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Top 10 horror movies everyone needs to watch at least once. We are looking for the best horror movies that anyone with an interest in the genre must check out.
- 1. Number 10: Halloween (1978)
- 2. Number 09: Alien (1979)
- 3. Number 08: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
- 4. Number 07: Night of the Living Dead (1968)
- 5. Number 06: Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
- 6. Number 05: The Exorcist (1973)
- 7. Number 04: The Shining (1980)
- 8. Number 03: Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
- 9. Number 02: Jaws (1975)
- 10. Number 01: Psycho (1960)
Number 10: Halloween (1978)
John Carpenter’s seminal horror movie looks dated compared to today’s more violent and blood-soaked slashers, but it absolutely require some watching. Like all great slashers, the story is simple.
On Halloween night, the masked Michael Myers stalks a group of teenagers and systematically kills one by one. Myers is perhaps the most iconic slasher in horror movies history. Jamie Lee Curtis makes her brilliant debut as young Lori Strode.
The movie does a lot with a little generating scare from a distant figure staring at the characters and various creepy music cues. You can ignore the numerous sequels, but you cannot overlook the 1978 classic.
Number 09: Alien (1979)
When it comes to space horror, it doesn’t get much better than Alien. Alien could have made in the 21st century, such as the strength of its set design, performances, and practical effects. Nothing about this film has been dated, and it’s just as effective today as it was in 1979.
Like Halloween, this story is your basic slasher. An alien gets loose on a spaceship and huts the crew. But Ridley Scott’s assured direction prevents things from getting corny and cliché. And Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley is one of the best protagonists in horror history.
Number 08: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
This is perhaps one of the rawest and most visceral films ever released. Showing no on-screen blood or gore made for as little as 80,000 dollars, the Texas Chain saw Massacre has the atmosphere of a snuff film. The cheap, low-budget aesthetic lends it a dirty and grimy feeling like maybe we are watching something we shouldn’t watch.
It’s just pure backwoods violence and evil. And also, it will likely be too much for some viewers. In fact, this film was highly controversial upon release, with a much-taking note of its sadistic violence and unsettling story-line. But, it’s now rightfully a masterpiece. And leather face remains one of horror’s most terrifying antagonists.
Number 07: Night of the Living Dead (1968)
George Romero created or popularized the zombie genre with Night of the Living Dead. Those looking for the dawn of the dead style gore need not apply as this movie’s violence is incredibly tame compared to Romero’s later works. But the movie’s claustrophobic setting, black and white cinematography and lack of cinematic flourishes lent a degree of authenticity. It seems as if we’re watching an old home movie of the initial zombie outbreak.
The movie also contains an intelligent racial undercurrent, with many seen as a symbol of domestic racism and an analog to topical figures like Martin Luther King, Jr. and and Malcolm X.
Number 06: Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Everyone knows the 60s as a time of great political and cultural upheaval. And like Night of the living dead, Rosemary’s Baby uses horror to explore topical issues. In this women’s liberation movement. On its surface, Rosemary’s Baby is about pregnant women who believe that her Satanist neighbors are using as a vessel for the Antichrist.
It works wonderfully as a simple horror story. But it’s mainly used for allegorical purposes. Rosemary feels progressively helpless throughout the story. Unable to turn to anyone for help.
Her autonomy is taken away, and she is constantly placed at the whims of outside influences. The feeling of utter vulnerability the movie horrifically captures is scarier than any demon baby.
Number 05: The Exorcist (1973)
Many consider Exorcist as the scariest film ever made. But don’t let that distract you from the movie’s genuinely fantastic execution. It’s certainly scary. Everyone knows about Reagan’s demonic possession, which obviously contributes most of the movie scares.
But at its core, the exorcist is a deeply personal tale about Father Damian Karras, a Jesuit priest suffering from a crisis of faith and harboring a deep feeling of guilt in his mother’s recent death.
The movie is about finding god just as much as it’s about fighting the devil. The former lends the movie its emotional heft, it’s iconic and allegedly heart-attack-inducing frights.
Number 04: The Shining (1980)
There have been many hunted house movies throughout the years, but the Shining is the greatest. Like many movies in this list, the Shining uses its haunted hotel trappings to explore deeper and more personal themes. The core story involves the Torrance family moving into haunted hotel over the winter.
Of course, the performances and Stanley Kubrick’s film-making are both transcendent. Still, the movie generates much of its scares from the personal. Exploring themes of alcoholism, child abuse, family dysfunction, and cabin fever, the Shining deftly combines its horrifying supernatural scares with a deeply troubling story of mental degradation. We don’t know which aspect is scarier.
Number 03: Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
This movie is director James Whale’s masterpiece. And also, this is the man who gave us classics like The Invisible Man and the original Frankenstein. Improving the first film in nearly every Bride of Frankenstein may just be the greatest sequel. Boris Karloff returns in his iconic role, and this time he joins with classical hair dude, Elsa Lanchester (the bride).
The movie is weird and campy. However, this might be the greatest example of Gothic horror ever put to film. It uses Christian imagery to comment on the monster’s identity as a man-made abomination. Deepening the themes of both the original film and Mary Shelley’s source novel. It is the perfect distillation of the Frankenstein myths.
Number 02: Jaws (1975)
Steven Spielberg’s filmography is generally recognized as magical, fantastic, and whimsical, and then there’s Jaws. Despite its more grounded story, a man-eating shark plaguing the beaches of amity island Jaws still retains Spielberg’s dexterous directorial style. He manages to turn the movie into a cinematic tour of force complete with thrilling camera work, proficient editing, horrific violence, and iconic musical cues from John Williams.
They’re also the timeless performance from Roy Schneider Robert Shaw and Richard Dreyfus. They helped make the action-packed third act just as fun and dramatic as it is terrifying.
Jaws birthed the summer blockbuster kept people out of the ocean, and permanently altered our perception of sharks. It’s pure movie magic. I have seen most of the movies on this list, and I can agree everyone interested in horror needs to see them at least once.
Number 01: Psycho (1960)
Psycho has lost something in its ascension through the pop-culture consciousness. The numerous twists are all well known. So, new viewers might not have the same experience as audiences who went in blind in 1960. But our knowledge of the twists doesn’t make psycho any less enjoyable.
The direction, cinematography, and performances, particularly that of Anthony Perkins, all remain commendable. And the story is a thrilling blend of detective fiction and slasher horror.
The movie also helped pave new ground regarding cultural norms, including its depictions of on-screen violence and sexuality. Psycho had a profound on both cinema and broader American culture. Therefore, it may just be one of the greatest horror movies ever made.