When it comes to the horror genre, we all have our favourite films. You know the ones that you can watch a million and one times over and never seem to get tired of? Those particular movies stay with us, haunting us, and causing us to fall in love with the genre that often gets a bad reputation for promoting violence.
I have decided to take it upon myself to deliver my own personal list of 100 horror movies that you really need to see at least once in your life. This list is a perfect combination of disturbing movies that serve as a great introduction to the horror genre.
These titles are a mixture of cult classic horror that make every list like this, modern cinematic experiences that left us blown away, as well some obscure, hard to find titles that will leave you with chills.
It should go without saying that there will be some spoilers revealed on this list. Consider this your first, and only warning.
Does your favourite horror film make my top 100?
100: The Human Centipede (2009)
This film’s sole purpose was to deliver a shock value. And that it did. Three humans joined from the mouth to the anus was the inspiration for this film. It sounds disgusting, and it is, but it is a must see for all die-hard horror fans.
Creepiest Moment: The “Feeding” sequence. Yuck!
99: House on Haunted Hill (1999)
It’s not very often that I praise a remake, let alone one that was pretty heavily panned by fans of the horror genre, but I dig the film. Geoffrey Rush stars as a wealthy amusement park mogul and offers a group of diverse people $1,000,000 to spend a night in a haunted house with a horrifying past.
Creepiest Moment: The saturation chamber scene. “What will drive a sane man mad will drive a mad man sane.”
98: Terror Train (1980)
When describing this film I often tell people to think Halloween meets Murder on the Orient Express. Jamie Lee Curtis stars in this underrated slasher film alongside famed magician, David Copperfield, as a masked killer stalks them one by one aboard a New Year’s Eve party on a train.
Creepiest Moment: The reveal of the psycho behind the mask.
97: I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)
I cannot make a list about horror movies and not include this 90’s gem. My introduction to horror came at the hands… Erh…. Hook of the Fisherman (Muse Watson). When four young adults hit a man with their car, they cover up the crime by dumping the body. Only problem is, he’s not dead and one year later he makes them pay for their crimes.
Creepiest Moment: “I know all about ‘accidents’, and let give you some advice: When you leave a man for dead, make sure he’s REALLY dead!”
96: Cujo (1983)
This film kicked me hard in the feels. As a dog lover, it was hard for me to see the terror that Cujo went through. A loving Saint Bernard is bitten by a rabid bat and embarks on a killing spree for all who cross his path.
Creepiest Moment: Cujo’s first attack on the Pinto.
95: Il boia scarlatto a.k.a Body Pit of Horror (1965)
Mickey Hargitay stars in this Italian horror film where a photographer arrives at an abandoned castle along with some models to shoot some sexy covers for upcoming horror novels. Unbeknownst to them, the castle is inhabited by a man who believes himself to be the reincarnated spirit of a 17th century executioner who must protect the castle from intruders.
Creepiest Moment: Once the torture starts, prepare to scream.
94: Jeepers Creepers (2001)
Ignoring the controversy surrounding the director of this film, Jeepers Creepers is a pretty spectacular entry to the horror genre. Being stalked by a regular human being is terrifying on its own. But being stalked by a flesh-eating creature that wants your body parts in order to regenerate itself… That’s just pure evil!
Creepiest Moment: Whenever that song plays across the radio… “Jeepers creepers! Where’d you get those peepers…”
93: The Grudge (2004)
I’m not usually one for remakes, but this 2004 American remake of the Japanese film Ju-on (2002) is actually an enjoyable one. Starring Sarah Michelle Gellar as a nurse that’s working in Tokyo when she encounters a supernatural curse.
Creepiest Moment: Two words: The attic.
92: Child’s Play (1988)
What happens when a serial killer uses a voodoo curse to place his soul into a children’s toy just before he dies? You get one psychotic doll that will stop at nothing to take over the body of the first person he told his secret too. Even if that means killing everyone else who gets in his way…
Creepiest Moment: When you realize the box didn’t come with ‘extra’ batteries…
91: Scare Campaign (2016)
When a television show that is renowned for its practical jokes and pranks all captured on hidden camera suddenly faces cancelation, it’s time to up the ante. But the team goes too far when they seemingly prank the wrong guy…
Creepiest Moment: When the tables turn and the stooge becomes the hunter.
90: The Evil Dead (1981)
Five friends travel to a cabin in the woods, where they unknowingly release flesh-possessing demons. The friends find themselves hapless to stop the evil that takes them out one by one until only one is left to survive until dawn.
Creepiest Moment: When the trees comes to life and imply sexual assault. Definitely not “Groovy.”
89: Shiver (2012)
While this is classed as a thriller, there are some serious horror elements that cannot be ignored. Wendy (Horror veteran, Danielle Harris) is a shy young woman who becomes a target for a serial killer, Franklin Rood who’s played by John Jarratt.
