The horror film is a film genre that we confess absolute fans. Terror is a very intense sense of fear caused by an anguished disturbance of mind, whether for a real or imaginary risk. Terror is what catches you and doesn’t let you go, that makes you have nightmares at night, but at the same time is capable of producing an extreme fascination.
Since the beginning of the cinema there have been horror movies, although it is with German Expressionism and Universal monster movies that we can talk about a genre in itself. Gothic horror, science fiction movies and aliens, paranormal terror, the slasher or subgenre of psycho killers, gore, zombies , giallo ... there is everything for everyone. Making a list of the best films is a complicated task, but we have undertaken it with pleasure, trying to accommodate the usual classics, the best examples of modern terror and some personal weakness.
Join us on a tour of the 107 best movies in the history of horror movies!
ATTENTION: We warn you that the following films can hurt your sensibility or cause chills and / or nightmares.
1. M (1931)
Director: Fritz Lang
German expressionism in its purest form. A black and white capable of freezing our blood. A serial killer who kidnaps children and that is the germ of most of the phsyco killers that would come later. A masterpiece of Lang with which he managed to place himself at the head of the new cinematographic avant-garde and that constitutes a canonical example of horror cinema.
2. Scream (1996)
Director: Wes Craven
The film that revived the slasher thanks to one of the essential directors of the genre. A brilliant script full of references about horror movies, humor in fair doses and a suspense perfectly executed by Craven make Scream a modern classic that has not lost a bit of its playful charm.
More than watching the characters die, the real fun of the movie is to discover who is hiding behind the Ghostface mask . A film that revolutionized the genre and enjoyed 3 sequels that never lived up to the original.
3. Let the Right One In (2008)
Director: Tomas Alfredson
This film about a “normal” boy and a vampire girl, both teenagers, is a wonderful and mature reflection on immortality, the thirst for blood and the need for belonging. Oskar and Eli learn to trust each other through their macabre shared obsessions and their deepest secrets.
A beautiful film that oscillates between the emotional and the terrifying, crossing the limits of the genre and offering a small work of art in images. He had an American remake entitled Let Me In (2010), directed by Matt Reeves and starring Kodi Smit-McPhee and Chloë Moretz.
4. Peeping Tom (1960)
Director: Michael Powell
An amateur photographer and filmmaker (Karl Boehm) makes a living taking nude photos and finds sexual pleasure stabbing women with the blade of his tripod while filming everything. The act of making films is itself a way of satisfying the voyeuristic needs of the spectators, according to Powell, renowned British film director who surprised everyone with this intense film related to the Hitchcock and Antonioni cinema.
Terrifying psychological horror drama that explores the obsession to capture the image of panic that occurs at the time of being killed, the film often adopts the subjective point of the protagonist, which makes the experience even more perverse.
5. House of the Devil (2009)
Director: Ti West
A retro-style tribute on the subgenre of satanic cults in a film that is being built over low heat, creating a disturbing (and sometimes exasperating) atmosphere that ends up exploding in a blunt and surprising final violence.
Set in the 80s and shot in 16 mm., It shows that, as Hitchcock said, in every good thriller the important thing is anticipation, not the event itself.
6. Jaws (1975)
Director: Steven Spielberg
An undisputed masterpiece of the Seventh Art. An imperishable classic and the movie that made Spielberg a star. All the elements of the film work with the precision of a clock, from a deluxe cast (Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss and Robert Shaw) that gives humanity to its characters, through a suspense dosed with the usual brilliance of the director, to the famous score of John Williams that just by listening to it is able to put fear in the body when bathing on the beach.
Adventure in its purest state, suspense, terror, humor, drama. Like the shark “Bruce”, the full-size replica that was built for filming, Spielberg is a true force of nature.
7. Don´t Look Now (1973)
Director: Nicolas Roeg
One of the most devastating, disturbing and sensual horror movies in movie history. A meditation on pain, loss and mortality based on the novel by Daphne du Maurier. The marriage composed of Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie (both magnificent) move to Venice with the hope of recovering after the tragic death of their daughter. However, there awaits a new tragedy.
The film combines the present, the past and the future, using subtle visual metaphors to indicate the impending doom and creep into the depths of guilt and despair.
8. Freaks (1932)
Director: Todd Browning
This unclassifiable jewel literally ended the career of its director, despite the success and popularity achieved with Dracula , due to its bad reviews and ruthless censorship, which significantly affected its box office performance. The public considered it disgusting and produced excessive reactions of rejection. Obviously, a film ahead of its time, which luckily has been revaluing over time and reaching the status of cult film.
A group of circus artists and a series of “monsters” that are on display to the delight and fright of the public are the protagonists of the film, which has in its cast authentic circus artists and people with physical disabilities and different types of “peculiarities “. However, the beautiful Cleopatra and the strong Hercules, the “normal” characters, are the true monsters of the story, because they are characterized as corrupt people trying to take advantage of the Freaks.
9. Frankenstein (1931)
Director: James Whale
Despite its short duration (70 minutes) and its impact on modern culture, the film adaptation of Mary Shelley’s novel had many problems with censorship. One of the most controversial scenes at the time was when the Monster (the chameleon Boris Karloff) throws the little girl into the lake, causing her to die drowned.
In a world of men with a complex of God and disturbingly human monsters, Karloff’s legendary performance is capable of thrilling and terrorizing us at the same time.
10. Frankenstein’s girlfriend (1935)
Director: James Whale
After the great success achieved with Frankenstein, Whale made his masterpiece, his best film and an imperishable classic. Much more than a sequel, this film became his most personal work, leaving his mark as a great filmmaker and surpassing the previous title, keeping even more the essence of the Shelley classic despite taking many liberties.
The touch of metalanguage that supposes the double presence of Elsa Lanchester as a writer of the work and companion of the monster, together with her poetic intensity and her creative freedom make this film one of the best sequels ever made and a well understood adaptation prodigy.
11. The Others (2001)
Director: Alejandro Amenábar
In this film, psychological thriller of supernatural mystery narrated in the form of a perverse fable, the concept of the living and the dead is played, with beings that are in one and another world, with dead people who do not know they are dead and with others who are aware of this and have the mission to reveal that truth to those who ignore it.
