Please be aware that very few of these are recommended for anyone under the age of 15. I have divided these up under three main headings: paranormal, creatures, and psychological/thriller. I have also included a separate heading for films which aren’t brilliant examples of the genre, but still have something to offer, and another two sections for documentaries and short films.
Films marked with a red star (*) are some of my personal favourites.
For those looking for non-fiction works, there is a list of documentaries of interest right at the end.
Click here to see playlists of horror films and documentaries.
- Carrie (1976)
- Last Shift (2014) – could have gone under “ghosts” or “demonic”.
- The Museum Project (Freeze Frame Films, 2016) – not short enough to qualify for my short films list (it’s 40 mins) but I really enjoyed it.
- Viy/Вий (1967)* – I struggled to put Viy into a category, but I wrote extensively about it here if you want to know more. It’s such a wonderful film.
- Requiem (2018) (TV series)
- Sometimes They Come Back (1991)
- The Enfield Haunting (2015) (TV series)
- The Woman in Black (2012)
- The Eye (2002) – Hong Kong, sometimes called Seeing Ghosts
- Ringu (1998) – Japanese, known as Ring or The Ring in English
- Ju-On: The Grudge (2002) – Japanese
- Kuchisake-Onna (2007) – Japanese, known as Carved or The Slit-Mouthed Woman in English
- The Living and the Dead (2016) (TV series)*
- Crimson Peak (2015) – gothic romance
- The Secret of Crickley Hall (2012) (TV series)
- El Orfanato (2007) * – Spanish, The Orphanage in English
- Ghostbusters (1984)* and Ghostbusters (2016)* – I know people complained about the remake but it’s hilarious and empowering.
- El espinazo del diablo (2001) – Spanish, The Devil’s Backbone in English
- The Omen (1976) *
- Rosemary’s Baby (1968) *
- The Exorcist (1973)
- Drag Me To Hell (2009)
- Don’t Knock Twice (2016) – this was a weird one and it almost made it onto the So Bad, They’re Good list, but actually it wasn’t bad at all. I liked that there was an undercurrent of tension between the mother and the daughter as well as all the supernatural shenanigans; the ending was also a genuine surprise.
General (multiple monsters/one specific monster/one unspecified monster):
- The Monster Squad (1987) – horror-comedy
- Grimm (2011 – present) (TV series) – fantasy police procedural drama, with strong horror elements.
- The Mummy (1999) *
- The Tunnel (2011) – particularly worth watching as it was made with a budget of only $36,000 (Australian dollars) and it’s still brilliant.
- The Descent (2005)
- Train to Busan (2016)* – South Korean, 부산행/Busanhaeng
- Dog Soldiers (2002) *
- Ginger Snaps (2000) *
- Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning (2004)
- The Company of Wolves (1984)*
- The Howling (1981)
- Romasanta (2004)
- An American Werewolf in London (1981)
- Howl (2015) – fun fact: the director worked on the SFX for Dog Soldiers
- The Lost Boys (1987) * – actually my favourite film of all time!
- Salem’s Lot (1979)
- Nosferatu (1922) – available on YouTube; the original and the best!
- From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
- Fright Night (1985)
- Låt den rätte komma in (2008) – Swedish, Let The Right One In in English
- What We Do In The Shadows (2014)
- The Witch (2015) *
- The Craft (1996)
- Jaws (1975)
- Arachnophobia (1990) – more of a thriller-comedy (a thrill-omedy)
- Anaconda (1997)
- The Grey (2011) – a survival thriller, but the mounting sense of dread in this film and its ambiguous ending are enough to give anyone chills.
- Lake Placid (1999)
- Cujo (1983)
- The Babadook (2014)
- Get Out (2017) – I don’t want to spoil Get Out by writing too much about it, but it’s one of the most unsettling, uncomfortable films I’ve ever watched… and that’s the mark of a good psychological horror movie.
- The Shining (1980) – could also arguably fit under “ghosts”
- The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (1920) – available on YouTube
- The Hannibal Lecter Tetralogy * – The Silence of the Lambs (probably my second favourite film of all time) in particular is a masterclass in how to build tension and suspense. Red Dragon is also excellent; Hannibal and Hannibal Rising are just okay.
- Hannibal (2013 – 2015) (TV series) *
- Misery (1990)
- The Loner (2008) – Korean, also known as Wetoli, Orphaned or Hikikomori (a Japanese phenomenon of extreme reclusive behaviour)
- Welp (2014) – Belgian (Dutch language), Cub in English
- Outpost 11 (2012) – unfairly maligned psychological horror with a healthy dose of steampunk.
- Inside No. 9 (2014 – present) (TV series)* – more like dark comedy but, damn, some of the episodes are terrifying and there’s definitely an element of psychological horror to most episodes. The Harrowing (S1, Ep6) messed me up.
