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: 113.069%
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: 103.042%
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: 108.981%
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: 93.442%
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: Silent version of Renard's classic about a concert pianist who loses his hands in an accident. When a murderer's hands... [More]
Directed By: Robert Wiene

#1925
#1925
Adjusted Score: 96.256%
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: 98.679%
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: 94.663%
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: 101.473%
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: 90.091%
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

#1930

The Bat Whispers (1930)
64%

#1930
Adjusted Score: 65.117%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Magnificently restored by UCLA to its original "Grandeur" wide-screen format The Bat Whispers may not be a cinematic masterpiece but... [More]
Directed By: Roland West

#1931

Frankenstein (1931)
100%

#1931
Adjusted Score: 106.49%
Critics Consensus: Still unnerving to this day, Frankenstein adroitly explores the fine line between genius and madness, and features Boris Karloff's legendary, frightening performance as the monster.
Synopsis: "Frankenstein" is a film about a mad, obsessed scientist, Dr. Henry Frankenstein", who creates a monster, by taking body parts... [More]
Directed By: James Whale

#1932
Adjusted Score: 105.198%
Critics Consensus: Full of disorienting visual effects, Carl Theodor Dreyer's Vampyr is as theoretically unsettling as it is conceptually disturbing.
Synopsis: Vampyr ranks in many circles as one of the greatest horror films of all time. Inspired by Sheridan Le Fanu's... [More]
Directed By: Carl Theodor Dreyer

#1933

King Kong (1933)
98%

#1933
Adjusted Score: 110.127%
Critics Consensus: King Kong explores the soul of a monster -- making audiences scream and cry throughout the film -- in large part due to Kong's breakthrough special effects.
Synopsis: "How would you like to star opposite the tallest, darkest leading man in Hollywood?" Enticed by these words, brunette leading... [More]

#1934

The Black Cat (1934)
88%

#1934
Adjusted Score: 95.436%
Critics Consensus: Making the most of its Karloff-Lugosi star pairing and loads of creepy atmosphere, The Black Cat is an early classic in the Universal monster movie library.
Synopsis: The first cinematic teaming of horror greats Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi is a bizarre, haunting, and relentlessly eerie film... [More]
Directed By: Edgar G. Ulmer

#1935
#1935
Adjusted Score: 110.679%
Critics Consensus: An eccentric, campy, technically impressive, and frightening picture, James Whale's Bride of Frankenstein has aged remarkably well.
Synopsis: Dr. Frankenstein is forced to tempt fate once again by creating a suitable mate for his monster.... [More]
Directed By: James Whale

#1936

The Devil-Doll (1936)
81%

#1936
Adjusted Score: 83.932%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Oscar-winner Lionel Barrymore ("It's a Wonderful Life") stars in this classic horror thriller about a Devil's Island escapee who shrinks... [More]
Directed By: Tod Browning

#1939
#1939
Adjusted Score: 93.611%
Critics Consensus: Boris Karloff's final appearance as the Monster is a fitting farewell before the series descended into self-parody.
Synopsis: The most elaborate--and longest--of Universal's Frankenstein series, Son of Frankenstein represents Boris Karloff's last appearance in the role of the... [More]
Directed By: Rowland V. Lee

#1940

Dr. Cyclops (1940)
77%

#1940
Adjusted Score: 78.138%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In this film, the evil Dr. Thorkel (Albert Dekker) has developed a way to shrink people to a minuscule size... [More]
Directed By: Ernest B. Schoedsack

#1941

The Wolf Man (1941)
94%

#1941
Adjusted Score: 99.62%
Critics Consensus: A handsomely told tale with an affecting performance from Lon Chaney, Jr., The Wolf Man remains one of the classics of the Universal horror stable.
Synopsis: "Even a man who is pure at heart/And says his prayers by night/May become a wolf when the wolf-bane blooms/And... [More]
Directed By: George Waggner