Sober, austere, sad, perfectly dosed in its mystery and revelations, The Others is brilliant in its execution and offers us an end that will make us want to see the movie again so we can enjoy it with other eyes. The house where the whole story takes place becomes another protagonist, feeling that claustrophobic effect by being locked together with the characters, who want to escape from the light, from reality, from the truth.
12. Alien (1979)
Director: Ridley Scott
The perfect mix of horror and science fiction. Sigourney Weaver as the ultimate heroine and the only one capable of coping with the xenomoform arising from the sick imagination of HR Giger. The sequel to James Cameron, Aliens (1986), another masterpiece, is at the same level, but we fit it more into the science fiction genre.
Gothic-sexual imagery disturbing but of great beauty, a perfect script by Dan O’Bannon, naturalistic and perfectly tuned interpretations of the entire cast. In outer space nobody can hear your screams.
13. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)
Director: Robert Wiene
One of the top works of German expressionism and an undisputed classic of cinema. A pacifist and anti-authoritarian message on a trip to the origins of madness, with abrupt angles that baffle us and flashbacks within flashbacks that make the narration an almost hallucinatory and feverish experience, supported by an ingenious avant-garde design of unreal and decorated sets. Theatrical
He is considered the first horror film and his legacy in modern cinema is evident. It is the first film that brings us directly to the mind of an unbalanced person.
14. The Strangers (2008)
Director: Bryan Bertino
Perhaps the best exponent of the subgenre known as home invasion, this film tells us how a couple in crisis is harassed and assaulted in their weekend getaway in a cabin in the woods.
The disturbing randomness and futility of the (too) realistic violence that harasses the protagonists gives us a deep fear that something like this could be happening at the next door without us noticing.
15. Eyes without a face (1960)
Director: George Franju
Classic cult of French cinema, rejected at the time by public and critics, who could not stand the spooky realistic scene in which the skin of the face of a young woman is cut off by the mad Dr. Génessier, obsessed with rebuilding the beauty of his daughter , ruined in an accident he feels guilty about.
Distressing, slow, poetic, icy, it was one of the inspirations for Almodóvar’s Skin ( Habit (2011), which openly honored her, contributing to the film being revisited and revalued. John Carpenter once commented that he was inspired by the mask of Edith Scob in this film for the mask of Michael Myers.
16. Black Christmas (1974)
Director: Bob Clark
Elegant and subtle, but with a growing tension that ends up exploding in a violent and ambiguous end, as well as pessimistic to no more power. Quite unknown and not valued enough, this film presents elements that would appear later in most slashers , which were clearly inspired by Clark’s film.
Black Christmas is one of the few films of the genre that treats its victims with relative respect, without sexualizing them in excess or punishing them for their sexuality. In 2006 a remake directed by Glen Morgan was released.
17. Carnival of Souls (1962)
Directors: Herk Harvey, Ian Kessner, Adam Grossman
A kind of marginal classic, never elevated to the category of masterpiece, nor to one of the best known by the general public. Its originality and its powerful iconography make it a cult title that has been gaining adherents over the years.
The choice of black and white already denotes his interest in offering concise terror, without forced or sophisticated narratives, based on the most basic (but most effective) mechanisms for provoking terror. Its unreal and perverse atmosphere and the way in which the film shows the abnormal behaviors of a series of everyday characters, manages to convey a feeling of restlessness, restlessness and fear of the unknown.
18. Audition (1999)
Director: Takashi Miike
Bored in its first half and unpleasant to unbearable extremes in its final stretch, according to its detractors. The truth is that Audition prefers to adopt a premeditated (and risky) parsimony and sobriety in its rhythm during most of its footage to shake us violently in the final part of the story.
The praying mantis embodied by Asami will make you think twice before going acupuncture ... Kiri, kiri, kiri!
19. The Fly (1986)
Director: David Cronenberg
The project to make a remake of the first version of 1958, an interesting production of series B based on a story by Georges Langelaan, came to Cronenberg as a bounce but was excited to find in the script elements that seemed to come out of his own imagination.
That the protagonist (a delivered Jeff Goldblum) retained human features for most of the footage makes the process more symbolic and more terrifying, distressing and dramatic. Unlike the original version, where the scientist and the fly exchanged parts of his body, here is a fusion that gives rise to a new being, which mutates internally and externally, thanks to a formidable work of special effects and makeup.
Cronenberg always saw this movie as a tragic love story, since, in a way, metamorphosis is a metaphor for disease or aging.
20. Maniac (1980)
Director: William Lustig
Maniac is a macabre and merciless portrait of a character who lives in the shade, Frank Zitto, a pathetic man who spends most of his time locked in his tiny apartment surrounded by grotesque dummies and venerating the image of his dead mother, but who From time to time he goes out at night to kill young women to whom the scalp starts.
The interesting thing about the film is that we see it all through Frank’s optics, focusing the story basically on the progressive degeneration he suffers through his crimes. His damn movie character (he was labeled misogynist and macho) is further accentuated due to his explicit and unpleasant violence. A jewel with a sordid aesthetic and a black humor that had an interesting remake directed by Franck Khalfoun and with Elijah Wood on the killer’s skin.
21. Insidious (2010)
Director: James Wan
James Wan and screenwriter Leigh Whannell said the movie was based on the stories of enchanted sagas and ghosts that had scared them of children. Although it has become a franchise, it is the first two films that form the closest thing to a closed story in itself, the two later being focused on the character of the medium Elise Rainier.
The combination of the everyday and the fantastic, the use of space and the creation of a vivid atmosphere of terror make it capable of disturbing and entertaining in equal parts.
22. The Conjuring (2013)
Director: James Wan
The combination between an unquestionable formal elegance and an elaborate design of each plane, together with a measured atmosphere of terror of the good, make this first film adventure of Warren marriage a success at all levels.
Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson are magnificent and the atmosphere of the time is taken care of and works perfectly. His second installment raised the level of scares and introduced new terrifying characters who blatantly searched for their own movie.
The worst, that can become a franchise without personality and forget to really scare us. The best thing, that takes the viewer as seriously as the characters themselves take themselves.
