TAU Top 10: Horror Films

Check out The Awesome Update's definitive Top 10 Horror Films



10 Halloween (1978)

Directed by John Carpenter with an at-the-time unknown cast and a tiny budget, this was the surprise hit of the year. Jamie Lee Curtis plays Laurie Strode, a young babysitter who, along with her friends, is terrorised by Michael Myers – a psychopath who killed his sister at 6 years old, and has broken out of an institution and returned to wreak havoc on the small town. He is followed closely by his doctor, Donald Pleasence.

Certificate: 18 Running Time: 91 mins


9 The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

A rookie FBI agent, played with Oscar winning perfection by Jodie Foster, must enlist the help of a cannibalistic serial killer played by Anthony Hopkins (also on Oscar winning form) to track down a killer who is kidnapping and skinning his young female victims. Directed by Jonathon Demme, who won Best Director for the film, it also won Best Picture and Best Screenplay.

Certificate: 18 Running Time: 118 mins


8 Jeepers Creepers (2001)

Written and Directed by Victor Salva and starring Justin Long and Gina Phillips, Jeepers Creepers tells the story of a brother and sister travelling home for the holidays through isolated countryside, only to find an immortal, man-eating creature finishing a ritualistic feast of human body parts – and it likes what it sees in the young siblings.

Certificate: 15 Running Time: 90 mins


7 Insidious (2010)

Brought to us from the creator of Saw, Insidious is fashioned like the classic supernatural horrors of decades past. Starring Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne as a couple who move into a new house and discover their eldest, recently comatose son, (Ty Simpkins) is being haunted by malevolent demons in a supernatural world connected to ours through dreams.

Certificate: 15 Running Time: 103 mins


6 The Exorcist (1973)

William Friedkin directs Ellen Burstyn, Max Von Sydow and Linda Blair in one of the scariest voted horror films of all time. A mother (Burstyn) finds to her horror that her daughter (Blair) has been possessed by none other than the devil himself. She implores two priests to help her daughter by performing an exorcism. Known for some of the best make-up in horror pictures, this is a must see.

Certificate: 18 Running Time: 122 mins


5 John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982)

John Carpenter’s The Thing is his second entry on our list, still in his horror groove; Carpenter cast his now long-time collaborator Kurt Russell in his alien horror epic. Russell plays R. J. Macready, one of a group of scientists who discover a terrifying creature in the Antarctic that takes on the appearance of those that it kills, causing doubt and confusion among the survivors and eventual victims.

Certificate: 18 Running Time: 109 mins


4 Jaws (1975)

Steven Spielberg’s masterpiece that scared audiences out of the water for weeks starred Roy Scheider as the new police chief in a holiday town that is being threatened by an incredibly large Great White Shark (known to the crew as Bruce). It is up to Chief Brody, a marine scientist (Richard Dreyfuss) and an old fisherman (Robert Shaw) to take down the beast and restore calm to the small community. The first blockbuster film, it was a huge hit for Spielberg, and genuinely scary too.

Certificate: 12 Running Time: 124 mins


3 Psycho (1960)

A pure classic in the number 3 spot, Alfred Hitchcock’s infamous picture changed the horror genre forever. Janet Leigh stars as a secretary who steals $40,000 from her boss and goes on the run. She changes her mind, and stops at a motel overnight, deciding she will take the money back tomorrow. Everything is not as it seems, however, with the young motel owner, Norman Bates, and his overbearing mother.

Certificate: 15 Running Time: 109 mins


2 The Shining (1980)

Narrowly missing out on our top spot is Stanley Kubrick’s Stephen King adaptation, The Shining. Jack Nicholson takes a job as a caretaker in a remote hotel during its winter season. He takes his wife (Shelley Duvall) and son with him to the isolated hotel, but it soon becomes clear all is not right in the place, and Jack becomes influenced by evil spirits telling him to murder his family. Incredibly creepy, not easy to forget, and all round pure cinematic genius.

Certificate: 18 Running Time: 144 mins


  1 Alien (1979)


The Awesome Updates favourite Horror film… Alien; Ridley Scott’s terrifying Sci-Fi horror tale of a space crew who take on board an alien after answering a distress call from an unknown planet. The creature hunts them down one by one and kills them in more and more horrific ways. With scenes you’ll never forget, this is definitely one to watch behind a cushion.

Certificate: 18 Running Time: 117 mins

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