My Top 40 Favorite Horror Films

James / June 3rd, 2015

I just felt like making this list. I was too curious to see how it would turn out. This is one of the hardest lists I’ve ever tried to make. I’m sure I forgot something. It’s always subject to change. It’s even harder when you think about what qualifies as “horror”.  And remember this doesn’t mean BEST horror necessarily, it means my FAVORITES, the ones that have stuck with me, influenced me, and come to my mind the most often. If it’s not on the list, it doesn’t mean I didn’t think of it. It’s just that I was trying to do a Top 40, not a Top 1000.


40. Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)
39. The Thing from Another World (1951)
38. The Blob (1958)
37. Army of Darkness (1993)
36. Nightmare on Elm St 3: Dream Warriors (1987)
35. Friday the 13th Part 4: The Final Chapter (1984)
34. Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959)
33. Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn (1987)
32. The Old Dark House (1932)
31. Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
30. Day of the Dead (1985)
29. An American Werewolf in London (1981)
28. From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
27. Return of the Living Dead (1985)
26. Dawn of the Dead (1978)
25. Curse of Frankenstein (1957)
24. Horror of Dracula (1958)
23. The Mummy (1959)
22. Godzilla (1954)
21. TIE: Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman (1943) / House of Frankenstein (1944)
20. Invisible Man (1933)
19. Alien (1979)
18. Halloween (1978)
17. Psycho (1960)
16. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1932)
15. Phantom of the Opera (1925)
14. Frankenstein (1931)
13. Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
12. The Mummy (1932)
11. Son of Frankenstein (1939)
10. Dracula (1931)
9. The Wolf Man (1941)
8. The Terminator (1984) (I like T2 even more, but I think is closer to “horror”)
7. Jurassic Park (1993)
6. Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)
5. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
4. Jaws (1976)
3. Gremlins (1984)
2. Ghostbusters (1984)
1. King Kong (1933)

Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919)


The Wolf Man (1941)


The Mummy (1959)


Night of the Living Dead (1968)


Jaws (1976)


Gremlins (1984) / Ghostbusters (1984)


Jurassic Park (1993)


Trick R’ Treat (2007)


  • ramo10

    June 3, 2015 at 10:46 am

    Great list 🙂 Most of these movies ive seen mainly thanks to the yearly monstermadness, personal favorite is Jaws but all of these movies are fantastic picks, though plan 9 is probably the least scary of the bunch for obvious reason. If I would had changed something I would had added John Carpenters The Thing but thats my own opinion 🙂

    • St_Cerberus_Engel

      June 3, 2015 at 9:38 pm

      John Carpenter’s The Thing! I really have no other reply to that except John Carpenter’s The Thing! Lol.

      • June 3, 2015 at 9:58 pm

        What an asshole this man is, lol! Don’t worry folks, I know St_Cerberus_Engel very well. : )

  • JayRam

    June 3, 2015 at 10:49 am

    Very cool list. Think I’ve seen just about every movie there.

    And I hope this means that you’re in the midst of preparing for/working on Monster Madness. Favorite time of the year, for sure.

  • June 3, 2015 at 11:09 am

    Great list James!

  • jake westbrook

    June 3, 2015 at 11:33 am

    I don’t know if I’d actually count king kong as horror at all, but this is still a pretty interesting list. and I think if I tried to make my own horror list it would be 25-30 as of now.
    and I think you should do monster madnesses on the titles on your list you haven’t done yet.

    • St_Cerberus_Engel

      June 3, 2015 at 9:34 pm

      To people at the time of its release, King Kong was almost definitely a horror movie. You have to look at movies like that and the Universal flicks through the eyes of someone seeing them without the modern horror expectations. The genre has grown immensely since 1933 and its audience has grown with it.

  • June 3, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    Surprised to not see Poltergeist (the original) or The Shining.

    • St_Cerberus_Engel

      June 3, 2015 at 9:36 pm

      Ditto, actually. I would probably put Poltergeist above Jurassic Park on this list, really. Even though I see the reasons for JP being here. And The Shining is absolutely deserving of a spot on any great horror list.

