With last week’s addition of Coralie Fargeat’s Revenge – one of our favourite films of the year – exclusively to horror film streaming service Shudder, we thought we’d give you a reason to sign up and catch the fantastic rape-revenge thriller. A hundred reasons, to be precise. We’ve ranked our top 100 movies available for streaming right now on Shudder.com, from black-and-white scares and genre-defining classics, to modern masterpieces and b-movie thrills.
100. The Human Centipede: First Sequence (2009)
Body horror and torture porn were brought to a new level with Tom Six’s grotesque horror – a new level of notoriety, that is. The trashy cult horror about a mad scientist sewing three captives together, arse-to-mouth, became a hushed rumour before it was a global sensation (for all the wrong reasons). Maybe the allure of something so vile and depraved will win you over too?
99. Colin (2008)
Marc Price’s micro-budget British zombie movie follows the titular Colin, one of the recently turned undead, as he shuffles through the increasingly deserted streets of a post-outbreak UK. The fact this movie exists at all is impressive enough, but Price attempts to capture the rarely seen “other side of the story” in a zombie apocalypse. Just don’t expect Colin to be quite as interesting as Day of the Dead’s Bub.
98. Contamination (1980)
Ah, good old reliably cheap video nasty Euro-trash horror. Luigi Cozzi’s Alien knock-off is not high in drama, tension or thrills, but it is high in casual sexism, nonsensical plotting and dodgy odes to Scientology’s L. Ron Hubbard. It may not be a great film by any stretch, but is a perfect example of the otherwise forgotten b-movies Shudder’s library boasts – plus, it has a fantastic Goblin score!
97. Night of Something Strange (2016)
Stoner diet Troma, Night of Something Strange is an STD-filled gorefest. Any film that opens with a necrophiliac (Wayne W Johnson) getting infected with a zombifying disease after having intimate relations with a corpse is sure to have its own fan base ripe for Shudder subscribers.
96. Sorority Row (2009)
Modern teen slashers make slim pickings but Stewart Hendler’s remake about five sorority sisters has a lot going for it. A group of girls get killed in creative and elaborate ways, over and over. Yes, it’s pretty basic, but it does that basic stuff well.
95. Show Pieces (2014)
A Shudder Exclusive, Show Pieces is famous primarily for one reason: Alan Moore is behind it in the writer’s chair. And, for a period, he’s in front of the camera too, playing a gold-covered compère to this bizarre circus of stories. The anthology series, directed by Mitch Jenkins, tells three thematically connected tales, each of which should please fans of Moore’s previous work.
94. Dark Skies (2013)
Marketed as “from the producers of Paranormal Activity and Insidious”, this UFO-horror has those fingerprints all over it. JK Simmons pops up for the film’s highlight as a UFOlogist in what is a very conventional albeit creepy jump-scare horror.
93. Sadako vs Kayako (2016)
What if the girl from Ringu fought the boy from Ju-on: The Grudge? That’s the central conceit in Sadako vs Kayako, that sees the protagonists from the original Ring and Grudge films go toe-to-toe – eventually. First, the film almost operates like a sequel to The Ring; and one much better than the American attempts at continuing the story. Two high school students discover a dusty old tape and watch it together, but one is so caught up on her phone she misses the action. Finally, being a millennial pays off! From there, they’re led through the history of Sadako, find a nearby haunted house with Kayako lurking within, and someone comes up with the genius idea of “what if we let them fight?” Honestly, what more do you need.
By Jenn Reid
92. Lost River (2014)
Ryan Gosling’s directorial debut was… not as well received as one might have expected from an actor who was hot off the heels of acclaimed atmospheric movies such as Drive, Only God Forgives and The Place Beyond the Pines. Ambitious, promising, but never quite touching greatness. But it does pack a fantastic cast including Christina Hendricks, Saoirse Ronan, Eva Mendes, a terrifying Matt Smith and Ben Mendelsohn.
91. House on Haunted Hill (1959)
William Castle must have thanked his lucky stars to have had Vincent Price involved in this creepy thriller. There isn’t a film in existence that would not have benefitted from his presence. Whilst it doesn’t necessarily hold up as one of Price’s best, it’s still a genre classic that everybody should see at least once – preferably before the Netflix Original adapted from the same novel releases later this year.
90. The Toxic Avenger (1984)
Cult movies don’t get much more cult than the names Lloyd Kaufman, Michael Herz and Troma. The fictional town of Tromaville’s nerdiest nerd becomes the crime-fighting do-gooder the Toxic Avenger after falling into a vat of toxic waste. It is exactly as it sounds. Goofy, trashy and all kinds of fun.
89. We Go On (2016)
A man terrified of dying inherits a relatively large amount of money offers out a reward for anybody who can prove the existence of an afterlife. Cue enticing if somewhat dubious telephone call that is more than Miles (Clark Freeman) bargained for. Directors Andy Mitton and Jesse Holland’s indie Shudder Exclusive has a strong concept to keep things interesting until the very end.
88. Dead Snow 2: Red vs Dead (2014)
Norwegian filmmaker Tommy Wirkola brings his Nazi Zombies back for more spectacularly gruesome off-kilter humour as the armies of the dead do battle with Russia…’s undead. Things may get ramped up to 11 in this ZomCom sequel. If you had any fun with the original, then you will find the sequel bigger, bolder and more bad-ass.
