The newest, most popular horror movie kicks off this list of the 20 best horror movies of all time. Whether you want to get scared for Halloween or your birthday, this list of horrific movies will help you choose what to watch.
I’ve included classics (The Exorcist), mysteries (Sixth Sense), scary chick flicks (The Witches of Eastwick), and Stephen King’s best (The Shining).
Before the list of horror movies, here’s a quip from the King of Horror:
“People want to know why I do this, why I write such gross stuff. I like to tell them I have the heart of a small boy… and I keep it in a jar on my desk.” – Stephen King.
So that’s how he keeps writing his horror stories — he’s motivated by a heart in a jar! Yuck.
The newest, most popular horror movie on Amazon right now is Snow White: A Tale of Terror. Check it out – it’s starring Sigourney Weaver and Sam Neill.
And here’s my list of horror movies…
20 Best Horror Movies of All Time
Rosemary’s Baby – Rosemary and Guy move into a spacious apartment off Central Park and are befriended by the elderly couple next door. Shortly after another young woman in their building commits suicide, Rosemary is haunted by disturbing dreams. After a vivid dream of a hallucinogenic black mass during which she is raped by something inhuman, Rosemary finds herself pregnant and violently ill. Her seemingly well-meaning elderly neighbors become involved, and the story twists and turns until Rosemary realizes that she is the victim of a deep, evil conspiracy.
Saw – in this mysterious thriller, two men find themselves chained in a chamber with no recollection of how they got there. A man lies beside them with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. They soon discover that they are captives of the man the cops have dubbed the “Jigsaw Killer”, who pits two innocent people against one another and who face terrible consequences if one does not kill the other. This popular horror movie is a psychological thriller — and good for any scary occasion.
Scary Movie – A copycat is reenacting the Scream murders, and six high school students who ran over a man on a sharp curve the year before think the killer is out for revenge. Scary Movie is a spoof that parodies everything from popular horror movies to Hollywood comedies.
If these horror movies don’t strike your fancy, read The Best Halloween Movies and Horror Films.
Sign up for my free weekly "She Blossoms" newsletter
Signs – Mel Gibson plays a former priest who lost his faith after his wife was killed in a car accident. He then discovers a gigantic crop circle in his yard, and similar events happen all over the world. Graham’s children think it’s aliens, his brother thinks it’s pranksters, and Graham is confused. The crop circles cause a media frenzy and test his faith as he journeys to find out the truth behind the crop circles. However, as more and more strange events occur, he regains his faith and realizes something big and evil is coming…this horror movie is a little slow, but if you like Mel Gibson, it’ll work for a scary occasion.
The Sixth Sense – Bruce Willis plays a successful child psychologist who is shaken by the sudden reappearance of a former patient who commits suicide. Months later he encounters an 8-year old boy who sees dead people…a scary twist ends this popular horror film. This psychological thriller is one of the most popular horror movies ever!
Sleepy Hollow – starring Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci, and Miranda Richardson, Sleepy Hollow is the classic story of “The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow” by the gothic film maker Tim Burton. Johnny Depp plays Ichabod Crane, and to win the heart of Katrina Van Tassel (Christina Ricci) he has to brave the nearby woods, even though several decapitated bodies have been found. Enter the legend of the axe wielding headless horsemen….Sleepy Hollow is a classic horror movie.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre – this is one of the scariest Halloween movies ever, and a genuine classic horror film. It’s also loosely based on a true story. Five teenagers driving through Texas stumble across an old farm inhabited by a family of mass murders headed by “Leatherface.” They decorate their home with human bones and skin and rob local graveyards when live victims are not available.
The Blair Witch Project – Three film students go into the forest to make a documentary about a legendary witch, who is linked to murders and mysterious occurrences spanning 200 years. This may not be the most popular horror movie of all time, but it has its moments. It could work for some “lighter” scary occasions.
The Exorcist – in this classic horror film, a once-sweet 12-year old girl becomes possessed by the devil. She becomes a murderous hellhound who, in the horrific exorcism, violently vomits and spins her head 360 degrees. This is a classic horror movie scene, which has been parodied in numerous horror films.If you want to replicate this for a Halloween party, you might find some good ideas in 7 Ideas for Great Halloween Parties.
