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The Best Italian Horror Movies

The golden age of Italian horror may have been brief, but the country’s innovations in style and genre have given the era’s movies an enduring appeal sustained in the decades since. Among the most exciting contributions to horror from Italy include the wonderfully spooky supernatural Suspiria, proto-slasher A Bay of Blood, and Cannibal Holocaust, the notorious, heavily banned found footage movie. Of course, we can’t leave out giallo films (murder mysteries featuring high body counts and erotic content, with the identity of the killer saved for a big finale reveal) like Deep Red and The Cat o’ Nine Tails.

And now we’ve collected every Italian horror movie with a Fresh score (expect to see lots from Mario Bava and Dario Argento) and have ranked them in our guide to the Best Italian Horror Movies of All Time.


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#25

Demons (1985)
64%

#25
Adjusted Score: 34316%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Patrons (Natasha Hovey, Urbano Barberini) of a sneak preview see others zombie-fied to heavy-metal music in a Berlin theater.... [More]
Directed By: Lamberto Bava

#24
Adjusted Score: 66045%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: ... [More]
Directed By: John Old Jr.

#23

Cemetery Man (1995)
61%

#23
Adjusted Score: 62179%
Critics Consensus: Cemetery Man will frustrate viewers seeking narrative cohesion or coherence, but this surreal blend of humor and horror should satisfy B-movie fans in the mood for quirk.
Synopsis: Something is causing the dead to rise from their graves as flesh-eating zombies, and cemetery custodian Francesco Dellamorte (Rupert Everett)... [More]
Directed By: Michele Soavi

#22
#22
Adjusted Score: 58317%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A hallucinating woman (Elke Sommer) flees to a mansion full of corpses and sees the devil (Telly Savalas) and other... [More]
Directed By: Mario Bava

#21

The Church (1989)
64%

#21
Adjusted Score: 34317%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Tourists are trapped in a cathedral cursed since the Crusades by the mayhem of German knights.... [More]
Directed By: Michele Soavi

#20

Inferno (1980)
60%

#20
Adjusted Score: 44566%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A young man (Leigh McCloskey) returns from Rome to his sister's (Irene Miracle) satanic New York apartment house.... [More]
Directed By: Dario Argento

#19
#19
Adjusted Score: 64637%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A professor (Francesca Ciardi) finds the remains of a film crew in the Amazon and brings the camera footage back... [More]
Directed By: Ruggero Deodato

#18
#18
Adjusted Score: 59202%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Dario Argento directs the tale of a rock musician who becomes entangled in a gruesome murder case.... [More]
Directed By: Dario Argento

#17

The Beyond (1981)
67%

#17
Adjusted Score: 64191%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Gruesome deaths occur when a woman (Katherine MacColl) inherits a hotel that is one of seven gateways to hell.... [More]
Directed By: Lucio Fulci

#16

The Demon Planet (1965)
69%

#16
Adjusted Score: 41176%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: An astronaut (Barry Sullivan) and his partner (Norma Bengell) flee from walking-dead astronauts on a volcanic planet.... [More]
Directed By: Mario Bava

#15

What! (1963)
71%

#15
Adjusted Score: 33793%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A sadistic nobleman terrorizes his family, but the relief that the family members feel upon his death is short-lived when... [More]
Directed By: John M. Old

#14

The Evil Eye (1963)
71%

#14
Adjusted Score: 37558%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: An American tourist (Letícia Román) in Rome witnesses a vicious murder, but no one believes her. Fearing she may be... [More]
Directed By: Mario Bava

#13

Tenebrae (1982)
79%

#13
Adjusted Score: 79632%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Visiting Rome on a promotional tour for his new novel, writer Peter Neal (Anthony Franciosa) is pulled into a murder... [More]
Directed By: Dario Argento

#12
#12
Adjusted Score: 63276%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A police detective falls under hallucinatory spells while trying to capture the sadistic man who raped her.... [More]
Directed By: Dario Argento

#11
#11
Adjusted Score: 57824%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A masked man with a metal-claw glove stalks models at a couple's (Cameron Mitchell, Eva Bartok) fashion salon in Rome.... [More]
Directed By: Mario Bava

#10
#10
Adjusted Score: 82444%
Critics Consensus: The Cat O'Nine Tails is a solidly entertaining Argento outing elevated by a well-chosen cast and the director's distinctive visual style.
Synopsis: A newsman (James Franciscus) works with a blind puzzle-solver (Karl Malden) to catch a killer with mixed-up chromosomes.... [More]
Directed By: Dario Argento

#9
#9
Adjusted Score: 24659%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A reporter and a young woman investigate a series of child murders in a remote town.... [More]
Directed By: Lucio Fulci

#8
Adjusted Score: 54953%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Following the murder of Countess Federica Donati (Isa Miranda), an heiress possessing a beautiful piece of beachfront property, members of... [More]
Directed By: Mario Bava

#7

Black Sunday (1960)
86%

#7
Adjusted Score: 86040%
Critics Consensus: Mario Bava's official narrative debut is a witchy nightmare steeped in gothic splendor, shot in chiaroscuro black and white and punctuated with startling gore.
Synopsis: Burned at the stake, a vampire witch princess (Barbara Steele) wakes up centuries later with her undead henchman.... [More]
Directed By: Mario Bava

#6
#6
Adjusted Score: 89149%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A chauffeur falls for a physically challenged physicist whose sarcastic wit is more than a match for his own.... [More]
Directed By: Alan Berger

#5

Black Sabbath (1963)
88%

#5
Adjusted Score: 88662%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Karloff introduces tales of a haunted nurse (Jacqueline Pierreux), a stalked call girl (Michèle Mercier) and a vampire (Boris Karloff).... [More]
Directed By: Mario Bava

#4

Opera (1987)
90%

#4
Adjusted Score: 90040%
Critics Consensus: The Opera house location gives plenty to work with for director Dario Argento, who hits his decadently bloody high notes here.
Synopsis: A hooded figure forces a young diva (Cristina Marsillach) to watch as he murders performers in a production of Verdi's... [More]
Directed By: Dario Argento

#3
Adjusted Score: 88612%
Critics Consensus: Combining a deadly thriller plot with stylized violence, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage marks an impressive horror debut for Dario Argento.
Synopsis: An American writer, Sam Dalmas (Tony Musante), is living in Rome with his girlfriend, Julia (Suzy Kendall). While visiting an... [More]
Directed By: Dario Argento

#2

Suspiria (1977)
93%

#2
Adjusted Score: 98868%
Critics Consensus: The blood pours freely in Argento's classic Suspiria, a giallo horror as grandiose and glossy as it is gory.
Synopsis: Suzy (Jessica Harper) travels to Germany to attend ballet school. When she arrives, late on a stormy night, no one... [More]
Directed By: Dario Argento

#1

Deep Red (1975)
93%

#1
Adjusted Score: 94989%
Critics Consensus: The kinetic camerawork and brutal over-the-top gore that made Dario Argento famous is on full display, but the addition of a compelling, complex story makes Deep Red a masterpiece.
Synopsis: A psychic medium (Macha Méril) is brutally murdered, and musician Marcus Daly (David Hemmings) feels a need to solve the... [More]
Directed By: Dario Argento