23. Hellraiser (1987)
Director: Clive Barker
The famous horror novelist directed his first film based on a story of his own, inaugurating a mythology that spread in numerous sequels, comics, novels, video games, etc.
The film explores the link between pain and pleasure, but does not stay in a brilliant exercise of fetishism for leather lovers and sadomassus, but rather dive into the limits of horror thanks to the presence of the Cenobites, the so-called theologians of the Order of Incision. For its creation, Baker declared to have been inspired by punks, Catholicism and his visits to sadomasochistic clubs.
24. Frenzy (1972)
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
What is probably the most twisted film of the suspense master is starring a psycho killer who rapes and strangles his victims, all of them women, with extreme violence and sharp dialogues that today would scandalize more than one.
Probably, the last masterpiece of Hichcock, which takes advantage of the freedom that the 70s represented for the history of cinema, mixing violence, suspense, sex and humor in a perfect balance.
25. The Birds (1963)
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Although many may claim that he has not aged as well as other Hitch films, it is clear that this film has earned the right to be on this list on its own merits. This story about the tragedy of an unlikely animal invasion ends up revolving around why the birds choose that small “harmless” town (Bodega Bay) to start their attack.
Adaptation of a short novel by Daphne du Maurier, the original ending proposed by the director contemplated the escape of the protagonists to San Francisco, where they were faced with the same invasion that they thought they had escaped. Due to lack of economic and technological resources, it could not be done, opting for that open heartbreaking so typical of the zombie movies that would come later, that drink a lot of the struggle for the survival of the characters in this film. The protagonists do not get a final victory, they can only keep running away to avoid succumbing to a fatal destiny.
26. The Brood (1979)
Director: David Cronenberg
In the 70s, Cronenberg would make three films ( Shivers , Rabid and The Brood ) that explore his obsessions with sex and “new flesh” and advance the elegant and science fiction aesthetics that would become his label later.
Biological and spiritual terrors, aftermath of a divorce and a corrupted motherhood and somatization of traumas are some of the themes present in this film, one of the most autobiographical of the director, who at that time disputed the custody of his daughter with His first wife.
27. Poltergeist (1982)
Director: Tobe Hooper
Produced by Steven Spielberg, it has always been speculated that he was really the director of the film (accompanied by Hooper, of course), but that he could not be credited as such due to a clause of his contract for Universal Pictures , with which he was shooting ET , which prevented him from directing another tape in the same year.
Caroline being abducted through television, toy clowns that come alive, creepy trees trying to catch you, several hallucinations ... is what you have to live in a house built on an old Indian cemetery. A classic of the 80s, terrifying but at the same time for the whole family, with a memorable Zelda Rubinstein as the medium Tangina Barrows.
28. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Director: George A. Romero
The film that created the zombie subgenre and the first approach of its director to a world that continued to explore until his death through different films that offered different approaches to the panorama of a world in which humans have to live with the ” Returned “from death.
The terror caused by the attack of the zombies serves Romero to dissect the human soul and offer an unkind portrait of the living, full of prejudices and not positive attributes, aggravated in crisis situations. In 1968, the Vietnam War and the attitude of the police during the Civil Rights movement had generated a growing distrust of authority and “the other” in general. The human being, after all, is the worst enemy of himself.
29. Near Dark (1987)
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
The best vampire movie of the 80s. A neo-western about modern vampires, bandits whose home is the road and who stands out for inventing his own mythology, forgetting crosses and stakes.
A magnificent director who would offer us another masterpiece of science fiction cinema with Stange Days (1995). A luxury cast that includes Bill Paxton, Lance Henriksen and Jenette Goldstein (soldier Vásquez de Aliens ). Sex, drugs and rock and roll as the only way to be in love and close to death at the same time. Tangerine Dream soundtrack . Cult film that marked a whole generation, in the same year that The Lost Boys by Joel Schumacher offered another slightly sweeter (but equally interesting and successful) version of the bloodsuckers.
30. Session 9 (2001)
Director: Brad Anderson
It is in its less phantasmagoric section where the film plays its best tricks and where its greatest plot originality resides: in caring more about the characters than the creepy enclosed space where they have to fulfill their mission.
However, this does not mean that Danvers State Hospital is not an overwhelming place that permeates all the footage and takes the characters to the depths of madness, playing with ambiguity and building their terror from uncertainty and uncertainty.
31. The Howling (1981)
Director: Joe Dante
Released the same year as the John Landis movie (the next on our list), The Howling was the first step in consolidating Dante within the North American industry. Rob Bottin, an outstanding student of the legendary Rick Baker, took care of the special effects and characterization of the lycans, but you have to be fair and recognize that he is not at the same level as his teacher.
The best thing about this film is that it assumes its B series character without complexes, giving little importance to the characters and focusing more on the impact of the supposedly scary scenes. If it weren’t for Dante, this mediocre story would not be on this list, but we have a special affection for him and there is also Dee Wallace-Stone, one of our fetish actresses of the 80s, who would suffer again in Cujo (1983) by Lewis Teague
32. An American Werewolf in London (1981)
Director: John Landis
Considered by many to be one of the best horror movies of all time, its mix of comedy and horror and its remembered and shocking special effects (for which Rick Baker won an Oscar) has made it a cult film among fans .
Landis’ mastery means that we are not only facing a monster movie, but explores issues such as pain at the loss of a friend, the guilt of becoming a murderer and the imperative need to reconcile with the dead.
33. Fright Night (1985)
Director: Tom Holland
Together with Near Dark and The Lost Boys, Tom Holland’s film served to mark a before and after in the vampiric myth, updating it for the time but without giving up its classic roots. His peculiar treatment of the vampire figure is still valid today: elegant, attractive and very active sexually.
Mixing humor and horror wisely, he drinks a lot from other movies but has his own personality. A classic eighties with great Chris Sarandon and Rody McDowall.
34. The Omen (1976)
Director: Richard Donner
Thanks to Donner, the story became an elegant thriller of mystery and suspense, moving away from the archetypes of the horror genre of that era. Always with the insinuation as a rule, the dark coincidences that are happening do nothing but increase the paranoia of a poor Gregory Peck and Lee Remick who do not quite realize that the apparently innocent Damien hides the evil behind his disturbing gaze.
