While many horror movies can be groundbreaking, putting audience members on the edge of their seats with suspense using horrifying narrative stakes and selective cinematography, other horror movies aren't always as great. Instead, many movies in this genre are cheaply made in an attempt to rake in viewers. While they may still terrify people with cheap jump scares, the narrative stakes often aren't there, making the frightening moments feel rather pointless.
One of the most reliable ways to tell if a horror movie is actually good or not is to check their score on Rotten Tomatoes. While critics and audience members don't always agree in every genre, they tend to see eye to eye in the horror genre, at least when looking for a truly thrilling movie rather than a cheap story with empty stakes. Recently, movies like Get Out and A Quiet Place thrilled audiences with an exciting narrative that kept people emotionally hooked, while also using unique tactics to keep things scary.
For this list, we will be looking at the horror movies with the highest and lowest percentages on Rotten Tomatoes. These are films that a majority of critics agree are either the best of the best, or the worst of the worst. We will, however, be skipping some of the movies that have a 100% that only have that score because a small number of critics reviewed the movie. These are typically made by small production companies that go unnoticed by most critics, and would have an unfair advantage when it comes to their scoring.
With this in mind, here are the 15 Best Horror Movies According To Rotten Tomatoes (And 15 Stuck At 0%).
30 30. Psycho (1960) - 97%
Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho was a groundbreaking horror movie, showing the gradual investigation of a psychopath who dresses as his mother to entrap victims who stay at his hotel.
Psycho was unlike anything anyone had seen when it first came out, using unique camera angles and quick cuts to show horrific actions and gore in its now iconic shower scene without actually showing any stab wounds.
Unlike most other horror movies at the time, Psycho showed that fear and horror can be realistic, using a realistic, human antagonist rather than a supernatural vampire or monster.
29 Clowntergeist (2017) - 0%
In 2015, the classic horror flick Poltergeist received a rather disappointing reboot. However, despite the disappointment, Poltergeist still brought in a decent audience, which inspired High Octane Pictures, a production company best known for making rip-offs of box office hits, to bring life to this atrocity.
The Poltergeist poster and marketing put a focus on the toy clown, which played a minor part in the original movie. Clowntergeist took this to a new level by making the supernatural being haunting the protagonist both a clown and a poltergeist. While any other production company could have pulled this off, Clowntergeist ended up feeling like a bare parody.
28 The Babadook (2014) - 98%
One of the biggest horror surprises of recent years was The Babadook, which was marketed as just another cheap horror movie banking off of jump scares, but ended up being a heartfelt drama that had enough narrative elements to make the story absolutely horrifying.
While the plot of the movie focused on a supernatural force, the Babadook, haunting a single mother and her son, the movie itself seemed to be about the mother-son relationship, with this grief-stricken mother learning more about her son as she learns more about the monster that is haunting him. It left audiences worrying about the fate of both of these characters by the end of the film.
27 Return of the Living Dead Part II (1988) - 0%
Whereas 1985's Return of the Living Dead was a refreshing take on the zombie genre, raking in a large audience and earning itself a whopping 91% on Rotten Tomatoes, its sequel fell several graveyards short.
Everything clever about the original movie, the sequel completely abandoned, creating yet another cheap, phony-looking zombie movie that had given the sub-genre such a poor name.
While the third installment of the franchise, Return of the Living Dead Part III, was a bit better, it still was not able to fix the damage Part II had done to what could have been a truly fantastic franchise.
26 Eyes Without A Face (1962) - 98%
One of the best strategies a horror movie can use is showing as little as possible. While horrifying beasts and monsters are almost always scary, they are not as scary as the mystery of not knowing what is pursuing you. This is a strategy that Eyes Without A Face used brilliantly, and it still holds up as a fantastic horror film even today.
By combining the mystery of horror with a truly poetic narrative, Eyes Without A Face was able to cause intense discomfort in its audiences without needing to show anything at all, inspiring countless horror movies to copy its methods.
25 The Thing With Two Heads (1972) - 0%
As one can imagine, The Thing With Two Heads ended up being just about as non-creative as its awful title. In a rip-off of the Frankenstein series, a racist doctor tries to save his own life by connecting his head to the body of a man about to face capital punishment.
The Thing With Two Heads suffers by trying to be too much at once, carrying elements of a horror movie, an action-packed thriller, and a humorous buddy comedy. However, at the end of the day, it only ends up being two things: racist and horrible.
