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The Best Horror Movies About Parenting 

Ranker Film
Updated February 25, 2020 742 votes 40 voters 55 items

Parenting can be scary. Talk to anyone with children and they'll tell you that the fear of messing up their kids is a prime concern. The best scary movies about parenting do nothing to placate those worries. Horror films have been mining this subject for decades. It's easy to see why. Tapping into something pretty much all parents feel is a great way to get audiences nice and creeped out. 

Many horror movies about moms and dads have their protagonists protecting children from some form of harm. Who could forget The Exorcist, in which frightened mother Ellen Burstyn asks a priest to remove the demon that has overtaken her daughter? Others are more about a parent struggling with their own feelings regarding their child. The Babadook, for instance, features a mom who blames her son for the untimely passing of her husband, and therefore struggles with ambivalent emotions. And then there are the pictures in which a parent tries to comprehend the eerie or troubling behavior of their offspring. Goodnight Mommy is about as powerful an example of that as you'll find. 

The following list contains all three types. Some of the films have the parenting angle front and center, while in others, it's one key component in a larger story. Which of them gives you the most severe chills? Which keep you up at night when you think about their themes? Vote up your favorite horror movies about parenting.

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1
The Exorcist is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Horror Movies About Parenting
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 Babadook is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Horror Movies About Parenting
Essie Davis, Daniel Henshall, Adam Morgan

Released: 2014

Directed by: Jennifer Kent

The Babadook is a 2014 Australian psychological horror film, written and directed by Jennifer Kent, in which a woman and her son are tormented by a "boogie-man" type monster. The film ...more
3
The Sixth Sense is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Horror Movies About Parenting
Bruce Willis, Mischa Barton, Haley Joel Osment

Released: 1999

Directed by: M. Night Shyamalan

The Sixth Sense is a 1999 American supernatural thriller film written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan. The film tells the story of Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment), a troubled, isolated boy who ...more
4
The Omen is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Horror Movies About Parenting
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
5
Child's Play is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Horror Movies About Parenting
Brad Dourif, Catherine Hicks, Chris Sarandon

Released: 1988

Directed by: Tom Holland

Child's Play is a 1988 American horror film directed by Tom Holland, written by Tom Holland, Don Mancini, and John Lafia, and starring Catherine Hicks, Chris Sarandon, Alex Vincent, and Brad ...more
6
Hereditary is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Horror Movies About Parenting
Toni Collette, Gabriel Byrne, Alex Wolff

Released: 2018

Directed by: Ari Aster

Hereditary is a 2018 American horror film directed by Ari Aster. As an overwhelming terror takes over their household, the Graham family's peaceful existence is ripped apart, forcing their ...more
7
We Need to Talk About Ke... is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Horror Movies About Parenting
Tilda Swinton, John C. Reilly, Ezra Miller

Released: 2011

Directed by: Lynne Ramsay

We Need to Talk About Kevin is a 2011 British-American psychological thriller film directed by Lynne Ramsay, adapted from Lionel Shriver's novel of the same name. Kevin's mother (Tilda Swinton) ...more
8
Mama is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Horror Movies About Parenting
Jessica Chastain, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Daniel Kash

Released: 2013

Directed by: Andres Muschietti

Mama is a 2013 horror film written by Neil Cross, Andres Muschietti and Barbara Muschietti and directed by Andres Muschietti.
9
The Ring is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Horror Movies About Parenting
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
10
Poltergeist is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Horror Movies About Parenting
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
11
The Conjuring is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Horror Movies About Parenting
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
12
The Shining is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Horror Movies About Parenting
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
13
A Haunting in Connecticu... is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Horror Movies About Parenting
Tony Call, Lorraine Warren, Rod Pearson

Released: 2002

Directed by: Peter Cornwell

The Haunting in Connecticut is a 2009 American psychological horror film directed by Peter Cornwell.
14
Fear is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Horror Movies About Parenting
Reese Witherspoon, Alyssa Milano, Mark Wahlberg

