Essential Horror Films

The films on this ‘Essential’ list are important in terms of their global impact on the horror movie genre, either for their box office draw, artistic merit, cult credibility, or simple shock value.

This selection has been compiled from a wide range of choices by critics and fans worldwide and does not just reflect the opinions of individual Horrorpedia editors or contributors.


Many of these movies are not without flaws and the list is not meant to be a ‘best of’, or fully comprehensive; it simply offers a snapshot of significant fright films to seek out if you have not yet seen them.

Our ‘Recommended’ films are those that we recommend as being better than the average genre fare. These are listed on a separate page here

Both listings are ongoing works-in-progress, subject to amendments…


28 Days Later is a 2002 British zombie horror film directed by Danny Boyle. The screenplay was written by Alex Garland, and the film stars Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Brendan Gleeson, Megan Burns, and Christopher Eccleston.


A critical and commercial success, the film is credited with reinvigorating the zombie sub-genre [read more]


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30 Days of Night is a 2007 American supernatural horror film based on the comic book miniseries of the same name. The film was directed by David Slade and stars Josh Hartnett, Melissa George, and Danny Huston. The story focuses on an Alaskan town beset by vampires as it enters into a thirty-day long polar night… [read more]


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The Abominable Dr. Phibes is a 1971 British horror film starring Vincent Price, Joseph Cotten, Terry-Thomas and Hugh Griffith. The screenplay was written by James Whiton and William Goldstein, with additional uncredited scripting by director Robert Fuest. Its art deco sets, dark humour and knowing performance by Price have made the film and its sequel Dr. Phibes Rises Again cult classics. [read more].


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Alien is a 1979 science fiction horror film directed by Ridley Scott. Dan O’Bannon wrote the screenplay from a story he had written with Ronald Shusett, drawing influence from previous works of science fiction and horror. The film’s title refers to its primary antagonist: a highly aggressive extraterrestrial creature that stalks and kills the crew of the spaceship Nostromo… [read more]



Aliens (USA, 1986) – coming soon

i'm walking on sunshine

American Psycho is a 2000 American-Canadian black comedy psychological thriller-horror film co-written and directed by Mary Harron (The Moth Diaries), based on Bret Easton Ellis’s 1991 novel of the same name.

The film received generally positive reviews and was a financial success, with critics mainly praising the screenplay and Christian Bale’s performance. It has now achieved cult status, any initial controversy surrounding it giving way to an appreciation of the film’s satirical qualities [read more] American-Psycho-Blu-ray

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An American Werewolf in London is a 1981 American comedy horror film written and directed by John Landis. It stars David Naughton, Jenny Agutter, and Griffin Dunne.

Two young Americans, David Kessler (Naughton) and Jack Goodman (Dunne) are on a backpacking holiday in England. Following an awkwardly tense visit to a village pub, The Slaughtered Lamb, the pair venture deep into the moors at night.

They are attacked by a werewolf, which results in Jack’s death and David being taken to a London hospital. Through apparitions of his dead friend and disturbing dream sequences, David becomes informed that he is a werewolf and will transform at the next full moon [read more]

american werewolf blu-ray full moon 2009 edition

 is a 1999 Japanese psychological horror film directed by Takashi Miike and starring Ryo Ishibashi and Eihi Shiina. It is based on a Ryu Murakami novel of the same title. Over the years, the film has developed a cult following.


For its unflinching graphic content, Audition has been likened to the film adaptation of Stephen King’s Misery and Nagisa Oshima’s In the Realm of the Senses. However, the torture scene in the movie is very brief, and only a few shots show the actual torture, focusing more on Asami’s sadistic enjoyment of it [read more]


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The Autopsy of Jane Doe is a 2016 British-American horror film directed by André Øvredal (Trollhunter) from a screenplay by Ian B. Goldberg (Dead of Summer) and Richard Naing. It stars Brian Cox, Emile Hirsch and Ophelia Lovibond.

