The Best Movie for Every Type of Horror Fan

Horror films have been around since 1896, when Georges Méliès' haunted house chiller Le Manoir du Diablewas first released. The spine-tingling genre has been a mainstay of cinema ever since, delivering groundbreaking special effects, gory motifs, and subtext galore. But no matter what form scary movies take, their ability to serve as cathartic, thrilling outlets for primal fears and insecurities is what keeps fans coming back for more.

Even with movie theaters largely shuttered due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there are lots of different kinds of horror films available on streaming and demand to satisfy your spooky needs. Why not become better acquainted with internationally acclaimed subgenres like jidaigeki or giallo? While some acclaimed films (such as the crime drama Se7en or adventure blockbuster Jurassic Park) may not seem like horror flicks at first glance, they contain many elements that make the genre itself so memorable.

Best movie for every type of horror fan
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But with so many films out there, it can be difficult to find the best type of horror movie for each kind of film fan. That's why Stacker compiled data on horror films using the horror-centric site They Shoot Zombies, Don't They?, which has weighed and aggregated rankings from more than 2,900 editorial lists to determine the definitive ranking of the top 1,000 horror films as of May 2020. Using this data, Stacker amassed a list of the top films in each subgenre of horror displayed on the website. All of the films displayed are feature-length, with the exception of "Un Chien Andalou," an experimental surrealist classic by Salvador Dalí and Luis Buñel. Nearly 7,900 movies in total were considered, and IMDb ratings and Metascores were included for critical and popular context.

So hold on to the edge of your seat, and read on to find the best kinds of horror movies for any viewer—from science fiction to slasher films.

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Exorcist -- horror movies
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Possession: 'The Exorcist' (1973)

- Director: William Friedkin
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Metascore: 81
- Runtime: 122 minutes

This iconic film received 10 Academy Award nominations and was the first horror movie to be nominated for Best Picture. Loosely based on real events, The Exorcist follows two priests (Jason Miller and Max von Sydow) who attempt to help a girl (Linda Blair) who has seemingly been possessed by the devil. It's combination of spiritual horror and visceral effects makes it a perennial contender for scariest movie of all time.

Haunted house: 'The Shining' (1980)

- Director: Stanley Kubrick
- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- Metascore: 66
- Runtime: 144 minutes

Based on the 1977 Stephen King novel of the same name, The Shining follows a hotel caretaker who is driven insane by the haunted property that he and his family are taking care of during the winter. It's easily one of the most obsessed-over horror films, as evidenced by the documentary Room 237. While The Shining is often hailed as one of the best movies in the genre, King took issue with Kubrick's changes and called it a "fancy car with no engine."

Thriller: 'Psycho' (1960)

- Director: Alfred Hitchcock
- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- Metascore: 97
- Runtime: 109 minutes

Although Alfred Hitchcock was already celebrated as The Master of Suspense, his renowned status as a director grew with the release of what is arguably his most influential movie, Psycho. In the story, Janet Leigh plays a Phoenix secretary on the run who checks into a mysterious hotel run by young Norman Bates. Apart from being an enticing thriller, Psycho is considered one of the first examples of a slasher film.

Science fiction: 'Alien' (1979)

- Director: Ridley Scott
- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- Metascore: 89
- Runtime: 116 minutes

This sci-fi horror classic opens as the crew of a commercial space tug's voyage back to Earth is interrupted, and they're required to intercept a distress call from a nearby moon. A mysterious alien life form attacks a crew member and begins growing rapidly as it picks off the characters one by one. Alien created an iconic "final girl" in Sigourney Weaver's Ripley, won an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, and is regularly cited as one of the most influential science fiction films ever.

Slasher: 'Halloween' (1978)

- Director: John Carpenter
- IMDb user rating: 6.5
- Metascore: 67
- Runtime: 91 minutes

Countless remakes and sequels to John Carpenter's Halloween have been made over the years, and for good reason—many film buffs hold that it's the most influential horror flick of all time. The tale of serial killer Michael Myers terrorizing the citizens of Haddonfield, Illinois, sparked many trends within the slasher movie subgenre, like its central masked murderer and attention-grabbing synth score.

Night Of The Living Dead - horrormovie
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Zombie: 'Night of the Living Dead' (1968)

- Director: George A. Romero
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Metascore: 89
- Runtime: 96 minutes

Before the success of Evil Dead and The Walking Dead, there was George A. Romero's groundbreaking 1968 zombie film, in which flesh-eating creatures descend upon a rural Pennsylvania town. "The real-game changer for Night of the Living Dead...was Romero making the zombies into flesh-eating beings, creating an allegory of a society devouring itself from within," wrote Jon Towlson for the British Film Institute. Although Night of the Living Dead was met with mixed reviews upon its release, it has earned critical acclaim over the years.

