The best horror movies of all time, according to IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, and Metacritic

Ever wondered what the top-rated horror movies are? Us too, which is why we've dove deep into the horror genre to find out which films are the best, according to IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic – because you can never be too thorough when it comes to movie reviews!

We've gone through the top-rated horror movies from all three reviewing platforms to compile the musicMagpie official list of best horror movies, and you may be surprised as to which films did (or didn't) make the cut.

Whether you're a dedicated horror fan seeking the ultimate scares or you're in search of something truly terrifying to watch this Halloween, we've got you covered. Keep reading to find out more!

In this blog:

  • Psycho
  • Alien
  • Bride of Frankenstein
  • Get Out
  • Rosemary's Baby
  • The Exorcist
  • Let the Right One In
  • The Birds
  • A Quiet Place
  • Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Psycho (1960)

Ratings: IMDb – 8.5 | Rotten Tomatoes – 96% | Metacritic – 97

Psycho is a true masterpiece in the world of cinema, easily making it one of the top-rated horror movies of all time according to IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, and Metacritic ratings.

Directed by the legendary Alfred Hitchcock, Psycho defied the conservative standards of its era, boldly depicting scenes containing sexualised violence while digging deeper into psychoanalysis.

The film revolves around a secretary named Marion Crane who steals money and ends up at the Bates Motel, run by the mysterious Norman Bates. A shocking murder ensues, leading to a suspenseful investigation that reveals dark secrets.

Psycho is renowned for its suspenseful storytelling, its psychological exploration of its characters and shocking plot twists. It explores themes of identity, mental illness, and the blurred line between sanity and madness. The film's impact on the horror genre and cinema, in general, is profound, and it remains a classic and influential work of cinema history.

Alien (1979)

Ratings: IMDb – 8.5 | Rotten Tomatoes – 98% | Metacritic – 89

Directed by Ridley Scott, this sci-fi horror masterpiece takes terror to the far reaches of space, as the crew of the spaceship Nostromo encounters a deadly extraterrestrial threat.

Alien is known for its tense atmosphere, groundbreaking special effects, and strong performances. It combines elements of science fiction, horror, and suspense, and its iconic Xenomorph alien has become one of the most recognizable creatures in cinematic history. The film's success led to a franchise that includes several sequels, spin-offs, and expanded lore.

It's a must-watch for those seeking the very best in cinematic scares and holds an esteemed position in the list of best horror movies ever made.

Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

Ratings: IMDb – 7.8 | Rotten Tomatoes – 98% | Metacritic – 95

A timeless classic in the horror movie scene, Bride of Frankenstein ranks among the top-rated horror movies of all time according to IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, and Metacritic.

This James Whale-directed masterpiece is a captivating sequel to the original Frankenstein, exploring themes of science, creation, and the consequences of playing God. As Dr. Frankenstein and Dr. Pretorius work to create the Bride of Frankenstein (played by Elsa Lanchester), tensions rise, and the Monster seeks acceptance and companionship.

With its unforgettable visual style, atmospheric sets, and Boris Karloff's iconic portrayal of the Monster, Bride of Frankenstein continues to resonate with audiences as one of the best horror movies ever made.

Get Out (2017)

Ratings: IMDb – 7.8 | Rotten Tomatoes – 98% | Metacritic – 85

Get Out is a modern horror that definitely commands a prominent position among the top-rated horror movies of all time, as recognized by IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, and Metacritic.

Directed by Jordan Peele, the movie follows the story of Chris Washington (played by Daniel Kaluuya), a young African-American man who visits his white girlfriend's family estate for the weekend. At first, everything seems normal, but as the weekend progresses, Chris becomes increasingly uncomfortable with the behaviour of the family's white guests.

Without dishing out the spoilers, Get Out is a gripping and thought-provoking horror film that explores themes of race, identity, and social commentary within the framework of a tense and suspenseful thriller. It received critical acclaim for its unique approach to the horror genre and its ability to address important societal issues.

Rosemary's Baby (1968)

Ratings: IMDb – 8.0 | Rotten Tomatoes – 96% | Metacritic – 96

Rosemary's Baby, a timeless classic in the horror genre, secures its place among the top-rated horror movies of all time, as noted by IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, and Metacritic reviews.

Directed by Roman Polanski, this haunting tale follows the unsettling experiences of Rosemary Woodhouse (played by Mia Farrow) and her husband Guy (played by John Cassavetes) as they move into a new apartment in New York City. As Rosemary becomes pregnant, she begins to suspect that her neighbours, particularly the mysteriously friendly elderly couple, have sinister plans for her unborn child.

