The history of horror films dates right back to the earliest days of cinema. French director, Georges Méliès, is often credited with creating the genre with his film The Haunted Castle.

Created in 1896, just six years after the advent of motion pictures, the three minute long silent film might not be as terrifying as modern horrors, but it set in motion the advent of one of the biggest genre’s in cinema history.

These days audiences are spoilt for choice when it comes to horror films. These days the genre has become so broad that fans can pick and choose between all its various sub-genres.

From slasher flicks to psychological horror, zombie comedies to found-footage films. Ultimately, the sensation of fear is one of the few common feelings that every human on the planet can understand.

While there are dozens of arguments explaining why audiences love horror, the simple fact is that they do. In 2017, the box office has been dominated by horror. It, Get Out, Happy Death Day, and Split all appeared in the top 10 films of their respective season.

According to Box Office Mojo, collectively these films made $685,749,452 in US theaters alone.

With Halloween just around the corner, we’ve scoured the internet to find the top horror films ever made.

We’ve created our list by cross-referencing critics scores from Rotten Tomatoes with audience scores from IMDB to give a general idea of the film’s quality. After all, a critical darling isn’t always a fan-favourite!

And if you’ve yet to figure out any Halloween plans, we have also included a guide on where you can watch these films, whether that be Netflix, Amazon Prime, or beyond! (Do note that our guide focuses on the UK only, so you may have to check whether these films are available on regional streaming services!)

The top 40 horror films ever made:

1. Psycho (1960)

The horror classic and often considered one of the best films ever made. Hitchcock’s masterpiece concerns the events at the mysterious Bates Motel where Norman Bates is under the controlling influence of his mentally ill mother. As the murders begin to stack up, one pair looking for their missing sister stumble across the horrifying truth.

Where can you watch it?

NowTV and Sky Go.

Can be purchased for download starting at £4.99.

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2. The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari (1920)

When the mysterious Dr. Caligari shows up in a little town, he is mocked and criticized. However, soon afterwards, a spate of mysterious murders start to strike across the town, and Dr. Caligari is definitely involved somehow. At the local mental hospital, town resident Francis discovers what’s really going on.

Where can you watch it?

Not available on streaming channels.

3. Silence Of The Lambs (1991)

With a deranged serial killer named Buffalo Bill on the loose, FBI trainee Clarice Starling is tasked with interviewing cannibalistic former psychiatrist Hannibal Lecter to gain his insight on the case. He offers to help in exchange for her revealing personal details about herself.

Where can you watch it?

NowTV and Sky Go.

Can be purchased for download starting at £7.99.

4. Alien (1979)

After picking up a distress call from a nearby asteroid, the crew of a mining spaceship investigate. One of their number is attacked by an alien creature. Ignoring quarantine procedure, the captain brings his colleague back on board to try to save him. However, after the crew member proves to be a host for a vicious, deadly, rapidly-growing alien creature, a tense hunt ensues. While the remaining crew try to escape, the alien begins to pick them off one by one.

Where can you watch it?

Not available on streaming channels.

Can be purchased for download starting at £6.99.

5. Frankenstein (1931)

A loose adaption of Mary Shelley’s classic horror novel. When Henry Frankenstein attempts to create life through electricity, he unwittingly creates a monster. The beast avenges his creators for their mistreatment of him in a grisly fashion.

Where can you watch it?

Not available on streaming channels.

Can be purchased for download starting at £5.49.

6. The Bride Of Frankenstein (1935)

A sequel to the above. It turns out the creature managed to survive the violent encounter at the last film’s climax. However, Henry Frankenstein denounces his creation. Unfortunately, it isn’t long before Henry’s former mentor, Doctor Septimus Pretorius shows up, demanding Henry help him make a bride for the monster.

Where can you watch it?

Not available on streaming channels.

Can be purchased for download starting at £5.99.

7. Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

When Rosemary and her boyfriend, Guy, get an apartment in the Bramford they’re thrilled. Unfortunately, strange things start to happen. Her elderly neighbours start to become more and more controlling, especially after she falls pregnant. Unusual cravings and a creepy doctor make the pregnancy a particular scary time for Rosemary.

Where can you watch it?

NowTV and Sky Go.

Can be purchased for download starting at £3.99.

8. Repulsion (1965)

Carol is a young woman who is disgusted by the very idea of sex. This repulsion drives her down a very dark path as men attempt to win her heart.

Where can you watch it?

Shudder.

Can be purchased for download starting at £5.99.

9. Nosferatu (1922)

The original vampire film, this one is actually an unlicensed rip-off of Dracula with all the names changed. Thomas Hutter goes to sell a house to the mysterious Count Orlok, but while he’s staying at Orlok’s castle, he begins to suspect his host is not all that he seems.

Where can you watch it?

Shudder.

Can be purchased for download starting at £5.99.

10. Let The Right One In (2008)

An American film was also made based on this film, but the original version got much better reviews. A young boy named Oskar becomes entranced with his neighbour, Eli who is about his age. She stays out of sight in the daytime, and is cared for by an aging man who murders victims on her behalf. As Oskar gets closer to her, she reveals her true nature; she is a young vampire. She helps him overcome his fear of the local bullies, and he agrees to help protect her.

Where can you watch it?

Netflix and Shudder.

Can be purchased for download starting at £4.99.

11. Get Out (2017)

Chris is a young black man who is nervous about meeting his white girlfriend’s parents. He fears that they will be dismissive towards their relationship. When he arrives in his girlfriend’s town though, he finds a community of liberal elites. However, all is not as it seems. Their black housekeepers spook Chris and one warns him to ‘get out’. Eventually, he discovers he’s got more to fear than parental judgement.

Where can you watch it?

Can be purchased for download starting at £5.99.

12. Eyes Without A Face (1962)

After an accident left his daughter’s face permanently disfigured, a university professor begins to kidnap other young women in attempt to create a new face for her.

Where can you watch it?

Not available on streaming channels.

13. The Vanishing (1988)

After his girlfriend disappeared while on holiday, Rex spends three years investigating. Eventually he runs into her sociopathic kidnapper and learns what happened.

Where can you watch it?

Not available on streaming channels.

14. Night Of The Living Dead (1968)

If you’ve ever seen a zombie film or TV series, it was probably based on this one. The original zombie flick sees a group of stranger barricaded in a farmhouse together, attempting to survive wave after wave of the undead.

Where can you watch it?

Amazon Prime Video and Shudder.

Can be purchased for download starting at £5.99.

15. The Innocents (1961)

Based on the classic Henry James novel, The Turn Of The Screw, this film sees a young governess on her first assignment. She begins to fear that her young charges are being possessed by the ghosts of their former governess and her lover. In her subsequent attempts to rid them of this malign influence, the governess is forced to face the supernatural.

Where can you watch it?

Not available on streaming channels.

16. Freaks (1932)

At a freakshow, the ‘normal’ trapeze artist Cleopatra conspires with strongman Hercules to rob a dwarf of his inheritance. She marries the dwarf, Hans, and then poisons him. Hans realises what is happening and orders the rest of the ‘freaks’ to exact a gruesome revenge.

Where can you watch it?

Can be purchased for download starting at £1.49.

17. The Birds (1963)

Another Hitchcock classic. This one sees a swarm of murderous birds turn on the residents of a small Californian town, forcing them to fight for their lives.

Where can you watch it?

NowTV and Sky Go.

Can be purchased for download starting at £5.99.

18. The Shining (1980)

Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece. Jack Torrance is an aspiring author with serious writer’s block. He figures some time away from the rest of the world will help him focus. Consequently, he takes a job as a groundkeeper over the winter at the Overlook Hotel in Colorado. Cut off from the outside world with nothing but his young son Danny and his wife Wendy, Jack begins to see all kinds of supernatural visions. What he doesn’t realise is that the hotel is haunted and hopes to destroy him and his family.

