The 100 best horror movies of all time, according to critics

  • With Halloween two weeks away, Business Insider looked at Rotten Tomatoes' list of the best horror movies of all time.
  • The list is based on Rotten Tomatoes' adjusted score that accounts for the variation in the number of reviews for the movies.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Halloween is a little more than two weeks away, which means horror-movie season is in full swing for fans of the genre.

With that in mind, we turned to Rotten Tomatoes' list of the most acclaimed movies with the "horror" tag to determine the 100 best horror movies of all time, based on critic reviews.

The list ranks the movies by an adjusted critical score that Rotten Tomatoes derived from a weighted formula to account for the variation in number of reviews for each film.  That means that more recent movies like "Us" have an advantage over some classics like "Alien."

The list includes horror-thrillers like "Silence of the Lambs" and "Psycho," along with recent titles like the Oscar-winning "Get Out" and the acclaimed 2015 film "It Follows."

John Lynch contributed to an earlier version of his post. 

Here are the 100 best horror-related movies of all time, according to critics:

100. "The Wicker Man" (1973)

Critic score: 89%

Number of reviews: 54

What critics said: "Like many of the best horror/thrillers, 'The Wicker Man' works because it surprises audiences, relying on carefully-nurtured suspense rather than cheap, theatrical shocks." — ReelViews

99. "Nina Forever" (2016)

Critic score: 94%

Number of reviews: 36

What critics said: "The film's bizarre, gore-soaked premise actually manages to ease viewers into the far more uncomfortable topic of grief – after all, dying is easy, but living with death is much more complicated." — Globe and Mail

98. "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" (1974)

Critic score: 88%

Number of reviews: 60

What critics said: "Despite the heavy doses of gore in 'The Texas Chain Saw Massacre,' Tobe Hooper's pic is well-made for an exploiter of its type." — Variety

97. "The Conjuring" (2013)

Critic score: 86%

Number of reviews: 223

What critics said: "In 'The Conjuring,' the scary casts out the spirit of the silly, permanently, and with a vengeance." — The Washington Post

96. "Misery" (1990)

Critic score: 90%

Number of reviews: 68

What critics said: "Reiner captures just the right level of physical tension, but for the most part wisely emphasises the mental duels. Terrific." — Time Out

95. "Village of the Damned" (1960)

Critic score: 92%

Number of reviews: 26

What critics said: "One of those little science fiction movies that, once seen (and it's a TV staple) is never forgotten." — Empire

94. "Color Out of Space" (2020)

Critic score: 86%

Number of reviews: 195

What critics said: "[Color Out of Space is] the kind of cult movie nirvana that was its apparent destiny from the moment the cameras started rolling." — RogerEbert.com

93. "Let Me In" (2010)

Critic score: 88%

Number of reviews: 236

What critics said: "One of the few horror films that will trouble you long after the credits roll." — Newsday

92. "Halloween" (2018)

Critic score: 79%

Number of reviews: 371

What critics said: "It lays on the dread with finesse before turning the tables in mostly creative ways." — Boston Globe

91. "Theatre of Blood" (1973)

Critic score: 93%

Number of reviews: 28

What critics said: "Memorable for its lurid set-pieces (notably Robert Morley being forced to eat his own poodles), it also remains a favourite among critics; suggesting, perhaps, a certain guilty conscience." — Total Film

90. "Attack the Block" (2011)

Critic score: 90%

Number of reviews: 179

What critics said: "Attack the Block attacks the alien invasion genre with wit, energy and a cheeky insolence that makes it out of this world." — Detroit News

89. "Eraserhead" (1977)

Critic score: 91%

Number of reviews: 58

What critics said: "What a masterpiece of texture, a feat of artisanal attention, an ingenious assemblage of damp, dust, rock, wood, hair, flesh, metal, ooze." — Village Voice

88. "The Devil's Backbone" (2001)

Critic score: 92%

Number of reviews: 119

What critics said: "Guillermo Del Toro's The Devil's Backbone is a really cool ghost story with an extraordinary human and political dimension." — New York Daily News

87. "Housebound" (2014)