This iconic film is a masterclass in psychological horror, delving deep into paranoia, manipulation, gender roles and the Occult. These themes, combined with Mia Farrow's haunting performance, make Rosemary's Baby a chilling and thought-provoking exploration of psychological horror and societal fears.

The Exorcist (1973)

Ratings: IMDb – 8.1 | Rotten Tomatoes – 96% | Metacritic – 81

Directed by William Friedkin, The Exorcist delves into the horrifying ordeal of a young girl named Regan (played by Linda Blair), who becomes possessed by a malevolent supernatural entity. As her mother (played by Ellen Burstyn) seeks answers and assistance from a priest (played by Max von Sydow) and a younger priest grappling with his own faith (played by Jason Miller), the film takes audiences on a harrowing journey into the battle between good and evil.

Known for its unsettling imagery and profound exploration of faith and fear, The Exorcist stands as one of the best horror movies ever made, leaving an indelible mark on the genre. The Exorcist is an undisputed classic, so it's no surprise that it claims a well-deserved spot among the best horror movies of all time.

Let the Right One In (2008)

Ratings: IMDb – 7.9 | Rotten Tomatoes – 98% | Metacritic – 82

Let the Right One In is a 2008 Swedish horror film directed by Tomas Alfredson, based on the novel of the same name by John Ajvide Lindqvist. The film explores the unlikely and tender friendship between a bullied young boy named Oskar and a mysterious, centuries-old vampire child named Eli.

The film is a unique and atmospheric take on the vampire genre, focusing more on the emotional and psychological aspects of its characters rather than the typical horror elements. It explores themes of loneliness, friendship, and the blurry boundaries between good and evil.

Let the Right One In stands as a masterful example of how horror can be both chilling and deeply emotional, earning its status as one of the best horror movies of all time.

The Birds (1963)

Ratings: IMDb – 7.6 | Rotten Tomatoes – 94% | Metacritic – 90

Another Hitchcock classic to make it onto the best horror movies list, The Birds is a 1963 horror-thriller film that centres around a series of inexplicable and increasingly violent bird attacks on a coastal California town.

The Birds is renowned for its suspenseful atmosphere and groundbreaking special effects (for its era), particularly in creating the illusion of bird attacks. The film explores themes of nature turning against humanity and the fragility of civilization in the face of an unpredictable and terrifying force of nature.

Hitchcock's mastery of suspense and the film's eerie, unresolved ending have made it a classic in the horror genre.

A Quiet Place (2018)

Ratings: IMDb – 7.5 | Rotten Tomatoes – 96% | Metacritic – 82

Directed by John Krasinski (who also stars in the film alongside his wife, Emily Blunt), A Quiet Place is a 2018 science fiction horror set in a post-apocalyptic world, where deadly creatures with hypersensitive hearing have decimated most of the human population.

The film follows the Abbott family as they try to navigate through life in a world where even the slightest noise can attract deadly creatures. The story takes a dramatic turn when the mother, Evelyn, becomes pregnant, and the family must prepare for the challenges of bringing a newborn into a world where crying babies can be fatal.

A Quiet Place is a tense and suspenseful film that explores themes of family, survival, and the lengths to which people will go to protect their loved ones in the face of unimaginable threats. It's known for its minimal dialogue and effective use of silence to build tension, making it a unique and gripping addition to the horror genre.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

Ratings: IMDb – 7.7 | Rotten Tomatoes – 98% | Metacritic – 92

Invasion of the Body Snatchers is a classic science fiction horror film that has been adapted multiple times, but the original 1956 version offers the best ratings on the likes of IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic.

The plot follows Dr. Miles Bennell (played by Kevin McCarthy) as he returns to his hometown to discover that something deeply disturbing is happening. His patients, friends, and family members are all acting strangely and seem to have lost their emotions and individuality. As Dr. Bennell investigates these bizarre cases, he begins to unravel a chilling and terrifying truth. Extraterrestrial plant-like organisms have landed on Earth and are replacing humans with emotionless duplicates.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers is a powerful allegory for the fear of conformity and the loss of individuality during the McCarthy era, a time marked by Cold War paranoia and the Red Scare. The film's suspenseful storytelling and social commentary have made it a classic in the science fiction and horror genres.

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