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Best Horror Movies by Year Since 1920

Look, we know that it’s the time of year when everyone and their sister has a list of the best horror movies of all time. This time out, we at Rotten Tomatoes decided to take a slightly different tack. Using our weighted formula, we compiled a list of the best-reviewed fright fests from each year since 1920 — the year The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, which created the template for horror cinema, was released. This wasn’t an easy assignment — there were several years, like 1932 and 1960, that boasted a slate of classic films (and a few others, like 1937 and 1938, in which we had trouble finding any solid contenders). What was the best horror flick the year you were born? Check out our list — if you dare.

 

#1920
#1920
Adjusted Score: 115566%
Critics Consensus: Arguably the first true horror film, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari set a brilliantly high bar for the genre -- and remains terrifying nearly a century after it first stalked the screen.
Synopsis: At a carnival in Germany, Francis (Friedrich Feher) and his friend Alan (Rudolf Lettinger) encounter the crazed Dr. Caligari (Werner... [More]
Directed By: Robert Wiene

#1921

The Phantom Carriage (1921)
100%90%

#1921
Adjusted Score: 91215%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: On New Year's Eve, the driver of a ghostly carriage forces a drunken man (Victor Sjöström) to look back at... [More]
Directed By: Victor Sjöström

#1922

Nosferatu (1922)
97%87%

#1922
Adjusted Score: 108753%
Critics Consensus: One of the silent era's most influential masterpieces, Nosferatu's eerie, gothic feel -- and a chilling performance from Max Schreck as the vampire -- set the template for the horror films that followed.
Synopsis: In this highly influential silent horror film, the mysterious Count Orlok (Max Schreck) summons Thomas Hutter (Gustav von Wangenheim) to... [More]
Directed By: F.W. Murnau

#1923
#1923
Adjusted Score: 96673%
Critics Consensus: A heart-rending take on the classic book, with a legendary performance by Lon Chaney.
Synopsis: In 15th-century Paris, Jehan (Brandon Hurst), the evil brother of the archdeacon, lusts after a Gypsy named Esmeralda (Patsy Ruth... [More]
Directed By: Wallace Worsley

#1924

The Hands of Orlac (1924)
91%81%

#1924
Adjusted Score: 91745%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: After losing his hands in an accident, a world-famous pianist receives transplanted hands that once belonged to a murderer.... [More]
Directed By: Robert Wiene

#1925
#1925
Adjusted Score: 97782%
Critics Consensus: Decades later, it still retains its ability to scare -- and Lon Chaney's performance remains one of the benchmarks of the horror genre.
Synopsis: In this silent horror classic, aspiring young opera singer Christine Daaé (Mary Philbin) discovers that she has a mysterious admirer... [More]
Directed By: Rupert Julian

#1926

Faust (1926)
91%91%

#1926
Adjusted Score: 97272%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In this classic of silent cinema, the demon Mephisto (Emil Jannings) makes a bet with an archangel that a good... [More]
Directed By: F.W. Murnau

#1927
#1927
Adjusted Score: 97741%
Critics Consensus: Bringing its sturdy setup thrillingly to life, The Cat and the Canary proves Paul Leni a director with a deft hand for suspenseful stories and expertly assembled ensembles.
Synopsis: The relatives of Cyrus West gather at his estate on the 20th anniversary of his death to hear the reading... [More]
Directed By: Paul Leni

#1928

The Man Who Laughs (1928)
100%87%

#1928
Adjusted Score: 102338%
Critics Consensus: A meeting of brilliant creative minds, The Man Who Laughs serves as a stellar showcase for the talents of director Paul Leni and star Conrad Veidt.
Synopsis: Disfigured by a king as a child, an 18th-century clown (Conrad Veidt) again becomes the pawn of royalty.... [More]
Directed By: Paul Leni

#1929

Haxan (1922)
91%81%

#1929
Adjusted Score: 94018%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A hybrid of documentary and fiction, this silent film explores the history of witchcraft, demonology and satanism. It shows representations... [More]
Directed By: Benjamin Christensen

#1930

The Bat Whispers (1930)
64%52%

#1930
Adjusted Score: 64610%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Infamous burglar "The Bat" commits a daring jewelry theft despite heavy police presence. Soon after, a bank theft occurs, which... [More]
Directed By: Roland West

#1931

Frankenstein (1931)
100%87%

#1931
Adjusted Score: 105880%
Critics Consensus: Still unnerving to this day, Frankenstein adroitly explores the fine line between genius and madness, and features Boris Karloff's legendary, frightening performance as the monster.
Synopsis: This iconic horror film follows the obsessed scientist Dr. Henry Frankenstein as he attempts to create life by assembling a... [More]
Directed By: James Whale

