There’s just something about the things that go bump in the night that interests us, as a race, we are predisposed to fear the shadows, yet year after year, we sit down as an audience and will what’s on the screen to scare us. Horror films, there’s something about them, good or bad, we embrace them. Whether they’re outright terrifying, atmospheric or gory, these films are a part of us, more like any other genre, they enthral us.
In this list I will say which Horror films have made my Top 25 Horror films of all time list, talking about whether they scared me, or freaked me out. Some will be more comedies, some will be gory, and lots will be Zombies, they will all be my personal favourites. They will be in no particular order as well. Enjoy!
One of the scariest Horror films, and Zombie films, I’ve ever seen. It’s a visceral found footage film set in a Spanish Apartment complex and it’s completely full bloodied and terrifying. It has a fantastic slow build up at the start, and when it gets going it’s absolutely bloody scary. The fact that you have to look at the screen in order to read the subtitles, means that when you want to cover your eyes, you can’t look away.
From Frank Darabont and Stephen King comes this fantastic story of panic in a small town supermarket as a mysterious Mist rolls in. It has a slow suspenseful build up at the beginning, grisly creature features and shocking mob justice and an ending so downbeat that it leaves you drained of hope. It’s fantastically and naturally played, and it really will stick in the mind.
Yes, I mean the American remake. This was the scariest film I’d seen before Rec and it’s one of the creepiest, most affecting Horror films I’ve ever seen. The sound design is impeccable and memorable. The scares are horrible and terrifying, the visuals stark and the editing great. Overall, I think it’s a better and scarier film that it’s Japanese original and it’s all the more horrifying for it.
The Carpenter classic, itself a remake, got a not too bad remake in 2011, but this 1982 classic is the best of the bunch, combining incredible special gory effects, fantastic tension and a great soundtrack. It’s a defining classic of the genre, and it’s a great blend of Sci-Fi and Horror.
An underrated gem that exudes menace throughout its runtime. From the initial shot of the truck driving up behind the two leads, to the moment that they drive by The Creepers place, only to see him dumping bodies as he turns around and looks at them. It may fall into the trap of having too much mythology in the sequel, but this first outing is a genuinely creepy, backwoods horror story.
Impeccable direction, editing, music and everything else really, The Shining may not be liked by Stephen King, but I consider it to be one of the very best of its genre. Building layers of subtlety and atmosphere, as Jack slowly begins to crack, and the ghosts of the Overlook begin to come out of the shadows. Not only is it incredibly eerie but It also spawned the greatest parody The Simpsons ever did. “Go crazy? Don’t mind if I do”
The first horror film I ever watched left me hiding behind the sofa, terrified by every distant werewolf howl, and made me at least a little bit afraid of underground stations. With brilliant command of atmosphere, tension, makeup and music, this is a film that should be seen by everyone, if only for the line “A naked American man stole my balloons”.
The superimposed skull, the twisted face of Norman Bates as he brandishes the knife in the finale and cinemas most shocking moment, all make Psycho an utter classic. Bold, enthralling and creepy, Psycho sets its stall out from the beginning and puts tension ahead of jumps, making this not just a film at the height of a director’s career, but a film that leaves you with just a feeling of unexplainable unease after.
Visceral and brutal, terrifyingly real and horrifically violent, this is a film that you have to be sure that you want to watch. Only somebody who’s into Horror should sit down to this unrelenting misery fest. There is no hope for any of these characters, the villains are sickening, the atmosphere claustrophobic, this is a film that will leave you dripping with fear, and by the end you will be a husk, unable to comprehend what you have just witnessed.
When I first saw this, I had no idea who would turn out to be the killer, so when it came to the big reveal I was genuinely surprised and shocked, leading to the most satisfying ending of any film I’ve watched. A fun and exciting slasher film that puts a twist on the genre, whilst carving itself a new area of awesome. R.I.P. Wes Craven, this was your best work.
Gripping, terrifying, blood splattered, great cast, fantastic music and scenery. A better film than its predecessor in my opinion, that ramps up the budget and brutality to fantastic effect, making this one of the very best British horror films. I’ve also made a deliberate choice not to put Shaun of the Dead on this list, because it’s more of a comedy, and would knock every other film out of its way cause I love it so.
