The best horror movies aren’t just scary. Sure, that’s their main goal but the best horror movies are the ones that stay lurking in your grey matter indefinitely. The ones that even a good marmalade sandwich can’t fix. These are the movies that sidle into your brain just as you fall asleep, trying not to think about what looms in the darkness in the corner of your bedroom. Plus, horror movies don’t have it easy. We’ve all got our own, very personal, set of fears and scare directors have the hard job of trying to terrify everyone at once.
This post of the best horror movies then is a gift box of perfect scares. A delicious tasting menu of different kinds of terror. A little supernatural menace here… A tantalizing sprinkle of demonic possession there. There are only 25 movies on this list, making every entry exceptionally highly contested. What was most important though was the right balance of old and new. It would be easy to fill this list with just the stone-cold classics but modern horror is just too good to miss. Streaming services are teeming with fresh scares from the likes of Jordan Peele, Ari Aster, and James Wan and it’s worth celebrating. This is Thebiem’s list of the 25 best horror movies you should watch right now.
25. A Nightmare on Elm Street
As the name suggest its a story of a nightmare Fred Krueger, who kills teens in their dreams. Fred Krueger was known as the Springwood Slasher who murdered several children in the early 1980s. He had a straight razor blade attached to glove fingers from which he used to kill children. He was burned alive by the angry parents, whose children he terrorised or killed. After a few years of his killing the living children (now teens)of the few parents responsible for Fred’s death, start getting nightmares in which a man with a disfigured face and wearing a glove with a razor blade starts hurting them. This nightmare turns out to be real, and the question arises on the survival of the teens.
A Nightmare on Elm Street was one of the best horror movies of the 1980s, as it came up with a new theme and was praised worldwide. It was so popular that it had many sequels and even a television series. Many promising actors were part of this movie during their young days.
24. The Conjuring
The Conjuring series revolves around well-known cases which the famous paranormal investigators and authors Warrens encountered. The first film depicted the Perron family’s case, facing unexplainable disturbing events in their new shifted house in Rhode Island. The story starts when a family of 7(Husband, wife and five daughters) and a dog enter a new home. Just after a few nights, they start witnessing paranormal activity. For help, they contact paranormal investigators Warren couple, who helped them in solving the haunting.
The second film is based on The Enfield poltergeist case in London in the later 1970s. Here the movie starts when Lorraine witness Ed being impaled by a nun figure during a seance. After a few years, the Hodgson family in London began to experience strange occurrences. Some researchers claim it to be a prank for getting media attention, but some believed it to be true. The horror sequence in this movie is nevertheless remarkable.
The Conjuring films are famous for giving some of the best horrors in the previous years. And its third instalment is prepared to come in mid of 2021. These critically acclaimed and the audience appreciated movies are worth your time.
23. The Exorcism of Emily Rose
The Exorcism of Emily Rose questions the fundamentals of religion and evil. The story shows a court case where a priest is charged with the negligent homicide of a 19-year-old student Emily Rose, during her exorcism. During the trial, the statements of witnesses were visualized as flashbacks. Prosecutor interrogated several doctors and witnesses in order to prove the case is of sheer medical nature. Emily Rose was a young girl with the passion of becoming a teacher. She was very religious and was regular to the church. Her college life ended when Emily had to drop out of her college due to her constant delusions and muscle spasms at 3:00 am. She started taking medical help, but when everything failed, her parents contacted priest Moore.
Moore wanted to tell Emily’s story to all, gives his testimony. Meanwhile, Council for the Priest Moore started experiencing strange things like waking up at 3: am with the smell of burning metal. Moore warned her of demonic targets she may be facing by working on this case. The case further exceeded, conflicting the path of science and supernatural dealings.
The movie is based on the true story of Anneliese Michel as written in the book “The Exorcism of Anneliese Michel” by Dr Felicitas Goodman. It was a famous story in popular culture too, and audios of original exorcism highly inspired the exorcism scenes.
22. Ju-On: The Grudge
Popularly known as The Grudge, it is the third instalment in the American-Japanese horror movie franchise, Ju-On. The story centres a house that is haunted by the curse of various grudges. The story takes place 7 years after the main plot, where a man named Takeo killed his wife Kayako, son and a family cat. The new family is now occupying the house where they have also eaten upon by the grudge curse. Now an old member of the family left all alone, and so for her caretaking, a volunteer Rika was sent to the house. Rika witnesses the death of an old lady and faints from the shock. Her boss went to the same house to find Rika and contacted the police. Later on, the detectives find the dead bodies of other people and unconscious Rika, who is now haunted by the ghost.