Effective blows of effects aside, Donner relies on the look of the characters and on the construction of a psychologically oppressive environment. The end remains the most disturbing of the entire genre. Both the Ave Satani by Jerry Goldsmith and the legendary Carmina Burana by Carl Off help us get our hairs on end during the whole footage.
35. 28 days later (2002)
Director: Danny Boyle
The zombie subgenre was almost dead when Danny Boyle and Alex Garland (screenwriter of the film) injected him with a necessary dose of adrenaline and humanity to make him resurface, all mixed with an acid social criticism and intelligent cultural reflections.
An impressive experience of visceral horror, thanks to an intelligent script and a great cast (Cillian Murphy comes out). Boyle’s digital cameras make us feel that we are witnessing what it would really be like if the “infected” took over the Earth. The film generated great debates about whether “fast zombies” or “slow zombies” were more terrifying, since here some horror races are stuck.
36. The Innocents (1961)
Director: Jack Clayton
This scripted horror film adapted by Truman Capote about Henry James’s novel is about what happens in the shadows, rather than what can be seen at first sight on the surface. Black and white serves to highlight this idea and give an atmosphere of constant evocation and mystery, where each corner seems to harbor a threat.
We are never completely sure if the ghosts are real or a manifestation of a repressed mind (that of the governess embodied by Deborah Kerr) who is ashamed to lose innocence.
37. Dawn of the Dead (1978)
Director: George A. Romero
After the spectacular success of The Night of the Walking Dead, Romero decided that he wanted to continue exploring the genre and giving it new twists, showing a deteriorating society beyond the zombie invasion: racial, social tensions and an alienated middle class whose only concern is to consume and not think.
Using a mall as a metaphor that we are all becoming zombies within our bourgeois existences, the film is a denunciation against materialism and against a society that has lost its values. Of course, the gore is not missing in the film thanks to the makeup of Tom Savini. Dario Argento wrote the script with Romero and was responsible for the international market version of the film.
38. Dawn of the Dead (2004)
Director: Zack Snyder
The debut in the direction of Zack Snyder is a terrifying, realistic and forceful remake of Romero’s film, with substantial changes that made it an important piece of the genre. The script is written by James Gunn, who maintained the premise that the survivors took refuge in a mall but preferred to tell a new story from there.
In Snyder’s movie, the undead run quickly and are much more aggressive, unlike Romero’s, and the infection and the process of reviving the dead accelerated considerably, being the cause of the “zombie crisis” a blood virus instead of a mysterious plague. The feeling of panic and despair and the devastation of society is accompanied by special effects and extraordinary makeup, a great cast and a bloody, forceful and fun direction.
39. [REC] (2007)
Directors: Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza
Belonging to the sub-genre of the found footage, the excuse in this case so that the camera does not stop recording at any time (imperative that is sometimes absurd to keep) is that the protagonist, Angela (a great Manuela Velasco) is a fearless reporter television that is trapped in an apartment building that is the origin of a zombie infection of a satanic character. Although at the beginning it tries to document the facts so that it helps to combat the spread of the “virus”, it will end up having to fight with nails and teeth to get out of the building alive.
Brilliant in creating a choking claustrophobic environment, stylistically flawless and without unnecessary effects, the last minutes of the film are one of the most terrifying experiences that can be found within the genre. It had three sequels, each offering interesting and different approaches to the “infected” issue and also suffered a horrible American remake in 2008 titled Quarantine (Quarantine).
40. Evil Dead (1981)
Director: Sam Raimi
Undisputed cult film, this carefree and frantic raw opera is a reflection of the passion for the genre of a young director with great ability for narrative planning and the creation of a (terrifying) atmosphere very well maintained, especially in that monstrous forest that manages to transmit claustrophobia, horror and intrigue.
Despite its “cheap” look typical of the B series, the film relies on its enormous visual power to become a kind of delusional roller coaster in a shamelessly shameless tone. Its sequel, Evil Dead 2 openly surrendered to humor and the debauchery of violence and gore , making Ash incarnated by Bruce Campbell the absolute hero of the trilogy and a cult character.
41. The Descent (2005)
Director: Neil Marshall
A modest but magnificent genre film in which hemoglobin excess is mixed quite accurately with lucid, claustrophobic and purely physical terror. The scares and extreme anguish accompany six women in their struggle for survival locked in a cave where dangerous very unfriendly beings live.
The atmosphere of fear and tension and a climax of heart attack stand out along with the great work of the leading actresses.
42. Phantasm (1979)
Director: Don Coscarelli
The lack of means and budget is supplemented by the overflowing imagination of the director, who performs a mixture of genres where it fits from pure and hard surrealism, to science fiction, through gore , humor, family drama and a villain who quickly entered the pantheon of terror icons: Angus Scrimm, the Tall Man .
A movie to rediscover or revisit. If you don’t panic, you’re already dead.
43. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986)
Director: John McNaughton
This almost naturalistic style film about the life of a serial killer was censored for the graphic of his violence (he found no distribution until almost 5 years after being shot) and focuses more on the victims than on the murderer himself, interpreted by a Michael Rooker who offers a brilliant performance lacking the typical serial killer tics of horror movies.
The long and uninterrupted shots and the mundane of most scenes make the brutality of the murders even more shocking. An essential piece to understand modern terror.
44. The Exorcist (1973)
Director: William Friedkin
The Exorcist is one of the key films when talking about the best horror tapes in all history, both for its condition of exorcism subgenus genesis and for its artistic merits (many and very good). For many, let’s say it clearly, the most terrifying movie of all time.
Friedkin, supported by the script by William Peter Blatty (writer of the novel on which it is based) prefers to investigate the emotional wounds of the characters so that what we see on the screen, beyond the impact strokes, causes us more impact. Listening to Mike Olfield’s Tubular Bells is returning to Regan MacNeil’s room and splashing green vomit.
45. It Follows (2014)
Director: David Robert Michell
With one of the most interesting and intelligent premises seen in the genre in a long time and a magnificent execution, the story revolves around a kind of curse that is contracted when you have relationships, something like a supernatural sexually transmitted disease but in form of macabre appearance that persecutes you until it kills you.
