Despite originally being released back in March 1997, Buffy The Vampire Slayer is still one of the most talked about teenage drama series to come out ...
Prepare to scream, jump, and hide under your blanket, because we've got a bone-chilling lineup of the top-rated horror films of all time according to the terrifyingly discerning users of Letterboxd.
If you're a horror aficionado or just love getting your heart racing at Halloween, this list is your ultimate guide to the spine-tingling gems. From haunted houses to demonic possessions, these horror flicks have scared audiences to their very core.
Films include Kubrick’s well known masterpiece The Shining from 1980 as well as the more obscure The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, a German silent film from the 1920s.
Let us know how many of these top rated horror films you have seen below.
The Thing (1982)
Directed by John Carpenter, The Thing is a science fiction horror film that follows a group of scientists in Antarctica who encounter an alien organism capable of assimilating and imitating any living creature. As paranoia and mistrust escalate, they must uncover who among them is still human. The Thing is one of the top-rated horror films according to Letterboxd users due to its groundbreaking special effects, tense atmosphere, and its ability to create a sense of dread and claustrophobia. Carpenter's masterful direction, the film's practical effects, and its exploration of paranoia and the fragility of human relationships have made it an enduring classic in the horror genre.
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, Psycho is a psychological horror film that centres around Marion Crane, who steals money and seeks refuge at the isolated Bates Motel, owned by the enigmatic Norman Bates. The film takes an unexpected turn with its shocking shower scene and delves into themes of identity, duality, and the human psyche. Psycho is regarded as one of the top-rated horror films for its iconic status, Hitchcock's skilled direction, and Anthony Perkins' memorable portrayal of Norman Bates. The film's suspenseful atmosphere, memorable music score, and its exploration of twisted psychological depths continue to captivate audiences and solidify its place in horror history.
Directed by Ridley Scott, Alien is a science fiction horror film that follows the crew of the commercial spacecraft Nostromo, who encounter a deadly extraterrestrial creature that hunts them down one by one. Alien is considered one of the top-rated horror films due to its blend of science fiction and horror, its claustrophobic setting, and its iconic creature design. Scott's atmospheric direction, the film's tension-filled pacing, and Sigourney Weaver's breakthrough performance as Ripley have made it a beloved and influential film in the horror genre. The film's effective use of suspense, memorable characters, and its exploration of the unknown and primal fears contribute to its lasting impact.
The Shining (1980)
Directed by Stanley Kubrick, The Shining is a psychological horror film based on Stephen King's novel. The film follows Jack Torrance, who becomes the caretaker of the isolated Overlook Hotel during the winter season with his family. As supernatural forces unravel Jack's sanity, the film explores themes of isolation, the descent into madness, and the malevolent power of the hotel. The Shining is regarded as one of the top-rated horror films for Kubrick's meticulous attention to detail, its haunting atmosphere, and Jack Nicholson's iconic performance. The film's unforgettable visuals, eerie music, and its exploration of psychological terror and the fragility of the human mind make it a chilling and influential masterpiece in the genre.
Directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Cure is a Japanese psychological horror film that follows a detective investigating a series of murders characterised by a mysterious phenomenon called "Cure." The film delves into themes of identity, manipulation, and the nature of evil. Cure is highly regarded as one of the top-rated horror films for its atmospheric tension, intelligent storytelling, and Kurosawa's skillful direction. The film's slow-burn pacing, eerie visuals, and its exploration of psychological ambiguity and the blurred lines between perpetrator and victim contribute to its reputation as a thought-provoking and deeply unsettling horror experience.
Michael Jackson’s Thriller (1983)
Directed by John Landis, Michael Jackson's Thriller is a horror-themed music video that revolutionised the medium and became a cultural phenomenon. The video follows Jackson and his date as they are pursued by zombies in a graveyard. Thriller is considered one of the top-rated horror films for its iconic dance sequences, special effects, and its lasting impact on popular culture. Landis' direction, Jackson's mesmerising performance, and the video's memorable narrative and visuals have made it a Halloween staple and a timeless celebration of the horror genre.
The Cremator (1969)
Directed by Juraj Herz, The Cremator is a Czechoslovak psychological horror film set in the 1930s. The film centres around Karl Kopfrkingl, the manager of a crematorium, who becomes increasingly obsessed with the idea of purifying the world through death. The Cremator is regarded as one of the top-rated horror films for its atmospheric dread, surreal visuals, and Herz's stylish direction. The film's exploration of totalitarianism, the nature of evil, and its blend of psychological horror and dark humour make it a haunting and thought-provoking film that has gained a cult following over the years.
Rosemary's Baby (1968)
Directed by Roman Polanski, Rosemary's Baby is a psychological horror film based on the novel by Ira Levin. The film follows Rosemary Woodhouse (Mia Farrow), a young pregnant woman who becomes increasingly paranoid about her neighbours and suspects that a satanic cult is plotting against her and her unborn child. Rosemary's Baby is one of the top-rated horror films for its atmospheric tension, Polanski's expert direction, and Farrow's captivating performance. The film's exploration of paranoia, motherhood, and the loss of control over one's body taps into deep-seated fears and delves into the psychological horrors of a woman's experience.
