150 Best Horror Movies of All Time

The wind forces open the curtained window. Candles snuff out in darkness. And a shiver cascades down your spine. Nope, it’s not just your imagination. Something is stalking on your screen, primed to to kill all your free time: The big, boo-tiful list of Rotten Tomatoes’ 150 Best Horror Movies of All Time!

We’ve tweaked this guide behind-the-scenes ever since its publication a decade ago, but now we’re delivering the biggest update yet. The classics you’ve come to love and dread remain, but we’ve added 50 movies that further represent the best-reviewed in bloody business. There’s more mainstream maimers (Scream, The Ring), recent indies (You’re Next, Creep), Asian horror (Audition, Three…Extremes), and the ancient ones that haunt forever (Salo, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer). As for big-name directors, look out for Spielberg (Duel), De Palma (Sisters), and lots more Cronenberg (Scanners, Videodrome). Each of these best scary movies thrown into our bubbling cauldron had to have at least 20 reviews with a Fresh rating, before being sorted by Adjusted Tomatometer.

Ready to settle in for dark nights of Fresh fear? Then flip the switch on The 150 Best Horror Movies of All Time…it’s alive! It’s alive!!

100 Best ’70s Horror Movies | 84 Best ’80s Horror Movies
40 Best ’90s Horror Movies | Best & Worst Horror Movies of 2018
#150

Trick 'r Treat (2007)
83%

#150
Adjusted Score: 74.832%
Critics Consensus: A deftly crafted tribute to Halloween legends, Trick 'r' Treat hits all the genre marks with gusto and old fashioned suspense.
Synopsis: Prolific director Bryan Singer takes a turn towards horror as the producer of this Halloween shocker directed by X2 and... [More]
Directed By: Michael Dougherty

#149

Hellraiser (1987)
69%

#149
Adjusted Score: 72.091%
Critics Consensus: Elevated by writer-director Clive Barker's fiendishly unique vision, Hellraiser offers a disquieting - and sadistically smart - alternative to mindless gore.
Synopsis: The directorial debut from horror novelist Clive Barker stars Sean Chapman as a man who buys a strange Chinese puzzle... [More]
Directed By: Clive Barker

#148

Candyman (1992)
74%

#148
Adjusted Score: 77.682%
Critics Consensus: Though it ultimately sacrifices some mystery in the name of gory thrills, Candyman is a nuanced, effectively chilling tale that benefits from an interesting premise and some fine performances.
Synopsis: Researching urban folklore, a University of Chicago student snoops around the housing projects of Cabrini Green to find more about... [More]
Directed By: Bernard Rose

#147
Adjusted Score: 74.31%
Critics Consensus: Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom will strike some viewers as irredeemably depraved, but its unflinching view of human cruelty makes it impossible to ignore.
Synopsis: The final work of notorious Italian director Pier Paolo Pasolini, this film updates the Marquis de Sade's most extreme novel... [More]
Directed By: Pier Paolo Pasolini

#146

Basket Case (1982)
74%

#146
Adjusted Score: 75.551%
Critics Consensus: While Basket Case definitely delivers all the gonzo gore promised by its cracked premise, it's really set apart by its rich vein of genuine pathos.
Synopsis: A strange young man arrives in the city with a basket under his arm, which turns out to hold his... [More]
Directed By: Frank Henenlotter

#145

Phantasm (1979)
73%

#145
Adjusted Score: 76.654%
Critics Consensus: Phantasm: Remastered adds visual clarity to the first installment in one of horror's most enduring -- and endearingly idiosyncratic -- franchises.
Synopsis: The remastered original classic that started it all, in which two brothers discover their local mortuary hides a legion of... [More]
Directed By: Don Coscarelli

#144

The Mist (2007)
72%

#144
Adjusted Score: 76.334%
Critics Consensus: Frank Darabont's impressive camerawork and politically incisive script make The Mist a truly frightening experience.
Synopsis: David Drayton and his young son Billy are among a large group of terrified townspeople trapped in a local grocery... [More]
Directed By: Frank Darabont