24 The Vanishing (1988) - 98%
The Vanishing is a unique horror movie, featuring the psychopathic villain of the movie as the protagonist, taking a deeper look into his mind and motivations as the story continues, leaving audiences uncomfortable with how they feel about this monster as the movie progresses.
The absolute best factor of The Vanishing that made it into such a hit was its highly climactic ending.
Its ending left audience members traumatized for weeks after viewing it. The Vanishing is surely a movie that any fans of the horror genre needs to see at some point in their lives.
23 Leprechaun 2 (1994) - 0%
The first Leprechaun movie, starring Star Wars' Warwick Davis, was certainly not a good movie, but its sequel, Leprechaun 2, showed that the original could have been so much worse. Leprechaun 2 tried to show some of the Leprechaun's origins in a jumbled plot that really didn't make any sense at all.
Arguably, the worst factor of Leprechaun 2 was how creepy it was. While most horror movies are improved by being creepy, this horror sequel just made audiences feel uncomfortable, with its entire plot focusing on the Leprechaun stalking women in an attempt to find a wife.
22 Let The Right One In (2008) - 98%
Coming out the same year as Twilight, Let the Right One In takes a similar twist on the vampire sub-genre, but in a much more compelling way. After a young boy befriends an anti-social girl at his school, he discovers that she is secretly a vampire and is responsible for taking the lives of a large number of victims across their town.
Let the Right One In succeeds because it uses its horrifying, supernatural aspects perfectly by blending it with romance and emotion, raising the stakes in a beautifully compelling manner.
21 Hellraiser: Hellseeker (2002) - 0%
Hellraiser was never particularly a great franchise, but the 2002 instalment, Hellraiser: Hellseeker, took the franchise to a new low. The movie faced an unoriginal plot, with the villainous Pinhead once again returning to torture the world, before being easily cast back to where he came, which is pretty much what every previous movie in the franchise was about.
What made Hellraiser: Hellseeker stand out as the worst in the franchise, however, was the fact that Pinhead was barely even in it.
Instead, the story followed a few poorly written protagonists who only talked about Pinhead instead of actually coming face-to-face with this unsatisfying villain.
20 Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn (1987) - 98%
Unlike most horror sequels, Sam Raimi's Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn proved itself to be even better than its predecessor, which remains as one of the most groundbreaking movies in the horror genre today.
By bringing back the terrific cast and adding yet another compelling plot, this sequel to Evil Dead already had the formula to be an entertaining horror film. However, what really made it stand above its predecessor was its increased budget, which helped to make the special effects of the movie look a lot more realistic in order to keep audience members in the moment as the story progressed.
19 Jaws: The Revenge (1987) - 0%
Whereas Jaws was a groundbreaking inclusion in the horror genre, kick-starting Steven Spielberg's career, every installment in the franchise after the original became worse and worse, eventually leading to this disappointing heap of stupidity known as Jaws: The Revenge.
Whereas the first two movies focused on Sheriff Brody, and the third movie focused on Brody's two sons, Jaws: The Revenge put a focus on Ellen Brody, the widowed wife of Sherrif Brody, as she discovers that there is a vendetta between her family and the shark family of the original shark from Jaws. It's as stupid as it sounds.
18 Get Out (2017) - 99%
Get Out became one of the most critically acclaimed movies of 2017, being a horror film that is mixed with social commentary, taking an up close look at the realities of racism in our world today. One of the best tricks that Get Out used is suspense as the protagonist of the story starts to realize what he is up against.
The scariest part about Get Out, however, is how realistic it is.
Rather than putting the main character against a supernatural monster, Get Out pins the protagonist against the scariest monster of all: human society. The incredible storytelling of Get Out leaves audiences frightened, angry, and anxious, all in the best of ways.
17 One Missed Call (2008) - 0%
While the plot of the original One Missed Call was at least kind of clever, this 2008 U.S. remake was one of those horror remakes that fell far short of the original. The plot focused on a cell phone that foretells how a person will lose their life, with the protagonist of the movie desperately trying to find a way to reverse her fate revealed by the phone.
The biggest issue was that this remake was even more bland than the original. The acting, script, and direction all fell flat, making this horror movie into one of the most boring films ever added to the horror genre.
16 Rosemary's Baby (1968) - 99%
Rosemary's Baby remains one of the most iconic instalments in the horror genre. It features a pregnant mother who believes that her child is not of this world, and instead is the offspring of the devil. The movie focuses on this supernatural mystery, giving Rosemary the impossible choice of either keeping her child or ending its life due to its evil origins.