Creepiest Moment: Franklin’s first appearance. Thought John Jarratt was creepy as Mick Taylor? You ain’t seen nothing yet.
88: Dead & Buried (1981)
The town of Potter’s Bluff has a secret. Anyone who ventures into the town seems to die in a horrific manner at the hands of the townspeople. But the part that leaves you scratching your head is when you realize that the dead is coming back to life!
Creepiest Moment: The gruesome demise of the first victim sets up the terror that will follow.
87: The Final Girls (2015)
I usually avoid comedy horror, but this was just brilliant. A young woman, grieving the loss of her mother – a famous scream queen from the 80’s – finds herself pulled into the world of her mother’s most famous slasher movie. Reunited, the women must fight off the movie’s maniacal killer.
Creepiest Moment: When our heroes realize that in this film, everyone dies. Including them.
86: House of 1000 Corpses (2003)
From the mind of Rob Zombie comes a tale of two young couples, traveling across the backwoods of Texas searching for urban legends of murder and mayhem, end up as prisoners of a bizarre and sadistic family of serial killers.
Creepiest Moment: The entire movie is creepy, but the part that will have you hiding your eyes is when Otis Firefly introduces Fishboy.
85: The Legend of Hell House (1973)
Four psychic investigators (played by Roddy McDowall, Pamela Franklin, Clive Revill, and Gayle Hunnicutt) are to spend a week in a haunted house to see if life really does exist after death.
Creepiest Moment: This film’s atmosphere keeps its intensity high, but when domesticated cats begin attacking, it might be time to leave Hell House.
84: Children of the Corn (1984)
When it comes to cult movies, this is one of the more well known. When Isaac, a young preacher, descends onto the rural town of Gatlin, he brings a prophesy that is truly terrifying, wherein all the adults must die.
Creepiest Moment: Isaac’s arrival.
83: The Cabin in the Woods (2012)
Paying homage to many different films, The Cabin in the Woods is about five friends who travel to a remote cabin where there’s far more going on than meets the eye.
Creepiest Moment: When the elevator doors open…
82: The Birds (1963)
When a practical joke on a rich socialite results in a plot to get payback. But before she has a chance to exact her revenge, the birds begin to act strangely, resulting in deaths of people. There’s no explanation for what’s happening, but survival becomes top priority.
Creepiest Moment: Two words: Telephone booth!
81: 976-Evil (1988)
What would happen if the devil had a horror-scope hotline? Turns out in this Robert Englund directed 80’s cult classic, when Hoax checks his horoscope, he suddenly finds himself developing supernatural powers. Too bad everyone around him is dying.
Creepiest Moment: Death by tarantulas is just spine-chilling.
80: Waxwork (1988)
A waxwork museum comes to town, and a mysterious man invites a group of teenagers to a special showing at midnight. Once inside, while viewing different exhibits, the scenes come alive and the viewer is sucked into the story being portrayed.
Creepiest Moment: Watching a man having his leg stripped of flesh and muscle.
79: Frankenstein (1931)
If you don’t know of this classic tale, based on the book by Mary Shelley, why are you even reading this list? Henry Frankenstein is a doctor who is trying to discover a way to make the dead walk. He succeeds and creates a monster that has to deal with living again.
Creepiest Moment: The mob hunting down the monster and trapping him in a windmill which they then set ablaze.
78: The Babadook (2014)
Mixed reviews flooded this Aussie film, but I actually enjoyed it. A widowed mother, plagued by the violent death of her husband, battles with her son’s fear of a monster lurking in the house. She soon discovers the monster is real and its sinister presence is all around her.
Creepiest Moment: “You’re not my mother!”
77: The Last Showing (2014)
Robert Englund returns to serious horror as Stuart, a projectionist at a cinema. There he holds a couple hostage and manipulates them into becoming unwilling actors in a film being captured by CCTV cameras. Check out our review HERE.
Creepiest Moment: Watching Stuart transform from being a helpful clerk, to a sinister director of the macabre.
76: The Haunting (1963)
Dr. Markway, doing research to prove the existence of the paranormal, investigates Hill House, a large, eerie mansion with a lurid history of violent deaths and insanity. With him are the skeptical Luke, who stands to inherit the house, the mysterious and clairvoyant Theodora, and the insecure Eleanor, whose psychic abilities make her feel somehow attuned to whatever spirits inhabit the old mansion.
Creepiest Moment: The sudden appearance of a bloody face in the attic.
75: Audition (1999)
A widower takes an offer to screen young women at a special audition, arranged for him by a friend to find him a new wife. The one he fancies is proof that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.
Creepiest Moment: Two words is all you need; Piano wire.
74: The Purge (2013)
Ethan Hawke stars as the head of a wealthy family that are held hostage for harbouring the target of a murderous syndicate during the Purge, a 12-hour period in which any and all crime is legal.
Creepiest Moment: When the polite leader reveals his true intentions…
73: [REC] (1997)
In this found footage style film, a young television reporter and her cameraman follow emergency workers in a dark apartment and realize that something very sinister lurks inside.