87. Stitches (2012)
That Geordie comedian Ross Noble is dead funny… Because he plays killer clown in this Irish horror-comedy. After his death at a kid’s tenth birthday party, Stitches comes back to wreak revenge six years later, Freddy Krueger style. Look out for a particularly memorable tricycle scene, something there just isn’t enough of in the genre.
86. Beyond Re-animator (2003)
Brian Yuzna, writer of Re-animator and director of its sequel, is back for its third instalment with the iconic Dr Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) continuing his Frankenstein experiments from behind bars on various fellow inmates. It is nowhere near the quality of the original so lower your expectations, the effects are very early-noughties, but it’s nevertheless dark, funny and more than a little bit sleazy.
85. Mr Jones (2013)
A long time to set up the final act is worth the payoff as the nightmarish mockumentary drags the viewer through a heavily Blair Witch inspired horror. Its slow opening crescendos to a surreal and unnerving climax as filmmaker Scott (Jon Foster) drags his girlfriend Penny (Sarah Jones) further into the mystery of the Mr. Jones sculptures.
84. Willow Creek (2013)
Bobcat Goldthwaite’s foray into the found-footage reaps many rewards in the opening two acts. The quality goes somewhat south in the final stages, but the tongue in cheek mockumentary following bigfoot hunters on the Patterson-Gimlin trail is ominous, creepy and a joy to watch (until the very, very long tent scene, at least).
83. Black Sabbath (1963)
Mario Bava made some of the most iconic films of Italy’s golden generation. Black Sabbath, starring one of the most iconic stars of any generation of genre movies, Boris Karloff, tells three short supernatural spooky stories, each creepy and entertaining in their own right – but of course Karloff is the man and his final segment is worth the wait.
82. Demons 2 (1986)
Before Charlie Brooker found the perfect use for The Smiths’ ‘Panic’ in Black Mirror, Lamberto Bava had a crack at it with this Italian horror sequel. An apartment block wards off zombies in neon drenched 80s gore.
81. Found Footage 3D (2016)
Don’t have a 3D television? No problem. There’s a regular 3D version. Don’t want that? Sure, watch the 2D version. Want to know more? Then there’s a director’s commentary. Shudder went all out for Steven DeGennaro’s ultra-meta horror about a group of filmmakers living the film that they’re making.
80. Triangle (2009)
A rare day trip out on a boat with friends ends with them getting caught in a storm and capsizing, luckily being picked up by the passing ocean liner Aeolus. Once on board a lot of strange things start to happen and Jess starts to get a sense of deja vu. Is it a descent into madness, or just a mad situation? It is left entirely up to you to decide what is going on here and to reveal too much is to spoil the fun! Melissa George does an amazing job as Jess and Triangle kept me thinking for days trying to figure it out. This is one film that should mess with your head if you choose to engage with it.
By Gavin McHugh
79. Black Sunday (1960)
Mario Bava pops up again on this list for another film with ‘Black’ in the title. This time it’s a folk-horror following the exemplary Barbara Steele, possessed by the vengeful spirit of her ancestor: an evil witch burned at the stake. This is a good old fashioned, straight up supernatural horror with no pretension and virtually no subtext. Enjoy it for the atmospheric romp that it is.
78. Raze (2013)
Death Proof’s all action stuntwoman Zoe Bell takes centre stage in a Saw-inspired thriller as a group of abducted women are forced to fight each other to the death for the amusement of anonymous lookers-on. The premise is straightforward and Josh C. Waller executes it with consummate aplomb.
77. Who Can Kill A Child? (1976)
Narciso Ibáñez Serrador’s Spanish horror is famous for being an incredibly uncomfortable watch. It juxtaposes real life footage of atrocities committed against children against the fictional tale of two English tourists who arrive on a seemingly deserted island only to find the adults have all been murdered by the children.
76. Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966)
Terence Fisher and star Christopher Lee (barely) returns to resurrect the Count one more time. This Hammer Horror fangtastic (I make no apologies) feature attempts to expand the folklore surrounding the ancient vampire and delivers some interesting observations – but there’s no getting away from it, Lee’s precious screen time is the only reason to watch this. But what a reason!
75. Afflicted (2013)
Directors Clif Prowse and Derek Lee’s found footage/mockumentary would arguably be the most unconventional vampire movie on this list if not for Thirst (keep scrolling). A terminally ill Canadian and his pal vlog their trip to Europe. Few films show the transformation from man to monster quite as well on such a small budget.
74. Digging up the Marrow (2014)
Adam Green (he of Hatchet and Frozen (not that one) fame) writes, directs, produces and stars in this homemade metafiction as a version of himself attempting to make a documentary about real life monsters. It’s bonkers, has some great effects, and is thoroughly entertaining. I dug it. Dug it. Sorry.
73. The Devil’s Rejects (2005)
Two years after House of 1000 Corpses rocked our worlds, Rob Zombie and his bloodthirsty Firefly family return to the road bringing chaos and carnage wherever they go. Chased by an angry, revenge-fuelled sheriff who’s fixing to be just as nasty and violent as the murder-loving family; the Fireflys are simultaneously good guys and bad in this backwoods road movie. From the opening shootout with the police to the Lynyrd Skynyrd soundtracked final scene, Rob Zombie has taken everything he learned with HO1KC and turned it all up to eleven. The heavy metal director found his groove with this critically acclaimed and horror fan loved film and created a hyper-violent 107 minutes that will be loved and cherished by generations of horror fanatics to come.