#1932

Vampyr (1932)
98%82%

#1932
Adjusted Score: 98870%
Critics Consensus: Full of disorienting visual effects, Carl Theodor Dreyer's Vampyr is as theoretically unsettling as it is conceptually disturbing.
Synopsis: After Allan Gray (Julian West) rents a room near Courtempierre in France, strange events unfold: An elderly man leaves a... [More]
Directed By: Carl Theodor Dreyer

#1933

King Kong (1933)
96%86%

#1933
Adjusted Score: 112184%
Critics Consensus: King Kong explores the soul of a monster -- making audiences scream and cry throughout the film -- in large part due to Kong's breakthrough special effects.
Synopsis: Actress Ann Darrow (Fay Wray) and director Carl Denham (Robert Armstrong) travel to the Indian Ocean to do location shoots... [More]

#1934

The Black Cat (1934)
88%70%

#1934
Adjusted Score: 92808%
Critics Consensus: Making the most of its Karloff-Lugosi star pairing and loads of creepy atmosphere, The Black Cat is an early classic in the Universal monster movie library.
Synopsis: Stranded Budapest honeymooners follow a mad doctor (Bela Lugosi) to a black-lipped architect's (Boris Karloff) Art Deco manor.... [More]
Directed By: Edgar G. Ulmer

#1935

Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
98%87%

#1935
Adjusted Score: 105781%
Critics Consensus: An eccentric, campy, technically impressive, and frightening picture, James Whale's Bride of Frankenstein has aged remarkably well.
Synopsis: After recovering from injuries sustained in the mob attack upon himself and his creation, Dr. Frankenstein (Colin Clive) falls under... [More]
Directed By: James Whale

#1936

The Devil Doll (1936)
79%70%

#1936
Adjusted Score: 80871%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Wrongfully convicted of a robbery and murder, Paul Lavond (Lionel Barrymore) breaks out of prison with a genius scientist who... [More]
Directed By: Tod Browning

#1939

Son of Frankenstein (1939)
95%72%

#1939
Adjusted Score: 97571%
Critics Consensus: Boris Karloff's final appearance as the Monster is a fitting farewell before the series descended into self-parody.
Synopsis: Baron Wolf von Frankenstein (Basil Rathbone) is determined to prove the legitimacy of his father's scientific work, thus rescuing the... [More]
Directed By: Rowland V. Lee

#1940

Dr. Cyclops (1940)
79%56%

#1940
Adjusted Score: 79558%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: To assist with his work due to his failing eyesight, renowned biologist Dr. Alexander Thorkel (Albert Dekker) invites two prominent... [More]
Directed By: Ernest B. Schoedsack

#1941

The Wolf Man (1941)
90%80%

#1941
Adjusted Score: 94036%
Critics Consensus: A handsomely told tale with an affecting performance from Lon Chaney, Jr., The Wolf Man remains one of the classics of the Universal horror stable.
Synopsis: When his brother dies, Larry Talbot (Lon Chaney) returns to Wales and reconciles with his father (Claude Rains). While there,... [More]
Directed By: George Waggner

#1942

Cat People (1942)
92%73%

#1942
Adjusted Score: 99820%
Critics Consensus: Influential noir director Jacques Tourneau infused this sexy, moody horror film with some sly commentary about the psychology and the taboos of desire.
Synopsis: Irena Dubrovna (Simone Simon), a New York City--based fashion designer who hails from Serbia, begins a romance with marine engineer... [More]
Directed By: Jacques Tourneur

#1943
#1943
Adjusted Score: 85777%
Critics Consensus: Evocative direction by Jacques Tourneur collides with the low-rent production values of exploitateer Val Lewton in I Walked with a Zombie, a sultry sleeper that's simultaneously smarmy, eloquent and fascinating.
Synopsis: Canadian nurse Betsey Connell (Frances Dee) is hired to care for Jessica Holland (Christine Gordon), a woman on a Caribbean... [More]
Directed By: Jacques Tourneur

#1944

Bluebeard (1944)
100%38%

#1944
Adjusted Score: 43144%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: When seamstress Lucille (Jean Parker) accepts a job designing costumes for charismatic puppeteer and portrait artist Gaston Morrell (John Carradine),... [More]
Directed By: Edgar G. Ulmer

#1945

Dead of Night (1945)
93%87%

#1945
Adjusted Score: 93922%
Critics Consensus: With four accomplished directors contributing, Dead of Night is a classic horror anthology that remains highly influential.
Synopsis: Architect Walter Craig (Mervyn Johns) goes to Pilgrim's Farm to see a potential client. When he arrives at the house,... [More]

#1946
#1946
Adjusted Score: 90000%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Astrologist Hilary Cummins (Peter Lorre) works as a personal assistant to the eccentric and mostly paralyzed pianist, Francis Ingram (Victor... [More]
Directed By: Robert Florey

