Entertainment

The Best Classic Horror Movies 

Ranker Horror
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List Rules Any good old horror films recognized as classics

If you’re a true horror film enthusiast then you’ll recognize these famous directors and the movies that earned them 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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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

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#4 of 254 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #203 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #9 of 796 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time

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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

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#52 of 254 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Timefeaturing Making ‘Alien’ Was Even More Horrific Than The Final Productlisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

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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

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#1 of 254 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Timefeaturing You've Been Watching Silence Of The Lambs Wrong For Years: It's A Comedylisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

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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

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#313 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Moviesfeaturing Did A Malevolent Spirit Actually Curse 'The Exorcist' From The Get-Go?listed on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

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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

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#61 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #1 of 796 The Best Horror Movies Of All Timefeaturing The Making Of 'The Shining' Was A Bigger Nightmare Than The Film's Story

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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

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#20 of 796 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #69 of 348 The Best Movies Based On Booksfeaturing The Scariest Quotes From 'Carrie' Will Have You Seeing Red

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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

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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

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#334 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #4 of 796 The Best Horror Movies Of All Timefeaturing Ranking Freddy Krueger's Best Kills from A Nightmare on Elm Street

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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

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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

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#294 of 625 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Moviesfeaturing The Omen Is One Of The Most Cursed Film Productions Ever - And Some Believe Satan Is Behind Itlisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

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Alfred Hitchcock
The Birds is a 1963 suspense/horror film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, loosely based on the 1952 story "The Birds" by Daphne du Maurier. It depicts Bodega Bay, California, which is, ...more

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#35 of 796 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #4 of 20 Horror Movies That Don't Look Like Horror Movies

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Francis Ford Coppola
Bram Stoker's Dracula is a 1992 American horror film directed and produced by Francis Ford Coppola, based on the 1897 Gothic horror novel by Bram Stoker. Count Dracula (Gary Oldman), a ...more

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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

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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

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#116 of 254 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #928 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #7 of 796 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time

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James Whale
Frankenstein is a 1931 horror monster film from Universal Pictures directed by James Whale and adapted from the play by Peggy Webling, which in turn is based on the novel of the same name by ...more

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#39 of 796 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #89 of 348 The Best Movies Based On Books

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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

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Wes Craven
Scream is a 1996 American slasher film written by Kevin Williamson and directed by Wes Craven. The film stars Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, Drew Barrymore, and David Arquette. Released on ...more

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#12 of 796 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #387 of 803 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Madefeaturing According To This Theory, Dewey Is The Serial Killer Mastermind In 'Scream'

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Roman Polanski
Rosemary's Baby is a 1968 American psychological horror film written and directed by Roman Polanski, based on the bestselling 1967 novel of the same name by Ira Levin. The cast includes Mia ...more

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#118 of 254 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Timefeaturing All The Spooky Evidence That Rosemary’s Baby Is, In Fact, A Cursed Movielisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

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Karl Freund
The Mummy is a 1932 horror film from Universal Studios directed by Karl Freund and stars Boris Karloff as a revived ancient Egyptian priest. The movie also features Zita Johann, David Manners ...more

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#148 of 782 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #42 of 103 The Best Halloween Movies for Kids #5 of 20 What Are The Best Universal Monster Films?

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David Cronenberg
The Fly is a 1986 American science fiction horror film directed and co-written by David Cronenberg. Produced by Brooksfilms and distributed by 20th Century Fox, the film stars Jeff Goldblum, ...more

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#41 of 796 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #59 of 157 The Best Movies You Never Want to Watch Againlisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

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William Castle
House on Haunted Hill is a 1959 American horror film. It was directed by William Castle, written by Robb White and stars Vincent Price as eccentric millionaire Frederick Loren. He and his fourth ...more

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#99 of 796 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #6 of 20 20 Of The Most Entertaining Haunted House Movies Ever Made

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James Whale
Bride of Frankenstein is a 1935 American horror film, the first sequel to Frankenstein. Bride of Frankenstein was directed by James Whale and stars Boris Karloff as The Monster, Elsa Lanchester ...more

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#605 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #130 of 179 The Best Movie Sequels Ever Made

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Jack Arnold
Creature from the Black Lagoon is a 1954 monster horror 3-D film in black-and-white, directed by Jack Arnold and starring Richard Carlson, Julia Adams, Richard Denning, Antonio Moreno and Whit ...more

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#137 of 796 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #12 of 47 The Greatest Classic Sci-Fi Movies

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Steven Spielberg
Jaws is a 1975 American thriller film directed by Steven Spielberg and based on Peter Benchley's novel of the same name. The prototypical summer blockbuster, its release is regarded as a ...more

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#47 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Moviesfeaturing Behind The Scenes Of Every Death In ‘Jaws’listed on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

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John Landis
An American Werewolf in London is a 1981 horror comedy film written and directed by John Landis, and starring David Naughton, Jenny Agutter, and Griffin Dunne. The film starts with two young ...more

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#28 of 796 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #448 of 1,198 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Timelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever