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The Best Classic Horror Movies

Updated October 21, 2020 89.9k votes 4.5k voters 111.3k views177 items

List RulesAny good old horror films recognized as classics

If you’re a true horror film enthusiast then you’ll recognize these classic horror movies that earned worldwide recognition: Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby, Tod Browning’s Dracula, James Whale’s The Bride of Frankenstein, David Cronenberg’s The Fly, Wes Craven’s The Last House on the Left, John Carpenter’s The Thing, and the most famous horror director of all time, Alfred Hitchcock, who produced some of the greatest horror movies in all of film history, including The Birds and Psycho and other old horror movies.

The movies on this list have stood the test of time as being the greatest horror films in history, so if you're in the mood for horror, these won't disappoint. Some are so essential, you may feel like you've seen them even if you haven't. They include: The Shining, Jaws, Alien, The Exorcist, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Night of the Living Dead, Evil Dead, Halloween, Rosemary’s Baby, Dressed to Kill, I Walked With a Zombie, and Possession. This list includes old slasher films as well as scary psychological horror movies that terrified early audiences of cinema.

Vote up your favorite classic horror flick today, or add a good old scary classic that isn't on the list already.

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  • 1
    The Shining is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Classic Horror Movies
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    The Shining

    Stanley Kubrick

    ActorsJack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Scatman Crothers, Barry Dennen, Barry Nelson

    Released1980

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  • 2
    The Exorcist is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Classic Horror Movies
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    The Exorcist

    William Friedkin

    ActorsMax von Sydow, Ellen Burstyn, Linda Blair, Lee J. Cobb, William Peter Blatty

    Released1973

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  • 3
    Halloween is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Classic Horror Movies
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    Halloween

    John Carpenter

    ActorsJamie Lee Curtis, Kyle Richards, Donald Pleasence, Sandy Johnson, Charles Cyphers

    Released1978

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  • 4
    The Thing is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Classic Horror Movies
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    The Thing

    John Carpenter

    ActorsKurt Russell, Keith David, John Carpenter, Adrienne Barbeau, Wilford Brimley

    Released1982

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  • 5
    Night of the Living Dead is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Classic Horror Movies
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    Night of the Living Dead

    George A. Romero

    ActorsGeorge A. Romero, Duane Jones, Bill Hinzman, Karl Hardman, Judith O'Dea

    Released1968

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  • 6
    Frankenstein is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Classic Horror Movies
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    Frankenstein

    James Whale

    ActorsBoris Karloff, John Boles, Colin Clive, Francis Ford, Paul Panzer

    Released1931

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  • 7
    The Birds is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Classic Horror Movies
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    The Birds

    Alfred Hitchcock

    ActorsAlfred Hitchcock, Tippi Hedren, Suzanne Pleshette, Jessica Tandy, Rod Taylor

    Released1963

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  • 8
    Rosemary's Baby is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Classic Horror Movies
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    Rosemary's Baby

    Roman Polanski

    ActorsMia Farrow, Tony Curtis, John Cassavetes, Charles Grodin, Ruth Gordon

    Released1968

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  • 9
    The Silence of the Lambs is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Classic Horror Movies
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    ActorsJodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Chris Isaak, George A. Romero, Roger Corman

    Released1991

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  • 10
    The Omen is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Classic Horror Movies
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    The Omen

    Richard Donner

    ActorsGregory Peck, Lee Remick, David Warner, Patrick Troughton, Billie Whitelaw

    Released1976

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  • 11
    Nosferatu is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Classic Horror Movies
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    Nosferatu

    F. W. Murnau

    ActorsMax Schreck, John Gottowt, Alexander Granach, Gustav von Wangenheim, Karl Etlinger

    Released1922

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  • 12
    Bride of Frankenstein is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Classic Horror Movies
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    ActorsBoris Karloff, Walter Brennan, Billy Barty, Elsa Lanchester, John Carradine

    Released1935

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  • 13
    Psycho is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Classic Horror Movies
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    Psycho

    Alfred Hitchcock

    ActorsAlfred Hitchcock, Janet Leigh, Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles, Martin Balsam

    Released1960

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  • 14
    Alien is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Classic Horror Movies
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    Alien

    Ridley Scott

    ActorsSigourney Weaver, John Hurt, Ian Holm, Yaphet Kotto, Harry Dean Stanton

    Released1979

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  • 15
    Carrie is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Classic Horror Movies
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    Carrie

    Brian De Palma

    ActorsJohn Travolta, Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, Nancy Allen, Amy Irving

    Released1976

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  • 16
    Poltergeist is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Classic Horror Movies
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    Poltergeist

    Tobe Hooper

    ActorsCraig T. Nelson, JoBeth Williams, Heather O'Rourke, Zelda Rubinstein, Beatrice Straight

    Released1982

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  • 17
    House on Haunted Hill is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Classic Horror Movies
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    House on Haunted Hill

    William Castle

    ActorsVincent Price, Richard Long, Elisha Cook, Jr., Alan Marshal

    Released1959

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  • 18
    The Haunting is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Classic Horror Movies
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    The Haunting

    Robert Wise

    ActorsClaire Bloom, Lois Maxwell, Julie Harris, Russ Tamblyn, Richard Johnson

    Released1963

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  • 19
    Misery is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Classic Horror Movies
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    Misery

    Rob Reiner

    ActorsLauren Bacall, Kathy Bates, James Caan, Rob Reiner, Richard Farnsworth

    Released1990

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  • 20
    Dawn of the Dead is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Classic Horror Movies
    940
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    Dawn of the Dead

    George A. Romero

    ActorsTom Savini, Ken Foree, James A. Baffico, Howard Smith, David Early

    Released1978

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  • 21
    A Nightmare on Elm Street is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Classic Horror Movies
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    ActorsJohnny Depp, Robert Englund, Heather Langenkamp, John Saxon, Lin Shaye

    Released1984

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  • 22
    The Mummy is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Classic Horror Movies
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    The Mummy

    Karl Freund

    ActorsBoris Karloff, Edward Van Sloan, Noble Johnson, David Manners, Bramwell Fletcher

    Released1932

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  • 23
    Aliens is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Classic Horror Movies
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    Aliens

    James Cameron

    ActorsSigourney Weaver, Bill Paxton, Michael Biehn, Paul Reiser, Lance Henriksen

    Released1986

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  • 24
    Creature from the Black Lagoon is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Classic Horror Movies

    ActorsRichard Carlson, Richard Denning, Julie Adams, Nestor Paiva, Whit Bissell

    Released1954

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  • 25
    An American Werewolf in London is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Classic Horror Movies

    ActorsJenny Agutter, Frank Oz, Rik Mayall, David Naughton, Griffin Dunne

    Released1981

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