came out in 1973. The story revolves around a young girl who starts to behave strangely, with her mother doing her best to provide her with help and get her an exorcism. You will be sitting on the edge of your seat from the very beginning, with the realism of a mother’s wish to keep her daughter safe when the world is set against a supernatural conflict. Although almost 50 years have passed, this movie is still among the best. Moreover, this unsafe, unpredictable, and primeval movie is anxiety-inducing. Despite it not being actively enjoyable, you will definitely find yourself rewatching it just to go through the sheer terror once again.

The Shining 1980

Best Horror Movies of All Time
Source: The Guardian
  • Director: Stanley Kubrick
  • Stars: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Scatman Crothers, Danny Lloyd
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 85%, IMDb 8.4

Even if you haven’t watched this incredible movie, you most likely have heard of The Shining. The next one on our list of the best horror movies of all time is an adaptation of Stephen King’s novel. However, the author hated the movie so much that he made his own. The Shining film is about a man and his family going to The Overlook hotel as the winter caretaker. Moreover, this unsafe, evil movie shows the man descending into murderous insanity and you have no idea what will come next as it feels like it is driven by a drunk mad man. After watching the movie, you may feel like the lurking beast will stay will you for a while.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 1974

Best Horror Movies of All Time
  • Director: Tobe Hooper
  • Stars: Marilyn Burns, Gunnar Hansen, Teri McMinn, William Vail, Edwin Neal, Kim, Henkel, Paul A. Partain
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 89%, IMDb 7.4

Tobe Hooper’s gloomy, sweaty film, which is based on notorious Wisconsin serial killer Ed Gein, is one of the best horror movies of all time. Five young people embark upon a journey into dusty Americana. Then, they find a house and go in as they look for gas so innocently. However, the death and depravity are still anxiety-inducing tests. In addition, the soundtrack is disturbing and iconic at the same time. A funny fact about the Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie is that there is not much blood. The presence of Leatherface and a hook involving a death scene will have you look down to see whether your body is still there. This brutal mainstream horror film suffered a lot of clones, but none were able to copy the sheer desperation and pure terror.

Halloween 1978

Best Horror Movies of All Time
  • Director: John Carpenter
  • Stars: Jamie Lee Curtis, John Carpenter, Nancy Kyes
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 96%, IMDb 7.7

Giving his villain a blank William Shatner mask, Director John Carpenter made a modern classic. As one of the best horror movies of all time, Halloween created an icon who stalked babysitters in a town called Haddonfield, Illinois. Although the first scene might not have made sense, the movie begins with a child killing his sister, wearing a mask. If you do not find that scary, then maybe we have to revoke your horror fan status. The movie is written in a way that it will have you constantly guessing while being exposed to claustrophobia to make you feel vulnerable. In Addition, the poor sequels were removed by the new Halloween movie (2018), as it did a great job of revealing the real trauma of growing up as The Shape’s victim. So, you might also want to check that.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 1984

Best Horror Movies of All Time
  • Director: Wes Craven
  • Stars: Johnny Depp, Robert Englund, Heather Langenkamp, John Saxon, Lin Shaye
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 95%, IMDb 7.5

When you think of your bed, you remember safety and security, not razor-sharped blades that would plunge through your body all of a sudden. This is one of the best horror films of all time. Although Robert Englund’s Freddy, the boogeyman, might look terrifying in A Nightmare on Elm Street, the notion of falling asleep and not waking up is the true horrifying kicker in this movie. Moreover, it is Nancy and her friends’ desperation to stay awake and escape death. Most importantly, Johnny Depp’s splattery death scene alone makes this a movie worth watching.

Read More: Best Sci-Fi Movies of 2022

Scream 1996

Best Horror Movies of All Time
  • Director: Wes Craven
  • Stars: David Arquette, Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, Matthew Lillard, Rose McGowan, Skeet Ulrich, Drew Barrymore
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 79%, IMDb 7.3

Wes Craven was long crafting for the best satire in the horror movie industry, making his movie Scream charming due to its sky, fair jabs at the genre. However, he didn’t stop using some brutal knife scenes, giving birth to the killer called the “Ghost Face”. Moreover, he helped fans embark upon a journey of horror-flick fandom, making a staple for survival with the common tricks of the trade: sex equals death, never say “I’ll be right back”, and don’t do drugs or drink. In the late 90s, horror looked a little tired, and Scream came with an innovative, funny take on that. Although it was not the first attempt, it was the first of its kind that had a big audience. Therefore, this movie made the list of the best horror movies of all time.