  • June 3, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    As to what qualifies as horror.. I think Jurassic Park definitely has horror elements, but is not a horror film. I think you should put another film under 90’s horror in addition to that. I would probably place King Kong as number one as well.

    • St_Cerberus_Engel

      June 3, 2015 at 9:11 pm

      I’d probably qualify Jurassic Park as horror the same way I’d qualify a slasher movie. Just replace Michael, Jason, etc with dinosaurs.

      • Jimmy Reed

        June 3, 2015 at 9:18 pm

        Yeah, I agree. I know posted this already, but…The Terminator? Did I miss something? I mean, that’s an action movie with absolutely no horror-related things in it….right? Hey, I’ll humbly accept defeat if you can give me a for-instance

      • St_Cerberus_Engel

        June 3, 2015 at 9:25 pm

        For some reason I can’t reply to Jimmy Reed…

        Look at scenes like the final chase and tell me the main characters aren’t being stalked by an unstoppable killer. Add in the eerie music, the red glowing eyes and the uncanny valley effect of the stop-motion…That. Is. Horror.

        That tone is present throughout the movie. High tension, suspense, the premise of people being hunted down by something that isn’t human, etc.

        T2 is an action movie. T1 is a horror movie about cyborgs and time travel.

      • Jimmy Reed

        June 4, 2015 at 5:39 pm

        For some reason, I can’t reply to ST CERBERUS ENGEL….

        Well, thanks. Great explanation. I guess I haven’t seen it in 15 years, just forgot. I humbly accept defeat.

    • greedo

      June 20, 2015 at 1:12 am

      I wouldn’t qualify Jurassic Park as a horror film, anymore than I would classify The Haunting as a comedy, b/c it has comedy elements. It is a straight up, honest to goodness, action-suspense film. So I guess we’re in agreement there.

      Disagree about King Kong, though, for pretty much the same reason. I think that is more action, than anything else.

  • St_Cerberus_Engel

    June 3, 2015 at 9:07 pm

    I would have probably put Black Christmas (1974) on a list like this. Not only did it predate Halloween and really introduce a lot of the slasher tropes from the time, but it’s just as skillfully directed and the acting is amazingly good. Oh and the director also made A Christmas Story. A slasher and a family comedy both set at Christmas from the same director. I just can’t ever get over that. Hah.

    • ToadRoad

      June 4, 2015 at 7:00 am

      It’s not a list of landmark horror films. It’s the ones he likes the most.

      • St_Cerberus_Engel

        June 4, 2015 at 2:00 pm

        I know. I didn’t say he should put it on there, I said I would.

      • St_Cerberus_Engel

        June 4, 2015 at 2:04 pm

        Then again, that’s why I don’t make lists like this. I don’t really have any “favorite” movies of any genre. I like what I like and some things I like better than others, but I could never rate them by numbers.

  • Jimmy Reed

    June 3, 2015 at 9:14 pm

    Knowing the movies you love, I was pretty accurate in guessing which ones would be on here (but not really in any order besides #1). I really liked that you did not just include what people classify as “horror”, but things with horror elements in it. To be honest, the only one that I don’t understand is The Terminator. I never saw any horror-related things with it. I just saw an action movie, but oh well.

    My personal favorite is “Night Of The Living Dead” (1968)

    I like that you have “Psycho” on here, but I really wish there were one or two more Hitchcock films on here.

  • June 3, 2015 at 9:55 pm

    Nice List. Jaws was released in 1976, by the way. Well…since you shared your list I figured it was only fair to share mine. : )

