Horror films are something you have to prepare for. Whether it’s gripping the seat or shielding your eyes or ears from the grossness, or wrapping yourself up in a Lovecraftian or Puritan world, great horror movies are much more than jump scares. Utilizing the sound of floorboards, the movement of shadows, the unpredictability of mist, horrific or hilarious (or hilariously horrific) deaths, or a tingling film score—this genre is always playing with the audience. The greatest horror flicks can be heady and philosophical, slapstick or serious—in short, if you’re a fan of horror, most likely you’re a fan of cinema. No other genre best represents how the moving image can affect us—by using every filmmaking tool in the toolshed: sound, image, score and dialogue.
If you’re a regular reader, you’ve probably seen our lists breaking down the best horror films. We’ve combed each decade of cinematic history to unearth the horror gems from each filmmaking era. If you’re new to us, well, we greatly respect the genre and love uncovering new haunted burial grounds. But what are our true, true favorites?
Below you’ll find what we consider to be the 75 best horror movies of all-time. Some are terrifying, some are brutal, some are funny, and some evoke a delicate mood. All are fantastic examples of how varied this genre can be. We present them in an anthology—appropriate for the time—in alphabetical order. We aren’t killing our favorites or making a Sophie’s Choice here. That’d be too dramatic.
As always, sound off in the comments what you love and hate about this list, or that you now hope to see.