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]

Anthology:
Creepshow
Holidays
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)
Stephanie

Body Horror:
Audition
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)
Tusk

Cannibalism:
Dumplings (if you squint)
Omnívoros
Ravenous
Raw
Sweeney Todd

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

Cat-and-Mouse:
Happy Death Day
Hush
You’re Next

Contagion/Parasitology:
Bug
The Bay (PF)
Cabin Fever (original not a PF, but it’s a cult fave – I actually prefer Cabin Fever: Patient Zero and the remake)
Kangen (PF)
Quarantine
Shivers
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)
Mimic
The Mothman Prophecies (Q)
Piranha (remake)
The Ritual
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 (Q, PF)
The Last Exorcism
The Rite
The Shrine

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

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

Extraterrestrial:
Alien/s (Q)
Alien: Covenant
The Europa Report
Event Horizon (PF)
The Fourth Kind
Dark Skies
Prometheus
A Quiet Place
Signs (PF)
Slither (Q, C, PF)
War of the Worlds (remake)

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

Found-Footage:
Afflicted
Apartment 143
As Above, So Below
The Bay (PF)
Below Zero
The Blair Witch Project (Q)
The Europa Report
Grave Encounters (Q, PF)
The Houses October Built
The Last Exorcism
Mr. Jones
Paranormal Activity
[REC] (Q)
Troll Hunter
The Taking of Deborah Logan
The Visit

Found Footage within Traditional Film:
Sinister
The Veil

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

Haunting:
1408 (PF)
The Awakening (PF)
The Grudge
A Haunting in Connecticut
Insidious (Q, PF)
Mama
Mirrors
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
IT
Nightmare on Elm Street (original, Dream Warriors, Dream Master, New Nightmare, remake) (Q, PF)
Psycho
Red Dragon (PF)
Saw (Q) 1-3
Scream 1-3 (Q, PF)
Silence of the Lambs (Q, PF)
Sinister
Wishmaster (PF)

Historical (pre-1950s):
The Awakening
Mary Reilly (PF)
The Others
Phantom of the Opera (slasher version with Robert Englund) (PF)
Sleepy Hollow (PF)
Stonehearst Asylum
Sweeney Todd
The Village
The VVitch (Q)
The Woman in Black

Human as Monsters:
Battle Royale
Estranged
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 Awakening
The Babadook (Q, PF)
Bug
Hereditary (PF)
Pulse (PF)

Meta-Horror:
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

Occult/Mysticism/Satanic:
The Babysitter (C)
Hereditary (PF)
Let Us Prey (PF)
The Last Song
The Ninth Gate (Q, PF)
The Omen (Q)
The Order
Rosemary’s Baby (Q)
Satanic
The Shrine
The Skeleton Key (PF)
Stigmata (PF)

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

Post-Apocalyptic:
The Day
Hell
The Road (Q)
Stephanie

Pregnancy Horror:
Antibirth
Rosemary’s Baby
Shelley

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

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

Seasonal:
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)
Cello
Mine Games
The Triangle

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

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

Video-Game-Based:
Resident Evil
Silent Hill

Werewolves:
The Howling
The Wolf Man (remake)
When Animals Dream

Witchcraft:
The Craft (Q, PF)
The VVitch (Q)
The Witches (Q, PF)

Zombie:
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)
Re-Animator
[REC] (Q)
Resident Evil
ReZort
Train to Busan (PF)
World War Z
Zombieland (C)

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