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Top 20 Best Classic Horror Movies of All Time

Happy Halloween! If you’re a horror movie fanatic like me today is probably one of your favorite holidays. Here’s a fun list of movies that are sure to give the ‘thrills and chills’ that we all love.

With any good horror movie you have to have the evil killer kids, the haunted houses, demon possessions, zombies, virus outbreaks, vampires, werewolves, sharks, cannibalism, evil dolls, clowns, the good ole stalker slashers (serial killers), and monsters.

The way I am listing these movies is by naming the classics first followed by the movies they’ve inspired and paved the way for rather than just listing all my personal favorites cause that list would be way too long and ain’t nobody got time for that 🙂 . So if you are looking for a good horror movie to watch tonight, I got you covered!

A silhouette of a man stands in front of a house at night in a still from the film,’ The Exorcist’, directed by William Friedkin, 1973. (Photo by Warner Bros./Courtesy of Getty Images)
  1. The Exorcist (1973). Has to be hands down the best American classic horror movie of all time and one of the most profitable. The instrumental alone was rated one of the scariest and most recognizable. A visiting actress in Washington D.C. notices dramatic and dangerous changes in her adolescent daughter, Reagan. Meanwhile a young priest begins to doubt his faith while dealing with his mothers terminal illness. This movie has paved the way for every demonic possession type of movie like: The Exorcism of Emily Rose, The Last Exorcist, The Possession, The Devil Inside, Evil Dead, Insidious, and so many more. Remember the “spider walk” down the steps scene? *chefs kiss*.
Image retrieved from:Btchflicks.

2. Night of The Living Dead (1968). The ultimate zombie movie. A fight for survival while battling the undead. It’s completely in black & white and although the ending is really messed up, it’s still a good movie indeed. This movie has inspired movies like Night of The Living Dead (1990 version), Day of The Dead, Dawn of The Dead (2004), Land of The Dead, Flight of The Living Dead, and the very popular- The Walking Dead TV series which I love.

Retrieved from: Silentology.

3. Psycho (1960). The first stalker slasher movie. Is it the best? eh, that’s debatable but it’s a classic. Marion is on the run and stops at an isolated motel and meets the shy proprietor- Norman Bates that has a few secrets of his own. And I think everyone is familiar with the epic shower scene. The TV series- Bates Motel was inspired by it. For some reason, I never got a chance to finish Bates Motel so I might just binge the whole series over again to see how it ends.

Halloween (1978) Directed by John Carpenter Shown: Tony Moran (as Michael Myers). Retrieved from: Dread Central

4. Halloween (1978). The best stalker slasher movie in my opinion. Serial killer- Michael Myers kills teenage babysitters on Halloween night. This movie has inspired greats like Scream, Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, and I know What You Did Last Summer movie series. Jaime Lee Curtis is a very good actress. There are so many Halloween movies that I legit lost count and don’t even remember the last one I seen. Will this franchise ever get old?

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5. Dracula (1931). The beginning of the vampire movies. This movie focuses on Dracula moving to London to wreak blood suckin’ and seductive havoc on the foreign land while battling Van Helsing, his nemesis. Without Dracula we wouldn’t have movies like Dracula (1992 version), Blade, Queen of the Damned, Interview with The Vampire, Let The Right One In, The Twilight saga, the TV series- Dracula (2020 miniseries on Netflix), Buffy The Vampire Slayer and The Vampire Diaries.

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6. JAWS (1975). One of the most anticipated projects of it’s time directed by Steven Spielberg. A great white shark terrorizes beachgoers. An oceanographer and a shark hunter are hired to track the shark down. How to survive a shark movie? keep your ass out the water, period. Deep Blue Sea, Open Water, 47 Meters Down, The Shallows, and Shark Night are a few other shark horror/thriller movies.

7. A Tale of Two Sisters (2003). It’s not the oldest Korean horror film but it’s still rated as one of the best. This was my first introduction into Korean horror films and by far the scariest. This film inspired the 2009 remake called ‘The Uninvited‘, which was horrible but Korean movies have inspired a few American remakes, and they deserve their credit. Did you know The Grudge was a remake of the Korean film: Ju-On?. Also, Train to Busan is probably the scariest zombie movie. I have to say Korean horror films have some of the best cinematography I’ve ever seen.

Image retrieved from: People of the Black Circle

8. Invasion of The Body Snatchers (1978). A prime example of when the remake was actually way better than the original. The original version was created in 1956 but it was definitely outshined. This is honestly one of my top favorites. Mysterious plants/pods from outer space grow and invades a California town that causes humans to be replaced by alien duplicates. If you fall asleep the body snatchers will get you. Other movies that are similar to this are: Body Snatchers (1993), The Invasion, The Thing, and The Faculty.

Image retrieved from: Cryptic Crock

9. CandyMan (1992). The best introduction into the horror/history or southern/gothic genre. To this day, I still would not dare to say his name 5 times in the mirror. Growing up, I never saw a horror movie with a black man as the main antagonist and killer so this one really scared me. Representation matters. Beloved, Eve’s Bayou, and The Skeleton Key are all great examples of horror/history films. Even the recent Antebellum film (although it was a flop). If you really think about it, the TV series-LoveCraft Country is a horror/history genre mixed with fantasy. Because history can be scarier than the actual monsters.

Image retrieved from: CommentaramaFilms

10. Alien (1979). A staple film for the Sci-Fi/Horror genre. After a space merchant vessel receives an unknown distress call, one of their crew members is attacked by a mysterious life form. Which was such an epic gory scene. This movie stars Sigourney Weaver, who is another one of my favorite actresses. The Alien series includes: Alien Part One to Three, Alien: Resurrection (1997), Prometheus (2012), Alien: Covenant (2017). And has inspired others like: Predator (1987) and Alien vs. Predator (2004).