Critic score: 95%

Number of reviews: 42

What critics said: "There's a lot to be said for a low-budget premise that uses its budget as inspiration rather than limitation." — Birth.Movies.Death

86. "We Are Still Here" (2015)

Critic score: 95%

Number of reviews: 44

What critics said: "Showcasing juicy performances by its actors who tear into their stock roles with admirable conviction, the film looks terrific." — Hollywood Reporter

85. "The Bird with the Crystal Plumage" (1970)

Critic score: 93%

Number of reviews: 97

What critics said: "[It] has the energy to support its elaborateness and the decency to display its devices with style. Something from each of its better models has stuck, and it is pleasant to rediscover old horrors in such handsome new décor." — New York Times

84. "Phantom Of The Opera" (1925)

Critic score: 90%

Number of reviews: 49

What critics said: "Lon Chaney's performance as the hideous organist prowling the sewers beneath the Paris Opera is still a cornerstone of gothic horror." — Chicago Reader

83. "The Wolf Man" (1941)

Critic score: 90%

Number of reviews: 40

What critics said: "It finds modern sophistication and cultured intellects unprepared to deal with a threat that's already at hand, maybe even under our own skin." — AV Club

82. "Dawn of the Dead" (1979)

Critic score: 93%

Number of reviews: 45

What critics said: "Undoubtedly the zombie movie to end 'em all." — Time Out

81. "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" (1931)

Critic score: 90%

Number of reviews: 40

What critics said: "Dr Jekyll combines gothic horror, aristocratic romance and madcap Freudian psychodrama into a dizzying, exhilarating brew." — Time Out

80. "Shaun of the Dead" (2004)

Critic score: 91%

Number of reviews: 210

What critics said: "Mixing horror and humor is no mean feat, but Shaun Of The Dead tightens throats in fear without making the laughs stick there in the process." — The AV Club

79. "The Endless" (2018)

Critic score: 92%

Number of reviews: 128

What critics said: "This impressive low-budget indie weaves a genre-defying tapestry of weirdness, atmospherics and cultish horrors across a dusty US setting." — Time Out

78. "Don't Breathe" (2016)

Critic score: 88%

Number of reviews: 232

What critics said: "A breathless, visceral, nerve-racking thrill ride that doesn't stop coming at you until its final gasps." — Detroit News

77. "Re-Animator" (1985)

Critic score: 93%

Number of reviews: 61

What critics said: "Re-Animator is splatter heaven. Based on the sci-fi novel by H.P. Lovecraft, Re-Animator's gore is exceeded only by its wit" — The Washington Post

76. "Zombieland" (2009)

Critic score: 89%

Number of reviews: 255

What critics said: "It's a black-blood-spitting mugging of a movie, but it's also relentlessly funny and innovative, the sort of film that makes you writhe and laugh at the same time." — Detroit News

75. "It Comes At Night" (2017)

Critic score: 87%

Number of reviews: 250

What critics said: "Scored intensely and photographed vividly, the electric film imagines a small slice of doomsday with horrific believability." — Globe and Mail

74. "Dracula" (1931)

Critic score: 91%

Number of reviews: 47

What critics said: "A sublimated ghost story related with all surface seriousness and above all with a remarkably effective background of creepy atmosphere." — Variety

73. "Deep Red (Profondo Rosso)" (1975)

Critic score: 96%

Number of reviews: 24

What critics said: "[A] stirring and uncompromising thriller." — BBC

72. "The Fly" (1986)

Critic score: 92%

Number of reviews: 65

What critics said: "Wildly imaginative, gut-wrenchingly scarifying and profoundly primal (not to mention funny), David Cronenberg's 'The Fly' is a movie that whacks you in the solar plexus and leaves you gasping." — Philadelphia Inquirer

71. "A Nightmare on Elm Street" (1984)

Critic score: 94%

Number of reviews: 53

What critics said: "A highly imaginative horror film that provides the requisite shocks to keep fans of the genre happy." — Variety

70. "The Mummy" (1932)

Critic score: 88%

Number of reviews: 42

What critics said: "An eerie, weirdly moving film about loneliness and the persistence of history." — AV Club

