Who doesn’t love a good horror flick? After all, horror films have the power to transport us to worlds where the boundaries of reality are blurred and the rules of logic no longer apply. From the screams that echo through dark and scary nights to the endless pursuit of unseen evils, horror films have fascinated and terrified audiences for decades.
Whether it’s the relentless pursuit of a masked serial killer as seen in the iconic Scream movies or the Friday the 13th franchise, the eerie presence felt in a haunted house as seen in Paranormal Activity or even tales of psychological horror in movies like American Psycho or the Oscar-nominated The Sixth Sense, horror movies can offer a truly immersive (and terrifying) experience. These films delve into the darkest corners of the human psyche, forcing us to confront our deepest fears.
They have also resulted in some of the most iconic moments in movie history. Who can forget the shocking shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s classic Psycho? Or how about that horrifying climax of The Blair Witch Project? And of course, who can forget the Holy Grail of horror scenes (in the Holy Grail of horror movies) where Linda Blaire’s Regan MacNeil twists her neck 360 degrees in The Exorcist?
In short, the horror genre has been a gift to the world of cinema (and beyond), and despite the understandable apprehensions some people harbour towards it, it warrants your time and attention. And what could be a better list of movies to start with than the ones that your fellow moviegoers consider to be the best of the best? We are talking about the highest-rated horror movies on IMDb that include the likes of Hollywood classics like Rosemary’s Baby and the Indian cult hit Tumbbad.
So, without further ado, Let’s embark on a chilling journey through the vast genre of horror cinema by looking at some of the best horror movies on IMDb.
The best horror movies on IMDb
Released in 1979, Alien is a science-fiction horror film directed by Ridley Scott. The movie follows the crew of a commercial space tug called the Nostromo after they are awakened from stasis by the ship’s computer to investigate a distress signal coming from a nearby planet. The crew lands on the planet and discovers an alien spacecraft which houses a nest of eggs. One of the eggs hatches and releases a creature that attaches itself to one of the crew members, resulting in a terrifying sequence of events.
The film received critical acclaim for its atmospheric tension, innovative creature design and strong performances by the cast, including Sigourney Weaver as the protagonist Ellen Ripley. The movie, which spawned several sequels and spinoffs, has become a classic of the science-fiction and horror genres.
IMDb rating: 8.5/10
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, Psycho is a psychological horror-thriller based on the novel of the same name by Robert Bloch and follows the story of Marion Crane, a young woman who embezzles money from her employer and decides to flee to another city. Along the way, she stops at the Bates Motel, run by Norman Bates, a young man who seems to be dominated by his mother. Things, of course, aren’t as simple as they seem, with a terrifying chain of events set to unfold after Crane checks in at Bates Motel.
The movie is widely regarded as a masterpiece of suspense and psychological horror and is considered to be one of Hitchcock’s best works. As mentioned above, it is famous for its iconic shower scene, which has become one of the most influential scenes in movie history.
IMDb rating: 8.5/10
The Shining (1980)
A cult classic from the ’80s, The Shining is based on the novel of the same name by Stephen King. Directed by Stanley Kubrick, the film follows Jack Torrance, a struggling writer and recovering alcoholic, who takes a job as the caretaker of the Overlook Hotel. To do his job, he also starts living at the hotel, along with his wife Wendy and son Danny who possesses psychic abilities known as ‘The Shining.’ As the isolation and supernatural forces of the hotel begin to take hold, Jack’s sanity slowly deteriorates, leading to a terrifying climax.
The film went on to become a classic of the horror genre, and its themes of isolation, madness and the dangers of addiction have resonated with audiences for decades.
IMDb rating: 8.4/10
The Thing (2011)
Directed by John Carpenter, The Thing is a remake of the 1951 movie The Thing From Another World, which itself was based on the novel Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell Jr. The story follows a group of American researchers stationed in Antarctica who encounter a shape-shifting alien that has the ability to mimic any living creature it consumes. As the researchers struggle to determine who among them is the alien, paranoia and suspicion run high, leading to a tense and terrifying battle for survival.
The film is known for its innovative special effects, which were created using a combination of practical and visual effects, and its claustrophobic setting which adds to the tension and sense of isolation.
IMDb rating: 8.2/10
Released in 2018, Tumbbad is a Hindi horror film directed by Rahi Anil Barve. The movie is set in the 20th century in the village of Tumbbad and follows the story of a young boy named Vinayak, who is obsessed with finding the wealth hidden at his family’s ancestral home. As he grows older, Vinayak becomes increasingly determined to uncover the secrets of the ancient mansion and the mysterious deity that his family worships. His quest leads him on a terrifying journey through the dark and twisted history of his family and the village, as he confronts supernatural forces and the consequences of his own greed.
