If you enjoy a good scary feature film, in this list we have gathered the 25 best horror movies of all time in history that you can see right now, both classic and modern.
It is not usual that we start our lists by asking for forgiveness, but as fans, enthusiasts and fans of horror films we believe that this time we are obliged to do so.
If it were up to us, this list would have reached 50 items, but for a matter of time and respect for your free time, we are condemned to reduce it to a few 25 titles.
For this reason I must apologize for not including in this list some of the best horror films in history such as Night of the Living Dead, Suspiria, Saw, Evil Dead, Is behind you, Insidious, Diabolical doll or The stop of the monsters.
The horror genre has always been one of the most abused by the specialized press, arguing that it is a genre dedicated to a youth audience with low demands and easy to entertain. However, there is a small set of tapes that, whims of fate, managed to satisfy both critics and audiences.
Many of these tapes are present in this list with the 25 best horror films of all time, in which you will find both classic titles and feature films released in the last decade.
If you miss a movie or, on the contrary, you think we deserve to be sodomized by cenobites for the presence of a tape that is not to your liking in this compilation with the best scary movies in history, in the comments you can give rein let go of your love-hate towards us.
Best Horror Movies of all time
The [REC] argument puts us in the shoes of Ángela Vidal, a young reporter for a local television who has to interview a group of firefighters who, throughout the night, come to a building on La Rambla in Barcelona to help of an old woman.
This is only the beginning of a long nightmare, after discovering that a dangerous virus that turns the host into a bloodthirsty animal has spread through the building.
Recorded with the format of a “mockumentary” and always with the camera on his shoulder, many criticize that the film is a constant dizziness, but its long sequence shots and, above all, the much achieved feeling of being in a true passage of terror make [REC] (and to a greater or lesser extent its sequels) the best Spanish horror film.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
When five teenagers went deep into Texas to visit the supposedly desecrated grave of one of their grandfather, little did they imagine that this trip would turn into an egregious episode of violence, savagery and cannibalism caused by a “somewhat dysfunctional family.” “.
Directed by Tobe Hooper , a hitherto unknown director, and starring several amateur actors, it revolutionized the cinema of the 70s and the way we know horror cinema today.
The film laid the foundations of the horror subgenre later known as ” slasher “, which consists of a murderer killing his victims one by one and whose main exponents are, in addition to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre , Scream, Friday the 13th or Halloween.
This year marks exactly 40 years since the premiere of one of the best horror films in history, which is why the typical and mandatory special edition of the film has been marketed on Blu-ray .
Cabin in the Woods
Talking about Cabin in the Woods without throwing spoilers about its plot is something very complicated.
It is a MUST-SEE movie for any fan of horror movies that boasts of being one. Although its plot seems like one of the thousand times seen (a group of friends harassed by monsters during their weekend in the forest cabin), from the beginning the plot will make you wonder continuously where “the shots are going.”
It all begins with, again, five university students prepare to spend the weekend in a cabin located in a remote forest and without means of communication with the outside.
In the basement they find a strange collection of memories ; among them, a newspaper that talks about the old family that occupied the house.
In this way, we are presented with some of the films with the greatest references to horror films that the most astute will immediately recognize. Endless tributes to a genre that, although it has never been the most recognized by specialized critics, has been shown to be the most profitable theme in Hollywood.
It’s been difficult to find a trailer for Cabin in the woods that doesn’t spoil too many aspects of one of the coolest surprises in the genre.
Nightmare in Elm street
We could well have included other equally terrifying sagas such as Halloween in this list of the best horror or scary films in history , but A Nightmare on Elm Street presents one of the most charismatic villains in horror cinema that bends brutally, never better said , the balance in his favor: Freddy Krueger.
The story is recreated in several young people from a small town who usually have nightmares in which they are chased by a man deformed by fire and who wears a glove finished in sharp blades.
Some of them begin to be killed while they sleep by this being, who turns out to be Freddy Krueger, a psychopath whom the parents of these young people burned alive several years ago after discovering that he had murdered several children.
The fact that Krueger “works” in that place where we are most unprotected, dreams, only increases the terror caused by this character, who has 9 films behind him, if we count his confrontation with Jason Voorhess.
Curiously, like Kevin Bacon was seen in the first Friday the 13th movie, A Nightmare on Elm Street is one of Johnny Deep’s first forays on the big screen.
Evil Dead is one of the most curious cases in horror movies. The saga is made up of four films, of which one is a remake and the other a “pseudoremake”.
We explain ourselves.
The first film, Infernal Possession as it is known in our country, was written and directed by Sam Raimi with very rudimentary means. Starring Bruce Campbell, the plot revolves around a group of young people who decide to spend a few days in an abandoned cabin in the woods, their stay being interrupted by the attack of an evil spirit and were awakened by the characters.
