Entertainment

The Best Horror Movies Of All Time 

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
Updated February 26, 2020 1.1M votes 36.9k voters 713.4k views 800 items

List Rules Vote up the best movies in the Horror genre.

Horror movies, ranked by adrenaline junkies worldwide. Anyone can vote on this CrowdRanked list, and can even add your own favorite chiller to these rankings. Ghosts, zombies, monsters, or maybe just the quiet guy down the street who straps on a hockey mask for kicks; these are the movies that scare the pants off you. What are the greatest horror films ever made? And how many have you actually seen?

Great horror films have a long and storied history in cinema. From the earliest horror movies like 1922's Nosferatu, to modern favorites like the Saw series, scary movies have always had a special place in the collective, twisted hearts of moviegoers. Each year, new good horror movies come out that are designed to terrify, with evil characters bent on death and destruction. Will they all wind up on a list of the scariest horror movies ever made? Probably not, but not for a lack of trying.

Many of the best horror films are haunted house movies, relying on the setting as a huge, spooky selling factor. Other excellent horror films rely on nausea-inducing tactics, making us recoil in terror, totally disturbed by whatever we're watching on screen. Start with all of the ones on this list, and of course, feel free to add any top horror movies that might be missing.

Enjoy this list of great horror films, and remember: You can rerank this list in any order you like. Boo!

list ordered by
1
The Exorcist is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Horror Movies Of All Time
Max von Sydow, Ellen Burstyn, Linda Blair

Released: 1973

Directed by: William Friedkin

The Exorcist is a 1973 American supernatural horror film directed by William Friedkin, adapted by William Peter Blatty from his 1971 novel of the same name. The book, inspired by the 1949 ...more
2
The Shining is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Horror Movies Of All Time
Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Scatman Crothers

Released: 1980

Directed by: Stanley Kubrick

The Shining is a 1980 British-American psychological horror film produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick, co-written with novelist Diane Johnson, and starring Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, ...more
3
A Nightmare on Elm Stree... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Horror Movies Of All Time
Johnny Depp, Robert Englund, Heather Langenkamp

Released: 1984

Directed by: Wes Craven

A Nightmare on Elm Street is a 1984 American supernatural slasher horror film written and directed by Wes Craven, and the first film of the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. The film stars ...more
4
The Silence of the Lambs... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Horror Movies Of All Time
Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Chris Isaak

Released: 1991

Directed by: Jonathan Demme

The Silence of the Lambs is a 1991 American thriller film that blends elements of the crime and horror genres. Directed by Jonathan Demme and starring Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, and Scott ...more
5
The Texas Chain Saw Mass... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Horror Movies Of All Time
Gunnar Hansen, Marilyn Burns, Edwin Neal

Released: 1974

Directed by: Tobe Hooper

This movie is a 1974 American slasher film, directed and produced by Tobe Hooper, who cowrote it with Kim Henkel. It stars Marilyn Burns, Paul A. Partain, Edwin Neal, Jim Siedow and Gunnar ...more
6
Poltergeist is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Horror Movies Of All Time
Craig T. Nelson, JoBeth Williams, Heather O'Rourke

Released: 1982

Directed by: Tobe Hooper

Poltergeist is a 1982 American supernatural thriller film, directed by Tobe Hooper and co-written and produced by Steven Spielberg. It is the first and most successful entry in the Poltergeist ...more
7
Psycho is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Horror Movies Of All Time
Alfred Hitchcock, Janet Leigh, Anthony Perkins

Released: 1960

Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock

Psycho is a 1960 American horror film directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The film centers on an encounter between a secretary, Marion Crane, who ends up at a secluded motel after taking money from ...more
8
Halloween is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Horror Movies Of All Time
Jamie Lee Curtis, Kyle Richards, Donald Pleasence

Released: 1978

Directed by: John Carpenter

Halloween is a 1978 American independent slasher horror film directed and scored by John Carpenter, co-written with producer Debra Hill, and starring Donald Pleasence and Jamie Lee Curtis in her ...more
9
It is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Horror Movies Of All Time
Tim Curry, Seth Green, John Ritter

Released: 1990

Directed by: Tommy Lee Wallace

It is a 1990 psychological horror/drama miniseries based on Stephen King's novel of the same name. The story revolves around an inter-dimensional predatory life-form, which has the ability to ...more
10
The Conjuring is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Horror Movies Of All Time
ChangesDownClub added Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Joey King

Released: 2013

Directed by: James Wan

The Conjuring is a 2013 American supernatural horror film directed by James Wan and the first installment in the Conjuring series. Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga) are ...more
11
Alien is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Horror Movies Of All Time
Sigourney Weaver, John Hurt, Ian Holm

Released: 1979

Directed by: Ridley Scott

Alien is a 1979 science fiction horror film directed by Ridley Scott. The crew of the commercial space tug Nostromo encounter the eponymous Alien, a deadly and aggressive extraterrestrial set ...more
12
Carrie is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Horror Movies Of All Time
John Travolta, Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie

