Halloween means Halloween movies — and for some, Halloween movies most definitely means horror movies.
To help you make the most of the fall season, we’ve put together a countdown of the 25 best horror movies of all time, from “Psycho” to “A Quiet Place.” The list is based on horror rankings from the movie-review aggregate site Metacritic.
Movies are ordered from good to excellent — there are no bad horror movies on this list. Most ties were broken by looking at the total number of reviews that went into each film’s Metacritic score.
Overall, only movies with at least 15 Metacritic-tracked reviews are included in this countdown. We further narrowed the list to horror movies that can be streamed on subscription services, such as Amazon Prime Video and Paramount+, or on free, ad-supported services, such as Pluto TV and Tubi. (CBS Essentials, Paramount+ and Pluto are all subsidiaries of ViacomCBS.)
Read on to see which films made the final cut — and to find out where to stream all of them right now.
(Note: Metacritic scores and streaming availability are current as of publication; if a film is available to stream on multiple platforms, we’ve listed up to two options.)
25. “A Quiet Place” (Metacritic score: 82)
Making good on its title, this 2018 film from writer-director-star John Krasinski (“The Office”) rarely registered above a whisper en route to becoming a box-office smash. Emily Blunt, Krasinski’s real-life wife, co-stars. Krasinski and Blunt play a married couple who must keep things hush-hush, lest their family becomes targeted by mysterious, sound-sensitive creatures.
24.”Under the Shadow” (Metacritic score: 83; 25 reviews)
“Under the Shadow” is a 2016 Persian-language film set in wartorn Iran in the 1980s. The psychological chiller from writer-director Babak Anvari concerns a mother (played by Narges Rashidi), her daughter (played by Avin Manshadi) — and the doll the mother says will protect them from a malevolent force.
“The movie is first fascinating, then terrifying,” Noel Murray wrote for the Los Angeles Times.
23. “Drag Me to Hell” (2009) (Metacritic score: 83; 32 reviews)
Released in 2009, in the wake of the financial collapse, Sam Raimi’s “Drag Me to Hell” tells the story of a loan officer (played by Alison Lohman) who is cursed after she denies a mortgage extension.
Salon’s Stephanie Zacharek found the film scary fun — the result of “an especially joyous kind of filmmaking.”
(CBS Essentials and Showtime are both subsidiaries of ViacomCBS.)
22. “Saint Maud” (Metacritic score: 83; 35 reviews)
Released in 2021, “Saint Maud” is the newest film in this countdown. Morfydd Clark stars as a hospice nurse who’s out to save a soul.
According to the Atlantic’s David Sims, writer-director Rose Clark “keep[s] the viewer guessing until the very last minute.”
21. “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” (Metacritic score: 83; 39 reviews)
Johnny Depp earned a Best Actor Oscar nomination as the vengeful barber at the bloody heart of this 2007 adaptation of the same-titled Broadway musical.
TV Guide Magazine’s Maitland McDonagh praised director Tim Burton for transforming the Stephen Sondheim source material into “a cheerfully gothic morality tale.”
“Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” is the first — but not last — musical in this countdown.
20. “The Witch” (2016) (Metacritic score: 83; 46 reviews)
Anya Taylor-Joy (“The Queen’s Gambit”) stars as a teen accused of being a witch in this 2016 film set in Puritan New England of the 1600s.
19. “The Lighthouse” (Metacritic score: 83; 51 reviews)
This black-and-white, 2019 entry is the second movie on this list from filmmaker Robert Eggers, who also wrote and directed “The Witch.”
The psychological horror tale stars Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe as 19th-century lightkeepers who struggle with the isolation of their post.
18. “Dracula: Pages From a Virgin’s Diary” (Metacritic score: 84)
If the horror genre teaches you anything, it’s to expect the unexpected. Enter “Dracula: Pages From a Virgin’s Diary,” the second musical in this countdown of horror classics.