#1942

Cat People (1942)
94%

#1942
Adjusted Score: 101.593%
Critics Consensus: Influential noir director Jacques Tourneau infused this sexy, moody horror film with some sly commentary about the psychology and the taboos of desire.
Synopsis: Handed the exploitive title Cat People, RKO producer Val Lewton opted for a thinking man's thriller--a psychological mood piece, more... [More]
Directed By: Jacques Tourneur

#1943
#1943
Adjusted Score: 97.633%
Critics Consensus: Evocative direction by Jacques Tourneur collides with the low-rent production values of exploitateer Val Lewton in I Walked with a Zombie, a sultry sleeper that's simultaneously smarmy, eloquent and fascinating.
Synopsis: RKO producer Val Lewton seemed to thrive upon taking the most lurid film titles and coming up with pocket-edition works... [More]
Directed By: Jacques Tourneur

#1944

Bluebeard (1944)
100%

#1944
Adjusted Score: 101.128%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In this haunting feature from director Edgar G. Ulmer, a 19th-century Parisian marionette master cannot seem to control his urges... [More]
Directed By: Edgar G. Ulmer

#1945

Dead of Night (1945)
97%

#1945
Adjusted Score: 101.421%
Critics Consensus: With four accomplished directors contributing, Dead of Night is a classic horror anthology that remains highly influential.
Synopsis: A phone rings. Architect Mervyn Johns is wakened from a nightmare and summoned to the country estate of Roland Culver.... [More]

#1946
#1946
Adjusted Score: 91.048%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: When a concert pianist dies without recognizing his personal secretary in his will, the secretary chops off one of the... [More]
Directed By: Robert Florey

#1947

Scared to Death (1947)
63%

#1947
Adjusted Score: 63.621%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Completed several years before its 1947 release, Scared to Death is historically important as Bela Lugosi's only color film (outside... [More]
Directed By: Christy Cabanne

#1948
Adjusted Score: 91.481%
Critics Consensus: A zany horror spoof that plays up and then plays into the best of Universal horror cliches.
Synopsis: It seems that Count Dracula (Bela Lugosi), in league with a beautiful but diabolical lady scientist (Lenore Aubert), needs a... [More]
Directed By: Charles Barton

#1949
#1949
Adjusted Score: 97.797%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A supernatural tale based on a short story by Russian poet Alexander Pushkin, this is the portrayal of a poor... [More]
Directed By: Thorold Dickinson

#1950
#1950
Adjusted Score: 63.318%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Fritz Lang was the guiding hand of this laudable Republic Studios melodrama. Louis Hayward stars as a wealthy wastrel who... [More]
Directed By: Fritz Lang

#1951
#1951
Adjusted Score: 94.327%
Critics Consensus: As flying saucer movies go, The Thing From Another World is better than most, thanks to well-drawn characters and concise, tense plotting.
Synopsis: This film is set at a distant Arctic missile base, where a UFO has crashed. The frozen body of the... [More]
Directed By: Christian Nyby

#1952
Adjusted Score: 100.842%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A newly wed woman goes to the local shaman to get some help with her lovelife, but instead gets turned... [More]
Directed By: Erik Blomberg

#1953

House of Wax (1953)
95%

#1953
Adjusted Score: 100.838%
Critics Consensus: House of Wax is a 3-D horror delight that combines the atmospheric eerieness of the wax museum with the always chilling presence of Vincent Price.
Synopsis: Ever been creeped out by the life-like statues at a wax museum? Yes? But have you ever recognized your old... [More]
Directed By: André De Toth

#1954

Them! (1954)
100%

#1954
Adjusted Score: 102.644%
Critics Consensus: One of the best creature features of the early atomic age, Them! features effectively menacing special effects and avoids the self-parody that would taint later monster movies.
Synopsis: In this film, a girl is found wandering in the desert in a state of complete shock. When she finally... [More]
Directed By: Gordon Douglas

#1955
#1955
Adjusted Score: 108.664%
Critics Consensus: Featuring Robert Mitchum's formidable performance as a child-hunting preacher, The Night of the Hunter is a disturbing look at good and evil.
Synopsis: Adapted by James Agee from a novel by Davis Grubb, The Night of the Hunter represented legendary actor Charles Laughton's... [More]
Directed By: Charles Laughton

