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Best movie for every type of horror fan

  • Best movie for every type of horror fan

    Horror films have been around since 1896, when Georges Méliès’ haunted house chiller “Le Manoir du Diable” was first released. The spine-tingling genre has been a mainstay of cinema ever since, delivering groundbreaking special effects, gory motifs, and subtext galore. But no matter what form scary movies take, their ability to serve as cathartic, thrilling outlets for primal fears and insecurities is what keeps fans coming back for more.

    Even with movie theaters largely shuttered due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there are lots of different kinds of horror films available on streaming and demand to satisfy your spooky needs. Why not become better acquainted with internationally acclaimed subgenres like jidaigeki or giallo? While some acclaimed films (such as the crime drama “Se7en” or adventure blockbuster “Jurassic Park”) may not seem like horror flicks at first glance, they contain many elements that make the genre itself so memorable.

    But with so many films out there, it can be difficult to find the best type of horror movie for each kind of film fan. That’s why Stacker compiled data on horror films using the horror-centric site They Shoot Zombies, Don’t They?, which has weighed and aggregated rankings from more than 2,900 editorial lists to determine the definitive ranking of the top 1,000 horror films as of May 2020. Using this data, Stacker amassed a list of the top films in each subgenre of horror displayed on the website. All of the films displayed are feature-length, with the exception of “Un Chien Andalou,” an experimental surrealist classic by Salvador Dalí and Luis Buñel. Nearly 7,900 movies in total were considered, and IMDb ratings and Metascores were included for critical and popular context.

    So hold on to the edge of your seat, and read on to find the best kinds of horror movies for any viewer—from science fiction to slasher films.

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  • Possession: The Exorcist (1973)

    - Director: William Friedkin
    - IMDb user rating: 8.0
    - Metascore: 81
    - Runtime: 122 minutes

    This iconic film received 10 Academy Award nominations and was the first horror movie to be nominated for Best Picture. Loosely based on real events, “The Exorcist” follows two priests (Jason Miller and Max von Sydow) who attempt to help a girl (Linda Blair) who has seemingly been possessed by the devil. It’s combination of spiritual horror and visceral effects makes it a perennial contender for scariest movie of all time.

  • Haunted house: The Shining (1980)

    - Director: Stanley Kubrick
    - IMDb user rating: 8.4
    - Metascore: 66
    - Runtime: 144 minutes

    Based on the 1977 Stephen King novel of the same name, “The Shining” follows a hotel caretaker who is driven insane by the haunted property that he and his family are taking care of during the winter. It’s easily one of the most obsessed-over horror films, as evidenced by the documentary "Room 237." While "The Shining" is often hailed as one of the best movies in the genre, King took issue with Kubrick’s changes and called it a “fancy car with no engine.”

  • Thriller: Psycho (1960)

    - Director: Alfred Hitchcock
    - IMDb user rating: 8.5
    - Metascore: 97
    - Runtime: 109 minutes

    Although Alfred Hitchcock was already celebrated as The Master of Suspense, his renowned status as a director grew with the release of what is arguably his most influential movie, “Psycho.” In the story, Janet Leigh plays a Phoenix secretary on the run who checks into a mysterious hotel run by young Norman Bates. Apart from being an enticing thriller, “Psycho” is considered one of the first examples of a slasher film.

  • Science fiction: Alien (1979)

    - Director: Ridley Scott
    - IMDb user rating: 8.4
    - Metascore: 89
    - Runtime: 116 minutes

    This sci-fi horror classic opens as the crew of a commercial space tug’s voyage back to Earth is interrupted, and they’re required to intercept a distress call from a nearby moon. A mysterious alien life form attacks a crew member and begins growing rapidly as it picks off the characters one by one. “Alien” created an iconic “final girl” in Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley, won an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, and is regularly cited as one of the most influential science fiction films ever.

  • Slasher: Halloween (1978)

    - Director: John Carpenter
    - IMDb user rating: 6.5
    - Metascore: 67
    - Runtime: 91 minutes

    Countless remakes and sequels to John Carpenter’s “Halloween” have been made over the years, and for good reason—many film buffs hold that it’s the most influential horror flick of all time. The tale of serial killer Michael Myers terrorizing the citizens of Haddonfield, Illinois, sparked many trends within the slasher movie subgenre, like its central masked murderer and attention-grabbing synth score.

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  • Zombie: Night of the Living Dead (1968)

    - Director: George A. Romero
    - IMDb user rating: 7.9
    - Metascore: 89
    - Runtime: 96 minutes

    Before the success of “Evil Dead” and “The Walking Dead,” there was George A. Romero’s groundbreaking 1968 zombie film, in which flesh-eating creatures descend upon a rural Pennsylvania town. “The real-game changer for ‘Night of the Living Dead’...was Romero making the zombies into flesh-eating beings, creating an allegory of a society devouring itself from within,” wrote Jon Towlson for the British Film Institute. Although “Night of the Living Dead” was met with mixed reviews upon its release, it has earned critical acclaim over the years.

  • Nature: Jaws (1975)

    - Director: Steven Spielberg
    - IMDb user rating: 8.0
    - Metascore: 87
    - Runtime: 124 minutes

    Largely responsible for creating the summer blockbuster as we know it, “Jaws” sees a local sheriff fighting to hunt down a killer shark who’s devouring a beach community. Spielberg showed less of the shark in earlier scenes due to production problems, but this only built up suspense. Even in the 21st century, the film still manages to instill terror in many swimmers considering a dip in the ocean.

  • Psychological: Rosemary's Baby (1968)

    - Director: Roman Polanski
    - IMDb user rating: 8.0
    - Metascore: 96
    - Runtime: 137 minutes

    Based on Ira Levin’s novel of the same name, this psychological horror masterpiece follows a woman (Mia Farrow) who believes that she’s pregnant with the devil’s spawn. In lieu of excessive violence and jump-scares, Polanski immerses us in effective psychological terror as we experience Rosemary’s doubts and confusion. The film is largely credited with launching the “satanic pregnancy” movie trend, which extended into the 1970s.

  • Vampire: Nosferatu (1922)

    - Director: F.W. Murnau
    - IMDb user rating: 7.9
    - Metascore: data not available
    - Runtime: 94 minutes

    Nine years before “Dracula” hit theaters, this German Expressionist film was a major force in making vampires iconic in early cinema. An unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker’s classic book, “Nosferatu” serves as a metaphor for irrepressible dread that we all carry inside ourselves and how it manifests in our turbulent world.

  • Monster: Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

    - Director: James Whale
    - IMDb user rating: 7.8
    - Metascore: 95
    - Runtime: 75 minutes

    One of the world’s most iconic monsters gets a love interest in “Bride of Frankenstein,” giving way to an inimitable performance by Elsa Lanchester as the titular character. The film is a fascinating reversal of Eve’s biblical origin story, as Frankenstein’s mate is horrified and rejects him with rage. It’s considered one of the greatest film sequels ever, and many critics even consider it to be an improvement upon its 1931 predecessor.

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