The top ten horror films run the gamut of the best in horror. It features monsters, haunted houses, maniac killers, rabid animals, body snatchers, and undead cannibals. However, they do share one thing in common, and that is the ability to frighten audiences.
Aliens use humans as their hosts in “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” (1978), turning them into literal shells of their former selves. The original was a metaphor about communism. This remake, on the other hand, simply provides quality scares and full-tilt paranoia.
“Night of the Living Dead” (1968) put the undead on the map. It starts as a zombie apocalypse besetting seven strangers in a farmhouse. In the end, it turns into an unsettling treatise on human nature.
The tale of a killer shark in New England left audiences in fear of the water. However, the brutality of “Jaws” (1975) was largely unseen. Much like “Psycho”, the scares are generated by Steven Spielbergs suggestive camera work.
The story of a babysitter eluding a knife-wielding killer became the pre-eminent slasher flick of all time. While contemporary horror is filled with red, “Halloween” (1978) eschews gore. Instead, it draws heavily on anticipation and old-fashioned suspense.
When five hazmat workers clean a defunct asylum in “Session 9” (2001), the surroundings mess with their heads. The tension pushes each man to his limit. What unfolds is a gripping march to dementia that promises few survivors.
“Alien” (1979) features a litany of space creatures intent on killing off the human crew upon whose ship they had stowed away. Ridley Scott made a name for himself with this slick, stylized horror film. One of the best sci-fi/horror hybrids.
“The Thing” (1982) is second only to “Halloween” in John Carpenters voluminous oeuvre. A shapeshifting monster impersonates its victims on a remote Antarctic research facility. As the body count grows, so does the paranoia and mistrust.
A troubled motel proprietor with a penchant for offing his guests is the focus in “Psycho” (1960). Anthony Perkins gives the performance of a lifetime in this Hitchcock classic. It may be old, but it still has the power to scare 21st century audiences.
An American family agrees to take care of a secluded hotel over the winter in “The Shining” (1980). It doesnt take long for the hotels skeletons to crawl out of their closets. The terror is palpable and relentless.
An FBI profiler is assisted by a convicted murderer as she hunts for a serial killer in “Silence of the Lambs” (1991). “Silence” is the gold standard by which horror films are judged. It is also the only horror film to win the Oscar for Best Picture.