In small-town Virginia, police are called to a gruesome crime scene where a family has been massacred in their own house. In the basement, an even more disturbing discovery is made: the partially buried corpse of a nude woman… [read more]


The Babadook is a 2014 Australian horror film written and directed by Jennifer Kent for Causeway Films. It stars Essie Davis, Hayley McElhinney, and Daniel Hanshall.


Six years after the death of her husband, Amelia struggles to discipline her “out-of-control” six-year-old Samuel – a son she finds difficult to love. Samuel’s dreams are plagued by a monster he believes is coming to kill them both… [read more]



A Bay of Blood is a 1971 Italian giallo horror thriller film directed by Mario Bava (Lisa and the Devil; Black Sabbath; Black Sunday) The film stars Claudine Auger, Luigi Pistilli, and Laura Betti.

The story details the simultaneous murderous activities of several different characters as they each attempt to remove any human obstacles that stand in the way of an inheritance.

Easily Bava’s most intensely violent film, its emphasis on graphically bloody murder set pieces was a huge influence on the slasher film sub-genre that would follow a decade later [read more].

Bay of Blood BR_slipbox_2d

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The Birds is a 1963 suspense/horror film directed by Alfred Hitchcock (Psycho; Frenzy), loosely based on the 1952 story “The Birds” by Daphne du Maurier.

Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren) is a young, wealthy socialite who meets Mitch Brenner (Rod Taylor), a lawyer, in a San Francisco bird shop. Intrigued by him, she finds the address of his home in Bodega Bay, California. As she is crossing the bay, a seagull swoops down and inflicts a cut on her head… [read more]


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The Black Cat is a 1934 American horror film that became Universal Pictures’ biggest box office hit of the year. It was the first of eight movies to pair actors Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff. Edgar G. Ulmer directed the film; Peter Ruric (better known as pulp writer “Paul Cain”) wrote the screenplay.


It was part of a boom in horror following the release of Dracula and Frankenstein in 1931. The film exploited the popularity of Poe, as well as a sudden public interest in psychiatry. It has little to do with Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “The Black Cat”. The film – and by extension, the character of Hjalmar Poelzig – draws inspiration from the life of infamous British occultist Aleister Crowley [read more]



Black Christmas – also released as Silent Night, Evil Night – is a 1974 Canadian slasher horror film directed by Bob Clark (Murder By Decree) from a screenplay by A. Roy Moore.

black christmas

A group of college students are attacked by a deranged serial killer lurking in their sorority house. The movie was inspired by an urban legend called “The Babysitter and the Man Upstairs” but was also largely based on a series of murders that took place in Quebec, around Christmas time. It is generally considered to be one of the first North American slasher films… [read more].

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Black Sunday – also known as The Mask of Satan and Revenge of the Vampire – is a 1960 Italian gothic horror film directed by Mario Bava. It stars Barbara Steele, John Richardson, Arturo Dominici and Ivo Garrani.

It was Bava’s official directorial debut. Based very loosely on Nikolai Gogol’s short story “Viy”, the narrative concerns a vampire-witch who is put to death by her own brother, only to return 200 years later to feed on her descendants.

By the social standards of the 1960s, Black Sunday was considered unusually gruesome, and was banned in the UK until 1968 because of its violence. In the U.S., some of the gore was censored… [read more]



Black Swan is a 2010 American psychological thriller directed by Darren Aronofsky (mother!) and starring Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassel, and Mila Kunis.

The film received critical praise upon its release, particularly for Portman’s performance and Aronofsky’s direction, and was a very significant box office success, grossing $329 million worldwide. The film received five Academy Award nominations and Portman won the Best Actress award… [read more]


The Blair Witch Project is a 1999 American horror film written and directed by Eduardo Sánchez and Daniel Myrick. It uses the narrative device of purporting to be ‘found footage’ filmed by it’s three main characters; although this was already a well-used technique, it has since become one of the most imitated techniques in the horror genre. [read more]



Blood and Black Lace is a 1964 Italian giallo horror thriller film co-written and directed by Mario Bava. The story concerns the stalking and brutal murders of various scantily-clad fashion models, committed by a masked killer in a desperate attempt to obtain a scandal-revealing diary.