Its nebulous dream aesthetics and a luxury soundtrack by Disasterpiece make this tour that plays with our innate fears of intimacy and mortality, paranoias and concerns even more enjoyable.
46. Nosferatu (1922)
Director: FW Murnau
One of the first movies about vampires (and perhaps the best), which does not try to romanticize the myth, but presents it as something sickly and scary. Count Orlok (Max Schrek), with his pointed ears and nose, hunched posture, scavenger face and long, sharp claws, is the physical representation of death.
Masterpiece of silent film and cult film, is the first adaptation of Stoker’s novel, which was not well seen initially by his widow. Nosferatu , Eine Symphonie des Grauens (a Symphony of Horror) is its full title. Murnau relied heavily on the work of romantic painters to offer an almost pictorial experience that, more than scare, enchants us.
47. Dracula (1931)
Director: Tod Browning
Bela Lugosi, who had played the count in a play, was the first cinematographic Dracula and the character would accompany him until the end of his days. Browning’s enormous qualities for phantasmagoric environments in which reality and fiction go hand in hand are especially reflected in the unsettling unreal atmosphere of the prologue and the final climax.
Hypnotic and fascinating, the film remains one of the fantastic peaks and another masterpiece of the director’s filmography.
48. Nosferatu, The Vampyre (1979)
Director: Werner Herzog
Herzog’s impressive remake of Murnau’s film is both a tribute to what he considers the best German film of all time, and one of the most representative works of his stormy and poetic filmography.
Murnau inquires into the pain of the vampire’s loneliness, which brings immortality like a slab, drifting towards an existentialism that finds its maximum reflection in the pathetic figure of the vampire embodied by Klaus Kinski, who underwent long makeup sessions to get the aspect that required his character.
49. Carrie (1976)
Director: Brian De Palma
Based on a short novel by Master King, De Palma built an allegory about guilt and repression, prejudice and fear, the awakening to sexuality and the horror of being abused. The tremendous performances of Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie (both nominated for Oscar for best actress) are the pillar of the film, perfectly embodying the repressed teenager and her fanatic and castrating mother.
As scenes for the memory, we are left with two: that prom where Carrie’s telekinetic powers are unleashed after her happiness when crowned as queen of the dance is impregnated by the pig’s blood that the thugs of the institute decide to pour about her to humiliate her publicly; and the death of the mother, pierced by knives and nailed to the wall in a position that refers to the martyrdom of San Sebastián.
50. The Shining (1980)
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Stephen King’s macabre and terrifying novel passed through Kubrick’s cerebral visual storytelling style. An enigmatic, seductive and expressive ghost story (supernatural and psychological), which many have wanted to see as the expression of a repressed toxic masculinity that explodes with violence thanks to the madness enclosed between the walls of the Overlook Hotel. Deep down, the story revolves around the creative process, the madness of the artist and the mental disorders derived from solitary confinement. Oh, and let’s not forget the twins in the hallway ...
Jack Nicholson unleashed through the halls with his ax, a Shelley Duvall on the verge of emotional collapse (on and off the screen) and a methodical and demanding director until exhaustion make The Blaze one of the best films in the history of cinema and one of the most influential in popular culture.
The film also hides a symbology that many have studied carefully to try to discern all the keys that Kubrick was scattering on the tape. The documentary Room 237 (2012), whose title honors the most sinister room in the hotel, dive into all the hidden symbols and keys of the footage to prove that it is more than a horror movie.
51. Repulsion (1965)
Director: Roman Polanski
Polanski’s first English film, critically acclaimed, introduces us to Carol (Catherine Deneuve), a shy young woman sorry for her fear of sex, which leads her to extreme imbalance when she is left alone in her apartment, which ends up becoming in a reflection of his own mind, full of anxieties, traumas and possible abuse.
Psychological horror, sexual hallucinations and another masterpiece of a director who asks us to see beyond what the images show.
52. The Night of the Hunter (1955)
Director: Charles Laughton
Although today it is considered one of the best films in history, it was a failure when it was released, being little appreciated by critics and audiences. That failure hurt Laughton so much that he would never lead again.
This unforgettable story manages to leave a mark on the spectator and gives us one of the most amazing characters of the seventh art, the Rev. Harry Powell , embodied with absolute naturalness by an imposing Robert Mitchum who manages to reflect the absolute evil of the character, a monster that believes Communicate with God
53. The Blair Witch Project (1999)
Directors: Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez
Leaving aside its successful (and groundbreaking) marketing campaign , this film continues to divide the public today; while some defend her firmly and praise her undeniable achievements, her detractors accuse her of being empty and misleading. However, the impressive realism and the use of the technology of the time (basically this film created the subgenre of the found footage ) made it a novel and impressive experience for those who saw it on the big screen.
The three actors (all of them unknown) really lived in the forest for 8 days (the time that the shooting lasted), during which the work of recording (in 16 mm.), Sound and narration were distributed. The documentary style openly seeks the chaos and imperfections of a shoot of this type, all for the sake of the most absolute realism. What the actors did not know were the details that were appearing throughout history, which made the fear they experienced on camera true.
Although we don’t see the supposed witch anywhere and the movie takes too long to get into the subject, the final sequence is really terrifying. At the time, the most profitable low budget film in the history of cinema.
54. Psycho (1960)
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
The murder in the shower of Marion Crane (Janet Leigh), with 77 different camera angles and the mythical string music of Bernard Hermann is one of the most perfect and iconic moments in the history of cinema.
Norman Bates and his mother marked Anthony Perkins forever. A masterpiece in a filmography (that of the British director) full of masterpieces. Not having seen it should be a crime.
55. The Last House on the Left (1972)
Director: Wes Craven
Unconfessed remake of The Maiden’s Spring (1960) by Bergman, Wes Craven’s feisty and crude debut, despite its exaggerated and gratuitous violence, is not the groundbreaking film that many wanted to see, although the issues it addresses (the violation and the murder of two young girls at the hands of a group of psychopaths) caused a great impact in the early 1970s. Craven’s direction is quite awkward, the treatment of the story is quite irregular, the psychopaths’ actions are Almost amateur and an inopportune humor interrupts on many occasions the rawness of many scenes.
