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The 155 Greatest Horror Movies of All Time

From lesser-known George A. Romero and Clive Barker gems to William Castle cheapies to an unclassifiable Polish shocker.

The 150 Greatest Horror Movies of All Time

The Greatest Horror Movies of All Time

150. “The Night House” (David Bruckner, 2020)

THE NIGHT HOUSE, 2020. © Searchlight Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

“The Night House”

©Searchlight Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

David Bruckner’s tense and atmospheric Sundance Film Festival premiere taunts the ever game and intensely focused actress Rebecca Hall with a haunted house that’s both literal (an eerie feat of set design) and of the mind. Her character, Beth, is a grieving widow tormented not only by the loss of her husband (Evan Jonigkeit), an architect with a bounty of secrets of his own, but also by a particular episode from her past. When Beth starts seeing (hallucinating? conjuring?) phantom women coming in and out of her house (and all of whom look just about an inch from being Beth’s complete doppelganger) in agony, the ground beneath her starts to shift and Beth uncovers what could possibly be her husband’s secret life. The sound design and slight but nifty visual effects in this film stir up a chilling vibe punctured by genuine jump scares that feel earned. —RL

149. “Martin” (George A. Romero, 1978)

MARTIN, John Amplas, 1977

“Martin”

Courtesy Everett Collection

George Romero will always be synonymous with zombies, but his take on vampires deserves to be regarded as a horror classic in its own right. The story of a man who believes that he is a vampire is a slow-burning subversion of the standard Dracula story, but once it gets going, it really gets going. While the main character is not actually a vampire, the idea of a real man drinking blood is both horrifying and an interesting commentary about society’s relationship with fictional horror characters. Romero himself called “Martin” his favorite film that he made, and praise does not get much higher than that. —CZ

148. “Spider Baby” (Jack Hill, 1967)

SPIDER BABY, Sid Haig, Beverly Washburn, 1964

“Spider Baby”

Courtesy Everett Collection

Evil, twisted children will never not be scary, but Jack Hill’s cult classic takes the creepy horror trope to another level. The pitch-black comedy tells the story of a family with “Merrye Syndrome,” a fictional condition that essentially causes children to devolve into animals as they hit puberty. Horror comedy can be a difficult needle to thread, but “Spider Baby: or, the Maddest Story Ever Told” manages to be genuinely funny, truly scary, and 100 percent fucked up. If you haven’t seen it yet, rectify that immediately. —CZ

147. “Old” (M. Night Shyamalan, 2021)

OLD, from left: Aaron Pierre, Vicky Krieps, Gael Garcia Bernal, Abbey Lee, 2021. ph: Phobymo / © Universal Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

“Old”

©Universal/Courtesy Everett Collection

“Old” is the perfect example of a contemporary M. Night Shyamalan movie, brilliant and frustrating in equal measures. The film’s hook — a family is trapped on a beach that dramatically speeds up the aging process — is one of the best horror premises in recent memory. Even if Shyamalan’s film does not always live up to its promising setup, it still manages to convey some interesting ideas about humanity’s relationships with aging and time. If nothing else, it proved that the horror director still has plenty of cinematic thrills left in his tank. Perhaps even more impressive is the fact that it was a bona fide pandemic blockbuster, grossing over $90 million on a $18 million budget in 2021. —CZ

146. “Men” (Alex Garland, 2022)

Rory Kinnear, Jessie Buckley in "Men"

“Men”

Everett Collection

A horror movie called “Men” portends a thorny look at the power of gender, wrapping toxic masculinity, the vulnerabilities of womanhood, and genre terror into one perverse package. Writer-director Alex Garland (“Ex Machina”) largely hits that mark with the textually rich, visually lush story of Harper (Jessie Buckley), a grieving widow who escapes to the English countryside only to be confronted by a strange group of male townspeople (doubling Rory Kinnears). What “Men” lacks in clarity — the 2022 flick is nothing if not open to interpretation — it makes up for with fearless commitment to Garland’s trippy vision. Buckley and Kinnear deliver top performances in both actors’ impressive filmographies, with a similarly jaw-dropping showing for Paapa Essiedu as Harper’s late husband James. “Men” is flourished with a grotesque final scene seemingly as challenging for the actors as it was for the SFX team. —AF

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