If you’re asking for a recommendation for a horror movie to watch, it really depends on your personal preferences. However, there are some horror movies that have gained a reputation as classics and are considered must-sees by many fans of the genre. Here are top 10 horor movie all the time:
1. The Exorcist (1973)
“The Exorcist” is a 1971 novel by American writer William Peter Blatty, which was later adapted into a highly successful horror film directed by William Friedkin in 1973. The story centers around a young girl named Regan, who becomes possessed by a demon, and the efforts of two priests, Father Karras and Father Merrin, to exorcise the demon from her body.
The novel and film were both highly controversial upon their release due to their graphic depictions of violence and blasphemy, and they have since become classic works of horror in popular culture. The film in particular has been praised for its direction, cinematography, and performances, and is widely considered to be one of the greatest horror films ever made.
2. The Shining (1980)
“The Shining” is a horror novel written by American author Stephen King, first published in 1977. The story follows the Torrance family, consisting of Jack, Wendy, and their son Danny, as they spend a winter as caretakers of the isolated Overlook Hotel in the Colorado Rockies. As the winter progresses, the hotel’s sinister past begins to manifest itself, driving Jack to insanity and violence.
The novel was adapted into a highly successful film in 1980 by director Stanley Kubrick, starring Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance. The film deviated significantly from the novel, but remains a highly regarded horror classic in its own right. A television miniseries adaptation of the novel was also made in 1997, starring Steven Weber as Jack Torrance.
3. Psycho (1960)
“Psycho” is a psychological horror film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, released in 1960. The film is based on the novel of the same name by Robert Bloch, which was loosely inspired by the real-life serial killer Ed Gein. The plot follows Marion Crane, a secretary who embezzles money from her employer and goes on the run, eventually arriving at the Bates Motel, owned by Norman Bates and his mother. The film is notable for its twist ending and has been praised for its suspenseful storytelling, cinematography, and performances, particularly that of Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates. “Psycho” is considered a classic in the horror genre and has had a significant impact on popular culture.
4. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
“The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” is a classic horror film that was released in 1974. It was directed by Tobe Hooper and written by Hooper and Kim Henkel. The movie follows a group of friends who encounter a family of cannibalistic psychopaths while traveling through rural Texas.
The film is known for its graphic violence and disturbing imagery, as well as its use of handheld camera techniques and low-budget production values. It has been cited as a seminal work in the horror genre and has influenced many subsequent films.
The character of Leatherface, the chainsaw-wielding killer, has become a cultural icon and has been featured in numerous sequels, prequels, and spin-offs. Despite its notoriety, “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” was met with mixed reviews upon its initial release, but has since gained a cult following and is regarded as a classic of horror cinema.
5. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
“The Silence of the Lambs” is a psychological thriller film released in 1991, directed by Jonathan Demme and based on the novel of the same name by Thomas Harris. The movie follows FBI trainee Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) as she seeks the help of the incarcerated serial killer, Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), in catching another serial killer who is on the loose.
The film is known for its intense performances, especially Hopkins’ portrayal of the charismatic and cannibalistic Dr. Lecter, which earned him an Academy Award for Best Actor. The movie also won four other Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, and Best Adapted Screenplay.
“The Silence of the Lambs” has been praised for its taut storytelling, psychological depth, and themes of gender and power. It has become a cultural touchstone and has influenced many subsequent films and TV shows in the thriller and horror genres. The movie’s legacy continues to endure, with Hannibal Lecter being widely regarded as one of the greatest movie villains of all time.
6. Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
“Rosemary’s Baby” is a novel by Ira Levin, published in 1967, which was later adapted into a film directed by Roman Polanski in 1968. The story follows Rosemary Woodhouse, a young wife living in an apartment in New York City with her husband Guy. The couple is excited when they find out they are expecting their first child, but as Rosemary’s pregnancy progresses, she becomes increasingly paranoid that something sinister is happening to her and her unborn child.