#1947

Scared to Death (1947)
63%17%

#1947
Adjusted Score: 19464%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Dr. Josef Van Ee (George Zucco) runs a private mental institution where he and his son, Ward (Roland Varno), are... [More]
Directed By: Christy Cabanne

#1948
Adjusted Score: 91352%
Critics Consensus: A zany horror spoof that plays up and then plays into the best of Universal horror cliches.
Synopsis: In the first of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello's horror vehicles for Universal Pictures, the inimitable comic duo star as... [More]
Directed By: Charles Barton

#1949

The Queen of Spades (1949)
95%72%

#1949
Adjusted Score: 95592%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Based on a short story by Alexander Pushkin, this creepy drama tells the tale of Countess Ranevskaya (Edith Evans), an... [More]
Directed By: Thorold Dickinson

#1950

House by the River (1950)
57%71%

#1950
Adjusted Score: 36081%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A man (Louis Hayward) kills his maid and dumps her in the river with his brother (Lee Bowman).... [More]
Directed By: Fritz Lang

#1951

The Thing (1951)
86%73%

#1951
Adjusted Score: 87550%
Critics Consensus: As flying saucer movies go, The Thing From Another World is better than most, thanks to well-drawn characters and concise, tense plotting.
Synopsis: When scientist Dr. Carrington (Robert Cornthwaite) reports a UFO near his North Pole research base, the Air Force sends in... [More]
Directed By: Christian Nyby

#1952

The White Reindeer (1952)
100%57%

#1952
Adjusted Score: 72369%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A shaman turns a newlywed woman into a vampiric white reindeer after she seeks his help.... [More]
Directed By: Erik Blomberg

#1953

House of Wax (1953)
93%73%

#1953
Adjusted Score: 96494%
Critics Consensus: House of Wax is a 3-D horror delight that combines the atmospheric eerieness of the wax museum with the always chilling presence of Vincent Price.
Synopsis: Wax sculptor Henry (Vincent Price) is horrified to learn that his business partner, Matthew (Roy Roberts), plans on torching their... [More]
Directed By: Andre de Toth

#1954

Them! (1954)
93%77%

#1954
Adjusted Score: 97832%
Critics Consensus: One of the best creature features of the early atomic age, Them! features effectively menacing special effects and avoids the self-parody that would taint later monster movies.
Synopsis: While investigating a series of mysterious deaths, Sergeant Ben Peterson (James Whitmore) finds a young girl (Sandy Descher) who is... [More]
Directed By: Gordon Douglas

#1955
#1955
Adjusted Score: 100797%
Critics Consensus: Featuring Robert Mitchum's formidable performance as a child-hunting preacher, The Night of the Hunter is a disturbing look at good and evil.
Synopsis: The Rev. Harry Powell (Robert Mitchum) is a religious fanatic and serial killer who targets women who use their sexuality... [More]
Directed By: Charles Laughton

#1956
#1956
Adjusted Score: 102834%
Critics Consensus: One of the best political allegories of the 1950s, Invasion of the Body Snatchers is an efficient, chilling blend of sci-fi and horror.
Synopsis: In Santa Mira, California, Dr. Miles Bennell (Kevin McCarthy) is baffled when all his patients come to him with the... [More]
Directed By: Don Siegel

#1957
#1957
Adjusted Score: 87063%
Critics Consensus: A curiously sensitive and spiritual addition to the Universal Monsters line-up, tacking on deep questions about a story who is shrinking to death.
Synopsis: While on a boating trip, Scott Carey (Grant Williams) is exposed to a radioactive cloud. Nothing seems amiss at first,... [More]
Directed By: Jack Arnold

#1958

The Fly (1958)
95%71%

#1958
Adjusted Score: 99010%
Critics Consensus: Deliciouly funny to some and eerily presicient to others, The Fly walks a fine line between shlocky fun and unnerving nature parable.
Synopsis: When scientist Andre Delambre (Al Hedison) tests his matter transporter on himself, an errant housefly makes its way into the... [More]
Directed By: Kurt Neumann

#1959

House on Haunted Hill (1959)
78%73%

#1959
Adjusted Score: 81018%
Critics Consensus: Campy by modern standards but spooky and atmospheric, House on Haunted Hill is a fun, well-executed cult classic featuring a memorable performance from genre icon Vincent Price.
Synopsis: Rich oddball Frederick Loren (Vincent Price) has a proposal for five guests at a possibly haunted mansion: Show up, survive... [More]
Directed By: William Castle