#1956
Adjusted Score: 105.57%
Critics Consensus: One of the best political allegories of the 1950s, Invasion of the Body Snatchers is an efficient, chilling blend of sci-fi and horror.
Synopsis: Director Don Siegel's thinly-veiled examination of McCarthy-era hysteria stars Kevin McCarthy (no relation) as Miles Bennell, a California doctor who... [More]
Directed By: Don Siegel

#1957
#1957
Adjusted Score: 94.858%
Critics Consensus: A curiously sensitive and spiritual addition to the Universal Monsters line-up, tacking on deep questions about a story who is shrinking to death.
Synopsis: The screen's great existential science fiction film, The Incredible Shrinking Man stars Grant Williams in the title role. While catching... [More]
Directed By: Jack Arnold

#1958

The Fly (1958)
95%

#1958
Adjusted Score: 100.518%
Critics Consensus: Deliciouly funny to some and eerily presicient to others, The Fly walks a fine line between shlocky fun and unnerving nature parable.
Synopsis: Wealthy Helene Delambre (Patricia Owens) is discovered late at night in the factory owned by her husband Andre (David Hedison).... [More]
Directed By: Kurt Neumann

#1959
#1959
Adjusted Score: 90.434%
Critics Consensus: Campy by modern standards but spooky and atmospheric, House on Haunted Hill is a fun, well-executed cult classic featuring a memorable performance from genre icon Vincent Price.
Synopsis: A very wealthy man gives a haunted house party, offering to give each of his guests $10,000 - if they... [More]
Directed By: William Castle

#1960

Psycho (1960)
96%

#1960
Adjusted Score: 108.725%
Critics Consensus: Infamous for its shower scene, but immortal for its contribution to the horror genre. Because Psycho was filmed with tact, grace, and art, Hitchcock didn't just create modern horror, he validated it.
Synopsis: In 1960, Alfred Hitchcock was already famous as the screen's master of suspense (and perhaps the best-known film director in... [More]
Directed By: Alfred Hitchcock

#1961

The Innocents (1961)
94%

#1961
Adjusted Score: 99.233%
Critics Consensus: Creepily atmospheric, The Innocents is a stylishly crafted, chilling British ghost tale with Deborah Kerr at her finest.
Synopsis: In this lugubrious but brilliantly realized adaptation of Henry James' classic novella The Turn of the Screw, 19th century British... [More]
Directed By: Jack Clayton

#1962
#1962
Adjusted Score: 103.609%
Critics Consensus: A horrific tale of guilt and obsession, Eyes Without a Face is just as chilling and poetic today as it was in 1959.
Synopsis: A brilliant but crazed surgeon resorts to horrifying measures to restore the beauty of his daughter's disfigured face.... [More]
Directed By: Georges Franju

#1963

The Birds (1963)
95%

#1963
Adjusted Score: 101.423%
Critics Consensus: Proving once again that build-up is the key to suspense, Alfred Hitchcock successfully turned birds into some of the most terrifying villains in horror history.
Synopsis: The story begins as an innocuous romantic triangle involving wealthy, spoiled Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren), handsome Mitch Brenner (Rod Taylor),... [More]
Directed By: Alfred Hitchcock

#1964
Adjusted Score: 89.71%
Critics Consensus: Exquisitely designed and fastidiously ornate, Masaki Kobayashi's ambitious anthology operates less as a frightening example of horror and more as a meditative tribute to Japanese folklore.
Synopsis: Kwaidan is an impressively mounted anthology horror film based on four stories by Lafcadio Hearn, a Greek-born writer who began... [More]
Directed By: Masaki Kobayashi

#1965

Repulsion (1965)
98%

#1965
Adjusted Score: 106.49%
Critics Consensus: Roman Polanski's first English film follows a schizophrenic woman's descent into madness, and makes the audience feel as claustrophobic as the character.
Synopsis: When Carol, a shy young Belgian, is left alone for a few days in the Kensington flat she shares with... [More]
Directed By: Roman Polanski

