Top Modern Horror Movies of All Time

Posted on 16 Jan 00:00


Horror is a cyclic genre and that’s why you can go for a while without hearing about a classic movie coming out of it. Nevertheless, horror films have continued to draw movie buffs whenever a classic one is released. If you don’t have the time to go to the theater, classic horror movie DVD’s are a good option. People often flood theaters to catch the latest horror movies and their sequels. Production companies like the genre because of the low production costs and high returns. In this article, we share with you seven (7) of the top  modern horror movies of all time. They’re a must watch if you haven’t.

1)  The Shining (1980)

The shining is a horror movie produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick in 1980. The script was co-written by Kubrick and the novelist Diane Johnson. The movie is based on a novel by the same name Stephen King wrote in 1977. The main cast includes Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Scatman Crothers, and Danny Lloyd.

The main character, Jack Torrance (Nicholson) is an upcoming writer and a recovering alcoholic. He takes an off-season caretaker position at the Overlook Hotel located in the isolated Colorado Rockies. He stays at the hotel with his wife Wendy Torrance (Shelley Duvall), and his young son, Danny Torrance (Danny Lloyd). Danny has strong psychic abilities that allows him to see the horrors that occurred at the hotel in the past. A cook at the hotel, Dick Hallorran (Crothers) also has psychic abilities. The two are capable of communicating telepathically.

The film was released by Warner Bros in the US and the UK. The film had several versions released on different dates. Each version was shorter than the proceeding one. It received mixed reactions from the critics. Stephen King, the author of many horror and fantasy novels criticized the film for deviating from the novel it was based on. In 2018, the film was selected for preservation by the Library of Congress.

2)  Scream (1996)

Scream is 1996 horror film written by Kevin Willamson and Wes Craven. The cast includes Neve Campbell, David Arquette, Courteney Cox, Rose Gowah, Mathew Lillard, Drew Barrymore, and Skeet Ulrich. The film is based on a story of a high school student, Sidney Prescott (Campbell), who lives in a fictional town called Woodsboro, California. Campbell becomes the target of a deranged serial killer named Ghostface.

Scream was inspired by the real-life story of the Gainesville Ripper. Williamson’s passion for horror movies such as Halloween (1978) also contributed to the success of the movie. The film received positive reviews from the critics. It was also a financial success because it generated $178 million in earnings globally. This was only surpassed by the release of the movie Halloween (2018). 'Scream' received several nominations and awards. The soundtrack was praised as one of the most intriguing horror soundtracks in the recent past.  

Unlike other horror films, 'Scream' featured established actors. Consequently, the movie found a wider audience that included a large number of women. Critics credited the movie for rejuvenating the horror film genre in the 1990s. Scream’s success inspired the release of a sequel Scream 2 in 1997. The movie has been accused for inspiring and inducing violent murders and crimes. It received several nominations and awards including the Saturn Award for Best Actress that went to Campbell.

3)  The Evil Dead 1981

Upon release the film titled 'Book of the Dead'. The Evil Dead is a supernatural horror film written and directed by Sam Raimi and co-executive produced by Bruce Campbell and Raimi. Campbell also stars in the movie alongside Ellen Sandweiss and Betsy Baker. The movie is based on a story of five college students on a vacation in a remote cabin located in the woods.

The five students find an audio tape that when played releases a legion of demons. The demons possess the students and causes them to engage in mayhem and insane acts. The movie was shot in a remote cabin in Morristown, Tennessee. The shooting was difficult for the cast and crew. The prosthetic makeup and stop-motion animation were done by artist Tom Sullivan. Irvin Shapiro, a producer screened the film at the 1982 Cannes Film Festival.

A positive review from horror author Stephen King helped convince New Line Cinema to distribute the movie. The Evil Dead made $2.4 million upon release in the US and $29.4 million globally. Older and most recent reviews consider The Evil Dead as one of the most significant cult films. The film is also considered one of the greatest horror films of all time by many critics. The film had a sequel Evil Dead II which was released in 1987.

4)  A Nightmare on Elm Street

This movie is a 1984 American horror film written and directed by Wes Craven and produced by Robert Shaye. A Nightmare on Elm Street film series is the first in the movie series and stars John Saxon, Heather Langenkamp, Ronee Blakley, Johnny Depp, and Robert Englund. The film is based on a story of four adolescents living in the street in a fictitious town called Springwood, Ohio. Teenagers are being killed in their dreams by a severly burnt killer wearing a leather glove.

The film was released in 1984 and grossed $57 million globally, and the film was made on a budget of $1.8 million. Film historians and critics see the movie as an attempt to explain the blurry line between dreams and reality. The film won several awards including the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films award for the Best Horror Film, performance by a young actor. It also won the Avoriaz Fantastic Film Festival Critic Award.  

The success of the film led to the release of a sequel titled 'A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge'. The original film encountered censorship issues when it was submitted to the Motion Picture Association of film rating system. The body required two scenes to be removed in order to approve the film.

5)  A Quiet Place (2018)

This film is co-written, starred in and directed by John Krasinski. Bryan Woods, Scott Beck, and John Krasinski co-wrote the screen play. 'A Quiet Place' is based on a story of a father (John Krasinski) and a mother (Emily Blunt). The two struggle to raise their children in a post-apocalyptic world overrun by blind extraterrestrial creatures with an acute sense of hearing.

Woods and Beck started working on the script while in college. Krasinski joined them in 2016 after reading the script. He was later hired to rewrite and direct it. The screenplay was inspired by other films such as In the Bedroom, No Country for Old Men, and Alien. The movie was shot in upstate New York from May to November 2017. The movie debuted at South by Southwest and was later released throughout the US by Paramount Pictures. A Quiet Place became a major box office success generating more than $340 million globally.

The movie was accorded critical acclaim for the screenplay, atmosphere, acting, direction, sound effect and acting. The critics described it as smart and insanely frightening, but with humanity. The film was chosen by the American Film Institute and National Board of Review as one of the most successful films in 2018.

6)  Let the Right One In (2008)

This movie is a Swedish romantic horror film directed by Tomas Alfredson. The movie is based on 2004 novel by the same title written by John Lindqvist. He also wrote the script. 'Let the Right One In' is based on the story of a bullied 12-year-old boy who befriends a child vampire. The stars in the movie are two 11-year-olds, Lina Leandersson and Kare Hedebrant. The two received praise for their performance in the movie.

The movie garnered positive reviews from the critics and even won several awards. This included the Founder Award for Best Narrative Feature, the European Fantastic Film Festival Federation award, Saturn Award, and the Guldbagge Awards.

7)  Drag Me to Hell (2009)

This is an American supernatural horror movie co-written and directed by Sam Raimi. The screenplay was done by Ivan, Raimi’s older brother. The movie is based on the story of a loan officer, who refuses to give mortgage to an old woman. The woman becomes angry and curses the loan officer telling her that she will be plunged into the depths of hell after 3 days of torture.

The film debuted at the Cannes Film Festival and received praises from critics. The movie was a success at the box office grossing more than $90 million globally. The movie won the best horror film at the Scream Awards held in 2009. In 2010, the film won the best horror film at the Saturn Awards.


The films discussed above are seven (7) of the best horror movies of all time based on the decision of major ranking bodies. They are timeless horror classics, and worth watching at least once.

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