Top 10 Greatest Horror Movies of All Time

Take a look at the below list of Top 10 Greatest Horror Movies of All Time in 2016-2017. Any list of the top 10 greatest horror movies of all time is bound to produce deep emotional reactions. After all, despite the fact that fear is a universal emotion, not every gets scared by the same thing. When it comes to horror movies, that truth is tripled. The easy way out when compiling of the most memorable fear flicks of all time is to just pick the ones that come closest to universal acceptance. That is not the way this list rolls. For one thing, look as hard as you will, Psycho is not going to be appear.

Not because Hitchcock’s black and white classic doesn’t quality as a great and not because it doesn’t produce horror. It is time to put this misgenerification to an end: lacking even the most intangible elements of the supernatural, occult or Uncanny, Psycho is not horror movie, it is a murder thriller like most of the rest of Hitchcock’s films. That said, let’s get started producing more outrage and arguments by not including any splatter films, slasher films or bloodbaths masquerading as films

List of Top 10 Greatest Horror Movies of 2016-2017 and All Time

10. Nosferatu


The title of this silent German film may say Nosferatu and the vampire may be Count Orlok, but make no mistake: this is the story of Dracula. In fact, we came very close to Nosferatu becoming a lost film because Bram Stoker’s widow won a copyright lawsuit against the makers which declared that all existing copies and prints had to be destroyed. Obviously, that didn’t happen so we are left to enjoy what remain the creepiest and most horrific Dracula yet to make it to the screen. This ugly bloodsucker is in more in keeping with what life as a vampire is probably like (more on that later) and is a long way from Bela Lugosi’s debonair aristocrat.

9. Poltergeist

poltergeist, Top 10 Greatest Horror Movies of All Time 2018

Clowns are creepy. Clowns are scary. Surprisingly, however, big screen horror films actually about clowns have some managed to avoid conveying this quality. The scariest movie clown to date remains but a supporting character in Poltergeist, but what performance he turns in. Amazingly, Poltergeist received a PG rating when it was released, thus making it, arguably, the horror film of the 1980s that wielded the most influence over the damaged psyches of those kids not yet old enough to attend high school in 1982 who went on to become the makers of today’s horror movies.

8. The Ring (American version)

the ring, Top 10 Greatest Horror Movies of All Time 2019

Generally speaking, horror movie fans should ignore American remakes of foreign horror films like the plague. The original Japanese film was itself a remake of Japanese TV movie that was in turn remade not only by Hollywood, but South Korea’s masterful filmmaking community. Debate is wide open as to which version is preferred, but for this list consider The Ring one of the very rare times when Hollywood did it better. In addition to several creepy scenes that persist in the memory long after viewing the film within the film that prefigures death in seven days is truly unsettling in a strange indefinable way that is what makes horror films so effective.

7. 28 Weeks Later


The sequel is better than the original. Some may disagree, but they’re wrong. Here’s why? One, 28 Weeks Later opens with utterly devastating scene of a man turning his back his back on his wife to save his own life which leads to the absolutely horrifying image of him running like a madman across a vast open space while pursued by hordes of fast-moving zombies. Two, that betrayal quite literally comes back to bite him…not in the butt, but even worse. Three, 28 Weeks Later is not just a horror movie, but one of the best allegories yet made about the Bush administration’s bottomless incompetence at managing the affairs of foreign countries. Four: that ending. Wow!

6. Alien


Yes, Alien is a science fiction film, but this case differs from the story of Norman Bates because it merely a psycho killer, while the titular creature is an alien that is essentially the outer space version of a vampire. Another way to tell that Alien is a great horror movie is by that tightness of anxiety that lodges inside your stomach and doesn’t go away at the drop of a “gotcha” moment. Alien becomes the first in a series of five movies that completes this list of films that you wish would hold greater influence over the horror genre than such extraordinarily lesser fare like Friday the 13th, Saw and Nightmare on Elm Street.

5. The Exorcist


The Exorcist remains one of the greatest horror movies of all time not just because it is appropriately horrific with scenes and special effects still capable of shock, but because it is an extremely well made movie. The acting is top notch, the story is far more expansive and emotionally rich than any other movie about exorcism and, well, the possessed Regan is a just quite possibly the greatest horror movie character ever.

4. [REC]


Proof that the found footage genre is capable of producing great movies can be found in the existence of this Spanish horror film that many people found on Netflix. An American version retitled Quarantine and though that Hollywood take on foreign horror doesn’t exceed the original like The Ring, if [REC] did not exist, Quarantine might have made this list. [REC] manages what may have seemed impossible: incorporating the found footage conceit seamlessly into the narrative without ever experiencing that awkward feeling that nobody in real life would actually be worried about keeping the camera rolling under such circumstances. Of course, it doesn’t hurt one bit that the filmmakers were smart enough to make a found footage horror movie about a TV reporter out doing a story with her cameraman.

3. The Host


Technically more of a monster movie than a horror movie, this jaw-dropping transformative masterpiece from South Korea is safely nestled here because over the course of its iconoclastic and totally unique 120 minute running The Host moves effortlessly back and forth between the genres and subgenres of science fiction, horror, comedy, political thriller and more. No other CGI creature has engendered the level of believable terror as the…mutant thing…that effortlessly steals a little girl from her dad in the absolutely dazzling opening sequence.

2. Let the Right One In


Proof that the best horror movies are not necessarily the scariest horror movies, Let the Right One In (the Swedish original) does project a growing sense of dread with an undercurrent intensifying horror. This may also be the movie that mercifully brought the glut of increasingly bad vampire movies made at the turn of the millennium to an end, thus handing the mantle of overexposed monster to the zombies. The sight of young/old vampire Eli experiencing the ravaging effects of coming inside a home to which she hasn’t been invited or desperate falling to the ground to stuck up precious drops makes you look at the coifed and romantic twilight sparkly vamps with a whole level of disrespect and ridicule.

1. The Shining


Anyone who says that Stanley Kubrick’s film adaptation is not improvement on the story as originally told in Stephen King’s novel need only look at the subsequent ABC miniseries which was excruciating faithful to the source. The miniseries revealed that without King’s masterful prose to tell it, the story of an alcoholic giving into cabin fever just ain’t scary. On the other hand, with King’s masterful technique of letting tension build slowly into horror (perhaps the last movie to do this, unfortunately) allows the psychological examination of a man who has rejected his place are caretaker within a patriarchal order being forced by the ghosts of caretakers past to man up truly is the last Hollywood horror film to create a sustained sense of dread as horror rather than the cinematic equivalent of jumping out from behind a tree and saying “Boo!” Plus, you know, those two little girls inviting Danny to come play are the most disturbing and unnerving characters in the entire history of film.

If modern makers of horror want to see one of their own films making a list of the 10 greatest horror movies of all time one day, they would do well to watch the top six films on this list and compare them to the movies that have influenced their own work. It would be almost impossible to ignore the fact that lightning-quick editing is an infinitely inferior way to create the psychological space in which horror can take emotional root and blossom into dread.