#1966
#1966
Adjusted Score: 81.878%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Hammer's second outing for the notorious vampire after their hugely successful Dracula (1958), with Christopher Lee returning as the demonic... [More]
Directed By: Terence Fisher

#1967

The Sorcerers (1967)
100%

#1967
Adjusted Score: 100.659%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A well-meaning and gentle inventor creates a machine capable of allowing one person to completely control the mind of another,... [More]
Directed By: Michael Reeves

#1968

Rosemary's Baby (1968)
97%

#1968
Adjusted Score: 104.378%
Critics Consensus: A frightening tale of Satanism and pregnancy that is even more disturbing than it sounds thanks to convincing and committed performances by Mia Farrow and Ruth Gordon.
Synopsis: In Roman Polanski's first American film, adapted from Ira Levin's horror bestseller, a young wife comes to believe that her... [More]
Directed By: Roman Polanski

#1969
#1969
Adjusted Score: 91.846%
Critics Consensus: Three auteurs descend on the works of Poe, each putting on a ghoulish show -- adapting The Tomahawk Man's tales of dreams and fright, with Fellini's segment particularly out of sight.
Synopsis: This film features adaptations of three short stories by Edgar Allan Poe. In "Metzengerstein," a woman believes a horse possesses... [More]

#1970
Adjusted Score: 101.05%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In this surreal psychological fantasy, young Valerie lives with her grandmother. She feels the first stirring of sexual awareness when... [More]
Directed By: Jaromil Jires

#1971
#1971
Adjusted Score: 89.567%
Critics Consensus: The Abominable Dr. Phibes juggles horror and humor, but under the picture's campy façade, there's genuine pathos brought poignantly to life through Price's performance.
Synopsis: Long thought dead, the victim of a horrible accident, Dr. Anton Phibes (Vincent Price) still lives, surrounded by art-deco bric-a-brac... [More]
Directed By: Robert Fuest

#1972
#1972
Adjusted Score: 65.24%
Critics Consensus: Its visceral brutality is more repulsive than engrossing, but The Last House on the Left nevertheless introduces director Wes Craven as a distinctive voice in horror.
Synopsis: Based on Bergman's The Virgin Spring, Wes Craven's cult classic is an account of a group of sadistic killers who... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

#1973

Don't Look Now (1973)
97%

#1973
Adjusted Score: 104.163%
Critics Consensus: Don't Look Now patiently builds suspense with haunting imagery and a chilling score -- causing viewers to feel Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie's grief deep within.
Synopsis: A married couple is haunted by a series of mysterious occurrences after the death of their young daughter in this... [More]
Directed By: Nicolas Roeg

#1974
#1974
Adjusted Score: 94.578%
Critics Consensus: Thanks to a smart script and documentary-style camerawork, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre achieves start-to-finish suspense, making it a classic in low-budget exploitation cinema.
Synopsis: Just as Hitchcock's Psycho was based on the life of deeply disturbed farmer Ed Gein, so is this little story... [More]
Directed By: Tobe Hooper

#1975

Jaws (1975)
98%

#1975
Adjusted Score: 107.229%
Critics Consensus: Compelling, well-crafted storytelling and a judicious sense of terror ensure Steven Spielberg's Jaws has remained a benchmark in the art of delivering modern blockbuster thrills.
Synopsis: Based on Peter Benchley's best-selling novel, Steven Spielberg's 1975 shark saga set the standard for the New Hollywood popcorn blockbuster... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#1976

Carrie (1976)
92%

#1976
Adjusted Score: 99.313%
Critics Consensus: Carrie is a horrifying look at supernatural powers, high school cruelty, and teen angst -- and it brings us one of the most memorable and disturbing prom scenes in history.
Synopsis: This classic horror movie based on Stephen King's first novel stars Sissy Spacek as Carrie White, a shy, diffident teenager... [More]
Directed By: Brian DePalma