Low budget and extremely atmospheric, building tension as you hear about the virus outbreak, rather than seeing it. With a small cast and practically one location, this is a taut, clever and engaging little zombie (kinda) film that turns the genre on its head and makes this the most interesting horror film, in which you rarely see any horror.
Blasphemy, I know, but I love this film more than the original. When I was younger, I accidentally caught a glimpse of the opening scene, in which the little girl zombie bites the leads boyfriend in their bedroom, and ever since I was dying to watch the rest. It was the first proper glimpse I got of a truly entertaining, epic and bloody zombie movie, that gave birth to my love of the undead genre. I coined the phrase “The Morning After”, in relation to zombie films after seeing this, which means the initial scene after the characters have woken up to find zombies everywhere.
Another of the first zombie films I saw, that has made an indelible mark on my mind. All I remember is the opening black and white recap spiel at the beginning and this film has sold me. It’s extremely gory and very entertaining. It may be a little too ridiculous, but its got good ideas and lots of great zombieness.
The most modern of the entries on this list, It Follows has a delightfully chilling premise and an old school execution. It has a wonderful soundtrack, beautiful visuals and a creepy knack to have you checking the corner of every shot to see if there’s someone walking this way.
The one that started it all. A creepy, black and white classic that has a rich atmosphere and a great twist ending. “They’re coming to get you Barbara” shall forever be etched in the subconscious of society.
Executed fantastically, with great editing and sound design, it’s a simple story of grief and parenthood, that takes the main characters to Venice where they are haunted by the death of their daughter. It’s creepy, engaging and very well written.
The oldest entry on this list is film that features cinemas most terrifying vampire. A slender, pointy remnant of the dark ages, he glides and he creeps, casting a terrifying shadow on the wall. There’s something scary about the history that comes before something, Nosferatu represents a darker time, his visage is all of humanity and what they have destroyed.
Romero’s third classic, and it’s easily the best. It’s exciting, gory, dark humoured and very engaging. The inevitable collapse of the base, and the scary hopelessness that accompanies every scene makes this a small scale, but large conclusion to the original Dead trilogy.
A Sci-Fi horror classic that, even after Cinemas greatest jump scare, is an entire film of sustained dread that jangles your nerves and leaves you fearing the dark. It has wonderful cinematography, music and style and is unmatched by anything that has come after it.
Not only is Misery well made and performed, with a strain of real dark humour, it also has an ending that will make you punch the air with excitement. The rest of the film is tense as hell and has one of the most, want to look away but can’t, moments that you’ll ever see. Love it, and the book is great too.
Another modern classic that builds character and atmosphere over jump scares. The ‘monster’ is more of a metaphor than any other, but when you see him, or don’t, it’s bloomin’ scary. Extremely well written, directed and all the rest, this is a film that will certainly go down in history as a stone cold classic.
One that I really enjoyed, mainly because it’s just a tension builder as a young couple drive around dark, and eerie country roads, only to get stalked by creepy figures in the trees. It’s fantastic to look at, it builds exceptional atmosphere, and it’s kind of underrated. I think it’s a really engaging and gripping British, low budget film.
You won’t know it’s a horror till the end. Most of the film builds atmosphere and tension, shocking with its ferocity and violence, but the end, which I won’t spoil, is as grim and shocking as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and is really creepy and scary as hell.
Finally, is this wonderfully funny, exciting and crowd pleasing film from Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard. It puts a twist on the genre, then throws everything it has into the pot, and it’s best scenes are spoilers, but will leave you with a big grin on your face. It’s creepy too, and has a great cast, and as a Joss Whedon completest, its one of the best things he’s been involved in.
So there we are, my top 25 Horror films of all time. I’ve probably missed out some great ones that I’ve forgotten about, but the list wasn’t in any particular ranking anyway.
Let me know what you thought of it, and what your favourite Horror film are, by leaving a comment or a like.
Thank you 🙂