- Ravenous (1999)* – this is the film I never knew I wanted: a Eurowestern/psychological thriller with an experimental soundtrack in which cannibalism functions as a metaphor for both colonialist greed and repressed homosexual desire. It’s a lot. It’s so much, but I love it.
- Split (2016) – brilliant performance by James McAvoy (seriously, it’s worth watching just for him). Anya Taylor-Joy (of The Witch and The Miniaturist fame) plays the protagonist; I love her so that was a treat too.
- I Am Legend (2007) – Will Smith’s best movie. And I’m not just saying that because of the dog.
I don’t like slashers (at all), but I do really like…
- Halloween (1978)
So Bad, They’re Good:
Somewhat lacking on a technical level (either in terms of SFX, plot or acting), but strangely enjoyable/compelling anyway
- Silver Bullet (1985) * – the scariest thing about it is Gary Busey attempting to act like a real human being.
- Children of the Corn (1984) – I really like this film, but I can acknowledge that it’s not among the best of the Stephen King adaptations. It’s certainly not the worst, though.
- Le Pacte des Loups (2001) – French, known as The Brotherhood of the Wolf in English. There are so many elements of it that would work on their own, but putting them all together resulted in a bizarre film that is difficult to take seriously.
- The Village (2004) – a plot twist that comes right out of nowhere, strange tension-building techniques, peculiar acting choices.
- Spirit Trap (2005) – worth watching for Billie Piper.
- Boogeyman (2005) – generic and relies too much on jump-scares, but the acting isn’t totally atrocious and there are some genuinely scary scenes.
- Sleepaway Camp (1983)
- Witchboard (1986)
- TerrorVision (1986)
- Grim Prairie Tales (1990) – this film is SO much fun.
- Mikey (1992) – besides Halloween, this is the only other slasher on the list. It’s definitely a video nasty and, although it isn’t technically banned, it was never released in the UK.
All of these are under 20 minutes.
- Don’t Move, Bloody Cuts Films (2013) (Warning for gore)
- Vicious, Oliver Park (2016)
- The Backwater Gospel, Bo Mathorne and The Animation Workshop (2011)
- The Offering, Bitter River Film & Media (2014)
- Torture Porn, Brandon Christensen (2015) (Warning for graphic gore and scenes of torture)
- La Boca del León, Geofilms Entertainment (2014)
- Suckablood, Bloody Cuts Films (2012)
- Prey, Bloody Cuts Films (2011)
- The Wound, Bull Run Pictures (2013) (Warning for moderate gore and images of post-surgery wounds)
- Rake, Gearmark.TV (2015)
- Eviction, Unstable Ground Inc. (2014)
- The Birch, CryptTV (2017) – CryptTV are fantastic filmmakers and they churn out incredible short horror pieces on the regular.
- Project Hope, CryptTV (2017)
- Unholy, CryptTV (2017)
- Morgu, CryptTV (2017)
- Vampire, CryptTV (2017)
- A Little Off The Top, CryptTV & Adam O’Brien Pictures (2017) (Warning for brief but intense gore)
- Cut, Fresh Frames GmbH & Peter Lemper (2013)
- Him Indoors, James Pears & Kesslerboy Productions Ltd. (2012)
Stand-alone/one-off documentaries have a hyperlink which will take you to YouTube. For documentary series, I’ve done my best to find out if they’re available on YouTube in their entirety.
- See No Evil: The Moors Murders (2006) – dramatization of the Moors Murders, a series of child killings by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley.
- Killer Legends (2014) – documentary exploring the origins of urban legends.
- True Horror with Anthony Head (2004) (individual episodes available on YouTube, some missing)
- The Pendle Witch Child (2011) – documentary about the Pendle Witch Trials in Lancashire.
- Interview With A Cannibal: Armin Meiwes (2016)
- Lost Tapes (2008 – 2010) (most episodes available on YouTube)
- Most Haunted (2002 – present) (repeats on TV channel Really, most episodes available on YouTube)
- Paranormal Survivor (2015 – present) (most episodes available on YouTube)
- Paranormal Witness (2011 – 2016)
- The Haunted (2009 – 2011) (most episodes available on YouTube)
- A Haunting (2005 – 2007, revived series: 2012 – present) (most episodes available on YouTube)
- Animal X (1997 – 2002) and Animal X: Natural Mystery Unit (2004) (full episodes available on YouTube)
- Monster Quest (2007 – 2010) (full episodes available on YouTube)
- Monsters and Mysteries in America (2013 – present) (full episodes available on YouTube)
- Beasts of the Bayou (2014 – 2015)
- Ancient Aliens (2009 – present) (new and repeated episodes on the History Channel)
- Martina Cole’s Lady Killers (2008) – I found all six episodes on YouTube, but they appear under misleading or unrelated titles, so I’ve chosen to link them individually here for ease of access.
- Never Sleep Again: The Making of A Nightmare On Elm Street (2010)
- Fear Itself (BBC, 2015)
- Arthur C. Clarke’s World of Strange Powers (1985) (playlist here)