Movies that have defined the Horror Genre



“Hereeeee’s Johnny!” Any horror movie fan knows this line from The Shining. This Stanley Kubrick adaptation of a Stephen King novel, has haunted quite a few youngsters, when it came out in cinemas, in 1980. Today, it is one of the classics of the genre. Let’s take a closer look at this movie and others that have defined horror cinema, throughout time.

Catching up on Classics Online

The beauty of today’s world is that right after you are done reading this article, you can head to Netflix and see some of these masterpieces. According to, if you don’t find the movie you are looking for, it may be because of regional restrictions. But this can be solved by using a VPN, providing you do have a Netflix account to start with. It is also true of Amazon, so make sure you don’t miss any of the movies mentioned below, by downloading your VPN, if you don’t already have one.

The Exorcist

This exquisite work of art, by William Friedkin is certainly one of the most famous horror movies of all time. It probably helped that the novelist (William Peter Blatty) was also the screenwriter for the movie. He and the other William were able to create the sensation that this story could be true. Everyone who watched The Exorcist in 1973, certainly wondered “what if this could happen?” Even today, this movie that will celebrate it’s 50th birthday in only two years, still feels a little too close to a possible event, not to be scared, still.

The horror movie genre, based on religion, is quite popular. We can think of other great films, such as The Devil’s Advocate, featuring Keanu Reeves, Al Pacino and Charlize Theron that played with the idea of the devil, wanting for a son to be born, to become the antichrist. It is a theme that plays well, since it touches upon people’s beliefs. But The Exorcist will always be a favourite for those who appreciate this type of horror, as it was true to what could be. After all, there are exorcisms taking place around the world…


Those who enjoy Ridley Scott movies, will be happy to see him on this list. It is easy to pretend, that if he managed to create such a classic, it is because he understands life in general, not just this special type of culture. This director is the one behind such great titles as Thelma and Louise, Gladiator, The Martian, and the ultimate science-fiction classic: Blade Runner. To be able to create such different worlds, close to perfection, you need to have an exceptional depth of sensations and understating inside you. Bravo Mr. Scott.

But what made Alien the classic that it is today, and the initial episode of many movies made later on, is the fact that it positioned the setting of the movie on a spaceship. Afterwards, this became a pattern that so many other films reproduced, but never with the skill and brilliance of the original “Alien.” In part, Scott can thank Sigourney Weaver, who was brilliant in the role of Ripley. She also changed women’s role forever, becoming an iconic saviour of the world. There are more Alien films to come, as Scott started a new trilogy in 2017.

The Shining

There are so many great movies based on Stephen King stories, that we could do a whole article about him, and the horror films that have been made throughout the last 40 years. However, The Shining is in a world of its own. Jack Nicholson was simply brilliant in the lead role, playing a writer that takes his family to an isolated hotel in Colorado, which he has to keep running throughout the winter, with no one close to come to their rescue, if anything were to happen. And of course, something does…

But to be fair, this success has more to do with the director Stanley Kubrick than anyone else. It is his twisted vision of the world, which brought out all the horror that could be found in the script. His unique way of filming scenes, brings to life a completely different universe than the one we are used to, celebrating the darkness of the mind, in ways that would make any adult, at the very least, uncomfortable.

Evil Dead I and II

Evil Dead stands out, in a world of its own. The director of these movies, Sam Raimi, managed to create not one but two classics, with this film, in completely different tones. Evil Dead I was made to scare you out of your mind, enough to keep the light open when you went to bed, that night, and Evil Dead II was brilliant as a… comedy. Although it was still a horror story, it was shot to make people laugh more than scare them. And it worked even better, the second-time around.

These movies were so popular that it made its main actor become a star. But the role was so strong, that it was almost impossible for him to move away from it, afterwards. In fact, he went on to write books about it and play himself, as in the previous role as well. Bruce Campbell will never be forgotten in the world of horror, as many cosplayers still dress-up like his character in the movie.

Other Notable Movies to watch

We would not be forgiven by our readers if we did not mention Psycho. This classic is so strong, that when people hear the music, they automatically remember the shower scene… So many articles have been written about it, that we will leave the specialists to inform you more. Or better yet, just find it on your favourite movie platform and watch it, to make your own opinion.

In a not-so-distant past, let’s also take the time to remember the film “Get Out” by Jordan Peele, which was an incredible success, when it came out in cinemas in 2017. It was a refreshing vision of the genre, which was still quite horrifying, if not more than usual, since it definitely depicted twisted minds, playing twisted games.

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