69. "The Host" (2007)

Critic score: 93%

Number of reviews: 156

What critics said: "Rarely plays out the way you expect. Director Bong is careful to deliver the promised scares, but he is also willing to overlook plot formulas to explore his own interests." — Miami Herald

68. "Train to Busan (Busanhaeng)" (2016)

Critic score: 94%

Number of reviews: 116

What critics said: "A zombie movie content not to aspire to any loftier subtextual readings needs little more than a skilled choreographer of action, and there's plenty of evidence that this film had one in Yeon." — The AV Club

67. "Island of Lost Souls" (1933)

Critic score: 93%

Number of reviews: 29

What critics said: "A tight, gruesome shocker, featuring Karl Struss's spooky cinematography and Charles Laughton's creepy portrayal of the mad vivisector Dr. Moreau." —New Yorker

66. "Revenge" (2018)

Critic score: 93%

Number of reviews: 132

What critics said: "With her stylish and bloody rape-revenge thriller, French first-timer Coralie Fargeat turns a disputable subgenre upside down." — Variety

65. "Suspiria" (1977)

Critic score: 93%

Number of reviews: 57

What critics said: "Mr. Argento's methods make potentially stomach-turning material more interesting than it ought to be." — The New York Times

64. "Ringu (Ring)" (1998)

Critic score: 97%

Number of reviews: 39

What critics said: "As good as The Ring is, it can't top the original for sheer, shivering terror." — Rolling Stone

63. "I Walked With a Zombie" (1943)

Critic score: 93%

Number of reviews: 27

What critics said: "It is Tourneur's caressingly evocative direction, superbly backed by Roy Hunt's chiaroscuro images, that makes sheer magic of the film's brooding journey into fear." — Time Out

62. "The Love Witch" (2016)

Critic score: 95%

Number of reviews: 131

What critics said: "A modern feminist horror tale that rewards deep exploration beneath its admittedly beautiful surface." — Detroit News

61. "Harpoon" (2019)

Critic score: 97%

Number of reviews: 59

What critics said: "'Harpoon' offers stylish compositions, amusing running gags and sharp, snappy dialogue. It's a sparse, nasty little thriller." — New York Times

60. "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" (1978)

Critic score: 93%

Number of reviews: 58

What critics said: "Set at the intersection of post-Vietnam paranoia and the myopic introspection that became hippiedom's most lasting cultural contribution, the Philip Kaufman-directed Invasion alternates social commentary with impeccably crafted scares." — The AV Club

59. "The Innocents" (1961)

Critic score: 94%

Number of reviews: 51

What critics said: "Based on Henry James' story 'Turn of the Screw' this catches an eerie, spine-chilling mood right at the start and never lets up on its grim, evil theme." — Variety

58. "The Loved Ones" (2012)

Critic score: 98%

Number of reviews: 57

What critics said: "It's a terrifying masterpiece that turns high school drama into a literal dead zone." — IndieWire

57. "Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn" (1987)

Critic score: 95%

Number of reviews: 60

What critics said: "Evil Dead 2's rampant inventiveness and manic energy have ensured that it will endure as a cult classic."  — The AV Club

56. "Raw" (2017)

Critic score: 92%

Number of reviews: 189

What critics said: "Raw exposes the everyday monstrousness each of us harbours within our soft, fragile exteriors, and the accommodations we have to make with our darker nature." — Little White Lies

55. "The Evil Dead" (1981)

Critic score: 95%

Number of reviews: 61

What critics said: "Sam Raimi maintains suspense and a nightmarish mood in between the showy outbursts of special effects gore and graphic violence which are staples of modern horror pictures." — Variety

54. "La Llorona" (2020)

Critic score: 97%

Number of reviews: 72

What critics said: "La Llorona avoids the tropes of horror … Instead, this smart and elegant film feels like a languid bit of cinematic magical realism where strange things happen – and the real horror lies not in the supernatural but in the savage acts of men." — Los Angeles Times

53. "Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht (Nosferatu the Vampyre)" (1979)