    40. Slugs (1988)
    39. Gremlins (1984)
    38. Puppet Master (1989)
    37. Child’s Play (1988)
    36. Wolf Man (1941)
    35. Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954)
    34. Frankenstein (1931)
    33. Return Of The Living Dead (1985)
    32. House On Haunted Hill (1959)
    31. Dracula (1931)
    30. Killer Klowns From Outer Space (1988)
    29. Gojira (1954)
    28. Friday The 13th (1980)
    27. Halloween (1978)
    26. A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984)
    25. Nosferatu (1922)
    24. Phantom Of The Opera (1925)
    23. Creepshow (1982)
    22. Beetlejuice (1988)
    21. The Fog (1980)
    20. Fire In The Sky (1993)
    19. The Car (1977)
    18. Re-Animator (1985)
    17. The Terror Within (1989)
    16. The Deader The Better (2005)
    15. The Shining (1980)
    14. The Howling (1981)
    13. The Thing (1982)
    12. Night Of The Creeps (1986)
    11. Hellraiser (1987)
    10. Poltergeist (1982)
    09. TerrorVision (1986)
    08. Night Of The Living Dead (1968)
    07. Them! (1954)
    06. Galaxy Of Terror (1981)
    05. Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
    04. Silver Bullet (1985)
    03. Pet Sematary (1989)
    02. Jaws (1975)
    01. Close Encounters Of The Third Kind (1977)

    Nosferatu (1922)

    Dracula (1931)

    Dracula (1958)

    Night of the Living Dead (1968)

    Jaws (1975)

    A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984)

    Fire In The Sky (1993)

    The Deader The Better (2005)

    • June 3, 2015 at 9:59 pm

      1975 is what I typed, but 76 showed up. Weird, lol! Also, my list is in no particular order.

      • Jimmy Reed

        June 4, 2015 at 5:42 pm

        #16……….good choice! 🙂

  • Allen Lucas

    June 3, 2015 at 10:30 pm

    I don’t have a definitive list just yet, but here are my category choices at least so far!

    Favorite Silent Horror:
    Nosferatu (1922)

    Favorite Universal Horror:
    (tie) Frankenstein (1931)/Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

    Favorite Hammer Horror:
    Dracula (AKA Horror of Dracula) (1958)

    Favorite 60s Horror:
    Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966)

    Favorite 70s Horror:
    Jaws (1975)

    Favorite 80s Horror:
    Fright Night (1985)

    Favorite 90s Horror:
    Jurassic Park (1993)

    Favorite Millenium Horror:
    Saw Series (2004-2010)

  • Satnav

    June 3, 2015 at 11:14 pm

    Nice list, but I think King Kong as a horror film is really a stretch. Even if it was horrifying for the time, you’d be hard-pressed to say it qualifies as that by any standard modern or even in the decades after that.
    Besides that, for me, I love Carpenter’s The Thing, Alien, Shining, and have a guilty pleasure for Event Horizon.

  • Psychojaws

    June 4, 2015 at 5:35 am

    Three guesses what my two favorite movies, let alone horror movies, are.

  • com85

    June 4, 2015 at 7:03 am

    Nice list James!

    Hope to see a “Jurassic World thoughts” video with you and Mike next week =)

  • MetalHorrorNES

    June 4, 2015 at 7:43 am

    Pretty good list, not sure if I would put Ghostbusters under horror though. It certainly has elements of it I just alwys thought of it as more of a comedy. I’m surpised the original Friday the 13th isn’t listed, I see you put pt.4 which is GREAT entry in the series, but as I huge fan of the series myself I feel that the original is obviously what layed the ground for the series. RIP Betsy Palmer 🙁 It doesn’t mean everyone has to like it of course, I just thought I would have seen it on your list since you listed The Final Chapter. The same for Nightmare on Elm St., Dream Warriors is also an EXCELLENT entry into the series. Did you like the originals for these 2 franchises James? Just curious.

  • stoney_1

    June 4, 2015 at 9:36 am

    great list! ost of my faves are on that list too!

  • DHumblest

    June 4, 2015 at 11:47 am

    A fantastic list James.