#143
Adjusted Score: 76.409%
Critics Consensus: A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors offers an imaginative and surprisingly satisfying rebound for a franchise already starting to succumb to sequelitis.
Synopsis: The best of the Elm Street sequels, this creepy, surreal fantasy features terrific effects, a fine young cast, and an... [More]
Directed By: Chuck Russell

#142

The Ring (2002)
71%

#142
Adjusted Score: 76.809%
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: A disturbing videotape appears to hold the power of life and death over those who view it in this offbeat... [More]
Directed By: Gore Verbinski

#141

Frailty (2002)
74%

#141
Adjusted Score: 77.991%
Critics Consensus: Creepy and disturbing, Frailty is well-crafted, low-key horror.
Synopsis: Actor Bill Paxton made his directorial debut with Frailty. The bulk of the story is told through flashbacks, as a... [More]
Directed By: Bill Paxton

#140

Kill List (2012)
77%

#140
Adjusted Score: 79.687%
Critics Consensus: Kill List is an expertly executed slow-burn crime thriller that thrives on tension before morphing into visceral horror.
Synopsis: From director Ben Wheatley, Kill List is a mind-blowing genre concoction being called the "#1 Horror Film of the Year"... [More]
Directed By: Ben Wheatley

#139
#139
Adjusted Score: 79.845%
Critics Consensus: Wes Craven's New Nightmare adds an unexpectedly satisfying - not to mention intelligent - meta layer to a horror franchise that had long since lost its way.
Synopsis: Freddy Krueger is back from the grave in another thriller from famed horror director Wes Craven. This film differs from... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

#138

Scanners (1981)
78%

#138
Adjusted Score: 80.034%
Critics Consensus: Scanners is a dark sci-fi story with special effects that'll make your head explode.
Synopsis: The title of this David Cronenberg sci-fi horror film refers to a group of people who have telekinetic powers that... [More]
Directed By: David Cronenberg

#137

Eden Lake (2008)
79%

#137
Adjusted Score: 79.168%
Critics Consensus: A brutal and effective British hoodie-horror that, despite the clichés, stays on the right side of scary.
Synopsis: A romantic weekend in the woods turns into a bloody struggle for survival when a vacationing couple finds their campsite... [More]
Directed By: James Watkins

#136

Southbound (2016)
80%

#136
Adjusted Score: 81.155%
Critics Consensus: Southbound doesn't entirely avoid the jarring shifts common to anthology films, but thanks to some thrilling twists and turns, this horror road movie is a surprisingly smooth ride.
Synopsis: On a desolate stretch of desert highway, weary travelers-two men on the run from their past, a band on their... [More]

#135

You're Next (2013)
78%

#135
Adjusted Score: 83.351%
Critics Consensus: You're Next's energetic and effective mix of brutal gore and pitch black humor will please horror buffs and beyond.
Synopsis: One of the smartest and most terrifying films in years, YOU'RE NEXT reinvents the genre by putting a fresh twist... [More]
Directed By: Adam Wingard

#134
Adjusted Score: 82.655%
Critics Consensus: The Cat O'Nine Tails is a solidly entertaining Argento outing elevated by a well-chosen cast and the director's distinctive visual style.
Synopsis: In this flawed mystery-thriller from flamboyant horror director Dario Argento, Karl Malden portrays a blind man who joins forces with... [More]
Directed By: Dario Argento

#133

Scream (1996)
79%

#133
Adjusted Score: 82.793%
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

#132

Videodrome (1983)
80%

#132
Adjusted Score: 84.32%
Critics Consensus: Visually audacious, disorienting, and just plain weird, Videodrome's musings on technology, entertainment, and politics still feel fresh today.
Synopsis: Videodrome is a pulsating science fiction nightmare about a world where video can control and alter human life.... [More]
Directed By: David Cronenberg