By Andrew Brooker
72. Abominable Snowman (1957)
There’s really only one name I need mention here to convince you to give this black and white classic a chance, and that’s Nigel Kneale. The British sci-fi writer is the man behind many underseen classics, including The Stone Tape, The Year of the Sex Olympics, and the original The Woman In Black. The screenwriter teams with old partner Val Guest for this Hammer Horror where, much like Kneale’s other work, it is man that becomes the monster.
71. Jug Face (aka The Pit) (2013)
Lauren Ashley Carter is the stand out performance in an incestuous family in a backwards ‘hick’ community who worship a healing pit in the ground. People are chosen to be sacrificed to the pit when a witch doctor type character bakes their face into a jug. It’s certainly… unusual.
70. House of 1000 Corpses (2003)
When a car full of know-it-alls travelling the lesser known areas of Texas looking for local legends stumbleupon Captain Spaulding’s Museum of Monsters and Madmen, they get more than they bargained for. Finding themselves in the hands of the crazed, murderous Firefly family, things don’t end well for them. Rob Zombie’s 2003 debut was divisive when it came out and is just as divisive now. The director has garnered quite a fan base in his 15 years behind the camera and arguably the Firefly Clan is his best invention. Extremely violent, grimly disturbing and darkly, darkly funny; the road tripping teenagers’ hunt for Dr Satan is one of the most satisfying independent horror films to grace a screen.
By Andrew Brooker
69. The ABCs of Death (2012)
Taking the horror anthology idea to the absolute max, The ABC’s of Death is predicted on a delightfully simple premise – a horror vignette by a multitude of directors based around every letter of the alphabet. Some work, some don’t, indeed some are downright awful, but it’s a fun premise which did enough right to spawn a sequel.
By Tony Black
68. Stake Land (2010)
A post apocalyptic vampire story, where cities lie in ruin and humans live in rural camps terrified of the night. Finding himself alone after seeing his family slaughtered, a young man becomes travelling mate to a tough loner vampire hunter known simply as Mister. Easily described as the vampire equivalent to The Walking Dead, Stake Land is one of those films that no-one has ever heard of. But if you can find someone that has, they won’t stop raving about it. In a world filled to the brim with Twilights and their ilk, it’s refreshing to spend some time in a dark and dingy world where the chances of survival aren’t based on how good looking you are.
By Andrew Brooker
67. Maniac Cop (1988)
What happens when the unstoppable force (aka the instantly recognisable Robert Z’Dar as a uniformed killer) meets the immovable object (aka New York coppers Tom Atkins, Bruce Campbell and Laurene Landon)? You get the savagely violent Maniac Cop, that’s what.
66. Unearthed & Untold: The Path to Pet Sematary (2017)
Having had limited experience in actually making documentaries, I can only imagine how difficult it must have been for John Campopiano and Justin White to tell the story they wanted of the making of Stephen King’s Pet Semetary without access to any archival footage. However, this “making of” doc gathers up some fascinating anecdotes from those involved in every aspect of production, from set design to star actors.
65. The Eye (2002)
A blind violinist receives a cornea transplant that unwittingly allows her to see phantoms in this cult box office hit. The American remake received less fanfare upon release and the subsequent sequels equally did not muster much enthusiasm, but the Pang brothers’ Cantonese ghost story is well worth a look…
64. Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead (1994)
Don Coscarelli brings the Tall Man back for more terror in the life of poor ol’ Mike (now an adult) and friend Reggie, an ex-Ice Cream vendor. In fact, all of the Phantasm sequels are available through Shudder, but III just happens to be my pick of them. It’s camp as Christmas but more than a little uncomfortable to watch. Just how it should be.
63-61. V/H/S (2012), V/H/S 2 (2013), V/H/S: Viral (2014)
The American anthology series collects a series of short features discovered on VHS tapes (or not as the case may be) with a wrap-around story, each varying in quality, but spiritually successors for one another. Here’s Tony Black with his thoughts on V/H/S 2:
Many would agree that the idea behind the V/H/S films is stronger than the resulting trio of films – a horror anthology of stories based around VHS tapes discovered in a strange house. V/H/S 2 stands out primarily thanks to Gareth Evans’ intense and striking entry, set in a Japanese death cult, which is as nerve-shredding as it is genuinely surprising. Watch it for that alone!
By Tony Black
60. Phenomena (1985)
Before she danced the magic dance with the tight-trousered David Bowie in Jim Henson’s Labyrinth, Jennifer Connelly used her supernatural abilities to communicate with bugs and solve murders in a boarding school. Not literally, of course, but in horror maestro Dario Argento’s bizarro superhero(esque) fantasy thriller.
59. [REC]2 (2009)
Continuing the story of the apartment building under siege from a zombie virus, [REC]2 throws the audience a curveball by introducing the supernatural twist that changes the whole series. The sequel makes the [REC] movies stand out as something extra special in the ‘zombie’ genre. Taking place after the events of the first film, it manages to add more depth and detail to what could have been a shallow sequel cash-in.
