(Photo by Paramount, New Line Cinema, Dimension Films, Maple Pictures, New World Pictures, Lionsgate / Courtesy: Everett Collection)

80 Essential Slasher Movies

The glint of the knife in moonlight. The first-person view from the bushes, with heavy breathing behind the mask. And, soon, a body count higher than numbered Friday the 13th sequels. We’re here to put the pieces together for 80 Essential Slasher Movies, compositing its twisted and blade-twisting evolution from ’70s Italian giallos, into the subgenre’s 1980s golden age peak, and through the meta-snark of the ’90s and the years of screams beyond.

The carnage begins in 1960, when Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho and Michael Powell’s Peeping Tom were released within two months of each other. Even 20 years before the slasher golden age, these two movies carved out the contours of what would become the rules of the game: A human killer brandishing an array of knives, axes, and chainsaws, whose murder set pieces are shot with a certain sadistic glee.

Though two Brits were the ones who stirred the slasher’s primordial soup, it took Italian filmmakers in the ’70s to start molding them into shape. These giallo movies were the playgrounds of serial killers and psychopaths whose identities are frequently obscured, either by camera placement or by dressing them up in mask and garb. In effect, they became visually striking icons of death, an important motif in later slasher movies. The most renowned genre filmmakers of this era all made their mark in giallos, like Dario Argento (Deep Red), Mario Bava (Blood and Black Lace), and Sergio Martino (Torso).

Meanwhile, in America, desperate drive-in theaters and grindhouses had created safe spaces for increasingly extreme film in the ’70s. Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Black Christmas were like gifts for future filmmakers, declaring that nothing and nowhere was off-limits in the name of thrilling horror audiences. With 1977’s Halloween, John Carpenter had ushered in the golden age of the slasher.

In 1980, using Bava’s 1971 A Bay of Blood for inspiration, Friday the 13th found something new to wring out of the formula: Upping the number of teen bodies and sex scenes, throwing them out into the woods, and letting the secluded carnage unfold. There was a turn to the paranormal with A Nightmare on Elm Street and eventual zombie Jason Voorhees, but the duo’s strict adherence to slasher formula made them worthy of the mantle and presaged the subgenre’s downfall due to sequel bloat and lack of innovation.

Dozens and dozens of slashers were released in this decade, and it’s no secret they were almost all critically reviled, registering Rotten scores to this day. But no slasher list is complete without the bad stuff – in fact, that’s what many gorehounds seek. So the ordering in this guide is less about the overall “quality” of the movie, and more about how well they establish, fulfill, and innovate the subgenre. The movie just needed a Tomatometer score, any score will do, to be considered for inclusion.

And so we come to the ’90s, when Elm St.‘s Wes Craven revived the slasher with Scream, combining all the tropes — a fashionable human killer, beautiful victims, and lots of knife play — with a snarky, post-modern screenplay. For all of its carnal nastiness, movies like Scream demonstrate there’s an intelligent, fleshy elasticity to the slasher, if the filmmakers are willing to stretch. We think those movies — e.g. American Psycho, Dressed to Kill, and Tucker & Dale vs. Evil — ought to be recognized. And The Strangers, though more of a home invasion flick, was one of the biggest horror movies of the 2000s, with its memorable masked villains and hard-hitting knifey chaos enough to make it in.

Slashers today are released in drips, with You’re Next and Hush among modern classics, as filmmakers find other avenues in horror to express their fears and nightmares. Someday the pendulum will swing back (and hit a camp counselor right in the face), but before then we’re taking the best slasher movies, the worst slasher movies, and all the frequently questionable terror in-between for our guide to the 80 essential films!