Released: 1996

Directed by: James Foley

Fear is a 1996 American thriller drama film directed by James Foley. It was written by Christopher Crowe, who created the TV series B.L. Stryker, The Watcher, B.J. and the Bear and Seven Days. ...more
15
The Others is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Horror Movies About Parenting
Nicole Kidman, Christopher Eccleston, Michelle Fairley

Released: 2001

Directed by: Alejandro AmenĂ¡bar

The Others is a 2001 horror-thriller film written, directed and scored by Alejandro Amenábar. It stars Nicole Kidman and Fionnula Flanagan. It won eight Goya Awards, including awards for ...more
16
A Quiet Place is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Horror Movies About Parenting
John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Noah Jupe

Released: 2018

Directed by: John Krasinski

A Quiet Place is a 2018 American supernatural horror film directed by John Krasinski. A family living on a farm hides from a supernatural evil attracted to sound by avoiding making sound and ...more
17
Insidious is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Horror Movies About Parenting
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
18
Hide and Seek is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Horror Movies About Parenting
Robert De Niro, Dakota Fanning, Famke Janssen

Released: 2005

Directed by: John Polson

Hide and Seek is a 2005 American horror film starring Robert De Niro and Dakota Fanning. It was directed by John Polson. The film opened in the United States on January 28, 2005 and was a ...more
19
Orphan is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Horror Movies About Parenting
Vera Farmiga, Peter Sarsgaard, Margo Martindale

Released: 2009

Directed by: Jaume Collet-Serra

Orphan is a 2009 American psychological thriller film directed by Jaume Collet-Serra. It stars Vera Farmiga, Peter Sarsgaard and Isabelle Fuhrman. The film centers on a couple who adopt a ...more
20
The Bad Seed is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Horror Movies About Parenting
Shelley Fabares, Patty McCormack, Eileen Heckart

Released: 1956

Directed by: Mervyn LeRoy

The Bad Seed is a 1956 American horror-thriller film directed by Mervyn LeRoy and starring Nancy Kelly, Patty McCormack, Henry Jones, and Eileen Heckart The film is based upon a play by Maxwell ...more
21
Ma is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Horror Movies About Parenting
Octavia Spencer, Luke Evans, Juliette Lewis

Released: 2019

Directed by: Tate Taylor

Ma is a 2019 American psychological horror film directed by Tate Taylor. A lonely woman (Octavia Spencer) befriends a group of teenagers and decides to let them party at her house but just when ...more
22
Alice, Sweet Alice is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Horror Movies About Parenting
Brooke Shields, Lillian Roth, Linda Miller

Released: 1976

Directed by: Alfred Sole

Alice, Sweet Alice is a 1976 American slasher film co-written and directed by Alfred Sole, and starring Linda Miller, Paula Sheppard, and Brooke Shields in her film debut. The narrative focuses ...more
23
Bird Box is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Horror Movies About Parenting
Sandra Bullock, Sarah Paulson, Rosa Salazar

Released: 2018

Directed by: Susanne Bier

Bird Box is a 2018 American post-apocalyptic film directed by Susanne Bier, based on the novel by Josh Malerman. A woman (Sandra Bullock) and a pair of children are blindfolded as they make ...more
24
Flowers in the Attic is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Horror Movies About Parenting
Flowers in the Attic Kristy Swanson, Louise Fletcher, Victoria Tennant

Released: 1987

Directed by: Jeffrey Bloom

Flowers in the Attic is a 1987 psychological horror film starring Louise Fletcher, Victoria Tennant, Kristy Swanson, and Jeb Stuart Adams. It is based on the 1979 novel of the same name by V. C. ...more
25
Silent Hill is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Horror Movies About Parenting
Sean Bean, Radha Mitchell, Laurie Holden

Released: 2006

Directed by: Christophe Gans

Silent Hill is a 2006 psychological horror film directed by Christophe Gans and written by Roger Avary, Christophe Gans and Nicolas Boukhrief. The film is an adaptation of Konami's survival ...more