Best Horror Movies in Cinema History: List of Classics and Must-Watch horror movies

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Best Horror Movies in Cinema History: List of Classics and Must-Watch horror movies

Horror films have a huge audience that loves them and is always waiting for them, and is an important option for a fun evening or to visit the cinemas. This is mostly because its events are out of the ordinary and suspense and make the adrenaline flow in the viewer’s blood, which makes him feel excited. Even characters who are naturally afraid sometimes resort to watching a scary movie for a dose of excitement.

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Horror films have evolved over the years since their appearance until now, especially the story and the way it is presented among many themes such as evil spirits, brutal alien beings, serial killers, zombies, mental illness, and others. The techniques used in the implementation of visual and sound effects have also advanced a lot. This type of film was the destination of many directors, especially as it was relatively easy to achieve mass success.

By way of examples, but not limited to, in this article we show you various nominations from some of the best horrors in the history of cinema and the highest rated by viewers and critics. It has become a landmark in the history of horror films and a guide to other works of art and is still superior to its modern film counterparts despite the terrible progress that has occurred in the industry.

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The Exorcist

The Exorcist
  • Directed by: William Friedkin.
  • Written by: William Peter Blatty.
  • Starring: Elaine Burstein, Linda Blair, Max von Sydow.
  • Film rating on IMDB: 8.
  • Rating of the film on Rotten Tomatoes: 83%.
  • Produced by: Warner Bros.
  • Budget: $12,000,000.

Successful actress and single mother Chris McNeill is moving with her twelve-year-old daughter Reagan to Washington temporarily to film her new movie there. Despite the stability of the situation and her relationship with her daughter, Reagan shows strange signs and begins to behave abnormally and causes her physical changes and becomes more violent, especially in the way she speaks and words, which forces the mother to tie her daughter to the bed in her room because he is unable to control her.

Chris conducts neurological examinations of Reagan at the doctor who assumes that the child is suffering from stress due to the separation of her parents and the move away from her home, and based on the symptoms she is experiencing, he diagnoses her with hyperactivity. But the symptoms make Reagan show what humans are not, making the mother think that evil forces like Satan have taken control of her body. The mother turns to two priests she met nearby to help her and try to expel this evil spirit from her daughter’s body.

The film was inspired by a 1949 documented exorcism of a girl the same age as Reagan. Critics agreed that it was one of the most terrifying films in the history of cinema, based on their experience with watching it, which was characterized by fear. They also praised the script, the sequence of events, the storytelling, and the cast. It is the first horror film to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture, in addition to nine other nominations, including Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Sound.


  • Directed by: John Carpenter.
  • Written by: John Carpenter and Debra Hill.
  • Starring: Donald Pleasence, Jamie Lee Curtis, Nancy Loomis.
  • IMDB Rating of the film: 7.7.
  • Rating of the film on Rotten Tomatoes: 96%.
  • Produced by: Compass International Pictures and Falcon International.
  • Budget: $320,000.

Fifteen years back in 1963 on Halloween night, six-year-old Michael Myers inexplicably stabs his teenage sister to death with a knife. Michael is placed in a psychiatric hospital, and the doctors supervising his condition hope that he will never be approved for discharge because of his condition. On his way to a hearing that will determine his fate, Michael steals the car, escapes from the asylum, and becomes a free man in the city.

A compulsive urge to kill Michael takes over the place where he committed his heinous childhood crime, targeting a new teen and her friends and tracking her until the perfect opportunity to kill her. Doctor Samuel Loomis pursues him and searches for him, realizing the seriousness of his condition, which he described as the living embodiment of evil.

The film was popularly successful as one of the best horror films, and several other releases later came out between remakes or new parts. The film received comments on social issues from critics, as some saw it as referring to the corruption of some young people in American society during the seventies between sex and drugs, and others saw it as encouraging violence against women, their hatred, and sadism. But overall, it was well-received by its artistic director, Carpenter, who specializes in horror films, in terms of being frightening, exciting, and suspenseful.


  • Directed by: Steven Spielberg.
  • Written by: Peter Benchley and Karl Gottlieb.
  • Starring: Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss.
  • Film rating on IMDB: 8.
  • Rating of the film on Rotten Tomatoes: 98%.
  • Produced by: Universal Pictures and Zanuck.
  • Budget: $9,000,000.

A tragedy occurs on Amity Island when they find the mutilated remains of a young girl on the beach. The new police chief, Martin Brody, confirms that the girl has been the victim of a deadly shark attack in the sea, and calls for Martin to close the beaches to keep the swimmers safe. But that request is rejected by the city’s greedy mayor as the city’s economy is based on tourism on these beaches.

