top 10 horror movies

Horror movies have an enduring popularity that spans cultures and generations. People are drawn to the adrenaline rush and the thrill of being scared in a safe environment. Horror movies provide an escape from reality and allow viewers to experience intense emotions without real-world consequences. The genre has a dedicated fan base that eagerly anticipates new releases and celebrates classics from the past.

1. THE EXORCIST (1973)

The Exorcist

While you may have differing opinions on whether The Exorcist deserves the title of the best horror movies ever made, it shouldn’t be surprising to see it topping our list with an overwhelming 19% of all votes.

Director William Friedkin’s adaptation of the eponymous novel, centered around a demon-possessed child and the desperate attempts to banish the evil spirit, not only became the highest-grossing R-rated horror film but also earned the distinction of being the first in the genre to receive a Best Picture nomination at the Oscars (alongside nine other nominations and two wins).

Beyond its critical acclaim and commercial success, the film gained notoriety for causing mass hysteria across the country, with protests against its controversial subject matter and widespread reports of audience members feeling nauseous or faint.

While its pacing and effects may seem dated compared to modern horror, there’s no denying the enduring power it holds over first-time viewers.

2. HEREDITARY (2018)


Writer-director Ari Aster burst onto the scene with his debut feature, a dark family drama intertwined with supernatural horror.

Hereditary featured an unforgettable performance by Toni Collette, whose portrayal of a tormented mother left an indelible mark on audiences.

However, the film’s biggest shock came from a twist that we won’t spoil here. Suffice it to say that Hereditary struck a deep chord with moviegoers, instantly propelling Aster to the ranks of visionary directors, and securing the second spot on our list.



James Wan, a prominent figure among contemporary horror masters, solidified his status with films like Saw, Dead Silence, Insidious, and The Conjuring.

Based on the real-life experiences of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, The Conjuring brought fresh terror to familiar genre tropes.

Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga portrayed the Warrens, grounding the film’s effective jump scares and hair-raising moments with their convincing performances.

Wan and his talented ensemble breathed new life into the horror landscape, giving birth to a sprawling cinematic universe that continues to expand.

4. THE SHINING (1980)


Numerous films have adapted Stephen King’s novels and stories, with several achieving the status of classics, including Carrie, Misery, and Pet Sematary (and let’s not forget about non-horror masterpieces like The Shawshank Redemption and Stand By Me).

Among them, Stanley Kubrick’s interpretation of The Shining stands as a towering achievement. With its meticulous set design, haunting atmosphere, and Jack Nicholson’s iconic performance, the film redefined the haunted house narrative.

Although it possesses only a few jump scares, The Shining’s true potency lies in its ability to crawl under your skin, making you experience the slow descent into madness alongside Jack Torrance.

Unquestionably, it is considered one of the greatest horror movies ever made and earned the fourth position in our poll.



The top four movies on our list collectively received 42% of the votes, leaving the remaining six films closely contending for a spot.

Among them is this low-budget slasher directed by Tobe Hooper, loosely inspired by the heinous crimes of Ed Gein. The grimy aesthetic of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre lent it an air of authenticity, intensifying its terrifying impact (“This could actually happen!”).

Gunnar Hansen’s menacing portrayal of Leatherface paved the way for other formidable villains like Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees.

Although various attempts have been made to revive the franchise, with another installment on the horizon, none have surpassed the sheer power and over-the-top terror of the original.

6. THE RING (2002)

THE RING (2002)

Adapting a successful formula from one culture to another can be challenging, yet Gore Verbinski accomplished this with The Ring.

This American remake of Japanese director Hideo Nakata’s acclaimed thriller about a cursed videotape retained the striking visual imagery of the original, particularly the ghostly figure of a young girl in a white dress with long, dark hair covering her face.

Regardless of cultural background, The Ring succeeded in terrifying audiences worldwide. While it may not have received the same level of critical acclaim as its predecessor, the film introduced many viewers to the captivating realm of East Asian horror cinema and showcased a committed performance from the emerging Naomi Watts, and was considered one of the best horror movies of all time.

7. HALLOWEEN (1978)


Securing the seventh spot on our list is the film that propelled Jamie Lee Curtis to become the ultimate scream queen and marked John Carpenter’s rise to prominence.

Halloween is one of the early examples of the slasher genre, and although it may lack the graphic violence found in contemporary entries, it compensates with relentless tension and inventive thrills within its modest scale.

The film’s legacy remains untouchable, with Michael Myers’ iconic mask and the concept of the unstoppable killer and final girl firmly embedded in horror culture. Over 40 years later, the franchise continues to thrive.

8. SINISTER (2012)


For those who missed the aforementioned “scientific study,” we have arrived at the movie that was deemed the scariest. Before Scott Derrickson ventured into the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Doctor Strange in 2016, he had already built a following with a couple of cult horror movies.

Sinister, a small-scale haunted house and possession tale, revolves around a true-crime writer (portrayed by Ethan Hawke) who moves his family into a house where a heinous murder took place, only to discover that the malevolent presence may have already taken residence.

Screenwriter C. Robert Cargill reportedly drew inspiration from a nightmare after watching The Ring, resulting in a story that shares a minor similarity with the latter film’s creepy snuff film concept. However, Sinister’s dramatic revelations and eerie set pieces outweigh any recycled genre elements.

Furthermore, there is at least one claim that it holds the title of the horror movies ever made, which certainly adds weight to its position on our list.

9. INSIDIOUS (2010)


James Wan returns to our list, this time teaming up with Patrick Wilson for a supernatural thriller centered around a young boy who falls into a coma and becomes a vessel for a malevolent spirit.

While the core story may not have been groundbreaking, frequent collaborator Leigh Whannell injected Insidious with an intriguing mythology that spawned three successful sequels.

Wan aimed to counter the explicit violence of his earlier work, such as Saw, by crafting a film that relied more on spiritual unease.

The result is a chilling experience that features what many consider to be one of the most effective jump scares ever capture on screen.

10. IT (2017)

 IT (2017)

Coulrophobia, the fear of clowns, is a genuine phenomenon, even though it has become common to express it casually. To further emphasize this point, we need only look at the box office success of IT in 2017.

Based on Stephen King’s novel of the same name, the film shattered The Exorcist’s 44-year record as the highest-grossing horror film ever. It’s 10th-place ranking on this list further solidifies its impact.

Director Andy Muschietti tapped into nostalgia to tell a tale of children haunted by their own traumas. At the same time, Bill Skarsgard’s portrayal of Pennywise the evil, shape-shifting clown was both bizarre and deeply unsettling.

With a blend of jump scares, impressive set pieces, and top-notch CGI, IT delivers a horror experience that is both enjoyable and genuinely frightening.

Also, read out “What are the top 5 most watched movies?” and visit Rotten Tomatoes for more.

Tez Pratap

I am Tezz Pratap, a passionate and creative content creator and blogger. I specialize in writing articles and am known for my expertise in this domain.

Learn More →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.