By Amy Walker
58. The House by the Cemetery (1981)
Lucio Fulci does it again in the third part of his ‘Death’ trilogy with more mindless and uncompromising murder in some of the most distorted and twisted ways conceivable in film. Grim, menacing and more than a little bit odd.
57. The Mummy (1959)
Terence Fisher propelled Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee to stardom through the 1950s with his Hammer Horror favourites. Often forgotten about amongst its fang-bearing and re-animating brothers, The Mummy nevertheless features some of the finest practical effects, sets, and performances of all three.
56. Basket Case (1982)
Can a film really be so bad that it’s good? CrazyM certainly thought so when they reviewed it on Shudder.com giving Frank Henenlotter’s body horror a full five stars. A tortured soul carries around his forcefully removed deformed psychic siamese twin in a basket and commits increasingly violent acts of vengeance for him. See? So bad it’s good.
55. Dead Snow (2009)
Eins, zwei, die! Certainly Tommy Wirkola’s original Dead Snow doesn’t have the budget nor quite the ambition of its far goofier and more epic sequel, but it is still a grade A b-movie feature nonetheless. It never takes itself too seriously – but then again, how could it? It’s about Nazi zombies reanimating in the frozen mountainside after some of their gold goes missing. It is exactly how it sounds.
54. Beyond the Gates (2016)
Ever play Atmosphere as a kid and wonder “what if this copy is actually haunted?” – well wonder no more, because that’s pretty much the concept that this Jumanji-meets-Hammer Horror feature picks up and runs with, only with added Barbara Crampton, making it impossible to dislike.
53. Bride of Re-Animator (1989)
Brian Yuzna manages to beat some life into the inevitable second chapter after taking over the director’s chair from Stuart Gordon in his Lovecraftian horror series. Yuzna is able to prevent what could so easily have been a stagnant and unnecessary follow-up. Herbert West (Jeffrey Coombs) returns as the Frankenstein-inspired scientist with some eccentric, over-the-top, surreal mad doctoring.
52. The Sacrament (2013)
Ti West established himself as a director to look out for with The House of the Devil (check further down this list!) but the 37-year-old’s mockumentary into a Jonestown-esque cult is bleaker and more harrowing than any of his previous work. Rather expectedly, Gene Jones steals the show as the father of this mysterious parish.
51. The Woman in Black (2012)
Based upon the Susan Hill novel, The Woman in Black tells the story of lawyer Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe) as he travels from London to a small English village, where he has to gather important documents from an isolated house in the middle of marshland. Unfortunately for Kipps, the house is haunted by the spirit of a woman that has been responsible for the deaths of several local children. Despite using jump scares in a few places The Woman in Black relied on tension and creepy camera tricks to build fear, delivering one of the best Hammer films in recent years.
By Amy Walker
50. The Innkeepers (2012)
As a horror aficionado, very few films freak me out. I still like plenty, but you start to see jump scares coming and pick apart the CGI or creature design of any ghouls. The Innkeepers still freaked me out. The film follows two employees of a run down, possibly haunted bed and breakfast, one of whom is determined to prove a haunting. Sara Paxton is plucky and delightful as an amateur ghostbuster, and much of the film is equal parts quirky and suspenseful as odd customers check in while she explores the books and crannies of the place. But once things kick off, they really kick off.
By Jenn Reid
49. The Battery (2012)
In a post-apocalyptic, zombie-infested America, two former baseball teammates (Jeremy Gardner and Adam Cronheim) traverse the unforgiving landscape in this minimalist horror. It retains a sense of convention with Romero zombies dotted about waiting to have their brains pulverised, but its key strength is in just how gorgeous they make this bleak and decaying world look.
48. Rasputin: The Mad Monk (1966)
Melodramatic? Sure. Historically wildly inaccurate? Absolutely. But schlocky, generic, mid-60s cash-grab? Not at all. In the same year that Sir Christopher Lee briefly resurrected his most iconic horror role as Count Dracula, his greatest performance was reserved for his part as the overpowering mad Russian in this frantic, domineering drama.
47. Black Christmas (1974)
The original slasher movie (yes, it even predates Halloween) is still one of the best. Mysterious phone calls and sorority girls getting killed will eventually become obvious tropes, but in Black Christmas they’re played as new (obviously!) and terrifying, not predictable and jaded. Olivia Hussey’s Jess is a fantastic final girl; smart and mature and dealing with real life issues so pressing she almost misses what’s really going on until it’s too late. Black Christmas also has a great performance from the late, great Margot Kidder as the class drunk.
By Jenn Reid
46. Juan of the Dead (2011)
Alejandro Brugués brings the decade’s fascination with all things zombie to Cuba in this ZomCom set 50 years after the Cuban revolution. As you might expect, it is heavily satirical (just as all the best zombie films are) but still blends its comedy with horror exceptionally well to draw favourable comparisons to contrasting genre classics, from Shaun of the Dead to Dawn of the Dead and everything in between.
45. The Horde (2009)
The Raid has the martial arts corner of the “man fights his way through a tower block” category sewn up, just as Dredd has made it impossible for any comic book films to do the same. But when it comes to horror, this French thriller packs a whole bunch of cops and crooks into a tower block as they fight their way out to freedom. It’s full of action and will keep you guessing right to the end as to who, if anybody, will survive.