As a result of the mayor’s decision, the predatory white shark continues to hunt and kill its victims from the swimmers, which spreads panic in the city, and catching the shark is the goal of all its residents. A team made up of Policeman Martin, shark expert Quint, and marine scientist Matt Hooper set out to the ocean to hunt him in a challenging mission against a bloodthirsty foe.

The film was an unprecedented success that was reflected in the record-breaking revenue of the time, making the film a model in the industry for successful films at the box office level. He received numerous critical acclaim for his impressive, terrifying, and exciting performance, as well as for his casting and Spielberg’s directorial skills. The film was nominated for four Oscars, winning three of them: Best Sound, Editing, and Soundtrack. Three sequels were later released, but not directed by Spielberg or written by Peter Benchley.

28 Days Later

  • Directed by: Danny Boyle.
  • Written by: Alex Garland.
  • Starring: Cillian Murphy, Naomi Harris, Megan Burns.
  • Film rating on IMDB: 7.6.
  • Rating of the film on Rotten Tomatoes: 87%.
  • Produced by: DNA Films and the British Film Council.
  • Budget: $8,000,000.

A group of animal rights activists storms a laboratory where many strange and dangerous tests are being carried out on several chimpanzees and try to free these animals. And they succeed in their mission despite warning scientists of the consequences of their action, as these chimpanzees carry a virus that can transmit to humans. Indeed, this is what happens when the chimpanzees attack the group that liberated them and the virus begins to take over in just twenty seconds.

Then the story of the film’s hero Jim begins 28 days later when he wakes up in an abandoned hospital and emerges from it to find that the semblance of life has disappeared from the city of London and is now empty. Then he meets some people who are infected with the virus and tries to attack him, but fortunately for him he is rescued by some who are not yet infected with the virus and they explain the situation to him. Jim and his survivors try to escape from the virus to Manchester, where they will be protected by the British army.

The film’s director, Danny Boyle, won praise for his style of directing and the general atmosphere he was able to create, as well as the way the film was shot, the script, the performance of the actors, and the soundtrack. Critics rated it as one of the best zombie movies with its out-of-the-ordinary focus on the traditional elements of horror movies such as gruesome, bloody scenes, jump scares, and other tactics. Another part of the film was released, entitled “After 28 Weeks”, and the third part “After 28 months” is being produced.

The Conjuring

  • Directed by: James Wan.
  • Written by: Chad Hayes and Carrie Hayes.
  • Starring: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Ron Livingston.
  • Film rating on IMDB: 7.5.
  • Rating of the film on Rotten Tomatoes: 87%.
  • Produced by: New Line Cinema and Safran Company.
  • Budget: $20,000,000.

The film takes place in 1971 when the family of Caroline and Roger, their children, and their dog move to live in an old isolated country house. The paranormal events begin from the moment they arrive home, starting with their dog’s constant barking of air and then finding him dead. Their lives turn into a nightmare that haunts their lives and makes them live in fear when they find a locked basement, where they suffer from noises and strange changes taking place in the house.

The film is based on the real-life couple Lauren and Ed Warren who were working as supernatural events investigators. Caroline invites the two Warren home to inspect the matter, who in turn discover that the house was inhabited by a wicked witch who offered her child to Satan and killed herself, and now the house is haunted and needs to exorcise the evil spirits that inhabit it.

The film was admired by critics for the way it was made, the direction, the script, the acting, and the sound. One of them said that the film was able to remind us of the best horror films such as The Exorcist and others in terms of its reliance on the story with simple technical capabilities. A second part of the film was released in 2016 and a third party this year, and a separate movie series was released about the doll Annabelle that appeared in the film.


  • Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock.
  • Written by: Joseph Stefano and Robert Bloch.
  • Starring: Anthony Perkins, Gent Lay, Jon Geffen.
  • Film rating on IMDB: 8.5.
  • Rating of the film on Rotten Tomatoes: 96%.
  • Produced by: Paramount Pictures.
  • Budget: $806,947.

Marion Crane works as a secretary for real estate magnate George Lowry, and one day he trusts her to deposit $40,000 in the bank. On her way, Marion, burdened with life’s worries and troubles and the difficult circumstances she is going through, decides to steal this large sum, escape with it, and start a new life. Halfway out of the city, she gets tired and disrupted by a storm, so she has to stay at the Bates Hotel.

It seems that the lack of guests in this hotel, which is run by the suspicious young Norman under the command of his mother, is behind him for a reason, as Marion is killed on the night of her stay at the hotel amid remorse and thinking of returning the money she stole. Following her disappearance, her boyfriend and sister go out to search for her, as well as a private investigator hired by Mr. George. They all arrive at the hotel, but their efforts fail in the face of the actions of the mother who runs the hotel.

