20 Best Horror Movies of the 1990s

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The ’90s gets a bad rap in the horror community. As CGI became more prevalent in blockbuster films, studios began using it over the traditional practical effects that horror films had come to rely on. This led to some less-than-stellar special effects appearing in horror films

While all that is true, the decade still provided us with some of the best horror flicks ever. From sci-fi horror to the rise in found footage films, the horror films of the 90s offer a spectacular look into the culture of the time. It also gives us insight into the evolution of the genre.

1. Misery

Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures.

Stephen King is one of the greatest masters of horror. Because of this, he has cultivated a large fan base that can sometimes verge on obsessiveness. Misery is King’s attempt to highlight his biggest fear on the silver screen.

We often discuss parasocial relationships and their potential for harm today. However, Misery’s showcasing the relationship between fandom and obsession terrified audiences in the 1990s. Misery stands out for its thought-provoking plot, excellent character development, and realistic fear.

2. The Blair Witch Project

Photo Credit: Summit Entertainment.

Though not the first found-footage film, The Blair Witch Project is credited with bringing the subgenre into the mainstream. The shaky cam aspect and clever marketing made viewers believe the footage depicting the lost college students was real.

The studio even made a fake documentary about the fictional witch before the film’s release. The Blair Witch Project was applauded for its use of an ominous atmosphere and for not relying on jump scares. The film spawned one sequel and a reboot, but neither has come close to the raw energy of The Blair Witch Project.

3. Funny Games

Photo Credit: Filmfonds Wien.

This meta-horror classic is just as unsettling today as it was in the 90s. Funny Games is a horror flick that makes the audience an accomplice in its heinous crimes. The film mocks the viewer and criticizes the horror genre for its use of violent imagery and situations.

This thought-provoking film is praised for its self-awareness and ability to create a genuinely uncomfortable viewing experience. It was released in Austria and later rebooted for American audiences in 2007.

4. Cube

Photo Credit: Cube Libre.

This film takes a simple premise—a group of people awaken in a puzzle-filled cube—and turns it into a gory and fascinating story. The cube is filled with shifting rooms and deadly traps for the characters to get through, each becoming more sophisticated and deadly than the last.

This indie film received praise for using limited set designs and a small cast to create a disturbing atmosphere filled to the brim with tension. Cube spawned two sequels and a recent reboot, but none are considered as good as the original.

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5. Sleepy Hollow

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.

This Tim Burton film is a masterclass in visual storytelling. Sleepy Hollow’s dark gothic stylings and beautiful aesthetics set the film’s moody atmosphere. Its eerie locations and mysterious elements made fans fall in love with the movie from its first scene.

Johnny Depp does a fantastic job of bringing Ichabod Crane to life. Not to mention, audiences are given an outstanding performance by Christopher Walken as the Headless Horseman. Sleepy Hollow is a family-friendly horror film that keeps everyone on the edge.

6. The Sixth Sense

Photo Credit: Walt Disney Pictures.

Before M. Night Shyamalan became known as a one-trick pony, he shocked the world with The Sixth Sense. Audiences were not yet expecting Shyamalan’s famous third trick twist and were shocked and amazed by the film’s ending.

The Sixth Sense expertly builds suspense and tension throughout the film. Audiences also applaud the film for exploring themes such as trauma and redemption. Despite knowing its surprise twist ending, The Sixth Sense is still fantastic.

7. In the Mouth of Madness

Photo Credit: New Line Cinema.

This film is part of John Carpenter’s End of the World trilogy, which includes The Thing, In the Mouth of Madness, and The Prince of Darkness. Of these three titles, it’s impossible to say which is the best, but In the Mouth of Madness stands out as one of the decade’s best films.

The film toys with the cosmic elements that made Lovecraft famous, although the film only references King. In a way that makes this world fascinating and terrifying. Carpenter uses his unique visual style to bring a depressing atmosphere to the film that all horror fans should experience.

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8. The Craft

Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures.

This film is praised for bringing the Wiccan religion to mainstream audiences. However, practitioners of this religion were quick to point out that it didn’t cast them in the best light. The Craft stands tall as one of the best female-led horror films to date.

The movie is praised for avoiding the traditional horror tropes and giving its characters agency and depth. The Craft utilizes special effects and makeup to create a visually striking yet terrifying film. Fairuza Balk’s performance as the deranged witch Nancy has entertained viewers for generations.

9. Leprechaun

Photo Credit: Trimark Pictures.

Jennifer Aniston may be a colossal celebrity these days. However, in the 90s, she was still trying to break into the scene. That big break came from an unexpected source, the horror comedy Leprechaun. This film is still treasured today for its campy and self-aware tone.

Leprechaun takes traditional Irish folklore and gives it a horrific twist. Warwick Davis does a tremendous job playing everyone’s favorite demented leprechaun in the film. There are eight Leprechaun films in total. But be warned, they get zanier as they go along.

10. Arachnophobia

Photo Credit: Hollywood Pictures.

This 90s cult classic is loved for its unique combination of genres. Arachnophobia manages to be terrifying and suspenseful while still rolling out a good amount of humor. The film took the natural fear of spiders and took it to the extreme.

Arachnophobia still receives praise for its use of practical effects and animatronics. The film’s spider effects still hold up to this day and create a believable sense of tension throughout the movie.

11. IT

Photo Credit: The WB Television Network.