However, you can find in it the germ of several themes and resources that the director would develop throughout his filmography, such as the surrender to the most ruthless savagery by a family in search of revenge against their aggressors. The two films that we will comment on below are much more solid in that sense and are a true example of Master Craven’s genius.
56. The Hills Have Eyes (1977)
Director: Wes Craven
Craven’s second cult film and one of the most important horror films of the 70s. The dissolution and break-up of the family and the insurmountable gap between generations remain recurring themes. The confrontation between two clans and lifestyles (rural and urban) ends culminating in a climax of violence and brutality, an explosion of anger and rage that gives the story a hopeful and zero hopeful ending.
Blood and violent scenes, yes, but at the service of an interesting approach to the human condition. The discovery of a deep America inhabited by monsters instead of supposed North American noble values.
57. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Director: Wes Craven
Innovative, brilliantly executed and with a tremendously impressive approach, the tremendous success of this Craven masterpiece made the franchise extend (and languish) in 7 sequels and a remake that would never shine at the height of the original.
We have to thank this film for the creation of one of the greatest villains of the genre of all time, Freddy Krueger , a cruel murderer of children who manages to break through the dreams of his victims. Robert Englund never managed to get rid of the character and Freddy continues today as one of the most representative figures of pop culture , although he can no longer be as scary as in 1984.
58. Halloween (1978)
Director: John Carpenter
The movie that really defined the slasher subgenre and inspired a lot of sequels, tributes and cheap imitations. However, the suspense and tension that John Carpenter achieves, aided by the mythical music composed by himself, are unmatched. Michael Myers, with his white mask without emotions, a reflection of a dark soul, has become another of the imperishable icons of horror movies.
A force of evil that walks slowly but never rests, as unknown as unbeatable, that finds the last of its shoe in the final girl par excellence, the first and genuine scream queen , the young Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis). 40 years later, the two meet again (ignoring all the sequels in between), showing that Laurie and Michael are the two archetypes par excellence of victim and murderer, doomed to meet and face until one of the two definitely bites the dust.
59. The Wicker Man (1973)
Director: Robin Hardy
Subtle and seductive, his script (by Anthony Schaffer) is a perverse and cunning constant subversion of expectations, while an overwhelming outcome is simmering.
Behind the artifice of the charm of the pagan folklore of the community led by Lod Summersisle (a huge Christopher Lee) hides a horror that escapes all understanding. A fascinating, suggestive, morbid and provocative masterpiece.
60. Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Director: Roman Polanski
The adaptation of Ira Levin’s novel is one of the best Polanski films and one of the most frightening of all time, especially for everything that is “not seen” on screen. A young couple moves into an apartment building in New York where there is also a cult of Devil worshipers who want to use poor Mia Farrow as a receptacle for Satan’s seed.
The ceremony in which Rosemary is raped by the Devil while the rest of the neighbors / acolytes observe joyful is one of the most terrifying and unpleasant in the history of cinema.
61. Seconds (1966)
Director: John Frankenheimer
Possibly the best film of its director, Seconds is an unjustly undervalued and forgotten film, stoned at the time by critics and that did not work well at the box office. Considered as the filmmaker of political paranoia, Frankenheimer applies an existential point of view to paranoia, perfect to address the issue of identity, key to the story. The memorable credit titles of Saul Bass and the grim organ music of Jerry Goldsmith accentuate his terrifying tone even more.
If an individual is stripped of his physical appearance and everything that surrounds his life, does he cease to be himself? Apart from what is interesting about the topic it addresses and the questions it leaves in the air, the suffocating and baroque staging and the constant feeling of paranoia and instability are perfectly handled by the director’s modern style of shooting, which has the delivery Absolute of a Rock Hudson away from his usual gallant roles.
62. Haute Tension (2003)
Director: Alexandre Aja
Flagged at the time of a series of young directors who inaugurated the new wave of French horror movies, this film and the glorious remake he made of Las Colinas have Craven’s eyes in 2006 made him a promise that, unfortunately, was languishing with time. However, Haute Tension (entitled High Tension in Spain and The Awakening of Fear in Mexico and Venezuela) was awarded at numerous festivals and is one of the best survivals ever filmed.
With a dirty staging, a careful attention to detail and a thrilling rhythm, the film is a true festival of graphic brutality and psychological terror, with a masterful Cécille de France and a final twist that continues to divide his followers.
63. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Director: Jonathan Demme
The adaptation of Thomas Harris’s novel received an elegant almost operatic treatment from Demme, who dived into the psyches of all the characters, from a Sterling agent who seeks to free himself from his conditioned desire for security and masculine dominance, to the “charming “Doctor Lecter, an immeasurable Anthony Hopkins who eats (literally) the screen every time he appears.
Thriller elegant, precise, vibrant, terrifying, directed with a master hand and that became one of the films of the year, of the 90s and of the Cinema, with capital letters. He also had the honor of being the third film to receive the five main awards at the Oscar ceremony. And he gave us a character for posterity, the sybarite cannibal psychiatrist Hannibal Lecter , who would be years later embodied by Mads Mikkelsen in a television series that offered an even more interesting reinterpretation if possible of the character, adding new layers of complexity to it.
64. Martyrs (2008)
Director: Pascal Laugier
Cinema made by and for the viscera, with a magnificent choreography of violence and an exquisite taste for photography. The true plot of the film is the aesthetics and beauty of violence itself, extreme, raw, realistic, difficult and uncomfortable to see. The controversy accompanied her since its premiere and, of course, it is not suitable for everyone, but it is undeniable that it is an exercise in cinematic bravery and that it is impossible to leave anyone indifferent.
Transgressive, reactionary, radical and intelligent, few films are able to hypnotize and shudder at the same time. Honestly, it’s a movie that I’m glad I saw, but I never want to see again.
65. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
Director: Tobe Hooper
Basic in its brutality but of ruthless efficiency, it has not lost an iota of its timeless aggressiveness and its stark reflection of the horrors that human beings can inflict on each other.
An undeniable achievement within the horror genre, too unpleasant to be “enjoyed” but with the merit of having given us one of the most frightening horror movie icons of all time: Leatherface . Together with Psychosis , the film that laid the foundation for the slasher genre .