Such was the success of the film that, years later, the director and protagonists gave the green light to a sequel that retells the events of Infernal Possession, adding more footage and better effects .
The trilogy was completed with The Army of Darkness, a true B-series cult film where Ash, the protagonist of the films, faces an army of the undead.
In 2013 the remake of Evil Dead would arrive , a film much more violent and serious than the original cataloged by many, including myself, as one of the best horror films of recent years .
In recent years, a name flutters the heads of all fans of the horror genre. This is James Wan, a Malaysian director who surprised locals and strangers with his debut feature: Saw.
After this film, which currently has more than 5 sequels, the director continued to explore the operation of nightmares through great films such as Death Silence or Insidious. However, his best work to date, raised by critics and audiences, would arrive in 2013 with The Conjuring .
The film, known in Spain as the Warren File, is based on real events and narrates the supernatural encounters that the Perron family experienced at their home in Rhode Island in the early 70’s. After different paranormal events Ed and Lorraine Warren, renowned researchers in the world of paranormal phenomena, come to the call of the terrified family by the presence on their farm of an evil being.
The film collects the most classic elements of horror cinema and mixes them with great success with a staging where the real terror appears in what is not seen.
Shadows, dark gaps, long corridors … elements used to perfection until reaching a climax that, although it loses some force with the rest of the footage, is resolved in a somewhat different way than the standards of the genre.
Based on the novel by horror novel writer Stephen King, this movie is categorized by many as the best horror movie ever .
We, despite Kubrick’s great direction, and Nicholson’s absorbing performance, we cannot raise it that high, but it does deserve to appear in the Top 5 of this type of film.
The Shining tells the story of a watchman who, shortly after arriving at the Overlook Hotel, a lonely high mountain vacation resort with his family, begins to suffer from disturbing personality disorders. Gradually, due to the isolation, insomnia and the evil influence of the place, he will find himself immersed in a spiral of violence against his wife and son.
Only a special ability of the child, called “radiance” can save the family from the madness of the father and the different supernatural phenomena that beset them.
An elegant, as well as disturbing story that tells the eternal struggle between good and evil in a more than interesting way .
Now we go through the neighboring country, the birthplace of some of the most promising horror film directors of the years to find a story not suitable for all stomachs, Martyrs.
In France, at the beginning of 1970, Lucie, a girl who had disappeared a year earlier, is found in a catatonic state and unable to tell anything about what happened to her. The police will not take long to find the place where she has been imprisoned: a former slaughterhouse.
After a long stay in an orphanage, fifteen years later, Lucie breaks into the home of a family in order to take revenge on those who apparently ended her childhood.
Behind this argument is a powerful story about pain, guilt and life beyond death ; divided into two clearly differentiated parts.
Without a doubt, the most controversial film and the perfect example of the new French horror cinema.
The seed of the devil
The Devil’s Seed is, without a doubt, one of the films that got the most talk at the end of the 60s, and not only because of its creepy plot, but also because of the black legend associated with the film.
Rosemary’s baby , which is the name of the film beyond our borders, where some funny person decided to title the film with a glorious spoiler, puts us in the shoes of a New York couple who move to a building located in front of Central Park, on the which, according to a friend, weighs a curse.
Once installed, they make friends with some neighbors who shower them with attention. Faced with the prospect of a good future, the couple decides to have a child ; But when Rosemary becomes pregnant, all she remembers is having made love to a strange creature that has left her body full of marks.
Polanski , its director, uses shots just as uncomfortable as its sound effects to generate the same uneasiness in the viewer that invades Rosemary.
The film drags a violent black legend behind it, since a year after the premiere Sharon Tate, actress and Polanski’s wife, was murdered along with some friends at her home on Cielo Drive in California in the most cruel, ruthless and violent way. reminiscent of the black history of Hollywood.
One of the best horror films in history , as well as one of the films with the most parodies and references that are remembered today.
The adaptation of the novel by William Peter Blatty is inspired by a real exorcism that occurred in Washington in 1949. The story tells how Regan, a twelve-year-old girl, is a victim of paranormal phenomena such as levitation or the manifestation of a superhuman force, in addition of certain attitudes that would make Christian Gray himself blush .
Her mother, terrified, after subjecting her daughter to multiple medical tests that do not offer any results, goes to a priest with psychiatric studies. This one, convinced that the evil is not physical but spiritual, that is to say that it is a diabolical possession, decides to practice an exorcism.
What is surely the best-known horror film of recent times has 2 Oscars to its credit: Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Sound. To generate uneasiness and terror in the viewer, the squeals of pigs were mixed with honeycombs and all kinds of highly “desperate” noises.
Such was the “fever” that occurred with the film that during its premiere, numerous spectators suffered nervous attacks and the owners of the exhibition rooms decided, as an exceptional marketing maneuver, to park ambulances at the doors of the different rooms where they were held. show the film.