Stephen King’s 1986 novel IT caused a fear of clowns that would last generations. The made-for-TV adaptation terrified people in their homes and became an overnight sensation. IT features a sense of dread that builds with each episode, culminating in a spectacular finish.

Tim Curry gives audiences a fantastic iteration of Pennywise the Dancing Clown that can never be outdone. While the series shows a bit of its age now, IT is still a wonderful piece of horror nostalgia that everyone can enjoy.

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12. The Frighteners

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures.

Peter Jackson’s whimsical horror comedy The Frighteners is fondly remembered as a hidden gem of the 1990s. The film is praised for its unique visual style, creating a spooky and fun world for audiences.

The film has a wonderful cast, including Michael J. Fox as a charming and hilarious Frank Bannister. The Frighteners creates a world depicting ghosts and the afterlife in a way that has never been done in the horror genre. The result is a pleasant experience that the whole family can enjoy.

13. Flatliners

Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures.

This star-studded film is applauded for exploring themes of the afterlife and morality. Flatliners features performances from Kiefer Sutherland, Julia Roberts, and Kevin Bacon in their primes. The film creates a tension that quickly gets under your skin and refuses to leave.

At its heart, Flatliners is a film about guilt and redemption that asks the audience to honestly examine its character’s motives for toying with life and death. Although the film was remade in 2017, nothing can come close to the eerie feeling given by the original movie.

14. The Silence of the Lambs

Photo Credit: MGM.

The psychological depth of The Silence of the Lambs has cemented its status as one of the best horror films of the 90s. The film’s use of suspenseful pacing and shocking imagery creates a claustrophobic and tense atmosphere.

Outstanding performances by Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins help sell the story of this cannibalistic doctor and his FBI interrogator. The film won several Academy Awards in 1992 and is still regarded as one of the best horror films to date.

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15. Audition

Photo Credit: Basara Pictures.

One of the most disturbing Japanese horror films ever made, Audition subjects audiences to surreal imagery and a nightmarish atmosphere. The film also makes excellent use of sound design and music to aid its unsettling effect.

Audition explores themes like gender roles, power dynamics, and the value of women in a patriarchal society. The film manages to showcase a complex and nuanced view of these issues. At the same time, it mentally scares those who view it.

16. The Faculty

Photo Credit: Dimension Films.

This 90s hit served as a breakout role for both Clea Duvall and Jordana Brewster. The Faulty is a fun horror comedy that uses a high school setting to create a claustrophobic atmosphere. The film also features cameos from John Stewart and Selma Hayek.

The Faculty focuses more on fun than scares. But the film still has some genuinely shocking moments throughout. Its use of inventive creature design and special effects has made it a favorite among horror comedy fans.

17. Tremors

Photo Credit: Universal Studios.

Who doesn’t want to see Kevin Bacon fight off giant sandworms? That’s the premise of this 90’s horror comedy hit. The film relies on a fun and campy atmosphere to lure audiences before unleashing prehistoric terror upon them.

This popcorn horror is loved for its use of amazing practical effects and animatronic worms. The Tremor franchise has spawned six sequels, all campier than the last. The films have earned a loyal fanbase that continues to praise the film’s non serious take on the genre.

18. Interview with the Vampire

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

Anne Rice is often blamed for the rise of the romantic vampire genre, which led to the creation of works such as Twilight. But Interview with a Vampire is much more than a romance. It is a harrowing deep dive into the human condition.

The film discards the traditional tropes associated with vampire films and focuses on the psychological effects of immortality and loneliness. Brilliant performances by Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, and Kirsten Durst pull audiences into this world of melancholy and loss.

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19. Wishmaster

Photo Credit: Image Organization.

This film explores the more devious side of genies. Or, as they are correctly called in folklore, Djinns. Wishmaster mixes campy gore and terrifying imagery to create a stellar horror flick that is still loved today.

Wishmaster is a horror film for horror fans. It features cameo appearances from some of the genre’s most respected talent, including Robert Englund, Kane Hodder, Tony Todd, Ted Raimi, and Tom Savini. The film produced three sequels, but they could not capture the magic that made the original so special.

20. Event Horizon

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Quotes like “We don’t need eyes where we’re going” are one reason Event Horizon is so fondly remembered today. The film explores concepts of life, death, and the afterlife. It can also be viewed as a cautionary tale about the advancements of science.

Outstanding performances by Sam Neill and Laurence Fishburne sell this claustrophobic, tension-riddled atmosphere. Event Horizon is a technical masterpiece utilizing state-of-the-art effects and sound design that will unnerve even the most hardened horror fans.

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10 Actors Perfectly Cast for Their Character Roles

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures.

Many movies are cast with actors that are decent fits. They can even be great because the actor does an excellent job adapting to the role. However, there are some movies where the fit is just so perfect that you could not imagine the movie being a success if they had chosen anyone else.

10 Actors Perfectly Cast for Their Character Roles

11 Vampire Movies That Will Make You Thirst for More

Twilight
Image Credit: Summit Entertainment.

Sometimes, we just love to watch a favorite vampire movie, one of the ones that never get old. It piques our imagination with the unknown story of two teenagers fighting for their love, the incredible and creepy scenes, and the bloodsucking classics.

If you’re looking to get a good rest and watch vampire movies all day, look no further than this list!

11 Vampire Movies That Will Make You Thirst for More

 

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