Creepiest Moment: Any time the night vision mode of the camera is activated.
72: The Prowler (1981)
An underrated film that came during the rise of the slasher movies, The Prowler is about an unknown killer, clad in WWII U.S. Army fatigues, stalking a small New Jersey town, hell-bent on reliving a 35 year-old double murder. The killer’s focus is that of a group of college kids who are holding the annual Spring Dance.
Creepiest Moment: With the horror master Tom Savini in charge of the special makeup and effects, you know this film is bloody. All the deaths are brutal and intense but the swimming pool scene is most memorable.
71: Cannibal Holocaust (1980)
This film is so intense the director had to actually prove that he didn’t kill his actors in a court of law. If that hasn’t grabbed your attention then maybe the plot will. During a rescue mission into the Amazon rainforest, a professor stumbles across lost film shot by a missing documentary crew.
Creepiest Moment: This film is filled with them, but the real life murder of 6 animals on screen is enough to make anyone cover their eyes and run from the room in fear.
70: Anaconda (1997)
When it comes to creature features, Anaconda is one often remembered for the terrible acting, horrible plot, Jennifer Lopez, and Jon Voight’s really bad South African accent. But as far as giant snake movies go it’s the best of the worst. A “National Geographic” film crew is taken hostage by an insane hunter who’s determined to capture the world’s largest – and deadliest – snake.
Creepiest Moment: When you realize that Serone doesn’t exactly have pure intentions for guiding the crew down the river.
69: Island of Lost Souls (1932)
A true classic of the genre, Island of Lost Souls is about ab obsessed scientist conducts profane experiments in evolution, eventually establishing himself as the self-styled demigod to a race of mutated, half-human abominations.
Creepiest Moment: Watching Dr. Moreau get this comeuppance.
68: House of Usher (1960)
Can’t have a horror list without mentioning a Vincent Price classic. Based on the work by renowned writer, Edgar Allan Poe, House of Usher is about a man discovering a family curse upon entering the mansion belonging to his fiancée’s family.
Creepiest Moment: The tension that builds towards a climatic finale.
67: I Spit on Your Grave (1978)
Also known as Day of the Woman, this film sees an aspiring writer who takes a trip out to the country to try to invoke the inspiration she desires. She is repeatedly gang-raped, humiliated, and left for dead by four men whom she systematically hunts down to seek revenge.
Creepiest Moment: The much-deserved castration of one of the men. Even I crossed my legs at it.
66: Orphan (2009)
When Kate and John lose their baby girl, they decide the best way to grow their family is through adoption. They check out a local orphanage and stumble across Esther, a lonely and seemingly charming young girl. Only problem is Esther hides a very dark secret.
Creepiest Moment: There’s many to choose from, but the arm break certain leaves your stomach churning.
65: Ginger Snaps (2000)
This is without a doubt one of the best werewolf movies of all time. Two death-obsessed sisters, outcasts in their slice of suburbia, must deal with the tragic consequences when one of them is bitten by a deadly werewolf.
Creepiest Moment: This film is definitely intense when it comes to death, but the werewolf attack on Ginger takes this spot as the creepiest moment.
64: The Descent (2005)
A woman goes on an adventurous vacation with her friends and her family. Her husband and daughter are tragically killed in a freak accident. One year on, she goes on a cave exploration adventure with her friends only to become trapped. With supplies running out, they struggle to survive against blood thirsty creatures.
Creepiest Moment: The moment the cave dwelling creatures make their first appearance.
63: Freaks (1932)
Proof that older films can be the most terrifying. A circus’ beautiful trapeze artist agrees to marry the leader of the side-show performers, but his deformed friends discover she’s only marrying him for his inheritance and so they plot their revenge.
Creepiest Moment: “One of us. One of us. One of us.”
62: The Host (2006)
Hailing from South Korea, this film’s storyline is perfect for those storm-ravaged nights. A monster emerges from Seoul’s Han River and focuses its attention on attacking people. One victim’s family does what it can to rescue her from its clutches.
Creepiest Moment: When we first get a glimpse of the monster.
61: The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
This story is one you should know quite well. At the Opera of Paris, a mysterious and masked phantom threatens a famous lyric singer, Carlotta, and thus forces her to give up her role for the unknown Christine Daae. Christine meets the phantom in the catacombs under the theatre where he lives. But what does he really want?
Creepiest Moment: Unmasking the phantom was truly terrifying.
60: Dark Night of the Scarecrow (1981)
This one is a bit of a cheat. It was originally released as a TV Movie, but it’s so good that I had to include it in this list. An intellectually disabled man is unjustly accused of attacking a young girl. Disguised as a scarecrow, he hides in a cornfield, only to be hunted down and shot. Later, after it’s revealed he saved the girl from a vicious dog attack, members of the mob are killed brutally by a mysterious scarecrow.