Rosemary begins to suspect that her neighbors, a group of elderly people with a strange interest in her pregnancy, are part of a satanic cult that wants to use her baby for their own nefarious purposes. She eventually discovers that her suspicions are true, and that the baby growing inside her is, in fact, the spawn of Satan.
The novel and the film have both been widely acclaimed for their exploration of themes such as paranoia, motherhood, and the occult. “Rosemary’s Baby” is considered a classic of horror fiction and has had a significant impact on the genre.
7. Jaws (1975)
“Jaws” is a novel by Peter Benchley, published in 1974, which was later adapted into a film directed by Steven Spielberg in 1975. The story is set in the fictional seaside town of Amity Island, and follows the experiences of police chief Martin Brody, oceanographer Matt Hooper, and professional shark hunter Quint as they try to catch a giant man-eating great white shark that is terrorizing the town’s beaches.
The novel and the film were both highly successful, with the film in particular becoming a cultural phenomenon and a landmark in the history of cinema. “Jaws” is widely regarded as one of the greatest horror films of all time and is known for its iconic score, its suspenseful pacing, and its expert use of practical effects to create a sense of terror.
The success of “Jaws” also had a significant impact on popular culture, and is often credited with popularizing the “summer blockbuster” format of big-budget, high-concept films that are released during the summer months. The novel and the film have been adapted and referenced in various media, and the character of the shark has become an enduring symbol of terror in popular culture.
8. Alien (1979)
“Alien” is a science-fiction horror film directed by Ridley Scott and released in 1979. The film is set on board the commercial spaceship Nostromo, where the crew is awakened from cryogenic sleep to investigate a distress signal coming from an unknown planet. During their investigation, they discover a derelict alien spaceship and a nest of eggs containing a deadly extraterrestrial creature.
The creature, which has acid for blood and can quickly grow to an enormous size, begins to pick off the crew members one by one. The surviving crew, led by warrant officer Ellen Ripley (played by Sigourney Weaver), must fight for their lives as they try to outsmart the creature and find a way to destroy it.
“Alien” is known for its tense and claustrophobic atmosphere, as well as its groundbreaking visual and practical effects that created the iconic and terrifying creature. The film was a critical and commercial success, and is often considered one of the greatest science-fiction and horror films of all time. It has since spawned a franchise of sequels, prequels, and spin-offs, as well as numerous books, comics, and video games.
9. Halloween (1978)
“Halloween” is a horror film directed by John Carpenter and released in 1978. The film follows the story of Michael Myers, a young boy who murders his sister on Halloween night in 1963 and is subsequently institutionalized. Fifteen years later, Michael escapes from the mental hospital and returns to his hometown of Haddonfield, Illinois, where he begins to stalk and kill teenage babysitters on Halloween night.
The film is known for its minimalist and suspenseful approach to horror, with Carpenter’s use of a haunting musical score and a persistent, unstoppable killer creating a sense of dread and tension throughout the film. The character of Michael Myers has since become an iconic figure in horror, with his masked appearance and silent, emotionless demeanor inspiring numerous imitators in popular culture.
“Halloween” was a critical and commercial success, and has since spawned a franchise of sequels, remakes, and spin-offs. The original film remains highly regarded as a classic of the horror genre, and has had a significant influence on the development of the slasher film sub-genre.
10. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
“Night of the Living Dead” is a horror film directed by George A. Romero and released in 1968. The film follows the story of a group of strangers who are trapped in a farmhouse in rural Pennsylvania during a zombie apocalypse. As the dead begin to rise and attack the living, the survivors must band together and try to fend off the relentless and hungry horde of zombies.
The film was notable for its gruesome and graphic depictions of violence, as well as its social commentary on race relations in the United States. The character of Ben, played by Duane Jones, was a groundbreaking figure as one of the first black protagonists in a mainstream horror film.
“Night of the Living Dead” was a critical and commercial success, and has since become a cult classic of the horror genre. It has inspired numerous sequels, remakes, and imitators, as well as influencing the development of the zombie sub-genre of horror. The film is widely regarded as a landmark in horror filmmaking and a testament to the power of independent cinema.