The Exorcist , in addition to numerous copies, has 2 official sequels and a sequel released in 20014. Furthermore, in 2000, the production company re-released the film with scenes not included in the original version.
Alien, the eighth passenger
The greatest horror movie ever, and the mother of the modern horror genre, is the work of Ridley Scott and the stunning designs of HR Giger, who brought to life one of the most famous and dangerous monsters in movie history.
Winner of the Oscar Award for Best Visual Effects in 1979 , the film tells how, back on Earth, the Nostromo cargo ship interrupts its journey and awakens its seven crew members. The central computer has detected the mysterious transmission of an unknown life form, originating from a nearby apparently uninhabited planet. The ship then heads to the strange planet to investigate the origin of the communication.
From then on, a claustrophobic nightmare will be unleashed in a ship where each shadow has a guaranteed tachycardia.
Alien, the eighth passenger, begins one of the best science fiction and horror sagas of the seventh art that, together with its 3 sequels and two spin-offs, has its own ecosystem and universe.
Cramped spaces, dark corners , danger lurking around the corner, smoke, flickering lights … all the clichés of the horror genre have their origin in Alien, the eighth passenger, where the scene where the action takes place becomes a character more.
Currently there are rumors of the development of a fifth of Alien, arising from the publication of some impressive designs by Neill Blomkamp , capable of eliminating the bad memory of a third and a quarter of the, for the moment, quadrilogy.
Poltergeist is a classic from the 80s that, after the passage of time, is still considered one of the best horror and suspense films of all time. The screenwriter, Steven Spielberg, took inspiration from his childhood fears and also from Little Girl Lost, an episode of the television series The Twilight Zone. The visual effects were carried out by Industrial Light and Magic, a company founded in 1975 by George Lucas.
This story is about a family with three children who suddenly experience strange events. The first to realize the situation is the young daughter, Carol-Anne, who one night comes down to the living room and approaches the television screen. At that moment he feels the presence of a mysterious force behind the screen. Later Carol Anne says her famous phrase “They are here.” It is from then on, when strange events are triggered that culminate in the disappearance of little Carol-Anne.
The urban legends have had a good vein with this film and it is said that during the filming of the film a priest had to be called to sanctify the set during all the days of the filming.
The Halloween night
As is often the case with this type of film, Halloween night was shot independently with a ridiculous budget, but due to the box office success, it started a franchise that has 8 sequels to its credit that exploited the character of Michael Myers and the curse of the fictional town of Haddonfield.
Thanks to this film Jamie Lee Curtis (Laurie Strode), the daughter of Tony Curtis and Janet Leight, who debuted in this horror film classic, became the queen of screams in a “Halloween” that was at the time the movie profitable independent film industry in history. The movie had a budget of $325,000 but grossed $47 million in the US and $80 million worldwide.
In addition, Halloween night originated the horror film subgenre known as slasher and in it they tell us the story of a psychiatric patient, locked up for having murdered his older sister, who escapes from a mental clinic after 15 years with the objective to achieve his goal, assassinate his younger sister.
Some movie critics consider this fantastic horror movie to be a critique of the 70s generation in America, while for others it was just a great horror movie. According to part of the specialized critics, this work changed its cinematographic genre forever.
At the end of the stairs
At the bottom of the stairs tells the story of John Russell, a famous composer who, after losing his wife and daughter in a tragic traffic accident, moves into an old mansion in Seattle. From the moment John moves into his new home, inexplicable things start to happen. The composer will discover that he is not alone in the house since a strange presence, apparently the entity of a child, will manifest itself to clarify a murky history of murders and deceptions.
Every morning he is awakened, at the same time, by a horrible noise. A silent presence seems to enter and leave the rooms . Something seems to be trying to communicate with him. As events escalate, he discovers a door that leads to a secret attic bedroom.
Shot in 1979, the film cost 7 million dollars and is based on some hypothetical real events that took place in Denver, Colorado, in the United States.
This great horror film transcends its genre to become one of the best films of the decade. Amenábar has declared on occasion that this is his fetish film. Some scenes from “Thesis” and “The others” are inspired by this movie. But he was not the only one who has publicly shown his admiration for this film; Del Toro, Scorsese, Shyamalan, Coppola or Spielberg have also done it.
Despite the more than 35 years that have passed since its premiere, the feeling of panic is still as present as then.
Inspired by the homonymous novel by Robert Bloch, (who received only five thousand dollars from the sale of film rights to the novel) the story is set in a gloomy motel where a secretary, Marion Crane (Janet Leigh), who has run away, is staying. with money stolen from your company. The motel is run by Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) who lives next door with his mother.
Although the plot may seem normal, much of the charm of Psycho lies in the music chosen and that it was shot completely in black and white, in order to make the narration more terrifying.