What really helped sell this movie, however, was the cast. Mia Farrow gave an emotionally compelling performance as Rosemary, making every moment of this beautiful and heartbreaking horror movie feel absolutely real.
15 Dracula vs. Frankenstein (1971) - 0%
Let's be honest here: very rarely in the history of movie has a crossover event featuring one iconic character "vs." another iconic character turned out for the better. However, at least in the horror genre, Dracula vs. Frankenstein stands strong as the worst of the worst.
Though it had a great cast, this horror crossover event felt campy and unenjoyable.
The plot focused on Dracula working with Dr. Frankenstein to revive his monster to use it as an unending source of blood, which, right off the bat, felt very ridiculous. This far-fetched plot, combined with some truly awful special effects, made Dracula vs. Frankenstein an utterly forgettable horror flick.
14 Aliens (1986) - 99%
The first Alien movie seemingly became an unbeatable classic, yet somehow, its sequel Aliens blew it out of the water. What made Aliens stand out from its predecessor wasn't just that it brought back the fantastic suspense and poetry of the original in an even more profound way, but moreso the fact that it didn't take its time to build up.
Instead, Aliens was filled with action from start to finish, while managing to not sacrifice an ounce of the narrative that made the first movie so thrilling. Add to this the fantastic performance by Sigourney Weaver, and there's no doubting why Aliens is still considered to be one of the greatest horror movies ever made.
13 Leprechaun 3 (1995) - 0%
While it seemed impossible for the Leprechaun franchise to get any worse, after the second installment in the franchise received a 0% on Rotten Tomatoes, Leprechaun 3 proved that it is possible to make a movie even worse than Leprechaun 2.
This time, the franchise took the creepy, titular monster to Las Vegas for some reason. It really didn't have much of a plot, and instead just featured the Leprechaun running around an already hectic city for an hour and a half. This is one movie that happened in Vegas that most people wish would've stayed in Vegas.
12 Under The Shadow (2016) - 99%
Trying to survive in the chaos of the Iran-Iraq war, a mother whose husband was drafted into service attempts to raise her daughter alone. However, after her house appears to be controlled by the Djinn, a supernatural force that seemingly bends the nature of reality, she is unable to tell what is real and what is not.
Under the Shadow is a horror movie that is brilliantly told.
It combines cinematic suspense with some fantastic performances from its cast, while also taking a subtle, subtextual look at the negative effects of war.
11 Return of the Killer Tomatoes (1988) - 0%
Many people credit Batman & Robin as George Clooney's worst movie, but they likely did not know about Return of the Killer Tomatoes. As a sequel to the already horrible Attack of the Killer Tomatoes from 1978, Return of the Killer Tomatoes proved that this franchise, like actual tomatoes, can become even more rotten with time.
Years after tomatoes were made illegal, a pizza delivery boy falls in love with the daughter of the mad scientist who created the first monster Tomato, leading to the Tomatoes returning, but now as ridiculous human-tomato hybrids. Yes, this is a real thing.
10 The Invisible Man (1933) - 100%
The Invisible Man is one of those classic horror flicks that helped to define the genre. This particular classic horror movie follows a scientist who mysteriously wraps himself in bandages out in public, only to reveal that his body is invisible, leaving the bandages as the only way for him to be seen.
The special effects of The Invisible Man were surprisingly superb for their time period, and the performances by the cast really helped to sell the story. It carried a brilliant blend of humor and tension to create an all time classic that is still revered to this day.
9 The Dentist (1996) - 0%
A clever strategy that horror movies utilize involves using people's actual fears and phobias in order to scare them on the big screen. This is likely how the idea for The Dentist came to be, driving from the fear that some people have from visiting the dentist. Unfortunately, this is about the only clever aspect of this movie.
After learning that his wife cheated on him, a dentist takes his rage out on every patient who comes for a teeth cleaning, which is pretty much the entire plot.
The rest of the movie is filled with gory close-up shots inside people's mouths as their teeth and gums are destroyed, making it painful to watch both due to its uncomfortable gore and its lack of story.
8 The Phantom Carriage (1921) - 100%
Unlike most other great horror classics on this list, The Phantom Carriage is one of those horror movies that revolutionized the industry, yet it has been ultimately forgotten for decades. This horror movie from Sweden used brilliant ghostly effects that had not been used on the big screen before, truly horrifying audiences around the world.