#1960

Psycho (1960)
96%95%

#1960
Adjusted Score: 106270%
Critics Consensus: Infamous for its shower scene, but immortal for its contribution to the horror genre. Because Psycho was filmed with tact, grace, and art, Hitchcock didn't just create modern horror, he validated it.
Synopsis: Phoenix secretary Marion Crane (Janet Leigh), on the lam after stealing $40,000 from her employer in order to run away... [More]
Directed By: Alfred Hitchcock

#1961

The Innocents (1961)
95%86%

#1961
Adjusted Score: 99636%
Critics Consensus: Creepily atmospheric, The Innocents is a stylishly crafted, chilling British ghost tale with Deborah Kerr at her finest.
Synopsis: Based on the Henry James story "The Turn of the Screw," a psychological thriller about a woman who takes a... [More]
Directed By: Jack Clayton

#1962

Eyes Without a Face (1959)
96%87%

#1962
Adjusted Score: 100447%
Critics Consensus: A horrific tale of guilt and obsession, Eyes Without a Face is just as chilling and poetic today as it was when it was first released.
Synopsis: Dr. Génessier (Pierre Brasseur) is riddled with guilt after an accident that he caused disfigures the face of his daughter,... [More]
Directed By: Georges Franju

#1963

The Birds (1963)
94%83%

#1963
Adjusted Score: 99159%
Critics Consensus: Proving once again that build-up is the key to suspense, Alfred Hitchcock successfully turned birds into some of the most terrifying villains in horror history.
Synopsis: Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren) meets Mitch Brenner (Rod Taylor) in a San Francisco pet store and decides to follow him... [More]
Directed By: Alfred Hitchcock

#1964

Kwaidan (1964)
91%90%

#1964
Adjusted Score: 94281%
Critics Consensus: Exquisitely designed and fastidiously ornate, Masaki Kobayashi's ambitious anthology operates less as a frightening example of horror and more as a meditative tribute to Japanese folklore.
Synopsis: Taking its title from an archaic Japanese word meaning "ghost story," this anthology adapts four folk tales. A penniless samurai... [More]
Directed By: Masaki Kobayashi

#1965

Repulsion (1965)
95%86%

#1965
Adjusted Score: 96839%
Critics Consensus: Roman Polanski's first English film follows a schizophrenic woman's descent into madness, and makes the audience feel as claustrophobic as the character.
Synopsis: In Roman Polanski's first English-language film, beautiful young manicurist Carole (Catherine Deneuve) suffers from androphobia (the pathological fear of interaction... [More]
Directed By: Roman Polanski

#1966
#1966
Adjusted Score: 82405%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Four tourists dine and spend the night at Dracula's (Christopher Lee) castle; two escape and warn a monk (Andrew Keir).... [More]
Directed By: Terence Fisher

#1967

The Sorcerers (1967)
100%59%

#1967
Adjusted Score: 94078%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A professor (Boris Karloff) and his wife (Catherine Lacey) can feel the sensations of a mod British teen (Ian Ogilvy)... [More]
Directed By: Michael Reeves

#1968

Rosemary's Baby (1968)
96%87%

#1968
Adjusted Score: 103498%
Critics Consensus: A frightening tale of Satanism and pregnancy that is even more disturbing than it sounds thanks to convincing and committed performances by Mia Farrow and Ruth Gordon.
Synopsis: A young wife comes to believe that her offspring is not of this world. Waifish Rosemary Woodhouse (Mia Farrow) and... [More]
Directed By: Roman Polanski

#1969

Spirits of the Dead (1968)
86%65%

#1969
Adjusted Score: 78900%
Critics Consensus: Three auteurs descend on the works of Poe, each putting on a ghoulish show -- adapting The Tomahawk Man's tales of dreams and fright, with Fellini's segment particularly out of sight.
Synopsis: In one chapter of this three-in-one feature inspired by Edgar Allan Poe's tales, a countess (Jane Fonda), shunned by a... [More]

#1970
#1970
Adjusted Score: 61562%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Valerie (Jaroslava Schallerová), a Czechoslovakian teenager living with her grandmother, is blossoming into womanhood, but that transformation proves secondary to... [More]
Directed By: Jaromil Jires

#1971
#1971
Adjusted Score: 91011%
Critics Consensus: The Abominable Dr. Phibes juggles horror and humor, but under the picture's campy façade, there's genuine pathos brought poignantly to life through Price's performance.
Synopsis: In a desperate attempt to reach his ill wife, organist Anton Phibes (Vincent Price) is horrifically disfigured in a car... [More]
Directed By: Robert Fuest

#1972
#1972
Adjusted Score: 66039%
Critics Consensus: Its visceral brutality is more repulsive than engrossing, but The Last House on the Left nevertheless introduces director Wes Craven as a distinctive voice in horror.
Synopsis: Teenagers Mari (Sandra Cassel) and Phyllis (Lucy Grantham) head to the city for a concert, then afterward go looking for... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