Critic score: 95%

Number of reviews: 58

What critics said: "This is a pinnacle of horror cinema: atmospheric, rhapsodic and — especially in the slow-burn confrontations between Lucy and her otherworldly inamorato — achingly transcendent." — Time Out

52. "Creep 2" (2017)

Critic score: 100%

Number of reviews: 23

What critics said: "For fans of the original who don't mind the loss of scares, Creep 2 improves on the first film in nearly every way, from tone to dialogue to plot." — AV Club

51. "Green Room" (2016)

Critic score: 91%

Number of reviews: 237

What critics said: "Jeremy Saulnier's little genre gem is simply told and smartly executed, with a little bit of everything, from snarling dogs to bloody murder to the innate fear evoked by the backwoods." — Toronto Sun

50. "Carrie" (1976)

Critic score: 93%

Number of reviews: 67

What critics said: "More superpowers from Brian De Palma, this time in high school, in a screen version of a Stephen King novel that's become a horror classic." — The Wall Street Journal

49. "Midsommar" (2019)

Critic score: 83%

Number of reviews: 387

What critics said: "Midsommar is a waking nightmare and I mean that in the best possible way." — Associated Press

48. "The Fly" (1958)

Critic score: 95%

Number of reviews: 40

What critics said: "It deserves a cult following among satire-loving, feminist-minded gore aficionados who appreciate a well-made human tail." — Entertainment Weekly

47. "House of Wax" (1953)

Critic score: 95%

Number of reviews: 42

What critics said: "House of Wax proves once and for all that true stereo combined with perfect color and directional sound is truly a visionary new and exciting medium." — Hollywood Reporter

46. "Drag Me to Hell" (2009)

Critic score: 92%

Number of reviews: 266

What critics said: "The dichotomies director Sam Raimi presents within that familiar genre are what make this such a kick." — Associated Press

45. "A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night" (2014)

Critic score: 96%

Number of reviews: 133

What critics said: "Combing horror, film noir and westerns, Ana Lily Amirpour's debut feature, 'A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night,' is a refreshing take on vampire lore." — Globe and Mail

44. "Ready or Not" (2019)

Critic score: 88%

Number of reviews: 297

What critics said: "[A] witty, endlessly suspenseful US slasher movie that critiques privilege and entitlement." — London Evening Standard

43. "Tigers Are Not Afraid (Vuelven)" (2019)

Critic score: 97%

Number of reviews: 111

What critics said: "López elicits solid performances from the young actors, and her vision is clear and uncompromising." — Washington Post

42. "Mandy" (2018)

Critic score: 91%

Number of reviews: 243

What critics said: "Naughty but niche." — London Evening Standard

41. "It" (2017)

Critic score: 85%

Number of reviews: 377

What critics said: "I'm writing this not so much as a critic but as an ordinary moviegoer, experiencing Proustian transport via an old-fashioned scary movie executed by a team of filmmakers and actors at the top of their game." — Salon

40. "Don't Look Now" (1973)

Critic score: 94%

Number of reviews: 72

What critics said: "A devastating portrait of grief, a master class in disjunctive editing and a haunting disquisition on the use of the color red." — Los Angeles Times

39. "Cat People" (1942)

Critic score: 94%

Number of reviews: 51

What critics said: "Cat People wasn't frightening like a slasher movie, using shocks and gore, but frightening in an eerie, mysterious way that was hard to define; the screen harbored unseen threats." — Chicago Sun-Times

38. "The Birds" (1963)

Critic score: 95%

Number of reviews: 56

What critics said: "Arguably the greatest of all disaster films — a triumph of special effects, as well as the fountainhead of what has become known as gross-out horror." — Village Voice

37. "The Wailing (Goksung)" (2016)

Critic score: 99%

Number of reviews: 82

What critics said: "The layers of dissembling and self-dissembling pile up so thickly that not only does Na evidently touch on something integral about the nature of evil, but actually seems to be in the process of summoning it before your eyes." — Guardian

36. "Dead of Night" (1945)

Critic score: 93%

Number of reviews: 43

What critics said: "It offers the same sort of spine-cooling thrill you get from listening to a group of accomplished liars swapping ghost stories." — Time Magazine

