Best Horror Movies by Year Since 1920


The Shining (1980)

Adjusted Score: 93.945%
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


The Evil Dead (1981)

Adjusted Score: 99.533%
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


Poltergeist (1982)

Adjusted Score: 93.309%
Critics Consensus: Smartly filmed, tightly scripted, and -- most importantly -- consistently frightening, Poltergeist is a modern horror classic.
Synopsis: With Poltergeist, directed by Tobe Hopper, Steven Spielberg had his first great success as a producer. Released around the same... [More]
Directed By: Tobe Hooper


The Dead Zone (1983)

Adjusted Score: 93.48%
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

Adjusted Score: 97.641%
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


Re-Animator (1985)

Adjusted Score: 97.951%
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


Aliens (1986)

Adjusted Score: 104.133%
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

Adjusted Score: 102.456%
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

Adjusted Score: 101.125%
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


Santa Sangre (1989)

Adjusted Score: 87.648%
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

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