Special Report

The Worst Horror Movies of All Time

At their best, horror films send your pulse racing, force you to look away from impending awful events, and leave you breathless once the movie is over. Some of these great horror flicks, such as “Psycho,” have become embedded in our culture. Then there are those fright films that are forgettable, at best.

To determine the worst horror movies of all time, 24/7 Tempo developed an index using average ratings on IMDb, an online movie database owned by Amazon, and a combination of audience scores and Tomatometer scores on Rotten Tomatoes, an online movie and TV review aggregator, as of October 2022, weighting all ratings equally. Only movies with at least 10,000 audience reviews on either IMDb or Rotten Tomatoes and five critics reviews on Rotten Tomatoes were considered. Genre, director, and cast information came from IMDb.
In many ways, making a horror film carries greater risks than other genres. The effects have to work, the makeup has to be convincing, the acting must seem authentic, and the plots have to have a certain level of credibility. When any or all of these factors fail, the result can be laughably bad or cringeworthy.

Almost three out of four movies on this list were made in the 21st century, many of them humorless, dark motion pictures with poorly done computer-generated effects. The oldest movie here, “Manos the Hands of Fate,” from 1966, routinely appears on worst-of lists, regardless of genre. It is one of eight films on our list with a Rotten Tomatoes critics’ score of 0%. (See other examples of the worst movies of the 1960s.)

Click here to see the worst horror movies of all time

Few genres have been more shameless in producing sequels than horror films, and the sequel misfires are present on our list, among them those from the “Halloween,” “Friday the 13th,” and “Jaws” franchises. (Here’s a list of the worst movie from every major franchise.)

Wes Craven, who launched the “Scream” and “Nightmare on Elm Street” franchises, which have posted respectable scores among critics, has three missteps on the list. The director plumbing the depths of movie missteps the most, however, is German filmmaker Uwe Boll, who has four – including three of the worst five.

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