Looking for a terrifying horror film to watch this Halloween? Thanks to sites that aggregate movie reviews, we now can get the scariest ever made, without tons of searching. Sites such as Metacritic, Rotten Tomatoes, and Reddit keep vast databases of compiled film reviews. These sites then handily synthesize lists containing the top genre films of all time.
To get the absolute scariest films, though, you need to filter out other genres. In this article I’ve already filtered out other search results. The movies listed are, according to their respective sites, the best reviewed horror films ever made.
Metacritic scores generally range all over the place, depending on whether the top scores were determined by critics or by fans. Metacritic uses a simple mechanism for compiling review statistics. It takes the critical score and turns it into a percentage — this percentage is then averaged with reviews from other sites. For example, Siskel and Ebert used a simple binomial review system: one or two thumbs up. One thumb represents 50% and two represents 100%. Metacritic averages all reviews made on a film.
Unfortunately a number of these lists were gamed by truly awful films. Before renting a movie, make sure that you check the film for the total number of reviews it received. If a film scores in the top twenty horror films ever made and it only has ten reviews, chances are it’s lousy. Really lousy.
For those of you looking to get more out of Metacritic, check out our walkthrough on the site.
Top Ten Best Horror Films, Filtered by Critics
- Repulsion (re-release) (score: 91)
- The Host (score: 85)
- Halloween (score: 85)
- Drag Me to Hell (score: 83)
- Taxidermia (score: 83)
- Alien (score: 83)
- Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (score: 83)
- The Exorcist (score: 82)
- Let the Right One In (score: 82)
- Little Shop of Horrors (score: 82)
You can check out Metacritic’s best horror films of all time, here, by critics.
Top Ten Best Horror Films, Sorted by Fans
- Ginger Snaps (score: 9.2)
- Halloween (score: 8.9)
- Godzilla (score: 8.9)
- Evil Dead II (score: 8.8)
- Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (score: 8.8)
- Alien (score: 8.7)
- Army of Darkness (score: 8.7)
- Vampire’s Kiss (score: 8.7)
- Fear(s) of the Dark (score: 8.6)
- Shaun of the Dead (score: 8.5)
You can find the total list of Metacritic’s best reviewed horror movies, by users, here.
Rotten Tomatoes, like Metacritic, contains an aggregation of reviews, both from professional writers and users. The aggregated reviews also include a special category which only includes review scores from top-ranked critics.
Like Metacritic, Rotten Tomatoes’ scores can easily be gamed, so before renting an obscure film, make sure it’s been thoroughly reviewed. Again, a handful of reviews generally means the film is awful.
- Jaws (score: 105%)
- Psycho (score: 105%)
- Frankenstein (1931) (score: 105%)
- Alien (score: 106%)
- Nosferatu, a Symphony of Horror (Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens) (Nosferatu the Vampire) (1922) (score: 107%)
- Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari. (The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari) (1920) (score: 107%)
- The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
- King Kong (1933) (score: 108%)
- Repulsion (1965) (score: 108%)
You can find Rotten Tomatoes’ list of the 75 best horror films of all time here.
There’s a Reddit subreddit for virtually everything, from individual games to sports coverage. A large and growing horror club exists over at Reddit, as well. They even voted on the best horror films of all time, separated by subgenre:
- Dreadit’s Top 20 Zombie Films
- Dreadit’s Top 20 Vampire Films
- Dreadit’s Top 20 Sci-Fi Horror Films
- Dreadit’s Top 20 Anthology Films
- Dreadit’s Top 20 Ghost Story/Haunted House Films
- Dreadit’s Top 20 Slasher Films
- Dreadit’s Top 20 Slasher Sequels/Prequels/Remakes/Etc
What makes these lists particularly salient is that they’re created by hardcore horror fans. So if you like horror movies, these lists will more than likely cater specifically to your tastes.
The horror subreddit’s members currently are working on creating a list of the best Halloween films ever made. This list should show up shortly before Halloween. Keep your eyes peeled for the results.
There are other subreddits covering horror and the various aspects of the genre. /r/horrorclub, for example, is a club that discusses one horror film a week. /r/horror is a general interest discussion forum for horror films and related material.
You can watch the scariest films ever made with ease, thanks to film lists from sites like Netflix, Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes. These lists can sort by genre, subgenre, ratings and more. The key lies in avoiding “gamed” reviews. Films with high scores and a low number of reviews invariably betray their viewers — avoid wasting your time with these.
It’s also important to note that these genre lists can be used to find movies in any category. You simply change the genre to whatever fits your tastes and sort according to highest reviews. Getting great films has never been easier. We’ve covered six other meta-review sites for films.
Anyone else have a great list of films to watch? Let us know in the comments about your favorite horror films you have enjoyed.
Image Credits: Jack-o-Lantern via MorgueFile