#80

Child's Play 2 (1990)
44%

#80
Adjusted Score: 44.36%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The demonic doll known as Chucky (voice by Brad Dourif) is back to haunt little Andy Barclay (Alex Vincent), now... [More]
Directed By: John Lafia

#79

Terrifier (2018)
67%

#79
Adjusted Score: 37.705%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Based on a character from the cult anthology, All Hallows Eve, the gory 80's slasher throwback takes place on Halloween... [More]
Directed By: Damien Leone

#78
Adjusted Score: 30.499%
Critics Consensus: Halloween 4: The Return Of Michaels Myers may bring the series' masked killer back into the fold, but fails to offer the visceral scares and inventiveness of the original.
Synopsis: This fourth entry in the Halloween franchise focuses on Jamie Lloyd (Danielle Harris), the niece of ubiquitous masked killer Michael... [More]

#77
#77
Adjusted Score: 62.602%
Critics Consensus: This gory, senses-assaulting slasher film is an unpretentious, effective mix of old-school horror stylings and modern 3D technology.
Synopsis: A psychopathic miner terrorizes the town of Harmony in this retelling of one of the most underrated slasher films of... [More]
Directed By: Patrick Lussier

#76

Maniac (2013)
52%

#76
Adjusted Score: 54.065%
Critics Consensus: Shocking and bloody. Maniac is smarter than your average psychological slasher, but it's often undermined by its excessive gore.
Synopsis: Just when the streets seemed safe, a serial killer with a fetish for scalps is back and on the hunt.... [More]
Directed By: Franck Khalfoun

#75

Child's Play (2019)
63%

#75
Adjusted Score: 71.763%
Critics Consensus: Child's Play updates an '80s horror icon for the Internet of Things era, with predictably gruesome -- and generally entertaining -- results.
Synopsis: A contemporary re-imagining of the 1988 horror classic, Child's Play follows Karen (Aubrey Plaza), a single mother who gifts her... [More]
Directed By: Lars Klevberg

#74

The Final Girls (2015)
72%

#74
Adjusted Score: 73.842%
Critics Consensus: The Final Girls offers an affectionate nod to slasher tropes while adding a surprising layer of genuine emotion to go with the meta amusement.
Synopsis: A young woman grieving the loss of her mother, a famous scream queen from the 1980s, finds herself pulled into... [More]

#73
Adjusted Score: 75.011%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A drummer's nightmare unfolds after he encounters a malevolent stranger and stumbles into a mystery, culminating in a string of... [More]
Directed By: Dario Argento

#72

Madman (1981)
33%

#72
Adjusted Score: 27.822%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: An axe-wielding maniac named 'Madman Marz' comes back to life and terrorizes a summer camp.... [More]
Directed By: Joe Giannone

#71

Bloody Birthday (1981)
60%

#71
Adjusted Score: 28.103%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Since these three ten-year-olds were born at the same time during a lunar eclipse, they naturally have murderous tendencies, killing... [More]
Directed By: Ed Hunt

#70
#70
Adjusted Score: 21.768%
Critics Consensus: There's an abundance of gore in this derivative horror movie, but little sense or wit.
Synopsis: Taking his cue from such 1970s horror classics as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) and The Hills Have Eyes (1977),... [More]
Directed By: Rob Zombie

#69

Scream 4 (2011)
60%

#69
Adjusted Score: 65.321%
Critics Consensus: The franchise is showing its age, but Scream 4 is undeniably an improvement over its predecessor, with just enough meta humor and clever kills.
Synopsis: In Scream 4, Sidney Prescott, now the author of a self-help book, returns home to Woodsboro on the last stop... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

#68

Dr. Giggles (1992)
17%

#68
Adjusted Score: 18.545%
Critics Consensus: Larry Drake's deranged performance as the titular doctor is just about all that distinguishes Dr. Giggles from its slasher brethren.
Synopsis: After his father killed off a bunch of the local townsfolk, Evan Rendell (Larry Drake) grows up to become an... [More]
Directed By: Manny Coto

#67
Adjusted Score: 56.589%
Critics Consensus: A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master marks a relative high point in this franchise's bumpy creative journey, although the original remains far superior.
Synopsis: This fourth trip down Freddy Lane was the most successful at the box-office, but although it has some impressive visuals,... [More]
Directed By: Renny Harlin

#66
#66
Adjusted Score: 13.855%
Critics Consensus: Jason may solidify his iconic wardrobe in this entry, but Friday the 13th Part 3 lacks any other distinguishing features, relying on a tired formula of stab and repeat.
Synopsis: Immediately after his mysterious escape at the end of Friday the 13th, Pt. 2, Jason Vorhees (Richard Brooker, the third... [More]
Directed By: Steve Miner

