12 Top Horror Movies of All Time

Our definitive top horror movie list in time for Halloween

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Trust us on this one, we’ve looked at 8 different sources (Rolling Stone, IGN, Timeout to name a few) and looked at how often these movies were listed and their associated ranking. What we’ve got below, and in the spirit of upcoming Halloween, is a definitive list of 12 Top Horror Movies of all time. Hopefully you’ll agree.

12A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

This iconic supernatural slasher flick had to make our list. Consisting of nine films, a TV series, novels, comic books this franchise has collectively grossed over $500 million worldwide. Here’s a fun fact – did you know in the first movie Freddy only has 7 minutes of screen time?

11The Fly (1986)

“Be afraid. Be very afraid.” Enough said. Who remembers this classic? Hard to forget with the plot, the special effects and Goldblum’s performance. Did you know Goldblum was often wearing as much as 5lbs of prosthetic makeup in his more scary scenes and it took nearly 5 hours to apply this in the extensive stages. We’re all glad he persevered with this!

10Jaws (1975)

Of course this animal attack classic made it, this was the highest grossing film until Star Wars hit the scene and, along with Star Wars, Jaws was integral in establishing the Hollywood business model we see today – high box-office returns from action/adventure pictures with simplistic, high-concept premises which tend to be wide summer releases and are supported by large amounts of marketing. We owe Jaws a lot and that’s why this baby had to join us in our top 10 scary movies to watch of all time.

9Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

This trippy classic had to make it to our list of top scary movies of all time. Remember, “this is not a dream!”, so dark, ominous and keeps you guessing. I bet you missed the fact that Rosemary’s baby was actually born in June 1966. Yep 6/66.

8Night of the Living Dead (1968)

This undoubtedly remains one of the most influential horror films ever made and gave birth to its very own sub-genre. You might even say The Walking Dead is a grandchild of this. Anyway, give it a watch if you haven’t already and pay homage. Funnily enough, in 1968, Readers Digest tried to warn people away from watching this, claiming that if ever watched, it will inspire cannibalism. So don’t go eating people after.

7Halloween (1978)

There’s a chance you’ll be watching Halloween at Halloween. John Carpenter certainly set the bar high with this one. Simple yet effective, a suspenseful tale of a babysitter and a masked murderer, this has been done a billion times, but people keep coming back to this devious classic. Like Jaws, half of the creepiness is in the score. Oh and the ambiguousness of Michael Meyers.

6The Thing (1982)

John Carpenter has stated that of all his films, this is his personal favorite and for good reason. It has even become ingrained in Antarctica culture, as it is a tradition in all British research stations to watch this horror film as part of Midwinter feasts and annual celebrations. Such a classic.

5Alien (1979)

This is where the series began, directed by Ridley Scott, followed by three sequels and still continues to this day (with prequels). I bet you all know this classic, what I bet you don’t know is that shredded condoms were used to create the tendons of Alien’s jaws. Watch out for it next time.

4The Shining (1980)

“Here’s Johnny!” – Did you know, that scene took 3 days to film and a grand total of 60 doors? Anyway, this film had to make it with Nicholson’s performance, the freaky twins, the hedge maze thing, the elevator and that god damn woman in the shower.

3Psycho (1960)

The king of thrillers is here. Most of you will have heard of this movie, if not, Norman Bates, with his astounding performance in this. Hitchcock really pulled out all the stops for this one and, even if you know what’s coming with the ending, it still packs a punch. Nasty.

2The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

People were pansies back in the 70s. When this film first released, people actually walked out of sneak previews for it.  Anyway, this is the film that gave birth to many more, specifically seven films, comics and a video game adapation – grossing in excess of $250 million.

1The Exorcist (1973)

Here it is. Did you guess this one? This has consistently been high rated in other horror movie lists and that’s what we based our metrics on, so here we go. There’s a reason why this is Warner Brothers’ highest grossing film of all time when adjusted for inflation.

Do you agree with our list? Let us know below and if you liked it, please share.