Nature: 'Jaws' (1975)

- Director: Steven Spielberg
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Metascore: 87
- Runtime: 124 minutes

Largely responsible for creating the summer blockbuster as we know it, Jaws sees a local sheriff fighting to hunt down a killer shark who's devouring a beach community. Spielberg showed less of the shark in earlier scenes due to production problems, but this only built up suspense. Even in the 21st century, the film still manages to instill terror in many swimmers considering a dip in the ocean.

Psychological: 'Rosemary's Baby' (1968)

- Director: Roman Polanski
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Metascore: 96
- Runtime: 137 minutes

Based on Ira Levin's novel of the same name, this psychological horror masterpiece follows a woman (Mia Farrow) who believes that she's pregnant with the devil's spawn. In lieu of excessive violence and jump-scares, Polanski immerses us in effective psychological terror as we experience Rosemary's doubts and confusion. The film is largely credited with launching the "satanic pregnancy" movie trend, which extended into the 1970s.

Vampire: 'Nosferatu' (1922)

- Director: F.W. Murnau
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Metascore: data not available
- Runtime: 94 minutes

Nine years before Dracula hit theaters, this German Expressionist film was a major force in making vampires iconic in early cinema. An unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker's classic book, Nosferatu serves as a metaphor for irrepressible dread that we all carry inside ourselves and how it manifests in our turbulent world.

Monster: 'Bride of Frankenstein' (1935)

- Director: James Whale
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Metascore: 95
- Runtime: 75 minutes

One of the world's most iconic monsters gets a love interest in Bride of Frankenstein, giving way to an inimitable performance by Elsa Lanchester as the titular character. The film is a fascinating reversal of Eve's biblical origin story, as Frankenstein's mate is horrified and rejects him with rage. It's considered one of the greatest film sequels ever, and many critics even consider it to be an improvement upon its 1931 predecessor.

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Giallo: 'Suspiria' (1977)

- Director: Dario Argento
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Metascore: 79
- Runtime: 98 minutes

The Italian giallo genre, with its faceless killers, hyper-stylized gore, and lush color palettes, was a natural precursor to slasher films. One of the most notable examples is Dario Argento's Suspiria, which centers on a German ballet institute that's really a front for a coven of witches. The Technicolor fever dream encapsulates many classical giallo elements while also leaning into the paranormal.

Comedy: 'Evil Dead II' (1987)

- Director: Sam Raimi
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Metascore: 72
- Runtime: 84 minutes

After creating moments of camp and comedy in his original Evil Dead film, Raimi leaned fully into blood-spattered satire with Evil Dead II. The story sees the film's lone survivor, Ash (Bruce Campbell), retreat to a cabin with his girlfriend Linda (Denise Bixler), where they face hellish demons. With its excessive gore and physical comedy, the movie is a ghoulish blast.

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Supernatural: 'Carrie' (1976)

- Director: Brian De Palma
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Metascore: 85
- Runtime: 98 minutes

This unforgettable adaptation of Stephen King's debut novel centers on Carrie (Sissy Spacek), a sheltered, bullied teenage girl who develops powerful telekinetic powers upon hitting puberty. When she's covered in blood in the movie's centerpiece prom scene, she unleashes terror upon her classmates and her mother for rejecting her power and burgeoning desires. The prom scene proved to be so intricate that it took two weeks to film.

Found footage: 'The Blair Witch Project' (1999)

- Director: Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sánchez
- IMDb user rating: 6.5
- Metascore: 81
- Runtime: 81 minutes

The Blair Witch Project was a small indie film upon its release but went on to shape the found-footage horror subgenre as we know it today. The film follows three documentarians as they search for a mythical witch in the nearby woods. Blair Witch was also one of the first movies to receive a viral marketing campaign.

Werewolf: 'An American Werewolf in London' (1981)

- Director: John Landis
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Metascore: 60
- Runtime: 97 minutes

In this strong blend of horror and comedy, American tourists David (David Naughton) and Jack (Griffin Dunne) are attacked by an English creature and fear that they'll become werewolves. The film became the winner of the first Oscar for Best Makeup at the 54th Academy Awards.

Folk: 'The Wicker Man' (1973)

- Director: Robin Hardy
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Metascore: 87
- Runtime: 88 minutes

The Wicker Man became so synonymous with folk horror that Ari Aster had to consciously avoid it when creating Midsommar. Not to be confused with the poorly received 2006 remake starring Nicholas Cage, the 1973 film follows a visiting police officer (Edward Woodward) who encounters a small Scottish village where citizens partake in an ominous pagan ritual every year.