#1973

Don't Look Now (1973)
94%76%

#1973
Adjusted Score: 99887%
Critics Consensus: Don't Look Now patiently builds suspense with haunting imagery and a chilling score -- causing viewers to feel Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie's grief deep within.
Synopsis: Still grieving over the accidental death of their daughter, Christine (Sharon Williams), John (Donald Sutherland) and Laura Baxter (Julie Christie)... [More]
Directed By: Nicolas Roeg

#1974
#1974
Adjusted Score: 92979%
Critics Consensus: Thanks to a smart script and documentary-style camerawork, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre achieves start-to-finish suspense, making it a classic in low-budget exploitation cinema.
Synopsis: When Sally (Marilyn Burns) hears that her grandfather's grave may have been vandalized, she and her paraplegic brother, Franklin (Paul... [More]
Directed By: Tobe Hooper

#1975

Jaws (1975)
97%90%

#1975
Adjusted Score: 104753%
Critics Consensus: Compelling, well-crafted storytelling and a judicious sense of terror ensure Steven Spielberg's Jaws has remained a benchmark in the art of delivering modern blockbuster thrills.
Synopsis: When a young woman is killed by a shark while skinny-dipping near the New England tourist town of Amity Island,... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#1976

Carrie (1976)
93%77%

#1976
Adjusted Score: 98570%
Critics Consensus: Carrie is a horrifying look at supernatural powers, high school cruelty, and teen angst -- and it brings us one of the most memorable and disturbing prom scenes in history.
Synopsis: In this chilling adaptation of Stephen King's horror novel, withdrawn and sensitive teen Carrie White (Sissy Spacek) faces taunting from... [More]
Directed By: Brian De Palma

#1977

Suspiria (1977)
94%83%

#1977
Adjusted Score: 98680%
Critics Consensus: The blood pours freely in Argento's classic Suspiria, a giallo horror as grandiose and glossy as it is gory.
Synopsis: Suzy (Jessica Harper) travels to Germany to attend ballet school. When she arrives, late on a stormy night, no one... [More]
Directed By: Dario Argento

#1978
#1978
Adjusted Score: 96844%
Critics Consensus: Employing gritty camerawork and evocative sound effects, Invasion of the Body Snatchers is a powerful remake that expands upon themes and ideas only lightly explored in the original.
Synopsis: This remake of the classic horror film is set in San Francisco. Matthew Bennell (Donald Sutherland) assumes that when a... [More]
Directed By: Philip Kaufman

#1979

Alien (1979)
98%94%

#1979
Adjusted Score: 107527%
Critics Consensus: A modern classic, Alien blends science fiction, horror and bleak poetry into a seamless whole.
Synopsis: In deep space, the crew of the commercial starship Nostromo is awakened from their cryo-sleep capsules halfway through their journey... [More]
Directed By: Ridley Scott

#1980

The Shining (1980)
82%93%

#1980
Adjusted Score: 89236%
Critics Consensus: Though it deviates from Stephen King's novel, Stanley Kubrick's The Shining is a chilling, often baroque journey into madness -- exemplified by an unforgettable turn from Jack Nicholson.
Synopsis: Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) becomes winter caretaker at the isolated Overlook Hotel in Colorado, hoping to cure his writer's block.... [More]
Directed By: Stanley Kubrick

#1981

The Evil Dead (1981)
95%84%

#1981
Adjusted Score: 98744%
Critics Consensus: This classic low budget horror film combines just the right amount of gore and black humor, giving The Evil Dead an equal amount of thrills and laughs.
Synopsis: Ashley "Ash" Williams (Bruce Campbell), his girlfriend and three pals hike into the woods to a cabin for a fun... [More]
Directed By: Sam Raimi

#1982

Poltergeist (1982)
88%79%

#1982
Adjusted Score: 92601%
Critics Consensus: Smartly filmed, tightly scripted, and -- most importantly -- consistently frightening, Poltergeist is a modern horror classic.
Synopsis: Strange and creepy happenings beset an average California family, the Freelings -- Steve (Craig T. Nelson), Diane (JoBeth Williams), teenaged... [More]
Directed By: Tobe Hooper

#1983

The Dead Zone (1983)
88%77%

#1983
Adjusted Score: 91404%
Critics Consensus: The Dead Zone combines taut direction from David Cronenberg and and a rich performance from Christopher Walken to create one of the strongest Stephen King adaptations.
Synopsis: When Johnny Smith (Christopher Walken) awakens from a coma caused by a car accident, he finds that years have passed,... [More]
Directed By: David Cronenberg

