Top 100 Horror Films that Impressed & Influenced Me the Most [new]

Updated & republished: May 2021

These are the horror films that impressed and/or influenced me the most from childhood till recently. The list includes feature films, short films, series and episodes. They’re not necessarily the ones I consider to be the best or scariest ever made, it’s a highly subjective list of the horror films that marked my life.

The list can also be found on Letterboxd, IMDb and iCheckMoviesCheck out also the Top 35 Found Footage Films that Impressed & Influenced Me the Most and the Top 100 Films that Impressed & Influenced Me the Most.

Colored green are the newly-added titles and those that climbed in the top at the latest update.

Top 10:

  1. Carrie (1976, Brian De Palma)
  2. The Blair Witch Project (1999, found footage, Daniel Myrick & Eduardo Sanchez) – review
  3. Freaks (1932, Tod Browning)
  4. Bride of Frankenstein (1935, James Whale)
  5. American Horror Story: Asylum (2012 tv mini-series, Ryan Murphy & Brad Falchuk) – review
  6. The Haunting (1963, Robert Wise)
  7. Peeping Tom (1960, Michael Powell)
  8. Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975, Peter Weir)
  9. Halloween (1978, John Carpenter)
  10. The Witch (2015, Robert Eggers)

Top 25:

(in chronological order from 11th to 25th)

  • Byzantium (2012, Neil Jordan) – review
  • Absentia (2011, Mike Flanegan)
  • Buried (2010, Rodrigo Cortes)
  • The Walking Dead: Season 1 (2010 tv series, Frank Darabont)
  • The Horribly Slow Murderer with the Extremely Inefficient Weapon (2008 short, Richard Gale)
  • The Mist (2007, Frank Darabont)
  • Wolf Creek (2005, Greg McLean)
  • Dead Alive / Braindead (1992, Peter Jackson)
  • Candyman (1992, Bernard Rose)
  • Deadly Friend (1986, Wes Craven)
  • Poltergeist (1982, Tobe Hooper & Steven Spielberg)
  • Assault on Precinct 13 (1976, John Carpenter)
  • The Last House on the Left (1972, Wes Craven)
  • Psycho (1960, Alfred Hitchcock) + Psycho IV: The Beginning (1990 tv movie, Mick Garris)
  • King Kong (1933, Merian C. Cooper & Ernest B. Schoedsack)

Top 50:

(in chronological order from 26th to 50th)

  • Bone Tomahawk (2015, S. Craig Zahler)
  • Sinister (2012, Scott Derrickson)
  • American Horror Story: Murder House (2011 tv mini-series, Ryan Murphy & Brad Falchuk)
  • Frozen (2010, Adam Green)
  • Tucker and Dale vs Evil (2010, Eli Craig)
  • Drag Me to Hell (2009, Sam Raimi)
  • The House of the Devil (2009, Ti West)
  • The Children (2008, Tom Shankland)
  • Home Movie (2008, found footage, Christopher Denham)
  • Hostel (2005, Eli Roth)
  • Noroi: The Curse (2005, found footage, Koji Shiraishi)
  • High Tension / Haute tension (2003, Alexandre Aja)
  • Happy Tree Friends: Eye Candy (2002 animated short, Rhode Montijo)
  • The Ring (2002, Gore Verbinski)
  • Session 9 (2001, Brad Anderson)
  • The Chicken from Outer Space (1996 animated short, John Dilworth)
  • Misery (1990, Rob Reiner)
  • Tremors (1990, Ron Underwood)
  • Twin Peaks: Pilot (1990 tv episode, David Lynch)
  • Christine (1983, John Carpenter)
  • Videodrome (1982, David Cronenberg)
  • The Howling (1981, Joe Dante)
  • Piranha (1978, Joe Dante)
  • The Birds (1963, Alfred Hitchcock)
  • What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962, Robert Aldrich)

Top 100:

(in chronological order from 51st to 100th)