The story does not end there. Detectives start investing the case, and on knowing the history of the house, contact the previous investigator. The curse remains affective, taking many more lives and families.
21. The Ring
The Ring is the American remake of a classic J-horror, ‘Ringu’, which came out in 1998. It starts when an unknown videotape becomes the cause of several teenagers death 7 days after watching it. Rachel is the aunt of one of the dead teens, Katie. She is an investigator and lives with his son Aidan who is a spirit medium to some extent. She visits Shelter Mountain Inn, where Katie stayed, and discovers the cursed videotape.
Rachel watches the tape, which contains disturbing, gruesome imagery. As the tape ends, Rachel receives a phone call from an unknown caller who whispers “seven days”. Rachel makes a copy of the videotape and asks her ex-boyfriend for investigating. She starts feeling supernatural instance around her after 7 days and also caught her son watching the same videotape. Now the only way to save them all is to know the history of the cursed tape. But will this even uplift the curse ever?
20. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
The story takes place in an isolated Iranian town called Bad City. The place smells of death and isolation. In addition, the people of this ghost town are oblivious to the fact that they are being crept up on a lonely Vampire.
This is a refreshing take on the vampire genre. The movie is more like a horror than a thriller because, after a point, it becomes a heinous task for the people to find who the vampire is. Above all, the movie has a brilliant art and set design which gives this town an eerie vibe. In addition to this, the performances are top-notch. This earns it a spot in our best horror movies list.
Blade has only one ambition in a world where Vampires roam around among us: To kill them. He confronts a vampire who goes on and bites Dr. Karen Jenson. He takes Karen to his hideout to help recover her after fighting the vampire that bit her. The vampire that bit Karen, Quinn, attends to his master and tells him about the fight with Blade. Also, Deacon Frost, the master of Quinn, has some ruthless plans for humanity.
Blade is the first comic book movie to be rated ‘R’. This means that we get some sweet sweet ass kicking and blood and gore. The movie is so entertaining. In fact, many people say that movies like this paved way for the recent ‘R’ rated movies like Deadpool and Logan. This is one of the best comic book movies during it’s release time as Marvel had only made cringy movies back then before the MCU we know and love now. This movie still holds up and for this reason, this takes a place in our best horror movies list.
18. From Dusk Till Dawn
Brothers Seth Gecko, a bank robber, and Richard Gecko, a psychopath, and rapist continue to commit crime after a heist in Abilene with a lot of victims. They decide to go to Mexico to escape from the police. On their way, they stop at a motel to take rest but one thing leads to another and Richie ends up killing their hostage.
Just when things become hard for the Geckos, the Fuller Family comes into the picture. Seth takes them as prisoners and the Geckos and Fullers cross the border triumphantly. They stop at a salon called “The Titty Twister” where the Geckos are supposed to encounter their senior in the morning. But all is not as smooth as it seems. When the moon shows up in the sky, everyone in the salon, from the stripper to the workers, turn in to vampires. So the Geckos and Fullers have to find a way to survive the night without getting themselves killed.
This movie is so great because of how fun it is. The story is just insane and the screenplay by Tarantino only makes it a thousand times better. The dialogues, the banter between the Geckos and Fuller and within the brothers themselves are so well done. In addition to all of this, the acting by George Clooney and Tarantino is scintillating. This is definitely one of the best horror movies of all time.
17. Bram Stoker’s Dracula
A young lawyer (Jonathan Harker), is sent to a shadowy village situated in Eastern Europe. Dracula, the most legendary vampire in the world, arrests and detains him. After looking at a picture of the lawyer’s fiance, Dracula decides to go to London to betroth her. Her name is Mina Murray. Also, in Britain, he starts his reign of temptation/seduction and terror. In doing so, he ends up sucking the life out of Mina’s best friend, Lucy Westenra. In their defense, Lucy’s friends decide to finish Dracula once and for all.
This was a triumph in many ways. Dracula has always been a fascinating character and many people have tried their own spin on the tale. But satisfying the fans is a really difficult task. Because almost all adaptations deviated from the original. When people came to know that Francis Ford Coppola is to direct a Dracula movie, it got them excited. He delivered what was expected of him. The source material deserved what it needed. In short, the grittiness and honesty with which this movie is made make it one of the classics of the best horror movies list.
16. Interview with the Vampire
Louis is a plantation owner. He lost his wife due to childbirth and it hasn’t even been a year since that happened. In other words, it haunts him even now. He has given up on life as both his wife and child are no more. He feels a void in his life that nothing can fill. Lestat, a vampire, begins to like Louis and offers him to become a creature of the dark night: A Vampire. After that, Louis agrees and Lestat drinks the blood from Louis’s body. Also, he then fills his Louis’s body with his very own blood. Therefore, this turns Louis into a Vampire. Now, Louis must begin to learn how to live as a Vampire from his mentor, Lestat.