The film is generally considered one of the earliest and most influential of all gialli and served as a stylistic template for the “body count” slasher films that proliferated from the 1980’s onwards [read more]


Blood Feast is a 1963 American splatter horror film directed by Herschell Gordon Lewis. It concerns a psychopathic food caterer named Fuad Ramses who kills people so that he can include their body parts in his meals and perform sacrifices to his “Egyptian goddess” Ishtar.

Blood Feast is generally considered the first splatter movie, and despite its amateurish production values, is notable for its groundbreaking depictions of on-screen gore [read more]

The Blood Trilogy Blood Feast Two Thousand Maniacs! Color Me Blood Red Blu-ray

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The Blood on Satan’s Claw is a 1970 British supernatural folk horror film made by Tigon Productions and directed by Piers Haggard (Quatermass TV serial [1979]; Venom [1981]) from a screenplay by Robert Wynne-Simmons. Released in January 1971, it was promoted as Blood on Satan’s Claw and was also issued in the US as Satan’s Skin. The film is important in the development of the ‘folk horror’ sub-genre. [read more]


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Bram Stoker’s Dracula is a 1992 American Gothic horror film directed and produced by Francis Ford Coppola (Dementia 13), based on the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker.

bram stoker's dracula female vampires

The film stars Gary Oldman as Count Dracula, Winona Ryder as Mina Harker, Anthony Hopkins as Professor Abraham Van Helsing, and Keanu Reeves as Jonathan Harker.

bram stoker's dracula blu-ray disc usa

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Bram Stoker’s Dracula was greeted by a generally positive critical reception and was a box office hit [read more]


Bride of Frankenstein is a 1935 American horror film, and the first sequel to Frankenstein (1931). It was directed by James Whale and stars Boris Karloff as The Monster, Elsa Lanchester in the dual role of his mate and Mary Shelley, Colin Clive as Henry Frankenstein, and Ernest Thesiger as Doctor Septimus Pretorius.


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Universal took a surprisingly long time to bring Frankenstein and his creation back to the big screen, especially considering their reputation for quickly cottoning on to a good thing and releasing as many sequels as the audience could stomach [read more].


A Bucket of Blood is a 1959 American comedy horror film directed by Roger Corman. It stars Dick Miller and was set in beatnik culture. The film, produced on a $50,000 budget for American International Pictures (AIP), was shot in five days and shares many of the low-budget filmmaking aesthetics commonly associated with Corman’s work.


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Written by Charles B. Griffith, the film is a darkly comic satire about a young waiter at a Bohemian café who is acclaimed as a brilliant sculptor when he accidentally kills his landlady’s cat and covers its body in clay to hide the evidence. When he is pressured to create similar work, he becomes murderous [read more]

The Cabin in the Woods is a 2011 American horror film directed and co-written by Drew Goddard and co-written and produced by Joss Whedon.

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Having worked together previously on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, Goddard and Whedon, wrote the screenplay in three days, describing it as an attempt to “revitalise” the slasher film genre [read more]


The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari – German: Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari – is a 1920 silent horror film directed by Robert Wiene from a screenplay by Hans Janowitz and Carl Mayer. It is one of the most influential of German Expressionist films and is often considered one of the greatest horror movies of the silent era.


The film used stylized sets, with abstract, jagged buildings painted on canvas backdrops and flats. These unique sets gave off somewhat of a theatrical sense. To add to this strange style, the actors used an unrealistic technique that exhibited jerky and dancelike movements. This movie is cited as having introduced the twist ending in cinema [read more]


Candyman is a 1992 American horror film starring Virginia Madsen, Tony Todd and Xander Berkeley. It was directed by Bernard Rose and is based on the short story “The Forbidden” by Clive Barker, though the film’s scenario is switched from England to the Cabrini–Green public housing development on Chicago’s Near North Side.