Body horror: 'Videodrome' (1983)

- Director: David Cronenberg
- IMDb user rating: 7.2
- Metascore: 60
- Runtime: 87 minutes

This trademark Cronenberg film revolves around Max, a small television station CEO who stumbles across a broadcast signal full of torture and violence, then begins to have bizarre hallucinations while uncovering a mind-control conspiracy. It's considered a hallmark of body horror for its employment of grotesque makeup and effects.

Gothic: 'Eyes Without a Face' (1960)

- Director: Georges Franju
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Metascore: 90
- Runtime: 90 minutes

This French film centers on Dr. Génnessier (Pierre Brasseur), who kidnaps young women and removes their faces in order to graft them onto that of his daughter Christine (Édith Scob), which was disfigured in an auto accident. Modernizing Gothic tropes of an eerie manor and the specter of guilt, Christine's disfigured mask is said to have been an inspiration for Michael Myers' iconic costume in Halloween.

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Crime: 'Se7en' (1995)

- Director: David Fincher
- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Metascore: 65
- Runtime: 127 minutes

Se7en follows a veteran-and-rookie detective pair (Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt, respectively) as they investigate a serial killer whose gruesome killings are based on the seven deadly sins. The film established David Fincher as a major American filmmaker and is the standout of a wave of 1990s serial killer-focused horror thrillers.

Surrealism: 'Eraserhead' (1977)

- Director: David Lynch
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Metascore: 87
- Runtime: 89 minutes

David Lynch reinvented midnight movies with Eraserhead, which tells the story of Henry Spencer (Jack Nance) dealing with the birth of his mutant baby. The movie is a one-of-a-kind showcase for Lynchian experimental detours and industrial textures, marking a historic example of avant-garde filmmaking.

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Anthology: 'Dead of Night' (1945)

- Director: various
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Metascore: data not available
- Runtime: 103 minutes

Dead of Night is about Walter Craig (Mervyn Johns), who finds himself stuck in a recurring nightmare and begins listening to a group's series of strange stories. The anthology segments were helmed by various directors (such as Basil Dearden and Robert Hamer), and the film reportedly inspired three cosmologists to create an alternative to the Big Bang Theory.

Splatter: 'Saw' (2004)

- Director: James Wan
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Metascore: 46
- Runtime: 103 minutes

Before Saw became a record-breaking horror franchise, the first installment introduced an iconic, gory new genre icon in Jigsaw. As the film begins, the serial killer has trapped two men (Leigh Whannell and Cary Elwes) in a filthy bathroom. They soon discover that they must solve a twisted puzzle that he has set for them to live.

Jidaigeki: 'Onibaba' (1964)

- Director: Kaneto Shindô
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Metascore: data not available
- Runtime: 103 minutes

Set within the Edo period of Japanese history (jidaigeki is Japanese for "period drama"), Onibaba centers on a woman (Nobuko Otowa) and her daughter-in-law (Jitsuko Yoshimura), who survive during a war by killing samurai and stealing their valuables. Sight & Sound's Michael Brooke noted that its "greatness and undimmed potency lie in the fact that it works both as an unnervingly blunt horror film and as a ...universal social critique."

Revenge: 'The Last House on the Left' (1972)

- Director: Wes Craven
- IMDb user rating: 6.0
- Metascore: 68
- Runtime: 84 minutes

While Wes Craven is best known for directing horror hits like A Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream, it was this early example of a rape-revenge film that really put him on the map. In The Last House on the Left, a group of escaped convicts capture and torture two teenage girls (Sandra Peabody and Lucy Grantham). When one victim's parents find out, gruesome revenge ensues.

Fantasy: 'The Golem' (1920)

- Director: Carl Boese, Paul Wegener
- IMDb user rating: 7.2
- Metascore: data not available
- Runtime: 91 minutes

Based on Jewish folklore, The Golem takes place in 16th-century Prague, where a rabbi creates a creature from clay in order to protect Jewish citizens from persecution. A classic of German Expressionist cinema, the 1920 film is the only surviving film of the three Golem-based projects that Paul Wegener made.

Hunchback- Horrormovie
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Melodrama: 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame' (1923)

- Director: Wallace Worsley
- IMDb user rating: 7.2
- Metascore: data not available
- Runtime: 133 minutes

Actor Lon Chaney cemented his status as a Hollywood horror star with The Hunchback of Notre Dame, playing disfigured bellringer Quasimodo, who protects a gypsy named Esmeralda from harm. The movie became Universal's most successful silent film at the time, with hammy acting and emotional heft that can only be categorized as melodramatic.