#1977

Suspiria (1977)
93%

#1977
Adjusted Score: 98.554%
Critics Consensus: The blood pours freely in Argento's classic Suspiria, a giallo horror as grandiose and glossy as it is gory.
Synopsis: An innocent American ballet dancer's excitement at being accepted to a prestigious European dance school turns to terror when she... [More]
Directed By: Dario Argento

#1978
Adjusted Score: 98.923%
Critics Consensus: Employing gritty camerawork and evocative sound effects, Invasion of the Body Snatchers is a powerful remake that expands upon themes and ideas only lightly explored in the original.
Synopsis: In this elaborate remake of the 1956 horror classic, health inspector Donald Sutherland is dispatched to investigate the curious behavior... [More]
Directed By: Philip Kaufman

#1979

Alien (1979)
97%

#1979
Adjusted Score: 108.423%
Critics Consensus: A modern classic, Alien blends science fiction, horror and bleak poetry into a seamless whole.
Synopsis: "In space, no one can hear you scream." A close encounter of the third kind becomes a Jaws-style nightmare when... [More]
Directed By: Ridley Scott

#1980

The Shining (1980)
85%

#1980
Adjusted Score: 93.624%
Critics Consensus: Though it deviates from Stephen King's novel, Stanley Kubrick's The Shining is a chilling, often baroque journey into madness -- exemplified by an unforgettable turn from Jack Nicholson.
Synopsis: "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" -- or, rather, a homicidal boy in Stanley Kubrick's eerie... [More]
Directed By: Stanley Kubrick

#1981

The Evil Dead (1981)
95%

#1981
Adjusted Score: 99.604%
Critics Consensus: This classic low budget horror film combines just the right amount of gore and black humor, giving The Evil Dead an equal amount of thrills and laughs.
Synopsis: This auspicious feature debut from Sam Raimi -- shot on 16mm in the woods of Tennesse for around $350,000 --... [More]
Directed By: Sam Raimi

#1982

Poltergeist (1982)
85%

#1982
Adjusted Score: 90.691%
Critics Consensus: Smartly filmed, tightly scripted, and -- most importantly -- consistently frightening, Poltergeist is a modern horror classic.
Synopsis: With Poltergeist, directed by Tobe Hooper, Steven Spielberg had his first great success as a producer. Released around the same... [More]
Directed By: Tobe Hooper

#1983

The Dead Zone (1983)
91%

#1983
Adjusted Score: 94.851%
Critics Consensus: The Dead Zone combines taut direction from David Cronenberg and and a rich performance from Christopher Walken to create one of the strongest Stephen King adaptations.
Synopsis: A man awakens from a coma to discover he has a psychic detective ability.... [More]
Directed By: David Cronenberg

#1984
#1984
Adjusted Score: 97.95%
Critics Consensus: Wes Craven's intelligent premise, combined with the horrifying visual appearance of Freddy Krueger, still causes nightmares to this day.
Synopsis: A group of teenagers are terrorized by "Freddy Krueger", an evil being from another world who gets to his victims... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

#1985

Re-Animator (1985)
93%

#1985
Adjusted Score: 97.383%
Critics Consensus: Perfectly mixing humor and horror, the only thing more effective than Re-Animator's gory scares are its dry, deadpan jokes.
Synopsis: Scientist Herbert West has discovered a fluid which brings living tissue back to life. After the death of his professor,... [More]
Directed By: Stuart Gordon

#1986

Aliens (1986)
99%

#1986
Adjusted Score: 105.867%
Critics Consensus: While Alien was a marvel of slow-building, atmospheric tension, Aliens packs a much more visceral punch, and features a typically strong performance from Sigourney Weaver.
Synopsis: Big-budget special effects, swiftly paced action, and a distinct feminist subtext from writer/director James Cameron turned what should have been... [More]
Directed By: James Cameron

#1987
#1987
Adjusted Score: 101.721%
Critics Consensus: Evil Dead 2's increased special effects and slapstick-gore makes it as good -- if not better -- than the original.
Synopsis: This sequel is better, funnier, scarier and superior to the first indie gore-fest. Never before has there been such an... [More]
Directed By: Sam Raimi