The Haunted Mansion – Eddie Murphy plays a real estate agent workaholic who gets a call late one night from mansion owner Edward Gracey, who wants to sell his property. Murphy’s family visits the mansion, which is located on a remote bayou. A torrential thunderstorm strands them in the old mansion with the brooding, eccentric owner, his mysterious butler, and a variety of residents both dead and alive. At first Murphy scoffs at the stories about ghosts and hauntings – until he unearths the mystery of the mansion and finds that his wife Sara has unexpected connections to its haunted past.
The Mothman Prophecies – This horror movie is based on a true story. A reporter for The Washington Post loses his wife after a strange car accident. Years later, he finds himself in the small town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia where he starts to realize that his wife’s cryptic drawings, which he finds after her death, might have a connection to the supernatural creature known as the Mothman. The Mothman’s appearances seem to foretell cataclysmic events.
The Mummy – Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz go on an archaeological dig at the ancient city of Hamunaptra. Another group unveils a curse which has risen the dead High Priest Imhotep (Vosloo). Now ‘The Mummy’ is awake and it’s going to take a lot more than guns to send him back from where he came from…there are two sequels to this horror movie.
The Omen – An American ambassador living in England in the 70’s is talked into replacing his own still-born child with another baby and without telling his wife. As the child grows, tragedy follows. Creepy and unexplained events unfold until a photographer reveals to Robert that the child carries an ominous 666 under his hairline. Things go from bad to worse in this scary horror movie. It’s good for most scary occasions!
The People Under The Stairs – This scary movie is the story of a young boy (Fool) and his 13th birthday. In an attempted burglary (along with two others) of the home of his family’s evil landlords, he becomes trapped inside and discovers the secret of the “children” that the insane brother and sister have been “rearing” under the stairs.
The Ring – A skeptical newspaper reporter watches a video of nightmarish images that is supposed to lead to a phone call predicting the viewer’s death in one week. After watching it, she finds that she has seven days to unravel the mystery of the ring and save herself and her son.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show – This is one of the best Halloween movies ever — and one of the most popular horror movies of a ll time! A young couple is stranded at the home of a mad scientist who is building the perfect man. This is an interactive “rock you out” classic movie for all fun, scary occasions.
The Witches of Eastwick – starring Jack Nicholson, Cher, Susan Sarandon, and Michelle Pfeiffer, this black comedy revolves around Alex, Jane, and Suki, who are left to live without their husbands. They innocently conjure up a mystery man who can satisfy all their desires. A new man moves into town – and he fits the bill perfectly. Daryl Van Horne is filthy rich and wild eyed, and within days the three women have all discovered almighty power within themselves.
The Shining – This classic popular horror movie involves Jack Nicholson as caretaking a hotel called the Overlook for the winter, which operates only during the warm months. Jack grows more and more evil throughout the movie as strange and unexplainable events start happening in the desolate and haunted hotel. A Stephen King classic, this is one of my favorite scary Halloween movies (though it’s not technically about Halloween).
What Lies Beneath – A couple has a seemingly perfect life: a great marriage, a daughter just entering college and a beautiful home on the water. Strange things start to happen as Claire suspects that the man next door has murdered his wife and that she is trying to contact her from beyond the grave. Dangerous events unfold and a frightening truth threatens to destroy everything.
Young Frankenstein – Gene Wilder plays a young neurosurgeon who inherits the castle of his grandfather, the famous Dr. Victor von Frankenstein. He finds a funny hunchback called Igor, a pretty lab assistant named Inga and the old housekeeper. Young Frankenstein scoffs at the work of his grandfather, but when he discovers the book where the mad doctor described his reanimation experiment, he changes his mind.
Tips for a horror party: Extreme Halloween Decorations and Tips for Halloween Parties.
Do you need encouragement and inspiration? Click here for my free Blossom Tips newsletter! One email a week, short and sweet.
If you have any thoughts on these best horror movies of all time, please comment below…