44. The Bay (2012)
When a director of the calibre of Oscar-winner Barry Levinson (Rain Man, Wag the Dog, Good Morning Vietnam) decided to make a found-footage thriller about some parasitic creatures, eyebrows were raised. But he brought all the class his films are known for into the down and dirty world of budget filmmaking and produced a solid creature feature.
43. Demons (1985)
Part giallo, part supernatural thriller, part plain bonkers. Lamberto Bava’s Demons, set inside a Berlin theatre, has exploding puss balls, blood splatter and general gore galore. A fantastic transformation scene is improved by the sensational soundtrack, culminating in a tidy little b-movie.
42 and 41. The Crazies (1973) and The Crazies (2010)
Both George A. Romero’s original and Breck Eisner’s modern take have their unique qualities, but for me they are inseparable. Instead, here’s Gavin McHugh to tell you why the remake is worth your time:
The Crazies takes up events as the people in the small farming town of Ogden Marsh start to behave erratically and, as this behaviour spreads throughout the town, it becomes more deadly. Local Sheriff Dutton (the often underappreciated Timothy Oliphant) leads the way in protecting his wife and town doctor Judy (Radha Mitchell) and the rest of the (uninfected) town whilst trying to get to the source of the problem. More akin to infected than a zombie-styled film there is still plenty of bloody action and gore on show throughout the tense, brutal 101 minutes. Good, wholesome fun!
By Gavin McHugh
40. Wolf Creek 2 (2013)
Splat pack original Greg McLean shocked audiences with his outback horror and created a cult villain in the process with the torture-loving Mick Taylor (John Jarrett). The criticisms of the first Wolf Creek’s pacing issues were well and truly dealt with in McLean’s sequel as he dispenses with so much build up to get straight to the good stuff. If “nasty” is a word you want to see associated with your choice of film, then look no further than Wolf Creek 2.
39. City of the Living Dead (1980)
Lucio Fulci’s Italian movie improves on every rewatch – which is fortunate for you, considering you can watch it as many times as you like on Shudder. Try not to think of “Living Dead” as definitely meaning zombies and you’ll be fine with this eerie slice of classic Euro-horror.
38. The Quatermass Xperiment
There have been an absolute multitude of Quatermass takes over the years, particularly back in the 50s when the BBC’s original televised drama gave science-fiction the boost it needed to allow shows like Doctor Who to exist, but this 1955 take on Nigel Kneale’s classic story may remain one of the best; a beefed up and more thrilling take on a chilling tale.
By Tony Black
37. The Void (2017)
Some people in hoods will stab the occupants of a hospital if they step outside, whilst inside a misshapen mutated creature threatens their safety and some transdimensional occurings take place. It’s almost as if David Cronenberg and Clive Barker each dropped their unbound scripts in the street after bumping into each other, before picking up the loose sheets and rushing off without checking the pages were in order and handing the screenplay over to directors Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostanski. Just to be clear, that is a thorough recommendation.
36. Grave Encounters (2011)
Found footage horror films have gone through many reinventions since The Blair Witch really brought it to mainstream audiences and Grave Encounters brings another fresh idea to the genre. The producer of the titular paranormal investigation TV series is brought the missing final episode of the show, during the filming of which the entire crew disappeared. Viewing the footage we see the crew setting themselves up to investigate and/or debunk the paranormal goings-on by being locked in an abandoned mental asylum and they get more than what they ever hoped or bargained for. Utilising multiple cameras, CCTV cameras, a genuinely creepy location and an unnerving sense of hopelessness add a great deal to the effectiveness of Grave Encounters.
By Gavin McHugh
35. Phantasm: Remastered (1979)
JJ Abrams’s production company Bad Robot restored Don Coscarelli’s cult favourite back in 2016 and weird dwarf zombie things, blind mute psychic grandmas, and succubus graveyard dwellers have never looked better. Mike (A. Michael Baldwin) and his older brother Jody (Bill Thornbury) get into all kinds of mischief with supernatural grave robber the Tall Man (Angus Scrimm) in this offbeat fantasy horror.
34. Insidious (2010)
Starring Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne and Ty Simpkins, Insidious is the first instalment in a pretty popular franchise, winning eight awards and almost double that in nominations, as well as being well received by both the general audience and critics alike. The story follows the Lambert family as they move into their new home and documents the paranormal effects that begin to take hold of their son, Dalton (Simpkins). Not only is this a decently scary film, but the plot itself is substantial, allowing for an engaging movie which is not singularly concerned with scaring its audience rather than developing an interesting storyline. It’s definitely worth watching if you fancy something thrilling yet immersive (and is suitable as an introduction to horror for those looking to get into the genre).
By Ellen Crowley
33. The Stuff (1985)
Who among us wouldn’t capitalise on weird white goop that seeped from the floor if it tasted good? Exactly. This mid-80s feature satirises consumerism in a manner akin to what Invasion of the Body Snatchers and The Blob did for communism 30 years earlier. Greed feeds good as a gelatinous organism consumes America from within. Super entertaining and with great practical effects to match.
32. The Beyond (1981)
Slightly surreal and often confusing, Lucio Fulci’s horror about a hell gate underneath a Louisiana hotel is structured in a way that it could conceivably be viewed as a series of interconnected vignettes with horrific things happening to Liza (Catriona MacColl). Warlocks, zombies, ghouls of all kinds; if you like your aesthetics and don’t care so much for consistent narratives, then you will get a kick out of The Beyond.