This 2003, black-and-white Canadian production looks and plays like a silent film (but with a score, natch). And that’s not the half of it: The Guy Maddin film recasts Bram Stoker’s vampire tale as a ballet.
“…I hasten to add that this is the most inventive vampire picture of the last 80 years,” John Powers wrote for the L.A. Weekly.
17. “The Host” (2007) (Metacritic score: 85)
This film is the 2007 entry from Bong Joon Ho, theIn “The Host,” the Han River in Seoul, South Korea, is contaminated. Monster action ensues.
Entertainment Weekly’s Lisa Schwarzbaum called the film “wildly entertaining.”
Viewer beware: Do not confuse this film with the 2013 Hollywood sci-fi film, also titled “The Host.”
16. “The Babadook” (Metacritic score: 86)
“The Babadook” is a 2014 Australian horror movie that finds a widowed mother (played by Essie Davis) and her young son (played by Noah Wiseman) terrorized by a character from a pop-up children’s book.
The Portland Oregonian’s Marc Mohan called the movie a “near-masterpiece of unease.”
13 (TIE). “Eraserhead” (Metacritic score: 87; 15 reviews)
This 1977 cult film marks the feature debut of writer-director David Lynch (“Twin Peaks”). The avant-garde tale concerns a man (played by Jack Nance) and his space-alien-esque baby.
TV Guide Magazine called “Eraserhead” a “creepily sensuous film that suggests that the dark and troubling things we like to repress inhabit dresser drawers, live behind the radiator or lie under the bed.”
13 (TIE). “The Invisible Man” (1933) (Metacritic score: 87; 15 reviews)
This 1933 film, the original big-screen take on H.G. Wells’ classic tale, is the first of three titles on this list that belongs to what is now known as the Universal Classic Monsters franchise.
Claude Rains stars in “The Invisible Man” as a scientist who gains the power of invisibility, but loses his mind.
“The strangest character yet created by the screen…,” Variety declared upon the film’s original release.
13 (TIE). “The Wicker Man” (1974) (Metacritic score: 87; 15 reviews)
Not to be confused with the critically mocked Nicolas Cage remake, the original “Wicker Man” was praised by Variety for a screenplay “which, for sheer imagination and near-terror, has seldom been [equaled].”
Edward Woodward (“The Equalizer”) stars in the 1974 film as a police sergeant whose search for a missing girl takes him to a Scottish island, where the goings-on are, in a word, strange.
11 (TIE). “Jaws” (Metacritic score: 87; 21 reviews)
Steven Spielberg turbo-charged his directing career, helped create the modern movie blockbuster — and put a scare in beachgoers with his blood-soaked 1975 adaptation of the same-titled novel about a killer shark. Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss and Robert Shaw star in the Oscar-winning film.
11 (TIE). “Halloween” (1978) (Metacritic score: 87 21 reviews)
The knife-wielding, mask-wearing horror villain Michael Myers debuted in filmmaker John Carpenter’s original “Halloween.” The influential slasher film stars Jamie Lee Curtis as the terrorized Laurie Strode, a character Curtis would reprise for several sequels and remakes.
According to critics, the first “Halloween” is the best “Halloween.” Film Threat’s David Grove called the 1978 release “[a]rguably, the greatest horror film of the past thirty years.”
10. “Hereditary” (Metacritic score: 87; 45 reviews)
This 2018 film is the newest release in our countdown’s Top 10. “Hereditary” features Milly Shapiro as agirl whose family is menaced by the demon-summoning handiwork of a late matriarch.
The Verge’s Tasha Robinson hailed the film as “a hell of an intense ride, made for a crowd that enjoys heart-clutching adrenaline spikes.”
9. “The Innocents” (Metacritic score: 88)
This entry stars six-time Oscar nominee Deborah Kerr, features a screenplay co-written by Truman Capote (“In Cold Blood”) and shares DNA with Henry James’ “The Turn of the Screw.” But here’s what horror fans really need to know: Per the Los Angeles Times’ Susan King, “The Innocents” is “[o]ne of the scariest films ever made.”