Creepiest Moment: Watching the scarecrow exact its revenge.
59: Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2007)
A documentary crew descends on the town of Glen Echo to chase the legend of Leslie Vernon, a serial killer hell bent on bringing death and destruction to his hometown. What they encounter is Leslie himself, as he gives them the inside scoop on what it’s like to be a horror legend.
Creepiest Moment: When the tables turn and the documentary crew find themselves at the center of Leslie’s attacks.
58: Black Water (2007)
Fresh out of Australia comes a terrifying tale of a trio of sightseers that venture into the mangroves with the help of their tour guide. Their boat is capsized and their guide is attacked by a large crocodile. From that point on, it’s a fight for survival.
Creepiest Moment: As the night descends and our trio realize they have to swim for the boat.
57: Ils a.k.a Them (2006)
This French film gave me chills. Lucas and Clementine live peacefully in their isolated country house. One night they wake up to a strange noise. They’re not alone. A group of hooded assailants begin to terrorize them throughout the night.
Creepiest Moment: The whole film is intense, but the opening 5 minutes really set up the movie.
56: When a Stranger Calls (1979)
Not to be confused with the remake in 2006, this original Fred Walton film features Carol Kane as Jill Johnson, a babysitter who receives menacing phone calls from a man demanding to know why she hadn’t checked on the children. Seven years after he terrorized her, he returns and ups the ante.
Creepiest Moment: The first 20 minutes are absolutely terrifying. “Why haven’t you checked the children?”
55: Dead Ringers (1988)
Jeremy Irons’ first and only appearance in a horror movie is utterly disturbing. From the direction of David Cronenberg, comes Dead Ringers, a tale of identical twins gynecologists who take full advantage over the fact that nobody can tell them apart, until their relationship begins to deteriorate over a woman.
Creepiest Moment: Looking at the brand new gyno instruments that the twins designed in order to perform certain procedures on their patients.
54: Nosferatu (1922)
A classic vampire tale that every horror fan should know and should watch at least once. Vampire Count Orlok expresses interest in a new residence, as well as the wife of his real estate agent.
Creepiest Moment: This is film is often slated as the first “scary” movie. Though outdated, the shadow effects are still a little eerie.
53: Night of the Living Dead (1968)
There’s panic throughout the nation as the dead suddenly come back to life in this classic zombie horror. The film follows a group of characters who barricade themselves in an old farmhouse in an attempt to remain safe from the flesh-eating, blood-thirsty monsters.
Creepiest Moment: “They’re coming to get you Barbara.”
52: Trick ‘r Treat (2007)
One of the best movies revolving around Halloween, this film has established itself as a must watch during the Halloween season. Five interwoven stories that occur on Halloween: And everyday high school principal has a secret life as a serial killer; a college virgin might have just met the right guy for her; a group of teenagers pull a mean prank; a woman who loathes the night has to contend with her holiday-obsessed husband; and a mean, old man meets his match with a demonic, supernatural trick-or-treater.
Creepiest Moment: The unveiling of the face beneath the sack…
51: The Hills Have Eyes (1977)
Wes Craven gave us this disturbing, and supposedly true, tale of terror. On the way to California, a family has the misfortune to have their car break down in an area closed to the public, and inhabited by a family of violent savages that are ready to attack.
Creepiest Moment: Definitely watching the poor father being burned alive.
50: The Ugly (1997)
If you’ve followed my horror career, you’ll notice this film appears a lot in articles and general conversation. And there’s good reason for it too. The Ugly is a horror gem straight from New Zealand. A female psychologist wants to understand the mind of a confessed serial killer who has spent the last five years in a mental health hospital because of his state of mind.
Creepiest Moment: The mental flashbacks will leave you with chills.
49: Candyman (1992)
Helen thought the story of ‘Candyman’ was just that; a story. But after saying his name 5 times into a mirror, she realizes it’s not just a legend at all. Candyman is a murderous soul with a sharp hook for a hand and he’ll do anything to make people believe his story…
Creepiest Moment: When you hear the story about the young boy who had his most private parts removed.
48: Inside (2007)
This French film introduces audiences to the psychopath, La Femme, a genuine threat when it comes to Femme Fatales. Inside is about a woman on the brink of motherhood, mourning the loss of her husband four months earlier. She is tormented in her home by a strange woman who wants her unborn baby.
Creepiest Moment: This film is graphic and quite disturbing to view. The opening moments start the chills and the film quickly ups the intensity.
47: Sleepaway Camp (1983)
Angela Baker, a traumatized and very shy young girl, is sent to a summer camp with her cousin. Shortly after their arrival, anyone with a sinister or less than honourable intentions gets their comeuppance.
Creepiest Moment: The reveal of Angela’s big secret.
46: The Howling (1981)
“What’s that werewolf movie with ET’s mom in it?” This one! After a bizarre, and near fatal, encounter with a serial killer, a television newswoman is sent to a remote mountain resort whose residents may not be what they seem.