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The film was met with critical acclaim and was a box office success [read more]

Cannibal Holocaust is a 1980 Italian cannibal film directed by Ruggero Deodato (House on the Edge of the Park) from a screenplay by Gianfranco Clerici. It was filmed in the Amazonian rainforest with real indigenous tribes interacting with American and Italian actors and follows on from the director and scriptwriter’s Last Cannibal World (1976).



Led by New York-based anthropologist Harold Monroe (Kerman), a team is assembled to search for a missing film crew who had ventured deep into the Amazonian rainforest to film a documentary about tribes still practicing cannibalism [read more]


Carnival of Souls is a 1962 American horror film starring Candace Hilligoss. Produced and directed by Herk Harvey for an estimated $33,000, the film did not gain widespread attention when originally released; today, however, it is considered a cult classic.



Set to an organ score by Gene Moore, Carnival of Souls relies more on atmosphere than on special effects to create a mood of unease and foreboding. It has been cited as an important influence on the films of both David Lynch and George A. Romero [read more]


Carrie is a 1976 American paranormal horror film directed by Brian De Palma (SistersThe FuryDressed to Kill) from a screenplay by Lawrence D. Cohen, based on the novel Carrie by Stephen King.

It was the first of several Stephen King novels to be made into movies for screen and TV: it also introduced young stars who would later be famous, except for Piper Laurie, who had already made several films. [read more]

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Cat People is a 1942 American horror film produced by Val Lewton and directed by Jacques Tourneur (I Walked with a ZombieNight of the Demon; The Comedy of Terrors). DeWitt Bodeen wrote the original screenplay which was based on Val Lewton’s short story The Bagheeta published in 1930.



A young Serbian woman, Irena, who believes herself to be a descendant of a race of people who turn into cats when sexually aroused… [read more]


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Communion is a 1976 American slasher horror film directed by Alfred Sole from a screenplay co-written with Rosemary Ritvo. It stars Linda Miller, Paula Sheppard, and Brooke Shields. The film was released theatrically three different times under a different title: first as Communion in 1976; as Alice, Sweet Alice in 1978; and as Holy Terror in 1981. [read more]



The Conjuring is a 2013 supernatural horror film directed by James Wan (Insidious; Saw) from a screenplay by Chad Hayes and Carey Hayes. It was produced by New Line Cinema.


Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga star as Ed and Lorraine Warren, paranormal investigators, asked to the assist the Perron family (Ron Livingston and Lili Taylor), who are experiencing increasingly disturbing events in their farmhouse in Rhode Island in 1971 [read more]

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Creature from the Black Lagoon is a 1954 American Universal monster horror film directed by Jack Arnold (It Came from Outer Space; Tarantula; The Incredible Shrinking Man) from a screenplay by Harry Essex (Man Made Monster; Octaman) and Arthur A. Ross.

creature from black lagoon

Creature from the Black Lagoon is a quintessential monster movie and in many respects, Universal’s last hurrah from the Golden Age. The plot is fairly slim, which goes in its favour, a scientific research party re-awaking a hideous beast from a very long sleep and the requisite kidnapping of a damsel (Julie Adams). The creature, unimaginatively called ‘Gillman’ is a classic of Hollywood design, both recognisable and alien. [read more]

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Cronos is a 1993 Mexican vampire horror film written and directed by Guillermo del Toro (Crimson Peak; Pan’s Labyrinth; The Devil’s Backbone), and starring veteran Argentine actor Federico Luppi and American actor Ron Perlman.

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Cronos is a modern-day vampire film which re-works the ancient themes of fear and desire. Jesus Gris (Federico Luppi) is an antique dealer who, with his granddaughter Aurora, discovers a mysterious scarab-like object at the base of an old statue.

The statue’s previous owner was a 16th-century alchemist who sought eternal life and the object turns out to be the Cronos which grants the user eternal life in exchange for blood [read more].

The Curse of Frankenstein (1957) coming soon

Dark water original

Dark Water – 仄暗い水の底から – Honogurai Mizu no soko kara – literally “From the bottom of Dark Water” – is a 2002 Japanese horror film directed by Hideo Nakata (Ghost Theatre; The ComplexRing and its sequel) from a screenplay by Yoshihiro Nakamura and Kenichi Suzuki. It is based on Floating Water, a short story by Koji Suzuki.