This is an amazing movie because it begins as a melodrama but after a point, it changes gears. It turns into a fish out of water story and this provides the necessary comedic moments. The performance of the lead actors is phenomenal. Tom Cruise IS Lestat, for instance. It is very hard to tell if he is acting or just being himself. Also, Brad Pitt is stunning as Louis and gives a moving performance. So many things make this one of the best horror movies.
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15. Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust
It is thousands of years in the future. Vampires used to control the night. They ruled it. But bounty hunters reduced these numbers so much with their fearlessness and rage. D is one such hunter. In fact, he is a halfbreed male child of a mother who’s a human and a father who’s a vampire. A man from a sophisticated family hires D and the Marcus brothers (the opponent group of hunters) when his daughter is kidnapped by Meier Link, a Vampire. As the hunters battle their way through Meier’s chartered force, they begin to doubt that the daughter might’ve gone willingly with Meier Link.
Many people consider this exceptional movie to be a masterpiece. In fact, critics of anime place it at the top when it comes to the vampire genre. Since our protagonist, D, is a vampire, he is constantly questioned about his place in society. This creates conflict between him and the people surrounding him. Also, the action in the movie insanely good. In fact, it is one of the bloodiest anime. But it is also a slow burn. Therefore, the movie can be slow at some parts. But it is slow because it has to set up a few things for a huge payoff in the end. This is an instant classic and earns a place in our best horror movies list.
14. Night of the Living Dead
Barbra and Johnny pay a visit to their father’s grave in an isolated graveyard when they are abruptly set upon by zombies. Barbra survives and gets away and takes shelter in what seems to be a deserted farmhouse. She is shortly joined by Ben who halted at the house in need of gas. Plagued by the walking dead all surrounding them Ben does his most to secure the doors and windows. The news announcements are dreary however with the dead coming back to life everywhere. Barbra and Ben are startled when they notice there are five people hiding out in the basement; Harry, Helen, and Karen Cooper and a young couple, Tom and Judy. Dissensions sets in almost immediately with Harry Cooper wanting to be in charge. As their situation worsens, their odds of surviving the night reduces minute by minute.
This is a part of George A. Romero’s Zombie trilogy. That itself should make any moviegoer get excited because he is a person who takes the simplest plot in the world and crafts a brilliant movie. That is why it earns a spot in our best horror movies list.
13. Dawn of the Dead
Continuing from the incidents of Night of the Living Dead (1968), we follow the story of four survivors of the expanding zombie apocalypse. The story continues as they take shelter in an isolated shopping mall following a horrifying SWAT clearance of an apartment complex. Taking from their surroundings, they arm themselves, lock down the mall, and obliterate the zombies inside. They do so that they can eke out a living at least for a while. Pressure begins to build as months go on, and they come to notice that they’ve fallen prey to consumerism. Soon after that, they have even hefty problems to worry about. This is because a huge gang of bikers find the mall and invade it, ruining the survivors’ best-laid plans. Also, it forces them to fight off both dangerous bikers and flesh-eating walking dead.
Another one of Sergio A. Romero’s classic, this one is the best of his movies for many of the fans. This movie is known for its chilling practical effects. In fact, I think it is safe to say that Romero did it way before John Carpenter made it famous. It is one of the best zombie movies out there and earns a place in our best horror movies list.
12. Perfect Blue
J-pop idol group CHAM! has spent the last 2 years entertaining its fans. Sadly, all good things must come to an end. CHAM! must see one in each of its members, Mima Kirigoe, leave the group to pursue her acting career. While Mima’s alternate choice is met with a mixed response, she hopes her fans can still support her.
However, Mima’s life begins to change drastically after her departure from the group. Wanting to get rid of her pop-idol image, she takes on a role in a crime drama series. But her career as an actress gradually becomes more demanding and taxing for both Mima and her manager, Rumi Hidaka. To add to Mima’s growing unease, one obsessed fan who is incapable of agreeing that Mima has quit being one innocent idol begins stalking her; a brand new anonymous web site begins to impersonate her life with intricate detail. Also, CHAM! also appears to be doing better without her. One by one, each disturbing development drives Mima to become increasingly unhinged. Sadly, she is unable to distinguish reality from fantasy.