Creepiest Moment: The fight where a werewolf loses its hand.
45: Insidious (2010)
Australian director, James Wan, terrified audience with this paranormal gem. A family looks to prevent evil spirits from trapping their comatose child in a realm called The Further
Creepiest Moment: There are definite jump moments throughout this film, the final few seconds proved to be the creepiest.
44: Martyrs (2008)
A few French films have made the list thus far, but this one takes the cake! A young woman’s quest for revenge against the people who kidnapped and tormented her as a child leads her and a friend, who is also a victim of child abuse, on a terrifying journey into a living hell of depravity.
Creepiest Moment: This movie is unsettling. I found the most psychological aspects creepier than the bloody violence. The metal helmet and the subsequent madness broke me.
43: The Raven (1963)
In this tongue-in-cheek movie inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s poem, The Raven, Dr. Craven (Vincent Price) is the son of a great sorcerer. One evening, a cowardly fool of a magician named Bedlo comes to Craven for help. The evil Dr. Scarabus has turned him into a raven and he needs someone to change him back. He also tells reluctant wizard that Craven’s long-lost wife, Lenore, is living with the despised Scarabus.
Creepiest Moment: While this film does have its comedic moments, Vincent Price’s voice while reciting Poe’s work does send chills down your spine. It was as if they were made for each other…
42: The Shallows (2016)
A modern day shark film that actually doesn’t suck. A mere 200 yards from shore, surfer Nancy (Blake Lively) is attacked by a great white shark. Her short journey to safety becomes the ultimate test of strength and survival.
Creepiest Moment: Watching Nancy having to stitch her initial wound together with her necklace and earrings. Definitely hard to watch.
41: The Town That Dreaded Sundown (1976)
Based on the real life Texarkana Moonlight Murders in 1946, The Town That Dreaded Sundown follows the tale of the Phantom killer who successfully got away with 8 counts of murder.
Creepiest Moment: Aside from the fact it’s based on a real life serial killer, you’ll never look at a trombone quite the same way again…
40: Hostel: Part II
A little unusual to go with a sequel but Hostel: Part II stands out for its gruesome murders. Three female college students take a detour from their partying, enticed by a beautiful woman who promises them seclusion, safety, and the possibility of romance. What they actually get is a living nightmare where they are sold to the highest bidder whose fondest wish is to kill them slowly.
Creepiest Moment: Not one for the faint at heart, I give this creepy moment to the ultimate “blood bath.”
39: The Funhouse Massacre (2015)
This entry is a little bit of Halloween fun. Six of the world’s scariest psychopaths escape from a local Asylum and proceed to unleash terror on the unsuspecting crowd of a Halloween Funhouse, whose themed mazes are inspired by their various reigns of terror. Check out our review HERE.
Creepiest Moment: When the guest of the Funhouse start dying one by one…
38: Hellraiser (1987)
Clive Barker brings the scares in this gruesome, supernatural tale of terror. An unfaithful wife encounters the zombie of her dead lover. Meanwhile, demonic cenobites are pursuing him after he escaped their sadomasochistic underworld.
Creepiest Moment: Frank’s return.
37: The Omen (1976)
Greggory Peck stars in this demonic movie. Robert and Katherine Thorn seem to have it all, but what they really want is to have children. When Katherine delivers a stillborn child, Robert is approached by a local priest who suggests that they take a healthy newborn whose mother has just died in childbirth. Without telling his wife, Robert agrees. After relocating to London, strange events – and the ominous warnings of a priest – lead him to believe that the child he took from that Italian hospital is evil incarnate.
Creepiest Moment: Where to start; the atmosphere, the score, the violence and gore… This is one of the creepiest movies on this list.
36: Dracula (1931)
You should all know this story by now. Bela Lugosi stars in this classic from the 1930’s. The ancient vampire Count Dracula arrives in England and begins to pretty upon the virtuous young Mina.
Creepiest Moment: By today’s standards this film is tame, but the moment where we see a partially rotted corpses inside a coffin certainly is pretty creepy.
35: The Fog (1980)
The master, John Carpenter, directs this sensational classic. An eerie, and unearthly, fog rolls into a small coastal town exactly 100 years after a ship mysteriously sank in its waters.
Creepiest Moment: “There’s something in the fog!”
34: The Shining (1980)
Another Stephen King adaptation makes this list. A family heads to an isolated hotel for the winter where an evil, spiritual presence influences the father into violence. His son is somewhat psychic and sees horrific forebodings from both the past and the future.
Creepiest Moment: There’s a lot to choose from, but I’m going to go with “Redrum.”
33: The Loved Ones (2009)
From beyond the black stump come another Aussie horror. Lola Stone is bonkers. Absolutely bonkers. When Brent turns down Lola’s invitation to the formal (prom), she invents a wild plan for revenge. And she’s not alone. Her dad lends a hand to show Brent the error of his ways.