#65
Adjusted Score: 42.497%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: This thriller -- based on actual events -- tells in a pseudo-documentary-style of the murders of five people by a... [More]
Directed By: Charles B. Pierce

#64
#64
Adjusted Score: 27.03%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Melissa Sue Anderson stars as Virginia, a co-ed haunted by suspicions that she may be the psycho who is killing... [More]
Directed By: J. Lee Thompson

#63
#63
Adjusted Score: 21.65%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: When the mother of a young man suffering from repressed psychosis dies, his illness suddenly becomes manifested behaviorally. He lures... [More]
Directed By: Joseph Ellison

#62
Adjusted Score: 37.377%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Los miembros del equipo de pista y campo son asesinados antes de su graduación de secundaria. Christopher George, Patch MacKenzie,... [More]
Directed By: Herb Freed

#61

Terror Train (1980)
33%

#61
Adjusted Score: 33.299%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: During a New Year's party aboard a moving train, a college fraternity begins losing members and collecting corpses. It would... [More]

#60

Curtains (1983)
57%

#60
Adjusted Score: 42.971%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: This derivative Canadian thriller plays like a distaff version of Samuel Fuller's cult classic Shock Corridor fused rather crudely to... [More]
Directed By: Richard Ciupka

#59

Halloween II (1981)
28%

#59
Adjusted Score: 30.653%
Critics Consensus: Halloween II picks up where its predecessor left off - and quickly wanders into a dead end that the franchise would spend decades struggling to find its way out of.
Synopsis: Shaken and injured from her battle with unkillable psycho Michael Myers, Laurie Strode is taken to the Haddonfield Hospital for... [More]

#58

From Hell (2001)
57%

#58
Adjusted Score: 61.79%
Critics Consensus: Visually impressive, but this latest Ripper tale is dull and far from scary.
Synopsis: The true-life horror story of Jack the Ripper gets a new spin in this screen adaptation of the acclaimed graphic... [More]

#57

Wrong Turn (2003)
40%

#57
Adjusted Score: 41.768%
Critics Consensus: An unremarkable slasher flick that fails to distinguished itself from others of its ilk.
Synopsis: Chris has a job interview in Raleigh in three hours and he's making good time--until an accident miles down the... [More]
Directed By: Rob Schmidt

#56

April Fool's Day (1986)
38%

#56
Adjusted Score: 38.749%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Any slasher movie with a title like April Fool's Day would have to be a spoof, and this one fits... [More]
Directed By: Fred Walton

#55
Adjusted Score: 47.855%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A psycho stalks attractive college students on an Italian campus before he rapes and dismembers them (hence the title).... [More]
Directed By: Sergio Martino

#54
#54
Adjusted Score: 31.028%
Critics Consensus: Friday the 13th Part 2 sets the template for the franchise to follow with more teen victims, more gruesome set pieces, and fewer reasons to keep following along.
Synopsis: Two months after the events of the original Friday the 13th, Alice (Adrienne King), the lone survivor or Mrs. Vorhees'... [More]
Directed By: Steve Miner

#53

Hatchet (2006)
53%

#53
Adjusted Score: 53.797%
Critics Consensus: The over-the-top gore, campy acting, and dim cinematography may be part of Hatchet's self-described old-school ethos, but irony alone can't sustain a horror film.
Synopsis: A group of tourists on a haunted swamp tour find one of the horrific local legends to be true. They... [More]
Directed By: Adam Green

#52

Maniac (1980)
39%

#52
Adjusted Score: 39.949%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Maniac, given an X-rating for extreme violence and gore, is the story of a New York psycho (Joe Spinell) who... [More]
Directed By: William Lustig

#51

Prom Night (1980)
45%

#51
Adjusted Score: 46.165%
Critics Consensus: Prom Night is an uneven slasher with a memorable Jamie Lee Curtis performance.
Synopsis: A conventional horror film with several jolting moments, Prom Night features Jamie Lee Curtis in one of her last "scream... [More]
Directed By: Paul Lynch