Where can you watch it?

Amazon Prime Video.

Can be purchased for download starting at £5.99.

19. The Evil Dead (1981)

A group of college students take a spring break in a cabin in rural Tennessee. After a few spooky events, they investigate the storm cellar and discover a demonic book. When demons begin to take over the bodies of the students, it’s up to one of their number, Ash, to defeat the evil dead.

Where can you watch it?

Can be purchased for download starting at £4.99.

20. Under The Shadow (2016)

A mother and daughter are haunted by a mysterious evil in 1980s Tehran, during the War of the Cities.

Where can you watch it?

Netflix.

Can be purchased for download starting at £6.99.

21. Don’t Look Now (1973)

Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland portray a married couple who travel to Venice following the recent accidental death of their daughter, after the husband accepts a commission to restore a church. They encounter two sisters, one of whom claims to be clairvoyant and informs them that their daughter is trying to contact them and warn them of danger. The husband at first dismisses their claims, but starts to experience mysterious sightings himself.

Where can you watch it?

Can be purchased for download starting at £5.99.

22. A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984)

After being killed by a mob of parents after he was discovered to be a child murderer, Freddy Krueger begins to haunt the dreams of four teenagers. They soon realise that if he attacks them in their dreams, they get hurt in reality too.

Where can you watch it?

Can be purchased for download starting at £5.99.

23. Misery (1990)

After being involved in a car accident, successful author Paul Sheldon is rescued by Annie Wilkes. She’s a huge fan of his work, especially his character Misery Chastain. To thank her for her help, Paul allows Annie to read his new manuscript. She’s not happy with his change in direction. When she discovers that he also plans to kill off his Misery character, she locks him in her house and forces him to continue writing books about the character.

Where can you watch it?

NowTV and Sky Go.

Can be purchased for download starting at £5.99.

24. The Babadook (2014)

After her son becomes enthralled with a mysterious pop-up book about Mister Babadook, Amelia begins to find herself being haunted by the entity. The creature stalks her and terrifies her in her own home, threatening to kill her son.

Where can you watch it?

Netflix.

Can be purchased for download starting at £2.99.

25. It Follows (2015)

After a one night stand, a teenage girl, Jay, is haunted by a mysterious entity which follows after her. She learns that if it catches up with her, she will die, but she can pass it onto another person by having sex with them.

Where can you watch it?

Netflix.

Can be purchased for download starting at £2.99.

26. The Wicker Man (1973)

Police Sergeant Neil Howie to the isolated island of Summerisle, in search of a missing girl. Howie, a devout Christian, is appalled to find that the inhabitants of the island have abandoned Christianity and now practise a form of Celtic paganism. Even more terrifyingly, the cult have designs on him.

Where can you watch it?

Can be purchased for download starting at £5.99.

27. The Exorcist (1973)

The film deals with the demonic possession of a 12-year-old girl and her mother’s attempts to win back her child through an exorcism conducted by two priests.

Where can you watch it?

Amazon Prime Video.

Can be purchased for download starting at £5.99.

28. An American Werewolf In London (1981)

Two young American men, David Kessler (Naughton) and Jack Goodman (Dunne), are attacked by a werewolf on a backpacking holiday in England. With Jack killed, David is taken to a London hospital, where disturbing apparitions of his deceased friend inform him that he is a werewolf and will transform at the next full moon.

Where can you watch it?

Amazon Prime Video and Shudder.

Can be purchased for download starting at £5.99.

29. The Thing (1982)

The film’s title refers to its primary antagonist: a parasitic extraterrestrial lifeform that assimilates other organisms and in turn imitates them. The Thing infiltrates an Antarctic research station, taking the appearance of the researchers that it absorbs, and paranoia develops within the group.

Where can you watch it?

Now TV and Sky Go.

Can be purchased for download starting at £5.99.