  • The Invisible Man (2020, Leigh Whannell)
  • Death of a Vlogger (2019, found footage, Graham Hughes) – review
  • Halloween (2018, David Gordon Green) + Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998, Steve Miner)
  • The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017, Yorgos Lanthimos)
  • Train to Busan (2016, Sang-ho Yeon)
  • Under the Shadow (2016, Babak Anvari)
  • Selfie from Hell (2015 short, Erdal Ceylan)
  • Backcountry (2014, Adam MacDonald)
  • Starry Eyes (2014, Kevin Kolsch & Dennis Widmyer) – review
  • Thanksgiving (2012 micro-short, Mark Ares)
  • Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (2010, Troy Nixey)
  • The Human Centipede (First Sequence) (2009, Tom Six)
  • Eden Lake (2008, James Watkins)
  • Cloverfield (2008, found footage, Matt Reeves)
  • Lake Mungo (2008, found footage, Joel Anderson)
  • The Ruins (2008, Carter Smith)
  • The Girl Next Door (2007, Gregory Wilson)
  • Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film (2006 documentary)
  • 13 Tzameti (2005, Gela Babluani)
  • Masters of Horror: Cigarette Burns (2005 tv episode, John Carpenter)
  • Saw (2004, James Wan)
  • The Village (2004, M. Night Shyamalan)
  • Identity (2003, James Mangold)
  • Open Water (2003, Chris Kentis)
  • Signs (2002, M. Night Shyamalan)
  • Frailty (2001, Bill Paxton)
  • The Dentist (1996, Brian Yuzna) + The Dentist 2 (1998, Brian Yuzna)
  • Mute Witness (1995, Anthony Waller)
  • The Lawnmower Man (1992, Brett Leonard)
  • Toys (1992, Barry Levinson)
  • The Silence of the Lambs (1991, Jonathan Demme)
  • Predator 2 (1990, Stephen Hopkins)
  • A film I saw in my childhood (possibly from the 80s or the 90s) with a boy (teenage or young adult) saving a cute blonde girl from a kind of fire inferno in an industrial construction (probably sci-fi horror). The girl had this type of hair (the image is from Cherry 2000, but that’s not the film) and black shiny leggings. Please contact me if you think you might know the title. It doesn’t have to necessarily be a theatrical feature, it might have been a tv movie or the episode of a series (although the scale of the effects I remember seem a bit too much for tv back then).
  • Dead Calm (1989, Phillip Noyce)
  • Monsters: Pillow TalkThe Hole (1988-1990 tv episodes, Richard P. Rubinstein)
  • The Name of the Rose (1986, Jean-Jacques Annaud)
  • Tenebre / Tenebrae (1982, Dario Argento)
  • Cannibal Holocaust (1980, found footage, Ruggero Deodato)
  • Friday the 13th (1980, Sean S. Cunningham)
  • Alien (1979, Ridley Scott) + Aliens (1986, James Cameron) + Alien: Resurrection (1997, Jean-Pierre Jeunet)
  • The Omen (1976, Richard Donner)
  • Jaws (1975, Steven Spielberg)
  • A Bay of Blood / Reazione a catena (1971, Mario Bava)
  • Duel (1971 tv movie, Steven Spielberg)
  • Night of the Living Dead (1968, George A. Romero)
  • Africa Addio (1966 documentary, Gualtiero Jacopetti & Franco Prosperi)
  • Switchin’ Kitten (1961 animated short, Gene Deitch)
  • The Twilight Zone: Time Enough at Last (1959 tv episode, John Brahm)
  • Dead of Night (1945 anthology movie, various directors)
  • Hair-Raising Hare (1946 animated short, Chuck Jones)

Listing these films doesn’t mean acceptance of the potentially illegal, unethical or immoral behaviour of any creator or star, neither that I agree with their opinions on any subject matter. It also doesn’t mean approval of the ideas expressed in the films or of the ways they were made.