#50

Freddy vs. Jason (2003)
42%

#50
Adjusted Score: 46.302%
Critics Consensus: Fans of the two horror franchises will enjoy this showdown. But for everyone else, it's the same old slice and dice.
Synopsis: Rumored and anticipated for years, the two biggest icons of the slasher genre finally meet in Freddy Vs. Jason, the... [More]
Directed By: Ronny Yu

#49

Maniac Cop (1988)
46%

#49
Adjusted Score: 46.16%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In this gripping thriller, a renegade New York cop becomes a terrifying vigilante/killer.... [More]
Directed By: William Lustig

#48
Adjusted Score: 45.789%
Critics Consensus: A by-the-numbers slasher that arrived a decade too late, the mostly tedious I Know What You Did Last Summer will likely only hook diehard fans of the genre.
Synopsis: Kevin Williamson scripted this thriller, an adaptation of Lois Duncan's novel about four teens involved in a hit-and-run incident. High... [More]
Directed By: Jim Gillespie

#47

Halloween H20 (1998)
52%

#47
Adjusted Score: 54.956%
Critics Consensus: Halloween: H2O is the best of the many sequels, yet still pales in comparison to the original Halloween.
Synopsis: Laurie Strode, now the dean of a Northern California private school with an assumed name, must battle the Shape one... [More]
Directed By: Steve Miner

#46

Wolf Creek (2005)
53%

#46
Adjusted Score: 56.342%
Critics Consensus: Though Wolf Creek is effectively horrific, it is still tasteless exploitation.
Synopsis: A dream vacation turns into a nightmare in this taut thriller from Australia. Ben (Nathan Phillips), Lizzie (Cassandra Magrath), and... [More]
Directed By: Greg McLean

#45

Sisters (1973)
86%

#45
Adjusted Score: 89.187%
Critics Consensus: Clever yet clearly indebted to the masters of the genre, Sisters offers an early glimpse of De Palma at his stylishly crafty peak.
Synopsis: Reporter Jennifer Salt thinks she has witnessed a murder; apparently, Margot Kidder is the killer and Lisle Wilson is the... [More]
Directed By: Brian DePalma

#44
Adjusted Score: 28.715%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Fangoria Presents unwraps Charles E Sallier Jr.'s 1984 holiday cult horror classic SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT, in theaters this December!... [More]
Directed By: Charles E. Sellier Jr

#43
Adjusted Score: 76.605%
Critics Consensus: A smart mockumentary that presents a gory, funny, and obviously affectionate skewering of the slasher genre.
Synopsis: On the surface, Leslie Vernon seems like your average small town, nice guy. He has goals, ambition and aspirations to... [More]
Directed By: Scott Glosserman

#42
#42
Adjusted Score: 54.279%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Mark Rosman broke away from mentor Brian DePalma to direct this slasher flick, about a group of sorority girls who... [More]
Directed By: Mark Rosman, Paul Schiff

#41
#41
Adjusted Score: 77.078%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: During a city-wide blackout, four clinically insane murderers escape from a mental asylum and seek out the home of one... [More]
Directed By: Jack Sholder

#40
Adjusted Score: 40.647%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In this horror film, a group of teenage girls gather together for a slumber party, only to be terrorized by... [More]

#39
#39
Adjusted Score: 56.39%
Critics Consensus: Faster paced for today's audiences, this Hills remake ratchets up the gore for the hardcore horror fans, but will turn away casual audiences.
Synopsis: "The Hills Have Eyes" is the story of a family road trip that goes terrifyingly awry when the travelers become... [More]
Directed By: Alexandre Aja

#38

Hush (2016)
93%

#38
Adjusted Score: 93.186%
Critics Consensus: Hush navigates the bloody waters of home invasion thrillers and incisive slashers for a contemporary horror puree.
Synopsis: In this heart-pounding thriller from acclaimed writer and director Mike Flanagan (Oculus, Before I Wake), silence takes on a terrifying... [More]
Directed By: Mike Flanagan