#131
#131
Adjusted Score: 83.763%
Critics Consensus: An audacious, unsettling Japanese horror film from director Takashi Miike, Audition entertains as both a grisly shocker and a psychological drama.
Synopsis: Controversial Japanese director Takashi Miike creates this unnerving horror film about a widowed TV producer auditioning prospective wives. In his... [More]
Directed By: Takashi Miike

#130

Sisters (1973)
86%

#130
Adjusted Score: 89.202%
Critics Consensus: Clever yet clearly indebted to the masters of the genre, Sisters offers an early glimpse of De Palma at his stylishly crafty peak.
Synopsis: Reporter Jennifer Salt thinks she has witnessed a murder; apparently, Margot Kidder is the killer and Lisle Wilson is the... [More]
Directed By: Brian DePalma

#129

Dead Ringers (1988)
82%

#129
Adjusted Score: 84.478%
Critics Consensus: Dead Ringers serves up a double dose of Jeremy Irons in service of a devilishly unsettling concept and commandingly creepy work from director David Cronenberg.
Synopsis: Based extremely loosely on a true story, Dead Ringers stars Jeremy Irons and Jeremy Irons. You read right--Irons essays the... [More]
Directed By: David Cronenberg

#128

Bakjwi (Thirst) (2009)
81%

#128
Adjusted Score: 84.065%
Critics Consensus: The stylish Thirst packs plenty of bloody thrills to satisfy fans of both vampire films and director Chan Wook Park.
Synopsis: Song Kang-ho, Shin Ha-kyun, and Kim Ok-bin star in Oldboy director Park Chan-wook's frightener concerning a priest whose life takes... [More]
Directed By: Chan-wook Park

#127
Adjusted Score: 85.295%
Critics Consensus: This anthology contains brutal, powerful horror stories by three of Asia's top directors.
Synopsis: Three Asian directors, from Hong Kong, Korea, and Japan, join forces to create an omnibus horror film, Three...Extremes. In Fruit... [More]

#126

Scream 2 (1997)
82%

#126
Adjusted Score: 86.518%
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: The crafty Wes Craven follows up lastÕs yearÕs surprise hit with another supremely self-referential but satisfyingly droll thriller.... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

#125

The Shallows (2016)
78%

#125
Adjusted Score: 85.831%
Critics Consensus: Lean and solidly crafted, The Shallows transcends tired shark-attack tropes with nasty thrills and a powerful performance from Blake Lively.
Synopsis: In the taut thriller The Shallows, when Nancy (Blake Lively) is surfing on a secluded beach, she finds herself on... [More]
Directed By: Jaume Collet-Serra

#124
#124
Adjusted Score: 85.993%
Critics Consensus: Restrained but disturbing, A Tale of Two Sisters is a creepily effective, if at times confusing, horror movie.
Synopsis: This supernatural horror film from Kim Jee-woon is inspired by the ancient Korean folktale "Jangha and Hongryun." Set in an... [More]
Directed By: Kim Jee-woon

#123

Pontypool (2009)
84%

#123
Adjusted Score: 86.094%
Critics Consensus: Witty and restrained but still taut and funny, this Pontypool is a different breed of low-budget zombie film.
Synopsis: A psychological thriller in which a deadly virus infects a small Ontario town.... [More]
Directed By: Bruce McDonald

#122
#122
Adjusted Score: 86.72%
Critics Consensus: Like the best horror/comedies, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil mines its central crazy joke for some incredible scares, laughs, and -- believe it or not -- heart.
Synopsis: Tucker & Dale vs Evil is a hilariously gory, good-spirited horror comedy, doing for killer rednecks what Shaun of the... [More]
Directed By: Eli Craig