Retrieved from: Sub Cultured

11. The Haunting (1963). Don’t we love a good haunted house?. Dr. Markway doing research to prove the existence of ghosts investigates Hill House where its inhabitants have met violent deaths and insanity. He assembles a team of people that he think will help prove whether or not the house is haunted. House on Haunted Hill. The Amityville Horror, The Others, The Poltergeist, The Shining, Paranormal Activity, The Conjuring, and the TV series American Horror Story: Murder House are other greats concerning haunted houses. Check out the recent: Haunting of Hill House and The Haunting of Bly Manor on Netflix. They bring a great psychological twist.

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12. Rosemary’s Baby (1968). Rosemary and her husband move into a new apartment. Rosemary becomes suspicious of the friendly neighbors and even her own husband as she believes they are out to get her baby for their witch cult. Carrie, Suspiria, The Craft, The Witch, The Lords of Salem, The Blair Witch Project, and even the TV series- Charmed, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and American Horror Story: Coven are based on witches. Have you seen the trailer for The Craft: Legacy movie coming out soon? it’s giving cheesy Disney Channel vibes for sure. Some classics just need to be left alone. The Craft is my favorite witchy movie btw.

Image retrieved from: Slash Film

13. Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974). Two siblings and their friends on their way to visit their grandfathers grave run into a deformed chainsaw wielding maniac and his family of cannibalistic psychopaths. There are 8 other Texas Chainsaw Massacre/Leatherface movies in this series. The 2003 remake is probably my favorite. Things get even sicker with movies like The Hills Have Eyes and Wrong Turn.

Image retrieved from: Dread Central

14. Child’s Play (1988). I believe Chucky brings a much needed comedic relief to horror films. A bad mouthing’ children’s doll that terrorizes and murders people. While running from the police, a serial killer evokes his spirit into a popular child’s doll that is then gifted to an unsuspecting little boy. The Chucky saga also includes: Child’s Play– Part Two, Bride of Chucky, Seed of Chucky, Curse of Chucky, Cult of Chucky, and the 2019 Child’s Play remake. If you really want to be scared by a doll check out Annabelle and Dead Silence.

Image retrieved from: List Verse

15. IT (1990). It’s funny to me how so many people have a fear of clowns (I don’t), but this movie is probably why. Pennywise- ‘the dancing clown’ kidnaps young kids that are never to be seen again. I must say, the 2017 Pennywise looks very creepy. The 2017 remake is then followed by IT: Chapter Two (2019). Other scary clown movies: Terrifier, and All Hallow’s Eve.

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16. An American Werewolf in London (1981). Two American students on a walking tour in Britain are attacked by a werewolf that none of the locals will admit exists. This movie has inspired others like: Bad Moon, Ginger Snaps, Dog Soldiers, The Howling, Silver Bullet, and Michael Jackson’s- Thriller music video.

Image retrieved from: The Horror Syndicate

17. The Omen (1976). A married couple who just had a stillborn and while in the hospital is approached by a priest who offers a healthy newborn. Without telling his wife, the husband accepts the baby as their own not knowing that the child is literally the spawn of Satan. Other movies with evil kids that need their ass whooped: Sinister, Village of the Damned, Children of The Corn, The Ring, and Case 39.

Image retrieved from: The Telltale Mind

18. Frankenstein (1931). The first American horror movie ever made in the 19th century. A young scientist, Dr. Frankenstein tampers with life and death by creating a murderous monster using lifeless body parts. Frankenstein is basically the Godfather of all “monster” movie themes. Other similar movies include: Bride of Frankenstein, Son of Frankenstein, Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and the TV series- Penny Dreadful.

Image retrieved from: AIPT Comics

19. The Crazies (1973). An Iowa town is afflicted by a biological agent that turns those infected into violent killers. Being as though we are living through a global pandemic ourselves, horror movies based on virus outbreaks are even more scary because it’s really our reality now. The Crazies (2010 version), Cabin Fever, I am Legend, 28 Days Later, 28 Weeks Later, World War Z, Contracted, and Resident Evil are among other virus outbreak movies.

Image retrieved from: Screenrant

20. Final Destination (2000). It has been 20 years since the first Final Destination movie has been released and I believe this series has earned the right to be named a classic. What makes these movies so scary is the fact that some of these freak accidents can and have actually happened in real life. Plane crashes, pile-up car accidents on the highway, collapsing bridges, etc. Also, the movie SAW places people in very messed up ‘life or death’ scenarios too. These two movies will definitely have you squirming in your seat.

Honorable Mentions

  • Wishmaster (1997). Fantasy/Horror genre. Based on an evil Dijinn or Jinn (aka Genie) concept. One who wakes a Dijinn is granted three wishes, upon the third wish the Dijinn begins wrecking havoc by trapping the souls of people by feeding on their fears.

Also, I think movies based on the apocalypse can be pretty scary too like the movie ‘2012‘ for instance. Remember when everyone thought the world was ending back then? and here we are in 2020. There are some other movies worthy of becoming classics like: The Purge series, Silent Hill, US, and Get Out.

Jordan Peele is the director to look out for. I love the psychological aspects he brings and how he casts more black actors and actresses that aren’t the first to die. I cannot wait for the release of his new CandyMan movie. Last but not least, some down-right disturbing horror movies are: I Spit on Your Grave which is very triggering for sexual assault and rape victims, Last House on The Left (1972), Cannibal Holocaust (1980) although I never seen this movie the reviews were not good, The Human Centipede, and basically all of Rob Zombie films 🙂

Have a Spook-Tacular Day!

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Till next time,

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