Are you a Scream kid or a Halloween baby? Horror movies always seem to stick out in our heads—whether they're good or...truly terrible. Take a trip down memory lane during spooky szn and reminisce on the most popular horror movie the year you were born, ahead.
1970: Count Dracula
Monster movies were really popular in 1970, probably because everyone was on "dope." A handful of them were released in one year, mostly having something to do with Dracula, Frankenstein, Bigfoot, or all three. This take on Bram Stoker's classic novel stars Christopher Lee as Dracula and is, comparatively, the least corny of the bunch.
Based on the novel Ratman's Notebooks by Stephen Gilbert, this tells the story of a social misfit who loves rats. Sure, why not? Bruce Davison (whom you may recognize from a few of the X-Men movies) plays Willard, the titular rat fan. I think we can all agree that there's nothing grosser than rats, and that's the main point to drive home here.
Frogs, man. Just straight-up frogs. Aside from being an actual movie about frog terror, this has the best poster text ever: "If you are squeamish stay home!!! Cold green skin against soft, warm flesh! A croak. A scream!" Apparently frogs were an issue that needed to be put on the table in 1972.
1973: The Exorcist
If you see this movie even once, you will be scared for the rest of your life, and that's a fact. Linda Blair plays Regan MacNeil, a little girl who becomes possessed by the devil after playing with an Ouija board. Then she barfs on everyone and says nasty things about putting a cross in her coo-coo. Good times!
1974: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
There's so much to be afraid of in this movie: hitchhikers, gas stations, run-down towns, people who kill your friends and then make clothes out of their faces, etc. The grainy cinematography really adds to the chill factor.
I challenge you to think of a horror movie released since 1975 that uses music to inspire fear as effectively as Jaws does. When you hear that "dun-dun, dun-dun, dun-dun" sound (you know what I'm talking about), you know shit's about to get bloody.
Based on a novel by Stephen King, this tells the story of awkward, sheltered Carrie White, who uses her telekinetic abilities to get revenge on kids who make fun of her at school, as well as on her crazy mom. Even though she does kill a bunch of people with her mind, it's hard to not feel bad for Carrie in this.
This is David Lynch's first feature film, and while it's not a traditional horror movie per se, it's definitely terrifying. You could watch this a million times and still feel freaked out from the moment you press play all the way to the end credits.
An undeniable classic that pairs a constantly running and screaming Jamie Lee Curtis with a lurking creeper named Michael Myers. This movie set off the whole "Want to make something scary? Put a guy in a mask" trend.
Rarely do you see strong female leads in horror movies, but this one has two — one human, and one alien. Sigourney Weaver kicks ass all over the place and manages to survive without having anything disgusting erupt out of her chest.
1980: The Shining
Only a few movies based on Stephen King books come anywhere close to being as good as the book itself (flashback to 1976's Carrie) but this is one of them. This has it all: elevators filled with blood, Shelley Duvall, ghost twins, and Jack Nicholson at his craziest.
1981: The Evil Dead
If you've ever dated someone who was really into metal, chances are you saw the poster for this movie in their room/apartment/mom's basement. Mixing a cabin in the woods with teens becoming possessed by demons is nothing new now, but it all started with this classic and hasn't really been done as well since.
You might think plenty of things are scarier than a little girl talking to ghosts in her television or an odd woman with a high-pitched voice investigating spirits in a haunted house, but there isn't. You know a movie is a classic when it has its own catch phrase: "They're heeeeeeeere." *Chills.*
1983: The Hunger
Most horror movies are traditionally gross in at least a handful of ways — people look gross, or they do gross things, or the setting is gross. While some gross stuff does occasionally happen in this movie, it's primarily about not-gross sexy vampires, one of whom is played by David Bowie. You can't lose.
1984: A Nightmare on Elm Street
This poses the question, "What would happen if the insane things that went down in your nightmares could actually harm you?" You know all those dreams you have about pooping in front of a crowd? Now think about whether you'd rather be eaten by an actual monster with a knife glove or have those poop dreams come true. If you think you prefer the poop dreams, you might want to move on to 1985.
