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 two separate headings for films that aren’t brilliant examples of the genre, but still have something to offer, and another two sections for documentaries and short films. These lists might seem brutally short, but I’m very picky when it comes to the horror genre and I think horror is a difficult genre of film to get right.
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) * – actually my favourite film of all time!
- The Tunnel (2011) – particularly worth watching as it was made with a budget of only $36,000 (Australian dollars) and it’s still brilliant.
- 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) *
- 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
- 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/philosophical slasher 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.
- Halloween (1978)
- Mikey (1992) – I debated whether this was a slasher or not, but the body count decided that for me. It’s definitely a video nasty and, although it isn’t technically banned, it was never released in the UK.
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)
Poorly lit, poorly writ:
All-round awful, only worth watching if you’re looking for a laugh
- The Pyramid (2014)
- Ouija (2014)
- The Gallows (2015)
- Treehouse (2014)
- The Bone Eater (2007) – this is one of those SyFy goldmines. It’s wacky; you’ll love it.
- Unfriended (2014)
- Minotaur (2006) – slightly racist (amidst all the bizarre stuff going on), weird homophobic undertones in an early scene. Partially redeemed by its creativity, decent SFX and by Tom Hardy.
- Cyclops (2008) – a shitshow, but it made me laugh.
- Wake The Witch (2010)
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)