Despite Alfred Hitchcock’s low budget, the elements he used were enough for his film to become a horror film classic.
In fact, the film received four Oscar nominations , in the categories of Best Director, Supporting Actress, Photography, and Art Design. Despite his technical and narrative innovations, he did not win a single Oscar award.
The Prophecy (1976)
We are talking about the original movie, the one starring Gregory Peck. Although a remake was later made, the truth is that it does not even reach the sole of the heels to the original.
This film is undoubtedly one of the best horror films of all time , especially for its gloomy staging and the unexpectedness of some of the events.
The whole plot revolves around a child, say, of uncertain origin. Once it reaches the family of the protagonists, strange things begin to happen, to the point where everything precipitates with several deaths.
We do not say more so as not to spoil it if you have not seen it, but you are wrong not to see it.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula
One of the most recent on this list. It is a film from 1992 but it is already considered a classic of the genre . Directed by Francis Ford Coppola and starring actors who are now stars, but were then early in their careers.
For the story remains the role of Anthony Hopkins or Gary Oldman, two of the protagonists of the film.
Without a doubt it can be considered as the best vampire movie in history, or at least in recent history and with modern media. It is also not excessively long, since it only lasts 130 minutes.
The remake of It (It) (1990), the film based on the homonymous novel by Steven King, is one of the most acclaimed horror films of recent years, and for that reason it could not be missing from this list.
It (2017) takes us back to the city of Derry (Maine, United States) in the late 80s with a charismatic cast and a Pennywise capable of freezing the blood of even the bravest.
The film is set between October 1988 and June 1989, when strange murders and disappearances of children are taking place in the city. We accompany a group of children who discover what is wrong in Derry, and face it despite fear to avoid more victims.
The orphanage, the debut feature by Spanish director Juan Antonio Bayona, is another of the best horror films of recent years that could not be missing from this list.
In the film we accompany Laura on her return to the orphanage where she grew up, to which she returns with her husband and son with the aim of equipping the building to create a residence for children with disabilities.
However, their plans go awry. He is increasingly concerned about the games of his son, who has made friends with an invisible friend named Tomás. The boy disappears and Laura dedicates all her efforts to unraveling the mystery of his disappearance.
Friday the 13th
Friday the 13th is one of the most popular horror genre sagas. The original film released in 1980 is currently a classic horror movie that every lover of the genre has to see, so it has earned a place on our list.
The feature film takes us to the Crystal Lake camp, where two monitors were brutally murdered in 1958. 21 years later, the camp will reopen its doors, and a group of monitors come to prepare everything for the opening. But Jason Voorhees crosses his path and begins to spread terror.
We know that this decision may upset some viewers, but the truth is that beyond the discussion about whether it is pedantic or not, this is a film that once again called the public’s attention to a terror that offered something beyond the schemes basic.
Curses, paganism, haunted houses, monsters … The film that seems to begin as a drama is slowly transforming into a great horror film that causes many shocks. Since it was released it has become part of the most cited horror stories in recent years.
We agree that Nosferatu is not scary today, but if you make a list of the best horror films in history, you have to cite one of the first known, or one of the few from that time that are preserved.
Filmed in 1922, it is an adaptation of Dracula that tells the story we already know about a bloodsucker who unleashes terror in the city. It maintains some of the readings and aesthetics of German Expressionism and offers an experiment that today must be seen as a precursor.
But let’s go back to today with a film born from independent cinema that managed to enthuse viewers. It is not worth telling what the main plot is because it is one of those that should be enjoyed at the pace that the story marks, but It Follows gives a new conception of terror by feeling that something is chasing you that is always walking towards you and not You can avoid, just walk away.
With a more or less clear metaphor about STDs and elegant horror, the film is very well directed and, as it should be done in this genre, it slowly increases the doses of fear and uneasiness until it reaches the climax.
Based on the novel Another Turn of the Screw, this is one of the great unknown of the genre for many, a horror story as complex as it is maleficent that returns to haunted houses to offer a terrible reading and full of readings.
Scripted by Truman Capote, it will sound familiar to those who have recently seen The Curse of Bly Manor as it tells the same story, but in a much more haunting and stylish way. If you don’t know her and you like horror, we don’t know what you’re waiting for.
Can a recent release be considered one of the best horror movies ever? Probably not. But even so, it is worth putting it in this article to give a different vision of the genre and to get away from the common places a bit. With its own universe, Casa ajena shows a terror that avoids the common elements and offers a different reading on the drama of the refugees and the ghosts of the past.
Available on Netflix currently, the film decides to scare from the first minutes and does not stop when it comes to showing strong images or disturbing. We recommend that you turn off the light, prepare popcorn and enjoy Casa ajena. You will discover that the cracks in the houses hide something different from what you thought.