#1988
#1988
Adjusted Score: 101.1%
Critics Consensus: A clinical, maddening descent into the mind of a serial killer and a slowly unraveling hero, culminating with one of the scariest endings of all time.
Synopsis: Based on Time Krabbe's The Golden Egg, The Vanishing is a deeply disturbing psychological thriller about a young man's search... [More]
Directed By: George Sluizer

#1989

Santa Sangre (1989)
85%

#1989
Adjusted Score: 87.714%
Critics Consensus: Those unfamiliar with Alejandro Jodorowsky's style may find it overwhelming, but Santa Sangre is a provocative psychedelic journey featuring the director's signature touches of violence, vulgarity, and an oddly personal moral center.
Synopsis: Santa Sangre is the surreal horror story about a young man, Fenix (Axel Jodorowsky) who has grown up in a... [More]
Directed By: Alejandro Jodorowsky

#1990

Misery (1990)
90%

#1990
Adjusted Score: 94.689%
Critics Consensus: Elevated by standout performances from James Caan and Kathy Bates, this taut and frightening film is one of the best Stephen King adaptations to date.
Synopsis: Adapted from a Stephen King novel, Rob Reiner's Misery cast James Caan as a writer at a career crossroads. The... [More]
Directed By: Rob Reiner

#1991
#1991
Adjusted Score: 103.34%
Critics Consensus: Director Jonathan Demme's smart, taut thriller teeters on the edge between psychological study and all-out horror, and benefits greatly from stellar performances by Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster.
Synopsis: In this multiple Oscar-winning thriller, Jodie Foster stars as Clarice Starling, a top student at the FBI's training academy whose... [More]
Directed By: Jonathan Demme

#1992
#1992
Adjusted Score: 76.818%
Critics Consensus: Overblown in the best sense of the word, Francis Ford Coppola's vision of Bram Stoker's Dracula rescues the character from decades of campy interpretations -- and features some terrific performances to boot.
Synopsis: Based on Bram Stoker's classic 1897 novel, this film from Francis Ford Coppola and screenwriter James Victor Hart offers a... [More]
Directed By: Francis Ford Coppola

#1993

Dead Alive (1993)
88%

#1993
Adjusted Score: 90.71%
Critics Consensus: The delightfully gonzo tale of a lovestruck teen and his zombified mother, Dead Alive is extremely gory and exceedingly good fun, thanks to Peter Jackson's affection for the tastelessly sublime.
Synopsis: Considered by many to be the goriest film ever made and one of the funniest "splatstick" horror films since Sam... [More]
Directed By: Peter Jackson

#1994

Cronos (1994)
90%

#1994
Adjusted Score: 93.005%
Critics Consensus: Guillermo del Toro's unique feature debut is not only gory and stylish, but also charming and intelligent.
Synopsis: This surreal variant on the classic vampire tale is the directorial debut of Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, who garnered... [More]
Directed By: Guillermo del Toro

#1995

Mute Witness (1995)
83%

#1995
Adjusted Score: 83.789%
Critics Consensus: Mute Witness is a slickly crafted horror/thriller with some surprising comic twists.
Synopsis: This British thriller takes many unusual twists and turns as it follows the perils of three young American filmmakers in... [More]
Directed By: Anthony Waller

#1996

Scream (1996)
79%

#1996
Adjusted Score: 82.813%
Critics Consensus: Horror icon Wes Craven's subversive deconstruction of the genre is sly, witty, and surprisingly effective as a slasher film itself, even if it's a little too cheeky for some.
Synopsis: The sleepy little town of Woodsboro just woke up screaming. There's a killer in their midst who's seen a few... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

#1997

Scream 2 (1997)
82%

#1997
Adjusted Score: 86.512%
Critics Consensus: As with the first film, Scream 2 is a gleeful takedown of scary movie conventions that manages to poke fun at terrible horror sequels without falling victim to the same fate.
Synopsis: The crafty Wes Craven follows up lastÕs yearÕs surprise hit with another supremely self-referential but satisfyingly droll thriller.... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