#37
Adjusted Score: 43.984%
Critics Consensus: There is indeed a good amount of tension in this French slasher, but the dubbing is bad and the end twist unbelievable.
Synopsis: French filmmaker Alexandre Aja writes and directs the slasher film Haute Tension, given the English title Switchblade Romance. Best friends... [More]
Directed By: Alexandre Aja

#36

The Strangers (2008)
48%

#36
Adjusted Score: 53.837%
Critics Consensus: The Strangers has a handful of genuinely scary moments, but they're not enough to elevate the end results above standard slasher fare.
Synopsis: Explore your worst fears imaginable in this Unrated version, now with never-before-viewed scenes too shocking and intense for theaters! After... [More]
Directed By: Bryan Bertino

#35

Child's Play (1988)
68%

#35
Adjusted Score: 70.303%
Critics Consensus: Child's Play occasionally stumbles across its tonal tightrope of comedy and horror, but its genuinely creepy monster and some deft direction by Tom Holland makes this chiller stand out on the shelf.
Synopsis: Child's Play seems to have been concocted by a parent who went berserk after standing in line for hours on... [More]
Directed By: Tom Holland

#34

The Funhouse (1981)
67%

#34
Adjusted Score: 67.686%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: This low-budget horror film about teenagers trapped in a carnival funhouse with a freakish monster is pretty standard stuff. Director... [More]
Directed By: Tobe Hooper

#33

Happy Death Day (2017)
71%

#33
Adjusted Score: 76.78%
Critics Consensus: Happy Death Day puts a darkly humorous sci-fi spin on slasher conventions, with added edge courtesy of a starmaking performance from Jessica Rothe.
Synopsis: Blumhouse (Split, Get Out, Whiplash) produces an original and inventive rewinding thriller in Happy Death Day, in which a college... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Landon

#32
#32
Adjusted Score: 87.799%
Critics Consensus: Like the best horror/comedies, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil mines its central crazy joke for some incredible scares, laughs, and -- believe it or not -- heart.
Synopsis: Tucker & Dale vs Evil is a hilariously gory, good-spirited horror comedy, doing for killer rednecks what Shaun of the... [More]
Directed By: Eli Craig

#31
Adjusted Score: 21.859%
Critics Consensus: As lumberingly single-minded as its homicidal star, Friday the 13th - The Final Chapter adds another rote entry to an increasingly labored franchise.
Synopsis: Hockey-masked killer Jason Vorhees returns to terrorize a lakeside family and their rowdy teen neighbors in this fourth installment of... [More]
Directed By: Joseph Zito

#30
#30
Adjusted Score: 47.593%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: This Canadian slasher film features a disgruntled miner cutting out people's hearts with a pick-axe. Most of the film takes... [More]
Directed By: George Mihalka

#29

Pieces (1983)
46%

#29
Adjusted Score: 46.4%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: With a tagline that reads, "You don't have to go to Texas for a chainsaw massacre," this Spanish-Italian entry into... [More]

#28
Adjusted Score: 92.666%
Critics Consensus: Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer is an effective, chilling profile of a killer that is sure to shock and disturb.
Synopsis: Although the title makes Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer seem like a cut-rate slasher flick, the movie is actually... [More]
Directed By: John McNaughton

#27

Halloween (2018)
79%

#27
Adjusted Score: 94.789%
Critics Consensus: Halloween largely wipes the slate clean after decades of disappointing sequels, ignoring increasingly elaborate mythology in favor of basic - yet still effective - ingredients.
Synopsis: Jamie Lee Curtis returns to her iconic role as Laurie Strode, who comes to her final confrontation with Michael Myers,... [More]
Directed By: David Gordon Green

#26

Dressed to Kill (1980)
83%

#26
Adjusted Score: 87.088%
Critics Consensus: With arresting visuals and an engrossingly lurid mystery, Dressed to Kill stylishly encapsulates writer-director Brian De Palma's signature strengths.
Synopsis: In this stylish, violent thriller,an unhappy wife, Kate Miller (Angie Dickinson), meets a handsome man in a museum and goes... [More]
Directed By: Brian DePalma