Home invasion: 'Funny Games' (1997)

- Director: Michael Haneke
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Metascore: 69
- Runtime: 108 minutes

In this Austrian psychological thriller, two distrubed men named Paul (Arno Frisch) and Peter (Frank Giering) take a family hostage and force them to take part in humiliating, violent games. Some of the true horror comes from the mix of terror and reality, as Paul often breaks the fourth wall to address the camera.

Witchcraft: 'The Witch' (2015)

- Director: Robert Eggers
- IMDb user rating: 6.9
- Metascore: 83
- Runtime: 92 minutes

The Witch opens in 17th-century New England, as a devout Puritan family unravels after encountering mysterious evil forces in the woods beyond their farm. With its atmospheric setting and committed cast, the film creates scares through its slow-build examination of religious hysteria and the dark, metaphorical liberation of witchcraft.

Mystery: 'The Seventh Victim' (1943)

- Director: Mark Robson
- IMDb user rating: 6.8
- Metascore: data not available
- Runtime: 71 minutes

When The Seventh Victim protagonist Mary (Kim Hunter) learns that her older sister (Jean Brooks) has vanished in New York City, her quest to solve the mystery of her sibling's disappearance results in her discovery of a sinister cult. The premise was reportedly inspired by screenwriter DeWitt Bodeen's real-life encounter with a New York satanic society.

Evil doll: 'Child's Play' (1988)

- Director: Tom Holland
- IMDb user rating: 6.6
- Metascore: 58
- Runtime: 87 minutes

When it comes to evil dolls, you'd be hard-pressed to find a longer-running, more iconic character than Chucky (Brad Dourif). In this cult favorite, a single mother (Catherine Hicks) gives her young son (Alex Vincent) a seemingly innocuous doll for his birthday, only to learn that this particular toy has been possessed by the spirit of a serial killer.

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The Bad Seed- horrormovie
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Evil children: 'The Bad Seed' (1956)

- Director: Mervyn LeRoy
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Metascore: 51
- Runtime: 129 minutes

Based on Maxwell Anderson's 1954 play, The Bad Seed is a strikingly effective horror noir that plays up the trope of a creepy child when housewife Christine (Nancy Kelly) begins to suspect that her 8-year-old daughter Rhoda (Patty McCormack) is a cold-blooded murderer. Among other Academy Award nods, Kelly and McCormack both received acting nominations.

Black comedy: 'Spider Baby or, The Maddest Story Ever Told' (1968)

- Director: Jack Hill
- IMDb user rating: 6.9
- Metascore: data not available
- Runtime: 81 minutes

In this wickedly dark comedy, chauffeur Bruno (Lon Chaney Jr.) cares for three siblings at their family estate. The three suffer from a fictional genetic disorder that causes them to reverse mentally in age and wreak manic chaos. While it was rather obscure upon release, it has since achieved cult status.

Evil clown: 'It' (1990)

- Director: Tommy Lee Wallace
- IMDb user rating: 6.8
- Metascore: data not available
- Runtime: 192 minutes

Stephen King's classic story of seven kids taking on an evil demon posing as a clown came to life on TV screens across the country with this 1990 miniseries. It received two Emmy nominations and is well-remembered for Tim Curry's darkly comedic turn as the titular villain.

Historical drama: 'The Devils' (1971)

- Director: Ken Russell
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Metascore: 49
- Runtime: 111 minutes

The Devils takes place in 17th-century France, where priest Urbain Grandier's (Oliver Reed) unorthodox views on religion and sex attract a loyal following of nuns before one sexually repressed nun (Vanessa Redgrave) accuses him of witchcraft. Loosely based on the real-life figure, the film was publicly condemned by the Vatican upon its release.

Western: 'Ravenous' (1999)

- Director: Antonia Bird
- IMDb user rating: 7.0
- Metascore: 46
- Runtime: 101 minutes

Ravenous opens at a remote army outpost on the Western frontier, where Captain John Boyd (Guy Pearce) leads his regiment on a rescue mission that takes a dark turn when they encounter a cannibal. Critic Roger Ebert described it as "the kind of movie where you savor the texture of the filmmaking," with moments of "shapeless gore."