Released: 1976

Directed by: Brian De Palma

Carrie is a 1976 American supernatural horror film based on Stephen King's first major 1974 novel of the same name. The film was directed by Brian De Palma and written by Lawrence D. Cohen. The ...more
13
The Omen is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Horror Movies Of All Time
Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, David Warner

Released: 1976

Directed by: Richard Donner

The Omen is a 1976 British/American supernatural horror film directed by Richard Donner. The film stars Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, David Warner, Harvey Spencer Stephens, Billie Whitelaw, Patrick ...more
14
Insidious is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Horror Movies Of All Time
Rose Byrne, Barbara Hershey, Patrick Wilson

Released: 2010

Directed by: James Wan

Insidious is a 2011 American supernatural horror film directed by James Wan, written by Leigh Whannell, and starring Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne and Barbara Hershey. It is the first installment ...more
15
The Amityville Horror is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Horror Movies Of All Time
James Brolin, Margot Kidder, Rod Steiger

Released: 1979

Directed by: Stuart Rosenberg

The Amityville Horror is a 1979 American supernatural horror film, directed by Stuart Rosenberg, based on Jay Anson's bestselling 1977 novel of the same name. It is the first film in the ...more
16
The Evil Dead is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Horror Movies Of All Time
Bruce Campbell, Sam Raimi, Ted Raimi

Released: 1981

Directed by: Sam Raimi

This film is a 1981 American horror film written and directed by Sam Raimi and executive produced by Raimi and Bruce Campbell, who also stars alongside Ellen Sandweiss and Betsy Baker. This film ...more
17
Friday the 13th is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Horror Movies Of All Time
Kevin Bacon, Tom Savini, Betsy Palmer

Released: 1980

Directed by: Sean S. Cunningham

Friday the 13th is a 1980 American slasher film directed by Sean S. Cunningham and written by Victor Miller. The film concerns a group of teenagers who are taken out one by one while attempting ...more
18
The Thing is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Horror Movies Of All Time
Kurt Russell, Keith David, John Carpenter

Released: 1982

Directed by: John Carpenter

The Thing is a 1982 American science fiction horror film directed by John Carpenter, written by Bill Lancaster, and starring Kurt Russell. The film's title refers to its primary antagonist: a ...more
19
Misery is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Horror Movies Of All Time
Lauren Bacall, Kathy Bates, James Caan

Released: 1990

Directed by: Rob Reiner

Misery is a 1990 American psychological thriller film based on Stephen King's 1987 novel of the same name and starring James Caan, Kathy Bates, Lauren Bacall, Richard Farnsworth, and Frances ...more
20
Pet Sematary is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Horror Movies Of All Time
Stephen King, Fred Gwynne, Denise Crosby

Released: 1989

Directed by: Mary Lambert

Pet Sematary is a 1989 American horror film adaptation of Stephen King's novel of the same name. Directed by Mary Lambert and written by King. Andrew Hubatsek was cast for Zelda's role. Author ...more
21
The Ring is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Horror Movies Of All Time
Naomi Watts, Pauley Perrette, Brian Cox

Released: 2002

Directed by: Gore Verbinski

The Ring is a 2002 American psychological horror film directed by Gore Verbinski and starring Naomi Watts. It is a remake of the 1998 Japanese horror film Ring, which was based on the novel Ring ...more
22
Night of the Living Dead... is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Horror Movies Of All Time
George A. Romero, Duane Jones, Bill Hinzman

Released: 1968

Directed by: George A. Romero

Night of the Living Dead is a 1968 American independent zombie horror film directed by George A. Romero, starring Duane Jones, Judith O'Dea and Karl Hardman. It premiered on October 1, 1968, and ...more
23
Saw is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Horror Movies Of All Time
Danny Glover, Monica Potter, Shawnee Smith

Released: 2004

Directed by: James Wan

Saw is a 2004 horror film written by Leigh Whannell and directed by James Wan, in Wan's directorial debut. In the film, Adam (Whannell) and Lawrence (Cary Elwes) awaken chained in a large ...more
24
28 Days Later is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Horror Movies Of All Time
Cillian Murphy, Christopher Eccleston, Naomie Harris

Released: 2002

Directed by: Danny Boyle

28 Days Later is a 2002 British post-apocalyptic horror film directed by Danny Boyle. The screenplay was written by Alex Garland. The film stars Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Brendan Gleeson, ...more
25
Aliens is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Horror Movies Of All Time
Sigourney Weaver, Bill Paxton, Michael Biehn

Released: 1986

Directed by: James Cameron

Aliens is a 1986 American science-fiction action horror film written and directed by James Cameron, produced by his then-wife Gale Anne Hurd, and starring Sigourney Weaver, Carrie Henn, Michael ...more