One of the best factors of The Phantom Carriage, though, was its emotional plot, which featured a heartbroken man who is confronted by the Messenger of Death, starting an in-depth narrative focusing on the importance of life, and the tragedy of the loss of life.
7 Dracula II: Ascension (2003)
While many of Dracula's big screen outings tend to be rather disappointing, Dracula II: Ascension truly stands out as one of the weakest Dracula movies ever made, despite being made in an era where bad special effects should be completely avoidable.
The entire plot of Dracula II: Ascension is overly drawn out, featuring Dracula being chained up for almost the entire movie while a scientist experiments on him. This particular movie doesn't just suffer from a bad plot, though, but also from a lack of a protagonist. Both the doctor and Dracula feel like the villain of the movie, since the hero who ultimately brings an end to Dracula, a vampire-slaying priest, only comes into the picture in the third act.
6 The Witches (1990) - 100%
With the brilliant "muppetry" of Jim Henson, The Witches stands tall as one of the greatest horror movies ever made. While it's not particularly scary like a Dracula movie, The Witches proves itself to be a ridiculously clever horror-adventure, using some fantastic effects and the brilliant puppet skills that improved movies like Labyrinth and Star Wars.
The story follows a boy and his grandmother who attempt to take down a group of witches that are intent on turning all of the children of Britain into mice.
Its brilliant dark humor made The Witches into an instant classic, despite it regularly being overlooked over other Henson-like movies, such as The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth.
5 Repossessed (1990) - 0%
This unofficial sequel to the horror classic The Exorcist ultimately failed to live up to its inspired predecessor, despite the fact that it brings back Linda Blair in the leading role. Like many movies starring actor Leslie Nielsen during this time, Repossessed tried to take a parodic twist on a popular genre. However, unlike most other Leslie Nielsen films, Repossessed fell utterly flat, ultimately ruining The Excorist for many of its fans.
As an unofficial sequel, Repossessed featured Linda Blair's character being possessed yet again, creating an awful pun that is almost as horrible as the movie itself.
4 The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) - 100%
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is often credited as the first horror movie, setting the groundwork for nearly every horror film created after. All things considered, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari proved itself to be a fantastic start to a generally hit-or-miss genre.
Like many other horror movies, Dr. Caligari had some supernatural elements to it, with the plot focusing on an evil hypnotist who travels from city to city with his circus, hypnotizing residents to commit evil acts to each other. It's a brilliantly tense and wickedly evil flick that gives a closer look at one's control over their own actions, while also being a heck of a lot of fun.
3 Leprechaun 4: In Space (1997) - 0%
After Leprechaun 3, the few people remaining who had been following the Leprechaun franchise really didn't think things could get any worse, and then Leprechaun 4: In Space happened.
This instalment to the franchise, as the title suggests, sent the Leprechaun into space, where he caused nonsensical chaos on an intergalactic level.
While it may have had a bit more plot than Leprechaun 3, that wasn't necessarily a good thing. The plot that was actually there was jumbled and confusing, carrying almost no believable motivation. At the end of the day, Leprechaun 4: In Space was just about as bad as the previous Leprechaun movies, but now with truly horrible visual effects added to the mix, making it the most unbearable Leprechaun flick yet.
2 The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) - 100%
Even in 1935, the Frankenstein story was already starting to feel a bit old, as it had been retold a number of times. However, then came The Bride of Frankenstein, a remarkably original twist on this classic story that brilliantly enthused audiences around the world with its unique, quirky twist on the tale.
Serving as an unexpected sequel to the original story, Dr. Frankenstein creates yet another monster, this time a female, who will become the mate of the original monster. It's difficult to pin point exactly what makes The Bride of Frankenstein so great, outside of it just being cleverly written and directed. Nevertheless, it remains a cult classic today.
1 Day of the Dead: Bloodline (2018) - 0%
Surprisingly, one of the worst horror movies ever created, according to Rotten Tomatoes, was released earlier this year, and, unsurprisingly, it was a cheap remake. In a desperate attempt to remake George A. Romero's classic Day of the Dead, Day of the Dead: Bloodline takes the focus away from the zombie apocalypse as a whole and into a plot that seemingly no one found interesting.
Rather than following a group of people like the original, Bloodline follows a singular female protagonist who is pinned against a person from her past who is only half zombie, while still remaining half human. It ends up becoming a cheap revenge plot set in a confusing, post-apocalyptic world that has nothing to do with any of the previous Day of the Dead movies.
Did your favorite (or least favorite) horror movie make the list? Let us know in the comments!