Filmbalaya’s Top 20 Horror Films

Filmbalaya, after much pain and difficulty, is proud to present a list of the 20 best horror movies ever made. We feel that this is the most complete horror film list around, because not only are all the films great but there’s truly something for everyone. These movies will send shivers down your spine, they will make you cringe, jump, cry, laugh and maybe even throw-up. Don’t believe us? Watch them yourself and send us your list.  We challenge you to make a better one.

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20. Who Can Kill A Child

“Suddenly . . . They were the only adults left alive on the island.”

One of the best “killer kid” films, Who Can Kill A Child isn’t the most horrifying film ever, but it’s fun as hell. A couple vacationing to a small, off the beaten path island, and soon discovers there are no adults present. The town is completely deserted except for a group of mischievous kids. You can imagine where it goes from there. Although the acting can be corny, the great western style cinematography and amazing movie moments more than make up for it. You will cheer, yell, and laugh because Who Can Kill A Child is just plain awesome.

Man + automatic weapon + killer children = AWESOME
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19. The Changeling

“Two people live in this house. One of them has been dead for 70 years.”

A man retreats to an old mansion in order to reflect on the deaths of his wife and daughter whom were killed in a car accident. There he notices he is not the only occupant in the house, a boy who was murdered years ago still lurks the house in hopes of somebody helping him uncover the circumstances of his death. Not your typical horror movie, The Changeling’s impressive cinematography, along with eerie sound effects make this film goose bump inducing.

Sir, your staircase appears to be on fire.

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18. The Brood

“The Ultimate Experience Of Inner Terror”

A man’s wife is under the care of a radical psychologist whose methods of coping with suppressed memories has an adverse effect on their family, especially their daughter. A string of murders begin to happen to the wife’s parents committed by deformed children. The father becomes increasingly adamant that the psychologist is to blame and begins to uncover the truth. Released in 1979, David Cronenberg’s use of locations and colors give this film a very eerie effect.


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17.  The Wicker Man (1973)

“Flesh to touch… Flesh to burn”

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Have you ever been amongst a group of people and felt like you were on the outside looking in?  If so, than more than likely you can relate to The Wicker Man’s protagonist more so than others.  Here is a man who came to investigate a disappearance on an Island whose inhabitants are a bit strange to say the least.  Children dancing around penis polls, a naked next door neighbor thrashing her body against the wall and a bunch of creepy hippies eerily singing at all hours of the night are just a few of the WTF moments in Robin Hardy’s The Wicker Man.

I am still trying to figure out if The Wicker Man remake with Nicholas Cage was an intentional comedy or not.  I can assure you though, that director Robin Hardy’s original is not.  Hardy’s The Wicker Man is not a comedy, and it is not so much of a scary film, as it is more of a What the f!*k is going on type of film.

Fact: Naked women love Stonehenge


16. Suspiria

“The Only Thing More Terrifying Than The Last 12 Minutes Of This Film Are The First 92.”

One of the last films shot in Technicolor, Suspiria is an art house film gone wrong. The story of an American ballet dancer who ships off to a prestigious European school. Unfortunately for her, the school is haunted by a witch. Amazing reds, yellows, and blues take you into a dream like state, making Suspiria one of the most visually stunning films ever made. Dario Argento’s fun and gun directing style is unmatched. His creative camera work, mixed with Goblin’s horror-rock soundtrack engages viewers like few films can.

Technicolor sure is pretty!

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15. Nomads

“A Nightmare By Daylight!”

Tired of being babied through plots? Complicated and surreal, Nomads tells the story of a cultural anthropologist h(a)unted by malevolent spirits who bring madness upon any human who makes contact with them. This movie assumes you have half a brain and doesn’t tie up certain loose ends. A proper gentleman can surmise his own conclusions!

Now, where the heck did I park my dog sled?

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14. Hour Of The Wolf

“The Hour of the Wolf” is the hour between night and dawn. It is the hour when most people die. It is the hour when the sleepless are haunted by their deepest fear, when ghosts and demons are most powerful.”

Ingmar Bergman’s Hour Of The Wolf is a stark and disturbing look at an artist being haunted by his memories. On a small windy island he confesses his most painful experiences to his wife and as he delves deeper into his mind reality starts to blur.  The films drama slowly builds and is released in one of the most chilling scenes in cinematic history. Hour Of The Wolf wont make you jump or shreek, but unlike modern horror films, it will chill you to the bone.

