The Top 10 Horror Movies
The Exorcist (1973)
William Friedkin’s adaptation of the eponymous novel about a demon-possessed child and his attempts to exorcise the demon became the highest-grossing R-rated horror film of all time and the first to receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture (it earned nine other nominations and took home two trophies). Aside from its critical and commercial success, the film is well-known for inciting mass hysteria across the country, ranging from protests over the film’s controversial subject matter to widespread reports of nausea and fainting in the audience. Its dramatic pacing and somewhat dated effects may seem quaint in comparison to some modern horror films, but there’s no denying the film’s power over those who see it for the first time.
Hereditary premiered in the Midnight section of the 2018 Sundance Film Festival on January 21, 2018, and was released theatrically in the United States on June 8, 2018. Critics praised the film, praising Collette’s performance and Aster’s direction in particular. It grossed more than $80 million on a $10 million budget, making it A24’s highest-grossing film worldwide at the time. Ari Aster’s directorial debut, Hereditary, is a 2018 American supernatural psychological horror film written and directed by Ari Aster. Toni Collette, Alex Wolff, Milly Shapiro, and Gabriel Byrne star as members of a family haunted by a mysterious presence after their secretive grandmother’s death.
The Conjuring (2013)
The Conjuring is a supernatural horror film written by Chad Hayes and directed by James Wan. Hayes was released in 2013. It is the first film in the Conjuring Universe series. Ed and Lorraine Warren, played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga, are paranormal investigators and authors linked to notable haunting cases. Their purportedly true-life reports sparked the story and film franchise, The Amityville Horror. The Warrens help the Perron family, who had a series of disturbing events in their Rhode Island farmhouse in 1971.
The Shining (1980)
Stanley Kubrick produced and directed The Shining, a 1980 psychological horror film co-written with novelist Diane Johnson. The film stars Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Scatman Crothers, and Danny Lloyd and is based on Stephen King’s 1977 novel of the same name. Stand By Me and The Shawshank Redemption). The mother of them all, however, is unquestionably Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of The Shining. The Shining is a marvel of set and production design, as well as a genuinely unsettling take on the traditional haunted house story, with a slew of memorable images and an iconic Jack Nicholson performance. The film’s few jump scares are still terrifying, but its true power lies in how it creeps under your skin and makes you feel Jack Torrance’s slow descent into madness.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is a 1974 American horror film directed and produced by Tobe Hooper, based on a story and screenplay written by Hooper and Kim Henkel. It stars Marilyn Burns, Paul A. Partain, Edwin Neal, Jim Siedow, and Gunnar Hansen as Sally Hardesty, Franklin Hardesty, the hitchhiker, the proprietor, and Leatherface, respectively. To attract a wider audience and to act as a subtle commentary on the era’s political climate, the film was marketed as being based on true events. However, while the character of Leatherface and minor plot details were inspired by the crimes of murderer Ed Gein, the plot is largely fictional. In response to complaints about the film’s violence, the Texas Chain Saw Massacre was banned in several countries, and many theatres stopped showing it. While it received a mixed response from critics at first, it was a huge success, grossing over $30 million at the domestic box office, which is roughly $150.8 million as of 2019. It also sold over 16.5 million tickets in 1974.
The Ring (2002)
Gore Verbinski’s 2002 supernatural horror film The Ring stars Naomi Watts, Martin Henderson, David Dorfman, Brian Cox, and Daveigh Chase. It is a remake of Hideo Nakata’s 1998 Japanese horror film Ring, which is based on Koji Suzuki’s novel of the same name, published in 1991. Watts plays a reporter who investigates a cursed videotape that appears to kill the viewer seven days after watching it.
On October 18, 2002, The Ring was released in theaters to mostly positive reviews, with critics praising the atmosphere, visuals, and Watts’ performance. On a $48 million production budget, the film grossed over $249 million worldwide, making it one of the highest-grossing horror remakes. It is the first book in the Ring series in English.
Halloween is a 1978 American independent slasher film directed and scored by John Carpenter, co-written with producer Debra Hill, and starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Donald Sutherland. Pleasence, with P. J. Soles and Nancy Kyes assisting. Halloween is often cited as one of the earliest examples of the slasher genre as we know it today, and while it lacks the realistic gore we’ve come to expect from films in that genre, it packs a lot of tension and some inventive thrills in a relatively small-scale package. Filming began in Southern California in May 1978, and the film premiered in October, grossing $70 million and becoming one of the most profitable independent films of all time. Many critics regard the film, which was primarily praised for Carpenter’s direction and score, as the first in a long line of slasher films inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960) and Bob Clark’s Black Christmas (1974).
Sinister is a 2012 supernatural horror film directed by Scott Derrickson and written by C. Robert Cargill and Derrickson. It stars Ethan Hawke as a struggling true-crime writer whose discovery of grisly murder videos in his new home puts his family in jeopardy. Juliet Rylance, Fred Thompson, James Ransone, Clare Foley, and Michael Hall D’Addario appear in supporting roles. Sinister was inspired by Cargill’s nightmare after seeing the 2002 film The Ring. Sinister’s principal photography began in the autumn of 2011 in Long Island, NY, with a production budget of $3 million. The Super 8 segments were shot on actual Super 8 cameras and film stock to add the authenticity of old home movies and snuff films. The film was made in collaboration with the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
Insidious is a 2010 American supernatural horror film written and directed by James Wan, starring Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, and Barbara Hershey. It is the first installment in the Insidious franchise and the third in the series in chronological order. The plot revolves around a couple whose son mysteriously falls into a coma and becomes a vessel for a variety of malevolent entities in an astral plane.
Insidious had its world premiere on September 14, 2010, at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), and was released wide in theaters by FilmDistrict on April 1, 2011. Chapter 2 (2013) is the sequel, and Chapter 3 (2015) and The Last Key (2016) are the prequels (2018).
Clown phobia is very real, even if proclaiming it has become so commonplace that it feels disingenuous. Consider IT, based on Stephen King’s novel of the same name, which broke The Exorcist’s 44-year box office record. The highest-grossing horror film ever. It is a 2017 American supernatural horror film written by Chase Palmer, Cary Fukunaga, and Gary Dauberman and directed by Andy Muschietti. New Line Cinema, KatzSmith Productions, Lin Pictures, and Vertigo Entertainment co-produced the film.