10 Favorite Horror Movies

Rosemary's BabyWith Halloween coming up, I thought it would be fun to share a list of our favorite horror movies. Now, I haven't always been a fan of horror, and I understand that some of you may not be either. So if you're one of those people who thought Stranger Things was too scary, maybe just skip this post. Haha! 

Alrighty—with that said, I have to admit I now have a soft spot for horror films. It was an acquired taste for me. When Jeremy and I were first dating, he was always wanting me to watch horror movies with him, and I always said no. But I found my gateway in the 1960s and 1970s films because I love all things vintage, and they are so stunningly beautiful. 

Now get your popcorn and fuzzy blankets ready! 

1. Rosemary's Baby (1968) My favorite horror movie. It's inspirational to my design brain but also just the right amount of freaky.

2. Scream (1996) Nineties nostalgia in a slasher film. What's not to love? 

3. The Exorcist (1973) Probably the most disturbing movie on this list and one of the most offensive movies I have ever seen. I swear that older horror movies are scarier than new ones. 

4. It Follows (2015) Just watched this one for the first time. Very good. 

5. The Shining (1980) One of the most visually beautiful horror films in my opinion. Be ready for a slow build. 

6. 28 Days Later (2003) My favorite zombie movie. So good! 

7. Blair Witch (1999) If you were one of the lucky ones, you watched this opening week when people still kind of believed it might be real. 

8. Repulsion (1965) Impress any horror movie buff by recommending this one. It's also beautifully sixties if you're in the mood for a cool looking old movie. Great soundtrack too (Jeremy says!). 

9. What We Do in the Shadows (2015) Not really a horror movie, more of a comedy. But SO good. 

10. Eraserhead (1977) Couldn't make this list without including a David Lynch film. Surreal and creepy. 

Bonus points—Hocus Pocus (1993) because Jeremy wouldn't let me put this on the list (snob), but I LOVE IT. Bonus points if you wear your hoodie!!

Thanks for reading! What are some of your favorites that we didn't include on the list?? xx -Elsie + Jeremy too 

  • Meanwhile, I can’t handle horror and am over here adding The Ghost and Mr Chicken to your list lol.

  • I’ve never liked horror movies. My husband made me watch The Grudge when we were dating, and I thought I was going to die.

    That said, I do LOVE the movie Zombieland. More comedy than horror, but still counts, right? Oh and Hitchcock’s thrillers.

  • Love this list! I’m a big horror movie nerd. Last week we visited the hotel that inspired the interior of The Shining. It.was.AMAZING. You should watch Trick or Treat this holiday season. It’s not my favorite horror, but we watch it every year right before the original Halloween movie.

  • Nightmare on Elm Street! (The first one.) It’s scary because everyone has to go to sleep eventually. A little cheesy now, but still effectively scary. Oh! And I have a necklace similar to the Rosemary’s Baby necklace. It’s vintage — belonged to my grandmother! I think of the movie sometimes when I wear it, but most people don’t get the reference. Also, mine jingles, so I feel a little bit like a cat when I wear it.

  • I have to recommend Insidious because that is what helped me appreciate horror movies! If you like the idea of astral projection and want a horror movie that makes you think, add that to your list.

    And Elsie, I so wholeheartedly agree with you with the older being scarier! How you described the exorcist is my thoughts exactly! I also found the new Amityville Horror pales in creepy factor with the original. I haven’t watched Rosemary’s Baby yet, I think that’s going to the top of my to-watch list!

  • Lake Mungo remains my favorite horror movie of all time.
    Other favorites: Halloween (original, 1978), The Babadook, Nosferatu (1922), The Orphanage (Spanish, 2007),The Vanishing (Dutch-French, 1988), Let the Right One In (Swedish, 2008), The Shining, Susperia, The Others, The House of the Devil, The Wicker Man (1973, please don’t watch the remake with Nicholas Cage, it is the actual worst), Drag Me to Hell, and, in general, any Dario Argento film.