Creepiest Moment: The constant playing of Kasey Chamber’s “Not Pretty Enough” through the out the movie. Chills.
32: The Reef (2010)
The people that brought us Black Water, have shown their creature feature wasn’t just a flash in the pan. When the luxury yacht they’re sailing to Indonesia capsizes in the Pacific Ocean, five friends are left stranded. Their only chance of survival is to swim. But midway through their journey, they’re attacked by a great white shark.
Creepiest Moment: The whole movie has high tension as the characters are stalked. But it’s the sudden attack on Susie that leaves you trembling with fear.
31: Black Christmas (1974)
A genuine slasher classic where a group of college girls are stalked by a masked man during their Christmas break. It started with anonymous phone calls from a deranged pervert before escalating until it becomes a blood bath.
Creepiest Moment: Suspenseful and not as gory as some of the entries on this list, I found the suffocation sequence most disturbing.
30: The Lost Boys (1987)
This is one of the most rockin’ vampire movies of all time. Forget Sunnydale as the number one hive of vampire activity. That Hellmouth doesn’t hold a candle to Santa Carla. A mother and her two sons move to Santa Carla, a small coastal town in California that’s plagued by bikers and mysterious deaths. The younger son makes friends with two other boys who claim to vampire hunters, while his older brother is drawn to a gang of bikers by a beautiful girl. The older son starts sleeping all day and staying out all night, while the younger son starts getting into trouble because of his friends’ obsession.
Creepiest Moment: Paul’s demise is graphic and a little disturbing.
29: The Strangers (2008)
A home invasion story that shocked most audiences upon the first viewing. After returning from a wedding reception, a coupe staying in an isolated vacation home receive a knock on the door in the mid-hours of the night. What ensues is a violent invasion by three masked strangers. The couple find themselves in a violent struggle, going beyond what either of them thought they were capable of in order to survive.
Creepiest Moment: “Why are you doing this to us?” “Because you were home.”
28: American Psycho (2000)
Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) is a handsome, well-educated, and intelligent man. He’s in his late twenties and living his own American dream. By day, he works on Wall Street, earning a fortune to complement the one he was born with. By night, he descends into madness, as he experiments with fear and violence.
Creepiest Moment: Watching Bateman slowly come apart in the final act of the movie is unnerving as you have no idea what he’s capable of, but the chase of Christie through the apartment building, chainsaw in hand, is terrifying.
27: Ringu (1998)
A cursed videotape doesn’t sound scary now, but in the late 90’s this was the stuff of nightmares. I went with the Japanese original movie over the 2002 American remake (though that was good too) because I felt the atmosphere created was slightly more disturbing. A reporter and her ex-husband investigate a cursed video tape that is rumoured to kill the viewer seven days after watching it.
Creepiest Moment: No matter how many times you see it, watching the main antagonist crawl out of the television still gives you chills.
26: A Serbian Film (2010)
This has to be one of the most disturbing entries on this list. Not so much a “horror” film as a disturbing turn of events that borders into horror territory. An aging porn star agrees to participate in an “are film” in order to make a clean break from the business, only to discover that he has been drafted into making a pedophilia and necrophilia themed snuff film.
Creepiest Moment: Watching the rape of a newborn baby. No, I’m not kidding. It’s heinous and very disturbing.
25: Suspiria (1977)
Ballet has never been more terrifying. Suzy travels to Germany to perfect her ballet skills. She arrives at the Tanz Dance Academy and is refused admission. She returns the next day and is let in. Turns out a woman seen fleeing the academy the previous day has been found dead. Strange things begin to occur once she’s allowed to dance; Suzy becomes ill and is put on a special diet; the school becomes infested with maggots; odd sounds are heard; and Daniel, the pianist, is killed by his own dog. A bit of research goes a long way and Suzy comes to realize that the school was once a witch’s coven – and it still is.
Creepiest Moment: The opening death sequence will leave you reeling.
24: The Amityville Horror (1979)
Most people know of this story, even if they’re not a fan of the horror genre. Based on a true story, The Amityville Horror is about the Lutz family that move into a large house that has been the scene of a grizzly mass murder. Despite being warned of that fact, George and Kathy go ahead with the purchase of the home. But there’s something else living there besides them. Evil spirits are abound and will stop at nothing until they possess the family.
Creepiest Moment: Watching George stalk his family, a murderous look in his eye. You know what follows can’t be good.
23: The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)
Mark my words; this film will become a cult classic in the coming years. Tommy and Austin are a father and son team of coroners who receive a mysterious homicide victim with no apparent cause of death. As they attempt to identify the beautiful, young “Jane Doe”, they discover increasingly bizarre clues that hold the key to her terrifying secrets.
