1. The Orphanage (2007)
A woman brings her son to the now-abandoned orphanage where she grew up. Her son begins making imaginary friends, and starts having strange experiences when she reopens the orphanage.
Why you need to watch it: “Not only is it deeply frightening, but utterly heartbreaking as well. It has the perfect amount of body horror to put you on edge.”
Submitted by Keira C Georgeson, Facebook
2. Suspiria (1977)
A woman leaves New York to join a prestigious ballet school in Freiburg, Germany, and after a series of murders occur, she learns the school is actually a front for something sinister.
Why you need to watch it: “The use of lighting and music is genius and so creepy… not to mention an incredible shot of a still beating heart with a knife through it!”
Submitted by amberlundyleigh
3. Cube (1997)
A group of strangers wake up in a seemingly endless maze of deadly traps. As they carefully and skeptically try to find their way out, each person learns that they possess a particular skill that landed them in the Cube.
Why you need to watch it: “It was Saw, before Saw was a thing.”
Submitted by Susan Williams, Facebook
4. The Haunting (1963)
A researcher focusing on the paranormal invites two women to a haunted mansion, and it doesn’t take long for the spirits to begin manifesting themselves.
Why you need to watch it: “It’s a film that lets your imagination do the work, so it’s scarier than all the CGI monsters in the world.”
Submitted by James Thomas, Facebook
5. Jacob’s Ladder (1990)
A man who has lost his child tries to discover more about his past while suffering from delusion. He tries to recognize the difference between reality and non-reality as he tries to keep his current life together.
Why you need to watch it: “It’s an excellent psychological thriller that gives you the creeps with its believability. Very Hitchcock-esque.”
Submitted by annabell4f3135c24
6. Black Christmas (1974)
A stranger terrifies the girls in a sorority house with threatening phone calls before murdering them one by one.
Why you need to watch it: “It was one of the films that truly started the genre, and was genuinely freaky as hell.”
Submitted by Rachael Avery Barton, Facebook
7. Frailty (2001)
A young man from a very religious family (played by Matthew McConaughey) confesses a terrifying story to the police when he believes his brother may be the serial killer the they’ve been searching for.
Why you need to watch it: “It’s a slow burner that packs a major punch, especially if you like a good twist with your horror fare.”
Submitted by Paula M. Perez, Facebook
8. A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)
Shortly after arriving home to their cruel parents from their time at a mental institution, two sisters’ lives are interrupted by the presence of a ghost.
Why you need to watch it: “Brilliantly scary, honestly terrifying, gorgeously shot, and has such a great twist ending.”
Submitted by andrewm440ca664e
9. StageFright: Aquarius (1987)
A group of actors lock themselves in an auditorium to rehearse, unaware that an escaped psychopath is locked in the theater with them.
Why you need to watch it: “It’s probably one of the best slashers from the ’80s. There’s no pretensions with the plot — it’s fairly straightforward.”
Submitted by boweryboy
10. Session 9 (2001)
An asbestos cleaning crew begins work on an abandoned asylum, but their job becomes complicated as the haunted atmosphere begins to have negative effects on their personalities.
Why you need to watch it: “Abandoned mental hospitals were never so good as in this movie.”
Submitted by Rachael Avery Barton, Facebook
11. Demons (1985)
A group of people are invited to the private screening of a film at a Berlin movie theater. However, the theater is actually filled with several real demons that proceed to ravenously attack attendees.
Why you need to watch it: “It’s perfectly surreal, gory, and nonstop entertaining.”
Submitted by boweryboy
12. High Tension (2003)
When a woman named Alexia takes her friend Marie to her family’s vacation home, the entire family is slaughtered and Alexia gets kidnapped. Marie is left to save her friend and figure out how to get away from the maniac killer.
Why you need to watch it: “It is so terrifying that it’s difficult to even finish.”
Submitted by jessinar
13. Monkey Shines (1988)
A paralyzed man trains a monkey to help him with his disability, but the monkey soon grows feelings of rage against its owner.
Why you need to watch it: “What’s creepier than a monkey trying to kill a man confined to a wheelchair?”
Submitted by evynb2
14. [Rec] (2007)
A television reporter and her cameraman respond to a late-night emergency call that turns into a living nightmare. This is the film that inspired Quarantine.
Why you need to watch it: “It took the worn-out zombie horror cliché and put an original twist on it… and it made me shit myself.”
Submitted by MattyAlf
15. The Changeling (1980)
After he loses his family in an accident, a man rents out an old house. What he doesn’t know is that he’s sharing the space with the ghost of a murdered child who is feeding off of the man’s sadness.
Why you need to watch it: “It is psychologically scary and genuinely frightening.”
Submitted by aahamom
16. Sleepaway Camp (1983)
A shy girl is sent to a summer camp with her cousin, where a series of violent deaths and incredibly strange events begin to occur.
Why you need to watch it: “It has one of the best twist endings I’ve ever seen. You won’t be sorry.”
Submitted by Stacey Grant
17. Trick ‘r Treat (2007)
Five separate stories become intertwined on Halloween night, including a high school teacher doubling as a secret serial killer, a college virgin who may have found “the one,” a group of mean teenagers whose prank goes too far, a couple that blows out their jack-o-lantern too soon, and a hermit who gets a strange visitor.
Why you need to watch it: “It has a surprising cast of well-known actors (like Anna Paquin and Brian Cox), crowd-pleasing twists, and a pure celebration of the fun, frightening side of Halloween as a holiday.”
Submitted by abec4cd3b2b4e
18. Nightbreed (1990)
An unstable young man is convinced he is a serial killer by his therapist, and finds mental safety in an underground city called Midian, among a group of mutants hiding from humanity.
Why you need to watch it: “This is made by Clive Barker, famous for his Hellraiser movies. It’s creepy, suspenseful, and out-and-out trippy!”
Submitted by bastetskitten
19. Martyrs (2008)
Fifteen years following a scarring experience of physical torture, a woman and her friend go on a journey for revenge.
Why you need to watch it: “It makes you feel, cringe, cry, and wait in pain for what’s about to happen. Those scenes…they stay with you.”
WARNING: This film has been described as incredibly gruesome and includes possibly one of the hardest scenes to watch in history.
Submitted by Valentina Autumn, Facebook
Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.
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