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Best Horror Movies by Decade

Claw your way through the three freakiest horror movies of each decade.


The 1960s

road trip horror movies
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  • This decade of old-school scares moved from the cheesy B-movies of the 1950s into a genre ripe with damaged psyches, the human will to survive, and the fact that even everyday Joes and Janes go a little mad sometimes.

    Photo Credit: Shamley Productions

3. Night of the Living Dead (1968)

2. Repulsion (1965)

1. Psycho (1960)

The 1970s

upcoming horror movies
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  • A decade in which visceral terror dominated the box office—and the Oscars, the 1970s offer horror fiends a ton of fodder to sink their teeth into.

    Photo Credit: Compass International Pictures

3. Halloween (1978)

2. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1977)

1. The Exorcist (1973)

The 1980s

horror movie quotes cursed movie sets poltergeist
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  •  Many modern horror filmmakers use the 1980s as their cauldron of inspiration by remaking, reimagining, and rebooting the classics. Understandable, since it’s the decade that gave us The Evil Dead, Child's Play, and The Thing—as well as these freaky classics.

    Photo Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

3. Poltergeist (1982)

2. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

1. The Shining (1980)

The 1990s

best slasher movies
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  • A decade obsessed with urban legends and shaky cam syndrome, the 1990s can also be credited with birthing the modern teen scream.

    Photo Credit: Dimension Films

3. Scream (1996)

2. The Sixth Sense (1999)

1. The Blair Witch Project (1999)

The 2000s

28 Days Later
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  • From J-horror (Ju-on) and torture porn (Hostel) to gory satire (Shaun of the Dead), there’s a massive quantity of quality horror that haunts this decade. For our purposes, we steered clear of those that made us laugh and chose those that made us a blubbering mess.

3. 28 Days Later (2003)

2. Let the Right One In (2009)

1. The Descent (2006)

2010 to Present

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  • Still in the throes of a horror boom, genre fiends are exploring crafty narratives and special effects that are redefining the genre. From haunted house horrors and indie psychological thrillers to mumblegore galore, today’s genre is a new beast. And we couldn’t be giddier.

3. The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

2. Black Swan (2010)

1. It Follows (2015)