66. Ringu (1998)
Director: Hideo Nakata
A videotape that kills everyone who sees it. A young woman with long black hair that comes out of the television writhing and who walks slowly but inexorably until reaching you and ending your life. A Japanese horror classic that was successfully adapted to the American market in 2002 by Gore Verbinski, who focused more on research on the origins of the tape and its images.
The original Ringu relies on the hypnotic images and the strange restlessness of the inexplicable events, not caring too much about the logic of the story. It is one of the most profitable Japanese horror movies of all time and one of the scariest genre.
67. House on Haunted Hill (1959)
Director: William Castle
One of Castle’s most famous films (which used all sorts of extravagant tricks during the screening to scare the public) and one of the most famous haunted house stories ever taken to the screen. It has a remake and, recently, a successful reinterpretation in the form of a television series thanks to Netflix .
However, if it were not for the charismatic presence of Vincent Price, the film would remain in a modest proposal of series B that, yes, has influenced many later works.
68. Friday the 13th (1980)
Director: Sean S. Cunningham
Although she loses compared to other great classics of the genre, she pioneered in some way contemporary and slasher terror , although Jason Voorhees (and let’s not say her mother) never lived up to Michael Myers, Freddy Krueger and Leatherface.
Of course, the murderer of the Crystal Lake hockey mask has the highest number of sequels to a horror franchise, including a crossover with Freddy and a failed remake in 2009.
69. The Orphanage (2007)
Director: Juan Antonio Bayona.
Effective and entertaining film, it was a tremendous success that was backed by a powerful and intelligent marketing campaign .
Conceived as a (too) referential mosaic of hollywoodense aspect that is able to please all types of audiences, the film rises thanks to Bayona’s powerful direction (and his blind faith in the material he has in his hands) and the wonderful interpretation Belén Rueda, since its development does not stand out precisely because of its excessive originality.
70. À l’intérieur (2007)
Director: Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo
The new French horror cinema has one of its key titles in À l’intérieur, a hard and bloody film that becomes difficult to see at many times. Two women faced with a wild fury in a battle full of gore in which everyday objects (those scissors ...) become weapons of mass destruction.
Motherhood, pain and guilt are the main themes of this tour de force for which the two leading actresses were awarded at the Sitges Festival.
71. The Babadook (2014)
Director: Jennifer Kent
This movie, an instant horror movie classic, features one of the most memorable villains of recent years. With a chilling aspect, it is a supernatural monster that you cannot get rid of once you discover its existence. However, this being torments its victims with one purpose: to explore how they deal with their own internal demons.
The film does not need elaborate special effects or liters of blood to keep us in tension throughout its footage. Disturbing atmosphere, psychological terror, aesthetics inspired by German expressionism and its marked symbolism make it a little gem.
72. Saw (2004)
Director: James Wan
Born as an independent low-budget film by James Wan and Leigh Whannell, nobody imagined at that time that it would become a (stretched) franchise and make Jigsaw the new fashion villain of horror movies.
His intricate script and wonderful narrative transformed the way of narrating terror. Its unpredictable and surprising ending make this film a little gem of recent genre cinema.
73. The Cabin in the Woods (2012)
Director: Drew Goddard
The brilliant script by Goddard and Joos Whedon is a fantastic, incisive and intelligent deconstruction of horror movies. The viewer’s concern to know what will happen next is the greatest charm of the film, but the important thing is to reach it knowing as little as possible of its plot.
Only then can you fully enjoy this fascinating cinematic experience that uses all the clichés of the genre to subvert them, using a very measured humor but not skimping on blood, guts and scares. The perfect movie for the true genre fan.
74. Candyman (1992)
Director: Bernard Rose
Although he is a brutal murderer and a spirit of revenge, Candyman (played by Tony Todd) has an especially tragic past compared to most horror icons. The film caused nightmares in thousands of teenagers in the 90s adapting a story of Clive Barker, specifically The Forbidden , one of the stories in his novel Blood Books.
Virginia Madsen’s performance and an unhealthy atmosphere make her one of the best films of the genre of the time and a classic. Reality and fantasy go hand in hand to dissect the psyche of a nation that has not yet been reconciled with the mistakes of its past.
75. Jeepers Creepers (2001)
Director: Victor Salva
This supernatural road movie about two young men tormented by a strange man-eating being was born as an independent low-budget project and became, in addition to a blockbuster, a cult film.
The Creeper, the monster that goes out every 23 years for 23 days to feed on human body parts, chooses its victims by smell and everything it eats becomes part of it, being virtually immortal during its feeding period .
76. The Thing (1982)
Director: John Carpenter
Remake of The Thing From Another World (1951) by Christian Nyby, is another clear example of a new version that exceeds (and by far) the original. One of Carpenter’s best films, today it is a cult classic, but when it premiered it received a great blow by the critics and had to compete at the box office with ET , which made its collection was not as good as expected . Over the years, time has placed it in the place it deserves and is considered one of the most terrifying films in history.
The music of Enio Morricone, the effects of Rob Bottin and Stan Winston and a Kurt Russel in a state of grace make this film a true cinematic experience. The atmosphere achieved by Carpenter throughout the film, culminating in that mythical and heartbreaking open end, makes us speak, not only of one of the best horror and science fiction films of all time, but of a masterpiece of cinema in general.
77. The Mist (2007)
Director: Frank Darabont
Based on Stephen King’s short novel, Darabont’s great adaptation divided many by his brutal and intense outcome, which leaves you stuck in the armchair. Realistically and terrifyingly, the director tells us how fear and despair transform a group of people into beings as terrible as those who live within that mysterious fog that looms over them, which seems to be taken from a science fiction movie old (in a good way).
The important thing about this movie is not the Mist, as a monstrous and inexplicable entity, but an uncompromising look at the most fearsome and stupid side of the human being.
78. The Sixth Sense (1999)
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Although everyone especially remembers her for her surprising final twist, the film that catapulted Shyamalan is an elegant dissection about pain and loss, mixing realistic and supernatural elements with great brilliance, always with the humanism with which the director permeates his Works and their characters.
Story of ghosts, supernatural thriller , drama ... it has everything and everything told in a precise and delicate way, despite the horror shocks that flood the film.