31. Pontypool (2008)
A low budget, Canadian indie horror that’s more talk than action. If you’re here for jump scares, keep scrolling, but if slowly building tension and a sense of dread is more your kind of horror, Pontypool is definitely worth a watch. In a small town radio station, host Grant Mazzy (Stephen McHattie) stays on the airwaves as reports get stranger and stranger – there are military vehicles blocking the streets out of town, talk of mysterious incidents and call-in listeners leaving deranged ramblings. Having to keep radio listeners entertained throughout the zombie apocalypse is no easy task.
By Jenn Reid
30. The Curse of Frankenstein (1957)
The legendary Terence Fisher directs two icons of British cinema, Peter Cushing (as Doctor Frankenstein) and Christopher Lee (as the wretch), in Hammer Horror’s first colour movie. Its stars elevate an otherwise pedestrian retelling of Mary Shelley’s Modern Prometheus – that does its best not to infringe on any of those expensive Universal rights – into an important turning point in British filmmaking’s history.
29. Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988)
The first and best of the nine sequels to grace the series. Hellbound expands on the lore of the Cenobites, while continuing the story from its predecessor. Teenager Kirsty Cotton is admitted to a psychiatric hospital after witnessing the supernatural deaths of her family and narrowly escaping Pinhead and his minions but she can’t outrun the nightmares that are following her. When the Doctor that runs the institution turns out to be obsessed with the puzzle box and its legends, he resurrects Julia with terrifying consequences. Returning to this world and seeing a glimpse of Pinhead’s origins is reason enough to visit this sublime sequel. The last half turning into a full-blown body-horror is the icing on the bloody cake.
By Andrew Brooker
28. Dark Water (2002)
A wave of J-Horrors (such as Ringu, Ju-On: The Grudge and Dark Water) all arrived on these shores around the same time to creep out the nation for a spell. Tense suspenseful atmosphere dominate all three, but Hideo Nakata’s tale of a divorcee whose apartment block holds a dark secret is one of the most hair-raising to have made the crossover.
27. Horror of Dracula (1958)
A relatively straightforward adaptation of Bram Stoker’s novel, except for the fact it leaves out some presumably expensive to shoot scenes and turns the Count (Christopher Lee) into a RP-speaking version of Bela Legosi. Yet it is his co-star Peter Cushing who picks up the Hammer mantle and runs with it as the charismatic Van Helsing in Terence Fisher’s movie that launched a hundred others for the British film studio. A true classic.
26. Tenebre (1982)
This is Dario Argento’s playful answer to Brian DePalma’s Dressed To Kill, but unlike that film, Argento doesn’t take himself so seriously – which is a very good thing. Sweeping camera visuals, gorgeous Italian beauties, gruesome kills and a macabre sense of fun dominate this tale of an American crime novelist visiting Rome who finds himself caught up in an investigation surrounding copycat murders lifted from his own books. This is Argento’s best film outside of Suspiria, and perhaps his most innovative technical work. Forget about the glut of those cheap-looking, grimy slash-’em-up movies from the early 80s. Tenebre is horror done with cleverness and style.
By Jason Sheppard
25. Timecrimes (2007)
Hector (Karra Elejalde) accidentally travels back in time an hour in Nacho Vigalondo’s Spanish language sci-fi. It’s comedic and yet holds a quite terrifying concept running through its core that is exploited in full. Timecrimes will lull you into a false sense of security before pulling the rug from under your feet. It is both deceptive and delightful.
24. The Host (2006)
The Host has been likened to disaster movies such as Cloverfield and Godzilla, but Bong Joon-ho’s rollicking creature feature is much more grounded. A monster crawls from the Han River and threatens a Korean community’s safety, but particularly that of a young Doona Bae’s. Like most sci-fis of its type, it is very allegorical but also a whole heap of fun, especially any scenes involving the outstanding Song Kang-ho.
23. Audition (1999)
A lonely father gets invited to audition women for a role – and decides he’s going to use his position to take advantage of some of these women. He does just that; and it turns out to be the worst decision he ever made. Japan’s (second) most famous director Takashi Miike is no stranger to the demented and manages to find new inventive ways to traumatise his audience. Warning: do not watch on a full stomach. The sound effects alone will be enough to bring back up whatever you had for breakfast.
22. Troll Hunter (2010)
A group of students set out to make a documentary about a suspected poacher. What they find, however, is a man on a mission to protect the citizens of Norway from trolls. No, not petty guys on the internet; actual monster trolls. What follows is a journey through the Norwegian countryside as the young documentarians discover a whole host of creatures living in the wilderness that the poacher is fighting to contain. It’s a setting that doesn’t often appear in horror films and makes for a unique monster experience.
By Amy Walker
21. Mother (2010)
Bong Joon-ho does it again with his outstanding crime drama – not to be confused with Darren Aronofsky’s biblical apocalypse of the same name! Mother follows a, er, mother (Kim Hye-ja) as she desperately tries to find the culprit responsible for the horrific murder of a teenage girl for which her son (Bin Won) has been framed. Mother is suspenseful, at times grisly and hugely engrossing.