Tumbbad has been widely praised for its innovative storytelling, stunning visuals and haunting score, which combine to create a unique and immersive horror experience.
IMDb rating: 8.2/10
The Exorcist (1973)
No list compiling the best films of the horror genre can ever be complete without a mention of The Exorcist. Released in 1973 and directed by William Friedkin, the film is based on the novel of the same name by William Peter Blatty. It tells the story of a young girl named Regan who becomes possessed by a demon, leading to a series of terrifying and violent events that ultimately require the help of two priests.
The Exorcist is known for its disturbing and graphic imagery, which shocked and horrified audiences at the time of its release (1973). It heavily focuses on themes of faith, doubt and the battle between good and evil, and is widely regarded as being one of the greatest horror movies of all time. It has also had a lasting impact on popular culture, influencing countless horror movies and television shows in the years since its release.
IMDb rating: 8.1/10
Diabolique is a French psychological thriller directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot and based on the novel Celle qui n’était plus (The Woman Who Was No More) by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac. The story follows the wife and mistress of a cruel and abusive man conspiring together to murder him, only to find themselves haunted by his ghostly presence after his apparent death.
The film is known for its suspenseful and unpredictable plot twists, as well as its strong performances and moody, atmospheric cinematography. It was also praised for its innovative use of sound and visual effects, which added to the tension and sense of unease throughout the film.
IMDb rating: 8.1/10
Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Directed by Roman Polanski, Rosemary’s Baby is a psychological horror movie that is based on the novel of the same name by Ira Levin. The film tells the story of a young woman named Rosemary who becomes pregnant under mysterious circumstances. As her husband and neighbours start behaving oddly around her, and as her pregnancy starts having dire side effects on her health, Rosemary starts suspecting foul play, including the presence of a satanic cult in her apartment building.
The film is known for its slow-building tension and disturbing atmosphere, as well as its strong performances and innovative direction. The film was also praised for its exploration of themes of paranoia, trust and the manipulation of power, as well as its depiction of a female protagonist in a horror movie.
Fun fact: Ruth Gordon won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Rosemary’s Baby.
IMDb rating: 8.0/10
What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? (1962)
Directed by Robert Aldrich, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? is based on the novel of the same name by Henry Farrell. The film tells the story of two ageing sisters, Baby Jane Hudson and Blanche Hudson, who were both famous actresses in their youth but whose careers have since declined. With Bette Davis and Joan Crawford playing the sisters, it could be said that art was trying to imitate life here.
The movie is known for its intense and unsettling performances by the two Oscar-winning actresses as well as its exploration of themes of jealousy, resentment and the destructive nature of celebrity culture. The film also builds a lot of tension as Jane becomes increasingly unhinged, and Blanche becomes trapped in her own home and at the mercy of her unstable sister.
Fun fact: The first season of the TV series Feud is based on the making of this film.
IMDb rating: 8.0/10
The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari (1920)
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is a German silent horror movie from 1920, directed by Robert Wiene. The film tells the story of a mysterious hypnotist named Dr. Caligari, who uses a sleepwalker named Cesare to commit murders in a small town. The film is widely regarded as a classic of German expressionist cinema, known for its surreal, dreamlike sets and haunting visuals. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari has had a significant impact on the horror and thriller genres as well, influencing the development of film noir and other styles of psychological horror.
IMDb rating: 8.0/10
(Hero and feature image credits: Courtesy IMDb/Psycho and The Shining)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Question: Which is the scariest movie according to IMDb?
Answer: While there is no tangible way to judge which is the scariest movie according to IMDb, Alien is the highest-rated film from the horror genre. It has an IMDb rating of 8.2.
Question: Which horror movie has the best IMDb rating?
Answer: Alien has the highest rating (8.2) for a horror movie on IMDb.
Question: Which horror movie is banned?
Answer: There are many horror movies that have been banned for being too gory or graphic in nature. Some of these include Human Centipede 2, Cannibal Holocaust, Cannibal Ferox,
Hostel 2, and perhaps the most famous of them all, The Exorcist.
Question: Which is the highest-grossing horror movie?
Answer: IT: Chapter 1 is the highest-grossing horror movie of all time. Its worldwide collections amount to USD 701.8 million.