Horror movies are a staple of the movie theater. They’re often scary, suspenseful, and even sometimes funny. The genre has been around since the beginning of cinema, and there’s a reason for its popularity.
But what makes a horror film truly terrifying? Is it the gore? Does the jump scare? Or maybe it’s the fact that the characters are usually trapped in a situation where they have no way out.
Whatever the case may be, here are 18 horror movies that should be added to your bucket list.
1. A Nightmare on Elm Street
A Nightmare On Elm Street is one of those films that you can watch over and over again without getting bored. It was also responsible for launching Freddy Krueger into pop culture history. In this Wes Craven classic, we follow high schooler, Nancy Thompson, as she falls asleep after watching her boyfriend die in an accident. She wakes up with strange dreams about being murdered by a masked man named “Freddy.” When she goes back to sleep, he comes true. This leads to more nightmares, which eventually lead to her death at the hands of Freddy. But before she dies, she manages to kill him once and for all.
Carrie is another great example of how a good story can make any type of movie work. Based off Stephen King’s novel “The Body Snatcher,” director Brian De Palma made his own version of the tale. Set during prom night, young high-school student Carrie White meets new girl Angela Vickers. After some teasing from their classmates, Carrie begins having visions of herself killing people while singing along to the song “I Put a Spell on You.” Her mother tries to help her cope with these hallucinations, but things only get worse when she starts hearing voices telling her to commit suicide. Eventually, she does just that.
Halloween is arguably John Carpenter’s best-known film. Released in 1978, it tells the story of Michael Myers who escapes from Smith’s Grove Sanitarium and returns home to Haddonfield, Illinois. He then sets his sights on Laurie Strode, whom he believes killed his sister Judith years earlier. As the body count rises, so do tensions between townspeople and police officers. With little hope left, Laurie enlists the aid of local teenager Tommy Doyle to protect her son Billy against Myers. Together, they set out to stop the maniacal killer.
4. House II: The Second Story
House II: The Second Story follows Dr. Gregory House, who is now working at Princeton Plainsboro Hospital. While treating patients, he discovers something odd about them – they keep dying! So he decides to investigate further.
5. I Spit on Your Grave
One of the most controversial slashers flicks ever created, I Spit on Your Grave stars Jennifer Hillsman as Alice Arden, a college freshman whose car breaks down near a remote cabin owned by David Kessler. Once inside, she finds the place empty except for a diary belonging to Marybeth Dunston, who had gone missing two weeks prior. Upon reading through the entries, Alice learns that Marybeth has been held captive by three men since moving into the house. They have taken turns raping her every few days. Now, Alice must find a way to escape, or else she will become next victim number four.
6. Let Me In
Let Me In is based on author Lagerkvist’s book of the same name. A group of friends decides to spend the weekend together at Lake Silo, where they meet Oskar, a mysterious boy who lives alone nearby. During the course of events, however, they discover that there are many secrets surrounding Oskar. What could be lurking around the lake?
Scream is considered to be the scariest horror movie of all time. It was the meta look at horror movies that horror fans had been waiting for—but also a pitch-perfect scary movie in its own right. Scream was released in 1996 and starred Neve Campbell, Drew Barrymore, Courteney Cox, Skeet Ulrich, Jamie Lee Curtis, Emma Roberts, Anthony LaPaglia, William Shatner, Courtney Thorne-Smith, Matt Dillon, Chris Owens, Parker Posey, Tom Skerritt, Robert Englund, Jane Levy, and Fran Drescher. The plot focuses on Sidney Prescott, a beautiful teen living in Woodsboro, Connecticut.
Suspiria is an American supernatural thriller directed by Dario Argento. It is loosely inspired by real-life occurrences involving witchcraft within German Expressionism art movements after World War I. The film features Jessica Harper, Dakota Fanning, Chloe Grace Moretz, Mia Goth, Rupert Grint, Tilda Swinton, and Alan Rickman.
9. Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2
Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 continues the storyline that started in the original 1974 film. Leatherface, the leader of a family of cannibals, takes revenge upon those responsible for killing him and his wife while trying to save their daughter from being raped.
10. The Void
The Void is a 2007 Canadian psychological horror movie written and directed by Alexandre Franchi. Starring Eric Balfour, Sarah Polley, and Paul Amos, the movie revolves around a young couple, who move into a new apartment building with their infant child. After settling in, they begin experiencing strange phenomena occurring throughout the premises. Soon enough, things take a turn for the worse when the husband begins acting strangely and eventually goes insane.
11. Urban Legend: Final Cut
Urban Legends: Final Cut is a 2000 television film adaptation of urban legend about a videotape circulating via the internet featuring people saying embarrassing things publicly. This leads them to receive phone calls from strangers watching it, which causes more embarrassment than pleasure. The story follows five high school students who stumble across this tape during a night out. As soon as they watch it, each person starts getting stalked and tormented until only one remain.
12. Trick ‘r Treat
A Halloween treats you can’t refuse! Trick ‘r Treat tells the tale of six kids – Michael Myers, Samara, Annie Braddock, Tommy Doyle, Eddie Kaspbrak, and Ben Hanscom -who venture off to trick or treating on Halloween night. While walking through town, these children witness something horrific and come face to face with Michael Myers himself. They must now work together to survive and escape what lies ahead.
13. The Wicker Man
Based on the novel “By Candlelight” by British writer Nigel Williams, The Wicker Man stars Edward Woodward as Lord Summerisle, a druidic pagan priest who raises his island home above the rest of civilization because he believes humans need nature to thrive. When two policemen arrive at the isolated settlement looking for a missing girl, Summerisle instead invites them inside where they are immediately seduced by his philosophy. Over several days, the police officers become increasingly disenchanted with Summerisle’s way of life; however, before they have a chance to leave, they discover that someone has been secretly observing them without their knowledge.
14. A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors
In 1984, Freddy Krueger returns to Springwood once again, but not to kill any teenagers… yet. Instead, he comes back to punish Nancy Thompson, her boyfriend Glen, and all other teens who dared dream big dreams against him. In order to defeat Freddy once and for all, Nancy enlists the help of four friends — Alice Johnson, Billy Loomis, Robbie Baker (Amanda Wyss), and Johnny Andrews — to enter an alternate dimension called the Dream World. There, they will be able to confront Freddy and stop him from killing anyone ever again.
15. The Nun
The trailer alone is terrifying enough, but the full scary movie about a mysterious Romanian abbey will give you full-blown nightmares. Sister Cathy Romano arrives at St. Claire’s Monastery she finds herself drawn to Father Brown. But there is another force working behind the scenes – the Devil himself. With the help of Father Brown, Sister Cathy tries to uncover the secrets surrounding the monastery while fighting off demonic possession along the way.
16. Rosemary’s Baby
Rosemary Woodhouse moves into a new apartment building in New York City after being fired from her job. She meets up with some old college buddies including Guy Woodhouse, Rosemary’s husband. Soon after moving in, strange occurrences begin happening around the house such as doors opening and closing themselves, footsteps coming downstairs when no one else was present, and even seeing shadows move throughout the rooms.
Almost as fun as the board game, this thriller about a death that occurs during a dinner party will keep you guessing—and laughing—until the shocking final reveal. It starts out like your average murder mystery, complete with suspects and clues. However, things take a turn for the bizarre when guests start dying under suspicious circumstances. And it turns out that everyone had a motive to commit the murders. Who could possibly want so many people dead?
18. Get Out
Jordan Peele takes us deep within America’s dark side in what may just be 2017′s scariest horror film. After Chris Washington receives an unexpected visitor invitation to spend time with rich white couple Rose Armitage and Dean Winters, he agrees to go. What begins as an innocent getaway quickly becomes a nightmarish ordeal as Jordan Peele expertly builds tension until a horrifying climax.