Beautiful disturbing black & white

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13. The Blair Witch Project

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“In October of 1994 three student filmmakers disappeared in the woods near Burkittsville, Maryland, while shooting a documentary…A year later their footage was found.”

The fear of being lost and helpless is an emotion that a lot of horror directors try to elicit from their audience.  To make it believable is no easy accomplishment.  The Blair With Project takes this fear of being lost and multiplies it ten-fold.  It is also the ultimate in independent DIY ultra-low budget horror filmmaking.

Picture this scenario if you will:  You, a unkown actor, answer an ad in the paper to act in a movie that is to be directed by some no-name directors.  Once you land the gig, you are sent off into the woods with a few cameras, two other people, who like yourself, have little idea of what direction the film is going, and are given instructions by crew members – in the middle of the night while you are sleeping, of course – of what your “character” is supposed to accomplish that day.  At first, it might seem like fun, but then after you are sleeping in the woods for real, without having seen any of the crew members and are legitimately lost, you might start to seriously freak the fuck out.  I for one, would be seriously doubting the intentions of the so-called producers who hired me for the gig.

I give you this scenario because, this is one film where the fear put on the actors from behind-the-scenes is extremely evident in its final product.  In other words, The Blair Witch Project works as a frightening film because you truly believe in the characters and that they could have easily been you, had you been the one to answer that ad.

Men urinating on walls is extremely terrifying in B&W


12. Even Horizon

“Infinite Space – Infinite Terror”

The year is 2047 and a crew is assembled to investigate the disappearance of a ship that went missing into a black hole. Once found by the crew, it becomes very clear that the ship has brought something back with it. Timely scenes of gore and montages of “Hell” leave this film ingrained in your memory. By far, Paul W.S Anderson’s best work as a director.

Hey, down in front, you're blocking my view!

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11. Cube

“The Walls Are Closing In.”

If the Survivor series and the Saw series had a baby that could travel the space-time continuum back to 1997, you’d have Cube.  It takes wits and cunning to escape a series of seemingly random cubes that envelops the viewer (and actors) with a sense of claustrophobia, doom, and mystery.  Cube is a refreshing, intelligent sci-fi horror movie that will have you biting your nails in anticipation.

This film has been brought to you by the good people at Fruit of the Loom

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10. Texas Chainsaw Massacre

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“Once you stop screaming, then you’ll start talking about it.”

Grimey and raw, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is one of those films that is not only amazingly scary and eerie for its time, but holds equal weight in its ability to creep you to your core today.  Seen as the granddaddy of all slasher films, this tale of two couples and a cripple who kind-heartedly pick up a deranged hitchhiker to only later be tortured and mutilated by this hitchhikers’ family will have you biting through your nails, directly into your fingertips.  I dare you to watch this film alone the next time you travel to the countryside.

Just another ordinary Sunday family dinner

9. High Tension

“Hearts will bleed.”

The raw brutality and violence of High Tension takes a hold of you to the point where you want to cover your eyes, but can’t.  It is a primal and macabre portrait of our most basic instincts with an ending that you will either love or hate.  Who would have thought that a French horror film would revitalize a banal American genre?

Clearly, somebody didn't take the safety course before operating such heavy machinery

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8. Psycho

“No One … BUT NO ONE … Will Be Admitted To The Theatre After The Start Of Each Performance Of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho”

Classic.  One of the best horror movies ever made.  Forget the inhuman, raving, and manic killer stereotype we’re used to; Norman Bates is calm, cool, and unsettling.  Psycho sparked the psychological thriller and stands the test of time with its brilliant plot, cinematography, and acting.

I said, "get me a towel" not a kni......ahhhhhh

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7. Evil Dead II

“Kiss Your Nerves Goodbye”

Evil Dead is a film about some youth in a cabin that are haunted by an evil in the woods. Evil Dead II is Evil Dead on steroids and hallucinogens. Because of that, it’s without a doubt the best comedy-horror film ever made.  Forget about CGI, Evil Dead II uses makeup, puppets, and trick shots to create an insane world where evil hands run wild and dead ballerinas twirl into the night. It’s hard to sum up Evil Dead II, it’s something you just have to see.

