Certain horror movies make us cower in fear even decades after they’ve been released. Although such films are often considered to be of low quality, cheap, and intended only for avid fans, they play on our greatest fears of evil creatures and the unknown, creating tension and a sinister atmosphere we all love so much.

Here are the top 8 most iconic classic horror movies you should have in your collection.

1. Psycho, 1960

Most of Alfred Hitchcock’s works are full of suspense and thrills, but his horror days started off with a movie based on the novel by Robert Bloch — Psycho. It’s a story of a young man named Norman Bates, who sometimes likes to crossdress as his mother and kill people in his small motel located in an American province. Psycho is an amazing piece of early cinema that will never get old.

2. Rosemary’s Baby, 1968

Roman Polanski’s 1968 film is like a master class in cinematic horror and suspense. Every scene is filled with dread, even the tamest home moments. Rosemary’s Baby is the progenitor of the modern horror genre and one of Polanski’s best projects. The paranoia sets in from the very start and just doesn’t let go until the end.

3. The Exorcist, 1973

The Exorcist is not just one of the scariest movies ever made; it is also one of the most well-thought-out horrors. The story of the possessed Reagan, her insane mother, and two priests is still relevant to this day, in part thanks to the fantastic special effects, the horrifying scenery, and the unforgettable characters.

4. Jaws, 1975

Some argue that Jaws is not a horror movie. But any film that makes millions of people rethink their summer beach plans is worthy of that label. The plot revolves around a huge man-eating shark that attacks everyone it can sink its jaws in. The beast is hunted by a local police chief, an oceanographer, and a professional shark hunter, some of whom get eaten alive by the end. There’s a fan theory saying that after it was blown up in the end, the killer shark got possessed by an evil spirit, becoming a revenant.

5. The Shining, 1980

The Shining is a Stanley Kubrick film based on a Stephen King novel, so you know it’s good. Jack Nicholson’s character and his family stay at the luxurious Overlook Hotel, where he slowly goes crazy and tries to murder everyone with an axe, while scary ghosts haunt the halls. The sequel to The Shining, based on King’s novel “Doctor Dream,” was released a few years ago, and it’s pretty good.

6. Alien, 1979

The idea of being trapped in a small spaceship with a bloodthirsty creature from another planet is pretty darn terrifying. The xenomorph keeps changing, so the viewer does not know where the monster is hiding and what it will look like next time they see it. The spaceship quickly turns into an inescapable death trap after the alien starts killing off the crew one by one.

7. The Thing, 1982

John Carpenter’s The Thing takes place at the most remote location on the planet — a polar station. A group of scientists uncovers something otherworldly, and, as most otherworldly things go, it starts killing them. But the gruesome murders aren’t what’s horrifying. The alien creature can mimic anyone it comes in contact with, so after the explorers figure this out, the tension gets turned up to eleven, thanks to the ever-present feeling of unease and paranoia.

The Thing (1982)
Directed by John Carpenter
Shown: Kurt Russell

8. The Evil Dead, 1981

Sam Raimi’s iconic horror movie tells the story of a group of students who decided to spend a weekend in a forest cabin and found Necronomicon — the Book of the Dead in the basement. Naturally, the first thing they do is try to read it, bringing ancient evils back to life. After almost getting killed, the most charismatic hero, Ash, portrayed by Bruce Campbell, takes on the demons with a chainsaw arm and a boomstick. Groovy, isn’t it?