#121

Tremors (1990)
85%

#121
Adjusted Score: 86.773%
Critics Consensus: An affectionate throwback to 1950s creature features, Tremors reinvigorates its genre tropes with a finely balanced combination of horror and humor.
Synopsis: Tremors is actually two movies in one. On its own terms, it's an enjoyable modern sci-fi horror-thriller, with good pacing... [More]
Directed By: Ron Underwood

#120

The Others (2001)
83%

#120
Adjusted Score: 88.184%
Critics Consensus: The Others is a spooky thriller that reminds us that a movie doesn't need expensive special effects to be creepy.
Synopsis: On the secluded Isle of Jersey in the final days of World War II, a young woman waits in vain... [More]
Directed By: Alejandro Amenábar

#119

The Conjuring 2 (2016)
80%

#119
Adjusted Score: 89.31%
Critics Consensus: The Conjuring 2 can't help but lose a bit of its predecessor's chilly sting through familiarity, but what remains is still a superior ghost story told with spine-tingling skill.
Synopsis: Reprising their roles, Oscar nominee Vera Farmiga ("Up In the Air," TV's "Bates Motel") and Patrick Wilson (the "Insidious" films),... [More]
Directed By: James Wan

#118
#118
Adjusted Score: 89.195%
Critics Consensus: Carnival of Souls offers delightfully chilling proof that when it comes to telling an effective horror story, less can often be much, much more.
Synopsis: Mary Henry is enjoying the day by riding around in a car with two friends. When challenged to a drag,... [More]
Directed By: Herk Harvey

#117

[Rec] (2007)
88%

#117
Adjusted Score: 88.24%
Critics Consensus: Plunging viewers into the nightmarish hellscape of an apartment complex under siege, [Rec] proves that found footage can still be used as an effective delivery mechanism for sparse, economic horror.
Synopsis: After teaming up in 2002 for the dramatic music documentary OT: The Movie, Spanish horror specialists Jaume Balagueró (Darkness) and... [More]

#116
#116
Adjusted Score: 89.489%
Critics Consensus: Though its underlying themes are familiar, House of the Devil effectively sheds the loud and gory cliches of contemporary horror to deliver a tense, slowly building throwback to the fright flicks of decades past.
Synopsis: Sam is a pretty college sophomore, so desperate to earn some cash for a deposit on an apartment that she... [More]
Directed By: Ti West

#115

Dead Alive (1993)
86%

#115
Adjusted Score: 88.354%
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: Considered by many to be the goriest film ever made and one of the funniest "splatstick" horror films since Sam... [More]
Directed By: Peter Jackson

#114

The Thing (1982)
84%

#114
Adjusted Score: 89.766%
Critics Consensus: Grimmer and more terrifying than the 1950s take, John Carpenter's The Thing is a tense sci-fi thriller rife with compelling tension and some remarkable make-up effects.
Synopsis: John Carpenter's The Thing is both a remake of Howard Hawks' 1951 film of the same name and a re-adaptation... [More]
Directed By: John Carpenter

#113
#113
Adjusted Score: 89.231%
Critics Consensus: Using its low-budget effects and mockumentary method to great result, Paranormal Activity turns a simple haunted house story into 90 minutes of relentless suspense.
Synopsis: A haunted house makes no secret of the fact it's not pleased with its new tenants in this independent tale... [More]
Directed By: Oren Peli

#112
#112
Adjusted Score: 90.54%
Critics Consensus: The Girl with All the Gifts grapples with thought-provoking questions without skimping on the scares -- and finds a few fresh wrinkles in the well-worn zombie horror genre along the way.
Synopsis: The near future humanity has been all but destroyed by a mutated fungal disease that eradicates free will and turns... [More]
Directed By: Colm McCarthy

#111
#111
Adjusted Score: 89.552%
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: Long thought dead, the victim of a horrible accident, Dr. Anton Phibes (Vincent Price) still lives, surrounded by art-deco bric-a-brac... [More]
Directed By: Robert Fuest

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