  • Jimmy Reed

    June 4, 2015 at 5:49 pm

    Silent horror:

    Well…..I don’t know if this has enough horror elements in it or not, but “Metropolis” (1927)…if not, then “The Cabinet Of Dr. Calagari” (1920)

    1930s Horror:

    Spanish “Dracula” (1931)

    1940s Horror:

    “Son Of Dracula” (1943)

    1950s Horror:

    “Invasion Of The Body Snatchers” (1956) *if going actual horror film and not sci-fi, then “Les Diaboluqes” (1954)

    1960s horror:

    “Night Of The Living Dead” (1968)

    1970s Horror:

    “Jaws” (1975)

    1980s Horror:

    “Evil Dead 2” (1987)

    1990s Horror:

    “Army Of Darkness” (1992)

    2000s Horror:

    “Let The Right One In” (2008)

    2010s Horror (so far):

    “The Cabin In The Woods” (2012)

  • fmdof

    June 4, 2015 at 10:04 pm

    great list for sure, but your idea of Horror, and Im sure the most of us, is completely different. Terminator as Horror? I just dont see it. Though I do agree its top 10 worthy of any list unrelated to it or not.

  • Johan Öberg

    June 5, 2015 at 6:38 am

    I’m not anyone to disagree but I see Gremlins and especially Ghostsbusters as comedy movies with small to very small elements of horror in them.

    • ToadRoad

      June 6, 2015 at 3:11 am

      Gremlins I give more of a pass, since it is centrally focused on them terrorizing the town. Ghostbusters definitely doesn’t leap to my mind as horror, but if one wanted to make the argument it does feature many ghosts, a giant marshmallow mascot stomping through the city, demonic possession, menacing hellhounds, and the possible destruction of all existence.

  • RocketeerRaccoon

    June 5, 2015 at 7:00 am

    I’m really surprised you haven’t put The Thing (1982) on the list and some of these films are not horror films at all like the Terminator which is really a science fiction action thriller. I say my favourite horror film ever is Alien.

  • Pablo1989

    June 5, 2015 at 10:18 am

    😀 Im Supprised you like Plan 9 From Outer Space, well i guess its yours Gulity pleasuere or something.

  • Joorum

    June 5, 2015 at 7:07 pm

    I don’t know about a Top 40 but offhand I can give you 15 films in no particular order that have stuck with me due to their atmosphere:

    Suspiria (1977)
    Black Christmas (1974)
    The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
    Cube (1997)
    Alien (1979)
    Deep Red (1975)
    Dawn Of The Dead (1978)
    Phantasm (1979)
    The Evil Dead (1981)
    The Thing (1982)
    Eraserhead (1977)
    I Walked With A Zombie (1943)
    Halloween (1978)
    Shock (1977)
    Hellraiser (1987)

  • gattz

    June 8, 2015 at 6:01 pm

    The top three don’t really seem like horror movies. Ghostbusters and Gremlins are definitely pure comedy.

  • June 14, 2015 at 2:03 pm

    I love the list and I am a huge fans of u mike and even bootsy my only issue is I see Halloween but what about Halloween 2 I think that sequel did one did that not many horror movies if none at all did surpass the orignal in my eyes anyway anyone agree? But incredible list

  • June 14, 2015 at 2:05 pm

    Maybe have Halloween 2 and chucky and the thing but great list otherwise

  • Lecon223

    June 25, 2015 at 1:19 pm

    Hey James, would you ever do a top list for horror comedies? Like Return of the Living Dead, Army of Darkness, etc.

  • dalibor Popovic

    July 1, 2015 at 7:40 pm

    ej, i miss the exorcist in your list…..many greetings from serbia!

  • July 14, 2015 at 2:08 am

    James, your Favorite ’80s horror choices are actually comedies and not even close to horror. Also not having The Thing (1982) on that list, you should be ashamed of yourself. That is top 5 greatest horror movie ever made.

  • David Wischropp

    September 5, 2015 at 11:37 pm

    This list is awesome and has plenty that I haven’t seen.. yet.

  • September 26, 2015 at 11:33 pm

  • Luke Sonnenburg

    April 11, 2016 at 6:08 pm

    My favorite movies Jurassic park, the lost world jurassic park, jurassic world, jaws, close encounters of the third kind, et, the force awakens, the empire strikes back, we were soldiers, the thing, the hunt for red october, ghostbusters 1 and 2, and raiders of the lost ark.

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