Top 10 Horror Movies of All Time, Ranked According to IMDB

By Nathan Johnson Posted:
The Exorcist, The Shining, Alien

Horror films have been a Halloween staple for over a century, and the genre is widely considered one of the most beloved in all of entertainment.

Thousands of titles have been categorized as "horror" throughout the decades, but only a handful can be included in the A-tier of that respective genre.

IMDb's Top 10 Horror Movies

When a film registered in the IMDb database is released, registered users on the platform are given the opportunity to score the title from one to ten stars.

Each rating is then combined and averaged out to give the movie in question its official rating.

For example, Halloween, which is one of the most beloved horror movies of all time, currently has thousands of ten-star reviews on the platform, but fans have also given it a great number of lower ratings, with its average rating coming out to 7.7 stars.

  1. Alien
  2. Psycho
  3. The Shining
  4. The Thing
  5. Thumbbad
  6. The Exorcist
  7. Diabolique
  8. Rosemary's Baby
  9. What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
  10. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

Below you will find IMDb's full list ranked, continue to scroll for further information on each movie and their official IMDb score!

10.) The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) - 8.0

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

Kicking off the top 10 is the oldest movie that will appear on this list - a 103-year-old silent film titled The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Starring Werner Grauss and Casablanca's Conrad Veidt, this horror flick takes place at a fair in a village known as Hostenwall.

At the fair, Dr. Calagiri hosts a show, and one of the attendees is found dead the next morning. This leads to one of the first-ever murder-mystery-style plots ever put to screen, and while the story has been remade numerous times, none of the attempts have ever been able to capture the magic that the original displayed.

9.) What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962) - 8.0

Blanche and Jane Hudson
What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

Starring two Oscar-winning actresses in Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? is one of the all-time great sibling rivalry films.

Blanche and Jane Hudson, former actresses living together in a Hollywood mansion, are in their older days peacefully living out the rest of their lives.

However, Jane continuously torments her sister Blanche (who is confined to a wheelchair) more and more as time goes on. As the former sister falls deeper into madness, the horror she projects onto Blanche becomes increasingly shocking and cruel.

8.) Rosemary's Baby (1968) - 8.0

Mia Farrow as Rosemary, Rosemary's Baby
Rosemary's Baby

Directed by one of the most famous filmmakers of all time, Roman Polanski, Rosemary's Baby stars Mia Farrow and John Cassavetes, telling the chilling story of a housemaker's sinister pregnancy.

When Rosemary and her husband finally do have their child by the end of the film, viewers are shocked by one of the biggest revelations in horror history.

Rosemary's Baby ultimately received two Oscar nominations, one for Polanski's screenplay and another for Ruth Gordon's stellar acting. Gordon even ended up taking home the Best Actress in a Supporting Role award, and the film cemented itself as one of the best spine-tinglers of all time.

7.) Diabolique (1955) - 8.1


Diabolique may or may not have been the first revenge story told in a horror setting, but it is definitely regarded as the grandfather of that subgenre.

Directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot, this nightmare-inducing French thriller is centered around a school principal, his wife, and his mistress. When the latter two come up with the perfect plot to murder the principal, they attempt to carry out the deed.

However, the two women's plan doesn't go as smoothly as they thought it would, leading to plot twists and vivid imagery that has been embedded in viewers' brains since 1955.

6.) The Exorcist (1973) - 8.1

Linda Blair as Regan, The Exorcist
The Exorcist

At the time of its release half a century ago, William Friedkin's The Exorcist was regarded as the most horrifying and scary movie of all time. Thanks to the use of practical effects and filmmaking magic, The Exorcist was able to haunt viewers with some of the most bizarre and disturbing imagery ever seen on a screen.

Starring Linda Blair and Swedish movie star Max von Sydow, The Exorcist was nominated for an impressive 10 Oscar awards. It tells the story of a young girl who is possessed by a demon named Pazuzu, and how the girl's mother handles the situation as it becomes increasingly worse.

5.)  Tumbbad (2018) - 8.2


Hitting theaters just five years ago in 2018, Tumbbad is a Hindi-language flick that follows a family who builds a temple for the firstborn of a goddess named Hastar. However, there is only one problem - Hastar must not be worshipped.

Like many of the list's other entries, Tumbbad also features some stomach-churning imagery and mind-boggling plot twists. However, since it deals with themes such as greed, the film also promotes some important lessons to viewers.

4.) The Thing (1982) - 8.2

The Thing Poster
The Thing

Like The Exorcist, John Carpenter's The Thing was truly ahead of its time in terms of visual effects. Starring Kurt Russell, the film truly redefined and set the standard for bloody, gory massacres in horror films, and it is still praised to this very day.

The Thing actually tells a quite simple story as it follows a research team in the wastelands of Antarctica. However, the mission quickly takes a turn for the worst when a shape-shifting alien starts ripping apart the team one by one.

3.) The Shining (1980) - 8.4

Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance, The Shining
The Shining

Inspired by Stephen King's same-titled novel, Stanley Kubrick's The Shining is one of the most beloved horror films of all time. Starring Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall, the movie shows viewers what an extremely sinister case of cabin fever looks like as a writer goes insane from staying inside a haunted hotel for too long.

Even non-horror fans have likely seen the infamous "Here's Johnny" axe scene, and The Shining continues to be passed down from generation to generation due to just how good it is.

2.) Psycho (1960) - 8.5

Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates, Psycho

Franchises such as Halloween, Friday the 13th, or Scream may be what most fans think of when hearing the term "slasher," but none of them would be where they are today had it not been for Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho.

Almost everyone has at least heard of Norman Bates, which largely due to Anthony Perkins' transformative portrayal of the maniacal serial killer.

Psycho was nominated for four Oscars following its release, and even though it came out over 60 years ago, its story and acting still hold up to this very day and that is why many consider it to be one of the best horror movies of all time.

1.) Alien (1979) - 8.5

Ridley Scott's Alien poster

To be the best, you have to beat the best, which is just what Alien did when it hit theaters in 1979. Starring Sigourney Weaver as one of the most badass female characters in film history, Ridley Scott's Alien redefined the horror and suspense genre through its visual effects, gripping tension, and all-out bloody violence.

Bringing home the Oscar award for Best Effects/Visual Effects, Alien truly made its mark on the horror genre when it came out, and its presence is still felt today. Multiple sequels to this first flick have been released, and even though none have quite been able to go toe-to-toe with the original, Aliens, the second movie in the franchise, comes pretty close.

- About The Author: Nathan Johnson
Nathan is a writer at The Direct where he covers Star Wars, the MCU, and DC news. He joined The Direct in April 2021 and currently writes news and feature articles about all three brands mentioned above, but his main specialty is his knowledge about anything and everything Star Wars.