Horror Worth Watching

You’re probably well aware of the classics, the big name horror movies that everyone who can stand the twisting in their stomachs and coiling tension up their shivering spines should watch. But a dedicated horror fan knows that there are levels of horror worth watching. There’s bad horror; then there’s so-bad-it’s-good horror. There’s cheap alloy horror with a few gemstones to admire. That’s why this is a list of categories of horror movies worth your eyeballs at least once.

Why categories? Fears can be timely and timeless. Themes recur often in horror, and not just in the name of the almighty reboot payday.

I’m an indiscriminate horror lover, and I don’t feel qualified to judge horror on quality as much as watchability. However, I do get to decide what’s horror and what isn’t. Horror’s a genre that overlaps with just about everything, so you’ll find sci-fi, psychological thriller, supernatural, fantasy, etc. Just with horror flavored into the mix.

Since I haven’t seen everything yet, this page will always be a work in progress. So take a look-through for your favorite themes (there will be some duplicates, of course). You might see something you haven’t tried yet. Categories and movies in alphabetical order. If I’ve written a quick or long review on the film, I’ll link to it.

[Q: Quality/Classic (subjective, naturally), C: Comedy, PF: Personal Favorite]

[Please check MPAA ratings in case of triggers – horror movies are built around triggers, so I don’t know when to include a warning, since everyone’s hard limits are different]

Scary or Die (best in show – Clowned)
Trick ‘r’ Treat (Q, PF)
V/H/S (best in show – Amateur Night, The Sick Thing that Happened to Emily When She was Younger)
V/H/S/2 (best in show – A Ride in the Park, Safe Haven)
V/H/S Viral (best in show – Parallel Monsters)

Bad Children:
Children of the Corn
The Omen (Q)
Orphan (Q, PF)
The Ring (Q, PF)

Body Horror:
American Mary (Q, PF)
The Collection
Contracted (PF)
Hostel 1-2
The Human Centipede (personal hard limit, but it had its moments)
The Midnight Meat Train
Patchwork (C)
The Ruins (PF)
Saw (Q) 1-3
Starry Eyes (PF)

Dumplings (if you squint)
Sweeney Todd

Careful What You Wish For:
The Craft (Q, PF)
The Wishing Stairs (PF)
Wishmaster 1-4 (PF)

Happy Death Day
You’re Next

The Bay (PF)
Cabin Fever (not a personal fave, but it’s a cult fave – I actually like Cabin Fever: Patient Zero)
Kangen (Infection) (PF)
Slither (Q, PF, C)

Creature Feature:
The Bay (PF)
The Birds
The Cave
The Descent (Q, PF)
The Fly (remake) (Q)
Jaws (Q, PF)
Lake Placid (C)
The Mothman Prophecies (Q)
Piranha (remake)
The Ruins (PF)
Slither (Q, C, PF)
Trolls 2 (one of the worst films ever made, so watch it)

Demon Possession (Christian, mostly Catholic):
The Conjuring (Q)
The Damned
The Demon Inside
The Exorcism of Emily Rose (Q, PF)
The Exorcist 1 (Q, PF), 3
The Last Exorcism
The Rite
The Shrine

Demon Possession (Other):
Ava’s Possessions (C)
Jennifer’s Body
Silent Hill (PF)

The Circle
Don’t Blink
Final Destination series
Vanishing on 7th Street

Alien/s (Q)
The Europa Report
Event Horizon (PF)
The Fourth Kind
Dark Skies
Signs (PF)
Slither (Q, C, PF)
War of the Worlds (remake)

Female Revenge Fantasy:
American Mary (Q, PF)
Hard Candy
The Wicker Man (remake) (C, unintentionally hilarious)
The Woman

Apartment 143
The Bay (PF)
Below Zero
The Blair Witch Project (Q)
The Europa Report
Grave Encounters (Q, PF)
The Houses October Built
The Last Exorcism
Paranormal Activity
[REC] (Q)
Troll Hunter
The Taking of Deborah Logan
The Visit