Ash is having a bad day
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6. The Exorcist

“Nobody expected it, nobody believed it, and nobody could stop it. The one hope, the only hope: THE EXORCIST”

The Exorcist is a throwback to when Hollywood horror films were made well enough to win Oscars. The story of a little girl being possessed  by Satin and the exorcist who is trying to save her has arguably the greatest atmosphere of any horror film. It owes its atmosphere to its outstanding cinematography, disturbing makeup, and chilling visual effects. Make sure you get the directors cut of this film, as the original theatrical version leaves out many of the most chilling scenes.

A face not even a mother could love
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5. The Tenant

“No one does it to you like Roman Polanski”

(A tagline almost as disturbing as the film itself)

Many horror fans have seen Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby but surprisingly few have seen The Tenant. We consider this Polanski’s true horror masterpiece. The film follows a man who has just moved into an apartment that belonged to a woman who tried to commit suicide. When strange occurrences start to take place it becomes clear that the reasons for her death wish are going to trouble the apartment’s new tenant as well. The Tenant is the ultimate tale of urban paranoia, and Polanski captures this with masterful camera work and  a brilliant story telling ability. The film’s unique plot and aesthetics  make it one of the most creepy, obscure horror films to ever hit the silver screen.

If your neighbors were this nosy, you would kill yourself too.

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4. The Vanishing (1988)

The Vanishing is a gripping horror-thriller about a man whose girlfriend is abducted while on vacation. The film uses non-chronological editing to draw every last bit of creepy from the story, but what really makes it so horrifying is how realistic the characters are. The villain in this film is one of the best ever written and becomes someone you will love and hate at the same time. Infused with dark humor, he almost seems like a character from a Coen Brothers film, but when he is thrown into a story told so realistically, he becomes people’s worse nightmare. With this, you combine The Vanishing’s haunting soundtrack and perfect pace to get one of the best horror film ever made.


Do not let this man near your girlfriend

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3. Alien

“In Space no one can hear you scream”

In the darkness of space a crew picks up a distress beacon, but when they find an alien specimen and bring it onto the ship everything starts to go very wrong. Ridley Scott’s second film, Alien, launched him into stardom. The best sci-fi horror film ever made, Alien changed the minds of thousands of young kids who dreamed of being astronauts. Containing some of the most shocking and horrifying moments in the history of horror, Alien raised the bar for E.T. films for years to come. Sigourney Weaver gave one of the strongest female lead performances in a hero role and became one of the most bad-ass women in film.

I hope you have a good dental plan

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2. The Thing

“Man is The Warmest Place to Hide”

John Carpenter might be best known for his slasher film, Halloween, but his true masterwork is The Thing. The Best creature feature ever made, The Thing is about a shape shifting alien who can transform into anything it touches. When it decides to let loose on an arctic research center, the scientists are a little bit over matched. With some of the greatest special effects in film history, The Thing uses puppets and camera tricks still unmatched almost 30 years later. Possibly the most all around enjoyable horror film, everyone will love The Thing.

What, you don't have a mini Kurt Russell keeping the light on inside your freezer?

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1. The Shining

“Stanley Kubrick’s epic nightmare of horror”

Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining is everything a horror movie should be. A master director at the top of his game making a horror film is something we just don’t see anymore. The story of a grounds keeper becoming possessed and terrorizing his family in an isolated hotel is brought to life by Kubrick’s amazing style and story telling ability. The first film to make proper use of the steady cam, Kubrick delivers brilliant shots gliding effortlessly through the vast empty hallways. The hypnotizing shots slowly draw you in, and as you watch Jack Nicholson transform into a monster the horror is unleashed. The Shining is not only the ultimate haunted house movie, it is also the ultimate horror movie!


2 Comments on “Filmbalaya’s Top 20 Horror Films”

  1. Elizabeth
    July 11, 2012 at 6:43 am #

    I love scary movies me and my friends always go to the movies and see scary movies my favorite is the women in black and the devil inside i also like the cabin in the woods.

  2. Adam Cuttler
    July 11, 2012 at 6:51 am #

    Haven’t got around to seeing the first two movies you mentioned, but I too enjoyed Cabin in The Woods quite a bit

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