20. Society (1989)
Brian Yuzna ramps up the disconcerting eroticism for his directorial debut. Youthful rage seeps from the edges of this 80s body-horror that also serves as a social commentary about nonconformity and the amplification of the moral panic surrounding the unruly Generation X. It also features incest, orgies, some amazing visual gags and the literal melding together of the upper classes. Lovely.
19. The Green Inferno (2016)
Directors don’t get much more disdainful than Eli Roth who delivers one of his most horrifying features to date as a group of “SJW” types end up biting off more than they can chew (so to speak) when their deforestation protest turns sour. A ferocious ode to cannibal films of yore, a dismemberment of Eli’s perceived “thoughts and prayers” culture, or a bloody disgusting combination of the two? Either way, directors rarely get as angry with their own creations as Roth seems to here. Anarchic energy blasts from the screen like blood spurting from the severed limb of a tubby backpacker.
18 and 17. Nosferatu (1922) and Nosferatu, the Vampyre (1979)
What he lacks in German expressionism, Werner Herzog makes up for in creeping Gothic menace in his 70s update of FW Murnau’s legendary silent vampire horror. Klaus Kinski gives a memorably yet mordant performance as the Transylvanian count in question.
By Tony Black
16. Revenge (2018)
The addition of this Shudder exclusive last week is the entire reason for the creation of this top 100 list. “It is hard-hitting and completely subversive of the male-gaze associated with so many other rape-revenge thrillers.” – check out our full review here.
15. Let the Right One In (2008)
Let the Right One In is a stark, minimal vampire tale of two young outcasts, finding themselves pushed together by being different and awkward: Oskar, a 12-year old bullying victim who plots revenge on his assailants, and Eli, an age-old vampire trapped in a girl’s body. Being polar opposites in image, light and dark, they make an odd couple and as they progress they both unlock something in each other through their burgeoning friendship that was never meant to happen or be sustained. Amazing cinematography and a fantastic mix of heart, violence and, the mainstay of vampire films, blood all contrasted with the harsh but beautiful Swedish landscape give Let the Right One In a lot to be impressed by.
By Gavin McHugh
14. Battle Royale (2000)
Teenagers have always been a breeding cauldron of fury and angst and Kinji Fukasaku’s adaptation of Battle Royale, the Japanese novel by Koushun Takami, is one of the most potent, visceral and satirically sinister realisations of such emotions, literally throwing a group of Japanese teenagers – all of them with hopes, fears and issues – into a life or death battle for survival, making literal the often metaphorical.
By Tony Black
13. The House of the Devil (2009)
We’ve all seen horrors before where the babysitter turns up and the job isn’t quite what they signed up for. Either a knife-wielding maniac is hiding in the closet, or the kid turns out to be a living nightmare. But Jocelin Donahue shines in Ti West’s take, which gives the occult flavour a refreshing twist. It builds steadily towards an unforgettable final few scenes that packs an almighty killer blow in the finale. A must watch.
12. The Masque of the Red Death (1964)
Roger Corman is a godfather of b-movies. Before he truly became that exploitation-cinema guy, he produced a series of (loose) Edgar Allan Poe adaptations with Vincent Price at the helm. Masque might just be the best of the bunch. The allegorical tale tells of the Satan worshipping Prince Prospero (Price) who throws a masquerade in his castle while the plague ridden town below slowly succumbs to its affliction, until a certain guest makes himself known. Aesthetically gorgeous gothic horror at its finest.
11. Deep Red (1975)
The highest placed Dario Argento film on this list is also arguably his best giallo. Deep Red takes the spirit of his ‘animal’ trilogy and does everything so much slicker. It’s still suitably pulpy as a journalist and musician try to evade a mysterious killer whilst investigating a murder, but everything about it is so much more than the sum of its parts. All of which is complemented by a wonderful score from Goblin.
10. Carnival of Souls (1962)
Herk Harvey primarily shot documentaries and shorts throughout his career, which may explain why his black and white feature, written by John Clifford, feels like a series of eerie dreamlike stories threaded together with a singular narrative at the centre. It has been cited as one of the most influential movies on auteurs such as David Lynch and George A Romero – and it’s fair to say those guys know a thing or two about horror.
9. Thirst (2009)
Written and directed by Park Chan-wook, Thirst is an erotic vampire tale, starring the ever-impressive Song Kang-Ho. It is a real feast for the senses. As a dedicated and respected Catholic priest, Sang-hyun (Song Kang-ho) volunteers for a medical experiment and finds himself infected with a debilitating virus which is repressed by fresh blood. He finds himself craving blood and also his friend’s wife, conflicting with everything that he believed he used to be. Part thriller, part horror and part love story, Thirst is as intricate and dark as the premise makes out and at the hand of Park Chan-wook you can expect plenty of the unexpected!
By Gavin McHugh
8. Re-Animator (1985)
Even after more than 30 years on, Stuart Gordon’s mad sci-fi horror is still as brilliantly gory, sleazy and silly as ever. Jeffrey Combs forever ingrained Herbert West as one of the genre’s best-loved anti-heroes, the arrogant student-doctor who dabbles in sciences man was not meant to dabble in. Outrageous, dark and enormous amounts of fun.
