Horror Movie Maven

Lover of all things that slash, gash, bleed, and otherwise terrify.

My Top 25 Horror Films

I’ve watched a lot of horror films, and I have developed a list of films that I cannot do without. I watch these repeatedly. They are a part of my own annual lineup of Halloween horror films. I can’t imagine the world of horror without these movies.

Warning: This list is subject to change. It doesn’t change often, but occasionally a film comes along that unseats one before it. Plus, I’m human; I change my mind.

Since I am not a fan of lists that don’t simply rattle off the goods, here is my list (links go to youtube trailers):

  1. The Shining (1980): Kubrick is a master of suspense. The tension in this movie is so severe, it is one of only three films that has made me scream.

    the shining

    Shelley Duval in The Shining

  2. Nightmare on Elm Street (1984 version): This was the first horror film I ever saw, and so it has a special place near the top of my list. Plus, Freddy is simply a terrifying character. He seems utterly unbeatable.
  3. The Ring (2002 American version): This movie combines gruesome deaths, a mystery-style hunt for the truth, and fascinating characters.
  4. Jaws (1979): This film made me obsessed with sharks as a child. Those dead, blank shark eyes are utterly terrifying.
  5. Evil Dead 2 (1987): I’ve watched this movie a hundred times and I never tire of it. I also never stop laughing. Director Sam Raimi’s love of the Three Stooges really shines through.
  6. Audition (2001): It starts very slow but the payoff is huge. The end of this movie scares the crap out of me (and that is saying something). It’s the film that made Takashi Miike famous.
  7. The Ruins (2008): The story was written by Scott Smith, a writer who I wish would write more. Who knew that plants could be terrifying? He did. And he did a damn fine job scaring me away from hidden ruins in the Mexican jungle.
  8. The Descent (2005): After watching this, I’m not going anywhere near a cave. Not ever.
  9. Aliens (1986): I will also not be going to space. Acid blood? No, thank you.


    Those Aliens are creepy as hell.

  10. Rosemary’s Baby (1968): This is a slow-burn type of story but something about Mia Farrow’s character, puts it on my list of top horror films.
  11. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974):  This movie is so frightening that I have to be in the right mood to watch it. By right mood, I mean that I must not have eaten anything in the recent past because that dinner scene will inevitably result in nausea.
  12. Shaun of the Dead (2004): The greatest zombie comedy ever made (and it is not the only one).
  13. Friday the 13th (1980): The start of the Jason Voorhees franchise, plus a bonus Kevin Bacon. This one has the best ending of the franchise IMHO.
  14. Night of the Living Dead (1968): This movie does not get old, nor does it get less terrifying as time moves on. It’s timeless.
  15. Session 9 (2001): A creepy, abandoned insane asylum sets the tone for one’s descent into madness.
  16. Hellraiser (1987): Grotesque gory goodness with Pinhead.
  17. Hostel (2005): This movie was the start of my obsession with all things Eli Roth (the director of Hostel). I like to classify his movies as “Frat-boy gore.” I can’t get enough of them.
  18. Tucker and Dale vs. Evil (2010): The two lead actors make the film and keep you laughing throughout this cabin-horror parody.
  19. Cabin in the Woods (2012): Yet another cabin-horror parody (apparently I like those), but this is unique because it also tells the story of a bureaucratic system behind the terror.
  20. Oculus (2013): This movie just recently squeezed its way onto my list. I recently showed this ghost/possession movie at my annual horror movie marathon. My husband continually yelled, “Why are you showing this movie?! Why are you subjecting us to this?!” The next day I asked him what his favorite horror movie is right now. He replied, “Oculus.” That is a seal of approval if I have ever heard one.
  21. Midnight Meat Train (2008): Vinnie Jones’s character is awesome, and I think this is a very underrated slasher/monster movie.
  22. It (1980):Pennywise is the reason that I do not like clowns. Not at all. Not even a little bit.


    Pennywise the clown in It.

  23. Poltergeist (1982): Always check property records and old maps before buying a home. Otherwise, you could end up on top of an indian burial ground and bad things will happen.
  24. Psycho (1968): Norman Bates was the original madman slasher. Love it.
  25. High Tension (2005): Back in 2006, there was still a movie rental place near my apartment in Brooklyn. The guy behind the counter told me to watch this movie from France. He said it scared the shit out of him. It did not disappoint.

Is there anything missing from my list? Want to change my mind or the order? Leave a comment.


  1. Fun list…
    I’d throw in Maniac, The Town that Dreaded Sundown, Repulsion, Re-Animator, and another movie from France that is unsettling as they come – Martyrs.

    • Horror Movie Maven

      November 10, 2014 at 9:14 pm

      I’ve seen a few of those, but not all of them. Looks like I’ve got some work to do. Thanks for suggestions!

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