#1998

Ringu (Ring) (1998)
97%

#1998
Adjusted Score: 98.464%
Critics Consensus: Ringu combines supernatural elements with anxieties about modern technology in a truly frightening and unnerving way.
Synopsis: In this psychological horror story from Japan, a legend circulates among teenagers that if one watches a certain video at... [More]
Directed By: Hideo Nakata

#1999
#1999
Adjusted Score: 94.176%
Critics Consensus: Full of creepy campfire scares, mock-doc The Blair Witch Project keeps audiences in the dark about its titular villain -- thus proving that imagination can be as scary as anything onscreen.
Synopsis: Combining Hi-8 video with black-and-white 16 mm film, this film presents a raw look at what can happen when college... [More]

#2000
#2000
Adjusted Score: 86.786%
Critics Consensus: Shadow of the Vampire is frightening, compelling, and funny, and features an excellent performance by Willem Dafoe.
Synopsis: F W Murnau is making Nosferatu on location in Eastern Europe. The director is determined to make this the most... [More]
Directed By: E. Elias Merhige

#2001
Adjusted Score: 95.562%
Critics Consensus: Creepily atmospheric and haunting, The Devil's Backbone is both a potent ghost story and an intelligent political allegory.
Synopsis: The mournful fable of the Santa Lucia School during the last days of the Spanish Civil War. An imposing stone... [More]
Directed By: Guillermo del Toro

#2002

The Ring (2002)
71%

#2002
Adjusted Score: 76.863%
Critics Consensus: With little gore and a lot of creepy visuals, The Ring gets under your skin, thanks to director Gore Verbinski's haunting sense of atmosphere and an impassioned performance from Naomi Watts.
Synopsis: A disturbing videotape appears to hold the power of life and death over those who view it in this offbeat... [More]
Directed By: Gore Verbinski

#2003

28 Days Later (2003)
86%

#2003
Adjusted Score: 92.574%
Critics Consensus: Kinetically directed by Danny Boyle, 28 Days Later is both a terrifying zombie movie and a sharp political allegory.
Synopsis: After breaking into a primate research facility, a group of animal rights activists discover caged chimps chained up before banks... [More]
Directed By: Danny Boyle

#2004
#2004
Adjusted Score: 97.678%
Critics Consensus: Shaun of the Dead cleverly balances scares and witty satire, making for a bloody good zombie movie with loads of wit.
Synopsis: It's often said that the true character of a man is only revealed in times of dire crisis, and for... [More]
Directed By: Edgar Wright

#2005

Land of the Dead (2005)
74%

#2005
Adjusted Score: 79.715%
Critics Consensus: George A. Romero's latest entry in his much-vaunted Dead series is not as fresh as his genre-inventing original, Night of the Living Dead. But Land of the Dead does deliver on the gore and zombies-feasting-on-flesh action.
Synopsis: It has been two decades since master filmmaker GEORGE A. ROMERO's zombies have stalked the screens of motion picture theaters.... [More]
Directed By: George A. Romero

#2006

The Descent (2006)
85%

#2006
Adjusted Score: 90.721%
Critics Consensus: Deft direction and strong performances from its all-female cast guide The Descent, a riveting, claustrophobic horror film.
Synopsis: A group of close female friends on a yearly adventure vacation find themselves trapped and hunted in a series of... [More]
Directed By: Neil Marshall

#2007

The Host (2007)
93%

#2007
Adjusted Score: 97.809%
Critics Consensus: As populace pleasing as it is intellectually satisfying, The Host combines scares, laughs, and satire into a riveting, monster movie.
Synopsis: When a young girl is snatched away from her father by a horrifying giant monster that emerges from the River... [More]
Directed By: Bong Joon Ho

#2008
#2008
Adjusted Score: 104.884%
Critics Consensus: Let the Right One In reinvigorates the seemingly tired vampire genre by effectively mixing scares with intelligent storytelling.
Synopsis: A 12-year-old boy befriends a mysterious young girl whose appearance in town suspiciously coincides with a horrifying series of murders... [More]
Directed By: Tomas Alfredson