The plot follows a divorced mother who moves into a rundown apartment with her daughter and experiences supernatural occurrences including a mysterious water leak from the floor above… [read more]

Daughters of Darkness is a 1971 Belgian-French-German erotic vampire horror film directed by Harry Kümel (Malpertuis) from a screenplay co-written with Pierre Drouot.

A recently married young couple, Stefan (John Karlen) and Valerie (Danielle Ouimet), are on their honeymoon. They check into a grand hotel in Ostend, Belgium. A mysterious Hungarian countess, Elizabeth Báthory (Delphine Seyrig), arrives and he middle-aged concierge swears that he saw her at the same hotel when he was a little boy [read more]


Dawn of the Dead is a 1978 American horror film written and directed by George A. Romero. It was the second film made in Romero’s Living Dead series but contains no characters or settings from Night of the Living Dead, and shows in a larger scale the zombie plague’s apocalyptic effects on society.

Dawn of the Dead Arrow Blu-ray

In the film, a plague of unknown origin has caused the reanimation of the dead, who prey on human flesh, which subsequently causes mass hysteria… [read more]

dead of night spanish poster

Dead of Night is a 1945 British portmanteau horror film made by Ealing Studios; the individual stories were directed by Alberto Cavalcanti, Charles Crichton, Basil Dearden and Robert Hamer. Director Martin Scorsese placed Dead of Night on his list of the 11 scariest horror films of all time.

Dead of Night stands out from British films of the 1940s when few horror films were being produced in the country (horror films had been strongly discouraged from production in Britain during the war), and it had an influence on subsequent films in the genre [read more].


Deathdream is a 1972 Canadian horror film produced and directed by Bob Clark (Black ChristmasMurder By Decree) from a screenplay by Alan Ormsby. The plot was inspired by the W.W. Jacobs short story The Monkey’s Paw.


The film stars Richard Backus, John Marley and Lynn Carlin. A young Tom Savini handled the special effects makeup [read more]

Deep Red – original title: Profondo rosso; also known as The Hatchet Murders – is a 1975 Italian giallo thriller film, directed by Dario Argento and co-written by Argento and Bernardino Zapponi.


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Deep Red was produced by Claudio and Salvatore Argento, and the film’s score was composed and performed by prog-rock band Goblin [read more]

the descent steelbook

The Descent is a 2005 British horror film written and directed by Neil Marshall.


The film follows six women who, having entered an unmapped cave system, become trapped and are hunted by blood-thirsty human hybrids lurking within… [read more]


The Devil Rides Out is a 1968 British Hammer supernatural horror film, based on the 1934 novel of the same name by Dennis Wheatley. It was written by American writer Richard Matheson and directed by Terence Fisher (The Curse of Frankenstein; Dracula; The Mummy).


The powers of good are pitted against the forces of evil as the aristocratic Duc de Richelieu (Lee) wrestles with the charming but deadly Satanist, Mocata (Grey), for the soul of his friend, Simon Aron (Mower), who has been associating with Mocata and his coven… [read more]


Les Diaboliques, released as Diabolique in the United States and The Fiends in the UK, is a 1955 French psychological thriller film directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot and starring Simone Signoret, Véra Clouzot and Paul Meurisse. It is based on the novel Celle qui n’était plus (“She Who Was No More) by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac.

The story blends elements of thriller and horror, with the plot focusing on a woman and her husband’s mistress who conspire to murder the man; after the crime is committed, however, his body disappears, and a number of strange occurrences ensue [read more]

Jekyll and Hyde

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a 1931 American horror film directed by Rouben Mamoulian and starring Fredric March. The film is an adaptation of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886), the Robert Louis Stevenson tale of a man who takes a potion which turns him from a mild-mannered man of science into a homicidal maniac. March’s performance has been much lauded and earned him his first Academy Award [read more]


Dog Soldiers is a 2002 British supernatural horror film written and directed by Neil Marshall (The Descent) and starring Kevin McKidd, Sean Pertwee and Liam Cunningham.

