Night of the Living Dead (YouTube)
George Romero’s original 1968 zombie movie never gets old, and the film that helped kick-start an entire genre continues to stand the test of time when it comes to inspiring terror. If you’ve never seen the zombie movie that made projects like The Walking Dead possible, you owe it to yourself to see Night of the Living Dead.
One of the best-reviewed horror movies of all time on RottenTomatoes.com, this 1922 German horror film famously adapted Bram Stoker’s Dracula without permission, and a subsequent lawsuit nearly resulted in all copies of the film being destroyed. It’s a good thing that some prints survived, as it remains one of the best examples of how to create a terrifying atmosphere through the clever use of light and sound. The film stars Max Schreck as the vampire Count Orlock, who preys upon a village by night and still manages to be terrifying on the screen almost 100 years later.
The Evil Dead (Hulu)
The movie that launched the careers of filmmaker Sam Raimi and actor Bruce Campbell remains a testament to what one can do with a bunch of cameras, lots of makeup, a rickety cabin in the woods, and seemingly unending buckets of blood. This one’s lighter on the campiness than you might expect from Raimi and Campbell, but it makes up for that with heaps of gore and visuals that hint at the potential of the film’s director and star.
Night of the Creeps (Crackle)
This 1986 homage to low-budget horror managed to mash together a zombie movie with elements of alien-invasion and slasher-film tropes for a memorable story about a bunch of college kids trying to survive an attack by vicious little slugs that turn people into flesh-hungry creatures. The film was directed by Fred Dekker (who also directed the Halloween classic The Monster Squad) and it went on to become one of the true cult-classic horror movies of the ’80s.
This 2007 found-footage Spanish horror film was later remade into the American film Quarantine, but the original is where the real horror can be found. The film follows a television reporter doing a story about the local firemen who work the night shift, only to have her story’s focus change dramatically when she finds herself locked in an apartment building where a mysterious disease is turning the residents into crazed killers. You don’t need to know Spanish to know when to scream in this terrifying film.