Considered by many to be the great Hitchcock’s best film and one of the best films in the history of cinema, it was nominated for four Academy Awards: Best Directing, Cinematography, Production Design, Actress in a Leading Role for Janet Lee. The film initially received mixed reviews from critics, but it soon changed after its huge box office success, and praise for the different way Hitchcock presented the troubled character. The film has many scenes that are cinematic icons, such as the shower scene.


  • Directed by: Ridley Scott.
  • Written by: Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Chausette.
  • Starring: Tom’s Secret, Sigourney Wave, and Veronica Cartwright.
  • Film rating on IMDB: 8.4.
  • Rating of the film on Rotten Tomatoes: 98%.
  • Production: 20th Century Fox and Brandywine Productions.
  • Budget: $11,000,000.

The film follows the story of the spaceship “Nostromo” returning to planet Earth with a crew of seven on board in a state of hibernation. The ship receives signals from a moon next to them, and the mind of the ship awakens the crew who is heading to explore these signals and this moon despite the objection of one of the engineers on board, and indeed they land on its surface and their ship suffers a malfunction as a result.

It turns out that the source of these signals is an abandoned spaceship, and by decoding the signals they find that it is a warning message. As they explore the ship, they mistakenly unleash a deadly alien creature that infiltrates their ship as they return to Earth and begins attacking and killing them.

The resounding success of the film was reflected in several aspects, such as the release of a series of films that followed it, its nomination for two Academy Awards for Best Visual Effects and Production Design, winning the first, and being considered one of the best horror and science fiction films in history. However, it received some negative reviews from critics, describing it as an ordinary horror movie but set in space.

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

  • Directed by: Toby Hooper.
  • Written by: Toby Hooper and Kim Henkel.
  • Starring: Marilyn Burns, Paul Barten, Edwin Neal.
  • Film rating on IMDB: 7.5.
  • Rating of the film on Rotten Tomatoes: 89%.
  • Produced by: Vortex.
  • Budget: $80,000 – $140,000.

Sally and her brother Franklin and three of their friends go for a car ride to inspect their grandfather’s grave and then decide to drive past the family’s old home. On their way home, a rambling man who behaves strangely with them injures himself and Franklin, causing them to kick him out of the car. Then they pass a gas station but the station owner tells them there is no fuel, so they head home, intending to come back when the fuel is available.

While two of the five friends are wandering around, they hear the sound of an engine in one of the houses, and they go to it, thinking they might have fuel. But they are greeted by a man wearing a mask made of human skin who has a variety of instruments of murder and torture that he will use on them. It turns out that this is the home of the wanderer and the owner of the station as well, and that family begins to kill them one by one in a gruesome way with their bodies mutilated.

The film was banned in many countries because of its ugly bloody scenes, and it was stopped in some cinemas due to complaints about the violence it shows, but in general, the film succeeded and achieved high revenues for its budget. Although it initially received some mixed reviews from critics, between its interest in the gruesome image over the script, and the excellent performance of the cast, it is now considered one of the best horror films and has also made an evolution in the serial killer film category.

Best Horror Movies in Cinema History: List of Classics and Must-Watch horror movies

Rosemary’s Baby

  • Directed by: Roman Polanski.
  • Written by: Roman Polanski and Ira Levine.
  • Starring: Maya Farrow, John Cassavetes, Ruth Gordon.
  • Film rating on IMDB: 8.
  • Rating of the film on Rotten Tomatoes: 96%.
  • Produced by: Paramount Pictures.
  • Budget: $3,200,000.

Jay, the actor, and his wife, Rosemary, are moving into a new apartment in Manhattan. The couple meets another strange, elderly couple – Minnie and Roman – who live nearby, and from then on, strange things begin to happen, such as the suicide of the girl in the elderly couple’s care, Rosemary’s nightmares, hearing strange noises, and her husband moving away from her.

One day, Jay tells her he’s ready to have a baby, which makes her very happy, but what’s behind is much more complicated than that. Minnie and Roman are invited before her to a dinner in which they bring sweets containing a hypnotic, and when it begins to affect Rosemary, they begin to carry out the deal they made with the devil that Rosemary be pregnant from him in exchange for Jay’s help in his artistic career as an actor, while the couple aspires to seize the child later from The poor mother who does not know what happened to her to use it in their satanic rituals.

Ruth Jordan won the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her role, and the film was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay but did not achieve it. The film was acclaimed by critics, praising the performance of the actors, especially Ruth Jordan and Mia Farrow, and for their ability to present that well-articulated story without using exaggerated violence or hideous appearances.

Best Horror Movies in Cinema History: List of Classics and Must-Watch horror movies

Best Horror Movies in Cinema History: List of Classics and Must-Watch horror movies

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