1985: Fright Night
A kid who's obsessed with horror movies suspects his neighbors are up to something otherworldly. This is another classic take on vampires, but with sort of a punk-rock twist in the form of one of the coolest horror movie characters ever — Evil Ed. (This was remade in 2011 with Colin Farrell, but that one wasn't nearly as good as the original.)
1986: The Fly
Do you dream of a love so strong that you wouldn't even care if you saw the person you're dating throw up everywhere and then be like, "Oh, wait, my ear actually just fell off?" Yes? Then this is for you. Super-young and attractive Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis can do no wrong, even in one of the grossest movies ever.
1987: The Lost Boys
Is it still a horror movie if you would absolutely sleep with every single person in it? This classic about hot teen vampires in California ended up setting off a vampire/goth frenzy that I honestly hope will last forever.
1988: Child's Play
Have we all come to the conclusion by now that dolls of any sort are terrifying? Because be honest: You have never in your life seen a doll on a shelf and not thought, Please don't kill me in my sleep. Thanks. This movie about a doll that gets possessed and kills people is the absolute worst, but in the best possible way.
1989: Pet Sematary
Dead kids? Check. Dead cats? Yep. Dead kids who come back to life and hide under your bed and slash at your ankles with a knife? Totally. This is another entry born from the twisted brain of Stephen King, and it's terribly amazing.
Even scarier than Julia Roberts and Kiefer Sutherland's relationship is this thriller about med students who experiment with dying and bringing each other back to life. You know, for fun. Trigger warning: This contains one of the saddest dog scenes of all time.
1991: The Silence of the Lambs
Based on one of the best horror novels ever written, this movie has major staying power. After seeing it just once, you'll be making "it rubs the lotion on its skin" jokes until the end of time. Also, Jodie Foster as a takes-no-sass FBI agent searching for a serial killer will give you life.
1993: Fire in the Sky
In 1978, a man named Travis Walton wrote a book called The Walton Experience, which detailed his belief that he had been abducted by aliens. This movie is based on that book, so seeing as how it's a "true story" about a guy who got snatched up by actual E.T.'s, it should be illegal for how terrifying it is.
1994: Interview With the Vampire
There are a few good scares to be had in this film adaptation of Anne Rice's beloved book, but really, the scariest aspect is the casting of Tom Cruise as Lestat. Are Scientologists even allowed to be vampires?
This movie about a sexy lady alien who's just trying to make some alien babies by sleeping with every human man she can find was very trendsetting. After Species came out, there were suddenly a ton of movies where ladies used their sexuality "to kill." We see you, white male directors and producers. We see you.
Talking on the telephone is so horrifying that they based a whole movie around it. Who among us doesn't scream in terror every time that thing rings? Ew, send an email! This launched both a triumphant comeback for Drew Barrymore and a teen-slasher franchise that was surprisingly fun.
1997: I Know What You Did Last Summer
Prior to the late '90s, if a scary movie was funny, it probably wasn't intentional, but around 1997, writers and directors started injecting humor into the mix. This star-studded (for the time — hi, Freddie Prinze Jr. and Jennifer Love Hewitt!) film about a group of teens that vow to conceal a crime they accidentally committed is clever in ways you don't expect from what would otherwise be a formulaic slasher.
1998: The Faculty
This is a movie about figuring out that the DIY drug the hot boy in school sells can be used to kill teachers …who are aliens. Also, Clea DuVall is in it, and Clea DuVall in anything is a good sign.
1999: The Blair Witch Project
When this movie premiered in theaters, it was marketed more as an event than a film. No one had much of a clue as to what it was about, but reviews were coming back saying that people who saw advanced screenings were passing out in the aisles. If you can stand the shaky camera work (which is now very much a thing used to show that something is real) then this found-footage pioneer is something you shouldn't miss.
2000: American Psycho
Maybe you're like me and made the mistake of watching this with your parents, not knowing how much weird sex was in it. Or maybe you haven't seen it at all, in which case you're lucky to be able to watch this psycho-thriller for the very first time. It's disgusting and scary, but still a little funny at times. You also learn a lot about business cards and facial care.