Post-apocalyptic: 'The Last Man on Earth' (1964)

- Director: Ubaldo Ragona, Sidney Salkow
- IMDb user rating: 6.9
- Metascore: data not available
- Runtime: 86 minutes

In the world of The Last Man on Earth, a disease has turned all of humanity into zombie vampires besides one man—Dr. Robert Morgan (Vincent Price). The film is based on Richard Matheson's book I Am Legend, which was later adapted into the 2007 movie of the same name starring Will Smith.

Rocky Horror Picture Show-horrormovie
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Musical: 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show' (1975)

- Director: Jim Sharman
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Metascore: 65
- Runtime: 100 minutes

One of the most popular "midnight movies" ever made, "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" follows naive newlyweds Brad (Barry Bostwick) and Janet (Susan Sarandon), who are forced to seek help from the Transylvanian inhabitants of a creepy castle led by Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry). What unfolds is a music-filled romp filled with murder, bisexuality, and cannibalism.

Experimental: 'Un Chien Andalou' (1929)

- Director: Luis Buñuel, Salvador Dali
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Metascore: data not available
- Runtime: 16 minutes

A seminal Surrealist and avant-garde short film, Un Chien Andalou unfolds in a series of nonlinear, dreamlike sequences which include a woman's eye being cut open with a safety razor and a hand covered in ants. According to Luis Buñuel, the script was written in under a week, and it was a rule that no imagery with a rational or psychological explanation could be included.

Adventure: 'Jurassic Park' (1993)

- Director: Steven Spielberg
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Metascore: 68
- Runtime: 127 minutes

Although Steven Spielberg's groundbreaking dinosaur spectacle is best remembered as an action-adventure blockbuster, watching humans run from hungry dinosaurs still makes for a spine-tingling viewing experience. The film's T-Rex is one of the great modern movie monsters, and the animatronics that brought it to life marked a special effects milestone at the time.

Exploitation: 'Humanoids from the Deep' (1980)

- Director: Barbara Peeters
- IMDb user rating: 5.7
- Metascore: 49
- Runtime: 80 minutes

In Humanoids from the Deep, a scientist (Ann Turkel) and fisherman (Doug McClure) fight to stop mossy sea monsters that have begun terrorizing the locals. Emulating earlier exploitation films from the 1950s and '60s, Peeters' film leans into graphic nudity and gore to create its scares, this time with Creature from the Black Lagoon-esque creatures.

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Film noir: 'Hangover Square' (1945)

- Director: John Brahm
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Metascore: data not available
- Runtime: 77 minutes

Hangover Square has all of the deliciously dark elements of a good film noir: shadowy city streets, themes of sensual obsession and alienation, a mysterious crime, and an enticing femme fatale. The story begins as composer George Harvey Bone (Laird Cregar, who died a few months before the film was released) wakes with a bloody knife in his pocket and no memory of the night before. He meets and agrees to write a song for alluring singer Netta (Linda Darnell), but worries about his strange lapses in memory.

Family: 'The Legend of Sleepy Hollow' (1949)

- Director: Clyde Geronimi, Jack Kinney
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Metascore: data not available
- Runtime: 34 minutes

Originally part of an animated package film called The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, this family-friendly adaptation of Washington Irving's novel focuses on a romantic rivalry between a town hero and a new school teacher. However, Sleepy Hollow is soon threatened by the arrival of a Headless Horseman.

Cyberpunk: 'Hardware' (1990)

- Director: Richard Stanley
- IMDb user rating: 6.0
- Metascore: data not available
- Runtime: 94 minutes

High technology and a dystopian world coexist in Hardware, where nomads are now forced to scavenge in an America wrecked by atomic warfare. Ex-soldier Moses (Dylan McDermott) finds some spare android parts as a present for his girlfriend (Stacey Travis), and things take a hair-raising turn when the android reassembles itself and becomes homicidal.

War: 'Threads' (1984)

- Director: Mick Jackson
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Metascore: 92
- Runtime: 112 minutes

Nuclear warfare is the main source of horror in Threads, which follows young lovers Ruth (Karen Meagher) and Jimmy (Reece Dinsdale) as they fight to survive a nuclear attack launched near their hometown of Sheffield, England. The British TV film was nominated for seven BAFTAs and won four, including Best Single Drama.

Action: 'The Crow' (1994)

- Director: Alex Proyas
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Metascore: 71
- Runtime: 102 minutes

Adapted from James O'Barr's eponymous comics, The Crow centers on rock musician Eric Draven (Brandon Lee), who is resurrected after he and his fiancée are brutally killed by a gang on the night before their wedding. Now an avenger known as The Crow, Eric sets off on an action-filled journey to get revenge. Lead actor Lee infamously died during the movie's final days of shooting after he was wounded by blank ammunition.