While horror fans will always want to check out new releases, and it’s fascinating to see what today’s filmmakers are working on, audiences have a true appreciation for classic scary films from the past couple of decades. These movies feel inspiring, terrifying, and full of interesting plot points and smartly developed characters. Sometimes it’s nice to go back in horror movie history and see where tropes and ideas come from.
From a fan favorite film based on a Stephen King tale to an epic zombie story, Redditors are sharing their most beloved horror movies from the last few decades that still create a fearful atmosphere.
10 The Shining (1980)
Stream on HBO Max
The Shining is a lot of fun for fans of Stephen King’s books, as it includes all the chilling tension and great characters of his work. The 1980 movie has excellent performances, memorable moments, and some seriously creepy twins who show up in the hallway of the Overlook Hotel.
Redditor RoachPowder wrote that The Shining is still amazing because it does a “wonderful job spinning an atmosphere of utter dread”
9 Day Of The Dead (1985)
Stream on Peacock
Redditor kirkedout wrote that when watching the movie now, “the movie itself was ok” but “the effects looked awesome.” Even if fans think that some aspects of the film didn’t hold up that well, the film does look good and it’s a reminder of how solid the zombie story is. While it’s of course part of the horror genre, it does offer what could be a realistic portrait of this situation as it imagines what this would really be like for the survivors.
8 The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
Stream on Shudder
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise is a favorite, with renewed interest because of the 2022 Netflix film. Audiences love the 1974 movie and its introduction to Leatherface.
Redditor brocklang wrote that the movie is “Still one of the creepiest movies in my opinion. The whole look and mood of that early 70’s movie.” Not all fans love each part of the franchise, but everyone can agree that the first one sets up the tension, the villain, and the setting.
7 Alien (1979)
Rent on AppleTV
Ridley Scott’s science-fiction/horror movie Alien will never not be considered a total classic. Watching Sigourney Weaver’s character Ripley as part of the crew on the Nostromo is a joy.
Redditor DanTheMan0451 wrote that “Practical effects and directing in Alien is phenomenal to this day.” It’s also fun to look back on the film and see the impact that it has had. It’s hard to imagine a scarier scenario for characters to be in so it’s impossible to watch Alien without feeling chills.
6 Halloween (1978)
Stream on AMC+ and Shudder
Fans love Halloween (1978) because of Laurie Strode’s courage, the absolutely chilling vibe of Michael Myers, and the location.
Redditor NegativePiglet8 wrote that Halloween still entertains because of “the situation, atmosphere, and suspense” and ‘Those elements still hold up very well.” While horror fans have had fun revisiting this story with Halloween (2018) and Halloween Kills, the first movie has so many good characters and plot points that fans love it a lot more.
5 The Haunting (1963)
Rent on AppleTV
There is a 1999 remake of The Haunting and both have a similar story to The Haunting of Hill House because the films are adapted from the Shirley Jackson book. One stand-out character is Eleanor Lance, who saw something supernatural in the Crain family house when she was growing up, similar to how Nell becomes The Bent-Beck Lady.
4 The Innocents (1961)
Unavailable to stream
The Innocents can be considered one of the best 1960s horror movies and it’s adapted from the Henry James1898 novella The Turning of the Screw. Miss Giddens becomes a governess at a house called Bly, which fans of Netflix’s The Haunting of Bly Manor will be familiar with. Soon she becomes familiar with the supernatural presence here.
One Redditor called The Innocents “One of the most masterful horror films of all time” and that they feel that fans of Mike Flanagan, Jordan Peele and Ari Aster’s work will love it.
3 Whatever Happened To Baby Jane? (1962)
Stream on HBO Max
Siblings Blanche and Jane Hudson have a complicated relationship in the classic movie Whatever Happened To Baby Jane? starring Joan Crawford and Bette Davis. After Blanche gets into an accident and has to use a wheelchair, Jane is horrible toward her.
Redditor muffin_man84 considers this a classic horror movie that is still good today and said there is “More anxiety-tension, no gore. An absolute gem that still holds up.” The envy that the sisters feel toward each other is definitely the scariest part of the movie.
2 The Wicker Man (1973)
Rent on AppleTV
The Wicker Man has a 2006 remake with Nicolas Cage, but the 1973 film is better regarded and is considered as terrifying today as it was when it was released
Redditor cambot said that “This movie hits home with some of my darkest fears.” A cop named Neil Howie spends time on an island called Summerisle and finds a pagan cult. The Wicker Man is a cult movie that has a really eerie tone.
1 Scream (1996)
Stream on Starz and DirecTV
From the discovery that Stu Macher and Billy Loomis are Ghostface to Sidney Prescott’s friendships and memory of her late mother, there is so much that audiences still enjoy.