This is a very sad anime. It deals with pain, sorrow, failure and many other human emotions. This makes it very relatable. The horror aspect of this movie will keep you awake at night for a very long time. Sometimes it creepy and most of the time it is bone chilling. Also, it also shows us how fast one can lose stardom. This strong story earns this movie a spot in our best horror movies list.
A movie about two homicide detectives’ hopeless search for a serial killer. This serial killer justifies his murders as forgiveness for the world’s ignorance of the Seven Deadly Sins. The film takes us from the tortured body of one victim to the other as the psychopathic “John Doe” preaches to Detectives Somerset and Mills one sin at a time. The sin of Gluttony arrives first and the killer’s dreadful capacity is graphically revealed in the dark and somber characteristic tones of film noir. The experienced and educated but exhausted Somerset analyses the Seven Deadly Sins in an attempt to understand the killer’s methodology. At the same time, the sharp but green and impetuous Detective Mills mocks at Detective Somerset’s efforts to get inside the mind of a killer…
Anyone who says that Se7en is not a horror movie hasn’t watched it. Everyone’s first reaction after watching the movie will be that it is very creepy and unsettling. These two words are the definition of horror; that is what horror movies are supposed to do to you. And thus, this movie definitely deserves a spot in our best horror movies list.
10. Let the Right One In
The story takes place in the Stockholm suburb of Blackeberg in 1982. Oskar is a twelve-year-old boy. His only goal in life at that point is to get revenge. He begins to fall in love with Eli, a mysterious girl. She can’t stand under the sun or eat garlic. In addition to all this, she needs to be called in for her to enter the room. Eli provides Oskar with enough power to fight back his enemies. But Oskar comes to know that Eli is a vampire. In other words, she needs to drink blood to survive in this world. Now Oskar is in a dilemma. Should he stay with Eli or leave her and face his problems on his own?
This one is not for the faint-hearted. Some sequences in this movie are bone-chilling and make you shiver. This is also a very clever movie. That is, it respects the viewer’s IQ. The scares are so organic and the jump scares are very minimal. It feels more like an art film for commercial viewers. Movies like this come once in a lifetime and people need to embrace it with open arms. And this special movie earns a spot in our best horror movies list.
09. Rosemary’s Baby
Wishing of beginning a family, the youthful Catholic housewife, Rosemary Woodhouse, and her striving actor husband, Guy, move into the Bramford. It is New York’s most iconic structure; it is filled with uncomfortable stories of uncertain dwellers and frightful occurrences. Before long, the young couple becomes friends with their older and somewhat weird next door neighbors, Roman and Minnie Castevet. And soon after, Rosemary unpredictably gets pregnant. But, little by little, as the inexpert mother gets completely cut off from her circle and friends. Also, alarming clues of a well-thought and evil conspiracy will begin to unfold, enveloping Rosemary in a shroud of doubt and mental torment. In the end, why is everyone so conveniently eager to help; also, why is Guy letting it all happen?
Before Roman Polanski was known for various other things, he was celebrated as the man who made this classic. Rosemary’s Baby-inspired many of the cult movies that are being made today. We don’t get the feeling that the protagonist is safe even for a minute. That is a Himalayan achievement when it comes to the horror genre. And it definitely grabs a spot in our best horror movies list.
08. The Exorcist
A visiting actress in Washington D.C. senses dramatic and life-threatening changes in the behavior and physique of her twelve-year-old daughter. In the meantime, a young priest at the close by Georgetown University starts to doubt his faith. This is because he is dealing with his mother’s extreme sickness. And, book-ending the story, a feeble, old priest realizes the importance of a showdown with an old demonic entity.
For many people, this film is the definition of horror. The reason this is not in our numero uno spot is that this movie is never subtle. It is unsettling and creepy from the very first shot of the Pazuzu statue we see in Iraq. And once the girl is possessed, this movie never stops; It is always in top gear. It is an advantage, for sure because there is no movie like The Exorcist. There is literally no movie in the world that will scar you this movie will. That is why it is praised by many people and legendary directors. And it is our pleasure to include this movie in our best horror movies list.
07. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
At a carnival in the village of Hostenwall, Dr. Caligari gets a permit to set up his show. Also, It stars the twenty-three-year-old Cesare. She is a Somnambulist and she has been asleep for 23 years. Francis and his friend Alan visit the admired show. Also, Alan asks Cesare in his dazed state to tell him about his future. Cesare foresees that he will die that very night. And Alan is in fact found dead in the morning it appears to be just one of many such offenses recently. Francis is dead set to find his friend’s murderer. Also, he is determined all the more so after Cesare tries to abduct his fiancée. He follows him to an insane asylum and not everything is as it seems.
