Over the years, horror films have become increasingly more violent and shocking, pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable in their quest to frighten and disgust viewers.

This has left many of the films that set the stage for the genre having less of an impact on today's audiences, except a few.

Here is IBTimes UK's list of classic horror films that have stood the test of time.


Halloween Compass International Pictures

Year: 1978
Director: John Carpenter
Most Frightening Moment: Every bit with Michael Myers.

The killer's calm approach to stalking and killing his victims sends shivers down the spine of every seasoned horror fan.

Audiences are left constantly peering into the shadows as Myers does his appearing then disappearing act. This is one film that will have you screaming "Look behind you!!"

The Exorcist

The Exorcist
The Exorcist Warner Bros.

Year: 1973
Director: William Friedkin
Most Frightening Moment: When young girl Regan MacNeil's head does a complete 180 degree turn on her body, after being possessed by the devil.

The Omen

The Omen
The Omen 20th Century Fox

Year: 1976
Director: Richard Donner
Most Frightening Moment: When Damien, also known as the son of Satan, knocks his mother off a stool on the upstairs landing, leaving her holding on for dear life. While she begs him to help her, Damien ignores her pleas and leaves her to fall to the floor below.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Vortex

Year: 1974
Director: Tobe Hooper
Most Frightening Moment: When Leatherface appears in the doorway and clubs his victim over the head.

Nothing is ever shown in explicit detail throughout the whole film, leaving the audience's imagination to run wild with the horror taking place.

The Shining

The Shining
The Shining Warner Bros.

Year: 1980
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Most Frightening Moment: There are too many to choose from in this film, but there are two infamous ones which stick in everyone's minds.

First, the infamous "Heeeere's Johnny!" moment when Jack Nicholson's character, Jack Torrance, completely loses his mind and breaks down a door with an axe to kill his wife.

Second, when Danny Torrance is riding his tricycle through the hotel corridors and come across the ghosts of the two murdered twin girls.


Psycho Shamley Productions

Year: 1960
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Most Frightening Moment: The iconic shower scene where our main character, Marion Crane, meets hotel owner, Norman Bates' 'mother', is cinema history.


Magic 20th Century Fox

Year: 1978
Director: Richard Attenborough
Most Frightening Moment: The ventriloquist doll coming to life, moving and speaking without the aid of his master.

Rosemary's Baby

Rosemary\'s Baby
Rosemary\'s Baby William Castle Productions

Year: 1968
Director: Roman Polanski
Most Frightening Moment: The conception of Rosemary's baby with the devil made everyone that watched it feel incredibly unsettled and left wondering what was real and what wasn't in this film.

Carnival of Souls

Carnival of Souls
Carnival of Souls Harcourt Productions

Year: 1962
Director: Herk Harvey
Most Frightening Moment: Anytime 'The Man', played by the director Herk Harvey, appears out of nowhere while pursuing the main character Mary.


Alien 20th Century Fox

Year: 1979
Director: Ridley Scott
Most Frightening Moment: The alien 'being born' from actor John Hurt's chest in what had at first appeared to be a very calm moment in the film, made every viewer's jaw drop in disbelief.