The 100 best horror films

The best horror films, as voted for by over 100 experts including Simon Pegg and Roger Corman

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Time Out proudly presents the 100 best horror films, as chosen by those who write in, direct, star in and celebrate the genre.

Horror cinema is a monster. Mistreated, misunderstood and subjected to vicious critical attacks, somehow it keeps lumbering forward, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. For some, horror films are little better than pornography, focused purely on evoking a reaction - be it terror, disquiet or disgust - with little thought for 'higher' aspirations. For others, they're just a bit of fun: a chance to shriek and snigger at someone's second-hand nightmare.

But look again, and the story of horror is also the story of innovation and non-conformity in cinema, a place where dangerous ideas can be expressed, radical techniques can be explored, and filmmakers outside the mainstream can still make a big cultural splash. If cinema itself has an unconscious, a dark little corner from which new ideas emerge, blinking and malformed, it must be horror. The question is - which are the best horror films?

We polled well over 100 horror enthusiasts - with big names like Roger CormanGuillermo del ToroSimon PeggClive Barkerand Alice Cooper, and horror legends like Coffin JoeKim Newman and Tom Six - and came up with a definitive top 100 list.

The result may surprise you: while the top ten may be stuffed with big hitters, the full list is wonderfully unpredictable and packed with oddball leftfield choices. But what about your opinion?

As always, we're keen to know what we got wrong and what we got right, so leave your opinionated rants ('Where the hell was "I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle"?!') on Facebook or on Twitter using #besthorrorfilms, by voting in our poll or in the comments below. Meanwhile, enjoy the list and prepare to be frightened. Very, very frightened.

By Derek Adams, Dave Calhoun, Cath Clarke, Sarah Cohen, Nigel Floyd and Tom Huddleston, with the generous support of everyone at FrightFest and Cine-Excess.



Users say

51 comments
RAIS A
RAIS A

HI

HOW ARE U?

ASL

@Souza @Jaime 

Kayne Y
Kayne Y

this is the 5th time that i've read this list, just in slightly different orders and always number one is..... the exorcist. no surprises there. Im looking for something new... something fresh. i don't want to be watching the same movies over and over again. Any suggestions on something different?

Lee G
Lee G

Friday the 13th should be on this list.

Akrat
Akrat

How The Hack Is Hellraiser At 80? It Should Be In Top 25.

Souza
Souza

Waiting for Brazilian Slasher , Condado Macabro.

poepzak
poepzak

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE

Ryan
Ryan

The Exorcist... Are you fucking kidding me? This is a joke.

danadon
danadon

a nightmare on elm street is scary

Alli
Alli

Fantastic!! I loved not only the list but reading the explanations as well. I wish all the movies had reviewer quotes, not just the top 10. I am a little surprised not to see It on the list as that movie made me fear clowns, but perhaps because it was technically a mini-series? Seven was also pretty terrifying. As a horror genre fan I think it is so important to appreciate the movies that came first as they influence the movies that we have now. I thought it was perfectly fair to skip many modern movies in favor of older ones. Given the technology and blood and gore, etc that we have now, we forget that some of the older movies were once nightmare inducing in our world. We laugh at the special effects and trade appreciation for a desire to see violence. It's a real shame. Bravo! Thank you for acknowledging old favorites and giving me new movies to seek out!

Tim
Tim

Ok thats enough wasting my time, this is a joke. Lets compare modern movies with movies filmed with a baked patato, thats useful. I searched the "internet" for great horror films, ok , im not looking for a list of black and white classics, if you want make a list of them but call it what it is. Not "Best horror Films." Thank you.

anirudh
anirudh

better have latest movies also............

muhammad shaban
muhammad shaban

i was saw one movie but don't remember that movie name.some people cuts patrs of human body with saw. they sel human heart and other part.hero runaway from there but his finger cut down .he take finger and run away.plz tel me the name of movie.tks

Mkumara
Mkumara

Sir i was saw one movie but don't remember that movie name. This movie story is that some people stay in house one guy play a game in house who alive go out they'll get prize one girl make it out there but she goes to 2 round.. Pls confirm me this is which movie name pls

Mkumara
Mkumara

Sir i was saw one movie but don't remember that movie name. This movie story is that some people stay in house one guy play a game in house who alive go out they'll get prize one girl make it out there but she goes to 2 round.. Pls confirm me this is which movie name pls

jams
jams

good to watch from 20yrs to above

Anon
Anon

Stop making us click a thousand different pages just to increase your click count and force those without adblock to see more and more advertisements. While it may increase your revenue over the short term, many viewers will eventually migrate toward sites that offer them better treatment.

ismet
ismet

odlican obara sa noguu

lhjklhj
lhjklhj

this website suckssss! arrggg where is the reading content......clickety click....