Creepiest Moment: Whenever you hear the ‘ding’ of the toe bell…
22: The Last House on the Left (1972)
Gritty. Disturbing. Intense. This film was banned in Australia for 32 years because of its content. Two teenage girls head to a rock concert to celebrate one of their birthdays. While trying to score some marijuana in the city, they’re kidnapped and brutalized by a gang of psychotic convicts.
Creepiest Moment: Watching Mari’s family exact revenge over the death of their daughter.
21: Carrie (1976)
Carrie White has had a rough upbringing by her overly religious mother, whose extreme views on the world, and sex as a sin, leave her daughter an outcast at high school. All that stress, Carrie notices a change in herself. She can move objects with the power of her mind. So when one of the popular boys invites Carrie to prom, her mother is dead against her going. Disobeying her mother, Carrie follows her heart, only to be the butt of a cruel prank. That’s when the carnage ensues.
Creepiest Moment: The moment Chris pulls the rope and the bucket of blood lands on our leading lady.
20: Dawn of the Dead (1978)
I bow down to the late, great George A. Romero for this absolute zombie classic. I came close to going with the 2004 remake of this film, but there’s no denying the original is a classic that ALL horror fans need to see. Following an ever-growing epidemic of zombies, two Philadelphia S.W.A.T team members, a traffic reporter, and his television executive girlfriend, seek refuge in a secluded shopping mall.
Creepiest Moment: For a film that’s 40 years old, any scene where a zombie is attacking and devouring a human being is quite disturbing.
19: The Blair Witch Project (1999)
When it comes to found-footage style movies, this is always mentioned, and for good reason. Often credited as being the first of its kind, The Blair Witch Project terrified audiences with its minimalistic approach to filmmaking. Their campaign that had the film marketed as a documentary didn’t hurt them either, as many cinema-goers today still believe that this film is genuine and that the actors are really missing.
Creepiest Moment: Seeing Mike standing in the corner of the basement for that brief moment at the end…
18: Poltergeist (1982)
Tobe Hooper brings forth this harrowing tale of a family haunted by ghosts. At first the ghost appear friendly, moving objects around the house to the amusement of everyone. But then they turn nasty, terrorizing everyone before they “kidnap” the youngest daughter.
Creepiest Moment: “They’re here.”
17: The Conjuring (2013)
Based on a true story of a family being terrorized in their home, this movie follows real life demonologists, Ed and Lorraine Warren, as they investigate the hauntings of Roger and Carolyn Perron in their estate in Rhode Island.
Creepiest Moment: “Wanna play hide and go clap?”
16: Lake Mungo (2008)
The story of Alice Palmer is the subject of this Australian film. Sixteen year old Alice drowns in a dam and when her body is recovered, a verdict of accidental death is recorded. From that moment on, her family experiences a series of strange and inexplicable events, centered in and around their home. The Palmers seek out help of a psychic and parapsychologist, Ray Kemeny. Ray discovers that Alice led a secret life. A series of clues leads the family to Lake Mungo, where Alice’s secret past emerges.
Creepiest Moment: The discovery of Alice’s body, and everything that follows it.
15: The Thing (1982)
Another remake makes this list, though this is arguably one of the best remakes going around. With John Carpenter behind the camera, The Thing is about a group of men at a research station in Antarctica. The base is suddenly buzzed by a helicopter from the nearby Norwegian station. They’re trying to kill a dog that has escaped their base. After the destruction of the chopper, the members of the US team fly to the Norwegian base, only to discover them all dead or MIA. They do find the remains of a strange creature and take it back to their base for analysis. After a while it is apparent that the alien can take over and assimilate into other life forms, including humans, and it can spread like a virus. Anyone could be inhabited by The Thing and tensions escalate.
Creepiest Moment: I lost it over the alien mutilating a dog. Very gory.
14: Scream (1996)
“What’s your favourite scary movie?” It seems someone has taken their love of horror movies one step too far in this classic slasher film from the 90’s. This Wes Craven classic revived the horror genre in the mid-late 90’s with its ability to poke fun at horror movies of the past. No one is safe. Just remember, don’t answer the phone. Don’t answer the door. Don’t try to escape. And most of all, don’t scream.
Creepiest Moment: The first 10 minutes.
13: An American Werewolf in London (1981)
Two American college students are on a walking tour of Britain when they’re attacked by a werewolf. One is killed while the other is mauled. The werewolf is killed and reverts back to human form. The local townspeople are unwilling to acknowledge its existence. The surviving student begins to have nightmares of hunting on four feet. Then his deceased friend and another werewolf victim appear to him, demanding that he take his own life in order to release them from their curse of being trapped between worlds because of their unnatural demise.
Creepiest Moment: Best. Werewolf. Transformation. Ever!
12: The Mist (2007)
Someone remind me that when a strange mist rolls into town, not to take shelter in a supermarket. With one of the most tragic endings of any horror movie, this film is a must watch. A freak storm unleashes an otherworldly species of bloodthirsty creatures on a small town. A band of citizens must fight back if they’re going to survive.