  • Oh! And also Cabin in the Woods. It’s a fantastic homage to tons of scary movies (even more so than Scream is.)

  • Yes yes to The Orphanage and Let the Right One In — both haunting, in very different ways.

  • So many good ones on this list! I have a love/hate relationship with horror movies haha. Sometimes it’s fun to be scared, but then after I regret watching a scary movie so much!! Definitely won’t watch any of these alone. Hope you have a great Halloween!

    -Emily http://www.coatandcoffee.com

  • I have to add Carrie (the original). The creepy factor and the super 70s hair and outfits are the best!!

  • Yesssss. I live for horror movies and Polanski’s “Apartment Trilogy” is an all-time fave– the styling in Rosemary’s Baby and Repulsion can’t be beat. Have y’all ever seen House (1977)? It’s cuckoo bananas and the DIY psychedelic imagery rules.

    Your list is a cool surprise. This blog is awesome in how high-quality every post is… but I guess I always had this squeaky clean, “PG” image of you guys. Def wouldn’t have guessed Eraserhead was your thing. (Hope that came across as the compliment intended!) 🙂

  • I love Night of the Living Dead, Psycho,the Birds, and the Plague of the Zombies… I always thought that(young) Diane Clare of the Plague of the Zombies and the Haunting fame looks a little bit like Elsie.

  • Oh my gosh, I WAS one of the lucky ones who got to see Blair Witch in the theater, and then I went on a week-long camping trip at my college freshman orientation just a couple weeks later. Needless to say, there were lots of middle-of-the-woods camping pranks played that week, and even though I didn’t *really* believe it was true, I was totally freaked out the whole time…

    And an (ex-)boyfriend once took me to a drive-in to see Event Horizon. SCARIEST movie of. my. life. That relationship did not last long.

  • Love every movie on this list! Check out The Mephisto Waltz. A very young Alan Alda,Jacqueline Bisset, Barbara Perkins. Very, very creepy!

  • Great list! Check out The Mephisto Waltz, very young Alan Alda, Jaqueline Bassett and Barbara Perkins. Very very creepy!

  • I love horror films. I don’t why, loved them since I was a kid.
    A friend and I go every year to a movie festival here in Buenos Aires that features national and international films that go from horror, to bizarre, to thriller, to comedy-horror. So good. Although I do get really freaked out with ghost movies more than anything.
    A film that’s not so much on the horror side, but is a really scary thriller/drama is “El orfanato” (The orphanage). It’s from Spain.

  • I can’t believe you can watch Rosemary Baby or The Exorcist….to demonic for me!

    My favorite spooky movies are: More physiological thriller, definitely watch them with Jeremy and NOT alone.

    1) Hider in the House….Gary Bussy and Mimi Rogers…1988-89?

    2) When a Stranger Calls…mid to late 70s.

    3) He Knows your Alone….1980 the DEBUT film for Tom Hanks! He was like 20 hrs old..not many people know he had a role in a horror movie..

    All of these are meant to watch with someone, for clutching, screaming with, pulling the blanket over your head with… Trust me in this!

  • Oh yes,

    The Birds is just plain good for a lazy couch day….

    Or Squirm…. Gives me the heebie jeebies just thinking about it!

    Piranha…1970?
    Boxing Helena…super weird and creepy..
    Basket Case 1981 or 1982. I never could watch this one back then..a brother who carries his separated Siamese twin around in a basket, and like Chucky…he sometimes escapes the basket and runs amok….

  • Last comment, promise! I had to look these last two up, as I couldn’t remember the titles..these are cheesy B horror movies, but used to creep me out anyway….

    Food of the Gods 1972
    Empire of the Ants…early 70s…young Joan Collins…

    Have fun!