Directed by Masaki Kobayashi, Kwaidan is a Japanese anthology horror film consisting of four segments based on traditional Japanese ghost stories. The film presents stunning visuals and explores themes of the supernatural, vengeance, and the consequences of human actions. Kwaidan is highly regarded as one of the top-rated horror films for its artistic beauty, Kobayashi's masterful direction, and its ability to evoke an eerie and otherworldly atmosphere. The film's commitment to Japanese folklore, its poetic storytelling, and it's haunting imagery contribute to its status as a classic in the genre.
Jack Stauber’s Opal (2020)
Directed by Jack Stauber, Jack Stauber's Opal is a short animated horror film that centres around a young girl named Opal who discovers a strange creature in her basement. As the creature begins to take over her home, Opal must confront her fears and find a way to protect herself. Jack Stauber's Opal is one of the top-rated horror films for its unique animation style, atmospheric soundtrack, and its ability to create a sense of unease and mystery. The film's blend of whimsical visuals and dark undertones make it a standout and highly regarded horror experience.
Directed by Toshio Matsumoto, Demons (also known as Shura) is a Japanese avant-garde horror film. The film presents a nonlinear narrative that explores the dark underbelly of society and the psychological struggles of its characters. Demons is celebrated as one of the top-rated horror films for its experimental approach, Matsumoto's visionary direction, and its examination of the human condition. The film's surreal imagery, disorienting editing techniques, and its subversion of traditional horror tropes contribute to its status as a highly influential and thought-provoking entry in the genre.
Get Out (2017)
Directed by Jordan Peele, Get Out is a socially conscious horror film that follows Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya) as he visits his girlfriend's affluent family for the weekend, only to uncover a disturbing secret. The film tackles themes of racism, cultural appropriation, and the dehumanisation of Black bodies. Get Out is regarded as one of the top-rated horror films for its sharp social commentary, Peele's meticulous storytelling, and the stellar performances of its cast. The film's blending of horror and satire, its thought-provoking examination of systemic racism, and its ability to create tension and discomfort within societal dynamics have made it a groundbreaking and critically acclaimed horror masterpiece.
Les Diaboliques (1955)
Directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot, Les Diaboliques is a French psychological thriller-horror film based on the novel by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac. The film centres around two women, the wife and mistress of a cruel headmaster, who conspire to murder him. However, when the body mysteriously disappears, they find themselves haunted by his presence. Diabolique is considered one of the top-rated horror films for its suspenseful atmosphere, Clouzot's expert direction, and its unexpected twists and turns. The film's exploration of guilt, manipulation, and its ability to keep viewers guessing until the final moments contribute to its reputation as a classic and influential thriller.
What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? (1962)
Directed by Robert Aldrich, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? is a psychological horror film that depicts the toxic relationship between two ageing sisters, former child star Baby Jane Hudson (Bette Davis) and her disabled sister Blanche (Joan Crawford). As their twisted dynamic unfolds, the film explores themes of jealousy, madness, and the dark side of fame. What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? is hailed as one of the top-rated horror films for its powerhouse performances by Davis and Crawford, Aldrich's expert direction, and its examination of the psychological horrors that can arise from the depths of human resentment and obsession. The film's intense character study, its chilling atmosphere, and its timeless portrayal of a deteriorating sisterhood have solidified its place as a beloved and influential horror classic.
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992)
Directed by David Lynch, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me is a psychological horror film that serves as both a prequel and a continuation of the cult television series Twin Peaks. The film delves into the last seven days in the life of Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee), a high school student whose murder was the central mystery of the series. Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me is regarded as one of the top-rated horror films for its unsettling atmosphere, Lynch's surreal storytelling, and its exploration of themes such as trauma, abuse, and the duality of human nature. The film's ability to delve deeper into the darkness of the Twin Peaks universe, its haunting visuals, and it's haunting performances make it a standout entry in the horror genre.
Black Swan (2010)
Directed by Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan is a psychological horror-thriller that follows Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman), a ballet dancer who struggles with her pursuit of perfection and the pressures of her role as the Swan Queen in a production of "Swan Lake." As Nina's obsession and paranoia grow, her mental state begins to unravel. Black Swan is celebrated as one of the top-rated horror films for its intense atmosphere, Aronofsky's visceral direction, and Portman's captivating performance. The film's exploration of the dark side of artistic obsession, its stunning visuals, and its unflinching portrayal of psychological horror make it a mesmerising and critically acclaimed addition to the genre.
Directed by Andrzej Żuławski, Possession is a French-German psychological horror film that centres around the disintegrating relationship between Anna (Isabelle Adjani) and Mark (Sam Neill) after Anna asks for a divorce. As their lives spiral into chaos, the film explores themes of obsession, possession, and the breakdown of reality. Possession is highly regarded as one of the top-rated horror films for its intense performances, Żuławski's visionary direction, and its unrelenting exploration of emotional turmoil and psychological horror. The film's raw and emotional portrayal of a crumbling marriage, its provocative imagery, and its ability to push boundaries and defy genre conventions contribute to its status as a challenging and revered horror masterpiece.