#25
Adjusted Score: 92.515%
Critics Consensus: Full of pith and Grand Guignol grossness, this macabre musical is perfectly helmed and highly entertaining. Tim Burton masterfully stages the musical in a way that will make you think he has done this many times before.
Synopsis: Unjustly sent to prison, a man vows revenge, not only for that cruel punishment, but for the devastating consequences of... [More]
Directed By: Tim Burton

#24

The Prowler (1981)
67%

#24
Adjusted Score: 37.658%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In this gory slice-n-dicer, a WWII vet returns home and finds his girl in the arms of another at the... [More]
Directed By: Joseph Zito

#23

Tenebre (Unsane) (1982)
74%

#23
Adjusted Score: 75.086%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Despite the lurid slasher-movie trappings of his output, filmmaker Dario Argento has always been able to attract "name" actors to... [More]
Directed By: Dario Argento

#22
Adjusted Score: 53.951%
Critics Consensus: Friday the 13th: Part VI - Jason Lives indeed brings back ol' Vorhees, along with a sense of serviceable braindead fun.
Synopsis: This impressive entry in the popular horror series brings back the relentless killer Jason Voorhees, this time as a supernatural... [More]
Directed By: Tom McLoughlin

#21

American Psycho (2000)
68%

#21
Adjusted Score: 73.122%
Critics Consensus: If it falls short of the deadly satire of Bret Easton Ellis's novel, American Psycho still finds its own blend of horror and humor, thanks in part to a fittingly creepy performance by Christian Bale.
Synopsis: Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) is a Wall Street yuppie, obsessed with success, status and style, with a stunning fiancée (Reese... [More]
Directed By: Mary Harron

#20

Sleepaway Camp (1983)
82%

#20
Adjusted Score: 83.369%
Critics Consensus: Sleepaway Camp is a standard teen slasher elevated by occasional moments of John Waters-esque weirdness and a twisted ending.
Synopsis: When Angela (Felissa Rose) and her cousin Ricky (Jonathan Tierston) go off to the dilapidated Camp Arawak for a summer... [More]
Directed By: Robert Hiltzik

#19

Scream 2 (1997)
82%

#19
Adjusted Score: 86.514%
Critics Consensus: As with the first film, Scream 2 is a gleeful takedown of scary movie conventions that manages to poke fun at terrible horror sequels without falling victim to the same fate.
Synopsis: The crafty Wes Craven follows up lastÕs yearÕs surprise hit with another supremely self-referential but satisfyingly droll thriller.... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

#18

The Burning (1981)
88%

#18
Adjusted Score: 65.949%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Apart from early appearances by Jason Alexander and Holly Hunter, an interesting score by Rick Wakeman, and some typically effective... [More]
Directed By: Tony Maylam

#17

You're Next (2013)
78%

#17
Adjusted Score: 83.423%
Critics Consensus: You're Next's energetic and effective mix of brutal gore and pitch black humor will please horror buffs and beyond.
Synopsis: One of the smartest and most terrifying films in years, YOU'RE NEXT reinvents the genre by putting a fresh twist... [More]
Directed By: Adam Wingard

#16
Adjusted Score: 82.085%
Critics Consensus: Wes Craven's New Nightmare adds an unexpectedly satisfying - not to mention intelligent - meta layer to a horror franchise that had long since lost its way.
Synopsis: Freddy Krueger is back from the grave in another thriller from famed horror director Wes Craven. This film differs from... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

#15
Adjusted Score: 83.753%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: This Italian shockerama was originally released as Twitch of the Death Nerve in 1971. When distributed to the US, it... [More]
Directed By: Mario Bava

#14
Adjusted Score: 76.4%
Critics Consensus: A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors offers an imaginative and surprisingly satisfying rebound for a franchise already starting to succumb to sequelitis.
Synopsis: The best of the Elm Street sequels, this creepy, surreal fantasy features terrific effects, a fine young cast, and an... [More]
Directed By: Chuck Russell

#13

Candyman (1992)
74%

#13
Adjusted Score: 77.738%
Critics Consensus: Though it ultimately sacrifices some mystery in the name of gory thrills, Candyman is a nuanced, effectively chilling tale that benefits from an interesting premise and some fine performances.
Synopsis: Researching urban folklore, a University of Chicago student snoops around the housing projects of Cabrini Green to find more about... [More]
Directed By: Bernard Rose