#1984
#1984
Adjusted Score: 98064%
Critics Consensus: Wes Craven's intelligent premise, combined with the horrifying visual appearance of Freddy Krueger, still causes nightmares to this day.
Synopsis: In Wes Craven's classic slasher film, several Midwestern teenagers fall prey to Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund), a disfigured midnight mangler... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

#1985

Re-Animator (1985)
94%82%

#1985
Adjusted Score: 97974%
Critics Consensus: Perfectly mixing humor and horror, the only thing more effective than Re-Animator's gory scares are its dry, deadpan jokes.
Synopsis: A medical student (Jeffrey Combs) brings his headless professor back from the dead with a special serum.... [More]
Directed By: Stuart Gordon

#1986

Aliens (1986)
98%94%

#1986
Adjusted Score: 104145%
Critics Consensus: While Alien was a marvel of slow-building, atmospheric tension, Aliens packs a much more visceral punch, and features a typically strong performance from Sigourney Weaver.
Synopsis: After floating in space for 57 years, Lt. Ripley's (Sigourney Weaver) shuttle is found by a deep space salvage team.... [More]
Directed By: James Cameron

#1987

Evil Dead 2 (1987)
95%89%

#1987
Adjusted Score: 98772%
Critics Consensus: Evil Dead 2's increased special effects and slapstick-gore makes it as good -- if not better -- than the original.
Synopsis: The second of three films in the Evil Dead series is part horror, part comedy, with Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell)... [More]
Directed By: Sam Raimi

#1988

The Vanishing (1988)
98%88%

#1988
Adjusted Score: 99005%
Critics Consensus: A clinical, maddening descent into the mind of a serial killer and a slowly unraveling hero, culminating with one of the scariest endings of all time.
Synopsis: Rex (Gene Bervoets) and Saskia (Johanna Ter Steege) are enjoying a biking holiday in France when, stopping at a gas... [More]
Directed By: George Sluizer

#1989

Holy Blood (1989)
86%87%

#1989
Adjusted Score: 87980%
Critics Consensus: Those unfamiliar with Alejandro Jodorowsky's style may find it overwhelming, but Santa Sangre is a provocative psychedelic journey featuring the director's signature touches of violence, vulgarity, and an oddly personal moral center.
Synopsis: In Mexico, the traumatized son (Axel Jodorowsky) of a knife-thrower (Guy Stockwell) and a trapeze artist bonds grotesquely with his... [More]
Directed By: Alejandro Jodorowsky

#1990

Misery (1990)
91%90%

#1990
Adjusted Score: 95243%
Critics Consensus: Elevated by standout performances from James Caan and Kathy Bates, this taut and frightening film is one of the best Stephen King adaptations to date.
Synopsis: After a serious car crash, novelist Paul Sheldon (James Caan) is rescued by former nurse Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates), who... [More]
Directed By: Rob Reiner

#1991
#1991
Adjusted Score: 104376%
Critics Consensus: Director Jonathan Demme's smart, taut thriller teeters on the edge between psychological study and all-out horror, and benefits greatly from stellar performances by Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster.
Synopsis: Jodie Foster stars as Clarice Starling, a top student at the FBI's training academy. Jack Crawford (Scott Glenn) wants Clarice... [More]
Directed By: Jonathan Demme

#1992

Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)
77%79%

#1992
Adjusted Score: 81148%
Critics Consensus: Overblown in the best sense of the word, Francis Ford Coppola's vision of Bram Stoker's Dracula rescues the character from decades of campy interpretations -- and features some terrific performances to boot.
Synopsis: Adaptation of Bram Stoker's classic vampire novel. Gary Oldman plays Dracula whose lonely soul is determined to reunite with his... [More]
Directed By: Francis Ford Coppola

#1993

Dead Alive (1992)
89%87%

#1993
Adjusted Score: 91262%
Critics Consensus: The delightfully gonzo tale of a lovestruck teen and his zombified mother, Dead Alive is extremely gory and exceedingly good fun, thanks to Peter Jackson's affection for the tastelessly sublime.
Synopsis: Overprotective mother Vera Cosgrove (Elizabeth Moody), spying on her grown son, Lionel (Timothy Balme), as he visits the zoo with... [More]
Directed By: Peter Jackson

#1994

Cronos (1993)
89%69%

#1994
Adjusted Score: 92020%
Critics Consensus: Guillermo del Toro's unique feature debut is not only gory and stylish, but also charming and intelligent.
Synopsis: Antique dealer Jesus Gris (Federico Luppi) stumbles across Cronos, a 400-year-old scarab that, when it latches onto him, grants him... [More]
Directed By: Guillermo del Toro

#1995

Mute Witness (1995)
83%66%

#1995
Adjusted Score: 76953%
Critics Consensus: Mute Witness is a slickly crafted horror/thriller with some surprising comic twists.
Synopsis: Billy (Mary Sudina) is mute, but it hasn't kept her from becoming a successful makeup artist. While in Russia, working... [More]
Directed By: Anthony Waller