Love, Death & Robots: Bad Travelling (2022)
Love, Death & Robots is an animated anthology series known for its diverse range of science fiction and horror stories. "Bad Travelling" is an episode from the series' second season and is directed by Olivier Bernet. The episode follows a group of adventurers who find themselves trapped in a nightmarish desert, battling against an unrelenting supernatural entity. "Bad Travelling" is celebrated as one of the top-rated horror episodes for its visually stunning animation, gripping storytelling, and its ability to create an eerie and foreboding atmosphere. The episode's exploration of fear, survival, and the unknown make it a standout entry in the Love, Death & Robots series and a highly regarded addition to the horror genre.
What We Do In The Shadows (2014)
Directed by Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement, What We Do in the Shadows is a mockumentary horror-comedy that follows a group of vampire roommates living in modern-day New Zealand. The film humorously explores their struggles with mundane tasks, conflicts with werewolves, and their adaptation to the modern world. What We Do in the Shadows is regarded as one of the top-rated horror films for its clever and hilarious blend of genres, its strong ensemble cast, and it's fresh take on vampire mythology. The film's sharp wit, inventive humour, and its ability to both pay homage to and satirise classic vampire tropes have made it a beloved and highly rated horror comedy.
My Little Goat (2018)
Directed by Rémi Saint-Michel, My Little Goat (Ma petite chèvre) is a Canadian horror short film that centres around a young girl named Florence who becomes obsessed with a stuffed goat she receives as a gift. As her attachment to the goat grows, the film takes a dark and unsettling turn. My Little Goat is celebrated as one of the top-rated horror short films for its atmospheric tension, Saint-Michel's skilled direction, and its ability to create a sense of unease and psychological horror in a short runtime. The film's exploration of childhood fears and its effective use of suspense contribute to its reputation as a standout entry in the horror genre.
Directed by John Frankenheimer, Seconds is a psychological sci-fi thriller-horror film that follows Arthur Hamilton (John Randolph), a middle-aged banker who, discontent with his life, undergoes a mysterious procedure to become a younger man named Tony Wilson (Rock Hudson). As Tony begins to experience the dark consequences of his new existence, the film explores themes of identity, alienation, and the desire for a second chance. Seconds is highly regarded as one of the top-rated horror films for its haunting atmosphere, Frankenheimer's stylish direction, and its exploration of existential dread and the costs of pursuing a utopian fantasy.
The Innocents (1961)
Directed by Jack Clayton, The Innocents is a British psychological horror film based on Henry James's novel "The Turn of the Screw." The film follows a governess, Miss Giddens (Deborah Kerr), who becomes convinced that the two children in her care are possessed by malevolent spirits. The Innocents is regarded as one of the top-rated horror films for its atmospheric tension, haunting cinematography, and Clayton's nuanced direction. The film's exploration of psychological horror, its ambiguity regarding the supernatural, and Kerr's mesmerising performance make it a highly regarded and chilling addition to the genre.
My House Walk Through (2016)
My House Walk Through is a short horror film directed by Bill Plympton. The film centres around a woman who experiences strange and terrifying occurrences as she navigates through her house. My House Walk Through is highly regarded as one of the top-rated horror films for its atmospheric visuals, Plympton's distinct animation style, and its ability to create an unnerving and suspenseful atmosphere within a short runtime. The film's exploration of the uncanny and its evocative use of imagery contribute to its reputation as a standout entry in the horror genre.
The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari (1920)
Directed by Robert Wiene, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is a German silent horror film that follows a young man named Francis who becomes embroiled in a series of mysterious murders occurring in his town, all linked to the enigmatic Dr. Caligari and his somnambulist Cesare. The film is known for its expressionistic visual style, distorted set designs, and its exploration of themes of madness, power, and the blurring of reality. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is celebrated as one of the top-rated horror films for its groundbreaking cinematography, Wiene's innovative direction, and its lasting influence on the horror genre. The film's chilling atmosphere, surreal visuals, and its depiction of psychological terror continue to captivate audiences and solidify its place as a classic in the genre.
Directed by F.W. Murnau, Faust is a German silent horror film that adapts Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's tragic play. The film tells the story of Faust, a disillusioned scholar who makes a pact with the devil in exchange for youth and power. Faust is revered as one of the top-rated horror films for its stunning visuals, Murnau's innovative use of light and shadow, and its exploration of themes of temptation, redemption, and the battle between good and evil. The film's atmospheric cinematography, powerful performances, and its ability to capture the Faustian bargain and its consequences on the human soul make it a highly regarded and enduring entry in the horror genre.
And there you have it, a blood-curdling journey through the top-rated horror films of all time, as determined by the fearless users of Letterboxd. Whether you're a horror die-hard or a casual fan of the genre, this list has something guaranteed to make your skin crawl.
Thanks for reading "Top Rated Horror Films Of All Time According To Letterboxd Users" on January Media.