The Blair Witch Project 1999

Best Horror Movies of All Time
  • Directors: Eduardo Sanchez, Daniel Myrick
  • Stars: Rei Hance, Joshua Leonard, Michael C. Williams, Heather Donahue
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 86%, IMDb 6.5

This next one included in the best horror movies of all time is why no one is camping out there in the woods these days. The ones who have seen The Blair Witch Project would rather sleep inside. This mythical, found-footage horror movie is about three documentary makers who go to Burkittsville in Maryland. Heather, Josh, and Mike ask the people of the city about The Blair Witch, which is a horrifying tale. Following that, they go into the woods where the witch is residing. They hear strange noises, descending into a directionless spiral of madness and rage. Since everything is found on tapes, the ending is not a happy one, and it feels like being punched by nightmares. The movie’s marketing even said that the tale is real.

The Cabin in the Woods 2011

Best Horror Movies of All Time
Source: IMDb
  • Director: Drew Goddard
  • Stars: Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams, Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 92%, IMDb 7

There were not going to be horror comedies on our list of the greatest horror movies of all time, but The Cabin in the Woods proved exceptional. It could have been so horrifying at some moments while also being the genre’s best meta-commentaries. This movie is able to make you laugh and then scream quite loudly. In addition, Chris Hemsworth’s Hollywood ascendancy helped the film to come out long after completion. However, the impressive performance by the two commentaries, who were like puppet masters, also proved crucial.

The Conjuring 2013

Best Horror Movies of All Time
Source: IMDb
  • Director: James Wan
  • Stars: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Sterling Jerins, Joey King, Lili Taylor, Ron Livingston
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 86%, IMDb 7.5

One of the scariest James Wan’s films is indeed The Conjuring. Another one of the best horror movies of all time in this list knows its way of subverting where and when you expect the horror to take place. Although the story of haunted houses and possessions is not new, a few have had even half the stylishness of Wan’s The Conjuring. The film plays with the expectations of the audience as it throws big scares at them with tiny build-ups. The movie is definitely too frightening. Notwithstanding a lack of overt violence, sexuality, and gore, it got R rating.

The Babadook 2014

Best Horror Movies of All Time
Source: IMDb
  • Director: Jennifer Kent
  • Stars: Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman, Tim Purcell
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 98%, IMDb 6.8

Director Jennifer Kent created a movie that is not only about childhood but also adulthood. The notion of there being a monster in the closet, under the bed, and in the basement is what the Australian filmmaker has done for a horror movie with so many layers. Not only will you be sleeping with lights on for a while, but you will also become enriched and provoked. This story of a single mom having a fractious relationship with her son makes the film’s human concerns so emotional. Moreover, adding the evil boogeyman lurking in the shadows, the personal trauma becomes far more than a hard chore. Like some of the other best horror movies of all time, the Babadook doesn’t only try to scare the audience. The grief and depression of a mother losing control of her son are far more disturbing than some senses with the monster.

Paranormal Activity 2007

Best Horror Movies of All Time
Source: IMDb
  • Director: Oren Peli
  • Stars: Katie Featherston, Micah Sloat
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 83%, IMDb 6.3

Paranormal Activity took found footage horror dead serious as it is among the best horror movies ever. It introduces Katie and Micah, who have been going through weird things in their home. The husband sets up a camera to film the things that happen while they are asleep. Not only do the bumps in the middle of the night make you never want to see a bed, but you will also feel terrified lying on one. This nerve-jangling movie delivers an agonizingly tense eye test as you see the clock ticking forward in every extended shot. What will move? Did I just see a shadow? Scenes of nothing actually going on have never been this nail-biting as days and nights pass.

Get Out 2017

Best Horror Movies of All Time
Source: IMDb
  • Director: Jordan Peele
  • Stars: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford, Caleb Landry Jones, Stephen Root, Catherine Keener
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 98%, IMDb 7.7

Photographer Chris is about to meet his girlfriend’s parents, but he is pretty nervous as he asks Rose: “Do they know I’m black” but she ensures him that her father is a big fan. So, what could go wrong? Well, Everything. This modern horror masterpiece has profound social commentary and is layered with goosebumps as well as harsh humor. The director aims for the audience’s attention to go to the real terrifying truths in the identity politics of contemporary America. Moreover, the grand reveal is far more horrific than anything you would have imagined.

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