Found Footage within Traditional Film:
The Veil

Ghosts in the Machine:
Pulse (PF)
The Ring (Q, PF)
White Noise

1408 (PF)
The Awakening (PF)
The Grudge
A Haunting in Connecticut
Insidious (Q, PF)
Oculus (PF)
Poltergeist (original) (Q)
El Orfanato (The Orphanage) (Q, PF)
The Others (Q, PF)
The Ring (Q, PF)
The Shining (Q)
The Sixth Sense (Q, PF)
Thir13en Ghosts

Iconic/Strong Villains:
American Psycho
The Babadook (Q, PF)
Candyman (Q, PF)
Friday the 13th 1-2
Halloween (original, remake)
Hellraiser 1-2
Nightmare on Elm Street (original, Dream Warriors, Dream Master, New Nightmare, remake) (Q, PF)
Red Dragon (PF)
Saw (Q) 1-3
Scream 1-3 (Q, PF)
Silence of the Lambs (Q, PF)
Wishmaster (PF)

Historical (pre-20th):
Mary Reilly (PF)
Gaston Leroux’s Phantom of the Opera (PF)
Sleepy Hollow (PF)
Stonehearst Asylum
Sweeney Todd
The Village
The VVitch (Q)

Humans as Monsters:
Frankenstein (original, Bride) (Q)
Freaks! (Q)
Hostel 1-2
The Seasoning House
Truth or Die
The Woman
Would You Rather (PF)

Jekyll/Hyde (aka Human Werewolves):
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941)
Mary Reilly (PF)

Mental Illness Represented Well by Horror:
The Babadook (Q, PF)
Pulse (PF)

Cabin in the Woods (Q, PF)
The Final Girl
New Nightmare
Urban Legend
Scream 1-3 (Q, PF)

Mutants (Human):
The Hills Have Eyes (remake)
Wrong Turn

The Babysitter (C)
Let Us Prey (PF)
The Last Song
The Ninth Gate (Q, PF)
The Omen (Q)
The Order
Rosemary’s Baby (Q)
The Skeleton Key (PF)
Stigmata (PF)

Get Out (Q)
The Invasion
The Invitation
It Follows
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (original)
Rosemary’s Baby
A Tale of Two Sisters
The Thing (remake, Q)

The Day
The Road (Q)

Pregnancy Horror:
Rosemary’s Baby

Psych Ward:
Gothika (unrated) (PF)
Grave Encounters (Q, PF)
Session 9
Stonehearst Asylum
The Ward

Racial Tension:
Candyman (Q, PF)
Get Out (Q)
Night of the Living Dead (Q)
The Skeleton Key (PF)

The Bay (PF) (Independence Day)
Black Christmas
The Christmas Horror Anthology
The Conjuring 2 (Christmas)
Dark Skies (Independence Day)
Halloween (original, reboot)
Hocus Pocus (C, PF) (Halloween)
Krampus (Q, PF) (Christmas)
Sleepy Hollow (PF) (Halloween)
Trick ‘r’ Treat (Q, PF) (Halloween)

Superpowers Gone Bad:
Carrie (original) (Q)
Come Back to Me

Time Distortion:
The Call (Q, PF)
Mine Games
The Triangle

Tourists Doing Things They Shouldn’t:
The Damned
Hostel 1-2
The Ruins (PF)

30 Days of Night (Q, PF)
Bram Stoker’s Dracula (Q, PF)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (C, PF)
Dracula (original) (Q)
Dracula (Frank Langella)
Let the Right One In (Q)
Shadow of the Vampire
John Carpenter’s Vampires

Resident Evil
Silent Hill

The Howling
The Wolf Man (remake)
When Animals Dream

The Craft (Q, PF)
The Witches (Q, PF)

28 Days Later (Q)
28 Weeks Later (PF)
Contracted (PF)
Dawn of the Dead (remake)
Night of the Living Dead (original) (Q)
Pontypool (Q, PF)
[REC] (Q)
Resident Evil
World War Z
Zombieland (C)

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