A few other great horror movies came out this year (seriously, how scary was The Others?), but when you have to choose one, you just can't pass up Bones, which features Snoop Dogg as a gangster who rises from the dead to seek revenge on fools who did him wrong.
2002: 28 Days Later
This was another great year for scary movies (The Ring, Resident Evil, Cabin Fever), but 28 Days Later is special because it was one of the first to try something truly new with the zombie genre. The zombies in this aren't just lumbering drool monsters; they're fast, mad, and did I mention fast? The soundtrack is amazing too.
2003: Wrong Turn
Remember Eliza Dushku who played Faith on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Missy in Bring It On? Well, she's the best thing about this "Oh no, inbred mountain people want to do weird things to me" movie — which still makes it worth watching.
Who could have possibly guessed that when the first Saw movie came out in 2004, there would eventually be 829 more of them? They're still oddly unique though, this one especially.
2005: The Exorcism of Emily Rose
No joke, I have thought about and/or referenced this movie at least once a month since it came out. It's the terrifying story of a girl living on a sad farm with her parents, who gets possessed by the devil and turns into Dexter's sister. (That's a really funny joke that you'll get once you see the movie.)
2006: The Omen
This remake of the 1976 classic of the same name was released in theaters on June 6, 2006, which is literally a once-in-a-lifetime marketing scheme. But evil little kids will be scary no matter what year it is. It could be 2092 and we'd still all be like, "No thank you, devil child." (They're definitely going to remake this again in 2066.)
2007: Paranormal Activity
Continuing the general vibe started by The Blair Witch Project, this movie about a couple setting up cameras in their home to observe nightly ghost activities uses fake "reality" to make things more scary, and it works. Bonus points for quite literally the scariest ending of a movie ever — you'll wanna watch this with a friend.
2008: The Strangers
Staring Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman in roles you wouldn't really expect them to play, this amplifies the fear of home invasion to a maddening roar. With most movies, even scary ones, we've been trained to expect some manner of "happy ending." Spoiler alert: You won't get that with The Strangers.
2009: Jennifer's Body
You've heard the expression "weird boner?" Well, this entire movie is weird boner- producing. Parts of it are really gross and really scary, but the majority of it is oddly arousing (in a questionable way). Maybe Megan Fox as a possessed, cannibalistic sex fiend just has that effect on movies.
2010: Black Swan
More of a creepy thriller than a horror movie, several truly terrifying things take place here that revolve around peeled finger skin and Winona Ryder being crazy. Who knew ballet could be so nasty?
2011: The Human Centipede (Full Sequence)
Truth be told, this is the only movie on this list I haven't seen. What that means is that I can happily watch any manner of hacking and running and screaming and bleeding, but will draw the line at people being forced to eat poop. Don't let that stop you though!
2012: The Cabin in the Woods
If you blinked, you could have missed this movie in theaters, but it's actually a real treat. Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and director of The Avengers, wrote the screenplay, and Chris Hemsworth aka Thor stars. It's clever and anxiety-inducing, with some really great scares toward the end capped off with a grand finale surprise.
Fair warning: If you do a Google image search for this movie, you will never sleep again for the rest of your life. I don't even wanna talk about it (but it's about two abandoned girls taken in by Jessica Chastain, who can't figure out who this "mama" they keep talking to is).
2014: The Babadook
Yet another movie about haunted children (sort of). This does a fantastic job of using accents, voices, and general sound to build an atmosphere of terror.
2015: The Visit
The latest from M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense, Signs) this was made fun of from here 'til Tuesday because the previews looked kind of silly and it's only rated PG-13. But things changed once people actually saw it, because no one is immune to crazy old people running at you and putting soiled adult diapers in your face. (Yes, that is a thing that happens in this.)
Welcome to the world, little baby! This year has been a horror show enough on its own, but if you're gonna crawl your baby body into a movie theater, you should start your life off right by seeing the best reboot ever made.
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