35. "Under the Shadow" (2016)

Critic score: 99%

Number of reviews: 90

What critics said: "Intimate horror about the dark things lurking in a family home, and, more interestingly, in the minds of women." — BuzzFeed News

34. "Host" (2020)

Critic score: 100%

Number of reviews: 62

What critics said: "Host observes uncannily the supernatural, ephemeral, and material worlds colliding together, gesturing toward an uncertain future." — New York Times

33. "10 Cloverfield Lane" (2016)

Critic score: 90%

Number of reviews: 309

What critics said: "10 Cloverfield Lane alternates moods seamlessly, ratcheting tension to the breaking point and then deflating it with black humor." — The Atlantic

32. "Peeping Tom" (196)

Critic score: 96%

Number of reviews: 52

What critics said: "Peeping Tom reminds us of the scary, primitive power of movies by putting us, as viewers, in the position of its peeping protagonist. As the psychopath sets up his victims for the kill, we see them through his eyes." — Orlando Sentinel

31. "The Witch" (2016)

Critic score: 90%

Number of reviews: 325

What critics said: "In the tradition of William Friedkin's 'The Exorcist,' this chilling low-budget horror movie taps into the same temporal fear that sparks religious feeling."  — Chicago Reader

30. "The Cabin in the Woods" (2012)

Critic score: 92%

Number of reviews: 286

What critics said: "A horror movie embedded in a conspiracy flick embedded in another horror movie-the most inventive cabin-in-the-woods picture since 'The Evil Dead' and the canniest genre deconstruction since 'Scream.'" — The Atlantic

29. "Repulsion" (1965)

Critic score: 95%

Number of reviews: 64

What critics said: "Roman Polanski's first English-language film is still a creepy little horror masterpiece."  —  Entertainment Weekly

28. "Eyes Without a Face" (1962)

Critic score: 98%

Number of reviews: 55

What critics said: "One of those rare horror films that induces discomfort by showing practically nothing."  — Entertainment Weekly

27. "Rosemary's Baby" (1968)

Critic score: 96%

Number of reviews: 72

What critics said: "Weird obstetricians, mysterious night noises and even Farrow's improvised stroll into actual oncoming traffic add up to a bustling nightmare that's spawned many a Black Swan since."  — Time Out

26. "Halloween" (1978)

Critic score: 96%

Number of reviews: 71

What critics said: "Halloween is an absolutely merciless thriller, a movie so violent and scary that, yes, I would compare it to Psycho." — Chicago Sun-Times

25. "The Silence of the Lambs" (1991)

Critic score: 96%

Number of reviews: 101

What critics said: "Has everything you want in a popular thriller. It's stylish, intelligent, audacious rather than shocking, and stolen by a suave monster you'll never forget."  — Boston Globe

24. "The Invisible Man" (1933)

Critic score: 94%

Number of reviews: 51

What critics said: "The strangest character yet created by the screen roams through The Invisible Man." — Variety

23. "Aliens" (1986)

Critic score: 97%

Number of reviews: 76

What critics said: "Action thrillers assail but rarely test us; this is the tautest, most provoking, and altogether most draining example ever made."  — The New Yorker

22. "Night of the Living Dead" (1968)

Critic score: 97%

Number of reviews: 69

What critics said: "The immediate, quasi-documentary feel, a result of budgetary constraints, actually served the film's horror, jolting audiences because it all seemed just a little too real."  — Village Voice

21. "Freaks" (1932)

Critic score: 95%

Number of reviews: 55

What critics said: "Some of the most terrifying scenes ever consigned to film."  — The Wall Street Journal

20. "It Follows" (2015)

Critic score: 95%

Number of reviews: 259

What critics said: "It Follows represents a compelling evolution in how studios and audiences can (and should) conceive of its monsters."  — The Atlantic

19. "Let the Right One In" (2008)

Critic score: 98%

Number of reviews: 190

What critics said: "Lovelier than most bloodsucker flicks, but it doesn't quite transcend its well-chewed genre."  — NPR

18. "Hereditary" (2018)

