Best Horror Movies by Year Since 1920

Look, we know that it’s the time of year when everyone and their sister has a list of the best horror movies of all time. This time out, we at Rotten Tomatoes decided to take a slightly different tack. Using our weighted formula, we compiled a list of the best-reviewed fright fests from each year since 1920 — the year The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, which created the template for horror cinema, was released. This wasn’t an easy assignment — there were several years, like 1932 and 1960, that boasted a slate of classic films (and a few others, like 1937 and 1938, in which we had trouble finding any solid contenders). What was the best horror flick the year you were born? Check out our list — if you dare.

 

#1920
Adjusted Score: 111.252%
Critics Consensus: Arguably the first true horror film, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari set a brilliantly high bar for the genre -- and remains terrifying nearly a century after it first stalked the screen.
Synopsis: In one of the most influential films of the silent era, Werner Krauss plays the title character, a sinister hypnotist... [More]
Directed By: Robert Wiene

#1921
#1921
Adjusted Score: 101.912%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: David Holm (Victor Sjostrom) is the abusive husband who finds his wife (Hilda Borgstrom) has left him after he is... [More]
Directed By: Victor Sjöström

#1922
Adjusted Score: 108.539%
Critics Consensus: One of the silent era's most influential masterpieces, Nosferatu's eerie, gothic feel -- and a chilling performance from Max Schreck as the vampire -- set the template for the horror films that followed.
Synopsis: F. W. Murnau's landmark vampire film begins in the Carpathian mountains, where real estate agent Hutter has arrived to close... [More]
Directed By: F.W. Murnau

#1923
#1923
Adjusted Score: 97.419%
Critics Consensus: A heart-rending take on the classic book, with a legendary performance by Lon Chaney.
Synopsis: This second film version of the Victor Hugo novel Notre Dame de Paris (the first was a Theda Bara vehicle,... [More]

#1924
Adjusted Score: 86.4%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In this classic horror film, based on a novel by Maurice Renard and filmed by Robert Wiene (of Dr. Caligari... [More]
Directed By: Robert Wiene

#1925
#1925
Adjusted Score: 96.026%
Critics Consensus: Decades later, it still retains its ability to scare -- and Lon Chaney's performance remains one of the benchmarks of the horror genre.
Synopsis: Lon Chaney stars as Erik, the Phantom, in what is probably his most famous and certainly his most horrifying role.... [More]

#1926

Faust (1926)
94%

#1926
Adjusted Score: 98.5%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In this German film, Emil Jannings glowers his way through the role of Mephistopholes, who offers the aging Faust an... [More]
Directed By: F.W. Murnau

#1927
#1927
Adjusted Score: 93.503%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Creaky, but enduring expressionistic suspenser is the classic "old dark house" movie as sundry characters converge at an ominous mansion... [More]
Directed By: Paul Leni

#1928

The Man Who Laughs (1928)
100%

#1928
Adjusted Score: 101.122%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The second of German director Paul Leni's American films (Cat and the Canary was the first), The Man Who Laughs... [More]
Directed By: Paul Leni

#1929
Adjusted Score: 90.02%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Danish filmmaker Benjamin Christensen's obsession with bizarre lighting effects reached its apotheosis with his 1922 masterpiece Häxan. Beginning in a... [More]
Directed By: Benjamin Christensen

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Next

Tag Cloud

RT History First Look Extras Cartoon Network golden globes aliens dceu Disney Channel transformers TNT PaleyFest politics Britbox police drama Disney TLC USA Network Martial Arts MTV X-Men Sony Pictures Musicals Grammys Certified Fresh GoT Premiere Dates cooking vampires CW Seed Mindy Kaling science fiction Comic Book VICE Pop LGBTQ finale Interview Sci-Fi Superheroes CBS All Access Nat Geo VH1 YouTube Red mutant robots Rock See It Skip It Spring TV blaxploitation Nominations SundanceTV TV composers historical drama ABC Superheroe Reality Competition Apple Bravo AMC Crackle Sundance A&E Election Marathons Watching Series Logo spy thriller President Character Guide crossover Amazon Best and Worst GLAAD Country Awards 45 CBS boxoffice 21st Century Fox Rom-Com YA USA biography Sneak Peek YouTube Premium Ovation Teen Comedy Central HBO Spike comiccon NBC social media Valentine's Day DirecTV doctor who cops The Arrangement Schedule 2016 Sundance Now festivals ESPN Ellie Kemper political drama Calendar psycho ITV Red Carpet Western adventure binge Pirates OWN singing competition TV Land war Super Bowl Paramount DC Universe El Rey Trivia Fall TV TruTV cinemax Dark Horse Comics Horror The CW harry potter NYCC Comedy Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Christmas Reality SDCC DC streaming service Year in Review IFC Films cats 007 hist Tumblr crime thriller Starz Hulu Polls and Games CNN Winners romance sports Paramount Network crime drama Nickelodeon justice league Rocky Emmys Warner Bros. Lucasfilm talk show Netflix CMT Toys Countdown San Diego Comic-Con streaming FX BBC America crime Photos Summer Box Office Lionsgate E! Opinion Star Wars Trailer MSNBC Tomatazos Acorn TV thriller sitcom cults zombie based on movie Mary Tyler Moore FOX Music APB Star Trek docudrama 2015 travel Writers Guild of America Food Network Cosplay Video Games PBS TCA 2017 Biopics Song of Ice and Fire SXSW BBC supernatural diversity IFC National Geographic Universal what to watch Musical TCM Oscars period drama Winter TV Lifetime GIFs TIFF Mystery Showtime History Kids & Family Columbia Pictures Fantasy Syfy serial killer FXX unscripted ABC Family Marvel Shondaland Drama Thanksgiving Ghostbusters TBS Fox News BET Action Set visit Esquire E3 WGN zombies Walt Disney Pictures TCA Pixar medical drama dramedy discovery ratings 2017 24 frames dc DC Comics Creative Arts Emmys Holidays Adult Swim Freeform Podcast Infographic Masterpiece technology 20th Century Fox American Society of Cinematographers Animation