#12

Opera (1987)
90%

#12
Adjusted Score: 90.943%
Critics Consensus: The Opera house location gives plenty to work with for director Dario Argento, who hits his decadently bloody high notes here.
Synopsis: An obsessed fan stalks a young opperata and kills those who are closest to her.... [More]
Directed By:

#11
Adjusted Score: 82.372%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The shockingly brutal murder of a little girl in a church where she was just about to receive her first... [More]
Directed By: Alfred Sole

#10

Friday the 13th (1980)
62%

#10
Adjusted Score: 66.629%
Critics Consensus: Rather quaint by today's standards, Friday the 13th still has its share of bloody surprises and a '70s-holdover aesthetic to slightly compel.
Synopsis: One of the longest-running horror film series began with this gory shocker from director Sean S. Cunningham, who had previously... [More]
Directed By: Sean S. Cunningham

#9

Peeping Tom (1960)
96%

#9
Adjusted Score: 102.463%
Critics Consensus: Peeping Tom is a chilling, methodical look at the psychology of a killer, and a classic work of voyeuristic cinema.
Synopsis: Mark Lewis, assistant cameraman at a London film studio, aspiring movie director, part-time taker of pornographic pictures, and amateur documentary... [More]
Directed By: Michael Powell

#8
Adjusted Score: 86.573%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: If a serial killer isn't stopped, there won't be any beautiful young models left in Rome. The killer always wears... [More]
Directed By: Mario Bava

#7

Black Christmas (1974)
71%

#7
Adjusted Score: 73.966%
Critics Consensus: The rare slasher with enough intelligence to wind up the tension between bloody outbursts, Black Christmas offers fiendishly enjoyable holiday viewing for genre fans.
Synopsis: Black Christmas is an effective, frightening above average slasher movie with a good cast and a frightening, surprise ending. Barb... [More]
Directed By: Bob Clark

#6

Psycho (1960)
96%

#6
Adjusted Score: 108.755%
Critics Consensus: Infamous for its shower scene, but immortal for its contribution to the horror genre. Because Psycho was filmed with tact, grace, and art, Hitchcock didn't just create modern horror, he validated it.
Synopsis: In 1960, Alfred Hitchcock was already famous as the screen's master of suspense (and perhaps the best-known film director in... [More]
Directed By: Alfred Hitchcock

#5

Scream (1996)
79%

#5
Adjusted Score: 82.79%
Critics Consensus: Horror icon Wes Craven's subversive deconstruction of the genre is sly, witty, and surprisingly effective as a slasher film itself, even if it's a little too cheeky for some.
Synopsis: The sleepy little town of Woodsboro just woke up screaming. There's a killer in their midst who's seen a few... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

#4
Adjusted Score: 98.033%
Critics Consensus: The kinetic camerawork and brutal over-the-top gore that made Dario Argento famous is on full display, but the addition of a compelling, complex story makes Deep Red a masterpiece.
Synopsis: The film that has become the master work in Italian horror maestro Dario Argento's canon, Deep Red holds up brilliantly... [More]
Directed By: Dario Argento

#3
Adjusted Score: 94.548%
Critics Consensus: Thanks to a smart script and documentary-style camerawork, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre achieves start-to-finish suspense, making it a classic in low-budget exploitation cinema.
Synopsis: Just as Hitchcock's Psycho was based on the life of deeply disturbed farmer Ed Gein, so is this little story... [More]
Directed By: Tobe Hooper

#2
Adjusted Score: 97.956%
Critics Consensus: Wes Craven's intelligent premise, combined with the horrifying visual appearance of Freddy Krueger, still causes nightmares to this day.
Synopsis: A group of teenagers are terrorized by "Freddy Krueger", an evil being from another world who gets to his victims... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

#1

Halloween (1978)
96%

#1
Adjusted Score: 103.236%
Critics Consensus: Scary, suspenseful, and viscerally thrilling, Halloween set the standard for modern horror films.
Synopsis: A young boy kills his sister on Halloween of 1963, and is sent to a mental hospital. 15 years later... [More]
Directed By: John Carpenter

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