30. 28 Days Later (2003)

The plot depicts the breakdown of society following the accidental release of a highly contagious virus and focuses upon the struggle of four survivors to cope with the destruction of the life they once knew. Where zombies have traditionally been shambling, slow moving hordes, this film introduced the scariest ability of any zombies ever: running.

Where can you watch it?

Can be purchased for download starting at £3.99.

31. Cabin In The Woods (2012)

The plot follows a group of college students who retreat to a remote forest cabin where they fall victim to backwoods zombies and the two technicians who manipulate the ongoing events from an underground facility.

Where can you watch it?

Netflix.

Can be purchased for download starting at £4.99.

32. The Orphanage (2007)

The film stars Belén Rueda as Laura, Fernando Cayo as her husband, Carlos, and Roger Príncep as their adopted son Simón. The plot centers on Laura, who returns to her childhood home, an orphanage. Laura plans to turn the house into a home for disabled children, but after an argument with Laura, Simón is found to be missing. This one is directed by J.A. Bayona, the director of the upcoming Jurassic World sequel, so it’s definitely worth a watch if you want to get a preview of his style.

Where can you watch it?

Can be purchased for download starting at £4.99.

33. The Omen (1976)

The Omen concerns a young child replaced at birth by American Ambassador Robert Thorn unbeknownst to his wife, after their own son is stillborn. They are surrounded by mysterious and ominous deaths, unaware that the child, Damien, is the Antichrist.

Where can you watch it?

Netflix.

Can be purchased for download starting at £7.99.

34. It (2017)

An adaption of Stephen King’s much-loved novel, the film tells the story of seven children in Derry, Maine, who are terrorized by the eponymous being, only to face their own personal demons in the process.

Where can you watch it?

Still available at cinemas.

35. Bone Tomahawk (2015)

After a group of townsfolk are kidnapped by a tribe of cave-dwelling, cannibalistic native Americans, the local sheriff mounts a rescue attempt.

Where can you watch it?

Netflix.

Can be purchased for download starting at £4.99.

36. The Witch (2015)

The Witch follows a Puritan family encountering forces of evil in the woods beyond their New England farm. A young girl Thomasin is accused of witchcraft, but there’s something much more horrific going on just out of her family’s sight.

Where can you watch it?

Now TV.

Can be purchased for download starting at £4.99.

37. The Others (2001)

Grace Stewart lives in a remote country house in the Channel Islands with her two children Anne and Nicholas. However, soon after hiring some new servants, she begins to believe the house is haunted. She sees a group of people, a man, woman, an old woman and a child called Victor who claim the house is theirs. As she investigates the mysterious happenings, her entire world starts to unravel.

Where can you watch it?

Can be purchased for download starting at £3.99.

38. Gerald’s Game (2017)

In an attempt to rekindle their sex life, Jessie agrees to let her husband Gerald handcuff her to the bed at a remote getaway. Unfortunately, he suffers from a heartattack which she is trapped, forcing her to use her wits to escape her situation before she dies of dehydration.

Where can you watch it?

Netflix.

39. The Blair Witch Project (1999)

The originator of the ‘found footage’ genre of horror films. It tells the fictional story of three student filmmakers (Heather Donahue, Michael C. Williams, and Joshua Leonard) who hike in the Black Hills near Burkittsville, Maryland, in 1994 to film a documentary about a local legend known as the Blair Witch. The three disappear, but their video and sound equipment (along with most of the footage they shot) is discovered a year later; the “recovered footage” is the film the viewer is watching.

Where can you watch it?

Amazon Prime Video.

Can be purchased for download starting at £4.49.

40. Paranormal Activity (2009)

The film centers on a young couple, Katie (Katie Featherston) and Micah (Micah Sloat) are haunted by a supernatural presence in their home. It is presented in the style of “found footage”, from cameras set up by the couple in an attempt to document what is haunting them.

Where can you watch it?

Netflix.

Can be purchased for download starting at £2.99.