15 Classic Horror Movies That Are Still Terrifying Today

Aileen
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Horror movies are a beloved genre of cinema that has been around for over a century. From the silent era to modern-day blockbusters, horror films have captivated audiences with their ability to scare, shock, and thrill.

While countless horror movies have existed, some stand out as timeless classics. These 15 classic horror movies have stood the test of time and continue to terrify audiences today:

“The Exorcist” (1973)

15 Classic Horror Movies That Are Still Terrifying Today
image credit: Warner Bros

Based on a book by William Peter Blatty, this movie is considered one of the scariest films of all time. It follows the story of a young girl who becomes possessed by a demonic force and her mother’s desperate attempts to save her.

The movie was hugely successful and received 10 Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture.

“The Shining” (1980)

15 Classic Horror Movies That Are Still Terrifying Today
image credit: Warner Bros

This movie, directed by Stanley Kubrick and starring Jack Nicholson, continues to terrify viewers with its eerie atmosphere and haunting scenes.

It tells the story of a family who moves into an isolated hotel for the winter and slowly descends into madness. The movie is known for its iconic one-liners and has become a cult classic.

“Halloween” (1978)

15 Classic Horror Movies That Are Still Terrifying Today
image credit: Compass International Pictures

This slasher film, directed by John Carpenter, introduced the world to Michael Myers, a masked killer with a seemingly unstoppable thirst for blood.

The movie spawned multiple sequels and remakes, solidifying its place in horror movie history. It also popularized the concept of “the final girl” in horror films.

“Night of the Living Dead” (1968)

15 Classic Horror Movies That Are Still Terrifying Today
image credit: Off Color Films

Considered one of the first zombie movies, this film, directed by George A. Romero, set the standard for all future zombie films.

The movie follows a group of people trapped in a farmhouse who are attacked by reanimated corpses. Although it had a low budget, it was a commercial success and has since been selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.

“Psycho” (1960)

15 Classic Horror Movies That Are Still Terrifying Today
image credit: Shamley Productions

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, this movie is often referred to as one of the greatest horror films ever.

It tells the story of Norman Bates, a young man with a complicated relationship with his mother and a deadly secret. The movie is known for its iconic shower scene and has been parodied countless times in popular culture.

“A Nightmare on Elm Street” (1984)

15 Classic Horror Movies That Are Still Terrifying Today
image credit: New Line Cinema

Directed by Wes Craven, this classic horror film introduced audiences to Freddy Krueger, a terrifying murderer who kills his victims in their dreams.

The movie was a huge success, spawning multiple sequels and a crossover with the “Friday the 13th” franchise.

“The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” (1974)

15 Classic Horror Movies That Are Still Terrifying Today
image credit: Vortex

This low-budget independent film became a cult classic and helped popularize the slasher genre. It follows a group of friends who are terrorized by a family of cannibals, including the infamous Leatherface.

The movie was met with controversy upon its release but has since been praised for its realistic and gritty tone.

“Rosemary’s Baby” (1968)

15 Classic Horror Movies That Are Still Terrifying Today
image credit: Paramount Pictures

Based on a novel by Ira Levin, this psychological horror film tells the story of a young pregnant woman who begins to suspect that her husband has made a pact with their neighbors, a coven of witches. The movie received critical acclaim and is considered a masterpiece in the horror genre.

“Friday the 13th” (1980)

15 Classic Horror Movies That Are Still Terrifying Today
image credit: Paramount Pictures

This slasher film, directed by Sean S. Cunningham, introduced audiences to Jason Voorhees, a notorious killer who wears a hockey mask.

It spawned multiple sequels and helped establish horror films’ “final girl” trope. The movie was a commercial success despite receiving mixed reviews.

“The Omen” (1976)

15 Classic Horror Movies That Are Still Terrifying Today
image credit: Twentieth Century Fox

Directed by Richard Donner, this supernatural horror film follows the story of a couple who discover that their adopted son may be the Antichrist.

The movie received critical acclaim and was nominated for multiple Academy Awards, including Best Original Score.

“The Silence of the Lambs” (1991)

15 Classic Horror Movies That Are Still Terrifying Today
image credit: Orion Pictures

Directed by Jonathan Demme, this psychological horror film is known for its iconic performances by Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter and Jodie Foster as Clarice Starling.

It became the third film in history to win Academy Awards in all five major categories, solidifying its place as a classic horror movie.

“The Blair Witch Project” (1999)

15 Classic Horror Movies That Are Still Terrifying Today
image credit: Haxan Films

This found-footage horror film sparked a new wave of storytelling in the genre. The movie follows a group of students who venture into the woods to make a documentary about the legend of the Blair Witch, only to never be seen again. Despite its low budget, it was a critical and commercial success.

“Scream” (1996)

15 Classic Horror Movies That Are Still Terrifying Today
image credit: Dimension Films

Directed by Wes Craven, this meta-horror film satirizes classic horror tropes while still delivering scares. Its success revitalized the slasher genre and spawned multiple sequels. The iconic Ghostface mask has become a staple in pop culture.

“Get Out” (2017)

15 Classic Horror Movies That Are Still Terrifying Today
image credit: Blumhouse Productions

Directed by Jordan Peele, this horror film tackles race and identity issues while delivering a terrifying story. It was a critical and commercial success, becoming the first horror film to receive an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.

“Paranormal Activity” (2007)

15 Classic Horror Movies That Are Still Terrifying Today
image credit: Blumhouse Productions

This found footage horror film, directed by Oren Peli, tells the story of a couple haunted by a supernatural presence in their home.

Made on a shoestring budget, it became one of the most profitable films ever and spawned multiple sequels. Its use of jump scares and tension-building techniques has become a staple in modern horror films.

Author

  • Aileen

    Aileen adds a melodic tone to the Frenz Hub writing team, with her background in agricultural economics and hobbies like singing, reading, swimming, and traveling, enriching her writing with diverse perspectives.

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