A squad of six regular British Army soldiers is dropped into the Scottish Highlands. Expecting to carry out a training mission against an SAS unit, they only find their savaged remains. The single survivor, Captain Ryan, makes cryptic references to what attacked them… [read more]

Don’t Look Now – aka A Venezia… un dicembre rosso shocking – is a 1973 British/Italian horror film directed by Nicolas Roeg (The Man Who Fell to Earth). It was adapted from the short story by Daphne du Maurier. It stars Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland.

While Don’t Look Now observes many conventions of the thriller genre, its primary focus is on the psychology of grief, and the effect the death of a child can have on a relationship. Its emotionally convincing depiction of grief is often singled out as a trait not usually present in films featuring supernatural plot elements [read more]

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Dracula is a 1931 American horror film directed by Tod Browning and starring Bela Lugosi as the title character. The film was produced by Universal and is based on the 1924 stage play Dracula by Hamilton Deane and John L. Balderston, which in turn is based on the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker.

Made only thirty-four years after the publication of Bram Stoker‘s novel, Tod Browning’s film is, for all its faults, still used as a benchmark of not only Dracula and vampire films but all films in the horror genre [read more]

Dracula – aka Horror of Dracula – is a 1958 British supernatural horror film. It is the first in the series of Hammer Horror films inspired by the Bram Stoker novel Dracula. It was directed by Terence Fisher and stars Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Michael Gough, and Melissa Stribling [read more]


Dressed to Kill – Brian De Palma, USA, 1980

Eraserhead is a 1977 American surrealist film and the first feature film by David Lynch, who wrote, produced and directed.

Eraserhead polarized and baffled many critics and filmgoers, but has become a cult classic. In 2004, the film was deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry. Lynch has called it a “dream of dark and troubling things” and his “most spiritual movie.” [read more]

The Evil Dead is a 1981 American supernatural horror film written and directed by Sam Raimi. It stars Bruce Campbell, Ellen Sandweiss and Betsy Baker.

Five college students are holidaying in an isolated cabin in a remote wooded area. After they find an audiotape that releases a legion of demons and spirits, members of the group suffer from demonic possession, leading to increasingly gory mayhem [read more]

Evil Dead II (1987) was essentially a big-budgeted reworking of the original and is also an essential horror must-see movie.

The Exorcist is a 1973 American supernatural horror film directed by William Friedkin (The Guardian), adapted by William Peter Blatty from his 1971 novel of the same name. The book, inspired by the 1949 exorcism case of Roland Doe, deals with the demonic possession of a young girl and her mother’s desperate attempts to win back her daughter through an exorcism conducted by two priests.

The film earned ten Academy Award nominations—winning two (Best Sound and Best Adapted Screenplay). It became one of the highest earning movies of all time, grossing over $441 million worldwide. It is also the first horror film to be nominated for Best Picture. [read more]

Eyes without a face poster

Eyes Without a Face – original title: Les yeux sans visage –  is a 1960 French horror film adaptation of Jean Redon’s novel, directed by Georges Franju, and starring Pierre Brasseur and Alida Valli. The film’s initial critical reception was not overly positive but it subsequently increased its reputation. Modern critics praise the film today for its poetic nature as well as being a notable influence on other filmmakers.

A surgeon, feeling guilty over his daughter’s facial disfigurement–so horrible that she wears a mask–in an accident for which he was responsible, uses his assistant to kidnap young women. He attempts, without success, to transfer their faces to his daughter [read more]


The Fly is a 1986 American science fiction horror film co-written and directed by David Cronenberg (Videodrome; RabidShivers). Produced by 20th Century Fox, and Mel Brooks (Young Frankenstein), the film stars Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis and John Getz.

