In light of the horror show unfolding in Washington D.C. right now, it occurred to me that many of you are unaware that I am a horror movie aficionado.
Most of the horror films that have been produced over the last decade are poorly done with predictable plots and too much computer animation. So once you’ve seen all the classics that everyone loves — The Shining, It, The Evil Dead, Halloween, The Exorcist , etc. — it can be hard to sift through all the junk and find new scary movies that are enjoyable.
I’ve seen almost every horror movie that exists. Below are 14 of my favorite horror movies, many of which are underrated, in no particular order. Watch and enjoy!
I first watched this cult classic as a kid, and it has always stuck with me. The creepiness doesn’t necessarily hit you in the face; it’s more subtle. Every time I watch it, it’s just as eerie as I remembered. A must-see for every horror fan.
It Follows is easily one of the most creative and well-done horror movies of the last few decades. It is unpredictable and leaves you with a spine-tingling sense of unease. The soundtrack itself is also a masterpiece.
What could be better than watching Jack Nicholson, Pierce Brosnan, Danny DeVito, and Sarah Jessica Parker being attacked by green aliens with massive brains and ray guns? …Seriously, what? Although Mars Attacks isn’t that scary, it’s a ton of fun to watch. This is a good one to enjoy with the kids!
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
The best (and one of the first) zombie movies ever made. To this day, Night of the Living Dead is genuinely creepier than most of its modern successors.
There’s something innately creep about Germanic horror movies (helloooo Human Centipede!). Goodnight Mommy is eerie as hell and will stay in your mind for weeks after watching. The plot, although subtle at times, is full of unexpected twists and will get under your skin. It’s also a strikingly beautiful film, visually.
House on Haunted Hill is a the quintessential classic horror movie about a haunted house. It includes everything you want in a scary movie — trap doors, skeletons, damsels in distress, and of course Vincent Price. If you’ve never seen it, you’re in for a delicious treat. A must-see for any fan of the genre.
A mix between action and horror, The Descent will keep you on the edge of your seat throughout the entire thing. And given the movie’s plot (most of it takes place inside dark caves), it’s surprisingly well done.
Forget the remake — the original Dawn of the Dead is a masterpiece that blows the 2004 version out of the water. It was made by George A. Romero, the same filmmaker who produced Night of the Living Dead and generally considered the grandfather of the zombie genre.
Quarantine is an action-packed modern take on zombie movies. The plot is genuinely interesting, and it’s one of the few films that pulls off the POV/first-person perspective.
When Shaun of the Dead was first released, I rolled my eyes and thought, “A zombie comedy? This is going to be the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen.” I’m SO glad I gave it a chance; Shaun of the Dead is a phenomenal zombie movie in it’s own right. Hilarious yet full of poignant moments, it is also an interesting social commentary.
The Blair Witch Project (1999)
I’m including this because people tend to be too harsh on the Blair Witch Project, which may dissuade some from giving it a chance. But don’t listen to the haters — the Blair Witch is truly frightening. When it comes to horror movies, I’m a firm believer that what you don’t see is often scarier than what you do see. This movie is proof of that, giving you just enough to chill you to the bone while not revealing too much about who (or what) is terrorizing the characters. But don’t waste your time on the remake, which was released this year; spoiler alert: it sucked.
The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)
Yes this cult classic is a bit cheesy, but you need to remember it was made in 1954. The Creature from the Black Lagoon is one of the first horror movies I ever watched as a kid, and at the time I found it terrifying. Nowadays, it’s more fun than scary to watch. But i’ll admit that because of this movie, I still get a bit sketched out while swimming in murky lakes.
An American Werewolf in London (1981)
This is way more than just a “werewolf movie.” It’s a brilliant mix of horror, comedy, and wit all in one. It’s a remarkable movie, and even more impressive when you consider that the director — John Landis — was only 19 years old when he wrote the script.
This is one of my favorite comedies of all time, but of course it also falls into the horror genre. Mel Brooks made this as an homage to the original cult classic Frankenstein, and shot the movie using the same props. It is hilarious from start to finish, and the acting is great.