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30 Essential Scary Films

From groundbreaking classics to modern masterpieces, here are 30 of the most important and truly terrifying horror films you should see and share.

What follows is my love letter to the genre, my personal list of the best and scariest horror films of all time.

I consider all of these films to be essential viewing, movies every new and old horror fan should see. These are also, in my opinion, perfect films to watch with fellow horror fans or those you want to introduce to the “best of the genre”. The list spans several generations of horror cinema, as well as many sub genre of horror — from brutal slashers to suspenseful psychological horror. It also includes many of the foundational films that have inspired and influenced other favorites in the genre.

I have also rated each film according to how scary it is and how well-constructed it is as a film. Of course, this is only based on my personal opinion as a lifelong horror fan, and you may not agree with all my choices or my ratings. But I strongly believe you’ll find plenty of great recommendations in this list, and I’d encourage you to check out any of these films you may have missed. 

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