What is it about horror that makes people love it so much? Is it the unknown and the supernatural? The rush of adrenaline we get as we watch someone fight for their life? Or is it the sheer sense of dread that we so masochistically crave to taste? Or is it all three combined?
Regardless of the answer to the above question, it’s indisputable that humans have been fascinated with horror for ages. Luckily for us, we have multiple decades of horror movie history to satisfy that fascination nowadays!
And is there a better time to enjoy a scare or two than now that Halloween is coming up? If you enjoy horror as much as we do (and even if you don’t!), you’re going to love this list of iconic horror movies everyone should add to their bucket list!
So get into that Halloween spirit, grab some popcorn, roll under a warm blanket, and start binge-watching!
10 Iconic Horror Movies Everyone Should Watch at Least Once
1. The Exorcist (1973)
The Exorcist is a classic horror movie that received a ton of criticism in its time due to its controversial topic. The movie is based on the last-known Catholic-sanctioned exorcism in the U.S. The film has some incredibly vivid depictions of disturbing scenes that make people’s stomach turn even today, which is part of the reason it had received mixed reviews.
Regardless of the controversy that surrounded the movie, it hasn’t stopped it from achieving iconic status. And why wouldn’t it? The Exorcist has one of the most iconic horror movie soundtracks, and its scares keep frightening people even nearly fifty years later!
This movie is a must-see for all fans of horror, so don’t miss it!
2. Saw (2004)
People regard Saw movies as some of the biggest names in horror, and for a good reason! The original Saw movie even invented an entirely new genre of horror films named torture porn.
The name of this new-found genre is quite befitting if you ask us, especially considering the sheer amount of brutality and gore depicted in the film! Although some people think that Saw is a movie that relies mostly on the shock factor for its scares, that is far from the truth.
Indeed, the movie is utterly terrifying from all the blood and gore, but what is likely the scariest part of it is the psychological dilemma. It pushes the limits of what people are ready to do for survival, which is what made this film stand the test of time!
Oh, and did we mention the fun fact that the entire Saw movie was shot in a single room and on a shoestring budget? That’s right — no wonder it’s deemed a masterpiece!
3. The Fly (1986)
This Sci-Fi horror classic is an excellent film to spend your night watching for all the fans of genetic-engineering horror! Despite being filmed in the 1980s, this movie has aged like fine wine.
This film tells a tragic but poetic story about an eccentric scientist, Seth Brundle, who’s actively working on genetic experiments with animals. Once one of his experiments goes awry, he accidentally ends up merging his DNA with that of a fly. Seth slowly mutates into a fly-like creature and loses his humanity, nearly killing his pregnant girlfriend by the end of the film.
If you enjoy genetic horror movies and love the psychological drama of a man slowly losing grip on reality while turning into a hideous mutant, The Fly is the perfect film for you! You’ll be both amazed and grossed out by the end of it — we guarantee!
4. A Quiet Place (2018)
A Quiet Place is an innovative horror movie that takes a unique approach to horror with its topic! The film follows the Abbot family in a barren world where blind creatures with supernatural hearing have nearly exterminated humanity. The Abbots try to continue their lives in complete silence, where even the tiniest of sounds could mean instant death.
Join the Abbot family as they struggle to survive in the unnervingly quiet world and give this movie a watch. Trust us when we say — you will join the Abbots in their silence throughout the entire film while clutching the edge of your seat from suspense!
5. The Birds (1963)
This Hitchcock’s masterpiece has earned cult status over the years, and for a good reason! This movie takes an everyday thing we are all familiar with and molds it into a horror masterpiece — birds.
The film starts on a normal sunny day at Bodega Bay and everyone seems carefree and enjoying themselves… Until all the local birds suddenly decide that human eyes are a tasty snack.
This movie plays on the simplest of human fears, which is precisely what makes it so frightening. Couple that with the film’s slow but effective pacing, and you’ve got a horror movie for the ages!
6. Alien (1979)
Alien is perhaps one of the most beloved Sci-Fi horror movies of all time! This masterpiece gave birth to an entire franchise of movies based in the same universe.
If the film’s eery atmosphere doesn’t give you the chills, the towering behemoth that is H.R. Giger’s Xenomorph surely will! The mere sight of these savage creatures is sure to instill fear even into the bravest of horror fans.
Oh, and let’s not even mention the infamous Chestburster scene! How does the thought of getting eaten from the inside out sit with you? We never said this movie was for those with a weak stomach!
If you’re interested in some spine-chilling Sci-Fi action, join Ripley on her journey through space on the Nostromo and the horrors that await her!
7. The Shining (1980)
Based on Stephen King’s novel with the same name, The Shining is widely regarded as one of the best horror experiences to have ever graced the silver screen. Despite it being forty years old by now, people all around the world still have nightmares from this film!
Although the movie received mixed critical reviews in its time, that changed just a few years later. Nowadays, the Shining has become a staple in both pop culture and horror history, so even the people who haven’t seen the movie yet have heard of the infamous catchphrase: “Here’s Johny!”
If you’re one of the blasphemous horror fans who haven’t watch The Shinning yet, what are you waiting for?
8. The Blair Witch Project (1999)
The Blair Witch Project is another trendsetting movie like Saw, as it created and popularized the found-footage horror genre. And just like Saw, The Blair Witch Project is also a low-budget horror masterpiece!
The film’s premise is simple — a bunch of college students goes into a forest looking for evidence of a witch of old legends who turns out to be real! You can likely imagine what happens next.
The fascinating thing about this movie is that the witch never appears on-screen. The entire film is purely based on psychological horror and fear of what we cannot see, and that makes it even more terrifying! All of that makes The Blair Witch Project’s success even more awe-inducing than Saw’s!
9. The Conjuring (2013)
The Conjuring is just the first of many movies set in the same universe where supernatural occurrences are aplenty. So if you’re a fan of paranormal, psychological horror, The Conjuring and the other films in its universe are perfect for you!
This movie follows two demonologists, Ed and Lorraine Warren, who investigate a series of paranormal activities at a small farmhouse on Rhode Island. The couple finds out that the house was cursed by a woman who sacrificed her baby to Satan and committed suicide. Ed and Lorraine plan to exorcise the spirit, but things don’t go so smoothly!
If you’re curious to find out how the story ends, we urge you to watch this horror gem!
10. The Thing (1982)
Here’s another groundbreaking horror movie that will take you to the frozen wastelands of Antarctica! Why is it groundbreaking? For the quality of its special effects!
Although the quality of these effects pales in comparison to the films of the 21st century, The Thing was way ahead of its time in production quality. And no, we’re not here just to praise it for its cinematography.
This supernatural horror film follows a group of researchers in Antarctica who come across a creature who can shapeshift and take its victims’ form. Trapped in the frozen tundras of Antarctica, the group has no choice but to try to survive on their own versus the unknown foe. But will The Thing kill them off one by one, or will they manage to escape intact? If you don’t know the answer, go watch the movie!
Grab Some Popcorn and Prepare to Get Scared Out of Your Wits!
We hope you have a wonderful time screaming in terror from these horrifying films! If you don’t have the guts to watch them alone, why not invite some friends over? Horror is always more fun in greater numbers!