A brilliant but eccentric scientist begins to transform into a giant man/fly hybrid after one of his experiments goes horribly wrong… [read more]

Frankenstein is a 1931 American science fiction horror film directed by James Whale (The Invisible ManThe Old Dark House) and adapted from the play by Peggy Webling, which in turn is based on the novel of the same name by Mary Shelley. The Univeral Pictures production stars Colin Clive, Mae Clarke, John Boles and Boris Karloff and features Dwight Frye and Edward Van Sloan. The iconic monster make-up artist was Jack P. Pierce.

Henry Frankenstein (Colin Clive), an ardent young scientist, and his assistant Fritz (Dwight Frye), a hunchback, piece together a human body, the parts of which have been secretly collected from various sources. Frankenstein’s consuming desire is to create human life through various electrical devices which he has perfected… [read more]


Friday the 13th is a 1980 American slasher horror film directed by Sean S. Cunningham from a screenplay by Victor Miller. The film concerns a group of teenagers who are murdered one-by-one while attempting to re-open an abandoned campsite and stars Betsy Palmer, Adrienne King, Harry Crosby, and Kevin Bacon.

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The movie received mainly negative reviews from critics, but grossed over $39.7 million at the box office in the United States, and went on to become one of the most profitable slasher films in cinema history. It was also the first movie of its kind to secure distribution in the USA by a major studio, Paramount Pictures [read more]


Fright Night – Tom Holland, USA, 1985


Ginger Snaps

The Grudge aka Ju-On (Japan, 2004) coming soon


Halloween (USA, 1978)


The Haunting – Robert Wise, 1963

haxan witchcraft through the ages

Häxan aka Witchcraft Through the Ages – Sweden/Denmark, 1922



Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer

Hereditary – Ari Aster, USA, 2017

High Tension aka Switchblade Romance


The Hills Have Eyes – Wes Craven, USA, 1977


The Host – Joon Ho Bong, South Korea, 2006


Hour of the Wolf aka Vargtimmen – Sweden, 1968

hausu 1977 videodisc

House aka Hausu – Nobuhiko Obayashi, Japan, 1977


The House of the Devil is a 2009 American horror film written, directed, and edited by Ti West (The Sacrament; The Innkeepers; The Roost).

The plot concerns a young college student (Donahue) who is hired as a babysitter at an isolated house and is soon caught up in bizarre and dangerous events as she fights for her life. The film combines elements of both the slasher film and haunted house sub-genres while using the “satanic panic” of the 1980s as a central plot element [read more].


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House of Usher aka The Fall of the House of Usher – Roger Corman, USA, 1960


The Howling – Joe Dante, USA, 1981

I Married a Monster from Outer Space is a 1958 science fiction horror film, produced and directed by Gene Fowler Jr. from a screenplay by Louis Vittes. It stars Tom Tryon and Gloria Talbott (The Daughter of Dr. Jekyll). [read more]


I Walked With a Zombie (USA, 1943)

I walked 3

The Incredible Shrinking Man (USA)



The Innocents (UK, 1961)

Inside (France, 2007)

Interview with the Vampire (Neil Jordan, 1994) – coming soon


Insidious is a 2010 American independent psychological horror film written by Leigh Whannell, directed by James Wan (Saw), and starring Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Lin Shaye, and Barbara Hershey.



The story centers on a couple whose son inexplicably enters a comatose state and becomes a vessel for ghosts in an astral dimension who want to inhabit his body, in order to live once again [read more]

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (USA, 1956)

The Invisible Man (USA, 1933)


Island of Lost Souls (USA, 1932)

it-follows-2014-horror-movie-Maika Monroe

It Follows

Jaws – USA, 1975

King Kong – USA, 1933


Kuroneko – Japan, 1968


Kwaidan (Masaki Kobayashi, Japan, 1964)

The Last House on the Left – Wes Craven, USA, 1972


Let Sleeping Corpses Lie aka Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue

Let the Right One In – Sweden, 2008

2 Comments on “Essential Horror Films”

  1. What a great list! I should definitely watch some I haven’t watched yet. And among new horrors, I’d mention The Conjuring 2. Yes, there are quite ordinary horror tricks in this movie such as inverted crosses, monsters in a tent and doors closing right behind your nose. But the plot and beautiful shooting cover these small flaws.

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