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The Best Italian Horror Movies

The golden age of Italian horror may have been brief, but the country’s innovations in style and genre have given the era’s movies an enduring appeal sustained in the decades since. Among the most exciting contributions to horror from Italy include the wonderfully spooky supernatural Suspiria, proto-slasher A Bay of Blood, and Cannibal Holocaust, the notorious, heavily banned found footage movie. Of course, we can’t leave out giallo films (murder mysteries featuring high body counts and erotic content, with the identity of the killer saved for a big finale reveal) like Deep Red and The Cat o’ Nine Tails.

And now we’ve collected every Italian horror movie with a Fresh score (expect to see lots from Mario Bava and Dario Argento) and have ranked them in our guide to the Best Italian Horror Movies of All Time.


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#25

Demons (Dèmoni) (1985)
60%

#25
Adjusted Score: 52.455%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Italian horror auteur Dario Argento produced and co-wrote (with director Lamberto Bava) this gory, nightmarish horror film set almost entirely... [More]
Directed By: Lamberto Bava

#24
Adjusted Score: 56.106%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Writer-producer Dario Argento and director Lamberto Bava follow up their gory shocker Demoni with this derivative sequel, basically a carbon-copy... [More]
Directed By: Lamberto Bava

#23
Adjusted Score: 61.02%
Critics Consensus: Cemetery Man will frustrate viewers seeking narrative cohesion or coherence, but this surreal blend of humor and horror should satisfy B-movie fans in the mood for quirk.
Synopsis: Achingly romantic and creepy-funny, this funereal fantasy from the director of La Chiesa (1989) is unlike any Italian film in... [More]
Directed By: Michele Soavi

#22
Adjusted Score: 62.506%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: After being dissatisfied with Mario Bava]'s original cut of {$Lisa and the Devil, producer Alfredo Leone decided to capitalize on... [More]

#21
#21
Adjusted Score: 64.002%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Also known as The Church, this Italian supernatural shocker comes from Dario Argento aficionado, Michele Soavi (the two men wrote... [More]
Directed By: Michele Soavi

#20

Inferno (1980)
64%

#20
Adjusted Score: 64.46%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: An American college student in Rome and his sister in New York investigate a series of killings in both locations... [More]
Directed By: Dario Argento

#19
#19
Adjusted Score: 65.773%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: An anthropologist heads a rescue party into the South American jungle to find a missing film team making a documentary... [More]
Directed By: Ruggero Deodato

#18
Adjusted Score: 67.096%
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

#17
Adjusted Score: 67.941%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A young woman inherits an old hotel in Louisiana where after a series of supernatural 'accidents', she learns that the... [More]
Directed By: Lucio Fulci

#16
Adjusted Score: 69.888%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In this spooky low-budget horror outing from Mario Bava, a team of rescuers head for Mars to find missing astronauts... [More]
Directed By: Mario Bava

#15
Adjusted Score: 65.788%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Marred by controversy at the time of its release, this horror fantasy from Italy's legendary horror director Mario Bava centers... [More]
Directed By: Mario Bava

#14
Adjusted Score: 65.788%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Generally considered the first real giallo film, Mario Bava's stylish thriller stars Leticia Roman as Nora, who travels to Rome... [More]
Directed By: Mario Bava

#13

Tenebre (Unsane) (1982)
76%

#13
Adjusted Score: 77.19%
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

#12
Adjusted Score: 67.411%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The title affliction causes sufferers to react to paintings in extreme and bizarre ways. In the case of police detective... [More]
Directed By: Dario Argento

#11
Adjusted Score: 80.669%
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

#10
Adjusted Score: 83.68%
Critics Consensus: The Cat O'Nine Tails is a solidly entertaining Argento outing elevated by a well-chosen cast and the director's distinctive visual style.
Synopsis: In this flawed mystery-thriller from flamboyant horror director Dario Argento, Karl Malden portrays a blind man who joins forces with... [More]
Directed By: Dario Argento

#9
#9
Adjusted Score: 70.515%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: When several young boys are brutally murdered in a small southern Italian village, the superstitious locals react with ignorance and... [More]
Directed By: Lucio Fulci

#8
Adjusted Score: 85.841%
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

#7

Black Sunday (1960)
86%

#7
Adjusted Score: 87.952%
Critics Consensus: Mario Bava's official narrative debut is a witchy nightmare steeped in gothic splendor, shot in chiaroscuro black and white and punctuated with startling gore.
Synopsis: Generally considered to be the foremost example of Italian Gothic horror, this darkly atmospheric black-and-white chiller put director Mario Bava... [More]
Directed By: Mario Bava

#6
Adjusted Score: 89.247%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Originally Operazione Paura, this Mario Bava horrorama has travelled under a multitude of English-language titles: Operation Fear, Kill, Baby Kill,... [More]
Directed By: Mario Bava

#5
Adjusted Score: 89.25%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: This anthology features three chilling horror stories. "Il Telefono" is credited to Guy de Maupassant, although he never wrote such... [More]

#4

Opera (1987)
91%

#4
Adjusted Score: 92.057%
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:

#3
Adjusted Score: 95.972%
Critics Consensus: Combining a deadly thriller plot with the stylized violence that would become his trademark, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage marked an impressive horror debut for Dario Argento.
Synopsis: This trend-setting thriller put its director, Dario Argento, on the international map and began a flood of imitative mystery-horror hybrids... [More]
Directed By: Dario Argento

#2

Suspiria (1977)
93%

#2
Adjusted Score: 98.667%
Critics Consensus: The blood pours freely in Argento's classic Suspiria, a giallo horror as grandiose and glossy as it is gory.
Synopsis: An innocent American ballet dancer's excitement at being accepted to a prestigious European dance school turns to terror when she... [More]
Directed By: Dario Argento

#1
Adjusted Score: 97.903%
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

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