  • So many of my favorites listed here – Rosemary’s Baby, The Shining, Repulsion – Catherine Deneuve was so magnetic in the role! How is it so many horror movies have such incredible cinematography?! I wouldn’t usually categorize myself as a horror film watcher – until I saw screen caps of how gorgeous they were! I would also recommend Suspiria to you, another stunning (albeit bloody!) horror film I think you might like – it’s set in a BALLET SCHOOL! *___*

  • I’m not a huge fan of horror movies but since this is the season of spookyness I think I’m gonna have to watch at least one horror movie.

  • Fun list! I have to add one recommendation since you had some classics on your list. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014) is such a fun, noir-y vampire movie. Since you’re a black-and-white loving gal, aesthetically I think you’ll fall in love with the cinematography, too!

    Also, if your ears need a little boo-filled pop culture chatter, here’s a fun Halloween podcast episode you might have missed: http://www.vitalsocialissuesandstuff.com/episode-010-show-notes/

  • Oh YES! I did see Blair Witch in theatres and totally thought it was real. (I was in the eighth grade, mind you). I can chart my aversion to horror films back to this moment. Perhaps related: I also have an aversion to camping 😉

  • For horror with stunning visuals, you should check out Suspiria (1977) by Dario Argento.

  • Have you seen The Witch? Definitely one of my favorite recent scary movies. VERY unsettling. Tip: Watch it with sub-titles.

  • I don’t like horror films. I can’t even watch horror movie trailers on tv…….I mean why do they go towards the door that’s obviously hiding the ghost/bad guy/evil thing! DON’T GO THERE! But my boyfriend likes them so I’ve let him show me a couple of “not so bad” ones. The one I liked was “the others”. I like twist endings and it wasn’t too scary.

  • I LOVE horror movies and I’m so glad you like It Follows, that was one of my favorite movies of 2014. I’d recommend Unfriended, that movie was much better AND scarier than I thought it would be. I’m also always inspired by Tim Burton, so I really enjoyed Dark Shadows, The Nightmare Before Christmas and Coraline. I still need to see the new Blair Witch, especially since my name is Blair 🙂

  • I’m with you on the older ones being more terrifying. The Omen (1976) with Gregory Peck is right up there with Rosemary’s Baby. I mean, he’s just a little kid, right? Gah! Give Watcher in the Woods (1980) a try – to this day it’s one of the scariest movies I’ve ever seen and it’s PG! From Disney! That said, I still prefer Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) for Halloween – not exactly horror, but at least I don’t creep myself out trying to turn out the lights and go to bed.

  • No Suspiria? Dario Argento 1977 “slasher” film. The set design/interior of the ballet studio, where this film takes place, has always awed me with inspiration. Plus, it also has a good soundtrack.

    Another good Argento film is Phenomena, with a very young Jennifer Connelly. She can telepathically communicate with insects, which helps to find missing persons.

  • What a great list. And, the other comments definitely added to it. Let the Right One In and Carrie are totally fab. And, The Shining is my absolute favorite. I’m not seeing “The Woman in Black” on here anywhere. I haven’t seen it since it came out, but I remember it being distinctly creepy.
    Thanks for the great list!

  • Oh man. We’re just entering this season of horror films with our daughter. She is 9 and has nightmares pretty easily (makes it hard on all of us). What age did you start watching these movies? We don’t want to overprotect her but also want to sleep well!!!

  • I didn’t watch any horror movies until I was in my twenties when I started dating Jeremy. I watched some halloween movies when I was a kid, though, like the Addams family when I was around that age!

    Definitely follow your parental instincts. This movie list is not intended for children, it’s only intended for our adult blog readers. :)) xx! Elsie

  • Love love love It Follows and What We Do in the Shadows. I am so happy more people are going to be watching these movies because they are so amazing!!! Excellent list!

  • Wait, no Hitchcock?! WHUUUUUUT? Might I recommend The Birds, that’s my fave movie of all time and Tippi Hedren is incredible to look at and watch. Also, like, Vertigo, Rear Window, any Hitch-flick. And, c’mon, you gotta throw Stephen King a bone for the love of all things 80’s. Carrie, anyone?