#1996

Scream (1996)
80%79%

#1996
Adjusted Score: 84070%
Critics Consensus: Horror icon Wes Craven's subversive deconstruction of the genre is sly, witty, and surprisingly effective as a slasher film itself, even if it's a little too cheeky for some.
Synopsis: The sleepy little town of Woodsboro just woke up screaming. There's a killer in their midst who's seen a few... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

#1997

Scream 2 (1997)
82%57%

#1997
Adjusted Score: 86033%
Critics Consensus: As with the first film, Scream 2 is a gleeful takedown of scary movie conventions that manages to poke fun at terrible horror sequels without falling victim to the same fate.
Synopsis: Sydney (Neve Campbell) and tabloid reporter Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox) survived the events of the first "Scream," but their nightmare... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

#1998

The Ring (1998)
98%81%

#1998
Adjusted Score: 99301%
Critics Consensus: Ringu combines supernatural elements with anxieties about modern technology in a truly frightening and unnerving way.
Synopsis: When her niece is found dead along with three friends after viewing a supposedly cursed videotape, reporter Reiko Asakawa (Nanako... [More]
Directed By: Hideo Nakata

#1999
#1999
Adjusted Score: 92476%
Critics Consensus: Full of creepy campfire scares, mock-doc The Blair Witch Project keeps audiences in the dark about its titular villain, proving once more that imagination can be as scary as anything onscreen.
Synopsis: Found video footage tells the tale of three film students (Heather Donahue, Joshua Leonard, Michael C. Williams) who've traveled to... [More]

#2000

Shadow of the Vampire (2000)
81%74%

#2000
Adjusted Score: 85415%
Critics Consensus: Shadow of the Vampire is frightening, compelling, and funny, and features an excellent performance by Willem Dafoe.
Synopsis: F. W. Murnau (John Malkovich) is struggling to create his silent classic "Nosferatu" on location in Eastern Europe. The director... [More]
Directed By: E. Elias Merhige

#2001

The Devil's Backbone (2001)
93%89%

#2001
Adjusted Score: 97029%
Critics Consensus: Creepily atmospheric and haunting, The Devil's Backbone is both a potent ghost story and an intelligent political allegory.
Synopsis: After losing his father, 10-year-old Carlos (Fernando Tielve) arrives at the Santa Lucia School, which shelters orphans of the Republican... [More]
Directed By: Guillermo del Toro

#2002

The Ring (2002)
71%48%

#2002
Adjusted Score: 77406%
Critics Consensus: With little gore and a lot of creepy visuals, The Ring gets under your skin, thanks to director Gore Verbinski's haunting sense of atmosphere and an impassioned performance from Naomi Watts.
Synopsis: It sounds like just another urban legend -- a videotape filled with nightmarish images leads to a phone call foretelling... [More]
Directed By: Gore Verbinski

#2003

28 Days Later (2002)
87%85%

#2003
Adjusted Score: 95078%
Critics Consensus: Kinetically directed by Danny Boyle, 28 Days Later is both a terrifying zombie movie and a sharp political allegory.
Synopsis: A group of misguided animal rights activists free a caged chimp infected with the "Rage" virus from a medical research... [More]
Directed By: Danny Boyle

#2004

Shaun of the Dead (2004)
92%93%

#2004
Adjusted Score: 99604%
Critics Consensus: Shaun of the Dead cleverly balances scares and witty satire, making for a bloody good zombie movie with loads of wit.
Synopsis: Shaun is a 30-something loser with a dull, easy existence. When he's not working at the electronics store, he lives... [More]
Directed By: Edgar Wright

#2005

Land of the Dead (2005)
74%51%

#2005
Adjusted Score: 80819%
Critics Consensus: George A. Romero's latest entry in his much-vaunted Dead series is not as fresh as his genre-inventing original, Night of the Living Dead. But Land of the Dead does deliver on the gore and zombies-feasting-on-flesh action.
Synopsis: In a world where zombies form the majority of the population, the remaining humans build a feudal society away from... [More]
Directed By: George Romero

#2006

The Descent (2005)
86%76%

#2006
Adjusted Score: 92653%
Critics Consensus: Deft direction and strong performances from its all-female cast guide The Descent, a riveting, claustrophobic horror film.
Synopsis: A year after a severe emotional trauma, Sarah (Shauna Macdonald) goes to North Carolina to spend some time exploring caves... [More]
Directed By: Neil Marshall