Chuck Elstob
Chuck Elstob

Ever since I have been watching horror movies and started with the classics they always keep you on the edge of my seat.

daniel
daniel

halloween is scary

Jaime
Jaime

DOG SOLDIERS

mmm
mmm

house of 1000 corpses, devils rejects, i am legend, nightmare on elm st(s), any of the friday the 13th, hellraise(s), stephen king movies, clive barker movies.

willyupshaw
willyupshaw

It's easy to criticize these lists, but still, sub-standard in my opinion. The Hills Have Eyes, and Amityville Horror are major omissions, (dated, sure, but so's half this list,) and leaving off Friday the 13th is criminal, and probably due to snobbery and not bothering to distinguish the original from the sequels. And I couldn't find the date, but if this was made after 2009, the biggest omission of all, (and in the comments left by people,) is Antichrist. Maybe people haven't seen it. They should. The best horror film of the era, top ten of all time easy, if not top three. And what about Saw? That's a no-brainer.

Hollybuggy
Hollybuggy

Any one who says jaws is scary is a friggen baby!

johnathan
johnathan

The one that I always notice is never on any of these lists and i still think is easily one of the best horror movies of all time.. castle freak. How in the hell is that never on any top horror list???? that is the only movie that still makes me crawl up the back of the coucha nd look through my fingers.

fangloria
fangloria

Given the rather loose definition of horror put forth by this list, I think Battle Royale was unfairly omitted. As others have said though, not nearly enough representation from the Eastern hemisphere.

hreddox.
hreddox.

the midnight meat train,freddie v jason,legion,i spit on your grave,the woman,hostel(s) let me in,house of bones,the thing,love story.he,he.

jim
jim

No Santa Sangre? No Tenderness of the Wolves? No Deranged? No Spider Baby? That's what you get, I suppose, when you consult genre "experts" such as Emily Booth and Simon Pegg. Sheesh.

dap
dap

Apartment 143

Helen
Helen

2 films I would have included are "Sweeney Todd: demon barber of fleet street" (Tim Burton and Johnny Depp at their gothic best) and Stephen Kings "It" (probably my fave King film and Tim Curry amazing as Pennywise the clown).

Alfred Anthony
Alfred Anthony

So many films not on this list! Like "Children shouldn't play with Dead Things" (Bob Clark dir. also helmed BLACK CHRISTMAS and PORKIES), "The Other" (A Very Spooky Psychological thriller involving the mind of a young boy. 1972), Burnt Offerings (Betty Davis, Oliver Reed, Karen Black), The Blob (Remake a more superior horror film), The Manitou (1978), Prophecy: The Monster Movie ...to name a few. I know I'm going to remember more later while I'm falling asleep. Yeah, I'm sick.

Jeremi Szaniawski
Jeremi Szaniawski

The top 20 is extremely solid (and conservative), although 'The Exorcist' is a well done but overall fairly average film, in no way in the same league as 'The Shining' or 'Psycho' (either of which should top the ranking).

M.perez
M.perez

Can't believe I haven't seen Quarentine on your list..first one great, second blah...

Nick
Nick

I expressed dismay that you'd included The Others in the list but not The Innocents. D'oh! There it is at No.14. What I can say? I was hysterically jumping to conclusions...

Nick
Nick

Overall, a very good list, TO. Great to see three entries from Tourneur, as well as films from Harry Kumel and Zulawski. I don't think Inferno should have been on it though: very disappointing after Suspiria and far from Argento's best. Would have liked to have seen The Howling on there instead. And you put in The Others instead of The Innocents?!! I've never understood the praise heaped on Dead of Night. The ideas are barely thought out and the delivery, apart from Michael Redgrave's performance, is really amateurish.

Tim
Tim

Pretty great list compiled by Roger Corman, Joe Dante, Neill Marshall, Clive Barker, Guillermo Del Toro, Ben Wheatley, Kim Newman, Simon Pegg, and the immortal Coffin Joe. More interesting choices than I usually see in these sorts of polls, pushing the boundaries of what is normally considered 'horror cinema'. Always a healthy thing.

Lanze L
Lanze L

@Kayne Y Try The Tunnel. Its an Australian made "found Footage" film. One of the best I've seen.

Jason E
Jason E

@Kayne Y Great point your making there. Although it is an amazing horror, it would be good for a change to see someone have a different opinion. I mean, surely everyone doesn't think that it's #1?

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