#2009

Drag Me to Hell (2009)
92%

#2009
Adjusted Score: 100.576%
Critics Consensus: Sam Raimi returns to top form with Drag Me to Hell, a frightening, hilarious, delightfully campy thrill ride.
Synopsis: Evil Dead director Sam Raimi takes the helm for this "spook-a-blast" shocker about an ambitious L.A. loan officer who incurs... [More]
Directed By: Sam Raimi

#2010

Let Me In (2010)
88%

#2010
Adjusted Score: 94.84%
Critics Consensus: Similar to the original in all the right ways -- but with enough changes to stand on its own -- Let Me In is the rare Hollywood remake that doesn't add insult to inspiration.
Synopsis: Twelve-year old Owen is viciously bullied by his classmates and neglected by his divorcing parents. Achingly lonely, Owen spends his... [More]
Directed By: Matt Reeves

#2011

Attack the Block (2011)
90%

#2011
Adjusted Score: 95.013%
Critics Consensus: Effortlessly mixing scares, laughs, and social commentary, Attack the Block is a thrilling, brisky-paced sci-fi yarn with a distinctly British flavor.
Synopsis: From the producers of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, Attack the Block follows a gang of tough inner-city... [More]
Directed By: Joe Cornish

#2012
#2012
Adjusted Score: 101.335%
Critics Consensus: The Cabin in the Woods is an astonishing meta-feat, capable of being funny, strange, and scary -- frequently all at the same time.
Synopsis: Five friends go to a remote cabin in the woods. Bad things happen. If you think you know this story,... [More]
Directed By: Drew Goddard

#2013

The Conjuring (2013)
85%

#2013
Adjusted Score: 93.133%
Critics Consensus: Well-crafted and gleefully creepy, The Conjuring ratchets up dread through a series of effective old-school scares.
Synopsis: Before there was Amityville, there was Harrisville. "The Conjuring" tells the true story of Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson,... [More]
Directed By: James Wan

#2014

The Babadook (2014)
98%

#2014
Adjusted Score: 107.078%
Critics Consensus: The Babadook relies on real horror rather than cheap jump scares -- and boasts a heartfelt, genuinely moving story to boot.
Synopsis: Six years after the violent death of her husband, Amelia (Essie Davis) is at a loss. She struggles to discipline... [More]
Directed By: Jennifer Kent

#2015

It Follows (2015)
96%

#2015
Adjusted Score: 105.486%
Critics Consensus: Smart, original, and above all terrifying, It Follows is the rare modern horror film that works on multiple levels -- and leaves a lingering sting.
Synopsis: After a strange sexual encounter, a teenager finds herself haunted by nightmarish visions and the inescapable sense that something is... [More]
Directed By: David Robert Mitchell

#2016

The Witch (2016)
90%

#2016
Adjusted Score: 102.428%
Critics Consensus: As thought-provoking as it is visually compelling, The Witch delivers a deeply unsettling exercise in slow-building horror that suggests great things for debuting writer-director Robert Eggers.
Synopsis: In this exquisitely made and terrifying new horror film, the age-old concepts of witchcraft, black magic and possession are innovatively... [More]
Directed By: Robert Eggers

#2017

Get Out (2017)
98%

#2017
Adjusted Score: 113.539%
Critics Consensus: Funny, scary, and thought-provoking, Get Out seamlessly weaves its trenchant social critiques into a brilliantly effective and entertaining horror/comedy thrill ride.
Synopsis: Now that Chris and his girlfriend, Rose, have reached the meet-the-parents milestone of dating, she invites him for a weekend... [More]
Directed By: Jordan Peele

#2018

A Quiet Place (2018)
95%

#2018
Adjusted Score: 111.09%
Critics Consensus: A Quiet Place artfully plays on elemental fears with a ruthlessly intelligent creature feature that's as original as it is scary -- and establishes director John Krasinski as a rising talent.
Synopsis: In the modern horror thriller A QUIET PLACE, a family of four must navigate their lives in silence after mysterious... [More]
Directed By: John Krasinski

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