Top 100 Horror Movies 1982 – 2012.

I thought I’d put together a list of, what are in my opinion, the top 100 horror movies of the last 30 years. Why just the last 30 years? Well, First, for me, the early 80s mark the divide between classic horror and modern horror. There are some excellent horror movies before 1982, but there are also many films that were truly amazing for their time, but wouldn’t be considered as good today. However, due to their huge cultural significance, they are always included in the top 100 horrors of all time. I want to put together a list, that people just getting into horror, can take away and will actually watch.

Second, there are thousands of top 100 horror movie lists on the internet, and they all pretty much look the same. By not including films prior too 1982, I’ve freed up space for some great films that would otherwise be overlooked. Let’s be honest, most horror fans could probably recite the top 20 horror films without any difficultly. Wouldn’t it be interesting to have a list that didn’t end with either The Exorcist, Psycho or The Shinning?

I’ve read a lot of these lists, and there is always comments like “That’s not a horror film.” I believe that horror has so many sub-genres, and the edges of the horror genre itself are blurred. Some of the films on this list may fit better into other genres, such as science fiction or dark comedy, but I feel they also have enough of a horror flavor to warrant their place.
Furthermore, I have tried to limit the amount of non English speaking films, to be honest, I could write them a list of their own. I have included a few that have had noteworthy international acclaim or have influenced the whole genre.

This list is inclusive of 1982, but exclusive of 2012.

T H E   L I S T

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100. Cabin Fever (2002)

99. The Hamiltons (2006)

98. Pin (1988)

97. Bride of Chucky (1998)

96. Friday the 13th (2009)

95. Jennifer’s Body (2009)

94. Wrong Turn (2003)

93. The Grudge (2004)

92. Jeepers Creepers (2001)

91. The People Under The Stairs (1991)

90. Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010)

89. The Signal (2007)

88. Feast (2005)

87. Pumpkinhead (1988)

86. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)

85. Session 9 (2001)

84. The Hills Have Eyes (2006)

83. High Tension / Switchblade Romance (2003)

82. Paranormal Activity (2007)

81. Arachnophobia (1990)

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80. From Beyond (1988)

79. Freddy Vs Jason (2003)

78. Ils – Them (2006)

77. CandyMan (1992)

76. Underworld: Awakening (2010)

75. Splice (2009)

74. Teeth (2007)

73. Dead End (2003)

72. The Ruins (2008)

71. Dead Snow (2009)

70. Event Horizon (1997)

69. Wolf Creek (2005)

68. Angel Heart (1987)

67. Insidious (2010)

66. Trick r Treat (2007)

65. Orphan (2009)

64. Joy Ride / Road Kill (2001)

63. Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994)

62. Child’s Play (1988)

61. Cube (1997)

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60. Piranha 3D (2010)

59. Silent Hill (2006)

58. Pet Sematary (1989)

57. Martyrs (2008)

56. Leviathan (1989)

55. The Loved Ones (2009)

54. The Entity (1982)

53. Splinter (2008)

52. Nightmare on Elm Street: Dream Warriors (1987)

51. From Dusk til Dawn (1996)

50. Prince of Darkness (1987)

49. Creepshow (1982)

48. Stakeland (2010)

47. Slither (2006)

46. Shadow of a Vampire (2000)

45. Inside (2007)

44. Final Destination (2000)

43. May (2002)

42. Night of the Creeps (1986)

41. Resident Evil (2002)

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40. 28 Days Later (2002)

39. The Mist (2007)

38. The Devils Rejects (2005)

37. Dog Soldiers (2002)

36. Stephen King’s IT (1990)

35. Ginger Snaps (2000)

34. The Hitcher (1986)

33. Return of the Living Dead (1985)

32. Near Dark (1987)

31. Audition (1999)

30. The Lost Boys (1987)

29. Hellraiser (1987)

28. Bubba Ho-Tep (2002)

27. Eden Lake (2008)

26. Dellamorte Dellamore / Cemetery Man (1994)

25. Attack The Block (2011)

24. The Orphanage (2007)

23. Dawn of the Dead (2004)

22. Misery (1990)

21. [REC] (2007)

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20. Tremors (1990)

19. Deathproof (2007)

18. Frailty (2001)

17. Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil (2010)

16. Planet Terror

15. Let Me In (2010)

14. Scream (1996)

13. Shaun of the Dead (2004)

12. The Descent (2005)

11. Re-animator (1995)

10. Blade (1998)

09. Saw (2004)

08. Zombieland (2009)

07. Poltergeist (1982)

06. The Fly (1986)

05. Ringu {and The Ring} (1998)

04. The Evil Dead 2 (1987)

03. Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

02. Aliens (1986)

01. The Thing (1982)

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Comments

  1. Interesting list, I liked Dog Soldiers, Hellraiser, Ginger snaps, Reanimator, Evil Dead, Shaun of the Dead and Creepshow, but on the whole I prefer pre 80s horror, probably because I’m over 50 and British I grew up loving Hammer, Amicus and Tigon pictures. Dust Devil from 1992 is an interesting south African horror you should check it out

  2. Interesting list! I think “Piranha 3D” probably wouldn’t have made my list, just because it was just so over the top cheesy, but they get bonus points for actually convincing Richard Dreyfuss to be in it. I probably would have ranked the original “Paranormal Activity” a little higher, just because subtle creepiness scares the crap out of me.

    • Well, here’s my thinking about Piranha 3D, It falls into a variety of horror subgenres; Horror-comedy, Creature Feature and the “OTT/cheesy aimed-at-prevy-teenage-boys” subgenre (I couldn’t really think of a name for it, but its there. There’s a whole bunch of films catering for it), and when you compare it to the other films within those sub genres, I feel it fares pretty well. It has plenty of jumps, lots of gore and a whole bunch of topless girls – which I believe if you look back at horror movies through 1983-2012, these are considered some of the principal ingredients for any self respecting horror film. Ultimately, it’s a LOT of fun. It’s a great guys/student film to watch over a few drinks and a take away.

      I was on the fence about where to put Paranormal activity. Certainly among horror fans in the UK it receives a very mixed response. I enjoyed it, and looking back though the list, I agree, for many it could have easily slipped in a bit higher.

      Thanks for your comment :)

  3. Horror Aficionado: There will be many films among the 100 Best Horror Films that you have seen already – possibly many times. Most of them deserve multiple viewings though, so you may just want to print the list and start at 100 working downward. With proper timing and focus you should be in the top 20 in time for the days leading to Halloween.