79. The Visit (2015)
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
The f ound footage resource is used here as a way to externalize the internal wounds of all the characters.
A very balanced and precise direction and a great work of actors make this mixture of terror, comedy and drama a stimulating proposal that, as usual in its director, divided the audience. Some did not commune with their self-conscious metacinematographic game, while most enjoyed their acid deconstruction of different horror movie topics.
80. Dressed to Kill (1980)
Director: Brian De Palma
Essential thriller of the 80s, not valued enough, is an absolute masterpiece of its director for multiple reasons. The perfectly executed camera movements to create a mood at all times, the use of cinematic space and time, the shameless and brilliant mix of genres, its macabre and funny look, the intense creative impulse that is present in each and every one of his frames ... We can go on and we wouldn’t finish.
He anticipated in a way many of the erotic thrillers of the 90s, but in a much more wild and intense way, investigating the darkest and twisted recesses of the human mind in a furiously audiovisual and dynamic way. Basic Instinct (1992) honored the famous elevator sequence and is still a kind of thematic and stylistic continuation of this film.
81. Gremlins (1984)
Director: Joe Dante
Being able to also enter any list of Christmas movies and family movies, their violence and black humor have made it a cult classic.
With a screenplay by Chris Columbus (inspired by the noise the mice made in his apartment at night) and produced by Spielberg, Gremlins is a perfect mix of black comedy and terror, with a wild and acid side too dark for children but That did not prevent it from becoming a success and many remember it as one of the films that marked us as children.
82. Donnie Darko (2001)
Director: Richard Kelly
This is one of those films that meet all the conditions to become a cult film and over time has achieved a legion of fans who continue to look for different readings to their mysterious plot.
Some people see in it a parable about parallel realities (the most widespread theory) and its script, scenery, iconography and rhythm work perfectly and catch our attention at all times. It is a film that tastes different and is proud of it. According to Rabbit Frank, the world will end in 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes and 12 seconds.
83. Misery (1990)
Director: Rob Reiner
One of Stephen King’s best adaptations and probably his best novel, the absence of supernatural elements and the metallurgical game of his story, with that sick and psychopathic relationship between the protagonists (superb Kathy Bates and James Caan) make her the perfect portrait of an obsession, that of the fatal fan Annie Wilkes.
Luxury psychological terror with a perfectly dosed tension and an unsettling sense of cruelty that makes us suffer (and enjoy) the beautiful with this macabre game of cat and mouse.
84. Suspiria (1977)
Director: Dario Argento
The masterpiece of its director is a feverish daydream in technicolor plagued by aesthetic violence and an operatic production design that make it the greatest exponent of the Giallo genre . Sumptuous, frantic, with a wonderful soundtrack, raised its director to the altars of the horror genre. A perverse journey that takes us to a prestigious dance academy where an old and sinister clan of witches hide. An experience of visual and auditory immersion to reflect that evil is hidden in every corner.
In 2018 a new version directed by Luca Guadagnino ( Call me by your name ) is released.
85. Train to Busan (2016)
Director: Yeon Sang-ho
One of the best zombie movies ever made that goes straight to the point (that is, to the blood) and that allows a critique of power levels and the human being himself, who instead of uniting against an enemy unstoppable, is carried away by fear and ignorance.
An emotional journey full of death, but that does not abuse the gore , and an exciting entertainment.
86. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
Director: Philip Kaufman
Revision of the classic of Don Siegel of 1956, the intelligent and respectful version of Kaufman adapts to the new times with a new approach and important details that further enrich the already fascinating original premise, being a precise reflection of the time and the society of the moment it is shot.
The anguishing and oppressive atmosphere, the paranoia that is unleashed between the protagonists (great each and every one of the actors), the realistic treatment of the story and a memorable (and terrifying) climax make it one of the peak works of the genre and a classic with capital letters of the seventh art.
87. The Witch (2016)
Director: Robert Eggers
A tense and atmospheric portrait about the religious paranoia of the early S. XVII. An exquisite sense of period details in costumes, surroundings and vernacular language.
On the surface, a horror movie; In the background, a reflection on the dominance of men over women and the repression of sexuality and female independence.
88. Child’s Play (1988)
Director: Tom Holland
The originality of this film does not lie in the fact that the origin of fear is a child doll (pediophobia), but in making it a serial killer. Chucky would be raised as another pop icon on the list of the sequel- inspiring phsyco killers , but this first installment would be the best of all.
Thriller and horror in equal parts, still working despite the time and the voice of Brad Dourif continues to cause bad vibes.
89. IT (2017)
Director: Andrés Muschietti
What makes It one of Stephen King’s essential novels (and one of his best books) is not only the presence of the disturbing clown Pennywise , but his realistic and wonderful approach to puberty, with his anxieties, fears and insecurities. The important thing here are his characters, young people of flesh and blood that are credible to us at all times and to those who accompany us on this terrifying and disturbing journey while they seek to take control of their destiny.
Although we have chosen the version released in 2017, a great success of critics and audiences, we cannot forget the famous miniseries of 1990, where Tim Curry embodied a Pennywise that we dare to say that it is even more disturbing than that of Bill Skarsgård in the new version. For tastes, colors ...
90. Christine (1983)
Director: John Carpenter
And we continue with King, accompanied this time by Master Carpenter. The two creators repeat several times on our list, but they are both, each in their field, two great Masters of Horror. Although this film is a “minor” Carpenter, it is already much better than most modern prefabricated horror proposals that try to sell us every so often.
However, a somewhat disappointing treatment of the story and putting the disquieting effectism before it makes it a medium-gas film that does not live up to expectations. Of course, seeing Christine “regenerate” is a delight (visual effects continue to surprise despite the weather) and the meticulous selection of music of the 50s become the voice and awareness of the evil car.
91. The Hitcher (1986)
Director: Robert Harmon
The John Ryder incarnated by a colossal Rutger Hauer is the best of this low-budget film that, despite having a premise not too original, manages to convey fear and tension with each of the scenes of persecutions and violence in a scenario as simple as A road in the middle of nowhere.
An essential classic for lovers of good thriller , thriller and psychological terror.
92. What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)
Director: Robert Aldrich
When Bette Davis and Joan Crawford met to work together for the first time, the film became the heigh