Creepiest Moment: Many mild scares happen along the way, but it’s the final 5 minutes that will haunt you the most.
11: Saw (2004)
Never have the words “I want to play a game” been more chilling, even if Billy Loomis did say it first in Scream. Two strangers awaken to find themselves trapped in a dank bathroom. Pretty soon they discover they’re just pawns in a deadly game perpetrated by a notorious serial killer. Take a look at our review of the latest Saw instalment Jigsaw HERE.
Creepiest Moment: The reverse bear trap.
10: IT (2017)
Kicking off the top ten is the outstanding reimagining of Stephen King’s IT. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of the original miniseries that saw Tim Curry star as the creepy clown, but there was just something about this version that left me unsettled. A group of bullied kids band together when a shapeshifting monster, taking on the appearance of Pennywise the Dancing Clown, begins hunting children in the town of Derry.
Creepiest Moment: Meeting Pennywise for the first time and seeing Georgie’s demise.
9: Wolf Creek (2005)
No way was I going to leave this off the list. This film reignited the Australian horror market and gave the world Mick Taylor, a serial killer that hunts tourists to the land down under. Three backpackers are left stranded in the Australian outback when their car seemingly breaks down. What they didn’t expect was to be plunged into a hellish nightmare of insufferable torture at the hands of a sadistic psychopath.
Creepiest Moment: The head-on-a-stick scene. Still gives me chills.
8: Friday the 13th (1980)
Camp Crystal Lake is open for business. Well, sort of. A group of camp counselors are stalked and murdered by an unknown assailant while trying to reopen a summer camp which, years before, was the site of a child’s drowning, among other suspicious deaths and incidents
Creepiest Moment: The first ever appearance of what will become the man antagonist; Jason Voorhees.
7: Alien (1979)
The funny thing about being in space is that no one can hear you scream. After a space merchant vessel perceives an unknown transmission as a distress call, its landing on the source moon finds one of the crew attacked by a mysterious lifeform. It’s all downhill from there as the crew realizes that its life cycle has merely begun…
Creepiest Moment: The chest-bursting sequence. Talk about heartburn.
6: A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Whatever you do, don’t fall asleep. Several people are hunted by a cruel, serial killer who murders his victims in their dreams. While the survivors are trying to find the reason for being chosen, the killer, complete with a set of razor fingers, seemingly enjoys picking them off one by one.
Creepiest Moment: Tina’s nightmare before her demise.
5: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
En route to visit their grandfather’s grave, which has apparently been ritualistically desecrated, five teenagers drive past a slaughterhouse, pick up (and quickly drop) a sinister hitch-hiker, eat some delicious home-cured meat at a roadside gas station, before ending up at the old family home… Where they’re plunged into a never-ending nightmare as they meet a family of cannibals who more than make up in power tools what they lack in social skills…
Creepiest Moment: The final 20 minutes is horrific as we watch Sally fight for her life against the family that’s holding her hostage before being chased by Leatherface, wielding his chainsaw.
4: Psycho (1960)
A boy’s best friend is his mother. Or so this film would have you believe. Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) has stolen $40,000 from her employer and fled to the town of Fairvale, where her boyfriend, Sam Loomis (John Gavin) lives. But as the rain begins to pour, she loses her way and comes across the Bates Motel, a rundown motel on the old highway that’s managed by the sweet, if somewhat creepy, Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) and his mother.
Creepiest Scene: The infamous shower scene with that menacing score. Marion Crane didn’t stand a chance.
3: JAWS (1975)
The crème de la crème of shark movies takes the third spot on this list. Why? Well, forty plus years after the movie was first released, it’s still keeping people out of the ocean. The small island community of Amity Island is threatened by a menacing great white shark.
Creepiest Moment: While I deem the death of Chrissie Watkins to be the most terrifying as it sets the scene for the rest of the film, I find the creepiest moment in the movie to be when we first get a good look at the shark. “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”
2: Halloween (1978)
Psycho might be the granddaddy of all slasher movies, but it was Halloween that gave birth to the Boogeyman. Forty years on and Michael Myers is still carving them up on screen. But his story started back in 1963, when, at age six, he murdered his older sister in cold blood. Fifteen years later he escapes from the mental hospital that he’s called home since the murder. He returns to the small town of Haddonfield to kill again.
Creepiest Moment: There’s a few as this movie focuses on building suspense, not blood. But nothing is more chilling then when Michael is unmasked for the first time to reveal he’s just a child. Talk about pure evil!
1: The Exorcist (1973)
When it comes to movies about demonic possession, none can stand up to this classic from the early 70’s. This film has really stood the test of time and deserves the number one position on this list as it has been voted time and time again as the scariest movie ever made. When a young girl is possessed by a mysterious demonic entity, her mother seeks the help of two priests in order to save her daughter.
Creepiest Moment: There’s no lack of creepy moments but it’s the spider walk that really terrified audiences.
Article by Rhiannon Elizabeth Irons