Critic score: 89%

Number of reviews: 369

What critics said: "Hereditary feels like an endless drawing out of that queasy, shocking, falling dream sensation, as the ground beneath the Graham family, and the viewer, crumbles." — Newsweek

17." Vampyr – Der Traum des Allan Grey" (1932)

Critic score: 100%

Number of reviews: 31

What critics said: "Vampyr is Dreyer's most radical film — maybe one of my dozen favorite movies by any director." — Village Voice

16. "Invasion of the Body Snatcher" (1956)

Critic score: 98%

Number of reviews: 57

What critics said: "A movie that can claim kinship with Alberto Cavalcanti's Went the Day Well? as well as The Matrix and Under the Skin." — Guardian

15. "The Lighthouse" (2019)

Critic score: 90%

Number of reviews: 373

What critics said: "The actors play it big and bold in a visually striking, black and white horror show." — Chicago Sun-Times

14. "Frankenstein" (1931)

Critic score: 100%

Number of reviews: 48

What critics said: "The most influential horror film ever made, this stark and stylish work has a weird fairytale beauty."  — Village Voice

13. "The Babadook" (2014)

Critic score: 98%

Number of reviews: 237

What critics said: "A deftly inventive and psychologically charged horror story that trades on the ways in which the prospect of maternal failure can be just as fearsome a boogeyman as any monster under the bed."  — Buzzfeed 

12. "Jaws" (1975)

Critic score: 98%

Number of reviews: 88

What critics said: "Jaws is a grisly film, often ugly as sin, which achieves precisely what it set out to accomplish-scare the hell out of you." — Newsweek

11. "The Bride of Frankenstein" (1935)

Critic score: 98%

Number of reviews: 46

What critics said: "Has an in-your- face audacity that hasn't dimmed all that much after 63 years."  — San Francisco Chronicle

10. "A Quiet Place" (2018)

Critic score: 96%

Number of reviews: 372

What critics said: "There are moments when the movie takes us firmly by the hand and escorts us down a darkened path, and they lead to one of the most profound of communal pleasures: the sound of a movie audience screaming as one." — Slate

9. "The Invisible Man" (2020)

Critic score: 91%

Number of reviews: 389

What critics said: "The prize asset is Moss, of course, a seven-octave actor equally happy with micro-emotion and going very big indeed." — Financial Times

8. "The Night of the Hunter" (1955)

Critic score: 95%

Number of reviews: 75

What critics said: "One of the great movie horror tales, with one of the greatest of all movie villains." — Chicago Tribune

7. "Nosferatu, a Symphony of Horror (Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens) (Nosferatu the Vampire)" (1922)

Critic score: 97%

Number of reviews: 66

What critics said: "So this is it: ground zero, the birth of horror cinema."  —  Time Out

6. "King Kong" (1933)

Critic score: 98%

Number of reviews: 64

What critics said: "'King Kong' as spectacular a bolt of celluloid as has thrilled audiences in a couple of sophisticated seasons, is the product of a number of vivid imaginations."  —  New York Daily News

5. "Alien" (1979)

Critic score: 98%

Number of reviews: 125

What critics said: "The filmmakers have come up with some images that are sheerest nightmare. The film earns its shudders honestly: Scott is too talented to need gratuitousness as a aid." — Houston Chronicle

4. "Us" (2019)

Critic score: 93%

Number of reviews: 532

What critics said: "A sharp, often funny meditation on the terrifying power of human connection." — The Atlantic

3. "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari)" (1920)

Critic score: 100%

Number of reviews: 54

What critics said: "Undoubtedly one of the most exciting and inspired horror movies ever made."  —  Time Out

2. "Get Out" (2017)

Critic score: 98%

Number of reviews: 386

What critics said: "'Get Out' is the satirical horror movie we've been waiting for, a mash-up of 'Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?' and 'The Stepford Wives' that's more fun than either and more illuminating, too."  —  Vulture

1. "Psycho" (1960)

Critic score: 96%

Number of reviews: 101

What critics said: "Hitchcock is the most-daring avant-garde film-maker in America today."  —  Village Voice

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