7. Hellraiser (1987)
A dark, twisted family drama. With added demons. After unwittingly resurrecting her long-disappeared brother-in-law in the attic of her family’s new home, the unfaithful Julia must help the disembodied Frank escape the Hell and its priests that have tortured him relentlessly. From the mind of one of the greatest horror writers to grace the genre, Clive Barker brings his 1986 novel, the Hellbound Heart to the screen to terrify even the most hardened of viewers. Introducing the world to the iconic Pinhead and the mysterious puzzle box that summons him and his Cenobites; this classic horror is as timeless as it is disturbing.
By Andrew Brooker
6. Scanners (1981)
Even if you’ve never seen David Cronenberg’s Scanners, you’ve seen that one scene: a man’s head exploding. If you watch the full movie you’ll see a lot more of that in all its early 80s, practical effects glory. But the film isn’t just a gore fest. Scanners is part sci-fi, part political thriller, about a group of people called scanners who have the ability to read minds or, if necessary, make someone’s head explode, and the people who try to weaponise that power. It’s a high concept film punctuated with those shocking, bloody set pieces and one of Cronenberg’s most iconic.
By Jenn Reid
5. Repulsion (1965)
Mental psychosis breakdowns never looked so chic. A young, reserved French woman (Catherine Deneauve at her most unblemished) finds her mental state deteriorating as she delves into hidden repressions as her underlying kinky desires take hold of her already fragile state over the course of one solitary weekend, during the swinging, sexual awakening of Europe during the mid 60s. Roman Polanski’s slow-burn study of one female’s inner conflict of morals battling her overpowering fear of sexual expression is one of the most shattering horror films of its time. It also contains one or two great jump-scares which rivals even Psycho in terms of their unnerving effectiveness.
By Jason Sheppard
4. The Love Witch (2017)
Part gothic horror, part erotic thriller, and part contemporary commentary, Anna Biller’s gorgeous twisted thriller mashes a 60s aesthetic with unconventionality to produce one of the most exciting new films on this entire list. The Love Witch hails its heroine (Samantha Robinson) as the seductive witch whose powers turn into a curse, leading her on a path of murder and weird cult-mayhem. It is fabulously over-the-top, gloriously unreal and altogether intelligent filmmaking. You won’t find The Love Witch on any other streaming service here in the UK as it is exclusive to Shudder.
3. Witchfinder General (1968)
Michael Reeves, who died tragically the year after Witchfinder General (aka The Conqueror Worm) was released, was just 24 when he directed genre veteran and all round icon Vincent Price as the lead role in his penetrating retelling of the infamous 17th Century witchfinder Matthew Hopkins. Though the events themselves have largely been fabricated for effect in this 1968 historical horror, Hopkins was nonetheless notorious for the murder of many innocent women that he proclaimed to be in league with the Devil, and Reeves does not shy away from exposing how dreadful and wicked Hopkins was. This particular story is set amidst the English Civil War. Events are brought to an end most bluntly and brutally, but this otherwise romantic tragedy pulls no punches and serves as a weighty reminder of the deeds committed in our not-so-distant past.
2. Zombie Flesh Eaters (1979)
Ever wanted to see a zombie bite a real-life shark underwater? Then your search is over. Lucio Fulci’s flick might have been marketed purely as a cash-in on the popularity of George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead – it has, amongst its 34 alternative titles on IMDb, been designated the moniker “Zombi 2”, an unofficial sequel to Romero’s “Zombi” as it was known in Europe – but it is so much more than that. It is packed to the rafters with unforgettable scenes, from the arrival of the boat and what lies within, to the shocking eye-gouge and all that’s in between. It might appear to be a slightly hokey b-movie or exploitation genre movie at first glance, but dig deeper and you’ll find a much more complex narrative that fully commits to what it is: a straight-up gory zombie film, one of the best of its kind.
1. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
And so we come to the conclusion of this top 100 countdown and at the head of the pack is one of the most important films ever made. Not just within the genre, but for what it represents. Tobe Hooper’s uniquely disturbing horror about some dumb teens getting mixed up with freakish strangers is an important allegory for many ills within society – but more importantly, it’s also an utterly horrific, unflinching and grotesque film that hasn’t aged a bit. No ghosts, no supernatural beings and no science fiction. The secret to Hooper’s iconic film lies within the reality: the terrifying fact that events like this have happened in the past, and so easily could happen again. Perhaps to you. Amy Walker tells us more about its enduring effect on her:
I love The Texas Chain Saw Massacre for how brutal and disturbing it is, with its low budget and gritty approach to effects and cinematography that is sure to disturb. However, I also kind of hate this film because I can’t get through the opening scene without becoming a fearful wreck; though this is less because of the film and more because my father, knowing I’d watched this on Halloween for the first time, crept into my room whilst I was asleep and decided to wake me up by waving a huge drill over his head and turning it on. That kind of thing will change the way you see a film.
14-day free trial
Shudder is adding to and changing its library all the time. For example, genre distributor Terror Films has teamed up with Shudder for the exclusive release of writer/director Stephen Cognetti’s Hell House LLC II – The Abaddon Hotel. The film will premiere exclusively on Shudder on Thursday, 20 September. The sequel will be available exclusively on the streaming service for the first 90 days in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Ireland. As part of the release, Shudder is offering fans a 14-day free trial with promo code HH2TFSH – redeemable at: www.shudder.com – where you can watch The Abaddon Hotel or any of the other 100 films mentioned above.
Check out the trailer for Cognetti’s horror sequel below and let us know in the comments what you think.