#2007

The Host (2006)
93%72%

#2007
Adjusted Score: 99044%
Critics Consensus: As populace pleasing as it is intellectually satisfying, The Host combines scares, laughs, and satire into a riveting, monster movie.
Synopsis: Careless American military personnel dump chemicals into South Korea's Han River. Several years later, a creature emerges from the tainted... [More]
Directed By: Bong Joon-ho

#2008

Let the Right One In (2008)
98%90%

#2008
Adjusted Score: 105412%
Critics Consensus: Let the Right One In reinvigorates the seemingly tired vampire genre by effectively mixing scares with intelligent storytelling.
Synopsis: When Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant), a sensitive, bullied 12-year-old boy living with his mother in suburban Sweden, meets his new neighbor,... [More]
Directed By: Tomas Alfredson

#2009

Drag Me to Hell (2009)
92%62%

#2009
Adjusted Score: 102665%
Critics Consensus: Sam Raimi returns to top form with Drag Me to Hell, a frightening, hilarious, delightfully campy thrill ride.
Synopsis: Christine Brown (Alison Lohman) has a loving boyfriend (Justin Long) and a great job at a Los Angeles bank. But... [More]
Directed By: Sam Raimi

#2010

Let Me In (2010)
88%76%

#2010
Adjusted Score: 96634%
Critics Consensus: Similar to the original in all the right ways -- but with enough changes to stand on its own -- Let Me In is the rare Hollywood remake that doesn't add insult to inspiration.
Synopsis: Bullied at school, neglected at home and incredibly lonely, 12-year-old Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee) spends his days plotting revenge on his... [More]
Directed By: Matt Reeves

#2011

Attack the Block (2011)
90%75%

#2011
Adjusted Score: 96436%
Critics Consensus: Effortlessly mixing scares, laughs, and social commentary, Attack the Block is a thrilling, briskly-paced sci-fi yarn with a distinctly British flavor.
Synopsis: South London teenagers (John Boyega, Alex Esmail, Leeon Jones) defend their neighborhood from malevolent extraterrestrials.... [More]
Directed By: Joe Cornish

#2012
#2012
Adjusted Score: 103242%
Critics Consensus: The Cabin in the Woods is an astonishing meta-feat, capable of being funny, strange, and scary -- frequently all at the same time.
Synopsis: When five college friends (Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams) arrive at a remote forest cabin... [More]
Directed By: Drew Goddard

#2013

The Conjuring (2013)
86%83%

#2013
Adjusted Score: 94169%
Critics Consensus: Well-crafted and gleefully creepy, The Conjuring ratchets up dread through a series of effective old-school scares.
Synopsis: In 1970, paranormal investigators and demonologists Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) and Ed (Patrick Wilson) Warren are summoned to the home of... [More]
Directed By: James Wan

#2014

The Babadook (2014)
98%72%

#2014
Adjusted Score: 106427%
Critics Consensus: The Babadook relies on real horror rather than cheap jump scares -- and boasts a heartfelt, genuinely moving story to boot.
Synopsis: A troubled widow (Essie Davis) discovers that her son is telling the truth about a monster that entered their home... [More]
Directed By: Jennifer Kent

#2015

It Follows (2014)
95%66%

#2015
Adjusted Score: 104389%
Critics Consensus: Smart, original, and above all terrifying, It Follows is the rare modern horror film that works on multiple levels -- and leaves a lingering sting.
Synopsis: After carefree teenager Jay (Maika Monroe) sleeps with her new boyfriend, Hugh (Jake Weary), for the first time, she learns... [More]
Directed By: David Robert Mitchell

#2016

The Witch (2015)
90%60%

#2016
Adjusted Score: 109369%
Critics Consensus: As thought-provoking as it is visually compelling, The Witch delivers a deeply unsettling exercise in slow-building horror that suggests great things for debuting writer-director Robert Eggers.
Synopsis: In 1630 New England, panic and despair envelops a farmer, his wife and their children when youngest son Samuel suddenly... [More]
Directed By: Robert Eggers

#2017

Get Out (2017)
98%86%

#2017
Adjusted Score: 125476%
Critics Consensus: Funny, scary, and thought-provoking, Get Out seamlessly weaves its trenchant social critiques into a brilliantly effective and entertaining horror/comedy thrill ride.
Synopsis: Now that Chris and his girlfriend, Rose, have reached the meet-the-parents milestone of dating, she invites him for a weekend... [More]
Directed By: Jordan Peele

#2018

A Quiet Place (2018)
96%83%

#2018
Adjusted Score: 114688%
Critics Consensus: A Quiet Place artfully plays on elemental fears with a ruthlessly intelligent creature feature that's as original as it is scary -- and establishes director John Krasinski as a rising talent.
Synopsis: If they hear you, they hunt you. A family must live in silence to avoid mysterious creatures that hunt by... [More]
Directed By: John Krasinski