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To this list, one could add comedies, foreign films, the bizarre, creature features, independent stuff, genre-obscure masterpieces (satires, dramas, action), and movies considered hidden gems if it weren’t for this or that (stupid endings, bad music, poor acting, fake blood, etc.).

I don’t know if this list is exhaustive or not. I really don’t.

Movies don’t retain their scariness after a jump scare and psychological-thrillers don’t startle us. Annabelle, The Ring, Paranormal Activity, Get Out, and The Sixth Sense have classic horror scenes, to name a few, but are no longer at the top of our lists (but maybe were upon our first viewings).

Good horror movies are those we watch over and over again but don’t wish to (because of desensitization and the overkill of ickiness).

Getting a good horror movie list is complicated because most horror movies are bad. Plain and simple.

Every year, I increase the amount of horror films I watch, and my list still hasn’t reached a top ten.

Below, in chronological order, are my top … 8:

Psycho (1960 film) - Wikipedia

Psycho (1960)

Rosemary's baby – Poster Museum

Rosemary’s Baby (1968)


The Exorcist (1973)

Texas Chainsaw Massacre

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

Amityville Horror, The 1979 Original Movie Poster #FFF-77051 |

The Amityville Horror (1979)

The Shining (1980) The Babadook (Australian) 11x17 Movie Poster (2014): Posters & Prints

The Babadook (2014)

Hereditary [DVD] [2018] - Best Buy

Hereditary (2018)

SIDE NOTE: Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist are two of the early films that allowed horror films to be as serious as dramas and helped mold the psychological-thriller genre. The Silence of the Lambs (1991) and Seven (1995) have also reset the horror genre in terms of style, however, are more accurately filed under psychological-thriller. (Movies like Halloween (1978), The Omen (1976), and The Sixth Sense add to the style of the genre but aren’t good enough to make the top 8.)

Dan Jones

Author Dan Jones

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