The 1961 movie casts Kerr as a governess who comes to believe the house she works in is haunted — and the children in her care, possessed.
8. “Night of the Living Dead” (1968) (Metacritic score: 89)
George A. Romero deployed a reported $114,000 budget, a no-name cast and Pittsburgh-area locations to create a groundbreaking, 1968 zombie tale that New Yorker critic Pauline Kael hailed as “one of the most gruesomely terrifying movies ever made.”
An independent production that fell into the public domain, “Night of the Living Dead” is available to stream on almost every platform out there, including subscription services such as HBO Max and Shudder. Below, we have spotlighted two of the free, ad-supported services where you can watch the horror classic right now.
7. “The Birds” (Metacritic score: 90)
A bunch of birds are out to get a socialite (played by Tippi Hedren) and almost every other resident in Bodega Bay in this perennially popular 1963 film, the first of two Alfred Hitchcock entries in our countdown.
6. “Frankenstein” (1931) (Metacritic score: 91)
Though released nearly 90 years ago, this 1931 Universal Classic Monsters entry continues to chill — and to be praised by critics more than any subsequent Frankenstein movie.
Boris Karloff stars as the monstrous and misunderstood creation of the corpse-stealing Henry Frankenstein (played by Colin Clive).
(Note: Vix is a Spanish-language streaming service, but “Frankenstein” is presented in its original, English-language form.)
5. “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” (1956) (Metacritic score: 92)
The paranoia runs high in this sci-fi/horror classic directed by Don Siegel (“Dirty Harry”) and starring Kevin McCarthy, Dana Wynter and Carolyn Jones (“The Addams Family”).
The first of several big-screen adaptations of the novel “The Body Snatchers,” the 1956 film is the best of the lot, per the critical consensus.
“Incredibly chilling, this Don Siegel movie still delivers a powerful punch,” the Chicago Tribune’s David McDonnell wrote of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.”
4. “The Bride of Frankenstein (Metacritic score: 95)
This is the third and highest-ranked Universal Classic Monsters film in this countdown — all directed by James Whale.
A 1935 sequel to Whale’s “Frankenstein,” “Bride of Frankenstein” stars Elsa Lanchester as the made-to-order mate of Boris Karloff’s monster. Lanchester also plays author Mary Shelley in the film’s stage-setting prologue.
“‘Bride’ is a wild ride, even today,” Phelim O’Neill praised in the Guardian. “It flits between the classical and the gutter, the camp and the serious in a manner that’s hard to pin down.”
3. “Rosemary’s Baby” (Metacritic score: 96; 15 reviews)
In this 1968 Roman Polanski film, Mia Farrow stars as a woman who’s impregnated with Satan’s spawn after she and her actor husband (played by John Cassavetes) move into an imposing Manhattan apartment building. Ruth Gordon won an Oscar for her role as a neighbor who’s a lot more than just nosy.
“The tension created is practically unbearable,” the New York Daily News’ Kathleen Carroll wrote of “Rosemary’s Baby.”
2. “Don’t Look Now” (Metacritic score: 96; 25 reviews)
“Don’t Look Now” is a 1973 film starring Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie as a married couple who travel to Venice, Italy, for the husband’s work — and for a change of scenery following their young daughter’s death. But the two find they can’t escape their grief — or their fates.
“A haunting, beautiful labyrinth that gets inside your bones and stays there,” Edward Guthmann wrote for the San Francisco Chronicle.
1. “Psycho” (1960) (Metacritic score: 97)
The greatest horror movie of all time? According to critics, the answer is “Psycho.”
The 1960 Alfred Hitchcock movie stars Anthony Perkins as a motel proprietor by the name of Norman Bates — a man who can’t be trusted to behave when the shower water is running.