This a very old film but that does not mean it is not effective for today’s audience. It is a timeless classic and has terrified generations of viewers. And thus, it earns a spot in our best horror movies list.
The spouse and schoolteacher of a vicious boarding school headmaster plan to kill him. They submerge him in the bathtub and dispose of the body in the school’s dirty swimming pool. But when the pool is emptied, the body appears to have disappeared. Also, the following reported sightings of the headmaster steadily drive his ‘murderers’ (and the audience) to insanity with almost intolerable suspense.
05. What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
In a story that practically redefines sibling rivalry, waned actresses Blanche and ‘Baby’ Jane Hudson live together. Jane was by far the most celebrated when she performed with their dad in burlesque. But as they became older, it was Blanche who became the famous actress, which Jane still hates. Blanche is now restricted to a wheelchair and Jane is the one in control. As time passes by, Jane exercises more and more control over her sister, stopping her letters and making sure that very from the outside has any contact with her. As Jane steadily loses her mind, she tortures her sister by going to even greater extremes.
04. The Thing
The story takes place in a US research station in Antarctica during the early-winter of 1982. The station is suddenly attacked by a helicopter from the close by Norwegian research station. They are trying to murder a dog that has absconded from their base. After the blasting of the Norwegian helicopter, the members of the US team fly to the Norwegian base. They go to that base only to find out that all of them are either dead or missing. They do discover the remains of an unknown monster the Norwegians torched.
The Americans carry it to their base and infer that it is an alien life form. After a given amount of time, it is evident that the alien can take over and transform into other life forms, including humans. Also, it can spread like a virus. This means that any person at the station could be a victim to The Thing, and tensions develop.
This movie was unanimously hated by everyone who watched it when the movie released. It is the second best laugh out loud moment in Hollywood horror history. Literally, every single person who watched it on day one hated it. But after so many years, people finally came to their senses and realized how wrong they were. This movie is a masterpiece in terms of practical effects. Also, this movie has one of the best horror soundtracks ever composed. This is a classic that needs to be celebrated and earns a spot in our best horror movies list.
In the faraway future, the members of the commercial spaceship Nostromo are on their way home. On their way home, they pick up a distress signal from a faraway moon. The crew is under the agreement to investigate and the spaceship descends on the moon afterward. After a rough landing, three crew members leave the spaceship to probe the area on the moon. During their search, they find a hive colony of some unknown alien species. Soon they realize that the ship’s computer decodes the message to be a warning and not a distress call. When one of the eggs hatches and the species latches on to a crew member’s face, the crew understands that they are not alone on the spaceship. And they must deal with the consequences.
There is nothing new to say about this movie. There are very few movies that are perfect; Alien is one of them. That is I am going to say. Grab a popcorn and get ready to be terrified.
Phoenix office employee Marion Crane is done with the way life has treated her. She has to see her boyfriend Sam during lunch breaks. Also, they can’t get married as Sam has to give almost all of his money away as alimony. One weekend eve, Marion is asked to deposit forty thousand dollars by her boss. Seeing the chance to take the money and begin a brand new life, Marion absconds from town and heads towards Sam’s California store. Exhausted after the prolonged drive and caught in a storm, she slips down the main highway and stops at the Bates Motel. The motel is supervised by a quiet and eccentric young lad called Norman who seems to be controlled by his mother.
The above-mentioned plot of the movie is only the first thirty to forty minutes of the movie. That is all you need to know about the movie. All of us have heard about this movie even if we have never watched it. It is a classic and has inspired a countless number of directors. Horror movies can be divided into two: the ones before psycho and the ones after psycho. That is how impactful it is. It is our honor to have this masterpiece in our best horror movies list.
01. The Shining
Underwriting a contract, Jack Torrance, a writer and also a former teacher accepts to take care of a hotel. This is a hotel that has a lengthy, brutal past that puts every person in the hotel in an anxious situation. While Jack steadily becomes more vicious and vexed of his life, his son Danny tries to use a special power of his, the “Shining”. He tries to use it to notify the people outside about everything odd that is happening in the hotel.
There is no movie like The Shining. It is the definition of horror. This movie understands that horror doesn’t always have to be about gore and creepy creatures; sometimes even a simple thing like a person’s descent into madness or two twins standing at the end of a creepy hallway can give you nightmares. The infamous Stanley Hotel is not just a place where shit hits the fan; it is a living entity. The characters are never safe because the entire hotel is dangerous. Kubrick yet again proves he is the best in the business. And if you have not watched it, what are you doing with your life? Go on and watch it, for god’s sake.