10 Most Iconic Horror Movies of All Time, According to Rotten Tomatoes

Horror fans can agree on one thing; There are too many amazing scary movies to count, but which are the most famous? What horror movies keep you watching, but only get better with time?


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The Halloween season is underway, so it’s time to watch as many horror movies as you can in a month. Narrow down which scary movies to watch by finding the top rated horror movies that have achieved cult status over the years, according to Rotten Tomatoes.

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“A Nightmare on Elm Street” (1984) — 95%

In the classic Wes Craven In this slasher film, a group of Midwestern teenagers falls victim to a disfigured killer who haunts their dreams and actually tortures them. The teens begin to piece together a dark secret that may hold the key to solving the mystery.

A nightmare on Elm Street is a favorite of many horror movie lovers. It’s one of the most memorable horror movies of the 80’s and has spawned quite a legacy. It wasn’t just the film debut of Johnny Depp, but it also introduced Nancy (Heide Langenkamp), one of the best final girls, as well as Freddy Krueger himself, played by Robert Englund. His makeshift claw, burned skin, and striped sweater are instantly recognizable and still terrify many.

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“The cabinet of Dr. Caligari” (1920) – 96%

Francis (Frederick Feder) and his friend Alan (Rudolph Letterer) attend a carnival in Germany, where they look up to the crazy Dr. Caligari (Werner Krauss). The Doctor shows a hypnotized man named Cesare (Konrad Weidt), who he claims can see into the future and predicts Alan’s death. The question everyone asks is if Cesare is guilty or if the doctor is checking him out.

The cabinet of Dr. Caligarifeatures a very dark and cryptic visual style, along with structures and landscapes that twist and tilt unusually, as well as shadows and lights painted onto the sets. The film is one in which people like to look for symbolism. The film’s themes include the contrast between sanity and insanity, the different perceptions of reality, and human duality. Many film fans have theories and interpretations of the film, making it an icon in its own right.

“Halloween” (1978) – 96%

Micheal Myers served 15 years in prison after murdering his 17-year-old sister when he was just six. On October 30, 1978, a 21-year-old Myers escaped and returned to his quiet hometown to search for his next victims.

Halloween was judged and scored by John Zimmerman. The film grossed $70 million, making it one of the highest-grossing independent films of all time. Many consider Halloween to be one of the greatest and most influential horror films of all time, and it also launched the career of Jamie Lee Curtis. In 2006, the Library of Congress selected the film for preservation in the National Film Registry for its cultural, historical, and aesthetic importance.

Psycho (1960) – 96%

Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) is on the run after stealing $40,000 from her employer. One night during a heavy rainstorm, she decides to stop at the seedy Bates Motel for some rest. She meets the friendly but very tense Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins), a man with a difficult relationship with his mother and some odd interests.

Psycho was initially seen as controversial and met with mixed reviews. However, audiences loved the film and its excellent box office results prompted a reappraisal from critics. The film was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Director for Alfred Hitchcock.

‘Out’ (2017) — 98%

Chris (Daniel Kaluya) and his girlfriend Rose (Alison Williams) travel to Upstate for the weekend with Rose’s parents. At first, Chris believes the family’s overly accommodating behavior is a nervous attempt to deal with her daughter’s interracial relationship, but a series of disturbing discoveries leads him to a shocking and terrifying truth.

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Go out is a psychological horror film written and directed by Jordan Peele on his directorial debut. The film received critical acclaim for its screenplay, acting, and social commentary. It was a huge hit, grossing $255 million worldwide on a budget of $4.5 million. Critics universally consider it one of the best films in recent history: in 2021, the Writer’s Guild of America ranked the screenplay as the best of the 21st century.

“Nosferatu” (1922) – 97%

Thomas Hütter (Gustav von Wangenheim) is invaded by the mysterious Count Orlok (Max fright), who plans to buy a house across from Hutter’s house. Reaching the remote Transylvanian castle in the mountains, Hutter soon finds out that Orlock is a vampire. Hutter attempts an escape to save himself and his wife.

Nosferatu was an unofficial adaptation of the novel DraculathroughBram Stoker. Although several details were changed, Stoker’s heirs sued over the adaptation, and the court ruled that all copies of the film must be destroyed. Several copies survived, however, and the film was considered an influential masterpiece. It was also the first film to feature a vampire dying from sun exposure. It was ranked twenty-one Rich Magazine “The 100 Best Films of World Cinema” in 2010.

“Ring” (1998) — 98%

Four girls are found dead after watching a supposedly cursed videotape. A reporter named Reiko Asakawa (Nanako Matsushima) goes in search of the secret that cost her niece her life. Reiko finds the tape, looks at it – and immediately gets a call telling her she’s going to die in a week. Reiko and her husband Ryuji (Hiroyuki Sanada) discover the origin of the video and try to solve an old murder case that could break the curse.

ring was a massive box office success in Japan, loved by audiences and critics alike. It helped revitalize horror films by taking a more low-key approach to the genre, leaving much of the horror to the audience’s imagination. The film popularized the Japanese horror (J-horror) internationally and inspired several sequels, including the 2002 American remake of the film called The ring.

“Alien” (1979) — 98%

In deep space, the crew of the commercial spacecraft Nostromo are awakened from their cryosleep by a distress call from an alien ship. As they investigate, they discover a nest of eggs from which a creature pops out and attacks a crew member. The remaining crew must now fight for survival against a murderous alien.

extraterrestrialis a science fiction horror film directed by Ridley Scott. By October 1979, the film had grossed $27 million internationally and won the 1980 Academy Award for Best Visual Effects. The movie stars Sigourney Weaver as Ripley. Weaver’s performance was highly acclaimed and she won her first Oscar after the sequel’s release. Foreigner, 1986

“The Babadook” (2014) – 98%

A recently widowed mother named Amelia (Essie Davis) tries to come to terms with her husband’s violent death while fighting her son’s fear of monsters. You are reading a strange book left in your house about a monster named Babadook hiding in the shadow of your house. Amelia begins to sense the eerie presence in her home and attempts to destroy the book.

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The Babadook is the directorial debut of Jennifer Kent based on her 2005 short film Monster. When released, the film received extremely positive reviews from audiences and was the top-rated horror film of 2014. Critics praised its horror, creature design, and exploration of grief, winning multiple awards, and the Babadook lived on as a meme for years .

“Frankenstein” (1931) — 100%

Henry Frankenstein (Colin Clive) is an obsessed scientist who digs up corpses in order to assemble a living being from body parts. The creation known as Frankenstein’s Monster, despite its grotesque form, appears to be an innocent, childlike creature. It escapes to the countryside and wreaks havoc while Frankenstein searches for the creature and must confront his tormented creation.

Frankensteinwas and is revered by critics and audiences. It has inspired several sequels and spinoffs over the decades. Frankenstein’s monster has become an iconic image associated with Halloween and remains one of the most popular horror creatures to date. In 1991 she was selected by the United States Library of Congress Frankenstein for preservation in the National Film Registry.

READ MORE: From ‘Halloween’ to ‘Nope’: The 10 Most Legendary ‘Final Girls’ In Horror Movie History

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Sarah Ridley

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