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The 50 Best Horror Movies Ever, According to Rotten Tomatoes

Ellen Gutoskey
Essie Davis and Noah Wiseman in The Babadook (2014).
Essie Davis and Noah Wiseman in The Babadook (2014). / IFC Films
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On the road to becoming a horror film buff, you’ll encounter zombies, vampires, serial killers, lots of jump scares, no shortage of psychological thrills, a few cults, a little parody here and there, and more than one invisible man. And if you’re charting your own course, you’ll probably spend a not insignificant amount of time with characters and stories that are boring, bad, or simply not scary.

To help streamline your journey, Rotten Tomatoes has sifted through a century’s worth of horror movies and compiled a list of the best ones, based on a formula that factored in release date and number of reviews (any movie with fewer than 20 Fresh reviews failed to qualify at all).

Topping the list was Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 classic Psycho, whose terrifying shower scene is infamous even among people who’ve never actually seen the film. It’s not the only Hitchcock creation to make the top 50: 1963’s The Birds, starring Tippi Hedren, came in 38th place.

Hitchcock isn’t the only director with two movies in the top 50. Jordan Peele’s Get Out (2017) and Us (2019) took second and fourth place, respectively; Robert Eggers earned the 15th spot with 2019’s The Lighthouse and the 31st spot with 2015’s The Witch; and Boris Karloff’s portrayal of Frankenstein's monster helped land James Whale’s Frankenstein (1931) and its 1935 sequel, The Bride of Frankenstein, in 14th and 11th places. Roman Polanski and Ari Aster both charted twice, too.

Frankenstein was one of just three films in the top 50 with a perfect 100 percent Rotten Tomatoes score, and the only one released in the 20th century. The other two, Host and His House, both premiered last year.

See how many horror masterpieces you’ve seen below, and check out the full list of 200 here.

  1. Psycho (1960) // 96 percent
  2. Get Out (2017) // 98 percent
  3. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919) // 99 percent
  4. Us (2019) // 93 percent
  5. Alien (1979) // 98 percent
  6. King Kong (1933) // 98 percent
  7. Nosferatu (1922) // 97 percent
  8. The Night of the Hunter (1955) // 95 percent
  9. The Invisible Man (2020) // 91 percent
  10. A Quiet Place (2018) // 96 percent
  11. The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) // 98 percent
  12. Jaws (1975) // 98 percent
  13. The Babadook (2014) // 98 percent
  14. Frankenstein (1931) // 100 percent
  15. The Lighthouse (2019) // 90 percent
  16. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) // 98 percent
  17. Vampyr (1932) // 97 percent
  18. Hereditary (2018) // 89 percent
  19. Let the Right One In (2008) // 98 percent
  20. It Follows (2014) // 96 percent
  21. Freaks (1932) // 95 percent
  22. Night of the Living Dead (1968) // 96 percent
  23. Aliens (1986) // 97 percent
  24. The Invisible Man (1933) // 94 percent
  25. The Silence of the Lambs (1991) // 96 percent
  26. Halloween (1978) // 96 percent
  27. Rosemary’s Baby (1968) // 96 percent
  28. Eyes Without a Face (1959) // 98 percent
  29. Repulsion (1965) // 95 percent
  30. The Cabin in the Woods (2011) // 92 percent
  31. The Witch (2015) // 90 percent
  32. Peeping Tom (1960) // 96 percent
  33. 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016) // 90 percent
  34. Host (2020) // 100 percent
  35. Under the Shadow (2016) // 99 percent
  36. Dead of Night (1945) // 93 percent
  37. The Wailing (2016) // 99 percent
  38. The Birds (1963) // 95 percent
  39. Cat People (1942) // 91 percent
  40. Don’t Look Now (1973) // 95 percent
  41. It (2017) // 86 percent
  42. Mandy (2018) // 90 percent
  43. Tigers Are Not Afraid (2017) // 97 percent
  44. Ready or Not (2019) // 88 percent
  45. His House (2020) // 100 percent
  46. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014) // 96 percent
  47. Drag Me to Hell (2009) // 92 percent
  48. House of Wax (1953) // 95 percent
  49. The Fly (1958) // 95 percent
  50. Midsommar (2019) // 83 percent
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